Selected Works of William Maginn, LLD
Rep. in D. J. ODonoghue, The Humour of Ireland (London: Walter Scott ),
|St. Patrick of Ireland, My Dear
A Fig for St. Denis of France
Hes a trumpery fellow to brag on;
A fig for St. George and his lance,
Which spitted a heathenish dragon;
And the saints of the Welshman or Scot
Are a couple of pitiful pipers;
Both of whom may just travel to pot,
Compared with that patron of swipers,
St. Patrick of Ireland, my dear!
He came to the Emerald Isle
On a lump of a paving stone mounted;
The steamboat he beat by a mile,
Which mighty good sailing was counted.
Says he, “The salt water, I think,
Has made me most fishily thirsty;
So bring me a flagon of drink
To keep down the mulligrubs, burst ye
Of drink that is fit for a saint.
He preached, then, with wonderful force,
The ignorant natives a teaching;
With a pint he washed down his discourse,
“For, says he, “ I detest your dry preaching.
The people, with wonderment struck,
At a pastor so pious and civil,
Exclaimed- Were for you, my old buck!
And we pitch our blind gods to the divil,
Who dwells in hot water below!
This ended, our worshipful spoon
Went to visit an elegant fellow,
Whose practice, each cool afternoon,
Was to get most delightfully mellow,
That day, with a black-jack of beer,
It chanced he was treating a party;
Says the Saint - “This good day, do you hear,
I drank nothing to speak of, my hearty!
So give me a pull at the pot!
The pewter he lifted in sport
(Believe me, I tell you no fable),
A gallon he drank from the quart,
And then placed it full on the table.
“A miracle! every one said,
And they all took a haul at the stingo;
They were capital hands at the trade,
And drank till they fell; yet, by jingo,
The pot still frothed over the brim!
Next day, quoth his host, “Tis a fast,
And Ive naught in my larder but mutton;
And on Fridays, whod make such repast,
Except an unchristian-like glutton?
Says Pat,,Cease your nonsense, I beg,
What you tell me is nothing but gammon;
Take my compliments down to the leg,
And bid it come hither a salmon!
And the leg most politely complied!
Youve heard, I suppose, long ago,
How the snakes, in a manner most antic,
He marched to the County Mayo,
And trundled them into thAtlantic.
Hence, not to use water for drink,
The people of Ireland determine:
With mighty good reason, I think,
Since St Patrick has filled it with vermin,
And vipers and such other stuff!
Oh! he was an elegant blade
As youd meet from Fairhead to Kilcrumper
And though under the sod he is laid,
Yet here goes his health in a bumper!
I wish he was here, that my glass
He might by art magic replenish;
But since he is not - why, alas!
My ditty must come to a finish,
Because all the liquor is out.
The Last Lamp in the Alley: A Moore-ish Melody.
THE last lamp of the alley
Is burning alone!
All its brilliant companions
Are shivered and gone;
No lamp of her kindred,
No burner is nigh
To rival her glimmer
Or light to supply.
Ill not leave thee, thou lone one,
To vanish in smoke,
As the bright ones are shattered,
Thou too shalt be broke:
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy globe oer the street,
Where the watch in his rambles
Thy fragments shall meet.
|Then home will I stagger
As well as I may,
BY the light of my nose, sure,
Ill find out the way;
When thy blaze is extinguished,
Thy brilliancy gone,
Oh I my beak shall illumine
The alley alone!
The Gathering of the Mahonys
Jerry Mahony, arrah, my jewel, come let us be
off to the fair,
For the Donovans all in their glory most certainly mean to be there;
Say they, “The whole Mahony faction well
banish em out clear and clean;
But it never was yet in their breeches their
bullaboo words to maintain.
Theres Darby to head us, and Barney, as civil
a man as yet spoke,
Twould make your mouth water to see him
just giving a bit of a stroke;
Theres Corney, the bandy-legged tailor, a boy
of the true sort of stuff,
Whod fight though the black blood was flowing
like buttermilk out of his buff.
Theres broken-nosed Bat from the mountain -
last week he burst out of jail
And Murty, the beautiful Tory, whod scorn in
a row to turn tail;
Bloody till will be there like a darling - and jerry - och! let him alone
For giving his blackthorn a flourish, or lifting a lump of a stone!
And Tim, whod served in the Militia, has his
bayonet stuck on a pole;
Foxy Dick has his scythe in good order-a neat
sort of tool on the whole;
A cudgel, I see, is your weapon, and never I
knew it to fail;
But I think that a man is more handy who
fights, as I do, with a flail.
We muster a hundred shillelahs, all handled by
Who battered the Donovans often, and now
will go do it again;
To-day, we will teach them some manners,
and show that, in spite of their talk,
We still, like our fathers before us, are surely
the cocks of the walk.
After cutting out work for the sexton by
smashing a dozen or so,
Well quit in the utmost of splendour, and down
to Peg Slatterys go;
In gallons well wash down the battle, and
drink to the next merry day,
When mustering again in a body, we all shall
go leathering away.
Alas! how we are changed as we progress through the world! That breast becomes and which once was open to every impression of the tender passion. The rattle of the dice-box beats out of the head the rattle of the quiver of Cupid; and the shuffling of the cards renders the rustling of his wings inaudible. The necessity of looking after a tablecloth supersedes that of looking after a petticoat; and we more willingly make an assignation with a mutton-chop than with an angel in female form. The bonds of love are exchanged for those of the conveyancer; bills take the place of billets; and we do not protest, but are protested against, by a three-and-sixpenny notary. Such are the melancholy effects of age.
There are few objects on which men differ so much as in regard to blue-stockings. I believe that the majority of literary men look upon them as entirely useless. Yet a little reflection will serve us to show the unphilosophical nature of this opinion. There seems, indeed, to be a system of exclusive appropriation in literature, as well as in law, which cannot be too severely reprobated. A critic of the present day cannot hear a young woman make a harmless observation on poetry or politics without starting; which start, I am inclined to think, proceeds from affectation, considering how often he must have heard the same remark made on former occasions. Ought the female sex to be debarred from speaking nonsense on literary matters any more than the men? I think not. Even supposing that such privilege was not originally conferred by a law of Nature, they have certainly acquired right to it by the long prescription. Besides, if commonplace remarks were not  daily and nightly rendered more commonplace by continual repetition, even a man of original mind might run the hazard of occasionally so far forgetting himself and his subject as to record an idea which, upon more mature deliberation, might be found to be no idea at all. This, I contend, is prevented by the judicious interference of the fair sex.
Dont marry any woman hastily at Brighton or Brussels without knowing who she is, and where she lived before she came there. And whenever you get a reference upon this or any other subject, always be sure and get another reference about the person referred to.
Dont marry any woman under twenty; she is not come to her wickedness before that time; nor any woman who has a red nose at any age; because people make observations as you go along the street. “A cast of the eye - as the lady casts it upon you - may pass muster under some circumstances; and I have even known those who thought it desirable; but absolute squinting is a monopoly of vision which ought not to be tolerated.
Dont on any account marry a “lively young lady; that is, in other words, a “romp; that is, in other words, a woman who has been hauled about by half your acquaintance.
On the very day after your marriage, whenever you do marry, take one precaution. Be cursed with no more troubles for life than you have bargained for. Call the roll of all your wifes even speaking acquaintance; and strike out every soul that you have - or fancy you ought to have  - or fancy you ever shall have - a glimpse of dislike to. Upon this point be merciless. Your wife wont hesitate-a hundred to one-between a husband and a gossip; and if she does, dont you. Be particularly sharp upon the list of women; of course, men-you would frankly kick any one from Pall Mall to Pimlico who presumed only to recollect ever having seen her. And dont be manoeuvred out of what you mean by cards or morning calls, or any notion of what people call “good breeding. […] Never dispute with her where the question is of no importance; nor, where it is of the least consequence, let any earthly considerition ever once induce you to give way.
Few pieces of cant are more common than that which consists in re-echoing the old and ridiculous cry of “variety is charming, “toujours perdrix, &c., &c., &c. I deny the fact. I want no variety. Let things be really good, and I, for one, am in no danger of wearying of them. For example, to rise every day about half after nine-eat a couple of eggs and muffins, and drink some cups of genuine sound, clear coffee - then to smoke a cigar or so - read the Chronicle - skim a few volumes of some first-rate new novel, or perhaps pen a libel or two in a slight sketchy vein - then to take a bowl of strong, rich, invigorating soup - then to get on horseback, and ride seven or eight miles, paying a visit to some amiable, well-bred, accomplished young lady, in the course of it, and chattering away an hour with her,
Sporting with Amaryllis in the shade
Or with the tangles of Neoeras hair
as Milton expresses it - then to take a hot-bath, and dress - then to sit down to a plain substantial dinner, in company with a select party of real good, honest, jolly Tories - and to spend the rest of the evening with them over a pitcher  of cool Chateau-Margout, singing, laughing, speechifying, blending wit and wisdom, and winding up the whole with a devil, and a tumbler or two of hot rum-punch. This, repeated day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, may perhaps appear, to some people, a picture pregnant with ideas of the most sickening and disgusting monotony. Not so with me, however. I am a plain man. I could lead this dull course of uniform, unvaried existence for the whole period of the Millennium. Indeed, I mean to do so.
When a man is drunk, it is no matter upon what he has got drunk.
In whatever country one is, one should choose the dishes of the country. Every really national dish is good-at least, 1 never yet met with one that did not gratify my appetite. The Turkish pilaws are most excellent - but the so-called French cookery of Pera is execrable. In like manner, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding is always a prime feast in England, while John Bulls Fricandeaux soufflés, &c., are decidedly anathema. What a horror, again, is a Bifsteck of the Palais Royal! On the same principle - for all the fine arts follow exactly the same principles - on the same principle it is, that while Principal Robertson, Dugald Stewart, Dr. Thomas Brown, and all the other would-be English writers of Scotland, have long since been voted tame, insipid, and tasteless diet, the real haggis-bag of a Robert Burns keeps, and must always keep, its place.
The next best thing to a really good woman is a really good-natured one. The next worst thing to a really bad man (in other words, a knave) is a really good-natured man (in other words, a fool). 
A married woman commonly falls in love with a man as unlike her husband as is possible - but a widow very often marries a man extremely resembling the defunct. The reason is obvious.
If you meet with a pleasant fellow in a stage-coach, dine and get drunk with him, and, still holding him to be a pleasant fellow, hear from his own lips at parting that he is a Whig-do not change your opinion of the man. Depend on it, he is quizzing you.
The safety of women consists in one circumstance-men do not possess at the same time the knowledge of thirtyfive and the blood of seventeen.
If prudes were as pure as they would have us believe, they would not rail so bitterly as they do. We do not thoroughly hate that which we do not thoroughly understand.
Few idiots are entitled to claver on the same form with the bibliomaniacs; but, indeed, to be a collector of anything, and to be an ass, are pretty nearly equivalent phrases in the language of all rational men. No one collects anything of which he really makes use. Who ever suspected Lord Spencer, or his factotum, little Dibdin, of reading? The old Quaker at York, who has a museum of the ropes at which eminent criminals have dangled, has no intention to make an airy and tassel-like termination of his own terrestrial career - for that would be quite out of character with a man of his brims. In like manner, it is now well known that the three thousand three hundred and thirty-three
 young ladies who figure on the books of the Seraglio have a very idle life of it, and that, in point of fact, the Grand Seignior is a highly respectable man. The people that collect pictures, also, are, generally speaking, such folk as Sir John Leicester, the late Angerstein, and the like of that. The only two things that I have any pleasure in collecting are bottles of excellent wine and boxes of excellent cigars--articles, of the first of which I flatter myself I know rather more than Lord Eldon does of pictures; and of the latter whereof I make rather more use than old Mustapha can be supposed to do of his 3333 knick-knacks in petticoats-or rather, I beg their ladyships pardon, in trousers.
As to the beautiful material adaptation of cold rum and cold waterthat is beyond all praise, and indeed forms a theme of never-ceasing admiration, being one of Natures most exquisite achievements. Sturm has omitted it, but I intend to make a supplement to his Reflections when I get a little leisure.
People may have heard of the renowned adventures of Daniel ORourke, but how few are there who know that the cause of all his perils, above and below, was neither more nor less than his having slept under the walls of the Phookas tower. I knew the man well: he lived at the bottom of Hungry Hill, just at the right-hand side of the road as you go towards Bantry. An old man was he, at the time that he told me the story, with grey hair, and a red nose; and it was on the 25th of June, 1813, that I heard it from his own lips, as he sat smoking his pipe under the old poplar tree, on as fine an evening as ever shone from the sky. I was going to visit the caves in Dursey Island, having spent the morning at Glengariff.
I am often axed to tell it, sir,” said he, so that this is not the first time. The masters son, you see, had come from beyond foreign parts, in France and Spain, as young gentlemen used to go, before Bonaparte or any such was ever heard of; and sure enough there was a dinner given to all the people on the ground, gentle and simple, high and low, rich and poor. The ould gentlemen were the gentlemen after all, saying your honours presence. Theyd swear at a body a little, to be sure, and maybe give one a cut of a whip now and then, but we were no losers by it in the end, and they were so easy and civil, and kept such rattling houses, and thousands of welcomes; and there was no grinding for. rent, and there was hardly a tenant on the estate that did not taste of his landlords bounty often and often in a year, but now its another thing; no matter for that, sir, for Id better be telling you my story. Well, we had everything of the best, and plenty of it; and we ate, and we drank, and we danced, and the young master by the same token danced with Peggy Barry from the Bohereen - a  lovely young couple they were, though they are both low enough now. To make a long story short, I got, as a body may say, the same thing as tipsy almost. And so as I was crossing the stepping-stones of the ford of Ballyasheenogh, I missed my foot, and souse I fell into the water. Death alive! thought I, Ill be drowned now! However, I began swimming, swimming, swimming away for the dear life, till at last I got ashore, somehow or other, but never the one of me can tell how, upon a dissolute island.
I wandered and wandered about there, without knowing where I wandered, until at last I got into a big bog. The moon was shining as bright as day, or your fair ladys eyes, sir (with your pardon for mentioning her), and I looked east and west, and north and south, and every way, and nothing did I see but bog, bog, bog. I began to scratch my head, and sing the Ullagone - when all of a sudden the moon grew black, and I looked up, and saw something for all the world as if it was moving down between me and it, and I could not tell what it was. Down it came with a pounce, and looked at me full in the face; and what was it but an eagle? as fine a one as ever flew from the kingdom of Kerry. So he looked at me in the face, and says he to me, Daniel ORourke, says he, I how do you do? I Very well, I thank you, sir, says I; I hope youre well; wondering out of my senses all the time how an eagle came to speak like a Christian. What brings you here, Dan? says he. Nothing at all, sir, says I; I only I wish I was safe home again. Is it out of the island you want to go, Dan? says he. Tis, sir, says I, so I up and told him how I had taken a drop too much, and fell into the water. Dan, says he, after a minutes thought, I though it is very improper for you to get drunk on Lady-day, yet as you are a decent sober man, who tends mass well, and never flings stones at me or mine, nor cries out after us in the fields-my life for  yours, says he, so get up on my back, and grip me well for fear youd fall off, and Ill fly you out of the bog. I am afraid, says I, your honours making game of me; for who ever heard of riding a horseback on an eagle before? I Ton the honour of a gentleman, says he, putting his right foot on his breast, I am quite in earnest; and so now either take my offer or starve in the bog - besides, I see that your weight is sinking the stone.
It was true enough as he said, for I found the stone every minute going from under me. I had no choice; so thinks I to myself, faint heart never won fair lady, and this is fair persuadance. I thank your honour, says I, for the loan of your civility; and Ill take your kind offer. I therefore mounted upon the back of the eagle, and held hinb tight enough by the throat, and up he flew in the air like a lark. Little I knew the thrick he was going to serve me. Up-up-up, God knows how far up he flew. Why then, said I to him - thinking he did not know the right road home - very civilly, because why? I was in his power entirely; sir, says I, please your honours glory, and with humble submission to your better judgment, if youd fly down a bit, youre now just over my cabin; and I could be put down there, and many thanks to your worship.
‘Arrah, Dan, said he, do you think me a fool? Look (town in the next field, and dont you see two men and a gun? By my word it would be no joke to be shot this way, to oblige a drunken blackguard that I picked up off a cowld stone in a bog. Bother you, said I to myself, but I did not speak out, for where was the use? Well, sir, up he kept flying, flying, and I asking him every minute to fly down, and all to no use. Where in the world are you going, sir? saiys I to him. Hold your tongue, Dan, says he: mind your own business, and dont be interfering with the business of other people. Faith, this is my business, I think, says I. Be quiet, Dan, says he; so I said no more. 
At last where should we come to, but to the moon itself. Now you cant see it from this, but there is, or there was in my time, a reaping-hook sticking out of the side of the moon, this way [drawing the figure thus: Q - on the ground with the end of his stick].
‘Dan, said the eagle, Im tired with this long fly; I had no notion twas so far. And, my lord, sir, said I, who in the world axed you to fly so far - was it I? did not I beg and pray and beseech you to stop half-an-hour ago? Theres no use talking, Dan, says he; Im tired bad enough, so you must get off, and sit down on the moon until I rest myself. Is it sit down on the moon? said I; is it upon that little round thing, then? why, then, sure Id fall off in a minute, and be kilt and spilt, and smashed all to bits; you are a vile deceiver, so you are. Not at all, Dan, said he; you can catch fast hold of the reaping-hook thats sticking out of the side of the moon, and twill keep you up. I wont then, said I. May be not, said he, quite quiet. I If you dont, my man, I shall just give you a shake, and one slap of my wing, and send you down to the ground, where every bone in your body will be smashed as small as a drop of dew on a cabbage-leaf in the morning. Why, then, Im in a fine way, said I to myself, ever to have come along with the likes of you; and so giving him a hearty curse in Irish, for fear hed know what I said, I got off his back with a heavy heart, took hold of the reapinghook, and sat down upon the moon, and a mighty cold seat it was, I can tell you that.
When he had me there fairly landed, he turned about on me, and said, Good morning to you, Daniel ORourke, said he, I think Ive nicked you fairly now. You robbed my nest last year (twas true enough for him, but how he found it out is hard to say), I and in return you are freely welcome to cool your heels dangling upon the moon like a cockthrow. 
‘Is that all, and is this the way,you leave me, you brute, you? says I. You ugly unnatural baste, and is this the way you serve me at last?, Bad luck to yourself, with your hooked nose, and to all your breed, you blackguard. Twas all to no manner of use; he spread out his great big wings, burst out a laughing, and flew away like lightning. I bawled after him to stop; but I might have called and bawled for ever, without his minding me. Away he went, and I never saw him from that day to this - sorrow fly away with him! You may be sure I was in a disconsolate condition, and kept roaring out for the bare grief, when all at once a door opened right in the middle of the moon, creaking on its hinges as if it had not been opened for a month before - I suppose they never thought of greasing em, and out there walks - who do you think, but the man in the moon himself? I knew him by his bush.
‘Good morrow to you, Daniel ORourke, said he; how do you do? Very well, thank your honour, said I. I hope your honours well. What brought you here, Dan? said he. So I told him how I was a little overtaken in liquor at the masters, and how I was cast on a dissolute island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and how the thief of an eagle promised to fly me out of it, and how instead of that he had fled me up to the moon.
‘I Dan, said the man in the moon, taking a pinch of anuff when I was done, you must not stay here. Indeed, sir, says I, tis much against my will Im here at all; but how am I to go back? Thats your business, said he; I Dan, mine is to tell you that here you must not stay, so be off in less than no time. Im doing no harm, says I, only holding on hard by the reaping-hook, lest I fall off. Thats what you must not do, Dan, says he. Pray, sir, says I, may I ask how many you are in family, that you would not give a poor traveller lodging; Im sure tis not so often youre troubled with strangers coming to see you, for  tis a long way. Im by myself, Dan, says he; but youd better let go the reaping-hook. And with your leave, says I, Ill not let go the grip, and the more you bids me, the more I wont let go-so I will. You had better, Dan, says he again. Why, then, my little fellow, says I, taking the whole weight of him with my eye from head to foot, there are two words to that bargain; and Ill not budge, but you may if you like. Well see how that is to be, says he; and back he went, giving the door such a great bang after him (for it was plain he was hufled) that I thought the moon and all would fall down with it.
Well, I was preparing myself to try strength with him, when back again he comes, with the kitchen cleaver in his hand, and without saying a word he gives two bangs to the handle of the reaping-hook that was keeping me up, and whap! it came in two. Good morning to you, Dan, says the spiteful little old blackguard, when he saw me cleanly falling down with a bit of the handle in my hand; I thank you for your visit, and fair weather after you, Daniel. I had not time to make any answer to him, for I was tumbling over and over, and rolling and rolling, at the rate of a foxhunt. God help me! says I, this is a pretty pickle for a decent man to be seen in at this time of night; I am now sold fairly. The word was not out of my mouth when, whiz! what should fly by close to my ear but a flock of wild geese; all the way from my own bog of Ballyasheenogh, else how should they know me? The ould gander, who was their general, turning about his head, cried out to me, Is that you, Dan? The same, said I, not a bit daunted now at what he said, for I was by this time used to all kinds of bedevilment and, besides, I knew him of ould. Good morrow to you, says he, Daniel ORourke; how are you in health this morning? Very well, sir, says I, I thank you kindly, drawing my breath, for I was mightily in want of some. I hope your honours the same. I think tis  falling you are, Daniel, says he. You may say that, sir,) says I. And where are you going all the way so fast? said the gander. So I told him how I had taken the drop, and how I came on the island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and how the thief of an eagle flew me up to the moon, and how the man in the moon turned me out. I Dan, said he, Ill save you; put out your hand and catch me by the leg, and Ill fly you home. Sweet is your hand in a pitcher of honey, my jewel, says I, though all the time I thought within myself that I dont much trust you; but there was no help, so I caught the gander by the leg, and away I and the other geese flew after him as fast as hops.
We flew, and we flew, and we flew, until we came right over the wide ocean. I knew it well, for I saw Cape Clear to my right hand, sticking up out of the water. Ah! my lord, said I to the goose, for I thought it best to keep a civil tongue in my head any way, fly to land if you please. It is impossible, you see, Dan, said he, for a while, because you see we are going to Arabia. To Arabia ! said I, thats surely some place in foreign parts, far away. Oh! Mr. Goose; why then, to be sure, Im a man to be pitied among you. Whist, whist, you fool, said he, hold your tongue; I tell you Arabia is a very decent sort of place, as like West Carbery as one egg is like another, only there is a little more sand there.
Just as we were talking a ship hove in sight, scudding so beautiful before the wind; Ah! then, sir, said I, I will you drop me on the ship, if you please? I We are not fair over her, said he. We are, said I. We are not, said he; if I dropped you now you would go splash into the sea. I would not, says I; I know better than that, for it is just clean under us, so let me drop now at once. I If you must, you must, said he; I there, take your own way; and he opened his claw, and, faith, he was right - sure enough I  came down plump into the very bottom of the salt sea! Down to the very bottom I went, and I gave myself up then for ever, when,a whale walked up to me, scratching himself after his nights sleep, and looked me full in the face, and never the word did he say, but lifting up his tail, he splashed me all over again with the cold salt water till there wasnt a dry stitch upon my whole carcase; and I heard somebody saying - twas a voice I knew too - Get up, you drunken brute, off o that; and with that I woke up, rind there was Judy with a tub full of water, which she was splashing all over me - for, rest her soul I though she was a good wife, she never could bear to see me in drink, and had a bitter hand of her own. Get up, said she again; and of all places in the parish would no place sarve your turn to lie down upon but under the ould walls of Carrigaphooka? an uneasy resting I am sure you had of it. And sure enough I had, for I was fairly bothered out of my senses with eagles, and men of the moons, and flying ganders, and whales driving me through bogs, and up to the moon, and down to the bottom of the green ocean. If I was in drink ten times over, long would it be before Id lie down in the same spot again, I know that.”