Last weekend, while researching an article on those times across recorded history, that the River Bann was frozen over, I chanced upon two old poems related to the river, from the late 1800s. 

Here’s the first of them, a melancholy poem written on 28 December 1882, by a Ballycastle person, that labels him/herself as S.M.

The poem, Beside the Silvery Bann, recounts a long lost love, and their days spent along the Bann.

Silvery Bann

The River Bann



That river’s flow, long years ago,
Was just the same as now,
E’er Time’s swift flight had tinged with white
The locks upon my brow.

There oft I strayed with one dear maid,
Whose name was Mary Ann,
And we pledged our bliss in many a kiss
Along the silv’ry Bann.

Her eyes were blue as Heaven’s own hue,
The starlight they outshone;
And her golden hair on my breast I wear,
For my Love, alas, is gone.

For death, if worth adorn the earth,
Will blight it if he can;
And the wild flowers wave o’er her lonely grave
Beside the silv’ry Bann.

That sacred spot is ne’r forgot,
Though years have now rolled by,
For, filled with care, I oft linger there
To dedicate a sigh.

Though among the dead, I could share her bed
Where the gentle breezes fan;
The tombstone grey that marks her clay
Beside the silv’ry Bann.

In the Summer’s eve my work I leave
To stray by the river side,
And, in fancy fair, I see her there,
Advancing o’er the tide.

And I see her smile as I gaze the while,
Though her lovely face is wan,
For I think she knows that we’ll soon repose
Together by the Bann.

Her spirit bright I saw last night
Oat o’er the argent wave,
And it called me away at the break of day
As it vanished in the grave.

And I feel at last I am sinking fast
prom the living haunts of man,
Soon a double mound shall upraise the ground
Beside the silv’ry Bann.

Author: S. M.
Ballycastle, 28th December, 1882