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John Barbour

John Barbour, song / Joe McCafferty, singing in English

John Barbour, song / Joe McCafferty, singing in English

There was a lord lived in this town
He had only one loved daughter Jane
And as she stood in her father’s castle walls
She was watching the ship sails on, on

‘What ails you, what ails you?’ her father did say
‘You look so pale and wan
Nor have you got some sore sickness,’ he says
‘Nor deceived by some young man, man.’

‘I have not got sore nor sickness’, she says
‘Nor deceived by no young man
But the truth unto you, my father, I will tell:
My true love stops too long, long.’

‘Is your true love a knight nor a lord,’ he says
‘Nor is he a man of fame
Nor is he one of our seamen bold
That ploughs the raging main, main?'

‘He is not a knight nor a lord,’ she says
‘Nor he is not a man of fame
But he is one of our seamen bold:
John Barbour is his name, name.’

‘If that is so, dear daughter,’ he says
‘That you fell in love with he
But before eight o’clock on tomorrow morning
I will hang him to a tree, tree.'

‘If you’ll hang John Barbour, dear father,’ she says
‘And hang him to a tree
But before eight o’clock on tomorrow morning
I will die as well as he, he.'

Then he called all his merry men in
By one, by two and by three
And the very man that always used to come first
Was the very last man came he, he

His stockings they were of the grass-green silk
And his coat of the navy blue
And his skin was as white as any milk
That ever your eyes had seen, seen

‘It’s no wonder now, dear daughter,’ he says
‘That you fell in love with he
For if I was a woman nor though I am a man
My bedfellow he would be, be.’

‘Will you marry my daughter now,’ he said
‘With the faith of my own right hand?
She can eat and drink at my own table
And be heir of all my land, land.’

‘I will marry your daughter now,’ he said
‘With the faith of my own right hand
She can eat and drink at my own table
And a fig for all your land, land.'

For now John Barbour it is my name
And a seaman to you I only stand
For I’ve just got as good living as you -
I’m the mayor of all Creveland.’

He mounted his love on a milk-white steed
And they rode unto a bay
And they have as much land as you could walk round
For the length of (spoken) a long summer’s day!

Db Item 123 Musictr
Db Item 123 Musictr

© 

Notes from Hugh Shields

The ballad “Willie of Winsbury” (Child, The English and Scottish popular ballads, 1882–98, vol 2 [1965:398–406]). Shields Index 220.