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Analysis of A Gravestone by William Allingham


The Poet

William Allingham (1824 - 1889) was a poet born in County Dogedal, Ireland. In terms of his writing style, he was known for crafting lyrical verses as shown in the poem "A Gravestone".

The Analysis

When it comes to poetry in general, the theme of life and death cannot be ruled out as part of the common themes.

From the context of the poem, the memory of dead ones keeps depreciating right from the moment they're laid in their graves_ we lawn our surroundings regularly, we polish our floors and homes regularly, we care for our dwelling places day-in-day out; yet the tiny place of rest provided the dead loved ones are lonely watched over by "...sea and sky alone/ And sunsets".

Making it seems as if the names and dates engraved on those marble graves did mean nothing than to mark the spot a certain dead body is laid.

Such subject of abandonment is described in the poem "A Gravestone" by William Allingham.

The Structure and Devices

The ten line poem with end rhyme pattern of AABBCC talked about a certain man's grave dug far from the churchyard facing the sea westward out grown with weeds.


  • "a mossy stone" in line 4 is an imagery referring to the gravestone liable to grow mosses.
  • "wings" in line 9 is a synecdoche for birds. Therefore, wandering wings in that line can be rephrased as wandering birds because they possess wings.
  • "leave it free" in line 7 is an assonance.


The Poem

Far from the churchyard dig his grave,
On some green mound beside the wave;
To westward, sea and sky alone,
And sunsets. Put a mossy stone,
With mortal name and date, a harp
And bunch of wild flowers, carven sharp;
Then leave it free to winds that blow,
And patient mosses creeping; slow,
And wandering wings, and footsteps rare
Of human creature pausing there.
Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)
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