#01634
My Bonny Irish Boy (Variant A) (Peacock)
See also: My Bonny Irish Boy (MacEdward Leach)
And also: The Bonny Young Irish Boy (Greenleaf/Mansfield)

Click to jump down to Variant B.

His name I love to mention,
in Ireland he was born,
I loved him very dearly,
but alas, from me he's gone;
He's gone to Americay,
and he promised to send for me,
But the face of my bonny young Irish boy
I can no longer see.

It was in Londonderry,
that city of note and fame,
Where first my bonny young Irish boy
a-courting to me came;
He told me pleasant stories
and said his bride I'd be,
But the face of my bonny young Irish boy
I can no longer see.

I engaged my passage for New York,
and on arriving there,
To seek and find my Irish boy
I quickly did prepare;
I searched New York and Providence
and Boston all around,
But the face of my bonny Irish boy
was nowhere to be found.

I went to Philadelphia,
and from there to Baltimore,
I searched the state of Maryland,
I searched it o'er and o'er;
I pray that I might find him
wherever he might be,
But the face of my bonny young Irish boy
I could no longer see.

One night as I lay in my bed,
I dreamt I was his bride,
A-sitting on the blue-bell hill,
and he sat by my side;
A-gathering of primroses
as we did in days of yore,
I awoke quite broken-hearted
in the city of Baltimore.

And early the next morning,
a knock came to my door,
I heard his voice, I knew it was
the lad I did adore;
I hurried up to let him in,
I never felt such joy,
And then I fell into the arms
of my bonny young Irish boy.

Now that we are married
he never shall go to sea,
He knows I love him dearly,
and I'm sure that he loves me;
My first sweet son is called for him,
is my heart's delight and joy,
He's the picture of his father,
he's a bonny young Irish boy.

Farewell to Londonderry,
that city I'll see no more,
Where many's a pleasant night we spent
around the sweet lone moor;
Our pockets were light, our hearts were good,
we longed to be free,
And talked about a happy home
in the land of liberty.

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Philip J Foley [1905-1982] of Tilting, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.560-561, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

My Bonny Irish Boy (Variant B) (Kenneth Peacock)
See also: My Bonny Irish Boy (MacEdward Leach)
And also: The Bonny Young Irish Boy (Greenleaf/Mansfield)

Oh, once I was a-courted
by a bonny Irish boy,
He called me his jewel
and his heart's delight and joy;
'Twas in fair Dublin city,
in that place of note and fame,
Where first my bonny Irish boy
a-courting of me came.

His cheeks were like the roses,
his hair was of light brown,
Curled up in ringlets,
to his shoulders hanging down;
His teeth shone like the ivory,
his eyes were black as coal,
He breaks the heart of every girl
no matter where he goes.

The fields and meadows they were green,
occupied with flowers so gay,
Where me and my true love
do ofttimes sport and play;
The lambs they are so merry,
the birds do merrily sing,
And from my bonny Irish boy
sweet kisses gives and brings.

Long years I kept his company
in hopes to be his bride,
But now he's gone and leaved me
to cross the ocean wide;
And I'm afraid some other fair girl
my true love will enjoy,
And leave me here lamenting
for my bonny Irish boy.

Now I'll pack up my clothing
and in search of him I'll go,
I'll cross the wide ocean
through bitter winds and snow;
And I will never marry
until the day I die,
I'll die quite broken-hearted
for my bonny Irish boy.

And when I'm dead and gone to rest,
there's one more thing I crave,
Bring my bones to old Ireland
and bury them in the clay;
And write upon my tombstone
to show the passers-by,
That I died broken-hearted
for my bonny Irish boy.

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Arthur Nicolle [1900-1971] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.562-563, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

####.... Both songs above are variants of a British broadside ballad, The Bonny Young Irish Boy [Laws P26] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) ....####

Kenneth Peacock commented that these two versions of My Bonny Irish Boy are not really variants; they are completely different songs. With its numerous American references and the happy ending in 'the land of liberty', version A would seem to be American in origin. It appears almost word for word in a collection of songs and ballads called Irish Come-All-Ye's by Manus O'Connor, (New York, 1901). Mr Foley sang several Irish songs virtually identical to ones in this American collection. Presumably he used traditional Irish tunes because all his songs are of the highest musical calibre. Peacock also noted that version B is more popular in Newfoundland; He had noted it three times and heard it many more.

A variant was sung by Martin Curran [1866-1954] of Calvert, NL, and published as My Bonny Irish Boy in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1929 from Clifford Toms [1905-1990] of La Scie, NL, and published as The Bonny Young Irish Boy, #95 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).


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