as arranged by the John Renbourn Group
Live in America
There were three men come out of the west, their fortunes for to try.
And these three men made a solemn vow: John Barleycorn must die.
They plowed, they sowed, they harrowed him in, threw clods upon his head,
And these three men made a solemn vow: John Barleycorn was dead.
Then they let him lie for a very long time 'til the rains from heav'n did fall,
And little Sir John sprung up his head and so amazed them all.
Then they let him lie 'til the midsummer time and he looked both pale and wan,
And little Sir John, he grew a long beard and so became a man.
Then they hired men with the scythes so sharp to cut him off at the knee.
They rolled him and tied him at the waist and served him barb'rously.
Then they hired men with the sharp pitchforks to pierce him to the heart,
But the loader has served him worse than that, for he's bound him into the cart.
They wheeled him around and around in the field, 'til they came into the barn.
Then these three men made a solemn oath upon John Barleycorn.
Then they hired men with the crabtree sticks to cut him skin from bone,
But the miller has served him worse than that, for he's ground him between two stones.
Here's little Sir John in a nut-brown bowl, and brandy in the glass.
And little Sir John in a nut-brown bowl is the stronger man at last.
For the hunter, he can't hunt the fox, nor loudly blow his horn,
And the tinker, he can't mend kettles or pots without a little John Barleycorn.