Billy O’Rourke


In the sweet County Leitrim, I first had my home
I know ‘tis in Connacht, I deem this no shame
The night I was born, there was humour and joy
To know that my daddy had such a fine boy

Och and abhrón, how the midwife did talk to me
“You have your daddy’s thick lips and your Mammy’s puff cheek”
Be the hokey, said Paddy, he’s such a son to his daddy
We’ll get the child christened this very night week

The clergy got notice the night it would be
The gossips were sent for to stand up for me
When all things were ready, the priest took his book
Said my father “now call the child, Billy O’Rourke”

Och and abhrón, there was fun at the christening
There was lashings of whiskey, fat mutton and pork
The things were so softening, they all started gossiping
To lengthen the christening of Billy O’Rourke

To make me a scholar, my parents agreed
Before I could spell they would have me to read
They kept me to school and I learned so fast
“be the hokey” said the master “you’ll outdo me at last”

Och and abhrón, but the scholars got fond of me
My own putty face in their examples, they’d work
And oft times they’d come with their copies and sums
Just to ask the opinion of Billy O’Rourke

At a meeting of all my relations one night
To bind me an apprentice, they agreed upon right
I worked for promotion and never did stop
Until I got first place at the top of the shop

Och and abhrón, then the mistress got fond of me
The creature, when tipsy, how silly she’d look
And say to me “Billy, when the old man will die
Sure we’ll make man and master of Billy O’Rourke”

With the bucks of the town I began to steer
I was not worth my wages one day of the year
The people all wondered how neatly I dressed
But that was a secret my tailor knew best

Och and abhrón, if they knew but the half of it
The comical way that some journey men work
‘tis a secret unknown to the bucks of the town
But as clear as bog water to Billy O’Rourke

And now to conclude and to finish my song
You may read in the bible how trouble began
In the sweet bounds of wedlock, I mean to comply
With a neat little girl I have in my eye

Och and abhrón, how sweetly, I’ll talk to her
This will convince her my suit is no joke
And when this comes about, you will hear of the rout
There will be at the wedding of Billy O’Rourke