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Best Famous William Allingham Poems

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Written by William Allingham | |

On a Forenoon of Spring

 I'm glad I am alive, to see and feel 
The full deliciousness of this bright day, 
That's like a heart with nothing to conceal; 
The young leaves scarcely trembling; the blue-grey 
Rimming the cloudless ether far away; 
Brairds, hedges, shadows; mountains that reveal 
Soft sapphire; this great floor of polished steel 
Spread out amidst the landmarks of the bay.
I stoop in sunshine to our circling net From the black gunwale; tend these milky kine Up their rough path; sit by yon cottage-door Plying the diligent thread; take wings and soar-- O hark how with the season's laureate Joy culminates in song! If such a song were mine!


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 | |

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.


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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 | |

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 | |

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.


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 | |

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.


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 | |

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.


Written 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!


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 | |

The Touchstone

 A man there came, whence none could tell, 
Bearing a Touchstone in his hand; 
And tested all things in the land 
By its unerring spell.
Quick birth of transmutation smote The fair to foul, the foul to fair; Purple nor ermine did he spare, Nor scorn the dusty coat.
Of heirloom jewels, prized so much, Were many changed to chips and clods, And even statues of the Gods Crumbled beneath its touch.
Then angrily the people cried, "The loss outweighs the profit far; Our goods suffice us as they are We will not have then tried.
" And since they could not so prevail To check this unrelenting guest, They seized him, saying - "Let him test How real it is, our jail!" But, though they slew him with the sword, And in a fire his Touchstone burn'd, Its doings could not be o'erturned, Its undoings restored.
And when to stop all future harm, They strew'd its ashes on the breeze; They little guess'd each grain of these Convey'd the perfect charm.
North, south, in rings and amulets, Throughout the crowded world 'tis borne; Which, as a fashion long outworn, In ancient mind forgets.


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 | |

Writing

 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.