He Wears a Bonnet for a Hat
DESCRIPTION: The singer warns "there's nane o' you been gude to me" but it would pay to treat her well. When her wealthy lover comes in bonnet, napkin, and jacket to install her in the hall in fancy clothes she might be able to help her listeners with a peck of meal.
EARLIEST DATE: 1876 (Christie)
KEYWORDS: poverty courting bragging reunion clothes nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greig #18, p. 2, ("Maybe I'll Be Mairriet Yet") (1 text)
GreigDuncan4 798, "He's Comin' Here," GreigDuncan8 Addenda, "Maybe I'll Be Married Yet" (17 texts, 11 tunes)
ADDITIONAL: W. Christie, editor, Traditional Ballad Airs (Edinburgh, 1876 (downloadable pdf by University of Edinburgh, 2007)), Vol II, p. 40, ("Oh, maybe I'll be married yet") (1 fragment, 1 tune); Vol. II, pp. 58-59, "He Wears a Bonnet for a Hat" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "Bell Hendry" (tune, per GreigDuncan4)
cf. "The Tailor and the Sailor" ("Maybe I'll Be Mairriet Yet" lines finish the song)
cf. "A Man's a Man for A' That" (lyrics)
NOTES [239 words]: Bell Robertson, one of Greig's sources, writes of "He Wears a Bonnet for a Hat" that "that was such a common song that I do not know who I got it from. Everyone sung it." Were those singers united in what to make of the song: is there really a wealthy lover [who may own the local mill] who will give her stocking and shoes while her listeners go barefoot? One who's "comin' owre the hills, That'll tak' me frae ye a' yet"?
The GreigDuncan8 Addenda account for 10 texts and 7 tunes. According to the supplementary notes at GreigDuncan8 p. 433 these texts and tunes "had been treated as a separate song in the early preparation of this edition but it is difficult to make a complete break between them and the items given as 'He's Comin' Here' and so they have been added as extra versions of that song." Verses float so freely between the two sets of texts that I cannot justify splitting them.
GreigDuncan4 quoting Gillespie: "First heard from Annie Duncan, Craigculter, about 1846. Noted 1905."
The chorus to Burns's "For A' That" [indexed as "A Man's a Man for A' That" - RBW] and "He Wears a Bonnet for a Hat" share their first two lines: "For a' that, an' a that, And twice as meikle's [muckle's] a that" (see Robert Burns, The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns (New Lanark,2005), p. 94, "For A' That").
Christie: "The Editor has often heard it sung in his young days...."
Roud splits Greig and Christie p. 40 as #6278. - BS
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