Johnny Rich

by Will McKendree Carleton

Will Carleton

Raise the light a little, Jim,
For it's getting rather dim,
And, with such a storm a-howlin', 'twill not do to douse the glim.
Hustle down the curtains, Lu;
Poke the fire a little, Su;
This is somethin' of a flurry, mother, somethin' of a--whew!

Goodness gracious, how it pours!
How it beats ag'in the doors!
You will have a hard one, Jimmy, when you go to do the chores!
Do not overfeed the gray;
Give a plenty to the bay;
And be careful with your lantern when you go among the hay.

See the horses have a bed
When you've got 'em fairly fed;
Feed the cows that's in the stable, and the sheep that's in the shed;
Give the spotted cow some meal,
Where the brindle can not steal;
For she's greedy as a porker, and as slipp'ry as an eel.

Hang your lantern by the ring,
On a nail, or on a string;
For the Durham calf 'll bunt it, if there's any such a thing:
He's a handsome one to see,
And a knowin' one is he:
I stooped over t'other morning, and he up and went for me!

Rover thinks he hears a noise!
Just keep still a minute, boys;
Nellie, hold your tongue a second, and be silent with your toys.
Stop that barkin', now, you whelp,
Or I'll kick you till you yelp!
Yes, I hear it; 'tis somebody that's callin' out for help.

Get the lantern, Jim and Tom;
Mother, keep the babies calm,
And we'll follow up that halloa, and we'll see where it is from.
'Tis a hairy sort of night


For a man to face and fight;
And the wind is blowin'--Hang it, Jimmy, bring another light!

Ah! 'twas you, then, Johnny Rich,
Yelling out at such a pitch,
For a decent man to help you, while you fell into the ditch:
'Tisn't quite the thing to say,
But we ought to've let you lay,
While your drunken carcass died a-drinkin' water any way.

And to see you on my floor,
And to hear the way you snore,
Now we've lugged you under shelter, and the danger all is o'er;
And you lie there, quite resigned,


Whisky deaf, and whisky blind,
And it will not hurt your feelin's, so I guess I'll free my mind.

Do you mind, you thievin' dunce,
How you robbed my orchard once,
Takin' all the biggest apples, leavin' all the littlest runts?
Do you mind my melon-patch--
How you gobbled the whole batch,
Stacked the vines, and sliced the greenest melons, just to raise the

Do you think, you drunken wag,
It was any thing to brag,
To be cornered in my hen-roost, with two pullets in a bag?
You are used to dirty dens;
You have often slept in pens;
I've a mind to take you out there now, and roost you with the hens!

Do you call to mind with me
How, one night, you and your three
Took my wagon all to pieces for to hang it on a tree?
How you hung it up, you eels,
Straight and steady, by the wheels?
I've a mind to take you out there now, and hang you by your heels!

How, the Fourth of last July,
When you got a little high,
You went back to Wilson's counter when you thought he wasn't nigh?
How he heard some specie chink,
And was on you in a wink,
And you promised if he'd hush it that you never more would drink?

Do you mind our temperance hall?
How you're always sure to call,
And recount your reformation with the biggest speech of all?
How you talk, and how you sing,
That the pledge is just the thing--
How you sign it every winter, and then smash it every spring?

Do you mind how Jennie Green
Was as happy as a queen
When you walked with her on Sunday, looking sober, straight, and clean?


How she cried out half her sight,
When you staggered by, next night,
Twice as dirty as a serpent, and a hundred times as tight?

How our hearts with pleasure warmed
When your mother, though it stormed.
Run up here one day to tell us that you truly had reformed?
How that very self-same day,
When upon her homeward way,
She run on you, where you'd hidden, full three-quarters o'er the bay?

Oh, you little whisky-keg!
Oh, you horrid little egg!
You're goin' to destruction with your swiftest foot and leg!
I've a mind to take you out
Underneath the water-spout,
Just to rinse you up a little, so you'll know what you're about!

But you've got a handsome eye,
And, although I can't tell why,
Somethin' somewhere in you always lets you get another try:
So, for all that I have said,
I'll not douse you; but, instead,
I will strip you, I will rub you, I will put you into bed!

Last updated October 26, 2022