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Nora, the Maid of Killarney

William Topaz McGonagall 1825 – 1902 (Greyfriars Parish, Edinburgh)

Down by the beautiful Lakes of Killarney,
Off times I have met my own dear Barney,
In the sweet summer time of the year,
In the silvery moonlight so clear,
I've rambled with my sweetheart Barney,
Along the green banks of the Lakes of Killarney.

The Lakes of Killarney are most lovely to be seen
In the summer season when nature's face is green,
Especially in the beautiful silvery moonlight,
When its waters do shine like silver bright;
Such was the time when me and my Barney
Went to walk by the purty Lakes of Killarney.

My Barney was beautiful, gallant, and gay,
But, alas, he has left me and gone far away,
To that foreign country called Amerikay;
But when he returns we will get married without delay,
And again we will roam by the Lakes of Killarney,
Me and my sweetheart, charming Barney.

And until he returns I will feel rather sad,
For while walking with Barney I always felt glad;
May God send him home again safe to me,
And he will fill my sad heart with glee,
While we walk by the Lakes of Killarney.

I dreamt one night I was walking with Barney,
Down by the beautiful Lakes of Killarney,
And he said, "Nora, dear Nora, don't fret for me,
For I will soon come home to thee;
And I will build a nice cabin near the Lakes of Killarney,
And Nora will live happy with her own dear Barney."

But, alas, I awoke from my beautiful dream,
For, och, if was a most lovely scene;
But I hope it will happen some unexpected day,
When Barney comes home from Amerikay;
Then Barney will relate his adventures to me,
As we walk by the silvery Lakes of Killarney.

We will ramble among its green trees and green bushes,
And hear the sweet songs of the blackbirds and thrushes,
And gaze on its lovely banks so green,
And its waters glittering like crystal in the moonlight's sheen;
Och! how I long to be walking with Barney,
Along the green banks of the Lakes of Killarney.

Of all the spots in Ireland, Killarney for me,
For 'twas there I first met my dear Barney:
He was singing, I remember, right merrily;
And his singing filled my heart with glee,
And he said, "Nora, dear Nora, will you walk with me,
For you are the prettiest girl I ever did see."

"Now, Barney," I said, "you are just mocking me,
When you say no other girl like me you can see";
Then he said, "Nora, you are the only girl I do love,
And this I do swear by the saints above,
I will marry you, dear Nora, without delay,
When I come home from Amerikay."

But when Barney landed in Amerikay,
He courted another girl without dismay,
And he married her in the month of May,
And when I heard it I fainted away;
So maidens beware of such men as Barney,
Or else they will deceive ye with their flattering blarney.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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William Topaz McGonagall

William Topaz McGonagall (March 1825 – 29 September 1902) was an Irish weaver, poet and actor who lived in Scotland. He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited no recognition of, or concern for, his peers' opinions of his work. He wrote about 200 poems, including "The Tay Bridge Disaster" and "The Famous Tay Whale", which are widely regarded as some of the worst in English literature. Groups throughout Scotland engaged him to make recitations from his work, and contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many listeners were appreciating McGonagall's skill as a comic music hall character. Collections of his verse remain popular, with several volumes available today. McGonagall has been lampooned as the worst poet in British history. The chief criticisms are that he was deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. His only apparent understanding of poetry was his belief that it needed to rhyme. McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings are considered to generate in his work. Scholars argue that his inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most unintentionally amusing dramatic poetry in the English language. His work is in a long tradition of narrative ballads and verse written and published about great events and tragedies, and widely circulated among the local population as handbills. In an age before radio and television, their voice was one way of communicating important news to an avid public. more…

All William Topaz McGonagall poems | William Topaz McGonagall Books

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    "Nora, the Maid of Killarney" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41844/nora,-the-maid-of-killarney>.

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