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Johnny Johnny

[ Roud - ; Henry H16 ; Ballad Index HHH016 ; trad.]

June Tabor sang Johnny Johnny in 2005 on her Topic CD At the Wood’s Heart. She noted:

From Sam Henry’s collection, first published in his Songs of the People column in The Northern Constitution, a provincial newspaper published in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. This appeared on 1 March 1924. He comments “a song about disappointed love”. And how!


June Tabor sings Johnny Johnny

O Johnny, Johnny, but love is bonny,
A little while when first it’s new,
Ah but love grows old and waxes cold,
Fades, fades away like morning dew.

O Johnny, Johnny, but you are nice, love,
In keeping company with me so long,
For you were the first boy that e’er I had, love,
So kiss me, Johnny, before you go.

One kiss from me you will never get, love,
For you have caused me so sore to sigh,
Nor will I grant you that sweet request, love,
That ofttime you did me deny.

If I should grant you that sweet request, love,
My heart, on you, I might then bestow,
But as good a lover as you will come, love,
So I’ll not hinder you to go.

For I have stepped the steps of love, love,
And I have stepped a step too low,
Were it to be done that I have done, love,
It would never be done by me, I know.

It’s o’er the moss that you need not cross, love,
And o’er the moor that you need not ride,
For I have gotten a new sweetheart, love,
And you may go get yourself a bride.