Bungle Rye

 Anthony Power
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Notes

Bungle Rye, song (As I went a-walking a fair London Street …)

This early 19th-century broadside ballad is a warning about the dangers of female wiles. The protagonist is tricked into paying 20 shillings for a basket that he thinks contains a bottle of liquor. Instead it contains a baby, whom he christens John Bungle Rye. 

In many versions of this song, the phrase “Bung yer eye” appears instead of “Bungle Rye.” Indeed, Kenneth Peacock includes this song in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3, under the title “Young Bung-’er’eye,” noting that “bung-yer-eye” is an old sailing term for strong rum or hard liquor (1965:895–6).