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John Barleycorn: A Ballad

     There was three kings into the east,
     Three kings both great and high,
     And they hae sworn a solemn oath
     John Barleycorn should die.

     They took a plough and plough'd him down,
     Put clods upon his head,
     And they hae sworn a solemn oath
     John Barleycorn was dead.

     But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
     And show'rs began to fall;
     John Barleycorn got up again,
     And sore surpris'd them all.

     The sultry suns of Summer came,
     And he grew thick and strong;
     His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
     That no one should him wrong.

     The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
     When he grew wan and pale;
     His bending joints and drooping head
     Show'd he began to fail.

     His colour sicken'd more and more,
     He faded into age;
     And then his enemies began
     To show their deadly rage.

     They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
     And cut him by the knee;
     Then tied him fast upon a cart,
     Like a rogue for forgerie.

     They laid him down upon his back,
     And cudgell'd him full sore;
     They hung him up before the storm,
     And turned him o'er and o'er.

     They filled up a darksome pit
     With water to the brim;
     They heaved in John Barleycorn,
     There let him sink or swim.

     They laid him out upon the floor,
     To work him farther woe;
     And still, as signs of life appear'd,
     They toss'd him to and fro.

     They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
     The marrow of his bones;
     But a miller us'd him worst of all,
     For he crush'd him between two stones.

     And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
     And drank it round and round;
     And still the more and more they drank,
     Their joy did more abound.

     John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
     Of noble enterprise;
     For if you do but taste his blood,
     'Twill make your courage rise.

     'Twill make a man forget his woe;
     'Twill heighten all his joy;
     'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
     Tho' the tear were in her eye.

     Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
     Each man a glass in hand;
     And may his great posterity
     Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

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