My Bonny Dear Shonny
|TYPE||3 - Complex Melody|
|TUNE STRUCTURE||A8 B8|
|TEXT SOURCE||'My bonny dear Shonny' (London, 1683) Houghton Library Harvard EB65 A100 683m5|
|TUNE SOURCE||as above|
|FIRST LINE||My bonny dear shonny, my crowny my honny|
| This song was published three times in 1683, in broadside form under two titles (‘My Bonny my Shonny’ and ‘The Loyal Irish-man’) and in a record of mayoral celebrations in London, where it appears under the title of ‘A new Irish Song’. All three printings probably succeed the song’s first performance, at the dinner to celebrate the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of London, held at the Grocers’ Hall on 29 October 1683 and articulate political loyalty to the Stuarts and opposition to the City Whigs of the early 1680s. Verses 3 and 4 are particularly topical with references to the recent campaigns of Whig petitions, the loss of London’s city charter as the Court regained control of the city from the City Whigs, and the naming of 7 prominent radical Whigs – easily decipherable behind the conventional system of blanks in which names are semi-anonymised, or at least protected from accusations of libel. Its 1683 publication makes it part of the febrile climate of the early 1680s, with intense political polarisation as a result of the slow-burning consequences of the Popish plot and Exclusion Crisis (1676-83). The performance of ‘loyal’ songs, as expressions of Tory culture, took the place of the usual pageant. The anti-Whig animus of the song is made even more explicit in one of the broadsheet printings, in which three additional verses attack a number of prominent Whigs (The Loyal Irish-Man, 1683). The Irish element of this song in particular is thus probably because of the perceived loyalty of the Irish to the King and his heir, James, Duke of York. |
The continued popularity of ‘My bonny dear Shonny’ is testified by its republication in 1710, again as a song-sheet, but with all the references to the events of 1683 replaced with allusions to more topical events and people (to the Latitudinarian Bishop Hoadly, the Sacheverell controversy, and an open attack upon religious dissenters). Although this 1710 broadsheet is printed without music, we can be fairly certain that it was sung to the same tune as that given in all three 1683 printings of the song, because a 1684 song by Thomas D’Urfey gives the same tune title ‘the Irish Jigg’ – for the melody printed in 1683. (The Oxford English Dictionary gives D’Urfey’s 1684 title as its first citation for ‘Irish Jig’ in English.) And thus the tune of the ‘Irish Jigg’ was created and refracted. In ‘The Irish Jigg; Or, the Night Ramble’ (first published in broadside form c.1710) and reprinted thereafter in various later collections, it turned bawdy, with the phrase ‘Irish Jigg’ itself becoming a comically euphemistic term for sex. The song is frequently included in song collections and its ultimate indication of its popularity is its inclusion in The Beggar’s Opera, where John Gay used the air under the name of the ‘Irish Trot’ (Air 36, Lucy and Polly’s shared song, ‘I’m bubbled, I’m bubbled’). A snatch of this tune (‘the Irish Jigg’) is also heard briefly in Swift’s satirical ‘Cantata’ (published in 1746 by Faulkner). Amidst the Italian-aria sounding coloratura, there emerges a glimpse of this tune.
Printings of this song / tune:
• My Bonny dear Shonny (London, 1683), single sheet (reproduced here). 4 verses.
• The Loyal Irish-man; or, the Irish lovers. To a new tune ([London]: printed for P. Brooksby, 1683).
• ‘My Bonny my Shonny’ in [Thomas Jordan], The Triumphs of London: Performed on Monday, October 29th, 1683. […] (London: John and Henry Playford, 1683), pp.4-5.
• Thomas D’Urfey’s song of the same tune is ‘A Scotch Song made to the Irish Jigg, and sung to the King at Whitehall' in Choice new songs, never before printed set to several new tunes by the best masters of music (London: Printed by John Playford for Joseph Hindmarsh, 1684), pp. 14-15. 'Lately as thorough the fair Edenborough, to view the gay Meadows as I was a ganging...'.
• The Loyal Irish-man; or: The high church has got the day. Being a true description of the Wigs and their managers. To the tune of the Irish-Jigg. Eeter'd [sic] according to order(London, 1710). 8 verses.
• The Loyal Irishman or the High-Church will get the Day. To the tune of The Irish Trot (London: by J. Godfree, 1715). ‘My bony dear Sony’. Text is that of 1710 but ‘Queen [Anne]’ is replaced with ‘King [George I]’.
• The tune printed as the ‘Irish Jig’ in 1710 above was also called the ‘Irish Trot’ in a 1715 broadside printing of the song: The Loyal Irishman or the High-Church will get the Day. To the tune of The Irish Trot (London 1715).
• The tune then appears in successive editions of such popular song miscellanies as Wit and Mirth; or Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719-20), in The Lark (1740) and The Aviary (1750).
My bonny dear ShonnyMy bonny dear Shonny, My cronny my honeyWhy dost thou grumble And keep in thy words soe.Sighing crying and groaning and frowningAh why dost thou still lay thy hand on thy sword soeWhat if ye traytors will talk of state mattersAnd raile att the king without caus or reasonWe will love on and lett buisness alonefor billing and kissing Can nere be found treason.Plotting and sotting and raileing and foolingGods woons with ye rabble is now all the fashion.Swearing and tearing Caballing and brawlingBy chrest and St Patrick twill ruin the nationhe’s but a widgon that talks of religionSince rebells are now the reformers and teachersSodoms disciple debauches the peopleOh heaven defend us from all of such preachers.Vision sedetions and railing petetionsThe rabble believe and are wondrous merryAll can remember the fifth of NovemberBut no man the thirtith of ianuaryTalking of treason without any reasonWe hath lost ye poor cittys bountiful charterThe commons harraning will bring em to hangingAnd each puppy hopes to be knight of ye garter.Clayton and Peyton Papillion that VillinWith Cornish and Ward are ye monarchy huntersRaskals to low are to lodg in the towerAnd Scarsby are fitting to fill up the CounterBethel is fled to and tony is dead toOur fate to befriend us made bold to strike sirRouted the bigot and pul’d out ye spigotHis fame and his body now stink alike sir.