“Bonnie George Campbell”


Bonnie George Campbell sets out on his horse. The horse comes home, but he does not: "High upon Hielands and low upon Tay, Bonnie George Campbell rade oot on a day; Saddled and bridled and gallant rade he; Hame cam his guid horse but never cam he"


Although several names have been suggested as the original hero of this ballad, the details suggested in the song are so few that none can be viewed as more than a possibility. - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "Cumberland Gap" (tune)
  • cf. "The Killin' in the Gap"(Stevie Allen) (theme)


  • Margaret Caudill Hurst & Carolyn Margaret Hurst, "Bonnie George Campbell" (on JThomas01)
  • Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "Bonnie George Campbell" (on BLLunsford01) {Bronson's #2}
  • Frank Proffitt, "James Campbell" [excerpt] (on USWarnerColl01)


  1. Child 210, "Bonnie James Campbell" (4 texts)
  2. Bronson 210, "Bonnie James Campbell" (5 versions)
  3. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 279-284, "Bonnie George Campbell" (2 text plus a printed version and a composite reconstruction, 1 traditional plus one printed tune) {The "C" reprint is Bronson's #1, the traditional tune "D" is Bronson's #23}
  4. Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 237-238, "Bonnie James Campbell" (1 badly damaged fragment)
  5. Ford-Vagabond, pp. 31-311, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text, with a peculiar final verse probably not traditional and edited by Ford)
  6. Davis-More 35, pp. 267-269, "Bonnie James Campbell" (1 text)
  7. Thomas-Makin', pp. 25-26, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Leach, p. 560, "Bonnie James Campbell" (2 texts)
  9. OBB 96, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text)
  10. Warner 106, "James Campbell" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. PBB 57, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text)
  12. Gummere, pp. 162+335, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text)
  13. Combs/Wilgus 34, pp. 126-127, "Bonnie James Campbell" (1 text)
  14. Hodgart, p. 145, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text)
  15. TBB 18, "Bonnie James (George) Campbell" (2 texts)
  16. HarvClass-EP1, p. 27, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text)
  18. ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #50, "Bonnie George Campbell" (1 text)
  19. Roud #338
  20. BI, C210


Alternate titles: “Bonnie Johnnie Campbell”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1807
Keywords: death horse
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Bord)) US(Ap,NE,SE)