Bonnie Annie [Child 24]

DESCRIPTION: A ship's captain seduces (Annie) and takes her to sea with him. The ship they are sailing is caught in a storm which will not die down. (The crew) decides that Annie is the guilty party and throws her overboard. (The captain may order her rescue)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1827 (Lyle-Crawfurd2)
KEYWORDS: seduction sea death storm childbirth pregnancy bastard
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland) US(NE)
REFERENCES (14 citations):
Child 24, "Bonnie Annie" (3 texts)
Bronson 24, "Bonnie Annie" (18 versions)
BronsonSinging 24, "Bonnie Annie" (3 versions: #2, #16, #17)
Lyle-Crawfurd2 85, "The High Banks o Yarrow" (1 text)
OBB 20, "Bonnie Annie" (1 text)
Reeves-Sharp 9, "The Banks of Green Willow" (1 text)
VaughanWilliams/Palmer, #31, "The Banks of Green Willow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 15, "The Banks of Green Willow" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
Butterworth/Dawney, p. 12, "The Banks of Green Willow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Purslow-Constant, p. 4, "The Banks of Green Willow" (1 reconstructed text, 1 tune)
Wiltshire-WSRO Gl 85, "Banks of Green Willow" (1 text)
DBuchan 45, "Bonnie Annie" (1 text)
GreigDuncan6 1225, "Bonnie Annie" (2 texts, 1 tune)
DT 24, GREWILLO* BONNYANN*

Roud #172
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Captain Glen/The New York Trader (The Guilty Sea Captain A/B) [Laws K22]" (Jonah theme) and references there
ALTERNATE TITLES:
There Was a Rich Merchant that Lived in Strathdinah
NOTES: In the Vaughan Williams/Lloyd version, the sailor Johnny has persuaded the girl to steal her mother's money and run away to sea with him. When she has his baby, he (not the crew) throws her overboard, along with her baby. - PJS
Many versions seem to blame the disaster on the simple fact that there is a woman aboard the ship. This Female Jonah idea was well-known among sailors. Even such a relatively enlightened character as Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, Nelson's second in command at Trafalgar, could write, "I never knew a woman brought to sea in a ship that some mischief did not befall the vessel" (see Cordingly, p. 154).
Child comments that the versions known to him are "much disordered," and this applies to the versions I know also. The defects forced Child to speculate on the "true" form of the ballad. He didn't find much except the Jonah connection. I find myself wondering, however, if it might not be influenced by Marie de France's Breton Lai "Eliduc," which was probably fairly well known in England in the Middle Ages. Eliduc is forced to flee France due to slander, leaving his wife behind. In England, he becomes involved with the princess Guilliadun. After some complications, they elope. A storm arises, and Guilliadun, learning that Eliduc is a bigamist, dies and is thrown into the sea. There is a complicated ending in which Guilliadun is brought back to life (for a summary, see Gerritsen & van Melle, 94), but the middle section of the romance sounds very like this ballad. - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 4.2
File: C024

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