Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Kitty Neil

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

John Francis Waller 1810–94

Kitty Neil

“AH, sweet Kitty Neil, rise up from that wheel,

Your neat little foot will be weary from spinning;

Come trip down with me to the sycamore tree,

Half the parish is there, and the dance is beginning.

The sun is gone down, but the full harvest-moon

Shines sweetly and cool on the dew-whiten’d valley,

While all the air rings with the soft, loving things

Each little bird sings in the green shaded alley.”

With a blush and a smile Kitty rose up the while,

Her eye in the glass, as she bound her hair, glancing;

’T is hard to refuse when a young lover sues,

So the could n’t but choose to—go off to the dancing.

And now on the green the glad groups are seen,

Each gay-hearted lad with the lass of his choosing;

And Pat, without fail, leads out sweet Kitty Neil,—

Somehow, when he ask’d, she ne’er thought of refusing.

Now, Felix Magee puts his pipes to his knee,

And with flourish so free sets each couple in motion;

With a cheer and a bound, the lads patter the ground,

The maids move around just like swans on the ocean:

Cheeks bright as the rose—feet light as the doe’s,

Now coyly retiring, now boldly advancing—

Search the world all round, from the sky to the ground,

No such sight can be found as an Irish lass dancing!

Sweet Kate! who could view your bright eyes of deep blue,

Beaming humidly through their dark lashes so mildly,

Your fair-turned arm, heaving breast, rounded form,

Nor feel his heart warm, and his pulses throb wildly;

Young Pat feels his heart, as he gazes, depart,

Subdued by the smart of such painful yet sweet love;

The sight leaves his eye, as he cries with a sigh,

“Dance light, for my heart it lies under your feet, love!”