Sir Mault (P​-​Ray)

from by P. Ray

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about

A dual tale of how grain becomes beer or whiskey, and what alcohol can do to those who consume in excess. John Barleycorn (grain as drink) takes strong revenge on those who abuse him. Allegorical writings on the topic date to 1600 and earlier. These range from “How Mault doth deale with euery one” (late 1500s) and “The Murder of John Barleycorn” (ca. 1620), to “A Huy and Cry after Sir John Barlycorn” (1725). A slightly more modern poem (1700s) by Robert Burns was adapted by Steve Winwood (Traffic) to make his 1970 version. My song draws from different parts of these old sources, with deep respect for, and fear of… Sir Mault.

lyrics

Sir Mault (John Barleycorn), by P-Ray, from texts drawn from various 16-18th Century writings

There was three kings into the east,
three kings both great and high,
and they hae swore a solemn oath,
John Barleycorn must die.
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and turn'd him down,
smashed clods upon his skull,
but Barleycorn got up again and sore surprised them all.

They took a weapon, long and sharp, and cut him by the knee,
then tied him fast upon a cart, like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him out upon the floor to work him further woe,
yet still his signs of life appeared, so they tossed him to and fro.

They wasted o'er a scorching flame the marrow of his bones,
but the miller used him worst of all,
for he crushed him between two stones.

But Mault gave the miller such a blow,
that from his horse he fell full low.
He taught him his master, Mault for to know.
You never saw the like sir.

So when the mault did work in their heads,
twice a day they would be sped.
At night, they couldn't even go to bed.
You never saw the like sir.

There was three kings into the east,
three kings both great and high,
'tho they hae swore a solemn oath,
John Barleycorn won't die.

credits

from ARs, released April 13, 2017
Original Song by P-Ray

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about

P. Ray Oregon

Sings, plays, composes, produces music about love, pain, joy, addiction, recovery, humanity, and spirit. Originals, some covers, sometimes humorous.

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