There was three kings into the East,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plow and plowed him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath,
John Barleycorn was dead.
But the cheerful spring came kindly on,
And showers began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.
The sultry suns of summer came,
And he grew thick and strong,
His head well armed wi' 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 color sickened more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.
They 'ye ta'en a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
And tied him fast upon the cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.
They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgeled 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 heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.
They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him further 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,
'T will make your coarage rise.
Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!