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Nic Jones - The Bonny Bunch of Roses

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Uploaded on Oct 23, 2009

The Bonny Bunch of Roses from Nic Jones' second album 'Nic Jones', released in 1971.

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Lyrics:

By the margin of the ocean,
One pleasant evening in the month of June,
The pleasant-singing blackbird
His charming notes did tune.
Was there I spied a woman
All in great grief and woe,
Conversing with young Bonaparte
Concerning the Bonny Bunch of Roses-O

And then up and spoke the young Napoleon
And he took hold of his mother's hand,
Oh mother dear, be patient
And soon I will take command.
I'll raise a terrible army
And through tremendous danger go.
And in spite of all of the universe
I'll conquer the Bonny Bunch of Roses-O.

And when first you saw the Great Napoleon,
You fell down on your bended knee
And you asked your father's life of him
And he's granted it most manfully.
'Twas then he took an army
And o'er the frozen alps did go;
And he said, I'll conquer Moscow
And come back for the Bonny Bunch of Roses-O.

And so he's took three hundred thousand fighting men
And kings likewise for to join his throng.
He was as well provided for
Enough to take the whole world alone.
But when he came to Moscow
All o'erpowered by driving snow
And Moscow was a-blazing,
He lost the Bonny Bunch of Roses-O.

Oh my son, don't speak so venturesome,
For England she has a heart of oak,
And England, and Ireland, and Scotland,
Their unity has never been broke.
And so my son, think on, your father
In St Helena, his body it lies low,
And you will follow after,
Beware of the Bonny Bunch of Roses-O.

And it's goodbye to my mother forever,
For I am on my dying bed.
Had I lived I might have been clever,
But now I bow my youthful head.
And while our bodies do moulder
And weeping willows over us do grow,
The deeds of brave Napoleon
Will sting the Bonny Bunch of Roses-O.

By the margin of the ocean,
One pleasant evening in the month of June,
The pleasant-singing blackbird
His charming notes did tune.
Was there I spied a female
All in great grief and woe,
Conversing with young Bonaparte
Concerning the Bonny Bunch of Roses-O

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The album notes say the following about the song:

"The text of this ballad appears to have caused some confusion among folk-song enthusiasts, according to Frank Purslow in his note to the song (Marrowbones, p. 103). He mentions James Reeves particularly as having commented on it. He goes on to say that the song is an imaginary conversation between Napoleon's young son and Marie Louise, second wife of Napoleon. This idea makes the song much clearer. The son threatens to 'raise a terrible army' and to assert his power. They talk of Napoleon's Moscow campaign and Marie Louise warns her son that he'll follow Napoleon to the grave. Then, in the last verse, the son states that he is dying. This last verse becomes plainer if we understand that the son died at twenty-one of a weakness in the chest aggravated by severe, self-imposed physical exercise.

The tune in Marrowbones is a version of The Rose Tree, although I have used the more common tune, a variant of The Bonny Bunch of Roses.

People have suggested that 'roses' is a corruption of 'rushes', but either way Cecil Sharp says, 'Surely our country has never been called by a prettier name then the bonny bunch of roses-o.'"

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All credit goes to Nic Jones. I only put the music and images together for promotion, so Youtube can enjoy this great artist. For more of his fantastic music, consider buying his albums to support Nic Jones (who can no longer perform). I upload some of his songs from the albums that have only been released on vinyl. These are no longer available, and as far as I know there are no plans to release them on CD. For the albums that were released on CD, see http://www.nicjones.net/shop

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