“The Bonny Laboring Boy”


A rich girl loves a working boy. Her parents try to prevent the marriage by locking up the girl and exiling the boy. Both manage to escape; they flee to Belfast and prepare to take ship for America

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(2525), "My Bonny Labouring Boy," A. Ryle and Co. (London), 1845-1859; also Johnson Ballads 311, Firth b.27(109/110) View 1 of 2, Firth c.18(178), 2806 c.8(287), 2806 b.9(252), Harding B 19(17), Harding B 19(18), Harding B 19(43), "[The] Bonny Labouring Boy"; Harding B 11(838), "Bonny Laboring Boy"; Firth c.18(179), Johnson Ballads 1110, Harding B 25(256) (largely illegible), "My Bonny Labouring Boy"


  • Paddy Beades, "The Bonnie Labouring Boy" (on Voice05)
  • Harry Cox, "The Bonny Labouring Boy" (on HCox01)
  • Martin Sullivan, "The Railroad Boy" (on Ontario1)


  1. Laws M14, "The Bonny Labouring Boy"
  2. FSCatskills 52, "The Bonny Laboring Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Gardner/Chickering 66, "The Bonny Laboring Boy" (1 text)
  4. Fowke/Mills/Blume, pp. 200-202, "The Railroad Boy" (1 text, 1 tune -- a Canadian adaption which has lost most of the plot, including the girl's imprisonment and the escape to America, but which retains so many of the lyrics that it can still be considered the same song)
  5. Fowke/MacMillan 69, "The Bonny Labouring Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. SHenry H576, pp. 435-436, "The Bonny Labouring Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Peacock, pp. 564-565, "My Bonny Labouring Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Karpeles-Newfoundland 69, "The Bonny Labouring Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. O'Conor, pp. 84-85, "My Bonny Laboring Boy" (1 text)
  10. OLochlainn 9, "The Bonny Labouring Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Kennedy 147, "The Bonny Labouring Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. Roud #1162
  14. BI, LM14


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1860 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2525))
Found in: US(MA,MW) Canada(Mar,Newf,Ont) Britain(England(South)) Ireland