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JOHN BARLEYCORN



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 ploughed 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 color sicken'd more and more,
     He faded into age:
And then his enemies began
     To show their deadly rage.

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

They laid him down upon his back,
     And cudgel I'd him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
     And turn'd 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 further woe,
And still, as signs of life appeared,
     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 ta'en 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.

                                   ROBERT BURNS.



 
copyright, Kellscraft Studio, 1999
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