Snap Apple Night by Daniel Maclise

There Peggy was dancing with Dan 
While Maureen the lead was melting, 
To prove how their fortunes ran 
With the Cards ould Nancy dealt in; 
There was Kate, and her sweet-heart Will, 
In nuts their true-love burning, 
And poor Norah, though smiling still 
She'd missed the snap-apple turning.
On the Festival of Hallow Eve.

by Morgan O'Doherty

[inspired by Snap Apple Night by Daniel Maclise]

For a portrait of this one, a portrait of that,
Looking down, looking up, or most vulgarly fat;
For such pictures I care not one brass penny-piece—
Give me beauty and fun, as combined by MacClise.
    Where the grace and the good-humoured spirit,
    That in the Green Isle they inherit,
    Are depicted with vigorous merit,
        Assembled on All-Hallow-eve.

Of all days in the year, none's like All-Hallow-eve
For poteen and sweethearts—and if they deceive.
Why, sorrow go with them! —we'll trust that next year
Will bring us more luck, if it brings not more cheer.
    With the snap-apple merrily turning,
    With the hoarded nut pleasantly burning,
    While the feet on the floor all go churning,
        To celebrate All-Hallow-e'en.

There Norah, like Eve, while the apple she eyed,
Saw temptation in Tim, serpent-like at her side ;
"The red rover," Mick mouthed, as it came from the lass ;
And the candle Con caught, while the pippin did pass.
    Then such laughing, and quaffing, and squalling.
    Such romping, and ranting, and mauling,
    With whistling, and singing, and bawling,
        To celebrate All-Hallow-eve.

There stood Nancy and Willy the sailor together.
Burning nuts in a nook, safe from wind and from weather ;
And if fairly they burn, it will certainly prove
That their hearts, like the kernels, were glowing—with love.
    "That is my nut," cried Willy, so sprightly;
    "See, 'tis burning quite purely and brightly—
    It says I love daily and nightly.
        This truth-telling All-Hallow-eve."

Old Mauriah now drew her seeshteen to the fi-er,
And Patrick and Sheelah their places took by her;
The cards are displayed, and the cut is well made-
Diamonds, hearts, kings and queens, but no ill-omened spade,
    "My diamond, my sweetheart, my queen!
    Love and riches such auguries mean—
    Believe it, the truth will be seen
        This fortunate All-Hallow-eve."

Next was melted the lead, and young Kate did essay
In the water to pour it, through the bow of a key;
But falsely it fell, as sly Kathleen could tell—
Though it lay just like truth in the depth of a well.
    For it gave her a hump-backed shoemaker,
    One eye, and half swaddler, half quaker.
    So she vowed that wild Barney should take her
        Ere the melting on next Hallow-eve.

That old subject of discord, an apple, being thrown
In a tub full of water, 'twixt Nelly and Joan,
To catch it they dip over face, neck, and ears;
And they laugh, though like Niobe covered with tears.
    Then the boys, with mouths and necks straining,
    While hair, nose, and eye-lash, are raining,
    Snap and dive, without ever complaining,
        For apples on All-Hallow eve.

Then Dermod, the fighter, smart Mary led out,
And neatly she trips, as he foots it about;
And smack go his lingers, and smack go his lips,
As she covers the buckle, with hands on her hips.
    Now up to each other advancing,
    Now figuring, capering, prancing —
    Sure never was seen such dancing;
        O glory to All-Hallow-eve!

This was all very well, till the piper, in fun,
Said his elbow and bellows both fairly were done;
His windpipe, his drone, and his chanter were dry,
His heart in a flame, and his throat in a fry.
    Then they drank, and they still called for "more, boys!"
    And whisky came pouring galore, boys;
    While they shouted with all their hearts' core, boys,
        A welcome to All-Hallow-eve.

Nooks and corners, though shady, still served for to shew
Each lad had his lass, and each belle had her beau.
For warm looks and warm hearts, hot love and hot hands,
Hot speeches, hot heads—Ireland's land of all lands!
    Some pressing the girls—to drinking ;
    Some kissing—some only a-winking;
    Some laughing—but all on love thinking,
        On October's last day, Hallow-eve.

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