Bonny Gray-Eyed Morn

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BONNY GRAY-EYED MORN, THE. "Jockey Rous'd with Love," "The Bonny Grey-Eyed Morn Begins to Peep." English, Air (whole or 2/2 time). B Flat Major (Davie, Gay, Manson): D Major (Aird). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (most versions): AABB (Davie). Chappell (1859) asserts the Scots appropriated "The Bonny Grey-eyed Morn" or "Jockey rous'd with love," composed by composer Jeremiah Clark, for their tune, but that it was English in origin. It first appears in print as "A Scotch Songin the [Fond Husband] Set by Mr. Jere: Clarke, Sung by Mrs. Willis" in 1696. Chappell records that Clarke's composition was sung in D'Urfey's comedy The Fond Husband, or The Plotting Sisters (1676), but no such song has been found in the surviving original copies, and it is assumed that it was added at a later time, possibly for a revival of the play. Frank Kidson (1922) identifies "Bonny Gray-eye'd Morn" as an Anglo-Scotch song, the music being perhaps composed by Jeremiah Clark. Stenhouse doubted that Clark(e) composed the melody, and Grove's Dictionary gives dates for Clarke that would make him only six or seven years old when D'Urfey's The Fond Husband was produced (if indeed the song was included in the original play). There is little about the song or tune characteristics, however, that would indicate Scottish provenance or origins. The first stanza goes:

The bonny Gray-eyed Morn began for to peep
When Jockie rouz'd with Love came blithly on;
And I who wishing lay depriv'd of Sleep,
Abhor'd the lazy Hours that slow did run.
But meikle were my Joy's, when in my View
I from the Window sypd' my only Dear;
I took the Wings of Love and to him flew,
For I had fancy'd all my Heaven was there.


Henry Playford published music and dance instructions to "Bonny Gray-eye'd Morn" in his Dancing Master, Part II, 2nd Edition (1698), skipped over in the 10th edition, and reappeared in all subsequent editions of the Dancing Master until the demise of the series with the 18th edition of 1728 (at which time it was being published by John Young, heir to the Playford publishing concerns). John Walsh published it in his Compleat Country Dancing Master (London, 1718), and in subsequent editions and iterations of his publications. Expatriate Scottish cellist-composer James Oswald included it in his collection of Scottish Tunes, calling it "The Old Gray-ey'd morning." A version also appeared in Oswald's seventh book of The Caledonian Pocket Companion as "The Gray Ey'd morning" albeit in a different version of the tune, set in 3/4 time.

As a song, "Bonny Gray-eye'd Morn" appears in D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. III (1719), on half-sheet music, and in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1729) under the title "'Tis woman that seduces all mankind." It was a popular melody, frequently employed for songs in ballad operas; it was heard in Cibber's Patie & Peggy (1730), The Jew Decoy'd, or the Progress of a Harlot (1733), The Happy Lovers, or the Beau Metamorphos'd (1736), Ramsay's The Gentle Shepherd, and others.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 5), Glasgow, 1797; No. 27, p. 11. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 14. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 10. Davie (Davie's Caledonian Repository), Aberdeen, 1829-30; p. 22. Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book, vol. 2), 1846; p. 26. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 50. Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 167.

Recorded sources: Wildgoose Records, Belshazzar's Feast - "Mr. Kynaston's Famous Dance" (2000).




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