Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LAURENCE BLOOMFIELD IN IRELAND: 4. BALLYTULLAGH, by WILLIAM ALLINGHAM



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LAURENCE BLOOMFIELD IN IRELAND: 4. BALLYTULLAGH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The hamlet ballytullagh, small and old
Last Line: Loy, a half-spade.
Alternate Author Name(s): Pollex, D.; Walker, Patricius
Subject(s): Despair; Mountains; Poverty; Solitude; Travel; Hills; Downs (great Britain); Loneliness; Journeys; Trips


The hamlet Ballytullagh, small and old,
Lay negligently cluster'd in a fold
Of Tullagh Hill, amid the crags and moor;
A windy dwelling-place, rough, lonesome, poor;
So low and weather stain'd the walls, the thatch
So dusk of hue, or spread with mossy patch,
A stranger journeying on the distant road
Might hardly guess that human hearts abode
In those wild fields, save when a smoky wreath
Distinguish'd from huge rocks, above, beneath
Its huddled roofs. A lane goes up the hill,
Cross'd, at one elbow, by a crystal rill,
Between the stepping-stones gay tripping o'er
In shallow brightness on its gravelly floor,
From crags above, with falls and rocky urns,
Through sward below, in deep deliberate turns,
Where each fine evening brought the boys to play
At football, or with camuns drive away
The whizzing nagg; a crooked lane and steep,
Older than broad highways, you find it creep,
Fenced in with stooping thorn-trees, bramble-brakes,
Tall edge-stones, gleaming, gay as spotted snakes,
With gold and silver lichen; till it bends
Between two rock-based rough-built gable ends,
To form the street, if one may call it street,
Where ducks and pigs in filthy forum meet;
A scrambling, careless, tatter'd place, no doubt;
Each cottage rude within-doors as without;
All rude and poor; some wretched—black and bare
And doleful as the cavern of Despair.
And yet, when crops were good, nor oatmeal high,
A famine or a fever-time gone by,
The touch of simple pleasures, even here,
In rustic sight and sound the heart could cheer.
With voice of breezes moving o'er the hills,
Wild birds and four-foot creatures, falling rills,
Mingled the hum of huswife's wheel, cock-crow,
The whetted scythe, or cattle's evening low,
Or laugh of children. Herding went the boy,
The sturdy diggers wrought with spade and loy,
The tether'd she-goat browsed the rock's green ledge,
The clothes were spread to dry on sloping hedge,
The colleens did their broidery in the shade
Of leafy bush or gown-skirt overhead,
Or wash'd and beetled by the shallow brook,
Or sung their ballads round the chimney-nook.

NOTES
camuns, sticks bent at one end.
nagg, wooden ball.
beetling, thumping clothes with a truncheon (beetle)
loy, a half-spade.





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