Bonny Boatman (The)
X:1 T:Bonny Boat Man, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:John Walsh - Caledonian Country Dances (c. 1745, p. 54) N:Published in several volumes and different editions, 1731-c. 1745) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C EF|G2 (A/B/)c (AG)(FE)|(FE)(DC) G3A|(AB)(cd) (e/f/)g fe|d3e D2 EF| G3c (AG)(FE)|(FE)(DC) G3E|F2 GA G2 cB|c2C2C2:| |:cB|(AG)(AB) (cd)(ec)|(d/e/)f (fe) d3D|(DE) G2 c>d (e/f/)g| d3e D2 (EF)|G2 (A/B/)c (AG)(FE)|(FE)(DC) G3E|F2 (GA) (Gc) (B/c/)d|c4 C2:|]
BONNY BOATMAN, THE. Scottish, Air or Country Dance (cut time). C Major (Walsh): D Major (Oswald). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The air is one of fifty in William Thomson's (c.1690–1756) Orpheus Caledonius (1725), where it is ascribed to Queen Mary's secretary David Rizzio, a renowned lutenist and singer (murdered at the hands of his political rivals). Thomson removed the ascription from his second edition and it is in some doubt whether Rizzio had anything to do with the tune. "Bonny Boatman" appears also as an air in John Mitchell's ballad opera The Highland Fair, or the Union of the Clans (1731), and Charles Coffey's The Merry Cobler, or the Second Part of the Devil to Pay (London, 1735). In country dance form, in London publisher John Walsh's Third Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1735, p. 33, and in the subsequent edition of 1749). It was also included in the 1790 music manuscript collection of London musician Thomas Hammersley.
Compare the "Giga" part of Oswald's version with John Parry's "Norah the Pride of Kildare." The two are similar, and Parry may have adapted rather than composed his song air.