Nursery Rhymes

Bobby Shafto

Bobby Shafto's gone to sea,
Silver buckles at his knee;
He'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shafto!

Bobby Shafto's fat and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair;
He's my love fore everymore,
Bonny Bobby Shafto!

Bobby Shafto's looking out,
All his ribbons flew about,
All the ladies gave a shout,
Hey for bobby Shafto!


NOTE: The Shafto family was named for Shaftoe village in Northumberland. Over the generations, there were at least 7 different Robert Shaftos. The Bobby Shafto in the nursery rhyme above is thought to be composed in support of Robert Shafto of Whitworth of the County Durham branch of the family, who ran for Parliament in 1761. His portrait portrays him as young, handsome with yellow hair. Such was his beauty that at least one heiress was said to have died for love of him.

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