The Sign of the Bonny Blue Bell
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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Lyrics
Cecil Sharp collected this in Somerset in 1903. It was printed in the Journal of Folk-Song Society in 1905.

Sharp notes that the ballad is related to I'm going to be married on Sunday in Joyce's Ancient Irish Music (1873), though several lines also resemble another song in the same source. The words were printed on a broadside in Newcastle circa 1850. Two verses appear in Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes (1842).

There is a country dance tune named I mun be marry'd a Tuesday in Walsh (1708) and in volume 2 of The Dancing Master (1719), but it is not similar to this one.

Kennedy relates the song to Next Monday Morning. An Irish version has the wedding on Sunday. A variant I'm Going to get Married is found in Nova Scotia.

As I was a walking one morning in May
To view the green fields and the meadows so gay,
I heard a fair damsel so sweet she did sing
O I will be married on a Tuesday morning
I heard a fair damsel so sweet did she sing;
O I will be married on a Tuesday morning.

I stepped up to her and thus I did say:
Pray where do you come from and what is your age?
I belong to the sign of the Bonny Blue Bell;
My age is sixteen-which you know very well.
I belong to the sign of the Bonny Blue Bell;
My age is sixteen-which you know very well.

Sixteen, pretty maid, you are young for to marry.
I'll leave you the other four years for to tarry.
You speak like a man without any skill;
Four years I've been single against my own will.
You speak like a man without any skill;
Four years I've been single against my own will.

On Monday night when I shall go there
To powder my locks and to curdle my hair,
There'll be three pretty maidens for me a-waiting;
o I will be married on a Tuesday morning.
There'll be three pretty maidens for me a-waiting;
O I will be married on a Tuesday morning.

On a Tuesday morning the bells they shall ring,
And three pretty maidens so sweetly shall sing:
So neat and so gay will be my golden ring.
O I will be married on a Tuesday morning.
So neat and so gay will be my golden ring.
O I will be married on a Tuesday morning.

From One Hundred English Folksongs and
Folksongs of Britain and Ireland
See Bibliography for full information.
Also from Steve Roud's Folksong Index.