The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7570   Message #4144364
Posted By: Joe Offer
13-Jun-22 - 06:43 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Johnny Lad / Johnnie Lad
Subject: Origins: Johnny Lad / Johnnie Lad
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry:

Johnny Lad (I)

DESCRIPTION: Sundry verses about Johnny, biblical themes, King Arthur, and Scottish politics, with refrain "And wi you, and wi you, And wi you, Johnny lad, I'd drink the buckles o my sheen Wi you, Johnny lad."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1827 (quoted in Kinloch)
KEYWORDS: wife commerce Bible talltale royalty food humorous
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Bronson 279, "The Jolly Beggar" (37 versions, but #21 is a fragment of "Johnny Lad")
Logan-APedlarsPack, pp. 443-445, "Johnny Lad" (1 text)
Ford-VagabondSongsAndBalladsOfScotland, pp. 45-47, "Jinkin' You, Jockie Lad" (a fragment of this song is quoted in the notes to that)
Greig/Duncan4 755, "Johnnie's Nae a Gentleman" (6 texts, 5 tunes)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, pp. 168-169, "Johnnie Lad" (1 text)
MacColl-PersonalChoice, pp. 62-63, "Johnnie Lad" (1 text)
Jack-PopGoesTheWeasel, p. 48, "Good King Arthur" (1 short text, a floating fragment sometimes found with "Johnny Lad (I)" and sometimes with "In Good Old Colony Times")

ST Log443 (Full)
Roud #2587
Bodleian, 2806 c.11(7), "Johnny, Lad," unknown, n.d.
cf. "There Was a Man of Thessaly" (lyrics)
NOTES [965 words]: The account of Samson fighting with "cuddie's jaws" is in Judges 15:15-16. There is, of course, no Biblical basis for the statement that he "focht a score of battles wearing crimson flannel drawers." While Samson spent most of his life battling the Philistines (mostly by accident), the clothing hardly fits an Israelite of the time.
The story of the Queen playing "fitba' with the lads on Glesga green" is unhistorical; by the time football/soccer became a major sport, Scotland's queen was a German lady living in England -- who, in any case, had no power to order an arbitrary arrest.
The story of King Arthur buying/stealing barley-meal to make pudding seems to have been imported from a nursery rhyme (known to Halliwell; see Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #207, p. 144, "(When good King Arthur ruled this land)." Roud seems to lump these verses with "In Good Old Colony Times"; this strikes me as an extreme stretch.
The man of Ninevah (Thessaly, Bablyon) who scratched out his eyes is unbiblical. But it may be the oldest part of the song, and may have originated independently. The lines appear, in rather different form, in Tom Thumb's Pretty Song Book Volume II (c. 1744); others appear in the second edition of Gammer Gurton's Garland or The Nursery Parnassus (c. 1799). These verses can be found in Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #28, p. 40, ["There was a Man so Wise"].
These verses seem to have provoked a great deal of discussion. Katherine Elwes Thomas, who never met a tall tale she didn't blow all out of proportion, connects this to the career of Dr. Henry Sacherevell (died 1724), who for a time was forbidden from preaching, then restored to favour. Thomas, pp. 21-22, reports, 'The learned member of Magdalen College, Oxford, was the man so 'wondrous wise' who, in preaching one famous sermon, on August 15. 1709, at Derby, and another, on November 5th of the same year, at St. Paul's before the Aldermen and Lord Mayor of London, literally 'jumped into a bramble bush and scratched out both his eyes.'" The minor problem with this statement is that he did *not* literally scratch out his eyes!
Sacheverell had been invited to preach by the Lord Mayor, who was a Tory. "Sacheverell's sermon, 'The Perils of False Brethren both in Church and State,' was a thinly veiled attack upon the government, the Revolution settlement, and -- by implication -- the Hanoverian succession [that five years later would make George I king]. Sacheverell's audacity was quickly compounded by that of the lord mayor, who published the sermon: so great was the public demand that an astounding 40,000 copies were printed The government, hoping to silence its clerical enemies, impeached Sacheverell for high crimes, apparently with the queen's [Queen Anne's] approval" (Gregg, p. 298).
The result was the "Sacheverell Riots" (OxfordCompanion, p. 830). His only real punishment was to be suspended from preaching for three years (Biddle, p. 165), and his sermon burned. Even his conviction had been by the slender margin of 69-52. Gregg, p. 307, suggests that the real purpose of Sacheverell's supporters was to strengthen their hands for the next parliamentary election -- and it worked; the Tories had a good election. But this did not bother Queen Anne, who had been rather tired of her old government anyway. "Within a month of the conclusion of the trial, shortly after Parliament was prorogued, the Queen dismissed the Marquis of Kent and gave the Lord Chamberlain's staff to Shrewsbury. The change of ministers had begun" (Biddle, p. 166) Sacheverell, however, faded into obscurity thereafter.
Thomas's notes cite the parliamentary records about Sacheverell but offer no reason to link these verses to him. To bolster her claim, Thomas claims the verses are a Jacobite song, but Thomas offers no evidence for that, either; it's Scottish, but outside the Highlands, Scotland was not overwhelmingly Jacobite.
It has also been argued that this verse was known to Shakespeare; in Twelfth Night, act II, scene III, line 79 (Riverside lineation), Sir Toby sings "There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady, lady." But this is more likely from a broadside known as "The Ballad of Constant Susanna" (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN2467), which is of course from the deuterocanonical additions to the Book of Daniel (Daniel chapter 13 in Catholic Bibles; it even begins "There was a man living in Babylon").
At least one version known to Rimbault (according to the Opies) made it King Stephen, not King Arthur, who was the thieving king. This is an interesting variant, because Stephen (reigned 1135-1154) had arguably stolen the kingdom from his cousin Matilda/Maud, the only surviving legitimate child of King Henry I. Henry had made his barons swear to support Matilda, but the barons preferred a king to a queen, and chose Stephen. The result was a reign marked by civil war and unrest. Not all sources consider Stephen to have stolen the kingdom -- but many did. - RBW
See Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 11 for the King Arthur lines cited above by RBW. Opie also mentions "There was a man of Nineveh" or Thessaly, etc (Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 497) as being "similarly embodied" in "Johnny Lad" (I).
Also see Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor, "Johnny Lad" (on Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor, "Two Heids are Better than Yin!," Monitor MF 365 LP (1962)). From the liner notes: "A few years ago, this was probably the most popular song of the folk revival in Scotland. Since then, endless dozens of verses have been added on themes historical, political, satirical, and nonsensical." - BS
(E.g. it includes the verse about the king being in the counting-house from "Sing a Song of Sixpence," although the verse has been dated as early as the sixteenth century.)
Bibliography Last updated in version 6.2
File: Log443

Jinkin' You, Johnnie Lad

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, ken ye my love Johnnie, he lives doon on yonder lea, and he's lookin', and he's joukin', and he's aye watchin' me." The singer describes her deep fondness for (Johnnie/Jockie), and looks forward to a happy life despite his poverty
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (Ford)
KEYWORDS: love courting
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Ford-VagabondSongsAndBalladsOfScotland, pp. 45-47, "Jinkin' You, Jockie Lad" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig/Duncan4 756, "Johnnie Lad" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacColl-PersonalChoice, p. 67, "Johnnie Lad" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #6131
Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "Johnny Lad" (on SCMacCollSeeger01)
File: FVS045

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Oh, Johnny my man, do you no think o' risin'
The day is weel spent and the nicht's coming on
Your siller's a' done and the gill stoup is empty
Oh rise up, my Johnny, and come awa' hame

The bairnies at hame are roarin' and greetin'
Nae meal in the barrel tae fill their wee wames
You sit here drinkin' and leave me lamentin'
Oh rise up, my Johnny, and come awa' hame

Wha's that at the door that's speakin' sae kindly
It's the voice o' my ain wifie, Maggie by name
Come in, my dear lassie, and sit doon aside me
Na, rise up, my Johnny, and come awa' hame

Oh Johnny, my man, dae ye mind o' the courtin'
Nae ale-house or tavern ere ran in your mind
We spent the lang days mid the sweet smellin' roses
And ne'er gie'd a thocht towards gaun awa' hame

Oh weel dae I mind the times that ye speak o'
But they days have passed and will ne'er come again
Just think on the present, we'll try for tae mend it
So gie's your hand Maggie, and I'll awa' hame

When Johnny rase up, he banged the door open
Sayin', cursed be the ale-hoose that e'er let me in
And wae tae the whiskey that mak's me aye thirsty
So fare thee well, whiskey, and I'll awa' hame

@drink @home
recorded by Jean Redpath on Song of the Seals
filename[ JONMYMAN