The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7570   Message #2736260
Posted By: Jim Dixon
01-Oct-09 - 07:41 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Johnny Lad / Johnnie Lad
From A Pedlar's Pack of Ballads and Songs by William Hugh Logan (Edinburgh, W. Paterson, 1869), page 443:


Evidently a Nurse's song "sung to its own proper tune" to amuse her charge "Johnny."—It is merely a collection of nursery rhymes strung together without reason, but presenting a succession of jingle grateful to the youthful ear, and of pictures pleasing to the youthful fancy. Mr Peter Buchan has printed it in his Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, Edin., 8vo, 1828, vol. ii. He innocently remarks:—"Among all the ballads or songs of this name, and they are not a few, to be met with in modern collections, this one has never made its appearance, at least I have never seen it. It is very old, and, as far as I can learn, the original of all the others; although it does not altogether agree with my ideas of the composition of ancient song. The old air to which it is sung is truly beautiful."

There occurs in Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany a song of like construction, termed "The Nurse's Song," the tune of which was "Yellow Stockings." It is merely a string of fragments of nursery rhymes. It begins, "Hey my kitten, my kitten." In Herd's Scotish Songs there is also "The Nurse's Song," commencing:—And in the same collection occurs:—Tune—"John Anderson my Jo."


I bought a wife in Edinburgh
For a bawbee,
I get a farthing in again
To buy tobacco wi'.
We'll bore in Aaron's nose a hole,
And put therein a ring,
And straight we'll lead him to and fro,
Yea! lead him in a string.

CHORUS: And wi' you, and wi' you,
And wi' you, Johnnie lad,
I'll drink the buckles o' my sheen
Wi' you my Johnnie, lad.

When auld Prince Arthur ruled this land,
He was a thievish king,
He stole three bolls of barley meal,
To make a white pudding.

The pudding it was sweet and good,
And stored weel wi' plumes,
The lumps o' suet into it
Were big as baith my thooms.

There was a man in Nineveh,
And he was wondrous wise,
He jumped into a hawthorn hedge,
And scratched out baith his eyes.

And when he saw his eyes were out,
He was sair vexed then,
He jumped intill another hedge,
And scratched them in again.

O Johnnie's no a gentleman,
Nor yet is he a laird,
But I would follow Johnnie lad,
Although he were a caird.

O Johnnie is a bonny lad.
He was ance a lad o' mine,
I never had a better lad,
And I've had twenty-nine.