The Rake of Rathkeal

My parents they reared me to rake and to mow,
To plough and to harrow, to reap and to sow,
But my heart was too airy to droop it so low,
I set out on a big speculation.
On paper and parchment they taught me to write,
In Euclid and grammar they opened my eyes,
And in multiplication in truth I was bright,
And I'd settle accounts without falter.

If I'd chance for to go to the town of Rathkeal
The girls all around me do flock in the square,
Some give me a bottle and others sweet cake
To treat me unknown to their parents.
There's one from Askeaton and one from the Pike,
Another from Arda my heart has beguiled,
Though being from the mountains her stockings are white -
And I'd love to be tying her garter.

To quarrel for riches I ne'er was inclined,
For the greatest of misers must leave them behind;
I'd purchase a cow that would never run dry1
And I'd milk her by twisting her horn.
The man to drink from it will cock his caubeen2
And if anyone cough there'll be wigs on the green
And the feeble old hag will be supple and free
When she tipples that draught in the morning.

I think for the future I better be wise,
I'll send for the women who acted so kind,
I'll marry them all in the sweet bye-and-bye,
If the clergy agree tothe bargain.
And when I'm on my back and my soul is a peace
These women will crowd for to cry at my wake
And their sons and their daughters will offer their prayers
To the Lord for the soul of thier father!

1An illicit still

2A hat.

Tune: The Limerick Rake