Molly Muldoon was an Irish girl,
And as fine a one
As you'd look upon
In the cot of a peasant or hall of an earl.
Her teeth were white, though not of pearl,—
And dark was her hair, but it did not curl;
Yet few who gazed on her teeth and her hair,
But owned that a power of beauty was there.
Now many a hearty and rattling gorsoon
Whose fancy had charmed his heart into tune,
Would dare to approach fair Molly Muldoon,
But for that in her eye
Which made most of them shy
And look quite ashamed, though they couldn't tell why—
Her eyes were large, dark blue, and clear,
And heart and mind seemed in them blended.
If intellect sent you one look severe
Love instantly leapt in the next to mend it—
Hers was the eye to check the rude,
And hers the eye to stir emotion,
To keep the sense and soul subdued
And calm desire into devotion.
There was Jemmy O'Hare,
As fine a boy as you'd see in a fair,
And wherever Molly was he was there.
His face was round and his build was square,
And he sported as rare
And tight a pair
Of legs, to be sure, as are found anywhere.
And Jemmy would wear
His caubeen and hair
With such a peculiar and rollicking air,
That I'd venture to swear
Not a girl in Kildare
Nor Victoria's self, if she chanced to be there,
Could resist his wild way—called "Devil-may-care."
Not a boy in the parish could match him for fun,
Nor wrestle, nor leap, nor hurl, nor run
With Jemmy—No gorsoon could equal him—None,
At wake, or at wedding, at feast or at fight,
At throwing the sledge with such dext'rous sleight,—
He was the envy of men, and the women's delight.
Now Molly Muldoon liked Jemmy O'Hare,
And in troth Jemmy loved in his heart Miss Muldoon.
I believe in my conscience a purtier pair
Never danced in a tent at a pattern in June,—
To a bagpipe or fiddle
On the rough cabin door
That is placed in the middle—
Ye may talk as ye will
There's a grace in the limbs of the peasantry there
With which people of quality couldn't compare;
And Molly and Jemmy were counted the two
That would keep up the longest and go the best through
All the jigs and the reels
That have occupied heels
Since the days of the Murtaghs and Brian Boru.
It was on a long bright sunny day
They sat on a green knoll side by side,
But neither just then had much to say;
Their hearts were so full that they only tried
To do anything foolish, just to hide
What both of them felt, but what Molly denied.
They plucked the speckled daisies that grew
Close by their arms,—then tore them too;
And the bright little leaves that they broke from the stalk
They threw at each other for want of talk;
While the heart-lit look and the sunny smile
Reflected pure souls without art or guile,
And every time Molly sighed or smiled,
Jem felt himself grow as soft as a child;
And he fancied the sky never looked so bright,
The grass so green, the daisies so white;
Everything looked so gay in his sight
That gladly he'd linger to watch them till night,—
And Molly herself thought each little bird
Whose warbling notes her calm soul stirred,—
Sang only his lay but by her to be heard.
An Irish courtship's short and sweet,
It's sometimes foolish and indiscreet;
But who is wise when his young heart's heat
Whips the pulse to a galloping beat—
Ties up his judgment neck and feet
And makes him the slave of a blind conceit?
Sneer not, therefore, at the loves of the poor,
Though their manners be rude their affections are pure;
They look not by art, and they love not by rule,
For their souls are not tempered in fashion's cold school.
Oh! give me the love that endures no control
But the delicate instinct that springs from the soul,
As the mountain stream gushes its freshness and force,
Yet obedient, wherever it flows to its source.
Yes, give me that but Nature has taught,
By rank unallured and by riches unbought;
Whose very simplicity keeps it secure—
The love that illumines the heart of the poor.
All blushful was Molly, or shy at least
As one week before Lent
Jem procured her consent
To go the next Sunday and spake to the priest,
Shrove-Tuesday was named for the wedding to be,
And it dawned as bright as they'd wish to see.
And Jemmy was up at the day's first peep
For the live-long night, no wink could he sleep;
A bran-new coat, with a bright big button,
He took from a chest, and carefully put on—
And brogues as well lampblacked as ever went foot on
Were greased with the fat of a quare sort of mutton!
Then a tidier gorsoon couldn't be seen
Treading the Emerald sod so green—
Light was his step and bright was his eye
As he walked through the slobbery streets of Athy.
And each girl he passed, bid "God bless him," and sighed,
While she wished in her heart that herself was the bride.
Hush! here's the Priest—let not the least
Whisper be heard till the father has ceased.
"Come, bridegroom and bride,
That the knot may be tied
Which no power upon earth can hereafter divide."
Up rose the bride, and the bridegroom too,
And a passage was made for them both to walk through!
And his Rev'rence stood with a sanctified face,
Which spread its infection around the place.
The bridesmaid bustled and whispered the bride,
Who felt so confused that she almost cried,
But at last bore up and walked forward, where
The Father was standing with solemn air;
The bridegroom was following after with pride,
When his piercing eye something awful espied!
He stooped and sighed,
Looked round and tried
To tell what he saw, but his tongue denied:
With a spring and a roar,
He jumped to the door,
And the bride laid her eyes on the bridegroom no more!
Some years sped on
Yet heard no one
Of Jemmy O'Hare, or where he had gone.
But since the night of that widowed feast,
The strength of poor Molly had ever decreased;
Till, at length, from earth's sorrow her soul released,
Fled up to be ranked with the saints at least.
And the morning poor Molly to live had ceased,
Just five years after the widowed feast,
An American letter was brought to the priest,
Telling of Jemmy O'Hare deceased!
Who ere his death,
With his latest breath,
To a spiritual father unburdened his breast
And the cause of his sudden departure confest,—
"Oh! Father," says he, "I've not long to live,
So I'll freely confess, and hope you'll forgive—
That same Molly Muldoon, sure I loved her indeed;
Ay, as well, as the Creed
That was never forsaken by one of my breed;
But I couldn't have married her after I saw"—
"Saw what?" cried the Father desirous to hear—
And the chair that he sat in unconsciously rocking—
"Not in her 'karàcter,' yer Rev'rince, a flaw"—
The sick man here dropped a significant tear
And died as he whispered in the clergyman's ear—
"But I saw, God forgive her, a hole in her stocking!"