Peg of Limavaddy

  Riding from Coleraine
    (Famed for lovely Kitty),
  Came a Cockney bound
    Unto Derry city;
  Weary was his soul,
    Shivering and sad, he
  Bumped along the road
    Leads to Limavaddy.

  Mountains stretch'd around,
    Gloomy was their tinting,
  And the horse's hoofs
    Made a dismal clinting;
  Wind upon the heath
   Howling was and piping,
  On the heath and bog,
    Black with many a snipe in.
  Mid the bogs of black,
    Silver pools were flashing,
  Crows upon their sides
    Picking were and splashing.
  Cockney on the car
    Closer folds his plaidy,
  Grumbling at the road
    Leads to Limavaddy.

  Through the crashing woods
    Autumn brawld and bluster'd,
  Tossing round about
    Leaves the hue of mustard
  Yonder lay Lough Foyle,
    Which a storm was whipping,
  Covering with mist
    Lake, and shores and shipping.
  Up and down the hill
    (Nothing could be bolder),
  Horse went with a raw
    Bleeding on his shoulder.
  "Where are horses changed?"
    Said I to the laddy
  Driving on the box:
    "Sir, at Limavaddy."

  Limavaddy inn's
    But a humble bait-house,
  Where you may procure
    Whiskey and potatoes;
  Landlord at the door
    Gives a smiling welcome—
  To the shivering wights
    Who to his hotel come.

  Landlady within
    Sits and knits a stocking,
  With a wary foot
    Baby's cradle rocking.
  To the chimney nook
    Having, found admittance,
  There I watch a pup
    Playing with two kittens;
  (Playing round the fire),
    Which of blazing turf is,
  Roaring to the pot
    Which bubbles with the murphies.
  And the cradled babe
    Fond the mother nursed it,
  Singing it a song
    As she twists the worsted!

  Up and down the stair
    Two more young ones patter
  (Twins were never seen
    Dirtier nor fatter).
  Both have mottled legs,
    Both have snubby noses,
  Both have—Here the host
    Kindly interposes:
  "Sure you must be froze
    With the sleet and hail, sir:
  So will you have some punch,
    Or will you have some ale, sir?"

  Presently a maid
    Enters with the liquor
  (Half a pint of ale
    Frothing in a beaker).
  Gads! didn't know
    What my beating heart meant:
  Hebe's self I thought
    Entered the apartment.
  As she came she smiled,
    And the smile bewitching,
  On my word and honor,
    Lighted all the kitchen!

  With a curtsy neat
    Greeting the new comer,
  Lovely, smiling Peg
    Offers me the rummer;
  But my trembling hand
    Up the beaker tilted,
  And the glass of ale
    Every drop I spilt it:
  Spilt it every drop
    (Dames, who read my volumes,
  Pardon such a word)
    On my what-d'ye-call-'ems!

  Witnessing the sight
    Of that dire disaster,
  Out began to laugh
    Missis, maid, and master;
  Such a merry peal
    'Specially Miss Peg's was,
  (As the glass of ale
    Trickling down my legs was,)
  That the joyful sound
    Of that mingling laughter
  Echoed in my ears
    Many a long day after.

  Such a silver peal!
    In the meadows listening,
  You who've heard the bells
    Ringing to a christening;
  You who ever heard
    Caradori pretty,
  Smiling like an angel,
    Singing "Giovinetti;"
  Fancy Peggy's laugh,
    Sweet, and clear, and cheerful,
  At my pantaloons
    With half a pint of beer full!

  When the laugh was done,
    Peg, the pretty hussy,
  Moved about the room
    Wonderfully busy;
  Now she looks to see
    If the kettle keep hot;
  Now she rubs the spoons,
    Now she cleans the teapot;
  Now she sets the cups
    Trimly and secure:
  Now she scours a pot,
    And so it was I drew her.

  Thus it was I drew her
    Scouring of a kettle,
  (Faith! her blushing cheeks
    Redden'd on the metal!)
  Ah! but 'tis in vain
    That I try to sketch it;
  The pot perhaps is like,
    But Peggy's face is wretched.
  No the best of lead
    And of indian-rubber
  Never could depict
    That sweet kettle-scrubber!

  See her as she moves
    Scarce the ground she touches,
  Airy as a fay,
    Graceful as a duchess;
  Bare her rounded arm,
    Bare her little leg is,
  Vestris never show'd
    Ankles like to Peggy's.
  Braided is her hair,
    Soft her look and modest,
  Slim her little waist
    Comfortably bodiced.

  This I do declare,
    Happy is the laddy
  Who the heart can share
    Of Peg of Limavaddy.
  Married if she were
    Blest would be the daddy
  Of the children fair
    Of Peg of Limavaddy.
  Beauty is not rare
    In the land of Paddy,
  Fair beyond compare
    Is Peg of Limavaddy.

  Citizen or Squire,
    Tory, Whig, or Radi-
  cal would all desire
    Peg of Limavaddy.
  Had I Homer's fire,
    Or that of Serjeant Taddy,
  Meetly I'd admire
    Peg of Limavaddy.
  And till I expire,
    Or till I grow mad I
  Will sing unto my lyre
    Peg of Limavaddy!

This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).