I am a little beggarman, a begging I have been
For three score or more in this little isle of green
I'm known along the Liffey down to Segue
I'm known by the the name of Johnny Dhu.
Of all the trades a-going, the 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 rigadoo*.
I slept in a barn way down in Currabawn
A wet night it was, but I slept until the dawn
There was holes in the roof and the raindrops coming thru
When the rats and the cats they were playing peek-a-boo.
Who should awaken but the woman of the house
With her white spotted apron and her calico blouse
She began to frighten and I said, "Boo!
Well, don't be afraid, it's only Johnny Dhu."
I met a little flaxy-haired girl one day
"Good morrow little flaxy-haired girl," I did say.
"Good morrow little beggarman and how do you do
With your rags and your tags and your auld rigadoo."
I'll buy a pair of leggins and a collar and a tie
And a nice young lady I'll fetch by and by
I'll buy a pair of goggles and color them blue**
And an old-fashioned lady I will make her too.
Over the road with my pack upon my back
Over the fields with my great heavy sack
With holes in my shoes and my toes a peeping thru
Singing, skin-a-ma-rink-a-doodle with my auld rigadoo.
I must be going to bed for it's getting late at night
The fire is all raked and out goes light
So now you've heard the story of my auld rigadoo
So good night and God be with you, from auld Johnny Dhu.
*A rigadoo is a cart that a homeless person might push, but it's also a walking stick.
**This line was originally, "We'll buy ya a pair of leggings and color them blue" which could mean that they'd color them blue to signify she's married.