Bye Baby Bunting
DESCRIPTION: "Bye, baby bunting, Daddy's gone a-hunting To get a little rabbit skin To wrap the baby bunting in." "Sister stayed at home To rock-a-bye-a-baby bunting. Mama stayed at home To bake a cake for baby bunting."
EARLIEST DATE: 1784 (Gammar Gurton's Garland, according to Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes)
KEYWORDS: nonballad baby hunting family
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE) Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) West Indies(Jamaica,Tobago) New Zealand
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 112, "Bye Baby Bunting" (assorted stanzas from sundry collections)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 112, "By Baby Bunting" (2 tunes plus text excerpts)
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 25, "Bye, baby bunting" (2 texts)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #551, p. 226, "(Bee baw bunting)"
Dolby-OrangesAndLemons, p. 173, "Bye, Baby Buntin" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan8 1556, "Baby Baby Bunting" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
Henry-SongsSungInTheSouthernAppalachians, p. 243, (no title) (1 short text)
Wolfe/Boswell-FolkSongsOfMiddleTennessee 89, pp. 141-142, "Bye, Baby Bunting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Elder-FolksongsFromTobago 23, "Buy Baby Ribbon" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sutton-Smith-NZ-GamesOfNewZealandChilden/FolkgamesOfChildren, p. 126, "(Baby, baby, bunting)" (1 text)
Heart-Songs, p. 101, "Baby Bunting" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [131 words]: The Opies, as their #24, print what looks like a by-blow of this, "Bye, baby bumpklin, Where's Tony Lumpkin? My lady's on her death-bed, with eating half a pumpkin." The Opies observe that Tony Lumpkin is a character in Oliver Goldsmith's 1773 She Stoops to Conquer; he is a rather obnoxious country squire. I have no idea if that is significant.
Boswell's version of this song is very different from the common one, with two long verses about the parents. I suspect these came from a different source.
I would guess that George MacDonald knew this piece from oral tradition; he has a poem beginning "baby baby babbing / your father's gone a-cabbing" (sic.; it has no upper-case letters or punctuation) in chapter 17, "Diamond Makes a Beginning" of At the Back of the North Wind.- RBW
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