“True-Born Irish Man (With My Swag All on My Shoulder; The True-Born Native Man)”


The singer arrives in (Australia/Philadelphia) from Ireland and sets out to ramble. The girls rejoice at his presence. (A tavern-keeper's daughter) is scolded by her mother for wanting to follow him. She is determined to do so anyway


The popular version of this piece, "With My Swag All on My Shoulder," is by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson, but the song appears to be older. Perhaps more characteristic than any particular plot is the second half of the first verse, which often becomes a chorus:

With my (swag/bundle) on my shoulder,

My (stick/billy) in my hand,

I'll travel round (the country/Australia/etc.)

(Like/I'm) a (true-born Irishman/true-born native man/roving journeyman). - RBW

Broadside LOCSinging sb40459b: J. Andrews dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS

Same tune

  • Neuve Chappelle (File: HHH526)

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(3353), "Roving Journeyman," J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Harding B 11(1229), Harding B 11(1479), Johnson Ballads 2807, Harding B 11(3354), Harding B 11(3355), 2806 b.11(33), Firth c.18(249), Harding B 11(3352), Harding B 11(804), 2806 d.31(40), Harding B 11(1228), 2806 b.11(203), Firth c.26(218), Harding B 25(1671), "[The] Roving Journeyman"
  • LOCSinging, sb40459b, "The Roving Journeyman," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859


  • Paddy Doran, "The Roving Journeyman" (on FSB3)
  • Tom Willett, "The Roaming Journeyman" (on Voice20)


  1. Meredith/Anderson, pp. 62, 122, "Dennis O'Reilly"; p. 138, "Tramp the Bushes of Australia" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
  2. FSCatskills 126, "The Roving Irishman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Dean, pp.124-125, "The Roving Irishman" (1 text)
  4. Fahey-Eureka, pp. 76-77, "Denis O'Reilly" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Kennedy 353, "The Roving Journeyman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Manifold-PASB, pp. 36-37, "With My Swag All on My Shoulder (Denis O'Riley)" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 125-127, "With My Swag All On My Shoulder" (1 text)
  8. Smith/Hatt, pp. 86-88, "The Rambling Irishman" (1 text)
  9. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 15, "The Roving Journeyman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Roud #360
  12. BI, MA062


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3353))
Found in: Australia US(MA,Mw) England(Lond,South) Ireland Canada(Mar)