Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
Peg of Limavaddy
By William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)
From “The Irish Sketch-Book”

  But a humble bait-house,
Where you may procure
  Whisky and potatoes;
Landlord at the door        5
  Gives a smiling welcome
To the shivering wights
  Who to this hotel come.
Landlady within
  Sits and knits a stocking,        10
With a wary foot
  Baby’s cradle rocking.
To the chimney nook
  Having found admittance,
There I watch a pup        15
  Playing with two kittens
(Playing round the fire,
  Which of blazing turf is,
Roaring to the pot
  Which bubbles with the murphies).        20
And the cradled babe
  Fond the mother nursed it,
Singing it a song
  As she twists the worsted!
Up and down the stair        25
  Two more young ones patter
(Twins were never seen
  Dirtier or fatter).
Both have mottled legs,
  Both have snubby noses,        30
Both have— Here the host
  Kindly interposes:
“Sure you must be froze
  With the sleet and hail, sir;
So will you have some punch,        35
  Or will you have some ale, sir?”
Presently a maid
  Enters with the liquor
(Half a pint of ale
  Frothing in a beaker).        40
Gods! I didn’t know
  What my beating heart meant:
Hebe’s self, I thought,
  Entered the apartment.
As she came she smiled,        45
  And the smile bewitching,
On my word and honour,
  Lighted all the kitchen!
With a curtsey neat
  Greeting the new-comer,        50
Lovely, smiling Peg
  Offers me the rummer;
But my trembling hand
  Up the beaker tilted,
And the glass of ale        55
  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!        60
Witnessing the sight
  Of that dire disaster,
Out began to laugh
  Missis, maid, and master.
Such a merry peal        65
  ’Specially Miss Peg’s was
(As the glass of ale
  Trickling down my legs was)
That the joyful sound
  Of that mingling laughter        70
Echoed in my ears
  Many a long day after.
When the laugh was done,
  Peg, the pretty hussy,
Moved about the room        75
  Wonderfully busy.
Now she looks to see
  If the kettle keeps hot;
Now she rubs the spoons,
  Now she cleans the teapot;        80
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        85
  Scouring of a kettle.
(Faith! her blushing cheeks
  Redden’d on the metal!)
Ah! but ’tis in vain
  That I try to sketch it;        90
The pot perhaps is like,
  But Peggy’s face is wretched.
No! The best of lead
  And of indiarubber
Never could depict        95
  That sweet kettle-scrubber!
See her as she moves,
  Scarce the ground she touches;
Airy as a fay,
  Graceful as a duchess;        100
Bare her rounded arm,
  Bare her little leg is;
Vestris never show’d
  Ankles like to Peggy’s.
Braided is her hair,        105
  Soft her look and modest,
Slim her little waist
  Comfortably bodiced.
This I do declare:
  Happy is the laddy        110
Who the heart can share
  Of Peg of Limavaddy.
Married if she were,
  Blest would be the daddy
Of the children fair        115
  Of Peg of Limavaddy.
Beauty is not rare
  In the land of Paddy;
Fair beyond compare
  Is Peg of Limavaddy.        120
Citizen or Squire,
  Tory, Whig, or Radi-
cal would all desire
  Peg of Limavaddy.
Had I Homer’s fire,        125
  Or that of Serjeant Taddy,
Meetly I’d admire
  Peg of Limavaddy.
And till I expire,
  Or till I grow mad, I        130
Will sing unto my lyre
  Peg of Limavaddy!

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