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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleMy bonny girl
Roud No.293
Collected FromWise, William
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 176
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 22nd January, 1916, p 2, Part 15, No. 8: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 209
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

I once loved a girl, a dear bonny girl,
And for her I could never take any rest,
I loved her so well, and so very well,
That I built her a nest on my breast.

Verse 2

I walked up the forest and down the green grove,
Like one that is troubled in mind;
I began for to whoop and to play on my flute,
But no bonny girl could I find.

Verse 3

Till I looked high, and I looked low,
And the sun it shone wonderful warm,
It was there I did spy my dear bonny girl,
Wrapt up in some other lad's arm.

Verse 4

Then I passed them by, and I of them looked shy,
Like one that was deeply distrest,
Then she threw unto me a dissembling kiss,
With her heart in some other lad's breast.

Verse 5

My love she is handsome, proper and tall,
Well shapen in everything;
Whether I do have her, or do have her not,
I shall think of her once now and then.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'A few weeks ago we printed 'My bonny boy', containing three stanzas as obtained at Purton. It appears that that was not the whole of the song. I recently obtained the following of Mr William Wise, Alvescot. There the song is sung as a duet. The male sings first 'I once loved a girl ...' and the female follows on verse by verse alternately, 'I once loved a boy ...' and so to the end. The piece is of some age. I think it of the eighteenth century.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'Probably of eighteenth century date. It was sung sometimes as a duet. Words of Mr William Wise, Alvescot.'

Note 2

Some amendments to the text appear in the manuscript:

Verse 1 line 2 the original text read:

I loved her as dear as my life

Verse 1 line 4 the original text read:

That she built her a nest on my breast

Verse 4 line 3 the original text read:

Like one that was deeply in love

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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