Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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320         Ballads and Songs of Michigan
130 MY BONNY BLACK BESS
This song telk of the ride from London to York of the notorious Enghsh high­wayman, Dick Turpin. For a text, a discussion of this event, and references to broadsides and other texts see Mackenzie, pp. 313-314. For a text from Montana, with the same hero and title but otherwise dissimilar, see Pound, No. 69.
Version A was sung in 1935 by Mrs. Maggie Loughlin, Cannonsburg, who learned the song when she was about ten years old.
i When fortune's blind goddess had fled my abode, And friends proved ungrateful I took to the road, The wealthy to plunder to relieve my distress; I bought you to aid me, my bonny Black Bess.
2    When sable's dark midnight her mantle hath thrown O'er the bright face of nature, how oft have we gone
To fame hounds bw heath,1 though an unwelcome guest, To the minions of fortune, my bonny Black Bess.
3    How silent you stood when a carriage I stopped, The gold and the jewels its inmates I dropped;
I ne'er robbed a poor man, or did I oppress The widow or orphant, my bonny Black Bess.
4    But fate darkened o'er me, despair is my lot;
The law hath pursued me for the man that I shot;
1 Mackenzie, p. 313, has "fair Hounslow Heath," probably the correct reading here.







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III