Botany Bay
Version 1
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

This version was collected by Cecil Sharp in the early 1900s.

According to legend a tune by the name of Botany Bay was written by a convict transported to Botany Bay in the early 1800s. There are numerous songs of that title, so that specific tune could be one of several.

There is another version of Botany Bay (2).

Come, all young men of learning good,
A warning take by me.
I'll have you quit night walking
And shun bad company;
I'll have you quit night walking
Or else you'll rue the day,
And you will be transported
And go to Botany Bay.

I was brought up in London town,
A place I knew full well;
Brought up by honest parents,
The truth to you I'll tell.
Brought up by honest parents,
Who loved me tenderly,
Till I became a roving blade
To prove my destiny.

My character was taken,
And I was sent to gaol.
My parents tried to clear me
But nothing would prevail.
'Twas at our Rutland sessions
The Judge to me did say:
The Jury's found you guilty,
You must go to Botany Bay.

To see my poor old father
As he stood at the bar;
Likewise my dear old mother
Her old gray locks she tore.
And in tearing of her old gray locks
These words to me she did say:
O son! O son! What hast thou done?
Thou art bound for Botany Bay.
Related Links
From One Hundred English Folksongs
See Bibliography for full information.