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The Bonny Swans

Loreena McKennitt

The Journey So Far: The Best Of Loreena McKennitt


A farmer there lived in the north country
(a hey ho and a bonny oh)
And he had daughters: one, two, three
(the swans swim so bonny oh)
These daughters, they walked by the river's brim
(a hey ho and a bonny oh)
The eldest pushed the youngest in
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

Oh, sister! Oh, sister! Pray lend me your hand
(a hey ho and a bonny oh)
And I will give you house and land
(the swans swim so bonny oh)
I'll give you neither hand nor glove
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
Unless you give me your own true love
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

Sometimes she sank and sometimes she swam
(with a hey ho and and bonny oh)
Until she came to a miller's dam
(the swans swim so bonny oh)
The miller's daughter, dressed in red
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
She went for some water to make a bread
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

Oh, father! Oh, daddy! Here swims a swan
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
It's very like a gentle woman
(the swans swim so bonny oh)
They laid her on the bank to dry
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
There came a harper passing by
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

He made harp pins of her fingers' fair
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
He made harp strings of her golden hair
(the swans swim so bonny oh)
He made a harp of her breast bone
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
And straight it began to play alone
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

He brought it to her father's hall
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
And there was the court, assembled all
(the swans swim so bonny oh)
He laid the harp upon a stone
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
And straight it began to play alone
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

And there does sit my father - the King
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
And yonder sits my mother - the Queen
(the swans swim so bonny oh)
And there does sit my brother Hugh
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
And by him William, sweet and true
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

And there does sit my false sister - Anne
(with a hey ho and a bonny oh)
Who drowned me for the sake of a man
(the swans swim so bonny oh)

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