“Bonny Tavern Green”


The singer falls in love with a girl in Tavern Green. Her killing glances wounded his heart. "If I was Queen of England as Queen Ann was long ago ... she never would want money while I would rule as queen"


Floating verses: from "The Irish Girl": "Oh, love it is a killing thing, I hear the people say."

Musical Traditions site _Voice of the People suite_ "Reviews - Volume 15" by Fred McCormick - 27.2.99: "I am also curious over the fact that this song is told from a man's perspective, since the last verse fantasises about him being Queen of England 'as Queen Ann was long ago'. Are we witnessing a former woman's song which has undergone a less than perfect gender change?"

Maybe this is a corrupted version, with roles reversed, of "Lover's Resolution." That would explain the "If I was Queen of England" line which both share; they also share "love it is a killing thing, I hear the people say." - BS

The reference to Queen Anne is interesting. Anne was hardly the most famous Queen of England (obviously Elizabeth I earns that distinction), and she wasn't particularly noteworthy for brains or (especially) looks, but she was the *last* ruling queen until Victoria ascended in 1837. Indeed, prior to Victoria, Anne and Elizabeth I had been the only queens to really rule England. So maybe that explains the references to her.

The other possibility is that Queen Anne was not ruling queen, but merely wife of a king. The last wife of a King named Anne was Anne Hyde, wife of James II, but she died before he succeeded and can be ignored.

Prior to that, James VI and I was married to Anne of Denmark. And Henry VIII had had two wives named Anne.

Given the careers of those consorts Anne, I have to think the ruling queen is meant. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1702-1714 - Reign of Queen Anne of England, daughter of James II. She was succeeded by her cousin Geroge I

Cross references


  • Paddy Tunney, "Tavrin Green" (on IRPTunney01); "Bonny Tavern Green" (on Voice15)


  1. Tunney-StoneFiddle, p. 155, "Bonnie Tavern Green" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #3110
  3. BI, RcBoTaGr


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (IRPTunney01)
Found in: Ireland