Rab Rorison's Bonnet
DESCRIPTION: Rab Robison's bonnet covered his and his wife's head from the rain, was under his knees at church, was waved in the air when he swore, or as a bellows for fire, .... "It wasna the bonnet but the bean that was in it Made the hale parish talk"
AUTHOR: Robert Tannahill (1774-1810)
EARLIEST DATE: c.1838 (Ramsay)
KEYWORDS: clothes nonballad husband wife
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1695, "Rab Rorison's Bonnet" (1 fragment)
ADDITIONAL: Phillip A Ramsay, The Poetical Works of Robert Tannahill (London, preface 1838), pp. 40-41, "Rab Rorison's Bonnet"
Bodleian, Harding B 11(3266), "Rab Rorison's Bonnet" ("Ye'll a' hear tell o' Rab Rorison's bonnet"), Stephenson (Gateshead), 1821-1850; also Harding B 17(249a), 2806 c.14(114), "Rab Rorison's Bannet"
cf. "The Auld Wife o' the Glen" (tune, per Ramsay)
NOTES: Apparently broadside Bodleian, 2806 c.11(13), "Rab Rorison's Bonnet" ("Ye'll a' hear tell o' Rab Rorison's bonnet"), unknown, no date is this song but I could not download and verify it. According to the Bodleian notes the broadside has the following note: "Sung in the streets of Edin. Oct. 1826."
The GreigDuncan8 fragment is a verse that is not in Ramsay but is in the Bodleian broadsides. While the broadsides are clearly intended to be humorous and are almost entirely about the hat, Tannahill's poem is mostly about "the head that was in it." How serious is Tannahill's poem? While the rest of the song seems serious enough, Tannahill says "Yet o' what kind o' wisdom his head was possest Nane e'er kent but himsel', sae there's nane that will miss it." - BS
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