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John Barleycorn lyrics

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Traffic – John Barleycorn lyrics

(Traditional)

There were three men came out of the west, their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn must die
They've plowed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn was dead
They've let him lie for a very long time, 'til the rains from heaven did fall
And little Sir John sprung up his head and so amazed them all
They've let him stand 'til Midsummer's Day 'til he looked both pale and wan
And little Sir John's grown a long long beard and so become a man
They've hired men with their scythes so sharp to cut him off at the knee
They've rolled him and tied him by the way, serving him most barbarously
They've hired men with their sharp pitchforks who pricked him to the heart
And the loader he has served him worse than that
For he's bound him to the cart
They've wheeled him around and around a field 'til they came onto a barn

And there they made a solemn oath on poor John Barleycorn
They've hired men with their crabtree sticks to cut him skin from bone
And the miller he has served him worse than that
For he's ground him between two stones

And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl and his brandy in the glass
And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox nor so loudly to blow his horn
And the tinker he can't mend kettle or pots without a little barleycorn



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/traffic/john_barleycorn.html

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Corrected bypamelah

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    pamelah
    This song is actually a poem with versions going back hundreds of years that is an obvious metaphor about the evils of alcohol. Each verse is symbolic of the harvest process as it was in England then, making "Barleycorn" seem like a victim, the moral of the poem being that the alcohol destroy s all in the end despite the many attempts of the 3 men to kill (harvest) the barley. The earliest written versions of the many variations of the poem date back to the 1600's. The irony, despite this tragic warning people celebrate by drinking the "blood" of John Barleycorn. Many versions of this song have been covered by different musicians, most notably Traffics' "John Barleycorn Must Die" in their 1970 Album of the same name.
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