The Ballad of John Barleycorn and Annabel Lee

The Ballad of John Barleycorn and Annabel Lee

John Barleycorn, when will your harvest be done?
So long at work, even for a good countryman.
John Barleycorn, when will your harvest be done?
So late in the fields, far from me, my countryman.

Our daughter, Mary, weaves a shawl by lamp light,
our son, Giles, drinks in the inn with the shepherd men.
From far waters, I watched flocks of geese in flight.
John Barleycorn, when are you coming home again?

I was a quiet, homely maid when we met.
You’re the man come to court me, silent even then.
We walked in the dawn, the grass with dew still wet.
John Barleycorn, when are you coming home again?

So called the countryman’s wife, Annabel Lee.
Her long hair and shawl blowing in the harvest breeze.
He put down his hoe, to her he turned to see.
John Barleycorn come walking home beneath the trees.

Annabel Lee, now my harvest work is done.
I left my plough in the field by the cherry tree.
Annabel Lee, seeds may fry brown in the sun,
my mouth warm and dry, like the cider you gave me.

Annabel Lee, the sheaves stand high in my cart,
now here I am beside you, come walk home with me.
Annabel Lee, you wore a hood round your heart,
you lived in a cottage in a coombe by the sea.

Annabel Lee, help me remember first days,
ballads I sang for you while you made apple pie.
Annabel Lee, I know your holy wife ways,
with you by me, summer will never leave the sky.

Annabel Lee, like a linnet on a reed,
you sing in the dawn and dance in the woods for me.
Annabel Lee, I’m your Tom Appleseed,
when we fill baskets with fruit from the orchard tree.

John Barleycorn, home now your harvest is done.
So hard you work, even for a good countryman.
John Barleycorn, home now your harvest is done.
Stars shine on the fields, come to me, my countryman.

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