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

Derry (Londonderry)

The Maiden City

By Charlotte Elizabeth (1790–1846)

WHERE Foyle his swelling waters

Rolls northward to the main,

Here, Queen of Erin’s daughters,

Fair Derry fixed her reign:

A holy temple crowned her,

And commerce graced her street,

A rampart wall was round her,

The river at her feet;

And here she sate alone, boys,

And, looking from the hill,

Vowed the maiden on her throne, boys,

Would be a maiden still.

From Antrim crossing over,

In famous eighty-eight,

A plumed and belted lover

Came to the Ferry Gate:

She summoned to defend her

Our sires, a beardless race,

They shouted “No surrender!”

And slammed it in his face.

Then in a quiet tone, boys,

They told him ’t was their will

That the maiden on her throne, boys,

Should be a maiden still.

Next, crushing all before him,

A kingly wooer came

(The royal banner o’er him

Blushed crimson deep for shame);

He showed the Pope’s commission,

Nor dreamed to be refused:

She pitied his condition,

But begged to stand excused.

In short, the fact is known, boys,

She chased him from the hill,

For the maiden on the throne, boys,

Would be a maiden still.

On our brave sires descending,

’T was then the tempest broke,

Their peaceful dwellings rending,

Mid blood and flame and smoke,

That hallowed graveyard yonder

Swells with the slaughtered dead,—

O brothers! pause and ponder,

It was for us they bled;

And while their gift we own, boys,—

The fane that tops our hill,

O, the maiden on her throne, boys,

Shall be a maiden still.

Nor wily tongue shall move us,

Nor tyrant arm affright,

We ’ll look to One above us

Who ne’er forsook the right;

Who will may crouch and tender

The birthright of the free,

But, brothers, “no surrender,”

No compromise for me!

We want no barrier stone, boys,

No gates to guard the hill,

Yet the maiden on her throne, boys,

Shall be a maiden still.