“A-Growing (He's Young But He's Daily A-Growing)”


The girl rebukes her father for marrying her to a much younger boy. He tells her the lad is growing. She sends him to school in a shirt that shows he's married, for he is a handsome lad. She soon bears his son. He dies young; she sadly buries him


[A. L. Lloyd writes,] "It is sometimes said that the ballad is based on the actual marriage of the juvenile laird of Craigton to a girl several years his senior, the laird dying three years later in 1634. But in fact the ballad may be older; indeed, there is no clear evidence that it is of Scottish origin. Child marriages for the consolidation of family fortunes [or other political reasons - RBW] were not unusual in the Middle Ages and in some parts the custom persisted far into the seventeenth century. The presenting and wearing of coloured ribbons, once common in Britain, still plays a prominent part in betrothal and marriage in Central and Eastern Europe." - PJS

MacColl and Seeger report this song from 1670 in the Guthrie manuscript. We have been unable to verify this, and they are lumpers. - PJS, RBW

Lizzie Higgins's "Lady Mary Anne" on Voice17 is very close to the Robert Burns text (source: "Lady Mary Anne" on Burns Country site). Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan 40 is [also] close to "Lady Mary Anne."

Also collected and sung by Ellen Mitchell, "Lady Mary Ann" (on Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, "Have a Drop Mair," Musical Tradition Records MTCD315-6 CD (2001)) - BS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 16(156d), "My Bonny Lad is Young, But He's Growing", H. Such (London), 1849-1862; also Firth c.21(19), Harding B 11(4066), "My Bonny Lad is Young, But He's Growing"; Harding B 11(2216), "My Bonny Lads Growing"; Harding B 11(1685), Harding B 15(210b), "My Bonny Lad is Young and Growing"


  • Sean 'Ac Donnca, "The Bonny Boy" (on TradIre01)
  • Liam Clancy, "Lang A-Growing" (on IRLClancy01)
  • Nathan Hatt, "He's Young But He's Daily A-Growing" (on MRHCreighton)
  • Mary Anne Haynes, "Long A-Growing" (on Voice06)
  • Lizzie Higgins, "Lady Mary Ann" (on Voice17)
  • Fred Jordan, "The Bonny Boy" (on Voice03)
  • Tom Lenihan, "The Trees They Do Be High" (on IRTLenihan01)


  1. Laws O35, "A-Growing (He's Young But He's Daily A-Growing)"
  2. Flanders/Olney, pp. 196-197, "Young But Daily Growing" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. OBB 156, The Trees So High" (1 text)
  4. Warner 60, "Young but Daily Growing" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Meredith/Anderson, p. 177, "My Bonny Love is Young" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Peacock, pp. 677-678, "He's Young but He's Daily Growing" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  7. Karpeles-Newfoundland 29, "Still Growing" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Creighton/Senior, pp. 107-109, "He's Young but He's Daily A-Growing" (2 texts plus 1 fragment, 1 tune)
  9. Creighton-Maritime, pp. 100-101, "He's Young But He's Daily A-Growing" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  10. SharpAp 72, "Still Growing" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Sharp-100E 25, "The Trees They Do Grow High" (1 text, 1 tune)
  12. Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 99, "The Trees They Grow So High" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. Scott-BoA, pp. 16-18, "The Trees They Grow So High (The Bonny Boy)" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  14. Hodgart, p. 147, "Still Growing" (1 text)
  15. Kennedy 216, "Young and Growing" (1 text, 1 tune)
  16. Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan 40, "The Trees They Do Be High" (1 text, 1 tune)
  17. DBuchan 40, "The Young Laird of Craigstoun" (1 text)
  18. Ord, p. 112, "My Bonnie Laddie's Lang, Lang o' Growing" (1 text)
  19. MacSeegTrav 23, "Long A-Growing" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  20. Darling-NAS, pp. 132-133, "The Trees They Grow So High" (1 text)
  21. Silber-FSWB, p. 217, "Daily Growing" (1 text)
  23. ADDITIONAL: Maud Karpeles, _Folk Songs of Europe_, Oak, 1956, 1964, pp. 40-41, "The Trees They Do Grow High" (1 text, 1 tune)
  24. Roud #31
  25. BI, LO35


Alternate titles: “Daily Growing”; “Lady Mary Ann (a rewrite by Robert Burns)”; “My Bonnie Laddie's Young (But He's Growing Yet)”; “Young Craigston”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1792 (as "Lady Mary Anne"), based on a text in the Herd manuscript (c. 1776)
Found in: US(Ap,NE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(Scotland,England(All)) Ireland Australia