Clare County Library
Songs of Clare
Home | Library Catalogue | Music of Clare | Photographic Collection | Maps | Folklore | Genealogy | History | Copyright | What's New

Rambling Boys of Pleasure
(Roud 386)
John Lyons

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

John Lyons

You rambling boys of pleasure, give ear unto these words I write,
I own I am a rover, and in rambling I take great delight.
I have set my heart on a handsome maid, but often-times she does me slight.
And my mind is never easy, only when my true love is in sight.

Down by yon flowery garden, where my true love and I did meet,
I took her in my arms, and kisses to her I gave sweet.
She bade me take life easy, just as the leaves fall from yonder tree.
Ah but I being young and foolish, with my true love I could not agree.

And the second time I saw my love, sure I thought her heart was nearly mine.
But as the weather changes, my darling girl she changed her mind.
Gold is the root of evil, but each wears a glittering hue,
Oh it’s many's the lad and lass did part, but their hearts, like mine, be e'er so true.

And I wish I was in Amerikay, and my true love along with me.
Money in our pockets, to keep us in good company.
Liquor to be a-plentiful, a flowing bowl at every side,
And hard fortune ne'er would daunt us, for we are young and the world is wide.


“This was composed sometime in the eighteenth century. A hand-written copy of an American version dated 1784 is now in the possession of the Baker Memorial Library at Hanover, New Hampshire. In this copy the first verse reads:

It's down in Sally's Garden
O there hangs Rosies three
O there I met a fair maid
Who told to me her mind so free
She bids me take love easy
As leaves they do fall from the tree
But I being young and Crazy
Could not with her agree.

It is claimed to have provided the poet W. B. Yeats with the inspiration of his poem, ‘An Old Song re-Sung’, later called ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’. The poet is said to have first heard from an old woman who sang it as she sat milking her cow in a field outside the village of Ballysodare in County Sligo.”

Ballads Migrant in New England, Flanders & Olney, New York, 1952.
Jim Carroll

<< Songs of Clare