“Quare Bungo Rye”


Sailor Jack meets a girl, who offers to sell him "old bungo rye." Jack thinks it a whiskey, and buys her basket. In it he finds a child. Jack declares the child to be "quare bungo rye," and has the child christened with that name

Supplemental text

Quare Bungo Rye
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

Bung Your Eye

As printed by W. H. Logan, The Pedlar's Pack of Ballads and Songs,
pp. 420-421. From "A Garland of New Songs," c. 1812.

A buxom young fellow was walking the street,
A certain fair maiden he chanced to meet,
And as she drew near him she said, will you buy?
Pray what do you sell? she replies, Bung your eye.

To be serious, fair maiden, what have you got there?
Would you wish for an answer both kind and sincere?
'Tis Holland's Geneva, called by the bye,
As a nickname, my friend, it is Bung your eye.

If you be a gentleman, as you do appear,
To sell all my Geneva I need not to fear.
While I speak to some neighbours as they pass by,
So I'll leave you the care of this Bung your eye.

The woman being gone it was his intent
To look into her basket he was fully bent,
In a few minutes after the young child did cry,
Instead of Geneva found a young Bung your eye.

O curse this bad woman! what has she got here?
I have bought her Geneva, I vow, very dear,
I'm afraid all the lasses as they pass me by
Will call me the father of young Bung your eye.

Bung your eye he took home as I have heard say,
To have the child christen'd without more delay;
Says the parson, I'll christen the child by and bye,
What name will you give him? he said, Bung your eye.

Bung your eye, said the parson, it is an odd name!
O yes, Sir, he said, and an odd way it came,
I'm afraid all the lasses as they pass me by
Will call me the father of young Bung your eye.

Come all you young fellows that walk in the street,
Beware of those maidens you chance for to meet,
For Holland's Geneva put me in surprise,
Believe me, my girls, it bunged up both my eyes.


Re:the mysterious box motif. The Lesley Nelson-Burns site Folk Music of England Scotland Ireland, Wales & America collection includes a page by John Renfro Davis with text for this ballad as "Quare Bungle Rye" and a note that "This is a variant of The Oyster Girl." The note goes on to cite a Bodleian broadside for The Oyster Girl. It also cites as "variants and alternate titles" The Basket of Oysters, Bungerye, Queer Bungle Rye, Quare Bungo Rye, Young Bung-'er'Eye, The Basket of Eggs, and Eggs in Her Basket.

The Oyster Maid/Basket of Eggs connection similarities are based on the motif of a sailor being fooled by a woman into taking something hidden in a basket which, in some versions, turns out to be a baby. While the parallels -- including the sexual symbolisms -- are obvious, these should be treated as three different ballads because of the differences in the punch lines.

The motif of the "box" with *censored* contents that cannot just be thrown away is even closer to the 1950 Phil Harris hit "The Thing" written by Charles R. Grean and set to the tune of "The Chandler's Wife." - BS

Cross references


  • The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, "Bungle Rye" (on IRClancyMakem02)


  1. Logan, pp. 416-421, "Bung Your Eye" (1 text)
  2. SHenry H700, pp. 277-278, "Mind Your Eye" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Peacock, pp. 895-896, "Young Bung-'er-eye" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Creighton-NovaScotia 39, "Jack the Sailor" (1 fragment, probably this though the chorus has swapped off somewhere, 1 tune)
  5. Hugill, pp. 211-212, "Blow the Man Down" (1 text, version "F" of "Blow the Man Down" sung to the tune of "Lowlands Low") [AbEd, pp. 166-167]
  7. ST Log416 (Full)
  8. Roud #2404
  9. BI, Log416


Alternate titles: “Queer Bungo Rye”; “Quare Bungle Rye”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1869 (Logan)
Found in: Britain Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)