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​Barbry Ellen

This song is by June Tabor and appears on the album Rosa Mundi (2001).

In Scarlet Town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwelling
Made every youth cry well-a-day
And her name was Barbry Ellen

All in the merry month of May
When the green buds they were swelling
Young William Green on his death bed lay
For the love of Barbry Ellen

He sent his servant to the town
To her own father's dwelling
Saying "master's sick and he bids you to come
If your name be Barbry Ellen"

Then slowly, slowly she got up
So slowly she came nigh him
And all she said when she got there
"Young man I believe you're dying"

"O yes I'm sick and I'm very sick
And I never will be any better
Until I gain the love of one
The love of Barbry Ellen"

"O yes you're sick and you're very sick
And you never will be any better
For you never will gain the love of one
The love of Barbry Ellen

O don't you remember in yonders town
In yonders town a-drinking
You gave the health to the ladies all around
And slighted Barbry Ellen"

"O yes, I remember in yonders town
In yonders town a-drinking
I give the health to the ladies all around
But my heart to Barbry Ellen"

He's turned his pale face to the wall
And death was with him dwelling
"Farewell, farewell my good neighbours all
Be kind to Barbry Ellen"

As she was a-walking through the fields
She heard the death bell knelling
And every stroke that death bell gave
Cried woe to Barbry Ellen

As she was a-walking through the woods
She saw his pale corpse a-coming
"Set down set down that corpse of clay
That I might look upon him"

The more she looked, the more she grieved
Until she burst out crying
"O take him away o take him away
For I myself am dying

O mother, mother, make my bed
And make it both long and narrow
Sweet William has died for love of me
And I shall die of sorrow

O father, father, go dig my grave
And dig it both long and narrow
Sweet William has died for me today
And I'll die for him tomorrow"

She was buried in the old churchyard
Sweet William was buried a-nigh her
And out of his grave grew a red red rose
Out of Barbry's grew a green briar

And they grew and grew up the old church
Tower till they couldn't grow any higher
And there they tied in a true lover's knot
Red rose around green briar