Meg Merrilies

A postcard with this poem on fell out of something when I was sorting through some stuff. I think I bought it when I visited the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle a few years ago.

Meg Merrilies

Old Meg she was a gipsey;
And liv'd upon the Moors:
Her bed it was the brown heath turf,
And her house was out of doors.

Her apples were swart blackberries,
Her currants, pods o'broom;
Her wine was dew of the wild white rose,
Her book a church-yard tomb.

Her brothers were the craggy hills, 
Her sisters larchen trees;
Alone with her great family
She liv'd as she did please.

No breakfast had she many a morn,
No dinner many a noon,
And 'stead of supper she would stare
Full hard against the moon.

But every morn, of woodbine fresh
She made her garlanding,
And every night the dark glen yew
She wove and she would sing.

And with her fingers old and brown
She plaited mats o'rushes,
And gave them to the cottagers
She met among the bushes.

Old Meg was brave as Margaret Queen, 
And tall as Amazon;
And old red blanket cloak she wore,
A chip hat had she on,
God rest her aged bones somewhere....
She died full long agone.

John Keats



  1. Goodness me! How this brings back memories as I learned it by heart when I was about 11. We used to tease my mum, who didn't drink alcohol very much, by quoting "her wine was dew of the wild white rose" at her. My wine is wine thank you very much!


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