The Little Beggarman lyrics

by The High Kings

Row-ten dow-ten did-dl-ee ow-ten
Row-ten dow-ten dah...

I am a little beggarman, a-begging I have been
For three score or more in this little isle of green
I'm known from the Liffey down to Segue
And I'm known by the name of old Johnny Dhu

Of all the trades that's going, I'm sure begging is the best
For when a man is tired, he can sit down and rest
He can beg for his dinner, he has nothing else to do
Only cut around the corner with his old rig-a-doo

Row-ten dow-ten did-dl-ee ow-ten
Row-ten dow-ten dah...


I slept in the barn right down at Caurabawn
A wet night came on and I slept until the dawn
With holes in the roof and the rain coming through
And the rats and the cats, they were playing peek-a-boo

When who did I waken but the woman of the house
With her white spotty apron and her calico blouse
She began to frighten, I said, "Boo
Ara, don't be afraid, ma'am, it's only Johnny Dhu"

Row-ten dow-ten did-dl-ee ow-ten
Row-ten dow-ten dah...

I met a little flaxy-haired girl one day
"Good morning, little flaxy-haired girl," I did say
"Good morning, little beggarman, and how do you do
With your rags and your tags and your old rig-a-doo?"

I'll buy a pair of leggings and a collar and a tie
And a nice young lady I'll fetch by and by
I'll buy a pair of goggles, I'll colour them blue
And an old-fashioned lady I will make her, too

Row-ten dow-ten did-dl-ee ow-ten
Row-ten dow-ten dah...

Over the road with me pack on me back
Over the fields with me great, heavy sack
With holes in me shoes and me toes peeping through
Singing, "Skinny-me-rink-a-doodle-o and old Johnny Dhu"

I must be going to bed for it's getting late at night
The fire's all raked and out goes the light
So now you've heard the story of me old rig-a-doo
"It's good-bye and God be with you," says old Johnny Dhu

Row-ten dow-ten did-dl-ee ow-ten
Row-ten dow-ten dah...

Song Details

Beggarman

Writer: Traditional

Brief: The story of a rambling gypsy by the name of Johnny Dhu. He briefly narrates parts of his life, including nights in barns with cats and rats and a "flaxy-haired girl's" attempt to court him.

References:
Liffey - River Liffey which flows through Dublin, Ireland.
flaxy-haired - blonde
goggles - glasses
rig-a-doo - back pack or sack

Category: Folk Song

Covers: The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The Clancy Brothers, Makem & Clancy, Tommy Makem, Cu Chulainn, Wallace Hood, Frank McCaffrey...

Logo The Little Beggarman from the album, The High Kings.

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