, , ,

UP the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk, 5
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl’s feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home, 10
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs, 15
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. 20
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music 25
On cold starry nights
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long; 30
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, 35
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. 40

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
For pleasure here and there.
If any man so daring 45
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, 50
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap, 55
And white owl’s feather!

William Allingham, 1824-1889

This is one of my favourite poems. I imagine that this is because I spent years reading Victorian verse and fiction and generally forming a world view obnoxious to everyone born post 1900. I also enjoy the extent to which Allingham is willing to sacrifice sense for rhythm. If movement up and down the mountain is obstructed because walkers are so scared of the little men, then why are said men also described as ‘good’? Oh, William, you cad.

It has not,other than the resurrection of this gem, been an excellent week for me. A boy from the year below me at school died. He was twenty, and was swept off a wall by a freak wave and drowned. In Ireland for heaven’s sake. And he was such a lovely boy:


Oh it must be so awful for his family.

In other news, and there must always be other news, I have noticed,
I have mainly been dancing around my room like the whitest girl ever to these:

and this

The latter has what is the worst music video I have ever, ever, ever seen. I mean, really? It involved AN IPHONE INSPIRED PHOTO MONTAGE. Genre redefining it most certainly is not. However, I simply could not love it more. As a particularly fine experience, I recommend listening to it at full volume whilst eating scones and reading John Gower’s Confessio Amantis Weirdly, the basic sentiments collide, although Gower did not have the delicious decadence of recorded music to analogise from.

I am off to see this tonight

The Brunton Theatre is a wee gem, tucked away alongside chip shops and a view of the cold gray sea.