William Allingham

1824-1889 [pseud. “Patricius Walker”]; b. 19 March, on the Mall, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal (‘an odd, out of the way little town, on the extreme western verge of Europe’: Diary); son of bank-manager at Ballyshannon, where he entered the bank, c. 1837; ed. Ballyshannon and Killeshandra to age of 15; early enthusiasm for Tennyson; sent poems to Leigh Hunt before his nineteenth birthday (and later ded. his Poems, 1850, to him), and established a literary friendship; customs officer at Donegal, Ballyshannon, Ramsey, New Ross, Ballyshannon [again], Coleraine; conducted a correspondence with William Carleton in 1846;had ballads printed for sale at country fairs in the West of Ireland; published unsigned essay on “Irish Ballad Singers and Street Singers” in Household Words (1852); friendly correspondence with the Brownings, mooting a period at college ‘either at the London University or one of the new Queen’s Colleges in Ireland’; moved to London instead, 1854, and worked in literary journalism, which he found uncongenial; returned to Irish Customs; then at Lymington, Hampshire, 1863; retired and settled in London, joining Fraser’s Magazine, as assistant-editor and replacement for Froude, 1870, and becoming editor in 1872;
m. Helen Paterson, water-colourist, 22 Aug. 1874; moved to Chelsea to be near the Carlyles, recording many details of Carlyle’s often intemperate conversation in his diary (‘Don’t come to me to certify that you have an intellect with such [materialist] notions on your head’); friendly with the Rossettis, William Morris, Burne Jones, Philip Webb, and J. W. Boyce (in whose diaries and correspondence he features); received introduction to visit Tennyson at Twickenham from Coventry Patmore, June 1861; visited Tennyson at different times, as recounted in his diary; wrote poems dealing with fairies of Irish folk tradition adapted for Victorian nursery; Poems (1850); issued Day and Night Songs (1854; 2nd series ill. pre-Raphaelite artists); ed., The Ballad Book (1864), with an extended prefatory account of the genre; Laurence Bloomfield in Ireland (1864), verse novel dealing with land-relations in a manner sympathetic to the tenants, featuring Bloomfield, a landlord, who takes charge of his estate, dismissing his cruel bailiff and burning his list of Ribbonmen; Bloomfield halts evictions and institutes fair dealing with the peasants but cannot prevent the assassination of the bailiff; applauded by George Eliot, John Stuart Mill, and Ford Madox Brown following serialisation in Fraser’s (1862-63); moved to Whitley upon the death of Carlyle, 1881; Allingham supplied material for Tennyson’s brogue-poem;
“The Music Master” (publ. in Irish Songs and Poems, 1887), praised by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Aubrey de Vere, and Thackeray, in letters to Allingham; quarrelled with Fraser and departed from editorship, 1879; wrote “The Fairies”, probably his best-known poem, in early 1888 (“Up the airy mountain, / Down the rushy glen ... ”; the Collected Works were published in 6 vols., 1888-93; also Varieties in Prose (1893), and a selection from his Diary (1907); suffered occasional lapses of mental health, and recuperated in Donegal; d. 18 Nov.; ashes brought from Hampstead to Mullinashee, behind the house where he was born; his home preserved in Ballyshannon; there is a water-colour portrait by Helen Allingham in NGI; P. S. O’Hegarty prepared a bibliography in 1945; a William Allingham Literary Festival was established at Ballyshannon in 1984 and ran till 2001, being revived in 2006. JMC ODNB DIL RAF MKA OCEL DIW DIB DUB DIH ODQ FDA OCIL

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Contemporary Editions
  • Poems (London: Chapman & Hall 1850) [ded. Leigh Hunt].
  • Day and Night Songs (London: G. Routledge 1854), x, 155pp., 8o., ill. [by Dante Gabriel Rossetti]; Do. (London: G. Philip & Son 1884), x, 156pp., 8o.
  • Peace and War (London: G. Routledge 1854).
  • The Music Master (London: Routledge 1855); [reiss. as] Days and Nights [and] The Music-Master: A Love Poem, with nine woodcuts, seven designed by Arthur Hughes, one by D. G. Rossetti, and one by John E. Millais (London: Bell & Daldy 1860), xii, 221pp. [8 pls.]; [also electronic edn. by Chadwyck Healey]
  • Laurence Bloomfield in Ireland: A Modern Poem (London: Macmillan 1864, 1869), vii, 292pp. [orig. in Frazer’s Magazine as 12 instalments, 1862-63]; Do. (London: Reeves & Turner 1890, 1893), x, 152pp. [8o.]; Do., [rep. edn.] (NY: AMS Press 1972), viii, 290pp.; Do. [facs. of 1864 Edn.] NY: Garland Publ. 1979), xi, 290pp.; Do., [rep. edn.] (Poole: Woodstock 1999), xii, 292pp.
  • The Ballad Book: A Selection of the Choicest British Ballads [Golden Treasury Series] (London: Macmillan 1864, 1865, 1872, 1887, 1892, 1907), xlvii, 393pp., [gilt title]; 1879.
  • In Fairyland: A Series of Pictures by Richard Doyle with a Poem by William Allingham (London: Longmans, Green 1870) [4o.]; Do. (London: Macmillan 1872, 1879), 389pp.
  • Fifty Modern Poems (London: Bell & Daldy 1865) [gilt title], and Do. [rep. edn.] (NY: AMS Press 1973), viii, 181pp. [also electronic edition by Chadwyck-Healey 1992].
  • Songs, Ballads and Stories (London: George Bell & Sons 1877; [rep. edn.] (NY: AMS 1972).
  • Evil May-Day (1883), viii, 100pp. [16cm; also electronic edition by Chadwyck Healey 1992].
  • The Fairies: A Child's Song ([London]: Thos. de la Rue & Co. London 1883), 23pp., ill. [by E[mily] Gertrude Thomson; saddle-stitched in green glazed wrap., printed in gold; front cover tit., with vignette detail of ill., p.22; 20 x 24cm].
  • Ashby Manor: A Play in Two Acts [historical drama] (London: David Stott 1883), 102pp.; Do., rep. in Thought and Word; and Ashby Manor: A Play in Two Acts (London: Reeves and Turner 1890), [94]-183pp., [2], ill., music.; and Do. (NY: Readex 1970) [microfilm].
  • Flower Pieces and Other Poems with two designs by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (London: Reeves & Turner 1888, 1893), x, 194pp., ills. by Dante Gabriel Rossetti]; [also electronic edition by Chadwyck Healey 1992].
  • Blackberries: Picked Off Many Bushes, by D. Pollex and Others; Put in a Basket by W. Allingham (London: Philip & Son 1884), 171pp.; Do. (London: Reeves and Turner 1890), 172pp., and Do. (London: Longmans & 1893), 172pp., 8o. [also electronic edition by Chadwyck Healey 1992].
  • Irish Songs and Poems, with Nine Airs Harmonised for Voice and Pianoforte, and a permanent photograph of the waterfall of Asaroe (London: Reeves & Turner 1887, 1890), vi, 164pp. [18cm], and Do. [3rd edn.] (Ballyshannon: Hugh Allingham 1901), vi, 164pp. [also electronic edition by Chadwyck Healey 1992].
  • Life and Phantasy, with frontispiece by Sir John E. Millais, R.A. ; a design by Arthur H. Hughes, and a song for voice and pianoforte (London: Reeves & Turner 1889), 161pp., ill. [1 leaf of pls.] [also electronic edition by Chadwyck Healey 1992].
  • Varieties in Prose (London: Longmans Green 1893).
Longmans catalogue, appended to P. W. Joyce, A Short History of Ireland (1893), lists ‘Poetry and Drama by William Allingham’

—Irish Songs and Poems. With Frontispiece of the Waterfall of Asaroe. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.
—Laurence Bloomfield. With Portrait of the Author. Fcp. 8vo., 3s 6d.
—Flower Pieces; Day and Night Songs; Ballads. With 2 Designs by D. G. Rosetti. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.; large paper edition, 12s.
—Life and Phantasy: with Frontispiece by Sir J. E. Millais, Bart., and Design by Arthur Hughes. Fcp. 8vo. 6s.; large paper edition, 12s.
—Thought and Word, and Ashby Manor: a Play. With Portrait of the Author (1865), and four Theatrical Scenes drawn by Mr. Allingham. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.; large paper edition, 2s.
—Blackberries. Imperial 16mo., 6s.

[Further:] Sets of the above 6 vols, may be had in uniform half-parchment binding, price 30s.
Miscellaneous poems
  • “Irish Ballad Singers and Irish Street Ballads” [unsigned], Household Words, 94 (10 Jan. 1852), posthum. rep. in Varieties in Prose (1893), pp.137-54, and rep. in Shields, ed., Ceol III, i (1967), pp.2-20.
  • Poem in Dublin University Magazine (Feb. 1858), pp.173-74.
Modern Editions
  • W. B. Yeats, ed., Sixteen Poems (Dun Emer 1905).
  • Helen Allingham, ed., By the Way: Verses, Fragments, and Notes (London: Longmans, Green 1912), 167pp. [also electronic edn. by Chadwyck Healey 1992].
  • Helen Allingham, ed., Poems of William Allingham (London: Macmillan 1912).
  • John Hewitt, ed. & intro., The Poems of William Allingham (Dublin: Dolmen 1967), 102pp.
  • George Birbeck Hill, ed., Letters of Gabriel Rossetti to William Allingham 1854-1870 (London: Fisher & Unwin 1897).
  • Helen Allingham & Dollie Radford, ed., A Diary (London: Macmillan 1907); Do. [rev. and ed. with intro. by Geoffrey Grigson] (Fontwell: Centaur Press 1967); Do., as The Diaries, rev. & ed. with intro. by John Julius Norwich (Harmondsworth 1985; Folio Society 1990), 351pp. [index; slip case]; Do. [Lives and Letters Ser.] (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1985), xv,403pp.
  • Helen Allingham & E. Baumer Williams, eds., Letters to William Allingham (London: Longmans 1911).

See also Conny Sykora, ed., The Face of Ireland [as] seen by William Allingham ... [et al.] (Onnen: 't Widde Vool [printed for] The Dutch Foundation for Conservation of Irish Bogs 1987), 72pp. ill. [by Janneke Tangelder].

  • H. Allingham, ed., Letters of William Allingham to Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning [1914], 12pp.8º.
  • H.Allingham and E.Baumer Williams, eds., Letters to William Allingham (London: Longmans, Green 1911), 314pp.
Musical arrangements
  • Henry Hadley [opus 3, piano-vocal score] The Fairies: Ballad for Mixed Voices, Solo & Orchestra (Boston : Boston Music Co. [1894]), and Do.[rep. edn.] (Huntsville: Recital Publs. 1994), 23pp.
  • The Fairies: A Poem (London: Michael O’Mara Books 1990), [30]pp., ill. [by Michael Hague].
  • The Fairies, with music by Arnold Bax (London: J. & W. Chester [1907]), [10]pp.
  • Fairy Folk [arranged by] by Sv. Sveinbjornsson (1890).
  • Fairy Folk [arranged by] C[harles] V[illiers] Stanford (1913).
  • Fairy Folk [arranged by] Reginald C. Robbins (1929).
  • Fairy Folk [arranged by] Crystal LaPoint Kowalski (1985).
  • Homeward Bound, a Sailor's Song[,] composed by Walter Maynard (1867) [“Head the Ship or England!”].
  • The Little Men (“Up the Airy Mountain”), music by Roger Jalowicz [1923].
  • Long Time Ago, songs by Franco Leoni [1922].
  • The Winding Banks of Erne, arranged by Herbert Hughes [1922].
  • Wishes: Unison [arranged by] C. V. Stanford (1923), 5pp.

See also Hugh Shields, “‘Adieu to Ballyshanny’, a musical recreation of the folk poetry of William Allingham”, RTÉ (19 Sept. 1971), and notice in RTÉ Guide ( 17 Sept. 1971), p.8.

Pictorial versions
Fairy Folk in Fairy Lands, intro. by Peter Nahum, with a Fairy Poem by William Allingham (London: Peter Nahum [1997]), [120]pp. [exhibition of paintings, drawings & prints [...] at the Leicester Galleries, London, 13 Nov.-20 Dec. 1997];
Older anthologies
  • Rev. W. MacIlwaine, D.D., ed., Lyra Hibernica sacra (Belfast 1879) [Oscar Wilde, Mrs Alexander, Allingham].

More access ..
  • See “Two Poems by William Allingham” [infra]; 16 Poems, sel. W. B. Yeats, in RICORSO Library -as attached.
  • Gutenberg Project collection incls. Sixteen Poems By William Allingham, sel. by William Butler Yeats (Dun Emer 1905) - see RICORSO Library, “Classic Irish Texts” [infra].

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  • John William Byers, address to Belfast Natural History & Philosophical Society (Dec. 1903) [infra].
  • W. B. Yeats on William Allingham in (1904) [infra].
  • A. P. Graves, ‘William Allingham,’ Irish Literary & Musical Studies (1913), pp.70-101 [infra].
  • Thomas MacDonagh, Literature in Ireland (1915), Sect. V, p.990 [infra].
  • Alan Warner, ‘The Diary of William Allingham’, in The Dublin Magazine, 6, 2 (Summer 1967), pp.20-28.
  • Seán McMahon, ‘The Boy From His Bedroom Window’, in Éire-Ireland, 5, 2 (Summer 1970), pp.142-53.
  • Alan Warner, William Allingham: An Introduction (Dublin: Dolmen 1971; rep. Bucknell UP 1975), 39pp.
  • Alan Warner, ‘Patricius Walker: Victorian Irishman on Foot’, in Eire-Ireland, 8, 3 (1973), pp.70-80.
  • Thomas Kinsella, ‘The Divided Mind’, in Seán Lucy, ed., Irish Poets in English (Cork: Mercier 1973), p.213 [infra].
  • Hugh Shields, ‘William Allingham and Folk Song’, in Hermathena, CXVII (Summer 1974), pp.23-36 [infra].
  • Terence Brown, ‘William Allingham, Cultural Confusion’, in Northern Voices: Poets from Northern Ireland (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975), pp.42-54.
  • Anthony Cronin, ‘William Allingham: The Lure of London’, in Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language (Dingle: Brandon 1982), pp.61-68.
  • Chris Morash, The Hungry Voice (Dublin: IAP 1989).
  • Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), pp.2, 7, 8, 723 [infra].
  • Mark Samuels Lasner, ‘William Allingham: Some Uncollected Authors LVI’, in Book Collector, 39 (Summer 1991), pp.174-204, and Do. (Autumn 1991), pp.321-49.
  • Seamus Mac Annaidh, ‘Shpayke’, The Spark, [Fermanagh/WEA] (Spring 1992), [infra].

See also W. B. Yeats’s various reviews and articles on Allingham include ‘A Poet We Have Neglected’, United Ireland (12 Dec. 1891), rep. in John Frayne, ed., Uncollected Prose, 1970, pp.208-12; and the earlier ‘William Allingham’ in Providence Sunday Journal (2 Sept. 1888), rep. in Horace Reynolds, Letters to the New Island, 1938; a sketch of Allingham in Alfred Miles ed., The Poets and Poetry of the Century (1892); ‘Modern Irish Poetry’, in Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature, 1904, Vol. III, pp.vii-xiii, x-xi; and See also Robert Welch, Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats (Gerrards Cross: Smythe 1980) [q.pp.].

  • P. S. O’Hegarty, A Bibliography of William Allingham (Dublin: Thom 1945), 12pp., being an offprint from Dublin Magazine, 20, 1 (Jan.-March & July-Sept. 1945) [35 offprints; priv.].
  • Alan Warner, ‘William Allingham: Bibliographical Survey’, in Irish Booklore, 2 (1976), pp.303-07.
  • Samira Aghacy Husni, ‘Bibliography of William Allingham’, in Éire-Ireland 22, 1 (Spring 1987), pp.155-57.
  • Mark Samuels Lasner, William Allingham: A Bibliographical Study (Philadelphia: Homes 1993).

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John William Byers
W. B. Yeats
A. P. Graves
Thomas MacDonagh
Thomas Kinsella
Hugh Shields
Seamus Deane
Seamus MacAnnaidh

John William Byers addressing the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society on Allingham (1 Dec. 1903), declared: ‘No writer had a greater sympathy with, and appreciation of, the fairy world of fancy and myth than the Ulster poet Allingham.’ (Q. sources; Cited in Loreto Todd, The Language of Irish Literature, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989, p.172.)

W. B. Yeats (1), in Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (CUA Washington 1904), Vol. III, ppvii-xiii: ‘Allingham had trained an ear, too delicate to catch the tune of but a single master, upon [x] the lyric poetry of many lands. Allingham was the best artist, but Ferguson had the more ample imagination, the more epic aim. He had not the subtlety of feeling, the variety of cadence of a great lyric poet, but he has touched, here and there, an epic vastness and naivete, as in the description in Congal of the mire-stiffened mantle of the giant specter Alananan mac Lir, striking against his calves with as loud a noise as the mainsail of a ship makes, “when with the coil of all its ropes it beat the sounding mast.” He is frequently dull, for he often lacked the ‘minutely appropriate words’ necessary to embody those fine changes of feeling which enthral the attention; but his sense of weight and size, of action and tumult, has set him apart and solitary, an epic figure in a lyric age. [...] Allingham, whose pleasant destiny has made him the poet of his native town, and put “The Winding Banks of Erne” into the mouths of the ballad singers of Ballyshannon, is, on the other hand, a master of “minutely appropriate words,” and can wring from the luxurious sadness of the lover, from the austere sadness of old age, the last golden drop of beauty; but amid action and tumult he can but fold his hands. He is the poet of the melancholy peasantry of the West, and, as years go on, and voluminous histories and copious romances drop under the horizon, will take his place among those minor immortals who have put their souls into little songs to humble the proud.’ (pp.x-xi.) Further, ‘In Allingham, I find the entire emotion for the place one grew up on which I felt as a child. Davis, on the other hand, was concerned with ideas on conscious. His Ireland was artificial, an idea built up in a couple of generations by a few commonplace men. This artificial idea has done me as much harm as the other has helped me.’ (Autobiographies, p.471-72.)

W. B. Yeats (2): ‘Perhaps ... to fully understand these poems one needs to have been born and bred in one of those western Irish towns; to remember how it was the centre of your world, how the mountains and the river and the roads became a portion of your life forever; to have loved with a sense of possession even the roadside bushes where the roadside cottagers hung out their clothes to dry.’ (George Bornstein & Hugh Witemeyer, eds., W. B. Yeats: Letters to the New Island, London 1989, p.72; quoted in G. J. Watson, ed., The Short Fiction of W. B. Yeats, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1995, p.xx.)

W. B. Yeats (3) - letter to Katherine Tynan on completion of John Sherman (1891): ‘When you review it, you might ... say that John Sherman is an Irish type. I have an ambition to be taken as an Irish novelist not as an English or cosmepolitan one choosing Ireland as a background. I studied my characters in Ireland & described a typical Irish feeling in Sherman’s devotion to Ballah. A West of Ireland feeling I might almost say for like that of Allingham for Ballyshannon it is local rather than national. Sherman belonged like Allingham to the small gentry who in the West at any rate love their native places without perhaps loving Ireland. They do not travell & are shut off from England by the whole breadth of Ireland with the result that they are forced to make their native town their world. I remember when we were children how intense our devotion was to all things in Sligo & still see in my mother the old feeling.’ (Letters, 1, 1986, pp.274-45; quoted in Watson, op. cit., p.xxi.)

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A. P. Graves, ‘William Allingham,’ Irish Literary & Musical Studies (London: Nelson 1913), pp.70-101: ‘Of Carlyle he saw much more than most of that great man’s friends, for during some years scarcely a week went by in which they did not walk together. […] Allingham used to recount how Carlyle would sometimes begin by flatly contradicting him, and end by tacitly adopting what he said. A stroller, he tramped through Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland as “Patricius Walker” […]’. Graves here mentions letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti to William Allingham. Further, ‘Allingham raises a very interesting literary question. He states that he did not find it easy in ballad writing to employ a diction that might hope to come home to the English-speaking Irish peasant using his customary phraseology, and also keep within the laws of poetic taste and the rules of grammar.’ Here Graves quotes Allingham: “for that phraseology, being as regards its structural peculiarities but an imperfect and distorted expression, not an ancient dialect like that of Scotland, is generally too corrupt, though often forcible, to bear translation into poetry. [...] From these conditions [i.e., the use of words such as distress in special senses as meaning ‘bodily want’] it comes that the choice of words for poetry in Irish-English is narrowly limited, instead of there being both that variety and racinesss which is sometimes in the gift of a genuine peculiar dialect.” Graves continues: ‘But after 15 years’ experience, Allingham qualifies the strong term “imperfect or distorted expression” as applied to the structural peculiarities of the Irish peasants’ phraseology, to mean unusual forms, some of them old-fashioned English, some translated or adapted from Gaelic forms.’ Further [Graves], ‘This is a very important modification of view, and surely such forms, derived as they are from Shakespearean English and classical Gaelic, are as ancient and respectable in their historic and literary associations as the idioms of the mod. Scotch dialect. // Allingham’s final concession that some not unimportant poetical results might flow from a judicious treatment of Irish dialect has been more than justified by the event. [Graves here cites Irish literary practitioners including Moira O’Neill, Fahy, Armstrong, Stephenson, Synge, Gregory, Boyle, Yeats, et al.] Allingham has, however, very justly pointed out that during his time Irish-English has never been properly examined [here Graves cites P. W. Joyce]’ (p.77).

Thomas MacDonagh identified Allingham with the patriotic poets ‘many of whom have no subjects than national ones, and yet who have not in our ears, for all their Gaelic words, the Irish accent of Ferguson’ (Literature in Ireland, 1915; quoted in Seamus Deane, ‘Poetry and Song, 1800-1890’, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991, p.990.)

Thomas Kinsella, ‘The Divided Mind’: ‘One pauses a little longer over William Allingham, for a kind of passive wisdom-though it rarely comes to live in his verse, except in flashes of sudden concern, sudden power and economy, as in the eviction scene in Laurence Bloomfield in Ireland. But then all sinks again into mood-setting and description-description in the service of nothing.’ (Printed in Seán Lucy, ed., Irish Poets in English, Mercier 1973, p.213.)

Hugh Shields, ‘William Allingham and Folk Song’, Hermathena, CXVII (Summer 1974), pp.23-36 [“The Poet and Music”; “Poet and People”; “Songs and Ballads, Old and New”]: Shields cites various views on ballads expressed by Allingham, who earlier admired the form more than latterly, when he identified it with it ‘a kind of barbarous loose freedom’ pointing to the shortcomings of the Anglo-Irish dialect in comparison with Burn’s Scots dialectic. He also offers a glimpse of Allingham as observer, sitting outside the fair-day throng; eavesdropping on signing girls in cottages, and once, intensely conscious of his otherness, accompanying pilgrims to Lough Derg [n.cit.]; quotes lines on ballad singing in Laurence Bloomfield: “Murder, and love, and treason, chanted strong / By voices hardened with perpetual song / Draws each its group; and ere the rustic buys, / With open mouth to catch the strain he tries, / Then pushing in a rudely bashful fist, / Crumbles the ill-spelt paper [...].”’ (Laurence Bloomfield, 1864, p.186.)

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1, calls Allingham an exemplary figure and, with George Darley, one of the ‘loners’ [Deane, ed.; p.2]; introduced to Tennyson by Coventry Patmore ... his achievement and importance greater than recognised although in the last 20 years John Hewitt has helped to establish [his] position more securely [7]; ‘It is Allingham’s awareness of the political divisions of Ireland, combined with his love for the ancient Irish world and its culture [...] that gives his best work it particular force and importance’ [p.8; Laurence Bloomfield is] ‘one of the best narrative poems of the time .. the only poem of sustained quality to treat this central theme [i.e., the battle for the land] of nineteenth-century Irish life’ [8];[Allingham] ‘blended what we may call the political and the picturesque elements prevailing in Irish poetry at this time’ [8]; remarks upon the impersonal quality of the broadsheet poem [compared with Thomas Davis, Deane, ed., p. 723]; also includes quotations from Allingham’s Diary (1907) and from Thomas MacDonagh’s remarks on Allingham.

Seamus MacAnnaidh, ‘Shpayke’, The Spark [Fermanagh/WEA] (Spring 1992), [q.p.]; ‘[...] William Allingham, who has frequent references to the Irish language in his diaries and likes to give the impression that he knew Irish. Indeed, there is a copy of O’Reilly’s Irish-English dictionary in Enniskillen library with his signature on it.’ [Narrates how, on meeting Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan, Allingham tells him the apocryphal tale of the King who pulls out one eye to give to a female guest who has asked for it, rendering the Irish súil amhain and súil aon.] He further quotes Allingham’s diary, “I avoid writing brogue and leave it to the speaker or singer.” In 1885, he says that Tennyson ‘has lately done an Irish piece and honoured me by much consultation about his “brogue”. But the truth is I don’t much like his “brogue” pieces and have myself tried to manage Irish subjects with a minimum of that flavouring. A “brogue” is not a dialect. I suppose the word has been transferred to express a rustic and clumsy gait in speech, from its original meaning, a rough shoe.’ Later on that year, he tells Tennyson, ‘I told him that the Irish brogue has many nuances, especially in sound, it differs in different parts of the island; and there are vulgar and unvulgar brogues, and the possessor of a vulgar brogue is the subject of frequent imitation and ridicule among his own countrymen. A mild brogue in the mouth of an educated person, and especially of a pretty woman, is very different from the way an ignorant Connaught or Munster peasant would shpayke. I could not bring myself to use the vulgar brogue in verse, unless it were for a broadly comic purpose’; includes quotation from Allingham’s “Adieu to Ballyshanny”.

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The Fairies; A Nursery Song” (1854): ‘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. [...]’ ‘By the craggy hill-side, Through the mosses bare, / they have planted thorn-trees / For pleasure here and there. / Is any man so daring / To dig one up in spite, / He shall find the thornies set / In his bed at night.’ [For full text, see infra.]

The Winding Banks of Erne”: ‘Adieu to Ballyshanny! where I was bred and born: / Go where I may, I’ll think of you, as sure as night and morn, / The kindly spot, the friendly town, where everyone is known, / And not a face in all the place but partly seems my own: / There’s not a house or window, there’s not a field or hill, / But, east or west, in foreign lands, I’ll recollect them still, / I leave my warm heart with you, tho’ my back is forced to turn, / Adieu to Ballyshanny, and the winding banks of Erne! &c.’ (For full text, see infra.)

Justice for Ireland! O ye priests / Both Protestant and Roman;/Let each observe his fasts and feasts, / But try to anger no man. / Religion’s rind is little worth, / The milk is in the kernel; / All love is of celestial birth, / All hatred of infernal.’ (Poems, 1850, p.17.)

Holy Ireland: ‘Not men and women in an Irish street / But Catholics and Protestants you meet’ (Blackberries, 1884; quoted in Anthony Bradley, ‘Literature & Culture in Northern Ireland’ Michael Kenneally, ed., Cultural Contexts & Literary Idioms, Colin Smythe 1988, p.38.)

Scenes & feelings: ‘By a certain River, with its harbours and bay, lies the native region of most of these poems. They possess a reality for the writer of which little, alas! can be conveyed to the readers. For him the cold words carry life and youth in their veins; they recall real scenes and feelings.’ (Irish Songs and Poems, 1887 edn., p.1; cited in Terence Brown, Northern Voices, Gill & Macmillan 1975, p.53.)

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Lord Tennyson: ‘After dinner, a discussion on Ireland. A.T., as usual, while granting and liking the lyrical and humorous qualities of the Kelts [sic] and their pleasant manners, calls it “that horrible island”, and will not allow that it has any history of its own worth the least notice, knowing in fact not a whit more of its history than does the average Englishman - who knows, as nearly as possible, nothing. To him, as to A.T., the very name of “Brian Boru” is a joke. // I try to made Brian be seen as a real and important historic personage, and win an audience from the Americans, and perhaps some attention, but A.T. plays his part of the deaf adder, and we all have to wind up with a laugh.’ (Diary of William Allingham, 1907, p.62; cited in Alan Warner, Dublin Magazine, Summer 1967, p.25.)

Contemporary Ireland: ‘I came early to the consciousness that I was living in a discontented and disloyal country; it seemed the natural state of things that the humbler class-which was almost synonymous with Roman Catholic, should hate those above them in the world, and lie in wait for a chance of despoiling them’ (Diary of William Allingham, 1907, [n.cit.]; quoted in Seamus Deane, ‘Poetry and Song, 1800-1890’, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991, Vol. 2, pp.7-8.)

Harmonies: ‘Through harmony of words may murmur the harmony of things, whispers of human life and the world our scene, pensive memories and high hopes musically mingling. These, at fit moments, may soothe, cheer, strengthen.’ (Music Master, 1855, p.10.)

Poetic style: ‘I avoid writing brogue and leave it to the speaker or singer.’ (Music Master, 1855, p.336; cited in Seamus MacAnnaidh, ‘Shpayke’, The Spark, Fermanagh/WEA Spring 1992, [q.p.]).

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Chris Morash, The Hungry Voice (Dublin: IAP 1989), selects “The Poor Little Maiden” and “The Young Street Singer”, remarking that Allingham shows a keen sympathy with the plight of the Irish peasantry in the years following the Famine, particularly in Lawrence Bloomfield (1864).

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), Vol. 2, selects Laurence Bloomfield in Ireland [pp.61-62]; Songs, Ballads and Stories, “The Girl’s Lamentation” [61-62], “The Ruined Chapel” [p.63], “The Fairies” [p.64], “The Winding Banks of Erne” [pp.64-65]. Includes remark, ‘Tennyson was his idol and he cultivated the laureate’s friendship with relentless assiduity [...] widened his acquaintances when he became editor of Fraser’s Magazine in 1872 nine years after he had settled in England.’ [p.113]. (See also remarks, supra.)

Daniel Karlin, ed., The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse (London: Penguin 1997), incls. William Allingham - with 8 other Irish poets: Jane Barlow, Edward Dowden, William Larminie, James Clarence Mangan, George William Russell [AE], John Todhunter, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats ... amidst tens of English poets.

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Patricius Walker” was the pseud. of William Allingham in his walking tours of Scotland, England, and France. See Alan Warner, ‘Patricius Walker, Victorian Irishman on Foot,’ in Éire-Ireland, Vol. 8, No. 3 (1973), pp.70-80.

John Calder Bloomfield, the founder of Belleek Pottery, arrived in the village of that name in 1849 - thus supplying a model for William Allingham’s fictional “Laurence Bloomfield”, who inherits a rundown estate in Ireland and turns it into a model of cultivation and prosperity. (See Patricia Craig, review of Garrett Carr, The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland's Borders, in The Irish Times 28 Jan. 2017 - online; noticed on Facebook by Piaris Mac Einrí (07.09.2017).

Portrait: ‘Helen Allingham, wife of the Donegal poet William Allingham, paints her husband in almost mystically serene mood in a russet-coloured dressing gown.’ (See Terry Eagleton, review of “Conquering England: Ireland in Victorian London” [exhibition], in Times Literary Supplement, 1 April 2005 , q.p.)

John Bowen, reviewing Jim Cooke, Charles Dickens’s Ireland: An Anthology including an Account of His Visits to Ireland (Inchicore: Woodfield Press), notes that William Allingham’s ’the Irish “Stationers” is included but not his more important article on Irish ballad singers.

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Namesakes: 1] William Allingham, author of Fistula, haemorrhoids, painful ulcer, stricture, prolapsus, and other diseases of the rectum; their diagnosis and treatment. (1871, 1873, 1882), and part reps. as Inguinal colotomy (1935), &c. 2] Allingham, William, F.R.C.S]. 1873. William Allingham, Prizeman (1850-1919), author of The Duties and Officers and Seamen in the British Mercantile Marine: Shipmasters' Society - Course of Papers, No. 21 (London 1892); Board of Trade Examination: Shipmasters' Society - Course of Papers, No. 67 (London 1900); Fast Passages and Best Routes [...] No. 41 (1895); A Manual of Marine Meteorology [...] (1927); Mercantile Marine Education (1893); S. T. C. Lecky, Wrinkles in Practical Navigation, 13th edn., enlarged by William Allingham (1917).

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