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Best Famous William Allingham Poems

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by William Allingham | |

The Fairies

 Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl’s feather! 

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.
High on the hill-top The old King sits; He is now so old and gray He’s nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist Columbkill he crosses, On his stately journeys From Slieveleague to Rosses; Or going up with music On cold starry nights To sup with the Queen Of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget For seven years long; When she came down again Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back, Between the night and morrow, They thought that she was fast asleep, But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since Deep within the lake, On a bed of flag-leaves, Watching till she wake.
By the craggy hill-side, Through the mosses bare, They have planted thorn-trees For pleasure here and there.
If any man so daring As dig them up in spite, He shall find their sharpest thorns In his bed at night.
Up the airy mountain, Down the rushy glen, We daren’t go a-hunting For fear of little men; Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together; Green jacket, red cap, And white owl’s feather!


by William Allingham | |

The Boy

 The Boy from his bedroom-window 
Look'd over the little town, 
And away to the bleak black upland 
Under a clouded moon.
The moon came forth from her cavern, He saw the sudden gleam Of a tarn in the swarthy moorland; Or perhaps the whole was a dream.
For I never could find that water In all my walks and rides: Far-off, in the Land of Memory, That midnight pool abides.
Many fine things had I glimpse of, And said, "I shall.
find them one day.
" Whether within or without me They were, I cannot say.


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.


by William Allingham | |

Meadowsweet

 Through grass, through amber'd cornfields, our slow Stream-- 
Fringed with its flags and reeds and rushes tall, 
And Meadowsweet, the chosen of them all 
By wandering children, yellow as the cream 
Of those great cows--winds on as in a dream 
By mill and footbridge, hamlet old and small 
(Red roofs, gray tower), and sees the sunset gleam 
On mullion'd windows of an ivied Hall.
There, once upon a time, the heavy King Trod out its perfume from the Meadowsweet, Strown like a woman's love beneath his feet, In stately dance or jovial banqueting, When all was new; and in its wayfaring Our Streamlet curved, as now, through grass and wheat.


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!


by William Allingham | |

Down on the Shore

 Down on the shore, on the sunny shore! 
Where the salt smell cheers the land;
Where the tide moves bright under boundless light, 
And the surge on the glittering strand; 
Where the children wade in the shallow pools, 
Or run from the froth in play; 
Where the swift little boats with milk-white wings 
Are crossing the sapphire bay, 
And the ship in full sail, with a fortunate gale, 
Holds proudy on her way; 
Where the nets are spread on the grass to dry, 
And asleep, hard by, the fishermen lie, 
Under the tent of the warm blue sky, 
With the hushing wave on its golden floor 
To sing their lullaby.
Down on the shore, on the stormy shore! Beset by a growling sea, Whose mad waves leap on the rocky steep Like wolves up a traveller's tree; Where the foam flies wide, and an angry blast Blows the curlew off, with a screech; Where the brown sea-wrack, torn up by the roots, Is flung out of fishes' reach; And the tall ship rolls on the hidden shoals, And scatters her planks on the beach; Where slate and straw through the village spin, And a cottage fronts the fiercest din With a sailor's wife sitting sad within, Hearkening the wind and the water's roar, Till at last her tears begin.


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.


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?


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.


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.