Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Ireland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V.  1876–79.
 
Limavaddy (Newtown-Limavaddy)
Peg of Limavaddy
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)
 
RIDING from Coleraine
  (Famed for lovely Kitty),
Came a Cockney bound
  Unto Derry city;
Weary was his soul,        5
  Shivering and sad, he
Bumped along the road
  Leads to Limavaddy.
 
Mountains stretched around,
  Gloomy was their tinting,        10
And the horse’s hoofs
  Made a dismal clinting;
Wind upon the heath
  Howling was and piping,
On the heath and bog,        15
  Black with many a snipe in.
 
Mid the bogs of black,
  Silver pools were flashing,
Crows upon their sides
  Picking were and splashing.        20
Cockney on the ear
  Closer folds his plaidy,
Grumbling at the road
  Leads to Limavaddy.
 
Through the crashing woods        25
  Autumn brawled and blustered,
Tossing round about
  Leaves the hue of mustard;
Yonder lay Lough Foyle,
  Which a storm was whipping,        30
Covering with mist
  Lake and shores and shipping.
Up and down the hill
  (Nothing could be bolder),
Horse went with a raw        35
  Bleeding on his shoulder.
“Where are horses changed?”
  Said I to the laddy
Driving on the box:
  “Sir, at Limavaddy.”        40
 
Limavaddy inn ’s
  But a humble bait-house,
Where you may procure
  Whiskey and potatoes;
Landlord at the door        45
  Gives a smiling welcome
To the shivering wights
  Who to his hotel come.
Landlady within
  Sits and knits a stocking,        50
With a wary foot
  Baby’s cradle rocking.
To the chimney nook
  Having found admittance,
There I watch a pup        55
  Playing with two kittens,
(Playing round the fire,
  Which of blazing turf is,
Roaring to the pot
  Which bubbles with the murphies).        60
And the cradled babe
  Fond the mother nursed it,
Singing it a song
  As she twists the worsted!
 
Up and down the stair        65
  Two more young ones patter
(Twins were never seen
  Dirtier nor fatter).
Both have mottled legs,
  Both have snubby noses,        70
Both have— Here the host
  Kindly interposes:
“Sure you must be froze
  With the sleet and hail, sir:
So will you have some punch,        75
  Or will you have some ale, sir?”
Presently a maid
  Enters with the liquor
(Half a pint of ale
  Frothing in a beaker).        80
Gads! I did n’t know
  What my beating heart meant:
Hebe’s self I thought
  Entered the apartment.
As she came she smiled,        85
  And the smile bewitching,
On my word and honor,
  Lighted all the kitchen!
 
With a courtesy neat
  Greeting the new-comer,        90
Lovely, smiling Peg
  Offers me the rummer;
But my trembling hand
  Up the beaker tilted,
And the glass of ale        95
  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!        100
 
Witnessing the sight
  Of that dire disaster,
Out began to laugh
  Missis, maid, and master;
Such a merry peal        105
  ’Specially Miss Peg’s was,
(As the glass of ale
  Trickling down my legs was,)
That the joyful sound
  Of that mingling laughter        110
Echoed in my ears
  Many a long day after.
 
Such a silver peal!
  In the meadows listening,
You who ’ve heard the bells        115
  Ringing to a christening;
You who ever heard
  Caradori pretty,
Smiling like an angel,
  Singing “Giovinetti”;        120
Fancy Peggy’s laugh,
  Sweet and clear and cheerful,
At my pantaloons
  With half a pint of beer full!
 
When the laugh was done,        125
  Peg, the pretty hussy,
Moved about the room
  Wonderfully busy;
Now she looks to see
  If the kettle keep hot;        130
Now she rubs the spoons,
  Now she cleans the teapot;
Now she sets the cups
  Trimly and secure:
Now she scours a pot,        135
  And so it was I drew her.
 
Thus it was I drew her
  Scouring of a kettle,
(Faith! her blushing cheeks
  Reddened on the metal!)        140
Ah! but ’t is in vain
  That I try to sketch it;
The pot perhaps is like,
  But Peggy’s face is wretched.
No! the best of lead        145
  And of Indian-rubber
Never could depict
  That sweet kettle-scrubber!
 
See her as she moves!
  Scarce the ground she touches,        150
Airy as a fay,
  Graceful as a duchess;
Bare her rounded arm,
  Bare her little leg is,
Vestris never showed        155
  Ankles like to Peggy’s.
Braided is her hair,
  Soft her look and modest,
Slim her little waist
  Comfortably bodiced.        160
 
This I do declare,
  Happy is the laddy
Who the heart can share
  Of Peg of Limavaddy.
Married if she were,        165
  Blest would be the daddy
Of the children fair
  Of Peg of Limavaddy.
Beauty is not rare
  In the land of Paddy,        170
Fair beyond compare
  Is Peg of Limavaddy.
 
Citizen or Squire,
  Tory, Whig, or Radi-
cal would all desire        175
  Peg of Limavaddy.
Had I Homer’s fire,
  Or that of Sergeant Taddy,
Meetly I ’d admire
  Peg of Limavaddy.        180
And till I expire,
  Or till I grow mad, I
Will sing unto my lyre
  Peg of Limavaddy!
 
 
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