“The Ballad of Father Gilligan Summary” is a thought-provoking and poignant poem written by William Butler Yeats. This beautifully crafted ballad tells the story of Father Gilligan, a weary old priest who is summoned in the middle of the night to administer the last rites to a dying parishioner. However, due to his exhaustion and frailty, Father Gilligan falls asleep and misses the opportunity to perform his sacred duties. Filled with guilt and despair, he pleads with God for forgiveness and a chance to redeem himself. This summary explores the themes of faith, forgiveness, and the human struggle for spiritual redemption, making it a captivating piece of literature worth delving into. Read More Class 10 English Summaries.
The Ballad of Father Gilligan Summary
The Ballad of Father Gilligan 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.”
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