William Allingham

(19 March 1824 – 18 November 1889 / Donegal / Ireland)

The Fairies

Poem by William Allingham

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.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow,
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
For pleasure here and there.
If any man so daring
As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
In his bed at night.

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!


Comments about The Fairies by William Allingham

  • Matt Turner (2/9/2020 2:43:00 PM)

    My Grandfather sang the first two stanzas of this song with his parents in the 1920s and the song has been passed down as a car trip sing-along in our family ever since. My children love it too.(Report)Reply

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  • Varina Yazell (5/3/2018 11:20:00 PM)

    Very well written. I really enjoyed(Report)Reply

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  • Sylvaonyema UbaSylvaonyema Uba (2/23/2017 2:26:00 PM)

    High on the hill top
    The old king sits

    Nicely written with musical harmony.

    Sylva.(Report)Reply

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  • Sally Plumb Plumb (1/17/2017 11:06:00 AM)

    Lovely! The first stanza reminds of. nursery recitations.(Report)Reply

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  • * Sunprincess * (1/14/2017 7:12:00 PM)

    .....a most fabulous and fantastic fairy poem, I enjoyed ★(Report)Reply

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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (1/14/2017 1:42:00 PM)

    This could be sung accompanied by a banjo and a mouth organ and hands slapping the knees! Enjoyed the sparkle in this poem(Report)Reply

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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (1/14/2017 9:08:00 AM)

    A simply superb song that is a pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing it here.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Tom Allport (1/14/2017 3:23:00 AM)

    the magic in this poem is all sparkly and bright.(Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (1/14/2017 2:43:00 AM)

    Deep within the lake! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (1/14/2017 12:52:00 AM)

    I enjoyed reading this awesome poem+++++++++ thanks for sharing+++++(Report)Reply

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  • Margaret O DriscollMargaret O Driscoll (7/10/2016 2:53:00 PM)

    A favourite poem from school days!(Report)Reply

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  • Chetan PandeyChetan Pandey (12/11/2015 7:47:00 AM)

    Wow(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Mark ArvizuMark Arvizu (6/15/2015 9:49:00 AM)

    For fear of little men........(Report)Reply

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  • Carol Maydew (3/26/2013 2:45:00 PM)

    This takes me back to my Junior school days when the teacher taught the poem in the form of a song. The first verse sometimes seems to grab hold of my mind and goes round and round in my head.(Report)Reply

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  • Scott Doty (4/12/2007 3:59:00 PM)

    This has always been one of my favorites! ! Willy Wonka fans may know the first few lines :)(Report)Reply

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Read all 15 comments »




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Read poems about / on: hunting, together, green, red, fear, sorrow, music, night, lost, home, journey, dog, fairy, frog, tree, friend



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Poem Edited: Friday, June 29, 2012


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