John-John

Original Text: 
The Poetical Works of Thomas MacDonagh (Dublin: Talbot, 1916): 41-43. 23697.12.20 Widener Library, Harvard University
1I dreamt last night of you, John-John,
2    And thought you called to me;
3And when I woke this morning, John,
4    Yourself I hoped to see;
5But I was all alone, John-John,
6    Though still I heard your call:
7I put my boots and bonnet on,
8    And took my Sunday shawl,
9And went, full sure to find you, John,
11The fair was just the same as then,
12    Five years ago to-day,
14    And came with me away;
15For there again were thimble men
16    And shooting galleries,
18    Of all sorts and degrees, --
19But not a sight of you, John-John,
20    Was anywhere.
21I turned my face to home again,
22    And called myself a fool
23To think you'd leave the thimble men
24    And live again by rule,
26    And till the little patch:
27My wish to have you home was past
28    Before I raised the latch
29And pushed the door and saw you, John,
30    Sitting down there.
31How cool you came in here, begad,
32    As if you owned the place!
33But rest yourself there now, my lad,
34    'Tis good to see your face;
35My dream is out, and now by it
36    I think I know my mind:
37At six o'clock this house you'll quit,
38    And leave no grief behind; --
39But until six o'clock, John-John,
40    My bit you'll share.
41The neighbours' shame of me began
42    When first I brought you in;
44    They thought a kind of sin;
45But now this three year since you're gone
46    'Tis pity me they do,
47And that I'd rather have, John-John,
48    Than that they'd pity you.
49Pity for me and you, John-John,
50    I could not bear.
51Oh, you're my husband right enough,
52    But what's the good of that?
53You know you never were the stuff
54    To be the cottage cat,
55To watch the fire and hear me lock
56    The door and put out Shep --
57But there now, it is six o'clock
58    And time for you to step.
59God bless and keep you far, John-John!
60    And that's my prayer.

Notes

10] Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland. Back to Line
13] thimble men: swindlers, as by the game of putting a pea under one of three thimbles, quickly shifting them around, and challenging the mark to guess where it is. Back to Line
17] Maggie men: pimps. Back to Line
25] Roman Catholics are enjoined to go without meat every Friday and in Lent. Back to Line
43] tinker man: tramp, beggar. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2005