“My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean”

Alternate titles: “My Bonnie”; “Bring Back My Bonnie to Me”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1881 (Hills's "Student Songs")
Keywords: love separation sea reunion
Found in: US


The singer laments that his bonnie is across the waves, and implores that someone "bring back my bonnie to me." He asks the winds specifically to carry her. (He dreams she is dead.) (He rejoices that the winds have blown his bonnie to him.)


Fuld notes an 1882 printing of this song allegedly written by H. J. Fulmer (Charles E. Pratt). This text, however, disagrees with the 1881 printing, and Fuld suspects that Pratt is responsible only for the adaption.

The song obviously has spawned a number of parodies and borrowings. It itself, however, seems relatively constant, and the parodies are all recent. It thus seems likely that the song is fairly recent, and that most known versions derive from the 1881 printing.

It has been theorized that this is a derivative of the song we index as "Bring Back My Johnny to Me." The tunes aren't the same, but there are similarities, and a few lyrics also cross, as well as the theme. But there is no evidence of an intermediate form; it seems nearly certain that there was a deliberate rewrite somewhere along the line. - RBW

Same tune

Cross references



  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 143, "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" (1 text)
  2. Fuld-WFM, p. 381, "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean"
  4. BI, DTmybonn