Bar The Door O (Kenneth Peacock) MIDI, video
(Get Up And Bar The Door) (John Blunt)
#2555: YouTube video by JandEGillett
℗2011 ~ Used with permission ~


There was an old couple lived under an 'ill,
Joan and John Blunt they were called O,
They brewed great ale all for to sell,
They brewed it wonderful well O.

John Blunt and his wife drank some of those ales
Till they could drink no more O;
They both went to bed with a drop in their head
And forgot to bar their door O.

A bargain, a bargain this old couple made,
A bargain firm and sure O,
The very first one who would speak the first word
Would go down to bar their door O.

Along came travelers, travelers three,
Traveling in the night O,
No house nor shelter could they find,
No fire nor candle light O.

And straight to John Blunt's house they went,
And boldly opened the door O,
But not one word did the old couple say
For fear they should bar the door O.

They ate of his vittles, they drank of his drinks,
Till they could drink no more O;
But not one word did the old couple say
For fear they should bar the door O.

Then straight upstairs these travelers went,
And crossed the bedroom floor O,
But not one word did the old couple say
For fear they should bar the door O.

They pulled the old woman out of her bed,
And kissed her on the floor O;
But not one word did the old man say
For fear he should bar the door O.

"You've eat of my vittles, you drank of my drinks,
Till you could drink no more O,"
"John Blunt," she said, "you spoke the first word,
Go down and bar the door O!

"If you don't like what they did unto me,
They kissed me on the floor O,
Take this to be as a warning:
Stay every night and bar your door O."

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an 18th-century ballad, Get Up And Bar The Door [Child #275] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965). Also a variant of an 18th-century British broadside ballad, John Blunt, published by J Wallis (London) in 1785 and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Douce Prints S 9(p.208) ....####
This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, pp.239-240, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that a vow of silence maintained throughout a variety of tribulations is a humorous gimmick used in songs and tales all over Europe. Such tales, which are also well known in Turkey and Arabia, might indicate an Oriental origin. Peacock further noted that in this Newfoundland variant the husband breaks down first, and one receives the distinct impression that his wife rather enjoyed the tribulations associated with the vow.

The video above features a performance of a variant of John Blunt performed by Jeff Gillett with his own arrangement and his own accompaniment on mandola.

A variant was also collected in 1929 from Mrs Thomas (Annie) Walters [1896-1986] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published as #18, Joan And John Blount (Get Up And Bar The Door, Child #275) on page 41 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; and Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

See more NL Child Ballads.


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