#02215
The Bonny Busk Of London (Kenneth Peacock)
See also: The Two Sisters (Best and Morgan)
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There were two sisters, Jane and Mary Ann,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
They both were loved by one young man,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
They both were loved by one young man,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

The oldest was loving gay gold rings,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
And the youngest was loved above all things,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
And the youngest was loved above all things,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

The oldest one said to the youngest one day,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy
"Let us go and see our father's ship sail away,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
"Let us go and see our father's ship sail away,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

So they both went out so light and gay,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
To see their father's ship sail away,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
To see their father's ship sail away,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

The youngest one put her foot upon a stone,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
And the oldest one she shoved her in,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
And the oldest one she shoved her in,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

The miller with his fishing pan
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
Brought this lady on dry land,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
Brought this lady on dry land,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

He kissed her face, he kissed her hair,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
He kissed her lips so red and fair,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
He kissed her lips so red and fair,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

He said, "My dear, it's you I love"
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
"More than the riches in heaven above,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
"More than the riches in heaven above,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

She said, "Young man, I love you more"
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
"Than all of the gold in England's store,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
"Than all of the gold in England's store,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

She said, "Your riches great may be,"
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
"But all I do crave is your fair body,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
"But all I do crave is your fair body,"
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

He mounted her on his milk-white steed,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
And away to his castle with all speed,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
And away to his castle with all speed,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

He dressed her up in silk so gay,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
All married to be that very day,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
All married to be that very day,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

You could not see her beautiful face,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy,
For it was covered all over with lace,
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
For it was covered all over with lace,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

You could not see her yellow hair,
     I went a-gay and a-gandy
For the lumps of gold were lying there.
     Down by the bonny busk of London,
For the lumps of gold were lying there,
     Down by the bonny busk of London.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an English traditional ballad, The Twa Sisters [Child ballad #10] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965) ....####
This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Mrs Charlotte Decker [1884-1967] of Parson's Pond, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, p.179-180, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this is a most unusual variant of The Twa Sisters. In Scandinavian analogues and early Scottish versions the girl drowns and the miller makes a harp-like instrument from various parts of her body. When played, the strings (veins) of the instrument tell that her father is the king, her mother the queen, and her sister the murderess. Later variants have the miller stealing her jewellery and throwing her back in the water. This is the only variant Peacock knew of where the girl lives to marry the miller-turned-nobleman. Peacock also noted that those who are shocked by the girl's unseemly craving in verse ten will be relieved to learn that in the sixteenth century the word 'body' was commonly used to denote 'person,' as we use 'somebody' and 'nobody.' During the same period the word 'lumps' in the last verse meant 'masses' or 'heaps'.

A variant was recorded as The Two Sisters by Anita Best and Pamela Morgan of Grand Falls, NL, (The Colour Of Amber, 1991; ECMA Album Of The Year, 1993)


See more songs by Pamela Morgan.

See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.


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