Mudcat Café message #2959317 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87026   Message #2959317
Posted By: GUEST,Paul Slade
06-Aug-10 - 05:30 AM
Thread Name: Barbara Allen earliest version?
Subject: RE: Barbara Allen earliest version?
I've got a printed copy of Barbara Allen's verses from the British Library collection, which would have been sold on the streets of York in the 19th Century. It's not dated, but comes from a collection spanning the years 1780-1867 and was issued by a York printer called J Kendrew. Pepys is known to have collected printed ballads sheets like these.

The full title given here is The Life Death and Love of Barbara Allen, the verses name her dead admirer as Johnny, and the penultimate verse breaks the ballad's third-person narration to let Barbara speak for herself: "Hard-hearted creature sure was I / To one that loved me dearly / I wish I had more kinder been been / In time of life when he was near me."

For more on the ballad-seller's trade, click here .