About the Author This poem was written anonymously, and passed down through many generations.
Genre This poem is a folk ballad, meaning that it rhymes and it was sung or recited.
Interpretation of the poem The poem is about unrequited love. Sir John Graeme falls in love with Barbara Allan. He is so lovesick that he is bound to his deathbed. When Barbara comes to visit her ailing lover, she reminds him that he slighted her in front of others at a local tavern. He dies, and then she feels guilty, so she asks her mother to prepare her deathbed for the following day.
Theme The theme might be that one doesn’t need to take love for granted, or it might not be there when it is wanted.
Defining Difficult Words Martinmas: St. Martin’s Day on November 11 Healths: toasts Adieu: goodbye Twa: two
Allusions It mentions that Sir John Graeme is the one who falls in love with Barbara Allan.
A More Modern Translation “O dinna ye mind”: don’t you remember That ye made the healths gae round and round, and slighted Barbara Allen.: you made toasts to everyone and forgot Barbara Allen “Oh haste and come to my master dear”: hurry up and come