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I saw a sweet maiden trip over the lea,
Her eyes were as loadstones attracting of me.
Her cheeks were the roses, that Cupid lurks in,
With a bonny blue kerchief tied under her chin.

O where are you going my fair pretty maid?
O whither so swift through the dewdrops? I said,
I go to my mother, kind sir, for to spin.
O the bonny blue kerchief tied under her chin.

Why wear you that kerchief tied over your head?
'Tis the country girl's fashion, kind sir, then she said.
And the fashion young maidens will always be in
So I wear the blue kerchief tied under my chin.

To kiss her sweet lips then I sought to begin,
O nay Sir! she said, 'ere a kiss you would win,
Pray show me a ring, of gold most thin,
O slyest blue kerchief tied under the chin!

Why wear a blue kerchief, sweet maiden, I said,
Because the blue colour is one not to fade,
As a sailor's blue jacket who fights for the king.
So's my bonny blue kerchief tied under the chin.

The love that I value is certain to last,
Not fading and changing, but ever set fast,
That only the colour, my love sir to win,
So goodbye from the kerchief tied under the chin.

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Source: Songs of the West by S. Baring-Gould.

Notes from S. Baring-Gould.

Words and melody from John Woodrich, locally known as 'Ginger Jack.'The words have appeared with slight variations on Broadsides in ten verses. Catnach issued a parody on it, 'The Bonny Blue Jacket.' In Dr Barrett's 'English Folksongs,' he uses this tune for 'Paul Jones.'

Roud: 378 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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