Appreciation. Ballad of father Gilligan

A ballad is a form of verse often a narrative set to music originally written to accompany dances and so were composed in couplets with refrains in alternative stanzas. W. B. Yeats's poem" The ballad of father gilligan"  tells the moving story of father Peter Gilligan and God Almighty's timely intervention in his life. The poem is written in the form of a ballad with a self contained story,which depends more on imagery than description. It was said that Yeats himself was too much interested in collecting legends and traditional songs of Ireland in his mature days that he ended up writing ballads. The great Providence and his everlasting benevolence is the theme of this beautiful poem. Father Peter Gilligan was at the end of his tether and was exhausted beyond measure running day and night performing his priestly obligations The parishioners of father Gilligan had contacted  a deadly epidemic and hence were dying. Half of them were in sick beds waiting for their deaths. He had to give the deceased the funeral rites and the dying the last communion. It was imperative for the Catholics to receive the rites of extreme unction so that their souls are salavaged and the doors of heaven would be opened for them. He was too physically exhausted that he started mumbling himself and lamented, on a whim that he had neither rest, joy nor sleep. In the meantime a poor man has sent for him which he nodded. The next moment, he realized that his desperate outburst was nothing short of a grave sin and he endeavours to rationalize his errant words by pegging on to the claim that it was not his wilful soul which was dying to help his people that expressed such a grievance  but his exhausted body. Seeking forgiveness, the father knelt leaning on the chair and becomes fast asleep. Father Gilligan wakes up next morning as if jolted by a kick, a shudder going deep down his spine, an intense feeling of guilt enveloped him as he was not able to give the poor man his service. He rides recklessly to the spot on a horse back keeping his life at stake. On reaching the house, he was too startled to find that the man had already died. The lady who opened the door exclaims that it was his second visit. He cries in alarm as he realized that God had sent one of his angels to minister his duties to save him from eternal damnation and also to give salvation to the poor man. Father Gilligan praises the glory of God. He compares Him to a priest whose parish is the whole universe. He proclaims that for all the labours we have taken God has unfailing sympathy and care stored for us. The poem is a homage to the traditional Irish poetry and legends. He presents rural Ireland with the poverty of people and their extreme religiosity. The poem is  a literary ballad written according to the tenets of ballad form. It has a narrative, couplets,with refrains, common regional dialect and adventure, dramatic and folksy. 

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