“The Little Beggar Boy”


The beggar boy's mother is gone and his father is a drunkard who beats him. He misses his mother and wishes to be buried by her. Last verse: "My coffin shall be black/Six white angels at the back/Two to watch, two to pray/Two to carry my soul away"


This should not be confused with "The Little Beggarman," an entirely separate song. The last verse is a floater, tacked on from elsewhere; MacColl & Seeger note that it's a children's game, found in Edinburgh. I've heard recordings of it from Americans as well. I use the keyword "playparty" for the final verse because we lack a keyword "game." - PJS

Cross references


  1. MacSeegTrav 122, "The Little Beggar Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #6355
  4. BI, McCST122


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1962 (collected from Emily Baker)
Found in: Britain(England(South))