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Poem Peg of Limavaddy

Main Street, Limavady

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 brawl’d and bluster’d,
Tossing round about
Leaves the hue of mustard;
Yonder lay Lough Foyle,
Which a storm was whipping,
Covering with mist
Lakes, 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 baithouse,
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).
Gods! I didn’t know
What my beating heart meant,
Hebe’s self I thought
Enter’d the apartment
As she came she smiled.
And the smile bewitching,
On my word and honour,
Lighted all the kitchen.

With a curtsey 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 y’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 ringing 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.

This 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 boddiced.
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 Radical
would all desire
Peg of Limavaddy.

Had I Horner’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.

Transcribed by Teena from The Irish Sketch-book, Volume 2 page 250. By William Makepeace Thackeray