As usual ballads are very sad and Barbara Allen makes no exception. It sets a clear contrast between the “merry month of May”, full of life, and a young man dying. Find out why.
The rhyme scheme is irregular and there are few repetitions and no caesuras.
ALL in the merry month of May,
When green buds they were swelling,
Young Jemmy Grove on his death-bed lay
For love o’ Barbara Allen.
He sent his man unto her then,
To the town where she was dwelling:
“O haste and come to my master dear,
If your name be Barbara Allen.”
Slowly, slowly rose she up,
And she cam’ where he was lying;
And when she drew the curtain by,
Says, “Young man, I think you’re dying.”
He turn’d his face unto the wa’,
And death was wi’ him dealing:
“Adieu, adieu, my dear friends a’;
Be kind to Barbara Allen.”
As she was walking o’er the fields,
She heard the dead-bell knelling;
And every jow the dead-bell gave,
It cried, “Woe to Barbara Allen!”
“O mother, mother, mak’ my bed,
To lay me down in sorrow.
My love has died for me to-day,
I’ll die for him to-morrow.”
lay: was dwelling: living
rose up: got up
curtain: around the bed
knelling: death sound of a bell