“The Jacket So Blue (The Bonnet o' Blue)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1806
Keywords: love courting soldier clothes separation
Found in: US(MA,So) Ireland Britain(England,Scotland) Canada(Mar)


The girl sees a soldier marching past and falls in love. She meets him and offers to buy his discharge; he replies that he already has a girl at home. She asks for a portrait to console her; this at least is granted

Supplemental text

Jacket So Blue, The (The Bonnet o' Blue)
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

Bonnet o' Blue

As printed by W. H. Logan, The Pedlar's Pack of Ballads and Songs,
pp. 104-106. Immediate source not listed.

At Kingston-upon-Waldy, a town in Yorkshire,
I lived in great splendour and free from all care,
I rolled quite in riches, had sweethearts not a few,
I was wounded by a bonny lad and his bonnet o' blue.

There came a troop of soldiers as you now shall hear,
From Scotland to Waldy abroad for to steer;
There is one among them I wish I ne'er knew;
He's a bonny Scotch laddie wi' bonnet o' blue.

I cannot find rest, contentment has fled,
The form of my true love will run in my head,
The form of my true love still keeps in my view,
He's a bonny Scotch laddie wi' bonnet o' blue.

Early in the morning arising from bed,
I called upon Sally my own waiting maid
To dress me as fine as her two hands could do;
To seek out the lad and his bonnet o' blue.

So quickly she dressed me and quickly I came
To mingle with persons to hear my love's name,
Charles Stewart they called him, I felt it was true;
Once a prince of that name worse a bonnet o' blue.

My love he marched by with a gun in his hand,
I strove to speak to him but all was in vain,
I strove to speak to him away then he flew --
My heart it was with him and his bonnet o' blue.

She says, "My dear laddie, I'll buy your discharge,
I'll free you from soldiers, I'll let you at large,
I'll free you from soldiers if your heart will prove true,
And I'll ne'er cast a stain on your bonnet o' blue.

He says, "My dear lassie, you'll buy my discharge,
You'll free me from soldiers and let me at large?
For your very kind offer, I bow ma'am to you,
But I'll ne'er wear a strain in my bonnet o' blue.

"I have a sweet girl in my own country town,
Who I ne'er would forsake though poverty frown,
I ne'er will forsake the girl that proves true,
And I'll ne'er wear a stain in my bonnet o' blue."

I will send for a limner from London to Hull,
To draw my love's picture out in the full,
I'll set it in my chamber all close in my view,
And I'll think on the lad whose heart proved so true.


Broadside LOCSinging as101360 includes both a "troop of soldiers ... from Scotland" version ("Bonnet So Blue") and a "crew of sailors ... from Greenwich" version ("Jacket So Blue"). These correspond to Creighton-SNewBrunswick 42 and Creighton-SNewBrunswick 43, respectively. - BS

Cross references




  1. Ford-Vagabond, pp. 212-214, "The Bonnet o' Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. FSCatskills 43, "The Jacket So Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Belden, p. 301, "The Wagoners" (1 text, fragmentary and localized to make the soldier a wagoner)
  4. Logan, pp. 101-106, "Bonnet o' Blue" (1 text)
  5. SHenry H644, p. 367, "The Bonnet sae Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 275-277, "The Bonnet of Blue" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  7. Ord, pp. 295-296, "The Bonnet o' Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 42, "His Jacket Was Blue" (1 text, 1 tune); 43, "His Jacket Was Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. ST FSC43 (Full)
  10. Roud #819
  11. BI, FSC43