Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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50           Ballads and Songs of Michigan
(Bonny Barbara Allan, Child, No 84)
Child cites Chappell as saying that this ballad first appeared in print in Ram­say's Miscellany in 1740. It is mentioned in an entry in Pepys' Diary, January 2, 1666. It was referred to by Goldsmith, with the tide "Cruelty of Barbara Allen," in his third essay, 1765, p. 14, and was included in Bishop Percy's Rehques of Ancient Poetry, III (1765), 125; II (1846), 122-124. (The former reference may be readily found by consulting Essays of Oliver Goldsmith, II, 16, in the edition published by the Bibliophile Society of Boston in 1928.) Child (II, 276-279) gives only three versions, but Michigan A has the shift in narration from first to third person that is in Child B, and the general outlines of the tragedy are some­what similar. For texts, references, and comments see Allsopp, II, 212--213; Barbour, JAFL, XLIX, 207-209; Barry, Eckstorm, and Smyth, pp. 195-200; Bulletin, X, 23-24; Davis (thirty-six versions), pp. 302-345; Eddy, No. ri; Fauset, pp. 113-115; Greenleaf and Mansfield, pp. 26-27; J1FSS, II, 45; Kittredge, JAFL, XX, 256--57, XXX, 317; Mackenzie, pp. 35-40, Scarborough, pp. 83-97; Sharp, 1,183-195; Shoemaker, pp. 127-130; Stout, pp 8-10; and Thomas, pp.
Version A was sung in 1935 by Mrs. David Collom, Grindstone City, who learned the song about sixty years earlier from her mother, at Howick, Ontario, Canada; the latter had heard it sung by her mother.
1    In Scotland I was bred and born, In London was my dwelling;
I courted there a pretty girl, And her name was Barbara Allen.
2    I courted her some months and years, And the time had come to win her. She often vowed and did declare
No man on earth should have her.
3    'Twas in the springtime o£ the year When all fair flowers were blooming, That Squire Grey a-dying lay
For the love of Barbara Allen.
4    He sent his servant unto her house, The house of Barbara Allen:
"My master wants to have you come If your name is Barbara Allen."

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