William Allingham

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

The Little Dell - Poem by William Allingham

Doleful was the land,
Dull on, every side,
Neither soft n'or grand,
Barren, bleak, and wide;
Nothing look'd with love;
All was dingy brown;
The very skies above
Seem'd to sulk and frown.

Plodding sick and sad,
Weary day on day;
Searching, never glad,
Many a miry way;
Poor existence lagg'd
In this barren place;
While the seasons dragg'd
Slowly o'er its face.

Spring, to sky and ground,
Came before I guess'd;
Then one day I found
A valley, like a nest!
Guarded with a spell
Sure it must have been,
This little fairy dell
Which I had never seen.

Open to the blue,
Green banks hemm'd it round
A rillet wander'd through
With a tinkling sound;
Briars among the rocks
Tangled arbours made;
Primroses in flocks
Grew beneath their shade.

Merry birds a few,
Creatures wildly tame,
Perch'd and sung and flew;
Timid field-mice came;
Beetles in the moss
Journey'd here and there;
Butterflies across
Danced through sunlit air.

There I often read,
Sung alone, or dream'd;
Blossoms overhead,
Where the west wind stream'd;
Small horizon-line,
Smoothly lifted up,
Held this world of mine
In a grassy cup.

The barren land to-day
Hears my last adieu:
Not an hour I stay;
Earth is wide and new.
Yet, farewell, farewell!
May the sun and show'rs
Bless that Little Dell
Of safe and tranquil hours!


Comments about The Little Dell by William Allingham

  • (1/14/2017 9:16:00 AM)


    seasons dragged
    slowly over it's face
    awesome conceptualization. Thanks for sharing it here.
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Margaret O Driscoll (7/10/2016 3:05:00 PM)


    Absolutely beautiful, seems like a poet's paradise (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: farewell, fairy, journey, sick, sad, spring, green, dream, wind, alone, sky, sun, world, butterfly, dance



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Poem Edited: Friday, June 29, 2012


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