The Irish Goldfinch - Sligo Poets

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Sligo Times 15 February 1913

I have seen him at the shows,
On the benches, ranged in rows,
Waiting for the judge to make his call;
He’s a gay and merry fellow,
With his wings of golden yellow,
And his crimson blaze a brightening up the hall.

Both for singing and for show,
He is prized, the fancy know,
He’s the most proficient member of the band;
The Russians are more bulky,
They also are more sulky,
Than the hardy little Goldie of Ireland.

Tho’ not in it as to size,
He for muling takes the prize,
With him the English Finches can’t compare;
Nor the Spanish nor the French
Can compete with Erin’s Finch,
In all round points he leaves them in the rear.

                                                J.J. Ellis.

This short poem is apparently to be taken at face value though I initially thought it might be an amusing reference to an Irish sporting hero called Finch. Sadly I can't find mention of any contemporary sportsman of that name.

It has an unpolished feel about it which might suggest that it is by a local poet from Sligo or Leitrim. The 1911 census has one John Ellis in Sligo but there are more of that surname in Co. Leitrim.

The rhyme scheme and variation in line length make for a lively, jingle type poem.  I can't find any explanation for the word "muling" in the last stanza unless it is the mule variant of mewl  "cry feebly, whimper". In any case I presume it refers to a sound the bird makes.

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