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The Bonny Bunch of Roses

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Performer: Smith, Charles
Place Collected: Coates
Date collected: 1911 (10 Apr)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 644

A song often collected throughout the English-speaking world but only this once in Gloucestershire. It features a conversation between Napoleon Bonaparte’s son and wife, with veiled threats against “The Bonny Bunch of Roses”. The original song was written by one George Brown, responsible for a number of London broadsides, and was published sometime in the 1830s. The phrase “Bonny Bunch of Roses” seems to refer to England, Ireland and Scotland, whose unity will “ne’er be broke”, a phrase that might seem ironic now. Most of the collected versions are set to handsome tunes.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 25 March 2015