“A-Begging I Will Go”


"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


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

Same tune

  • 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)

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 28(287), "The Beggar," C. Croshaw (York), c.1817


  • Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "To the Begging I Will Go" (on ENMacCollSeeger02)


  1. Kennedy 217, "A-Begging I Will Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Logan, pp. 164-166, "The Jovial Beggar, a-begging we will go" (1 text)
  3. Chappell/Wooldridge II, pp. 42-43, "A Begging We Will Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Ford-Vagabond, pp. 267-270, "A-Begging We Will Go" (1 text, 1 tune, very long and conflate)
  5. Ord, pp. 381-382, "To the Beggin' I Will Go" (1 text)
  7. ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 265, "The Happy Beggarman"
  8. Roud #286
  9. BI, K217


Alternate titles: “To the Begging I Will Go”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1684
Keywords: begging nonballad
Found in: Britain(England(North,Lond),Scotland(Aber))