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Kate O'Belashanny

William Allingham 1824 (Ballyshannon) – 1889 (Hampstead)



Seek up and down, both fair and brown,
We've purty lasses many, O;
But brown or fair, one girl most rare,
The Flow'r o' Belashanny, O.
As straight is she as poplar-tree
(Tho' not as aisy shaken, O,)
And walks so proud among the crowd,
For queen she might be taken, O.
From top to toe, where'er you go,
The loveliest girl of any, O,-
Ochone! your mind I find unkind,
Sweet Kate o' Belashanny, O!

One summer day the banks were gay,
The Erne in sunshine glancin' there,
The big cascade its music play'd
And set the salmon dancin' there.
Along the green my Joy was seen;
Some goddess bright I thought her there;
The fishes, too, swam close, to view
Her image in the water there.
From top to toe, where'er you go,
The loveliest girl of any, O,-
Ochone! your mind I find unkind,
Sweet Kate o' Belashanny, O!

My dear, give ear!-the river's near,
And if you think I'm shammin' now,
To end my grief I'll seek relief
Among the trout and salmon, now;
For shrimps and sharks to make their marks,
And other watery vermin there;
Unless a mermaid saves my life,-
My wife, and me her merman there.
From top to toe, where'er you go,
The loveliest girl of any, O,-
Mavrone! your mind I find unkind,
Sweet Kate o' Belashanny, O!

'Tis all in vain that I complain;
No use to coax or chide her there;
As far away from me as Spain,
Although I stand beside her there.
O cruel Kate! since that's my fate,
I'll look for love no more in you;
The seagull's screech as soon would reach
Your heart, as me implorin' you.
Tho' fair you are, and rare you are,
The loveliest flow'r of any, O,-
Too proud and high,-good-bye, say I,
To Kate o' Belashanny, O!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:39 min read
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William Allingham

William Allingham March 19 1824 or 1828 - November 18 1889 was an Irish man of letters and poet He was born at Ballyshannon Donegal and was the son of the manager of a local bank who was of English descent He obtained a post in the custom-house of his native town and held several similar posts in Ireland and England until 1870 when he had retired from the service and became sub-editor of Frasers Magazine which he edited from 1874 to 1879 in succession to James Froude He had published a volume of Poems in 1850 followed by Day and Night Songs a volume containing many charming lyrics in 1855 Allingham was on terms of close friendship with DG Rossetti who contributed to the illustration of the Songs His Letters to Allingham 1854-1870 were edited by Dr Birkbeck Hill in 1897 Lawrence Bloomfield in Ireland his most ambitious though not his most successful work a narrative poem illustrative of Irish social questions appeared in 1864 He also edited The Ballad Book for the Golden Treasury series in 1864 In 1874 Allingham married Helen Paterson known under her married name as a water-colour painter He died at Hampstead in 1889 and his ashes are interred at St Annes in his native Ballyshannon Though working on an unostentatious scale Allingham produced much excellent lyrical and descriptive poetry and the best of his pieces are thoroughly national in spirit and local colouring His verse is clear fresh and graceful more…

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