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Places and Men

William Allingham 1824 (Ballyshannon) – 1889 (Hampstead)



In Sussex here, by shingle and by sand,
Flat fields and farmsteads in their wind-blown trees,
The shallow tide-wave courses to the land,
And all along the down a fringe one sees
Of ducal woods. That 'dim discovered spire'
Is Chichester, where Collins felt a fire
Touch his sad lips; thatched Felpham roofs are these,
Where happy Blake found heaven more close at hand.

Goodwood and Arundel possess their lords,
Successive in the towers and groves, which stay;
These two poor men, by some right of their own,
Possessed the earth and sea, the sun and moon,
The inner sweet of life; and put in words
A personal force that doth not pass away.

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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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