“Blood Red Roses”


Shanty. Characteristic lines: "Come/go down, you blood red/bunch of roses, Come down... Oh you pinks and posies, come down...." The verses generally refer to life at sea, with perhaps floating verses on other themes


Doerflinger comments of this piece, "I doubt that the movie version, with a 'blood red roses' chorus, is authentic folklore." However, that's the version I've always heard (including even an alleged New Zealand version), so I've adopted that title. Doerflinger also thinks the "bunch of roses" refers to Napoleon. Obviously that is the case in other "roses" songs, but I can't see any connection here. - RBW

Cross references


  • A. L. Lloyd, "Blood Red Roses" (on Lloyd3, Lloyd7)
  • Henry Lundy & David Pryor, "Come Down, You Roses" (AAFS 511 A1, 1935; on LomaxCD1822-2)


  1. Doerflinger, pp. 22-23, "Come Down, You Bunch of Roses, Come Down" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Hugill, pp. 365-367, "Bunch O' Roses," "Ho Molly!" (3 texts, 3 tunes - includes a fragment of text titled "Ho Molly! which seems to follow the same meter and rhyme) [AbrEd, pp. 275-277]
  3. Scott-BoA, pp. 132-134, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Lomax-FSNA 27, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 90, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text)
  7. Roud #931
  8. BI, Doe022


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1893
Keywords: shanty ship flowers
Found in: US(NE)