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Lyr Req: The Bonnie Wee Window / ...Lassie

DigiTrad:
THE BONNY WEE WINDOW


In Mudcat MIDIs:
A Bonnie Wee Lassie (from The Burl Ives Song Book, pp 202-203)


Sarah-HS 17 Nov 99 - 02:41 PM
Bruce O. 17 Nov 99 - 03:38 PM
Sarah-HS 17 Nov 99 - 05:07 PM
Bruce O. 17 Nov 99 - 05:16 PM
Sarah-HS 17 Nov 99 - 05:53 PM
Murray on Saltspring 17 Nov 99 - 10:50 PM
Murray on SS 18 Nov 99 - 12:53 AM
Bruce O. 18 Nov 99 - 01:49 AM
Bruce O. 18 Nov 99 - 03:32 PM
Sarah-HS 19 Nov 99 - 04:13 PM
Bruce O. 19 Nov 99 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Craig 14 Mar 09 - 12:21 PM
Jim McLean 14 Mar 09 - 01:23 PM
Jim McLean 14 Mar 09 - 01:46 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Mar 09 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,Floydetta 14 Oct 10 - 12:43 AM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 10 - 01:26 AM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 10 - 01:52 AM
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Subject: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Sarah-HS
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 02:41 PM

A zillion years ago I knew the words to a song that went ... A bonnie wee lassie whose name it was Nell, Lived in a house where her grandmother dwell. The house it was small and the windows no less ... having four panes, one needed a glass. That nice little window ... that sweet little window.. etc etc. Does anyone know all the words to this song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 03:38 PM

I hope this doesn't get in twice. I waited about five minutes before this 2nd attempt.

In DT file WEEWINDO, Burl Ives Song Book, 5 verses, called a Traditional Scotish Ballad:

The Irish song version, "A New and Favourite Song called - Kissing at the Window". 11 verses, commencing "I will sing of a lass and her name it was Nell". 'Haly, Printer South Main Street, Cork'. I've got Burl Ives' version on an old LP. Remember the part about the young man running down the street with the window frame around his neck?. Well, if you want to belive that, I guess you can, but that isn't the way it really happened at all.

An earlier version is in 'A. C. Mery Talys', #26 [A Hundred Merry Tales, 1526.]

Of the gentleman that bare the siege board on his neck.

A chandler, being a widower dwelling at Holborne Bridge in London, had a fair daughter whom a young gentleman of Davy's Inn wooed greatly to have his pleasure of her -- which, by long suit to her made, at the last granted him and 'pointed him to come upon a night to her father's house in the evening and she would convey him into her chamber secretly, which was an inner chamber within her father's chamber. So, she according to the 'pointment, all thing was performed so that he lay with her all night and made good cheer till about four o'clock in the morning -- at which time it fortuned this young gentleman fell a-coughing, which came upon him so sore that he could not refrain.

This young wench, then fearing her father that lay in the next chamber, bad him go put his head in the draught [privy] lest that her father should hear him -- which, after her counsel, rose in his shift and so did. But then, because of the savour of the draught, it caused him to cough much more and louder, that the wench's father heard him and asked of his daughter what man was that that coughed in her chamber.

She answered and said, "Nobody." But yet ever this young man coughed still more and more, whom the father hearing said: "By God's body, whore, thou liest. I will see who is there-" and rose out of his bed.

This wench, perceiving her father rising, came to the gentleman and said: "Take heed, sir, to yourself. My father cometh." This gentleman, suddenly therewith abashed, would have pulled his head out of the draught hole-- which was so very strait [tight] for his head that he pulled the siege board [toilet seat] up therewith. And with it hanging about his neck, he ran upon the father (being an old man, gave him a great fall and bare him down and hurt his arm) and opened the doors and ran into the street with the draught board about his neck towards Davy's Inn as fast as he could.

This wench for fear ran out of her father's house and came not there a month after.

R. H. Robbins gives a fifteenth century version of the tale in 'The Hundred Tales' (Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles), #72, "Necessity is Inventive", 1960. Robbins cites other continental versions in his notes, but no English versions.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Sarah-HS
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 05:07 PM

Yo! Bruce ... That was an amazing tale and a very interesting post indeed.

And, yes I do remember the scene of the young man with the window frame ...

"He gave her three kisses and great was the smack... to his surprise he couldn't get his head back from that hole in the window, that nice little window. etc... He ran down the road with might and with mane (?) while 'round his shoulders the sash and the frame of that nice little window, etc. Gads! I wish I could get all the words to that version. Is it the Burl Ives one?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 05:16 PM

Just put that WEEWINDO in the Search Digitrad Lyrics box at the upper right of this page then click 'GO'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Sarah-HS
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 05:53 PM

Thank you very very much!


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BONNIE WEE WINDOW
From: Murray on Saltspring
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 10:50 PM

Try this version:


THE BONNIE WEE WINDOW

1. There was a young lass, and her name it was Nell,
In a bonnie wee hoose wi' her grannie did dwell;
The hoose it was wee, but the windows were less,
It had but four panes, and ane wanted gless.
    'Twas a bonnie wee window, a sweet little window,
    The bonniest window that ever ye saw.

2. For this broken pane they a purpose did fin',
To lat onything oot, or tak onything in;
But to Nelly it served for a purpose maist dear,
For her lovers at nicht cam' a-courtin' here here,
    At this bonnie wee window, etc.

3. It happened ae nicht grannie gaed to her bed,
That Johnnie, the brawest lad young Nelly had,
Cam' far ower the hills his dear lassie to see,
And wi' high expectations there planted was he,
    At this bonnie wee window, etc.

4. But the fond, youthfu' pair hadna got muckle said,
When grannie cried, "Nell, come awa' to your bed!"
"I'm comin', dear grannie," young Nelly did say,
"So, fare-ye-weel, Johnnie, for I maun away
    Frae this bonnie wee window," etc.

5. "Oh! Nelly, dear lass, dinna tak' it amiss,
But before ye gae 'wa' ye maun grant me a kiss,"
So aff gaed his bannet, but gudeness kens hoo
He managed sae quickly to get his head through
    This bonnie wee window, etc.

6. A kiss Johnnie got, and sweet was the smack,
But for his dear life couldna get his head back.
He ruggit, he tuggit, he bawled, and he cursed
Till Nell's sides wi' lauchin were baith like to burst,
    At his head in the window, etc.

7. Noo when the auld grannie did hear the uproar,
She rax'd for the poker, syne ran to the door,
And ower Johnnie's back sic a thump she laid on,
Anither sic like would have crack'd his backbone.
    And his head in the window, etc.

8. A' burning wi' shame, and smarting wi' pain,
He ruggit and tuggit wi' micht and wi' main,
Till the jambs they gaed way and the lintel did break,
Though still the best hauf o't stuck fast to his neck.
    'Twas an awfu' wee window, etc.

9. As soon as the window in ruins did lie,
Auld grannie let out such a horrible cry,
It alarm'd a' the neighbours—lad, lass, man, and wife,
And caused poor Johnnie to rin for his life,
    Frae the bonnie wee window, etc.

10. O'er hill and o'er dale he pursued his way hame,
Like a bear that was hunted, ne'er lookin' behin';
And the neighbours they follow'd wi' clamour and squeals,
While some of them hunted their dogs at his heels.
    As he ran frae the window, etc.

11. When Johnnie got hame, wi' a hatchet did he
Frae his wooden gravat syne set himsel' free;
But he vow'd that the deil micht tak' him for his ain
If he e'er kissed a lass through a window again,
    Be she ever sae bonnie, or live wi' her grannie,
    Or the bonniest wee lassie that ever he saw.


More notes to come, maybe.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BONNIE WEE WINDOW
From: Murray on SS
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 12:53 AM

P.S.: The above text is in Ord's Bothy Ballads (1930), 99-100; an identical text is in Gavin Greig's Folk-Song of the North-East, article 123, and Robert Ford's Vagabond Songs & Ballads of Scotland (vol. I, 1899), 20-22 (2nd ed. in one vol., 1904, 20), + the music, which is the same as James Nicholson's "Imphm". That last song is in John Greig's Scots Minstrelsie (c. 1895), vol. VI p. 302, and the note gives our song much as above, except that the last verse becomes two:

But when he got hame, wi' a hatchet soon he
Frae his wooden cravat quickly set himsel' free;
An' oot o' fair spite, and to please his desire,
He burn'd baith the wood an' the gless in the fire.
'Twas a bonny wee window, etc.

Next morn he arose at the break o' daylicht,
An' sent for a joiner to mak' a' things richt;
But he vow'd that the deil micht ha'e him for his ain,
If he e'er kissed a lass through a window again--
Be she ever sae bonnie,
Or ever sae braw,
Or the handsomest lass that ever he saw.

There's an American text in Vance Randolph's Ozark Folksongs, I.431 [Laws classification O 18].


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 01:49 AM

Thanks Murray. That broadside I saw is in the Library of Congress, Rare Book Room. I don't have much on the Irish printer, Haley of Cork, but I think he's mostly of the 2nd quarter of the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 03:32 PM

With slightly different wording (but including the expanded last verse, that Murray gave ) is a version with tune as the A test of #1512 in 'The Greig-Duncan Folk song Collection', VII, 1997 (from William Wallace, 1908). The B-C versions are fragments with tunes.

Laws at O18 cited a mention of a broadside text by Prof. Belden.

With the information cited above the sources of traditional and broadside texts seems to be complete as far as current bibliography goes. Nothing new in the Traditional Ballad Index or Steve Roud's folk song index (Roud #989) or his broadside index (no broadsides noted).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Sarah-HS
Date: 19 Nov 99 - 04:13 PM

YeGads! I am so pleased with the responses, and for the time you took to help me out!

Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: A Bonnie Wee Lassie ... the words???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Nov 99 - 04:44 PM

Sorry, that should have been the B-D versions in Greig-Duncan in my last message above. Sarah, it's nice to have a reader and questioner. Murray and I communicate by e-mail, but we don't always pin point the songs on which some collaboration might be fruitful, as in this instance.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bonnie Wee Window
From: GUEST,Craig
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 12:21 PM

I was asking the same question to fill in what I can't remember but what I do remember is:

A Bonnie Wee Lassie whose name it was Nell
Lived in a house where her grandmother dwell.
The house it was small with the windows no less,
having four panes one needed a glass,

That nice little window, that sweet little window, that cute little window
where grandmother dwell.

Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, I think it a miss
before goin' a way just give me one kiss.
That I will, Nellie, he answered her true.
To her surprise he poked his head through,

That nice little window, that sweet little window, that cute little window
where grandmother dwell.

He gave her three kisses
and great was the smack.
To his surprise he couldn't get his head back through

That nice little window, that sweet little window, that cute little window
where grandmother dwell.

Well, he ripped and he tore,
and he cussed and he swore.
Grandmother heard the racket
and jumped out on the floor.
She lifted the laddle from out of the pot.
Nobody ere took the beating he got,
with his head in the window,

That nice little window, that sweet little window, that cute little window
where grandmother dwell.

Well he ran down the road
with might and with pain (or main)
while around his shoulders the
sash and the frame from that

That nice little window, that sweet little window, that cute little window
where grandmother dwell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bonnie Wee Window
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 01:23 PM

The melody to 'M-hm' in John Greig's Scots Minstrelsie (c. 1895), vol. VI p. 302 is headed 'Old Melody'. I found it remarkably like Kellyburn Braes, especially the recurring phrase.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bonnie Wee Window
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 01:46 PM

I should say this in not the melody in the Digitrad but the Killieburn Braes aswhich can be heard here. Killieburn Brae


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bonnie Wee Window
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 06:03 PM

The lyrics of THE BONNIE WEE WINDOW, nearly identical to what Murray of Saltspring posted above, can be seen in Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland by Robert Ford (Paisley: Alexander Gardner, 1899)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bonnie Wee Window
From: GUEST,Floydetta
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 12:43 AM

Guest Craig has it mostly right if you seek the lyrics to A Bonnie Wee Lassie, from Burl Ives album, Wayfaring Stranger. But the fourth verse goes:

He ripped and he tore, and he cursed and he swore
Grandma heard the racket, jumped out on the floor
She grabbed up the poker and a lick she gave one
Another like that would have broke his back bone with his

Head in the window, that nice little window, cute little window where Grandmother dwelled.

She lifted the ladle from out of the pot
No batter e're took the beating he got
He ran down the road with might and with main
While around his shoulders the sash and the frame of that

Nice little window, that cute little window, sweet little window where Grandmother dwelled.
With that hole in the window, that nice little window, cute little window where Grandmother dwelled.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bonnie Wee Window
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 01:26 AM

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

    Bonny Wee Window, The [Laws O18]

    DESCRIPTION: Johnny comes to visit Nellie, whose window lacks a pane. The two talk until Nellie must go to bed, when Johnny sticks his head through the window for a kiss -- and finds himself stuck! Nellie's grandmother beats him till he pulls out frame and all
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1899
    KEYWORDS: courting humorous nightvisit
    FOUND IN: US(So) Britain(Scotland,England(North)) Canada(Mar)
    REFERENCES (7 citations):
    Laws O18, "The Bonny Wee Window"
    Ford-Vagabond, pp. 20-23, "The Bonnie Wee Window" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Randolph 122, "The Bonny Wee Window" (1 text)
    Kennedy 123, "The Bonny Wee Window" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Ord, pp. 99-100, "The Bonnie Wee Window" (1 text)
    Creighton-SNewBrunswick 76, "The Neat Little Window" (1 text, 1 tune)
    DT 479, WEEWINDO*

    Roud #989
    BROADSIDES:
    Bodleian, Harding B 26(314), "Kissing at the Window," Haly (Cork), 19C; also Firth b.27(282), 2806 b.11(278), Harding B 19(41), "Kissing at the Window"; Harding B 26(312), "Kissing Through the Window"
    CROSS-REFERENCES:
    cf. "Crockery Ware" (plot)
    SAME TUNE:
    Imphm (by James Nicholson)
    File: LO18

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: A Bonnie Wee Lassie
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 01:52 AM

Here is a complete transcription of the Burl Ives version of this song.

A BONNIE WEE LASSIE

A Bonnie Wee Lassie whose name it was Nell,
Lived in a house where her grandmother dwelled.
The house it was small, and the windows no less,
Having four panes one needed a glass,
    That nice little window,
    The cute little window,
    The sweet little window
    Where grandmother dwelled.

"Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, I think it amiss,
Before going away just give me one kiss."
"That I will, Nellie," he answered her true;
To her surprise he poked his head through
    That hole in the window,
    That nice little window,
    That cute little window
    Where grandmother dwelled.

He gave her three kisses and great was the smack;
To his surprise he couldn't get his head back
    From that hole in the window,
    That nice little window,
    That cute little window
    Where grandmother dwelled.

He ripped and he tore, and he cursed and he swore,
Grandma heard the racket, jumped out on the floor;
She grabbed for the poker and a lick she gave one,
Another like that would have broke his backbone,
    With his head in the window,
    That nice little window,
    That cute little window
    Where grandmother dwelled.

She lifted the ladle from out of the pot,
No batter e'er took the beating he got;
He ran down the road with might and with main,
While around his shoulder the sash and the frame
    Of that nice little window,
    That cute little window,
    That sweet little window
    Where grandmother dwelled.

Traditional Scottish ballad
Additional verse by MacKinlay Kantor

source: The Burl Ives Song Book (Ballantine Books, 1953), pages 202-203

Click to play


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