“The Drunkard's Ragged Wean”


"A wee bit ragged laddie gaes wandering through the street, Wading mong the snow Wi' his wee bit hacket feet... he's the drunkard's ragged wee ane. The poor child is poor, ill-clothed, ill-fed, and unable to play with other children. The singer urges pity

Supplemental text

Drunkard's Ragged Wean, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Drunkard's Ragged Wee Ane

From John Harrington Cox, Folk-Songs Mainly From West Virginia
(published as the second part of George Herzog, Herbert Halpert,
George Boswell, editors, Traditional Ballads and Folk-Songs
Mainly from West Virginia), #32, pp. 207-208. From Miss E. E. McGregor
of Los Angeles, 1927; from a Scottish tradition.

A wee bit ragged laddie,
  Gaes wandering thru the street,
Wading mong the snaw,
  Wi' his wee bit hacket feet.
He's shivering wi' the cauld blast,
  He's greeting wi' the pain,
O, wha's the puir callan?
  He's the drunkard's ragged we ane.

(2 additional stanzas)


Although collected in California (apparently the only American collection), Cox's text is of Scottish origin (as the dialect shows). My guess, looking at it, was that it began life as a Scottish broadside, and the NLScotland texts seem to confirm this.

NLScotland also has a broadside sequel, NLScotland, LC.Fol.178.A.2(018), "The Reformed Drunkard, An Answer to the Raggit Wean," Robert McIntosh (Glasgow), 1849(?). - RBW


  • NLScotland, RB.m.143(212), "The Drunkard's Raggit Wean," Poet's Box (Dundee), c. 1890; same broadside as LC.Fol.70(97a); also RB.n.168(150), "The Drunkard's Raggit Wean," James Lindsay (Glasgow), 1847-1907


  1. JHCoxIIB, #32, pp. 207-208, "The Drunkard's Ragged Wee Ane" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST CoxIIB32 (Partial)
  3. Roud #3112
  4. BI, CoxIIB32


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (Cox)
Found in: US(SW)