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Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go


Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Add: A-Begging We Will Go (28)
Chord Req: To the Beggin' I Will Go (9)
A-begging I will go: relevant today! (7)

GUEST 21 Nov 18 - 02:00 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Nov 18 - 02:27 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Nov 18 - 02:44 PM
Tattie Bogle 21 Nov 18 - 07:32 PM
Joe Offer 21 Nov 18 - 11:39 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Nov 18 - 10:53 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Nov 18 - 12:49 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Nov 18 - 01:01 PM
Tattie Bogle 23 Nov 18 - 08:24 AM
Jim McLean 24 Nov 18 - 03:46 AM
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Subject: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
Date: 21 Nov 18 - 02:00 PM


I am searching for Scottish Children's songs to add to a Hogmanay event. Also searching for any folk tales/lore for adults to add to this Hogmanay event.
Can anyone give any history to the song -{Tae The Beggin I Will Go} & lyrics to this song?

If you have any suggestions for Scottish Children's songs about winter or anything related to Hogmanay that would be great.

Any leads to Scottish folklore or stories about Hogmanay would be much appreciated.

Thanks so much for any leads or ideas.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Nov 18 - 02:27 PM

Note here from Maccoll's 'Manchester Angel' album might be of help

Most of the versions of this song still current in Scotland differ only in matters of detail from the one printed in Ford's Vagabond Songs, where its authorship is attributed to Alexander Ross (1700-1783). A black-letter copy of an English version appears in The Bagford Collection of Ballads, where it is described as The Beggars Chorus in The Jovial Crew, 1641, a play by Richard Broome, who, in addition to being a minor dramatist acted as Ben Jonson's servant. Chappell, in his Popular Music, observes that the song does not appear in the printed text of the play and suggests that it was probably an actor's interpolation. Both the Scots versions and the 19th century Lancashire version given here have stanzas in common with Broome's song.
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Nov 18 - 02:44 PM

This song is an exercise in collecting, a bit like The Unfortunate Rake series. There are so many begging songs. Tae the begging I will go, is the only one I know that describes physical attributes, like long hair and nails, and a greasy hat. The Lancashire version mentions fusty coats and black patches, and pretend physical disabilities, like deaf or blind, and affecting crutches. The Irish (sic) version with the chorus too roo rantin' hoy, is supposed to be about King James, who apparently liked to go around among his subjects in the guise of a beggar. Even Tramps and Hawkers is a begging song
Can't help with a set of lyrics, I have Alex Campbell singing on an album, but that#s it.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 21 Nov 18 - 07:32 PM

As for folklore and customs associated in Scotland with Hogmanay, Guest might like to Google "Galoshins" (various spellings)- a Mummers-type play in various versions, traditionally linked to Hogmanay and first-footing.
Especially try the Tobar an Dualchais website.

And if you are looking for children's songs, try the Scots Sangs for Schools website, constructed by Ewan McVicar.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Nov 18 - 11:39 PM

Hi -
I hope we're all talking about the same song. Here are the lyrics we have in our Digital Tradition Folk Song Database:


Of all the trades in England the beggin' is the best
For when a beggar's tired, he can sit him down and rest

And a-beggin' I will go-o-o
And a-beggin' I will go

I've a poke for me ma'le and another for me rye
I've a bottle by me side, to drink when I am dry


I've a poke for me salt an another for me malt
I've a pair of little crutches, you should see how I can halt.


I've been abeggin' seven years with me ol' wooden leg
For lame I've been, since I was born, and so I'm forced to beg


In a hollow tree I pass the night, and there I pay no rent
Providence provides for me, and I am well content



English Traditional
Words from "Folksongs of Britain and Ireland", copyright 1984 by
Oak Publications.
Tune "ABEGGIN" from Popular Music of the Olden Time, Chapell
Note: Tune used for a large number of songs like A-Hunting I Will Go,
A-Hawking, A-Bowling A-Fishing etc.
recorded by Ewan MacColl on Manchester Angel and Carthy &
filename[ ABEGGIN
Right-Click to Download Midi File

A-Begging I Will Go

DESCRIPTION: "Of all the trades in England, The begging is the best, For when the beggar's tired, he can lay him down and rest...." The beggar describes the various pleasures of his profession, and declares that he will continue begging
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1684 (Playford's Choyce Ayres and Loyal Songs)
KEYWORDS: begging nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North,Lond,south),Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Greig "Folk-Song in Buchan," pp. 31-32, "The Begging Trade"; Greig #30, p. 1, "The Beggin'" (2 texts)
GreigDuncan3 488, "The Begging" (14 texts, 11 tunes)
Williams-Thames, p. 305, "Of All the Trades in London" (1 fragment) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 653)
Kennedy 217, "A-Begging I Will Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logan, pp. 164-166, "The Jovial Beggar, a-begging we will go" (1 text)
Chappell/Wooldridge II, pp. 42-43, "A Begging We Will Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bell-Combined, "A Begging We Will Go" (1 text)
Ford-Vagabond, pp. 267-270, "A-Begging We Will Go" (1 text, 1 tune, very long and conflate)
Ord, pp. 381-382, "To the Beggin' I Will Go" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 265, "The Happy Beggarman"
Tim Coughlan, Now Shoon the Romano Gillie, (Cardiff,2001), pp. 287-289, "A Begging I Will Go" as one of the sources of Coughlan 94, "O, a-beggin' I will go, my love."

Roud #286
Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "To the Begging I Will Go" (on ENMacCollSeeger02)
Bodleian, Harding B 28(287), "The Beggar," C. Croshaw (York), c.1817
cf. "Let the Back and Sides Go Bare" (theme)
cf. "The Old Settoo" (theme and some lines)
cf. "Beggars and Ballad Singers" (theme : "who would be a king, When beggars live so well?")
Age Renewed by Wedlock/Come All Ye Ancient Women (BBI ZN511)
The Merry Beggars of Lincolns-Inn-Fields/Three beggars met together (BBI ZN2603)
The Papist Prayers/There Is a Holy Father (BBI ZN2427)
The Rambling Roman Catholick/I am a Roman Catholick (BBI ZN1225)
Tradesman's Complaint, "Come hither, brother tradesmen, And hear the news I bring, 'Tis of a Tory minister" (song against the British policies leading to the American Revolution; see Stanley Weintraub, _Iron Tears: America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire 1775-1783_, pp. 20-21)
A Junto Song ("'Tis money makes the member vote... A-taxing we will go") (Rabson, p. 29)
To the Begging I Will Go
NOTES [275 words]: Coughlan, Now Shoon the Romano Gillie, pp. 288-289, notes the following verse from Playford's Choyce Ayres and Loyal Songs (1684): "I fear no plots against me, I live in open cell, Then who would be a king, When beggars live so well?" Coughlan continues, "It has been suggested that this verse contains a veiled reference to the tradition that King James V of Scotland (1513-42) was in the habit of consorting with Travellers.... {A} similar story is told of the English King John (1199-1216)...." This may be confused with the report in Child's preface to 279, "The Jolly Beggar": "We are regularly informed by editors that tradition imputes the authorship of both 'The Jolly Beggar' and 'The Gaberlunyie-Man' to James Fifth of Scotland.... The tradition as to James Fifth is, perhaps, not much older than the publication in either case [1724], and has no more plausibility than it has authority." - BS
The basis for the legend may be the fact that he was a fairly lusty liege; according to Stanley B. R. Poole, Royal Mysteries and Pretenders, Barnes & Noble, 1993, p. 36, he was thought to have had as many as nine illegitimate children. But I agree that there is no reason to link the songs to him.
Logan has this from a broadside "Be Valiant Still," with the tune listed as "The old carle to daunton me." Whatever that is; a tune "To Daunton Me" is #182 in the Scots Musical Museum.
The notion of begging songs predates even this quite ancient piece; in A Poetical Rhapsody, published 1602, we find "In Praise of a Beggar's Life" ("Bright shines the sun; play, beggars, play! Here's scraps enough to serve to-day"), credited to "A.W." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
File: K217

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Nov 18 - 10:53 AM

That's the Lancashire version I mentioned Joe, recorded by several folks including our own George Papavgeris. The one mentioned in the OP is a Scottish version that starts

O aw the trades a man kin try sure beggin' is the best
Fir when a beggar's tired he kin aye sit doon an rest
Tae the beggin ah will go will go
Tae the beggin' ah will go

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Subject: Lyr Add: TO THE BEGGING WE WILL GO (Alexander Ross
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Nov 18 - 12:49 PM

From Helenore, or The Fortunate Shepherdess [and other poems] by Alexander Ross (Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, 1866), page 287:


[1] Of all the trades that ever was,
The begging is the best.
When I am tired with begging
I will ly down and rest,

CHORUS: To the begging we will go, will go, will go,
To the begging we will go.

[2] And first I’ll have a meal pock
Of good aum’d leather made,
To hold at least a firlot,
And room for beef and bread.

[3] I’ll next unto the turner,
And cause him turn a dish
To hold at least three choppins,
For less I wad na wish.

[4] I’ll then unto the cobbler,
And cause him sole my shoon,
An inch thick in the boddam,
And clouted well aboon.

[5] I’ll carry to the tailor
A web of hoding gray,
That he may make a cloak of it,
To hap me night and day.

[6] Then I’ll unto some greasy cook,
And buy frae him a hat,
That is baith stiff and weather-proof,
And glittering o’er with fat.

[7] Then with my pike-staff in my hand,
To close my begging stock,
I’ll go unto some lucky wife
To hansel my new pock.

[8] But yet ere I begin my trade,
I’ll lat my beard grow strang,
Nor pare my nails for year and day;
For beggars use them lang.

[9] I’ll put no water on my hands,
As little on my face;
For still the lowner like I am,
The more my trade I’ll grace.

[10] When I the men at work espy,
I’ll hirple to the house;
If nane be in but the goodwife,
Then I’ll crack wondrous crouse.

[11] I’ll seek frae her my lodging,
Though it be far frae night j
Then, to let me be trudging,
She’ll sair me right and tight.

[12] At ilka house I’ll play the same,
Till it be growing mark,
And the goodman be sitten down,
And come in frae his wark.

[13] Then saftly leaning o’er my staff,
I’ll say, with hat in hand,
Will the poor man get lodging here?
Alas, I cannot stand.

[14] Then Lucky, happily, will say,
Poor man we hae nae room;
Ere all our fouks be set about,
We wadna had your thumb.

[15] Then, well I wat, goodwife, I’ll say,
Ise no seek near the fire;
Let me but rest my weary banes
Behind backs at the spire.

[16] I’ll seek but bree out of the pot,
Frae ’mang your boiling kail,
To be my supper brose; for I
Mysell hae cap and meal.

[17] Hout ay, poor man, come ben your wa’,
The gossip syne will say;
We’ll ca’ a wedge to make you room,
’T has been a cauldriff day.

[18] When at the fire I’m set a wee,
Then I’ll begin and sing,
And do my best to gar them gauff
All round about the ring.

[19] I’ll pick up all the merry tales,
That I hear anywhere;
And all the news of town and land,
And, oh, I’ll tell them clair.

[20] When the goodwife begins to rise,
And ready mak the kail,
Then I’ll bang out my beggar dish,
And stap it fou of meal.

[21] Then, maybe, the goodwife will say,
Poor man, let be your meal;
Ye’re welcome to your brose the night,
And to your bread and kail.

[22] And then I will be sure to pray,
To haud them all their heal,
And wish that never they nor theirs
Want either milk or meal.

[23] But then I’ll never mind when the
Goodman to labour cries;
The thivel on the pottage pan
Shall strike my hour to rise.

[24] And when I’m tursing at my pocks,
If the goodwife shall say,
Stay still, and get your morning meal;
What maks you haste away?

[25] Oh, then, what bonny words I’ll gie,
And roose her out of wit,
And pray, as lang as I do gang,
That still she there may sit.

[26] When I of any wedding hear,
I’ll cast me to be there,
And pray my hearty benison
Upon the winsome pair.

[27] Then, with my cap into one hand,
My hat into the other,
Wherever foulk are drinking bauld,
I will go bobbing thither.

[28] Then I will to the minstrels say,
For they are never scant,
With leave of the good company,
Play me the Beggar’s Rant.

[29] Then I will wallop out a dance,
Or tell some merry tale,
Till some good fellow in my dish
Turn o’er the stoup and ale.

[30] Then I will drink their healths about,
And wish them a’ good heal,
And pray, they never want enough,
Nor yet a heart to deal.

[31] But I am o’er lang frae my trade,
If things should answer sae;
’Tis time that I were at the gate,
And tursing up the brae.

[32] If things shall answer to my scheme,
I’ll come again and tell;
But if I hae mistane my trade,
Ise keep it to mysell.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Nov 18 - 01:01 PM

Thanks Jim, that has far more verses than I have ever heard sung, it's approaching the "Muckle Sang" classification there.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 23 Nov 18 - 08:24 AM

The tune notated above is quite different from the one I know, which is as sung by Alex Campbell (and many others), mentioned by John above.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Orgin & lyrics to Tae a Beggin I will go
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Nov 18 - 03:46 AM

The Gaberlunzie Man.

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