Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Peg of Limavaddy

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V. 1876–79.

Limavaddy (Newtown-Limavaddy)

Peg of Limavaddy

By William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)

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 stretched 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 ear

Closer folds his plaidy,

Grumbling at the road

Leads to Limavaddy.

Through the crashing woods

Autumn brawled and blustered,

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! I did n’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 courtesy 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

Reddened on the metal!)

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

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 showed

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 Sergeant 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!