There were three Kings intoa the east,
Three Kings both great and high,
And they have sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycornb should die.

They took a plough and ploughed him down,
Put clodsc upon his head,
And they have 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 sored surprised them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong,
His head weel armed with pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn entered mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Showed he began to fail.

His colour sickened more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To shew their deadly rage.

They’ve ta’ene 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 cudgelledf 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 heavedg 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 appeared,
They tossed him to and fro.

They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller used him worst of all,
For he crushed 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!
  • ainto — in (Scottish)
  • bbarley — Gerste, orge
  • cclods — lumps of earth
  • dsore — very much
  • eta’en — taken
  • fcudgel — beat with a club
  • gheave — lift, throw