“Came Ye O'er Frae France”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1819 (Hogg1)
Keywords: nonballad political Jacobites royalty
Found in: Britain(Scotland)


Geordie [George I] is ridiculed. "Jocky's gane to France, And Montgomery's lady" to learn to dance. He'll return with "Sandy Don," "Cockolorum," "Bobbing John, And his Highland quorum" "How they'll skip and dance O'er the bum o' Geordie!"


Hogg1: "'Montgomery's lady' may have been the lady of Lord James Montgomery, who was engaged in a plot in 1695, and who, it is likely, would be connected with the Jacobites. Neither can I tell who 'Sandy Don' and 'Cockolorum' are; but it is evident that by 'Bobbing John' is meant John. Earl of Mar, who must, at the time this song was made, have been raising the Highlanders."

GreigDuncan1: "From a manuscript book owned by William Walker. "Jacobite Song, from an old chapbook - about 1796-8." - BS

The level of sarcasm in this song is obviously high. "Geordie Whelps" is George I -- a likely target for sarcasm even from his supporters, given that he was old, fat, ugly, and spoke no English. As for what the Jacobites thought, well, there are limits to what we can repeat....

"And his bonnie woman": There are wheels within wheels on this one. George I's wife, whom he married when he was still just the heir to the duchy of Hanover, was Sophia Dorothea of Luneburg (see Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, _Blood Royal_, the Illustrious House of Hannover_, Doubleday, 1980, p. 31). But George I grew tired of her after she bore him two children, and after being ignored long enough, she had an affair with one Count Philip Konigsmarck. It was discovered, Konigsmark was made to vanish, and George I was officially divorced from Sophia Dorothea. He also had her imprisoned for the rest of her life (Sinclair-Stevenson, pp. 39-44).

That left George I free to carry on with his mistresses, who were widely regarded as extremely ugly. Thackerey (quoted by Sinclair-Stevenson, p.26), describes them as follows: "The Duchess [Madame Schulenberg, made Duchess of Kendal by George] was tall, and lean of stature, and hence was irreverently nicknamed the Maypole. The Countess [Madame Kielmansegge, George's Countess of Darlington] wasa large-sized noblewoman, and this elevated personage was denominated the Elephant." Schulenberg also was nicknamed "the goose," and so George I came to England "riding on a goosie."

The nickname "Bobbing John" for the Earl of Mar was well-earned. The first Jacobite rebellion, such as it was, came in the aftermath of the 1707 passage of the Act of Union between England and Scotland. It wasn't so much a rebellion as a scream of protest, and naturally went nowhere, even though Louis XIV of France supported it. The Earl of Mar enthusiastically supported Queen Anne at this time (Sinclair-Stevenson, p. 50).

When George I showed up, though, Mar changed his tune and gathered many Highland chiefs to rebel (Sinclair-Stevenson, pp. 45-47). Hence the "Highland Quorum." - RBW


  2. Roud #5814
  3. BI, DT