From the recording Sliabh Liag
There were three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they have sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough and ploughed 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 with pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.
They’ve taken a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgery
They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgelled him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o'er and o'er.
John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise.
'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'Twill heighten all his joy;
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
John Barleycorn must die.