Johnny Doyle


You sons of Dan O’Connell’s guard, give ear unto my doleful ditty
It’s all about a sailor lad, whose birthplace was in Dublin city
My song is just to demonstrate a story with a pious moral
That starts around by Carlisle Bridge and ends up on the Isle of Coral

A schooner sailed from Grorge’s Quay, for foreign parts one sultry season
And on the shore, a maiden stood and cried like one bereft of reason
Oh Johnny Doyle, my love for you is true, but full of deep contrition
For what’ll all the neighbours say about me in this sad condition

The capstan turned, the sails unfurled, the schooner scudded down the Liffey
This damsel gave a piercing shriek, she was a mother in a jiffy
The vessel passed the harbour bar and headed out for foreign waters
To China, where they’re very wise, and drown at birth their surplus daughters

Now years and years have passed and gone, and Mary’s child is self-supporting
And Mary’s heart is fit to break when this young buck goes out a-courting
And so says she ‘On one fine day, he’ll go and leave me melancholy
I’ll dress meself in sailor’s clothes and scour the seven seas for Johnny’

She shipped on board a pirate bold that raided on the hot equator
And with these hairy bucaneers there sailed this sweet and virtuous creature
The captain thought her name was Bill, his character was most nefarious
Consorting with this heinous beast, her situation was precarious

It was in the Saragossa Sea, two rakish barques were idly rolling
And Mary on the middle watch, the quarter deck she was patrolling
She calmly watched the neighbouring ship, then suddenly became exclaimant
For there upon the gilded poop, stood Johnny Doyle in gorgeous raiment

And now they’re back in sweet Ringsend, the gem that sparkles on the Dodder
He leads a peaceful merchant’s life and does a trade in oats and fodder
By marriage lines she’s Mrs. Doyle, she runs a stall of perrywinkles
And when Johnny hears one’s on the way, his single eye with joy, it twinkles

And now their family numbers ten and Mary’s heart sings lke a linnet
For Johnny’s calmed that wild young buck that stretched her patience to the limit
They’re happy now in sweet Ringsend, no more they’ll sail for foreign waters
For Johnny Doyle, his hands are full, with five strong sons and five sweet daughters


Song Clip