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By Yeats, William Butler; Yeats, William Butler; McCready, Sam

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In a letter written to Allingham’s widow in 1904, WBY graciously acknowledged his debt (WL. 446). He had three volumes of poetry and a play by Allingham in his library (OS. nos. 33–36). REFERENCES: Hill, George Birkbeck, ed. Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti to William Allingham, 1854–1870. London: Fisher Unwin, 1897; Marcus, Phillip L. Yeats and the Beginning of the Irish Renaissance. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987; Warner, Alan. William Allingham. : Bucknell University Press, 1975; Warner, Alan.

In 1846, he entered the civil service as a customs official and had various placements in Ireland and England. His first collection, Poems (1850), was dedicated to the poet Leigh Hunt. A subsequent volume, Day and Night Songs (1854), was illustrated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, with whom he had a warm friendship, and by John Everett Millais. In 1864, with the publication of The Ballad Book, he was granted a Civil List pension, and in 1874, having retired from the civil service, he moved to London to devote himself to writing.

It was performed privately for the first time in Lady Cunard’s drawing room at Cavendish Square, London, 2 April 1916. In the audience were T. S. Eliot and Sir Thomas Beecham. It was revived 4 April 1916 in Lady Islington’s drawing room at Chesterfield Gardens as a war benefit, before an audience of 300, including Queen Alexandra, Princess Victoria, the Grand Duchess George of Russia, the Duchess of Marlborough, and Lady Randolph Churchill. Before the performance, WBY gave a lecture that Queen Alexandra asked to be cut short.

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