“Gently, Johnny, My Jingalo”


The speaker successively places his hands on various portions of his love's anatomy, all of them respectable. She tells him, "Come to me, quietly, do not do me injury/Gently, Johnny, my jingalo". They marry.


[Sharp writes,] "The words were rather coarse, but I have, I think, managed to re-write the first and third lines of each verse without sacrificing the character of the original song." The second and fourth lines constitute a refrain, of course. With this in mind, I call this essentially a new song, written by CJS. Otherwise, it could well be listed under "A-Rovin'." -PJS

Ed Cray, following Reeves, notes that "Gently" was rewritten from "Yo Ho, Yo Ho," which follows the exact form of "A-Rovin'" although with even more explicit lyrics. Roud lumps the result with "Yo Ho." I say the amount of rewriting is so great to make them separate songs. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Sharp-100E 65, "Gently, Johnny, My Jingalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Silber-FSWB, p. 158, "Gently Johnny, My Jingalo" (1 text)
  4. Roud #5586
  5. BI, ShH65


Author: To all intents and purposes, Cecil Sharp
Earliest date: 1916