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Best Famous William Allingham Poems

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Written by William Allingham |

In Snow

 O English mother, in the ruddy glow 
Hugging your baby closer when outside 
You see the silent, soft, and cruel snow 
Falling again, and think what ills betide 
Unshelter'd creatures,--your sad thoughts may go 
Where War and Winter now, two spectre-wolves, 
Hunt in the freezing vapour that involves 
Those Asian peaks of ice and gulfs below.
Does this young Soldier heed the snow that fills His mouth and open eyes? or mind, in truth, To-night, his mother's parting syllables? Ha! is't a red coat?--Merely blood.
Keep ruth For others; this is but an Afghan youth Shot by the stranger on his native hills.

Written by William Allingham |

The Eviction

 In early morning twilight, raw and chill, 
Damp vapours brooding on the barren hill, 
Through miles of mire in steady grave array 
Threescore well-arm'd police pursue their way;
Each tall and bearded man a rifle swings, 
And under each greatcoat a bayonet clings: 
The Sheriff on his sturdy cob astride 
Talks with the chief, who marches by their side,
And, creeping on behind them, Paudeen Dhu 
Pretends his needful duty much to rue.
Six big-boned labourers, clad in common frieze, Walk in the midst, the Sheriff's staunch allies; Six crowbar men, from distant county brought, - Orange, and glorying in their work, 'tis thought, But wrongly,- churls of Catholics are they, And merely hired at half a crown a day.
The hamlet clustering on its hill is seen, A score of petty homesteads, dark and mean; Poor always, not despairing until now; Long used, as well as poverty knows how, With life's oppressive trifles to contend.
This day will bring its history to an end.
Moveless and grim against the cottage walls Lean a few silent men: but someone calls Far off; and then a child 'without a stitch' Runs out of doors, flies back with piercing screech, And soon from house to house is heard the cry Of female sorrow, swelling loud and high, Which makes the men blaspheme between their teeth.
Meanwhile, o'er fence and watery field beneath, The little army moves through drizzling rain; A 'Crowbar' leads the Sheriff's nag; the lane Is enter'd, and their plashing tramp draws near, One instant, outcry holds its breath to hear "Halt!" - at the doors they form in double line, And ranks of polish'd rifles wetly shine.
The Sheriff's painful duty must be done; He begs for quiet-and the work's begun.
The strong stand ready; now appear the rest, Girl, matron, grandsire, baby on the breast, And Rosy's thin face on a pallet borne; A motley concourse, feeble and forlorn.
One old man, tears upon his wrinkled cheek, Stands trembling on a threshold, tries to speak, But, in defect of any word for this, Mutely upon the doorpost prints a kiss, Then passes out for ever.
Through the crowd The children run bewilder'd, wailing loud; Where needed most, the men combine their aid; And, last of all, is Oona forth convey'd, Reclined in her accustom'd strawen chair, Her aged eyelids closed, her thick white hair Escaping from her cap; she feels the chill, Looks round and murmurs, then again is still.
Now bring the remnants of each household fire; On the wet ground the hissing coals expire; And Paudeen Dhu, with meekly dismal face, Receives the full possession of the place.

Written by William Allingham |

Autumnal Sonnet

 Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods, 
And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt, 
And night by night the monitory blast 
Wails in the key-hold, telling how it pass'd 
O'er empty fields, or upland solitudes, 
Or grim wide wave; and now the power is felt 
Of melancholy, tenderer in its moods 
Than any joy indulgent summer dealt.
Dear friends, together in the glimmering eve, Pensive and glad, with tones that recognise The soft invisible dew in each one's eyes, It may be, somewhat thus we shall have leave To walk with memory,--when distant lies Poor Earth, where we were wont to live and grieve.

More great poems below...

Written by William Allingham |

Lepracaun or Fairy Shoemaker The

 Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
Up on the lonely rath's green mound?
Only the plaintive yellow bird
Sighing in sultry fields around,
Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee! -
Only the grasshopper and the bee? -
"Tip-tap, rip-rap,
Scarlet leather, sewn together,
This will make a shoe.
Left, right, pull it tight; Summer days are warm; Underground in winter, Laughing at the storm!" Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch th etiny clamour, Busy click of an elfin hammer.
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill As he merrily plies his trade? He's a span And a quarter in height, Get him in sight, hold him tight, And you're a made Man! You watch your cattle the summerday, Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay; how would you like to roll in your carriage, Look for a duchess's daughter in marriage? Seize the shoemaker - then you may! "Big boots a -hunting, Sandals in the hall, White for a wedding feast, Pink for a ball.
This way, that way, So we makea shoe; Getting rich every stitch, Tick-a-tack too!" Nine and ninety treasure crocks This keen miser fairy hath, Hid in the mountains, woods and rocks, Ruin and round-tow'r, cave and rath, And where cormorants build; From times of old Guarded by him; Each of them fill'd Full to the brim With gold! I caught him at work one day, myself, In the castle ditch where fox-glove grows, - A wrinkled, wizen'd and bearded Elf, Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose, Silver buckles to his hose, Leather apron - shoe in his lap - 'Rip-rap, tip-tap, Tick-tack-too! (A grasshopper on my cap! Away the moth flew!) Buskins for a fairy prince, Brogues for his son - Pay me well, pay me well, When the job is done!" The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
I stared at him, he stared at me; "Servant Sir!" "Humph" says he, And pull'd a snuff-box out.
He took a long pinch, look'd better pleased, The queer little Lepracaun; Offer'd the box with a whimsical grace, - Pouf! He flung the dust in my face, And while I sneezed, Was gone!

Written by William Allingham |

Robin Redbreast

 Good-bye, good-bye to Summer! 
For Summer's nearly done; 
The garden smiling faintly, 
Cool breezes in the sun; 
Our Thrushes now are silent, 
Our Swallows flown away, -- 
But Robin's here, in coat of brown, 
With ruddy breast-knot gay.
Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! Robin singing sweetly In the falling of the year.
Bright yellow, red, and orange, The leaves come down in hosts; The trees are Indian Princes, But soon they'll turn to Ghosts; The scanty pears and apples Hang russet on the bough, It's Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late, 'Twill soon be Winter now.
Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And welaway! my Robin, For pinching times are near.
The fireside for the Cricket, The wheatstack for the Mouse, When trembling night-winds whistle And moan all round the house; The frosty ways like iron, The branches plumed with snow, -- Alas! in Winter, dead and dark, Where can poor Robin go? Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And a crumb of bread for Robin, His little heart to cheer.

Written by William Allingham |

Late Autumn

 October - and the skies are cool and gray 
O'er stubbles emptied of their latest sheaf,
Bare meadow, and the slowly falling leaf.
The dignity of woods in rich decay Accords full well with this majestic grief That clothes our solemn purple hills to-day, Whose afternoon is hush'd, and wintry brief Only a robin sings from any spray.
And night sends up her pale cold moon, and spills White mist around the hollows of the hills, Phantoms of firth or lake; the peasant sees His cot and stockyard, with the homestead trees, Islanded; but no foolish terror thrills His perfect harvesting; he sleeps at ease.

Written by William Allingham |

Wayside Flowers

 Pluck not the wayside flower, 
It is the traveller's dower; 
A thousand passers-by 
Its beauties may espy, 
May win a touch of blessing 
From Nature's mild caressing.
The sad of heart perceives A violet under leaves Like sonic fresh-budding hope; The primrose on the slope A spot of sunshine dwells, And cheerful message tells Of kind renewing power; The nodding bluebell's dye Is drawn from happy sky.
Then spare the wayside flower! It is the traveller's dower.

Written by William Allingham |

A Memory

 Four ducks on a pond,
A grass-bank beyond, 
A blue sky of spring, 
White clouds on the wing; 
What a little thing 
To remember for years- 
To remember with tears!

Written by William Allingham |

A Seed

 See how a Seed, which Autumn flung down, 
And through the Winter neglected lay, 
Uncoils two little green leaves and two brown, 
With tiny root taking hold on the clay 
As, lifting and strengthening day by day, 
It pushes red branchless, sprouts new leaves, 
And cell after cell the Power in it weaves 
Out of the storehouse of soil and clime, 
To fashion a Tree in due course of time; 
Tree with rough bark and boughs' expansion, 
Where the Crow can build his mansion, 
Or a Man, in some new May, 
Lie under whispering leaves and say, 
"Are the ills of one's life so very bad 
When a Green Tree makes me deliciously glad?" 
As I do now.
But where shall I be When this little Seed is a tall green Tree?

Written by William Allingham |

The Little Dell

 Doleful was the land, 
Dull on, every side, 
Neither soft n'or grand, 
Barren, bleak, and wide; 
Nothing look'd with love; 
All was dingy brown; 
The very skies above 
Seem'd to sulk and frown.
Plodding sick and sad, Weary day on day; Searching, never glad, Many a miry way; Poor existence lagg'd In this barren place; While the seasons dragg'd Slowly o'er its face.
Spring, to sky and ground, Came before I guess'd; Then one day I found A valley, like a nest! Guarded with a spell Sure it must have been, This little fairy dell Which I had never seen.
Open to the blue, Green banks hemm'd it round A rillet wander'd through With a tinkling sound; Briars among the rocks Tangled arbours made; Primroses in flocks Grew beneath their shade.
Merry birds a few, Creatures wildly tame, Perch'd and sung and flew; Timid field-mice came; Beetles in the moss Journey'd here and there; Butterflies across Danced through sunlit air.
There I often read, Sung alone, or dream'd; Blossoms overhead, Where the west wind stream'd; Small horizon-line, Smoothly lifted up, Held this world of mine In a grassy cup.
The barren land to-day Hears my last adieu: Not an hour I stay; Earth is wide and new.
Yet, farewell, farewell! May the sun and show'rs Bless that Little Dell Of safe and tranquil hours!

Written by William Allingham |

An Evening

 A sunset's mounded cloud; 
A diamond evening-star; 
Sad blue hills afar; 
Love in his shroud.
Scarcely a tear to shed; Hardly a word to say; The end of a summer day; Sweet Love dead.

Written by William Allingham |

A Singer

 That which he did not feel, he would not sing; 
What most he felt, religion it was to hide 
In a dumb darkling grotto, where the spring 
Of tremulous tears, arising unespied, 
Became a holy well that durst not glide 
Into the day with moil or murmuring; 
Whereto, as if to some unlawful thing, 
He sto]e, musing or praying at its side.
But in the sun he sang with cheerful heart, Of coloured season and the whirling sphere, Warm household habitude and human mirth, The whole faith-blooded mystery of earth; And I, who had his secret, still could hear The grotto's whisper low through every part.

Written by William Allingham |


 A man who keeps a diary, pays 
Due toll to many tedious days; 
But life becomes eventful--then 
His busy hand forgets the pen.
Most books, indeed, are records less Of fulness than of emptiness.

Written by William Allingham |

A Dream

 I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night; 
I went to the window to see the sight;
All the Dead that ever I knew 
Going one by one and two by two.
On they pass'd, and on they pass'd; Townsfellows all, from first to last; Born in the moonlight of the lane, Quench'd in the heavy shadow again.
Schoolmates, marching as when they play'd At soldiers once - but now more staid; Those were the strangest sight to me Who were drown'd, I knew, in the awful sea.
Straight and handsome folk, bent and weak, too; Some that I loved, and gasp'd to speak to; Some but a day in their churchyard bed; Some that I had not known were dead.
A long, long crowd - where each seem'd lonely, Yet of them all there was one, one only, Raised a head or look'd my way; She linger'd a moment - she might not stay.
How long since I saw that fair pale face! Ah! Mother dear! might I only place My head on thy breast, a moment to rest, While thy hand on my tearful cheek were prest! On, on, a moving bridge they made Across the moon-stream, from shade to shade, Young and old, women and men; Many long-forgot, but remembered then, And first there came a bitter laughter; A sound of tears a moment after; And then a music so lofty and gay, That eve morning, day by day, I strive to recall it if I may.

Written by William Allingham |

After Sunset

 The vast and solemn company of clouds 
Around the Sun's death, lit, incarnadined, 
Cool into ashy wan; as Night enshrouds 
The level pasture, creeping up behind 
Through voiceless vales, o'er lawn and purpled hill 
And hazéd mead, her mystery to fulfil.
Cows low from far-off farms; the loitering wind Sighs in the hedge, you hear it if you will,-- Tho' all the wood, alive atop with wings Lifting and sinking through the leafy nooks, Seethes with the clamour of a thousand rooks.
Now every sound at length is hush'd away.
These few are sacred moments.
One more Day Drops in the shadowy gulf of bygone things.