The Bonny Labouring Boy (MacEdward Leach)

See also: My Bonny Labouring Boy
(Kenneth Peacock)

As I roved out one morning,
it being in the blooming spring,
I heard a lovely maid complain,
most grievously did sing;
Saying, "Cruel was my father
who did me so annoy,
And will not let me marry
my bonny labouring boy.

"Young Johnny was my true love's name
as you may plainly see,
My parents they engaged him
the labouring boy to be;
To harrow, leave, and sow the seed,
and plough my father's land,
But soon I fell in love with him
as you may understand.

"My father thought to have me wed
onto some lord or peer,
I being the only heiress
for 10,000 pounds a year;
I placed my heart on one true love,
he was my only joy,
And the nation 'round I wander
for my bonny labouring boy.

"For six long months he courted,
but little did I know,
That my cruel father
would prove my overthrow;
He watched us close one evening
down by a shady grove,
Pledging our vows together
in constant and of love.

"My father he stepped down to me
and took me by the hand,
He swore he'd send young Johnny
unto some foreign land;
He locked me in my bedroom
my comfort to annoy,
And he left me there to weep and mourn
for my bonny labouring boy.

"My mother she came next morning
and this to me did say,
'Your father is intended
to appoint your wedding day.'"
"I know," the maiden answered,
"With him I'd never comply,
But single would I still remain
for my bonny labouring boy."

Said the daughter to her mother,
"Your plans are all in vain,
Lords, dukes, and noble riches
I disdain;
I'll rather live a humble life
and my time I would enjoy,
Increasing nature's prospects
for my bonny labouring boy."

So, fill your glasses to the brim,
let the toast go merrily 'round,
Here's a health to every labouring boy
who ploughs and works tilled ground;
When his day's work is over
it's home he'll go with joy,
And happy is the girl that gets
a bonny labouring boy.

####.... Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad [Laws M14] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, My Bonny Labouring Boy, published by A Ryle and Co (London) between 1845 and 1859, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(2525) ....####

Sung in 1950 by Nicholas (Nick) Paddy Maher [1893-?] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from James Heaney [1886-1962] of Stock Cove, NL, and published as My Bonny Labouring Boy in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.564-565, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.


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