Blood Red Roses

DESCRIPTION: Shanty. Characteristic lines: "Come/go down, you blood red/bunch of roses, Come down... Oh you pinks and posies, come down...." The verses generally refer to life at sea, with perhaps floating verses on other themes
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1890 (JournalOfAmericanFolklore, Bolton)
KEYWORDS: shanty ship flowers
FOUND IN: US(NE) Bermuda
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Doerflinger-SongsOfTheSailorAndLumberman, pp. 22-23, "Come Down, You Bunch of Roses, Come Down" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill-ShantiesFromTheSevenSeas, pp. 365-367, "Bunch O' Roses," "Ho Molly!" (3 texts, 3 tunes - includes a fragment of text titled "Ho Molly! which seems to follow the same meter and rhyme) [AbrEd, pp. 275-277]
Kinsey-SongsOfTheSea, pp. 83-84, "Blood-Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scott-TheBalladOfAmerica, pp. 132-134, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 27, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Colquhoun-NZ-Folksongs-SongOfAYoungCountry, p. 19, "Blood Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune) (p. 12 in the 1972 edition)
JournalOfAmericanFolklore, H. Carrington Bolton, "Gombay, a Festal Rite of Bermudian Negroes", Vol. 3, No. 10 (Jul-Sep 1890), p. 224, "Pretty yaller girls, Come down" (2 texts)
ADDITIONAL: Frederick Pease Harlow, _The Making of a Sailor, or Sea Life Aboard a Yankee Square-Rigger_, 1928; republished by Dover, 1988, p. 124, (no title) (1 fragment, 1 tune, probably this)

Roud #931
A. L. Lloyd, "Blood Red Roses" (on Lloyd3, Lloyd07)
Henry Lundy & David Pryor, "Come Down, You Roses" (AAFS 511 A1, 1935; on LomaxCD1822-2)
Tamburlaine, "Blood Red Roses" (on NZSongYngCntry, but in a very untraditional style)

cf. "O Mary, Come Down!" (lyrics)
NOTES [77 words]: Doerflinger-SongsOfTheSailorAndLumberman comments of this piece, "I doubt that the movie version, with a 'blood red roses' chorus, is authentic folklore." However, that's the version I've always heard (including even an alleged New Zealand version), so I've adopted that title. Doerflinger-SongsOfTheSailorAndLumberman also thinks the "bunch of roses" refers to Napoleon. Obviously that is the case in other "roses" songs, but I can't see any connection here. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.3
File: Doe022

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.