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Late Autumn

William Allingham 1824 (Ballyshannon) – 1889 (Hampstead)



October - and the skies are cool and gray
O'er stubbles emptied of their latest sheaf,
Bare meadow, and the slowly falling leaf.
The dignity of woods in rich decay
Accords full well with this majestic grief
That clothes our solemn purple hills to-day,
Whose afternoon is hush'd, and wintry brief
Only a robin sings from any spray.

And night sends up her pale cold moon, and spills
White mist around the hollows of the hills,
Phantoms of firth or lake; the peasant sees
His cot and stockyard, with the homestead trees,
Islanded; but no foolish terror thrills
His perfect harvesting; he sleeps at ease.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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