Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Scottish Song By Robert Burns

The Wind That Shakes The Barley is a ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836-1883), a poet and professor of English literature in 1861.

The song is no. 2994 in the Roud Folk Song Index. There are numerous small variations in different performed versions, and many performers leave out the fourth stanza of Dwyer Joyce's original version. The lyrics below are as those printed in the original 1861 version.

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The Wind That Shakes The Barley

The Wind That Shakes The Barley By Robert Dwyer Joyce

I sat within a valley green
I sat me with my true love
My sad heart strove to choose between
The old love and the new love
The old for her, the new that made
Me think on Ireland dearly
While soft the wind blew down the glade
And shook the golden barley

Twas hard the woeful words to frame
To break the ties that bound us
But harder still to bear the shame
Of foreign chains around us
And so I said, "The mountain glen
I'll seek at morning early
And join the bold United Men
While soft winds shake the barley"

While sad I kissed away her tears
My fond arms 'round her flinging
The foeman's shot burst on our ears
From out the wildwood ringing
A bullet pierced my true love's side
In life's young spring so early
And on my breast in blood she died
While soft winds shook the barley

I bore her to some mountain stream
And many's the summer blossom
I placed with branches soft and green
About her gore-stained bosom
I wept and kissed her clay-cold corpse
Then rushed o'er vale and valley
My vengeance on the foe to wreak
While soft winds shook the barley

But blood for blood without remorse
I've taken at Oulart Hollow
And laid my true love's clay-cold corpse
Where I full soon may follow
As 'round her grave I wander drear
Noon, night and morning early
With breaking heart when e'er I hear
The wind that shakes the barley

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Text from this original The Wind That Shakes The Barley article on Wikisource.

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