Meg Merrilies

By John Keats 1795–1821 John Keats
Old Meg she was a Gipsy,
       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 churchyard 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:
An old red blanket cloak she wore;
       A chip hat had she on.
God rest her aged bones somewhere—
       She died full long agone!

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet John Keats 1795–1821



Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Mythology & Folklore

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza, Ballad

 John  Keats


John Keats, who died at the age of twenty-five, had perhaps the most remarkable career of any English poet. He published only fifty-four poems, in three slim volumes and a few magazines. But at each point in his development he took on the challenges of a wide range of poetic forms from the sonnet, to the Spenserian romance, to the Miltonic epic, defining anew their possibilities with his own distinctive fusion of earnest energy, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Mythology & Folklore



Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza, Ballad

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.