I am still enjoying Henry McAnally’s book of poems from the early 1880s, “Effusions After Toil.”
Henry was reared near Portglenone. He left in 1859, to find work in Scotland, ending up as he admits “only a toiler in a Clyde Shipyard, under the heats of summer and the storms of winter.”
He never forgot where he grew up and one suspects he never had the chance to return.
A down the firmament afar
Rolls day’s broad incandescent star,
While playfully his parting beams
Are dancing on the lakes and streams,
And backward throwing yellow floods
Of glory on the hills and woods,
As if to ornament alone
The scenery of Portglenone.
Ah! like that sun’s receding rays,
I linger for a while and gaze,
To bid the town a fond adieu —
The town I love so well to view,
No vain pomposity is here,
No kings enthroned in bronze appear,
No warriors in marble stone,
In simple, homely Portglenone.
How beautiful the glen appears
Through which the winding Bann careers!
How charming is the river’s glee,
As on it journeys to the sea —
A racing, gurgling, shining stream
That shall in my remembrance gleam
When I am musing sad and lone.
And far away from Portglenone.
Alas! the moment is at hand!
The magic spell of fairyland
Dissolves at once, and I in haste
Again must tread a barren waste.
I go — I look behind — I grieve —
My native land is hard to leave.
No land on earth is like my own —
Farewell, ye vales of Portglenone.
By Henry McAnally, 1884