My Bonny Labouring Boy (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: The Bonny Labouring Boy (Leach)

As I roved out one evening
all in the blooming spring,
I spied a lovely maid
who grievously did sing;
Saying, "Cruel was my father
that did me so deny,
And would not let me marry
my bonny lab'ring b'y.

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

"I courted him for twelve long months
but little did I know,
That my cruel parents
would prove my overthrow;
They watched us close one evening
while in a shady grove,
Pledging our love together
in the constant bonds of love.

"My father he stepped up to me
and seized me by the hand,
And swore he'd send young Johnny
into some foreign land;
He locked me in my bedroom
my comfort to deny,
And kept me there to grieve and mourn
for my bonny lab'ring b'y.

"My mother came next morning
and this to me did say,
'Your father has intended
to appoint your wedding day.'
I nobly made an answer that
with him I'd ne'er comply,
And single I will remain
for my bonny lab'ring b'y."

Says the daughter to the mother,
"Your plans are all in vain,
Lords, dukes, and earls,
their riches I disdain;
I'll rather live a humble life,
my time I would empl'y,
Increasing nature's prospects
for my bonny lab'ring b'y."

Fill your glasses to brim
and let the toast go merrily 'round:
Here's health to every lab'ring b'y
that works and ploughs the ground;
And when his work is over
to his home he'll go with j'y,
And happy is the girl
that gets a bonny lab'ring b'y.

####.... 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) ....####

Collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from James Heaney [1886-1962] of Stock Cove, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.564-565, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also sung by Nicholas (Nick) Paddy Maher [1893-?] of Flatrock, NL, and published as The Bonny Labouring Boy in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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