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Showing posts with label The Ballad of Father Gilligan William Butler Yeats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Ballad of Father Gilligan William Butler Yeats. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Poetry Study Aid: The Ballad of Father Gilligan William Butler Yeats

The Ballad of Father Gilligan

William Butler Yeats

A ballad is a narrative poem consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain. Ballads have their origin in the folk tradition and are meant to be sung.
The prominent features of a ballad are the following:
narrative ( tells a story)
folksy (simple and pertaining to the oral  folk tradition)
dramatic (full of dialogues and action)
usually has a sudden and unexpected beginning
The poem The Ballad of Father Gilligan by William Butler Yeats is a ballad.
The poem stanzaic in structure with twelve stanzas of four lines each (quatrain). In each stanza, the first and the third lines do not rhyme but the second line rhymes with the fourth line.
God is mercy, pity and love. The poem is an affirmation of a loving, kind God Who showers his beneficence to all his creations.
The Ballad of Father Gilligan is a touching narrative that illustrates God’s everlasting benevolence and how He intervenes in the life of an earnest priest at a time of immense need. Father Peter Gilligan was extremely concurred in the redemption of the souls of his destitute parishioners
Father Gilligan was fagged out in carrying out his priestly obligations day and night during an epidemic in the Irish countryside. He had to not only give the last communion to his poor folks who were dying in large numbers but also conduct funeral services for them.
One evening, completely exhausted by the strain of extensive duties, Father Gilligan had dozed. Suddenly he was jolted from his sleep by the urging call of another dying parishioner. In despair, Father Gilligan started to grumble and complaint that his life was without rest, joyless and always troubled.
For a man religious vocation, the outburst was tantamount to a grievous sin and a questioning of God. Realising his mistake, Father Gilligan sought God's forgiveness for his irresponsible utterance and knelt down by the side of his chair and began to pray:
He tries to justify his words by saying that it was his exhausted body not his spirit that complained of the state of his life.
While he was praying, the wearied priest fell asleep by the side of his chair. Next morning, at dawn he woke up and realised his mistake. Shocked at his failure to perform his duty, he rode recklessly to the house of the dying man. He was received by the dead man's widow.
The widow was surprised to see the priest again and asked him why he had come again. When the priest asked her whether the sick man was dead, she told him that the sick man died happily after the priest’s departure.  
The priest was humbled at this and knelt and prayed. He realised that God the Divine had compassionately sent an angel to minister the last ritual to the dying man so that both the sick man as well as the priest were saved from damnation.
The priest wondered at the benevolence of The omniscient omnipotent omnipresent God who had the whole universe as His Parish yet extended His Helping Hand to the humble priest in his hour of need.
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