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Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief

DigiTrad:
FLASH COMPANIE (The Yellow Handkerchief)
THE BONNY BLUE HANKIE


Related threads:
Chord Req: Flash Company/Yellow Handerkerchief (7)
Lyr Add: The Bonnie Blue Hankie (6)
(origins) Flash Companie (3)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Pretty Blue Handkerchief (from Sam Henry's Songs of the People)


GUEST,peggoldstein@earthlink.net 09 Feb 03 - 06:19 PM
Stewie 09 Feb 03 - 08:49 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 03 - 10:04 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Feb 03 - 10:22 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 03 - 10:22 PM
Stewie 09 Feb 03 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,peggoldstein@earthlink.net 10 Feb 03 - 09:46 AM
Joe Offer 10 Feb 03 - 03:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Feb 03 - 04:32 PM
nutty 10 Feb 03 - 04:39 PM
Stewie 10 Feb 03 - 06:30 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Feb 03 - 09:36 PM
CTSCCC 10 Sep 03 - 08:23 PM
GUEST 21 Nov 04 - 11:11 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Nov 04 - 02:57 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 11 - 06:55 PM
Tradsinger 15 Nov 11 - 07:45 PM
Jim Dixon 31 Dec 12 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 31 Dec 12 - 01:43 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: GUEST,peggoldstein@earthlink.net
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 06:19 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics to Bonny (Bonnie) Blue Handkerchief.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BONNY BLUE HANDKERCHIEF
From: Stewie
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 08:49 PM

This one brings back memories. I recall using it in a presentation of love songs, titled 'The Boy Who Pu'd the Rose', a couple of decades ago at a festival in Toodyay, Western Australia. Nice song - I had forgotten it completely. My transcription follows. I am not certain about the phrase is square brackets in stanza 4, but that is what it sounds like - someone else may be able to confirm or correct:

THE BONNY BLUE HANDKERCHIEF

Oh, as I was out a-walking one evening in May
I spied a fair maiden, she trippin' so gay
I spied a fair maiden, sweetly she did sing
And she tossed her blue handkerchief under her chin

'Oh, where now are you going to my own pretty maid
Where are you going to so kindly I said'
'I'm going down to yon cottage in order to spin'
And she tossed her blue handkerchief under her chin

'Now, why do you wear it, miss, all to one side'
'It is the fashion of my country', the lady replied
'And the fashion of my country I like to be in'
And she tossed her blue handkerchief under her chin

Well, I coaxed and I flattered her on for a while
I coaxed and I flattered her till she did smile
She said, 'I have no time for flattery [of an inn]
And she tossed her blue handkerchief under her chin

Oh, to kiss her sweet lips I did try to begin
She said, 'Now stop, young man, I'll tell you one thing
He who kisses my sweet lips must produce a gold ring'
And she tossed her blue handkerchief under her chin

I put me hand into me pocket, pulled out the gold ring
'Take this, dear lady, I'm one of those men
And I will be as true as the colour going in
To the bonny blue handkerchief under your chin

Well, this couple they got married, I'm happy to say
This couple they got married in autumn so gay
And now the fair spinner she wears a gold ring
And he wears the blue handkerchief under his chin

Source: transcription from Aengus 'Aengus' Tara LP 2001 [1978].

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 10:04 PM

"Bonny Blue Handkerchief" is listed in the index of Peter Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, so I thought I was going to be able to come up with some fascinating facts to share. The index leads to "Flash Companie (The Yellow Handkerchief)," a song my friend Dick Holdstock is infamous for.
Kennedy says the George Gardiner Folksong Collection has three variants of the song, "Flash Company," "Once I Loved Thomas," and "Bonny Blue Handkerchief."
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 10:22 PM

It's a completely different song, though Gardiner may well have found a "blue" rather than "yellow" variant; or Kennedy may have got it wrong, which isn't unheard-of. That particular set hasn't ever been published, at any rate.

Bonny Blue Handkerchief (as posted by Stewie) was a popular song in its time, and issued by a lot of 19th century broadside printers. There are a number of examples at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

Bonny Blue Handkerchief

Number 378 in the Roud Folk Song Index, and found in tradition mostly in England, though it has turned up in Scotland and Ulster; and a recording of a set from California (1941) can be heard at Voices from the Dustbowl:

Page with a link to it.

Did "Aengus" credit their source? I assume they are, or were, an Irish or Irish-style band. The only Irish sets I know of are in Sam Henry's Songs of the People, but it isn't either of those.


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Subject: ADD: Pretty Blue Handkerchief
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 10:22 PM

I think I'd agree, Malcolm. I can't see a connection between the yellow and blue handkerchiefs. Sam Henry's Songs of the People has two versions. Here they are:

THE PRETTY BLUE HANDKERCHIEF (I)

As I went a-walking one morning in May,
I met a wee lassie come tripping this way,
Her cheeks were like roses, so sweetly she sang
With her bonnie blue kerchief tied under her chin.

Said I, 'My wee darling, what brought you this way?'
'I'm going to my work, kind sir,' she did say,
'I'm going down to yon cottage my wool for to spin,
With my bonnie blue kerchief tied under my chin.

'Why do you wear it all on the one side?'
'It's my country fashion, kind sir,' she replied,
'The fashion you know I should like to be in
With my bonnie blue kerchief tied under my chin.

This couple got married, as I hear them say,
The drums they do beat and the music doth play.
She's no more the poor spinner, but wears a gold ring
And he the blue handkerchief under his chin.

tune: Master McGrath (sounds like "Sweet Betsy from Pike" to me)

Click to play



THE PRETTY BLUE HANDKERCHIEF (2)

As I was a-walking one morning in May,
A bonny young lass came a-tripping that way;
With cheeks red as roses, she cheerfully did sing,
And a bonny blue handkerchief tied under her chin.

'Where so quickly?' I asked her, and caught her slim waist;
'To my work, sir, I'm walking all in a great haste:
To work in yon factory where cotton they spin,'
With a bonny blue handkerchief tied under her chin.

'Why wear you the kerchief that covers your head?'
'It's the fashion they keep in the country,' she said,
'And you know that the fashion we like to be in,
With a bonny blue handkerchief tied under my chin.'

Why wear you the colour that glows in your veil?'
'Because it's true blue, sir, that never shall fail,
Like a sailor's blue jacket that fights for the king,
With a bonny blue handkerchief tied under my chin.'

When I found her so charming, how could I forbear?
I flew to her side, I called her my dear,
'My own dearest jewel, come take the gold ring,
With a bonny blue handkerchief tied under your chin.

'To church we will go and be married with speed,
A loving young couple and happy indeed;
When the day's work is over so cheerfully you'll sing
With a bonny blue kerchief tied under you chin.'

tune: Master McGrath


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Stewie
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 10:51 PM

Malcolm

Aengus did not give any source. The band comprised brothers Tony and Jackie Small from Galway and Garry O Briain, a Dubliner living in north Clare. For the album cited, they were joined by Maurice Lennon from Leitrim.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: GUEST,peggoldstein@earthlink.net
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 09:46 AM

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 03:43 PM

Kennedy refers to a version of "Bonny Blue Handkerchief" in the George Gardner Folksong Collection, which he relates to "Flash Companie" and "Once I Loved Thomas." Does anybody have Gardner? If you do, could you check the three songs there and post them for us?
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 04:32 PM

As I said earlier, I don't think that first one has ever been published. Gardiner's collection is in MS, not print. Extracts were published, with songs collected by the Hammond Brothers, in Frank Purslow's out-of-print series for EFDSS, and various bits and pieces have appeared in other places. I've got nowhere with my efforts to persuade EFDSS to re-print (though they have now decided definitely to re-issue the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs; details later when various decisions have been made).

I'll check to see where either of the other two songs might be found.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: nutty
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 04:39 PM

There is a matching song here on these broadsides in the Bodleian ....
was it written at the same time or wasit a later addition??


    click here


Printers: Catnach, J. (London); Marshall, W. (Bristol); Batchelar, T. (London); Bennett (Brighton); Pierce (Southborough)

Date:   between 1813 and 1838
   
          Imprint: J. Catnach, Printer, 2 Monmouth Court, 7 Dials ...          Sold by W. Marshall, Bristol;
          also by T. Batchelar, 14, Hackney Road Crescent. sold by          Bennett, Brighton, and Pierce, Southborough
         
            
Copies: Harding B 11(400)
   
            
Ballads: 1. The bonny blue handkerchief ("As early one morning I                chanced for to stray ...")
            2. The bonny blue jacket ("As early one morning I chanc'd                for to roam ...")

Subject: Sailors; Lovers reunited


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Stewie
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 06:30 PM

They are not in any of the EFDS H&G compilations that I have - 'Constant Lovers', 'Foggy Dew', 'Marrow Bones'. I don't have 'Wanton Seed'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 09:36 PM

Only one seems ever to have been published; Flash Company, in The Wanton Seed (1968), noted by Gardiner from Job Read, Southampton, in July 1906. I can post it if need be; but it doesn't belong in this thread. It isn't related even slightly to The Bonny Blue Handkerchief, as I mentioned earlier; the fact that Gardiner seems to have found a Yellow Hankerchief variant with the usual colour changed doesn't imply any relationship between the song-groups. Kennedy can be misleading, and sometimes completely wrong; but I rather think you've got the wrong end of the stick in this particular case, Joe!

Of course, we'll not know for sure till someone has checked the MS. EFDSS has it. It's on my list for "one day praps".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: CTSCCC
Date: 10 Sep 03 - 08:23 PM

My Grandmother sang this song to me when I was a boy almost 70 years ago and tryed to write the lyrics for me on her death bed. Thanks, the lyrics are as I remember them. The tune is not.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 11:11 PM

The two versions from Sam Henry's Songs of the People seem pretty close to both the Aengus version and the Dust Bowl 1941 version. Why would you say they are unrelated?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Nov 04 - 02:57 AM

I think you have misunderstood my earlier comments, presuming that's what you mean. Referring to the arrangement recorded by "Aengus", quoted above, I said that their source wasn't either of the sets in Henry. I didn't say it was unrelated, mostly because it obviously is related.

The Dustbowl reference was in a previous paragraph, so the comment made later shouldn't be taken as applying to it; it does not. Some songs mentioned in this thread are unrelated, and in those cases I have said as much.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BONNY BLUE HANDKERCHIEF (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 06:55 PM

The Bodleian ballad collection has several versions of this. The following lyrics are mostly from 2806 c.16(116), but I borrowed phrases from other versions to improve the meter when I was able to do so. I also added punctuation.


BONNY BLUE HANDKERCHIEF

1. As I was a-walking one morning in May,
A bonny young lassie came tripping that way.
With cheeks red as roses, she cheerful did sing
With a bonny blue handkerchief tied under her chin.

2. "Where so fast?" said I, and caught her round the waist.
"I am going to my work, sir," she said in great haste,
"To work in yon factory where cotton I spin,
With my bonny blue handkerchief tied under my chin."

3. "Why wear you that handkerchief tied round your head?"
"It's my country fashion, kind sir," she said,
"And you know that the fashion I like to be in,
With my bonny blue handkerchief under my chin."

4. "Why wear you the colour that grows in yon vale?"
"Because it's true blue, sir; that never will fail.
Like the sailor's blue jacket that fights for the Queen
Is my bonny blue handkerchief under my chin."

5. When to kiss her sweet lips he was going to begin,
"O stop, sir," said she, "while I tell you one thing:
He that kisses these lips must first show a gold ring
To this bonny blue handkerchief under my chin."

6. With gold and with silver I tried all in vain.
She smiled in my face and with scornful disdain
Cried, "Your gold and your silver not one kiss shall win
From the bonny blue handkerchief under my chin.

7. "This bonny blue handkerchief my love he gave me,
And told me that colour would never false be;
So to him I'll prove true as the colour that's in
This bonny blue handkerchief under my chin."

8. When he found her so loyal, he could not forbear.
He flew to her arms and he called her his dear.
"My own dearest jewel, here is the gold ring,
To that bonny blue handkerchief tied under your chin."

9. To church then they went and were married with speed.
Now this loving couple live happy indeed.
When their day's work is over, how happy they sing
Of her bonny blue handkerchief under her chin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: Tradsinger
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 07:45 PM

My son-in-law has just collected 2 verses of this song (but no tune) from his grandfather (aged 93, from Lincolnshire), but his version was "Little White Handkerchief". Has anyone come across this variant before?

Tradsinger


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BONNIE BLUE HANDKERCHIEF (P J McCall)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Dec 12 - 11:13 AM

From Songs of Erinn by Patrick Joseph McCall (London: Simpkin Marshall & Co., 1899), page 105:


THE BONNIE BLUE HANDKERCHIEF.
AN OLD SONG RE-WRITTEN.

As I went out to walk on a morning in May,
I met with a sweet little maid on the way,
With cheeks like the rose and with hair like the whin,
And a bonnie blue handkerchief under her chin.

"Pray, where are you going?" said I, "pretty maid."
Said she, "To the cottage beyond in the glade;
There my mother and I all the morning will spin,
With my bonnie blue handkerchief under my chin."

'' Pray why do you wear that blue favour?" I cried.
"'Tis the custom down here," she demurely replied;
"I'd be out of the world, or the fashion be in,
With a bonnie blue handkerchief under my chin."

"Pray, what would you do, if a loving young man
To kiss you in earnest this moment began?"
"Something else," she replied, "he should give me to win,
With my bonnie blue handkerchief under my chin."

I pulled out my purse and I took out a ring,
And I said, "Pretty maid, isn't this the right thing?
For as true as this gold is my true heart within
To that bonnie blue handkerchief under your chin."

Though we live in the city, far, far, from the glen,
With her by my side, I'm the proudest of men;
Oh, I still bless the day when she went out to spin,
With a bonnie blue handkerchief, under her chin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bonny Blue Handkerchief
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 31 Dec 12 - 01:43 PM

I collected it twice. Once in Dorset from Bill House, and in Lancashire from Alice Parkinson. Possibly coming out on CD in the forseeable future. I've been asked more than once, just wish there were more hours in the day.


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