Public Domain Super Heroes

Barbara Allen

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Barbara Allen

Real Name

Barbara Allen

First Appearance


Original Publisher


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"Barbara Allen" is a traditional ballad originating in England and Scotland, which immigrants introduced to the United States, where it became a popular folk song. Roud and Bishop described it as, "...far and away the most widely collected song in the English language — equally popular in England, Scotland and Ireland, and with hundreds of versions collected over the years in North America."

Although renditions of the song can vary considerably in plot, they generally follow a common narrative. A young man lies dying for the love of Barbara Allen; he has a servant summon her to his bedside for solace, but she does little but scorn him. Denied his true love, the hero succumbs to illness; in some versions, he leaves her an inheritance before dying. Upon hearing the church bells of his funeral, Barbara Allen regrets her decision and senses that her own death is near. She too dies of heartbreak, and they are buried beside one another. The song often concludes with a "rose-briar motif" of several stanzas describing floral growth on the lovers' neighboring graves, symbolising fidelity in love even after death.

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