Ledwidge, Francis

(1891-1917)
   The son of a farm laborer of Slane, County Meath, in the Boyne Valley, Ireland, he was known as Frank. He had a variety of jobs-groom, farmhand, copper miner overseer of roads for the Slane area. Lord Dunsany (see entry) saw some of his poems and introduced him to other poets. He remained an overseer, involved himself in the local community, and founded the Slane Drama Group in which he was both chief actor and producer. Although a strong nationalist, he joined the 5th bat224 talion Royal Inniskillings in 1914 to fight for the Boyne he loved. He saw action at Gallipoli (1915) and was killed in Belgium, where he was buried. Ledwidge has been called the Burns and the Clare of the Irish; his themes are blossoms, roses of the lane, roadside birds on the tops of dusty hedges, and especially the blackbird's song. His publications: Songs of the Field, 1915. Songs of Peace, 1916. Last Songs, 1918. Complete Poems, 1919. Some of his poems: "After Court Martial," "Behind the Closed Eye," "Fairy Music," "Home," "In France," "Ireland," "To a Sparrow," "To Lord Dunsany."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Francis Ledwidge Museum (http://www.francisledwidge.com). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Complete Poems of Francis Ledwidge. Herbert Jenkins Limited, 1919. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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