Lyrics to “Bill Grogan’s Goat”

Darina wrote:


I was just reading a story about a goat eating everything and it reminded me of the song “Bill Grogan’s Goat” ( I think that is the name of it). Does anyone know where I can find the lyrics?

This is a traditional Scout song. Each line is sung and then repeated by the group. Here are the lyrics:

Bill Grogan’s Goat

Bill Grogan’s goat,
Was feeling fine.
Ate three red shirts,
Right off the line.

Bill took a stick,
Gave him a whack,
And tied that goat,
To the railroad track.

The whistle blew,
The train grew nigh,
Bill Grogan’s goat,
Was doomed to die.

He heaved a sigh,
Of awful pain,
Coughed up the shirts,
And flagged the train!



This article was posted on Thursday, January 18th, 2007 at 6:12 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Languages, Mama Lisa, Questions, Readers Questions, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

17 Responses to “Lyrics to “Bill Grogan’s Goat””

  1. Darina Says:


    THANK YOU! I can’t wait to share this with my students tomorrow! I really didn’t think that anyone else but me remembered this silly song.

  2. Ted Says:

    Lisa, I recall that there was also one final verse omitted above:

    The engineer was awful sore,
    He climbed in the cab and slammed the door.
    The whistle blew, he rang the bell,
    And knocked Bill Grogan’s goat right straight to —-
    Way down upon a Swanee River,
    That’s where the dead goats lie.

  3. debbie Says:

    we sang that at camp, the second part of the song is as follows – Bill Grogans goat not a chicken but a goat, was feeling fine not sad but fine, stole 3 red shirts not sox but shirts, right off the line not a rope but a line, Bill took a stick not a rope but a stick,gave him a whack not a smack but a whack and tied him to not one but two the railroad track not a road but a track, the whistle blew not red but blew the train drew nigh not far but nigh, Bill Grogans goat not a chicken but a goat was doomed to die not live but die, he gave a moan not a groan but a moan of awful pain not of joy but of pain, coughed up those shirts not sox but shirts and flagged the train, not a plane but a train,,,,,

  4. Howard Says:

    Amazing how we learned this in like first grade. Kind of a depressing story. Didn’t understand it at all.

  5. Barbara Huet de Guerville Says:

    Another version is called Old Hogan’s Goat.

  6. JC Says:

    According to an old music book of children’s song, here is the complete song:
    Bill Grogan’s goat was feeling fine, ate 3 red shirts from off the line.
    Bill took a stick, gave him a whack and tied him to the railroad track.
    The whistle blew; the train drew nigh. Bill Grogan’s goat was doomed to die!
    He gave 3 groans of awful pain, coughed up those shirts, flagged down the train!
    The engineer stopped the train in time, took Bill’s red shirts, washed off the grime.
    He untied Bill’s goat from the railroad track and took him to Bill Grogan’s shack.
    He wore those shirts; they fit just fine. And chugged away on the railroad line.
    Bill feeds his goat with special care, lest he should eat his underwear!

  7. PRW Says:

    Thanks to everyone! My father sang this to all babies, starting with my generation. (I’m now 88)
    My granddaughter has just acquired 4 goats, one of which just delivered 2 kids. I’ve shared this with her and waiting for her response. Regards, PRW

  8. Patty Reagan Says:

    My dad used to gather us kids Friday nights and we would climb up on their beds and sing many songs. This was one of them. I couldn’t remember all the words. Now 55+ years later the song popped in my head and I couldn’t remember all the words. Thank you for this. Brings back such beautiful memories!!

  9. Sharon Fisch Says:

    I am so glad I found this. I was working on my genealogy records, and in my folks’ folder, I had written the words to this song as my dad sang it to me very often, mind you, this was over 60 years ago. Googled this and I am grateful to JC who wrote January 2019, those lyrics were the ones my dad sang to me. But I never heard the verse after “And flagged the train”. Thank you for that.

  10. Sandra Klouda Says:

    Loved singing this song when I was a kid too, and even now. I’m 75 and am very glad to have found all the lyrics to Bill Grogan’s Goat. Have no grandchildren, only granddogs!

  11. Dorothy Shank Says:

    This is a fun song that was in one of the Thomson music books when I was taking piano lessons as a child. My siblings and I sing this song at our extended family reunions…by request! This reunion includes four generations. Now that I am nearly 90, my great grandchildren want me to sing it for them! What fun!

  12. Ravi Samson Says:

    We sang this song in the 1950s with a slight mod. I grew up in the city of Bombay…

    “The Bombay goat
    was feeling fine,
    ate 3 red shirts,
    right off the line.”

    The rest is just the same & no last verse about the engineer. Probably because we learnt it in Kinder-garden.
    They may have officially changed the name to Mumbai, but the local Marathi speaking people had problems pronouncing “B” and always said Mumbai, B is a difficult consonant to pronounce for many peoples. In Greek the second letter is not pronounced Beta but Vita.

  13. Leeanne Says:

    Very curious! My childhood version went like this:

    There was a man named Nathan Stone,
    And he had a goat that he called his own.
    Now this here goat got to feeling fine
    Ate 6 red shirts right off the line.

    When Nathan saw what the goat had done
    He said, Now goat, your time has come.
    So he took him down to the railroad track
    And tied him so he couldn’t come back.

    And the engine came,
    and the whistle blew
    And that poor goat
    Knew his time was due.

    * (Next (last) verse added by me for the sake of my grandkids…)
    But the engineer saw him on the track
    He stopped the train
    (OR: He untied the goat)
    And he took him back
    To Nathan Stone
    Who loved the goat, that he called his own.


    Has anyone else ever heard the Nathan Stone version???

  14. Michael cox aged 83 Says:

    We have a beautiful wooden goat fashioned in the ancient Greek recumbent style and painted as if reclaimed from the sea covered all over with verdigrie (green) and with golden horns. In trying to conjure up a name for him i recalled a story from my childhood. But it was Paddy McGinty’s Goat in my version. Thanks.

  15. Michelle Says:

    When we sang it, it was Old Hogan’s Goat and Coughed up the shirts and flagged the train was the end.

  16. karmik mike stein Says:

    Here is the version our entire camp used to sing down by the lake during campfire night.

    Bill Grogan’s Goat
    was feeling fine
    ate three red shirst
    from off the line

    Bill took a stick
    gave him a whack
    and tied him to
    the railroad tracks

    The whistle blew
    the train drew nugh
    Bill Grogan’s goat
    was sure to die

    He let out three groans
    of aweful pain
    coughed up the shirts
    and flagged the train

    The engineer
    came out to see
    what in the heck
    this thing could be

    And when he saw
    twas a billy goat
    took out his knife
    and slit his throat

    When he got to heaven
    Saint Peter said
    dear billy goat
    where is your head

    I do not know
    I cannot tell
    for all I know

    ………it could be way down yonder in the cornfield

    ……… without a shirt !

  17. Ed B. Says:

    I remember mom singing this song when I was a kid. She has been gone for 30 years now and was just short of 60 when she passed on. I always wondered just how old this song really is.
    It does bring back good memories of mom. she really liked to sing.

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