Bonny Fish Wife (The)

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BONNY FISH WIFE, THE. Engish, Air (whole time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Bonny Fish Wife" was a song "written by a Lady" by Charles Edward Horn [1] (1786-1849) and published around 1830. Horn was "a tenor singer with a somewhat woolly voice" who also wrote stage shows, songs and glees (see also his "Cherry Ripe" and "Banks of Allen Water"). The first line begins "At grey eyd' morn."

Charles Edward Horn, by Isaac Pocock.



Patty Oliver in costume as a fishwife, late 1850's. © National Portrait Gallery, London

"The Bonny Fish Wife" was also the name of an operetta or farce by Charles Selby that premiered at the Strand Theatre on Sept. 20, 1858. The lead character, heroine Maggy Macfarlane, a Newhaven fish wife, was played by Martha Cranmer Oliver (known as "Patty" Oliver), one of the stars of Victorian comic theater. She also played the character of Miss Thistledown, 'a romantic young lady'.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Alexander (Alexander’s New Scrap Book, vol. 6), c. 1845; No. 845, p. 8.

Recorded sources:




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