1 January 1916
ODE TO EVENTIDE.
(Written at Cleveragh — May, 1915.)
Slowly I pace beneath the lime trees’ shade,
As the Sun’s last rays have just begun to fade;
Sweetly the birds pour out their evening hymn
And Nature’s cup holds beauty to the brim.
Calm is the lovely stream that glides along
The meadow’s edge and close beside the path
The nightingale pours forth its swetest song,
Striving to tell the beauties Nature hath.
The fragrant lilac sheds its sweetest scent,
The gentle flowers are now all earthward bent
With weight of drops of dew that softly falls
On motionless leaf and waters fast asleep.
Aye and anon some night bird skyward calls,
The shadows thro’ the trees begin to creep.
And now all things are still within the woods,
Save for the startled blackbirds echoing cry.
The gathering darkness o’er the meadow broods,
All things around do calm and peaceful lie;
And phantomlike the bat flits thro’ the trees;
And silently the owl its prey doth seize.
The nightbirds o’er the woods and rivers roam,
The wild duck cries from out its reedy home;
The curlew with its shrill, discordant cries
Flies overhead—and many a one doth rise
To pace the Even. Soother of troubled minds,
And tender pity in Earth’s beauty’s finds,
So wander I beneath the starry skies,
Where folded in a midst the meadow lies.
Now Earth receives a soft and glimmering light
For in the sky above the orb of night
Shining in its youth and leading into view
The clear bright evening star set deep in blue,
Falls softly on the silver rill below,
Where silent waters slowly seaward flow;
Now the last trace of Eventide is fled,
And I retire my Evening prayer being said.
J. J. Corscadden.
These poems, while they have local Sligo references, have little local colour or detail, and seem more like formal exercises.
"Ode to Evening", seems like an exercise in the use heroic couplets. It is carefully constructed of iambic pentameter lines with strong end rhymes. It has an archaic, almost eighteen century feel to it because of the use of words like "doth", "even" and "eventide" and of course the appearance of the nightingale.
"Hazeldell", while it celebrates a local beauty spot, could be describing such a spot anywhere in Ireland or Britain with its lake, copse and ocean's swell. The first two lines are impressive and the image of Benbulbe as a "giant of the plain" is striking.This poem is less carefully constructed and the line lengths seem erratic.
James Corscadden, 13 in 1911, was the son of the butler in Cleveragh House. He had been born in Antrim. James' younger brothers and sisters had been born in Sligo. His father John had been born in Leitrim and his mother, Elizabeth, in Wicklow. They were members of the Church of Ireland. The family was also at Cleveragh in 1901 but there, James is called John and given as having been born in Meath.
Cleveragh house and demense, just to the east of Sligo town, belonged to the Martin family until it was sold later in the twentieth century. Since 1955 Sligo Racecourse occupies part of the land.
There was no J. Allingham recorded in Sligo in the 1911 census. The name was much more common in Leitrim and there were seven J. Allinghams recorded, two female, five male. The most likely author of this poem was James Allingham of Ardakip More, just south of Drumahaire. He was 20 in 1911, a shop assistant as were his two brothers. His parents were William and Jane. They owned a farm and all family members had been born in Leitrim. They belonged to the Church of Ireland.
23 September 1916
Benbulbin’s lofty mountain, with its crown of purple heather,
Rises upwards like a giant of the plain;
At its base there nestles proudly a rustic beauty spot,
That is known as Hazledell of Lower Glen.
How charming is this valley when the sunset tint of Autumn
Clothes the smiling fields of corn in a golden mystic spell,
What a place for lovers’ whispers ’mid the rustle of the leaves,
As Zephers Kiss the emerald cheek of lovely Hazledell
All around you are the lavish gifts that nature has bestowed,
The silvery lake, the mountain copse, the heaving ocean’s swell,
And the music in the murmur of the sparkling little brook
That ripples through the shades of Hazledell.