The Ballad Of Father Gilligan Question Answer and Summary English Poem pdf chse plus 2 class

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The Ballad Of Father Gilligan Question Answer and Summary English Poem pdf chse plus 2 class

An Introduction to William Butler Yeats: 

William Butler Yeats, popularly called as W.B. Yeats is a distinguished poet, whose poetry expounds romantic as well as realistic, spiritual as well as material features. Though belongs to the modern era, he was deeply romantic, and has illustrated Innisfree beauty. Byzantium beauty where golden birds sing in golden boughs. He used myths, legends from Greek literature abundantly and presented them in English style.. The song of wandering Aengus depicts him as a lover while "when you are old" presents his harassing love. Leda and the Swan' depicts changes in humans vs unchanged nature. The Gyre describes the philosophy of life. 

W.B. Yeats, the most remarkable leader of the Irish literary movement and the romantic revival of the late nineteenth century was born near Dublin in 1805. His father and brother were painters. He himself studied art for some time. He took interest in the Renaissance of Irish theatre in the 1900's. By the First World War he had been known as a major literary force and by 1925 he had been widely recognized as a major poet. He died in France in 1939. For his contribution to literature he was awarded the Nobel prize in 1923. Three women influenced his literary output most. They were Maud Gonne and Lady Gregory. Maud Gonne is regarded as the poetic spirit of W.B. Yeats, with Maud Gonne., W Yeats remained in love for many years. Their love relation could not be transformed to matrimonial relation. The other lady Gregory collaborated with W.B. Yeats on the Abbey Theatre. One other lady's influence is also marked in his poems. This other lady was his wife. He married her at the age of fifty-two under her influence stability and a sense of fulfilment came to his later poems. 

Introduction to the poem The Ballad of Father Gilligan : 

Who knows God's divine principles ? How does he rule over the creatures of the world? Human knowledge is too small to predict what God thinks and does.Who can say why the sky is blue and hills are high ? It is however true that God has a divine plan behind each creation, behind each action. We the foolish people with our small knowledge fail to understand God's great design and blame him. We say, God is cruel, heartless. But actually God is merciless. What he does is for the betterment of people. We should have patience, understanding for the realisation of God's mind. 

"The Ballad of Father Gilligan'' is a religious poem which depicts God's mercy even upon the smallest creature on earth. We blame him and often complain that God is partial, unjust. He gives peace, wealth, and position to others. He gives overburden, worries, and comes to us. He does not listen to our prayers. In this poem old priest, Father Gilligan, being tired, did not attend the patient in the parish. The next day he realised his mistake, ran to the patient's door and found that God had sent one of his angels to attend to the sickman. He realised that God was merciful upon him and thanked God very much. 

Summary of The Ballad of Father Gilligan : 

The old priest Peter Gilligan was extremely tired because he had been attending sick people in his Parish day and night. People were constantly dying. He was to attend them at their death beds. He had no rest, no respite. He had no time to take food and to sleep. 

Oneday he returned home after he had attended to the patients. The next moment a man came and requested him to attend his sick patient.He was at the verge of death. Father Gilligan looked angry and refused straight to move at that moment as he was tired. 

The man returned. Peter Gilligan prayed to God for his inability to attend to the patient and fell asleep. He woke up the next morning and realised that the patient might have died. He felt guilty and rode his horse to the sickman's house. 

The sickman's wife opened the door and said "Father! You come again!" Gilligan asked and is the poorman dead ? She said that he died peacefully after he had attended him the previous night. 

Actually Peter Gilligan had not attended the patient. But the sickman's wife said that he attended him. Father Gilligan jumped into conclusion that God sent one of his messengers to attend to the sick man as he was tired. God was so merciful and caring to his creatures he felt his gratitude for God. 

Analytical Outlines of the poem the ballad of father Gilligan : 

  • Old priest Peter Gilligan was busy day and night. 
  • People in his Parish were dying in large numbers. 
  • As per the custom he had to pray for each sick man at the deathbed. 
  • He moved here and there always.
  • He had no rest, no respire, no sleep.  
  • He looked indignant. 
  • Oneday he returned home to attend to patients. 
  • He was tired and felt drowsy. 
  • A man came and requested him to attend.his patient. 
  • Peter Gilligan refused to attend.
  • The man returned home. 
  • Father requested God to forgive him. 
  • He fell asleep being tired. 
  • He woke up early in the morning. 
  • He remembered about the sickman. 
  • He thought that the man might have been dead.
  • He felt guilty. 
  • He rode his horse and went to the sickman's house. 
  • His wife opened the door. 
  • He said– "Father! You come again!" 
  • Father asked-"Is the poorman dead :" 
  • She said that- he died after his departure. 
  • Father had not arrived there. 
  • The lady said that he had come there. 
  • Father came to the conclusion that God sent one of his angels to attend the sickman.
  • God was merciful to him.
  • God took pity upon him. 
  • He offered his blessings on the least of things. 

Question Answer of the Poem The Ballad Of Father Gilligan: (questions to be answered carrying 2 marks each) 

Question.1. Why was Father Gilligan weary ? Was he only tired physically or also exhausted mentally ? Justify your answer with examples from the poem ? 

Ans. Father Gilligan was worried because half of his flock were in bed or in grave. A number of people were dying and he had to attend them all. He was tired and exhausted. He says- "I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace." 

Question.2. Why did he seek forgiveness from God ? What type of man does this make him to be ? 

Answer. While father was resting in his house, after being tired, he got a message to attend to another sickman. He refused to go. Then he sought forgiveness from God for not being able to attend the sickman. This shows that Father was religious and dutiful. He had a conscience. 

Question.3. How was the night : peaceful and quiet or turbulent and restless ? Bring out expressions from the poem to support your answer. 

Answer. The night was turbulent and restless. "The stars peeped. They slowly grew into millions. And leaves shook in the wind." These lines prove it. 

Question.4. Why was the night described so? 

Answer. The night was restless because it matched with the restless mind of father Gilligan. He had no rest, no sleep. He stood upright. His mind was full of tension. 

Question.5. What was the reaction of Father Gilligan when he woke up from his deep sleep ? State why he felt so ? 

Answer. When father Gilligan woke up, he remembered the sickman, felt guilty for not attending the sickman. He thought that the sick man might have died without being attended to by him. 

Question.6. Bring out the meaning of the expression- "He rode now as he never rode." 

Answer. Father woke up and thought that the sick man might have died. He felt guilty for not attending to him. To be sure of his position, he rode the horse at high speed without caring about the obstacles on the way. He was riding so quickly for the first time in his life, 

Question.7. Find the expressions that show Father Gilligan's concern for the people under his care. 

Answer. Father Giligan loved the people of his Parish very much. He attended each sickman in his Parish. He was praying to God for their souls. He was very tired and disgusted attending the sickman day and night. He was sorry for the poor souls. 

Question.8. Why did the Sickman's wife say - "Father I You come again." ? 

Answer. Father reached at the sickman's house. His wife saw him and, astonished, asked - "Father, you come again," because she had seen father attending her sick husband at night." 

Question.9. Who came to the sickman's before his death ? Why ? 

Answer. One of God's angels had come to the sick man before his death. He had come in the guise of father to attend him in his sick bed, to perform Father's duty. 

Question.10. What made father Giligan kneel and pray ? 

Answer. When father Gilligan heard from the sickman's wife about God's merciful act, he felt gratitude for him and kneel down to pray for his greatness. 

Question.11. What were his words of gratitude to God ? 

Answer. Father Gilligan, offering his gratitude for God, said - He who is undropped in.purple robes with plants in his care, had pity on the least of things asleep upon a chair.

Question.12. There is an implicit comparison between heavenly creatures and bodies, and their tireless movement with an insignificant person on earth and his inaction. Discuss this comparison. 

Answer. God is in heaven. He is ever watchful. He never takes rest, never sleeps. His planets never sleep. They move continuously. His angles are tired less bodies. But man on earth feels tired after some work and complains heavily as Father Gilligan did. Yet God is merciful upon Father Gilligan. 

Question.13. What qualities of Father Gilligan do you admire ? 

Answer. Father Gilligan was dutiful, sincere, loving and conscience stricken. He was deeply religious, humble. I like his dutifulness for the people of Parish very 

Question.14. Note each stanza has four lines. In stanza 1, 'day' rhymes with 'lay'. The rhyme scheme is a bc b. Find out whether all the stanzas have the same rhyme ite scheme? 

Answer. Yes, all stanzas have the same rhyming pattern. Out of the four lines, line 1, 2, 3, have different rhymes. But line 2 rhymes with line 4. So the pattern is "a b c d". 

Go through the poem given below and answer the questions that follow. 

The old priest Peter Gilligan 

was weary night and day; 

for half his flock were in their beds 

or under green sods lay. 

Once while he nodded on a chair 

At the moth hour of eve 

Another poorman sent for him 

And he began to grieve. 

I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace 

For people die and die; 

And after cried he, "God forgive" 

My body spake, not I." 


(a) Why was Peter Gilligan weary ? 

(b) What is "flock"? How can the flock be in their beds ? 

(c) When was the old priest nodding ? 

(d) What did Peter Gilligan complain about? 

(e) What did Father say to God ? 


(a) Peter Gilligan was weary night and day because he was always attending to thousands of sickmen, and it was out of his capacity. 

(b) "Flock" refers to group of sheep. Here 'flock' refers to the people of father Gilligan's area. They were sick and were in their beds. 

(c) Peter Gilligan was nodding on a chair at the moth-hour of eve. 

(d) Peter Gilligan complained-I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace, for people die and die. 

(e) Father said - "God forgive! my body spake, not I." 

Q.2. Read the poem given below and answer the questions that follow. 

Mavrone! Mavrone! the man has died 

while I slept on the chair 

He roused his horse out of its sleep 

And rode with little care. 

He rode now as he never rode 

By rocky lane, and fen 

The sickman's wife opened the door 

Father you come again. 

And is the poorman dead? he cried 

He died an hour ago 

The old priest Peter Gilligan 

In grief swayed to and fro. 

Questions : 

(a) What did father say sorrowfully? 

(b) Why did he rouse his horse? 

(c) How did he ride his horse that day? 

(d) Why did she say - "Father! You come again"? 

(e) What did she say about her husband? 


(a) Father said sorrowfully -"Mavrone! Mavrone! The man has died while I slept on the chair," 

(b) He roused his horse to go to the sickman's house immediately. 

(c) Herode his horse with little care by rocky lane and fen. 

(d) She said- "Father! You come again." because she had seen father at night and she saw him again in the morning. 

(e) She said that her husband had died an hour before. 





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  1. Thank you so much for helping ☺️

  2. Thank you helping sir

  3. it helped! I even wrote the notes in my school notebood and my teacher was impressed thank you soo much!

  4. Sir your summaries are short,brilliant and detalied.It helped a lot during preparation of exams.Thank you.


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