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Kerala State Syllabus 10th Standard English Solutions Unit 3 Chapter 2 The Ballad of Father Gilligan (Poem)
The Ballad of Father Gilligan Textual Questions and Answers
Why was Father Gilligan ‘weary night and day’?
Father Gilligan was ‘weary night and day’ because half of his parishioners were either sick or dead. He had to perform his priestly duties to them and so he was tired day and night.
What is the significance of the word ‘flock’?
Flock is the collective noun meaning a collection of sheep. In Christianity, the parish priest is supposed to be the shepherd and the parishioners are the flock.
Why were his flock either in bed or lying under green sod?
His flock were either in bed or lying under green sod because an epidemic had hit the parish. People were sick and dying.
Why did another man send for Father Gilligan? Why is the man referred to as ‘poor’?
Father Gilligan was needed to give the sick man his sacrament of ‘anointing the sick’. He is referred to as poor because he is poor in soul. A person with sin is supposed be poor in soul as he will not get heaven if he dies in a state of sin.
Why did Father Gilligan seek forgiveness from God? What justification does he give to God for his errant words?
Father Gilligan seeks forgiveness from God because as a priest it is his obligation to go and give the sick man his last sacraments. But he is too tired to go. The justification he gives for his errant words is that the words were spoken by his body and not himself.
Why is the time called moth-hour?
It is early evening and at this time moths are seen in large numbers.
What is meant by ‘Upon the time of sparrow-chirp’?
It refers to early morning when sparrows start chirping.
What does the line ‘And rode with little care’ indicate?
He rode very fast, recklessly. He had failed to go when the call came and now he is rushing to reach the sick man as fast as he can.
Why is the sick man’s wife surprised to see Father Gilligan?
The sick man’s wife was surprised to see Father Gilligan because she thought he had come earlier and given the last sacraments to her dying husband. In fact it was an angel that came earlier and not Father Gilligan. She did not know that.
Why was the priest overcome with grief at the words of the widow?
The priest was overcome with grief at the words of the widow because he had failed to come and do his duties. The man is dead.
‘He knelt him at that word.’Why?
He knew that God had done a miracle to send an angel to do the work Fr. Gilligan must have done.
How did God save Father Gilligan from damnation?
God saved FrGilligan from damnation by sending an angel to give the sacraments to the dying man. If the man had died without getting forgiveness for his sins, Fr. Gilligan would have been damned for neglecting his priestly duties.
‘He who hath made the night of stars/For souls who tire and bleed’. What do these lines mean?
They mean that God made the beautiful night of stars so that the tired and suffering people can find some rest and comfort.
What do you understand about the character of Fr Gilligan from the words ‘Had pity on the least of things’?
It shows Fr. Gilligan was very humble. He considers himself the least of things, an unimportant being. But God had pity on him and sent his angel to do his duties.
Answer the questions by choosing the most appropriate answer from the options given.
i. The people of Father Gilligan’s parish were ___________.
a) toiling in the field
b) suffering from an epidemic
c) celebrating Easter
d) nodding their chairs
ii. The old priest was ___________.
iii. Mavrone means __________.
a) My dear one
b) An expression of sorrow
c) God bless you
d) God be with you
iv. Father Gilligan awoke with a start, realising that he had not __________.
a) done his duty
b) roused his horse
c) finished his homework
d) said his prayers
v. The word ‘flock’ in the context of the poem means:
a) a flock of sheep
c) stars in the sky
d) people in the parish
vi. Who is ‘wrapped in purple robes’?
a) Father Gilligan
b) The stars
vii. The expression ‘green sods’ refers to
a) graves covered over by green grass
b) the stars in the sky
c) the people in the parish
d) God’s angels
viii. What is referred to as ‘moth-hour of eve’?
d) the night of stars
i) b. suffering from an epidemic.
ii) b. weary
iii) b. An expression of sorrow
iv) a. done his duty.
v) d. the people of the parish
vi) c. God
vii) a. graves covered over by green grass
viii) c. evening
The poem is in the form of a ballad. A ballad is a poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas. Ballads are usually musical and dramatic. What are the features that make this poem a typical ballad?
The features are:
The Ballad of Father Gilligan by W.B. Yates has many features of a typical ballad. It tells a story. It uses simple language. Ballad stanzas are used. It has fine rhythm and music. It has rhyme. The scheme is abcb. There is repetition. There are also dialogues.
How does Yeats describe the character of Fr Gilligan in the poem?
Complete the following word web.
Read the poem again and pick out an instance of simile used in the poem.
Simile – as merry as a bird.
Yeats uses a number of images in the poem to provide a sensory experience to the readers. Pick out instances of visual and auditory images from the poem.
|flock in their beds|
|green sods||sparrow chirp|
|ñodding in a chair||cned|
|leaning on the chair|
|leaves shaking in the wind|
|rousing the horse|
|sick man’s wife opening the door|
|merry as a bird|
|souls who tire and bleed|
|God in his purple robes|
Read the explanations on below:
The old priest Peter Gilligan
Was weary night and dadayy
For half his flock were in their beds
Or under green sods lay.
Once, while he nodded in a chair
At the moth-hour of the eveeve
Another poor man sent for him,
And he began to grieve.grievegrieve
Pick out other rhyming words from the poem . Identify the rhyme scheme of the poem.
die-l, asleep-peep, wind-mankind, more-floor, chair- care, fen-again, ago-fro, bird-word, bleed-need, care- chair
Rhyme Scheme: abcb
Activity 7 and 8
→ To be done by students orally in the class.
The Ballad Of Father Gilligan About the author:
– William Butler Yeats – 1865–1939
Yeats (1865-1939) is an Irish poet. In 1923 he received the Nobel Prize. In fact his greatest works came after he got the Nobel Prize. They are The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929).
The Ballad Of Father Gilligan Summary in English
Page – 89
Stanza 1 & 2 :
Peter Gilligan was an old priest. He was tired day and night because half of his parishioners were either sick or dead. One evening he was sitting in a chair quite sleepy and tired when he was called to go and administer the sacrament of anointing the sick to a poor sick man. Father Gilligan was unhappy to be called at this time.
Page – 90
Stanza 3 & 4:
He murmured, “I have no rest, nor joy nor peace. People are going on dying.” After saying this he felt he should not have said it. He asks for forgiveness from God and said that it was his body, and not he, that made him say so. He knelt. Leaning on the chair he started praying. He soon fell asleep. Night came. Stars appeared in the sky.
Stanza 5 & 6 :
There were millions of stars. The wind shook the leaves. God covered the land with darkness and whispered to mankind. Early morning, when the sparrows began to chirp and moths came once again, Father Gilligan stood up on the floor.
Stanzas 7 & 8: “Alas, alas! The man may have died as I was sleeping,” he thought. He immediately took his horse and rushed to the place of the sick man. He rode very fast over the rocky paths and wetlands. The sick man’s wife opened the door. She was surprised and said, “Father, you have come again!
Page – 91
Stanzas 9 & 10 :
Father asked the woman about the sick man. She said he died an hour ago. Father was sad and he walked restlessly to and fro. The woman said that after the Father had left, the man died happily like a bird. On hearing these words, the Father knelt down. He knew that God had sent another priest in his place.
Stanzas 11 & 12 :
He prayed: “The One that has made the night of stars to comfort the souls that are tired and suffering sent one of his angels to help me in my need. God, who is dressed in purple robes, taking care of the planets, had pity on me, a small creature, and sent a priest tq do my work as I was asleep on a chair.”
The Ballad Of Father Gilligan Summary in Malayalam
The Ballad Of Father Gilligan Glossary