Billy Boy

July 3, 2006 at 11:57 am 29 comments

Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy
Oh, where have you been, charming Billy?
I’ve been to seek a wife
She’s the joy of my life
She’s a young thing, and cannot leave her mother

Did she ask you to come in, Billy Boy, Billy Boy
Did she ask you to come in, charming Billy?
Yes, she asked me to come in
With a dimple in her chin
She’s a young thing, and cannot leave her mother

Did she set for you a chair, Billy Boy, Billy Boy
Did she set for you a chair, charming Billy?
Yes, she set for me a chair
She has ringlets in her hair
She’s a young thing, and cannot leave her mother

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy
Can she bake a cherry pie, charming Billy?
She can bake a cherry pie
Fast as a cat can wink her eye
She’s a young thing, and cannot leave her mother

Can she bake a birthday cake, Billy Boy, Billy Boy
Can she bake a birthday cake, charming Billy?
She can bake a birthday cake
That will make your molars ache
She’s a young thing, and cannot leave her mother

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Entry filed under: Folk Songs.

Back in the Saddle Again Jesus Loves Me

29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan Pittillo  |  September 19, 2006 at 9:25 am

    Is this song written about William Bartram? Apparently a version found in Tolifero County, Georgia in some old minuscripts at the Mendenhall Plantation, built in 1835, suggests this. Bartram’s mother was a Mendenhall. Possibly the Mendenhall manuscript is just another version put to the familiar tune.

    Reply
  • 2. Kayle  |  April 18, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    theres another verse to this song

    HOW OLD IS SHE BILLY BOY BILLY BOY
    HOW OLD IS SHE CARMING BILLY
    SHE IS 3 TIMES 7,21 AND 11
    SHES A YOUNG THING THAT CANNOT LEAVE HER MOTHER

    Reply
  • 3. CyndyK  |  April 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Finally! THIS is the version I learned from my grandmother as a child 50 years ago! : ) I was beginning to doubt my own memory. Now does anyone else recall a song that goes:
    Bobolink swinging on the bough, listen a while to me; answer some questions for me now of some of the things I see. Bobolink tell me, tell me true, how does the clover grow? Where do the daisies find their frills? What makes the ocean waves go? Who is it hangs the cobwebs out? How do they make the dew? Surely the reasons you must know? Bobolink answer me true!
    That’s as close as I can remember it after all these years; I’ve never been able to find it on the Internet; sure hope someone else knows it!

    Reply
    • 4. Vixie  |  November 30, 2009 at 9:10 am

      Hi – YES! My grandfather taught me those lyrics to the bob-o-link song and it was always one of my childhood favourites – never ever been able to find it or anyone else who knew it until now! Where was your grandmother from?

      Reply
      • 5. LJ  |  October 8, 2014 at 10:47 am

        The ABeka homeschool curriculum has the Bobolink song on a the SONGS WE ENJOY 2 cd

    • 6. Vixie  |  November 30, 2009 at 9:13 am

      BTW, my grandfather used to sing, “…answer some quaetions for me now, of some of the things you’ve seen. Where does the rainbow start and end? What makes the sky so blue? Answer these questions my little friend. Bob-o-link answer me true!”

      Reply
      • 7. Cynthia Kauffman  |  August 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm

        My grandmother grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, Vixie. She was born in 1896 and died in 1963, much too young. It’s possible there were several verses and we’re remembering two of them. : ) That’s nice to know!

        Cyndy K.

  • 8. Todd  |  May 21, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Actually its

    HOW OLD IS SHE BILLY BOY BILLY BOY
    HOW OLD IS SHE CARMING BILLY
    3 times 6 and 4 times 7
    28 and 11
    SHES A YOUNG THING THAT CANNOT LEAVE HER MOTHER

    Reply
  • 9. Sandy Bockman  |  June 30, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    To CyndyK re ‘Bobolink.’ My Dad used to sing it to me 60 years ago; I think he learned it as a child (he was born in 1919), so it’s pretty old.
    I remember slightly different words:
    ‘Bobolink swinging on the bough, listen a while to me; answer some questions for me now of some of the things that I see. Bobolink tell me, tell me true, is there a fairy ring? How do the birds know how to fly, where do they learn how to sing? Who is it hangs the cobwebs out, where do they make the dew? You can explain it without a doubt. Bobolink answer me true.’

    I always associate it with ‘Girl of the Limberlost’ and Indiana, but maybe only because that’s where I grew up. If you find the music, please let me know.

    Reply
    • 10. Dr, Madlon T. Laster  |  January 27, 2012 at 10:21 am

      This song popped into my head yesterday and wouldn’t leave. I couldn’t remember all the words, so decided to Google it today. I learned it in school during WWII when we had an air raid drill. The seven groups, classses, K – 6, would gather in the main hall of our 1903 or three story brick public school in NE New Jersey until the all-clear siren sounded. The first grade teacher would lead us in singing, and this was one of the songs we sang regularly. And the book you mention is one of which I have a copy because I had oved reading my mother’s copy that she talked about so much. When we remember from where we come, we’re better equipped to face the future, no? MTL

      Reply
  • 11. Paul McClintock  |  November 6, 2007 at 2:14 am

    Thank you Sandy – that is nearly word for word as my grandmother used to sing it to me! It brought tears to my eyes to attempt to sing it! Paul

    Reply
  • 12. Jennifer  |  March 6, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I learned that the answer to the question “Did she give you a chair?” was…
    “Yes she gave me a chair, but there was no bottom there.”
    Did anyone else learn it this way?

    Reply
    • 13. Jay Lynch  |  December 25, 2011 at 1:59 am

      Yes, me too, in fact that was the line I googled to find the lyrics for the song. I learned it 40 years ago in southeast PA.

      Reply
  • 14. Mary Pat  |  June 21, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Cyndy, Sandy, and Paul:

    I have been looking for the music for the bobolink song you both knew. My dad is 91 years old and loves to sing. He keeps asking me if I have found this song yet for him. I have music from so many old school songs. He attended school in Duquense, PA.
    Another of his favorite songs was Old Dog Tray.
    Thanks for sharing your memories. Dad is thrilled that others remember!
    Mary Pat

    Reply
  • 16. Taylor  |  May 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    This song is based on the story “Where have you gone charming Billy?” by Tim O’Brien. It is the story of a man the Vietnam War.

    Reply
  • 17. charlotte  |  October 4, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I am so glad to find these words…….I have asked everyone around me if they knew this song. I learned it in elementary school. My mother in law was the only one that knew of this song and we could not think of all the words. She will be happy to know I have found the words.

    Reply
  • 18. Vixie  |  November 30, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Mary-Pat, Cyndy,Sandy and Paul,

    Thanks again for being the only people in the world I have found who know this bob-o-link song and have brought back such great memories of my grandfather who taught me it – and Old Dog Trey, which was one of his favourites. He was born in 1908 and grew up in upstate New York. I was one of his youngest grandchildren and he spent a lot of time telling me about when he was a boy – I think it was probably the happiest time of his life!

    Thanks again so very much for sharing!

    Reply
  • 19. Chuck Kropp  |  June 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Bobolink lyrics. I used to sing this, as a round, with my mother and my aunt. They were from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and born in 1906. They knew it as children. Singing with them is one of my fondest memories.

    Reply
  • 20. jayamal w.s.m.c  |  August 11, 2010 at 6:25 am

    thanks all for display this on net.
    pls arrange a way to listen it too.
    thanks

    Reply
  • 21. Dennis  |  September 23, 2010 at 8:56 am

    When I was growing up is was: 6 x 8 and 4 x 7, 28, and 11. It was used as an aid in math learning as well as a fun song for little kids to sing.

    Reply
  • 22. Rachel  |  October 19, 2010 at 8:30 am

    “Can she drive a model T Billy Boy, Billy boy? Can she drive a model T charming Billy?

    She can drive a model T, but she’ll drive it up a tree, she’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother!”

    My grandmother taught this to my mother, and my mother taught it to me! I’ve been singing it for a very long time!

    Reply
  • 23. Cynthia Kauffman  |  November 12, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Bless you, Beth. It seems we all had bits and pieces of the Bob-o-link song in our memory banks, and those of us who did remember it, all remember it quite fondly. : ) Seems we all had grandparents born around the same time and place, too! (I also loved “Girl of the Limberlost”! Did you know you can find many of Gene Stratton Porter’s books on the Internet in full? I’ve read most of them on my computer. Just google her name and look for titles of her books. “Michael O’Halloran” is a favorite, as is “Freckles”.) Thanks again for finding the full lyrics and sheet music to “Questions”.
    Cyndy Kauffma

    Reply
  • 24. Angela  |  May 1, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I am looking for the bobolink song, Bobolink, bobolink, fly to me, fly to me, don’t stay so high in the window, I want to teach it to my son on the piano but i can’t find the music any takers?

    Reply
  • 25. Frances Mendenhall  |  August 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    These are the lyrics to the Bob-o-link song. I found them in Internet Archive It was published by the San Jose State (CA) Normal School and printed By the Calfornia State Printing Office in 1916 under the title of Gift of Song for the Intermediate Grades
    I.
    Bobolink, swinging on the bough, Listen awhile to me,
    Answer some questions for me now, Of some of the things I see.

    CHORUS :
    Bobolink, tell me, tell me true, How does the clover grow?
    Where do the daisies find their frill, What makes the ocean waves go?
    Where does the rainbow start and end? What makes the sky so blue?
    Tell me the reason, my little friend Bobolink, answer me true.

    II.
    Bobolink, darting to and fro, Many a sight you see,
    Surely the reasons you must know, So won’t you explain to me?

    CHORUS :
    Bobolink, tell me, tell me true, How does the shadow fall?
    How does the robin build her nest? Where does she learn her soft call?
    What makes the grass so fresh and green? Dotted with flowers, too?
    Some of these things you have surely seen. Bobolink, answer me true.

    I didn’t find any sheet music for it. I don’t think the lyrics would fit with the Charming Billy song.

    Reply
  • 26. Lee  |  March 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I woke up with this little ditty on my mind the morning, and Googled it especially for the age. Everytime I added it up, I couldn’t believe she was still living with her Mother at that age…. Ha!
    What a great site this is, I am 88 1/2 years old and remember it as a youngster also.
    I have it as, ‘she was 6 times 7, 28 and 11, she’s a young thing and cannot leave her Mother’.
    She still had a Mother living at that age??? H u mmm?
    Anyway, thanks a bunch for my giggle for the day.
    Lee

    Reply
  • 27. Julie  |  September 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Wow, I remember my dad teaching me this song I probably was 9 or 10, and it was about 1974. Where he learned it from is hard to say; he passed away when I was only 12. He used to sing all kinds of these strange little tunes: Lonely Little Petunia, Boom Boom Aint It Great to Be Crazy and The Bobolink Song:

    ……..”bobolink swinging on the bough, listen a while to me; answer some questions for me now of some of the things i see; bobolink tell me, tell me true, is there a fairy ring? where do the robins build their nest, what makes the ocean waves sing? Bobolink tell me, tell me true is there a sky so blue? Bobolink tell me true, bobolink tell
    me true!”

    Lyrics a little bit different but still the same enchanting song. I truly adore this childhood tune!!!

    Reply
  • 28. Sue Forbes  |  September 10, 2016 at 12:50 am

    I am so excited! My Grandmother and mother used to sing these songs to me…well, first my Grandmother sang them to her kids and my Mom sang it to me…then I sang it to my own kids as well as all our Grandkids. I’m 72 so I know this song has been around for a long time! 😉 The words I knew were: Bob-O-Link swinging on a bough,
    Listen a while to me…answer some questions for me now, of some of the things I see. Bob-O-Link tell me tell me true, is there a fairy ring?
    How do the birds know how to fly? Where do they learn how to sing?
    Who is it hangs the cobwebs out? Where do they make the dew?
    You can explain it without a doubt…Bob-O-Link answer me do.

    Does anyone know the song “The Garden Swing”? I have the words to all the verses and the chorus but was hoping to find the music if anyone knows it. This is another “hand me down song” that all in our family have loved?

    Does anyone remember “I’ll Be Your Little MaMa”? It’s another of a huge group.

    Reply
  • 29. John Church  |  March 17, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Does anyone remember a song that goes like this?
    “Springtime, oh springtime. Beautiful spring.
    Springtime when bluebirds and bobolinks sing.”

    Reply

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