The Raggedy Man

James Whitcomb Riley 1849 (Greenfield) – 1916 (Indianapolis)

1     O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
2     An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
3     He comes to our house every day,
4     An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
5     An' he opens the shed -- an' we all ist laugh
6     When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
7     An' nen -- ef our hired girl says he can --
8     He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann. --
9       Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
10       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

11   W'y, The Raggedy Man -- he's ist so good,
12   He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood;
13   An' nen he spades in our garden, too,
14   An' does most things 'at boys can't do. --
15   He clumbed clean up in our big tree
16   An' shooked a' apple down fer me --
17   An' 'nother 'n', too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann --
18   An' 'nother 'n', too, fer The Raggedy Man. --
19     Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?
20       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

21   An' The Raggedy Man one time say he
22   Pick' roast' rambos from a' orchurd-tree,
23   An' et 'em -- all ist roast' an' hot! --
24   An' it's so, too! -- 'cause a corn-crib got
25   Afire one time an' all burn' down
26   On "The Smoot Farm," 'bout four mile from town --
27   On "The Smoot Farm"! Yes -- an' the hired han'
28   'At worked there nen 'uz The Raggedy Man! --
29     Ain't he the beatin'est Raggedy Man?
30       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

31   The Raggedy Man's so good an' kind
32   He'll be our "horsey," an' "haw" an' mind
33   Ever'thing 'at you make him do --
34   An' won't run off -- 'less you want him to!
35   I drived him wunst way down our lane
36   An' he got skeered, when it 'menced to rain,
37   An' ist rared up an' squealed and run
38   Purt' nigh away! -- an' it's all in fun!
39   Nen he skeered ag'in at a' old tin can ...
40     Whoa! y' old runaway Raggedy Man!
41       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

42   An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,
43   An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:
44   Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,
45   An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves:
46   An', wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,
47   He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,
48   'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can
49   Turn into me, er 'Lizabuth Ann!
50   Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!
51     Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?
52       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

53   An' wunst, when The Raggedy Man come late,
54   An' pigs ist root' thue the garden-gate,
55   He 'tend like the pigs 'uz bears an' said,
56   "Old Bear-shooter'll shoot 'em dead!"
57   An' race' an' chase' 'em, an' they'd ist run
58   When he pint his hoe at 'em like it's a gun
59   An' go "Bang! -- Bang!" nen 'tend he stan'
60   An' load up his gun ag'in! Raggedy Man!
61     He's an old Bear-shooter Raggedy Man!
62       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

63   An' sometimes The Raggedy Man lets on
64   We're little prince-children, an' old King's gone
65   To git more money, an' lef' us there --
66   And Robbers is ist thick ever'where;
67   An' nen -- ef we all won't cry, fer shore --
68   The Raggedy Man he'll come and "'splore
69   The Castul-halls," an' steal the "gold" --
70   An' steal us, too, an' grab an' hold
71   An' pack us off to his old "Cave"! -- An'
72     Haymow's the "cave" o' The Raggedy Man! --
73       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

74   The Raggedy Man -- one time, when he
75   Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,
76   Says "When you're big like your Pa is,
77   Air you go' to keep a fine store like his --
78   An' be a rich merchunt -- an' wear fine clothes? --
79   Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows?"
80   An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,
81   An' I says "'M go' to be a Raggedy Man! --
82     I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"
83       Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on April 30, 2023

3:50 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 3,800
Words 741
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 10, 10, 10, 11, 11, 10, 11, 10

James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry respectively. more…

All James Whitcomb Riley poems | James Whitcomb Riley Books

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