From Wikipedia: John Barleycorn is an English and Scottish folk song listed as number 164 in the Roud Folk Song Index. John Barleycorn, the eponymous protagonist, is a personification of barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it: beer and whisky. In the song, he suffers indignities, attacks, and death that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting.


There were three men came out of the west
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn oath
John Barleycorn must die
They plowed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead

They let him lie for a very long time ‘til the rains from heaven did fall
And Little Sir John sprung up his head and so amazed them all
They let him stand to mid summer's day
‘til he grew both pale and wan
And Little Sir John grew a long, long beard
And so become a man

They hired men with the scythes so sharp
To cut [Break] him off [Break] at the knee
They rolled him and tied by the waist serving him most barbarously
They hired men with the sharp pitchforks who pricked him to the heart
And the loader he served him worse than that
For he's bound him to the cart

They wheeled him around and around the field
‘Til they came unto a barn
And there they made a solemn oath on poor John Barleycorn
They hired men with the crab tree sticks to cut him skin from bone
And the miller he served him worse than that
For he's ground him between two stones

Here’s Little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
And he’s brandy in the glass
And Little Sir John and the nut-brown bowl
Proved the stronger man at last
For the huntsman he can't hunt the fox
Nor loudly to blow his horn
And the tinker can't mend kettle nor pot
Without a little bar-ley-corn
No, the tink[BREAK]-er he can't mend [RESTART]kettle nor pot
(Slow down last line to end) Without a little bar-ley-corn