Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Lovely Mary Donnelly

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

William Allingham 1824–89

Lovely Mary Donnelly


OH, lovely Mary Donnelly, it ’s you I love the best!

If fifty girls were round you I ’d hardly see the rest.

Be what it may the time of day, the place be where it will,

Sweet looks of Mary Donnelly, they bloom before me still.

Her eyes like mountain water that ’s flowing on a rock,

How clear they are, how dark they are! and they give me many a shock.

Red rowans warm in sunshine and wetted with a show’r,

Could ne’er express the charming lip that has me in its pow’r.

Her nose is straight and handsome, her eyebrows lifted up,

Her chin is very neat and pert, and smooth like a china cup,

Her hair’s the brag of Ireland, so weighty and so fine;

It ’s rolling down upon her neck, and gather’d in a twine.

The dance o’last Whit-Monday night exceeded all before;

No pretty girl for miles about was missing from the floor;

But Mary kept the belt of love, and O but she was gay!

She danced a jig, she sung a song, that took my heart away.

When she stood up for dancing, her steps were so complete,

The music nearly kill’d itself to listen to her feet;

The fiddler moan’d his blindness, he heard her so much prais’d,

But bless’d himself he was n’t deaf when once her voice she rais’d.

And evermore I ’m whistling or lilting what you sung,

Your smile is always in my heart, your name beside my tongue;

But you’ve as many sweethearts as you’d count on both your hands,

And for myself there ’s not a thumb or little finger stands.

Oh, you ’re the flower o’ womankind in country or in town;

The higher I exalt you, the lower I ’m cast down.

If some great lord should come this way, and see your beauty bright,

And you to be his lady, I ’d own it was but right.

O might we live together in a lofty palace hall,

Where joyful music rises, and where scarlet curtains fall!

O might we live together in a cottage mean and small,

With sods of grass the only roof, and mud the only wall!

O lovely Mary Donnelly, your beauty’s my distress:

It ’s far too beauteous to be mine, but I ’ll never wish it less.

The proudest place would fit your face, and I am poor and low;

But blessings be about you, dear, wherever you may go!