Skip to main content

Emigration & farewells

My bonny boy is young but he's growing

          MY BONNY BOY IS


         BUT HE'S GROWING.

O The trees that do grow high, and the leaves that do
grow green,
The days are gone and past, my love, that you and I have
On a cold winter's night when you and I alone have been
My bonny boy is young, but he's growing.

O  father, dear father, you to me much harm have done,
You married me to a boy, you know he is too young.
Oh, daughter dear, if you'll wait you'll quickly have a son
And a lady you shall be, while he's growing

I send him to college, for one year or two,
And perhaps in that time, my love, he may do for you ;
We'll buy him some white ribbon, to tie round his bonny
waist too,
And let the ladies know he is married.

She went to the college and look'd over the wall,
aw four-and-twenty gentlemen, there a playing at ball,
They would not let him go through for her true-love she
did call,
Because he was a young man, growing.

At the age of sixteen, oh, he was a married man.
At the age of seventeen, she brought him forth a son,
At the age of eighteen, the grass did grow over his grave
Cruel death put an end to his growing.

I will make my love a shroud of fine holland brown,
And all the time I'm making it the tears they shall run
Saying, once I had a sweetheart but now I have got none
Farewell ! to thee, my bonny lad, for evermore

Oh, now my love is dead, and in his grave doth lie,
The green grass grows over him so very high,
The I can sit and mourn his fate, until the day I die,
But I'll watch o'er his child while he's growing.


I've left Ballymornach a long way behind me
To better my fortune I've crossed the big
But I'm sadly alone, not a creature to mind me
Och, hone ! I'm as wretched as wretched
can be.
I think of the buttermilk, fresh as the daisy,
The beautiful hills and the Emerald plain—
And, och, don't I oftentimes think myself
About that black-ey'd rogue,Norah M'Shane

I sigh for the turf fire so cheerfully burning,
When barefoot I trudged it from toiling afar,
When I tossed in the light the thirteen I'd
been earning,
And whistled the old song of "Erin go
In truth, I believe that I'm half brokenhearted,
To my country and love I must get back
For I've never been happy at all since I parted,
From sweet Ballymornach and Norah

Och, there's something so dear in the cot I
was born in,
Tho' the walls are but mud and the roof is
but thatch—
How pleasant the grunt of the pigs in the
What music in lifting the rusty old late
'Tis true I'd no money, but then I'd no sorro
Each pocket was light but my heart had
And if I but live till the sun shines to-morrow,
I'll be off to Ould Ireland and Nor
M'Shane.                         238

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence