The Ballad of Father Gillgan'Nothing remains hidden from  the eyes of the supremely kind and all powerful creator.' How does The ballad of father gilligan brings out the truth of this statement?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not know if this statement is true, but it certainly appears to be true in this poem.  We can see the truth of it in this poem when we see what God (presumably) does to help Father Gilligan.

In the poem, Father Gilligan is terribly weary.  He has worn himself out helping the people of his area.  So now he is too tired to function well.  Yet, even so, he is expected to go and be with the dying man.

God sees what has happened to Father Gilligan but he is "supremely kind."  When he sees that Father Gilligan has fallen asleep, he sends an angel (presumably) to the house of the dying man.  This is kind to Gilligan (because it lets him rest) and to the dying man and his family (because he has a priest to be with him as he dies).

lit24 | Student

W.B.Yeats' "The "Ballad of Father Gilligan" is a moving story of how God comes to the rescue of a sincere priest whose only concern is the salvation of the souls of his impoverished parishioners.

Father Gilligan who was exhausted in fulfilling his priestly duties day and night during an epidemic in the Irish countryside,  either  in giving the last communion to his poor parishioners who were dying in large numbers or conducting funeral services for them,  was at home one evening taking a well deserved rest and had dozed off in his chair.

Just as Father Gilligan had dozed he was disturbed from his sleep by the urgent call of another dying parishioner. Wearily, Father Gilligan began to grumble and murmur about his lack of rest:

'I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace,
For people die and die;

But the very next instant he checks himself seeks God's forgiveness and kneels down by the side of his chair and begins to pray:


And after cried he, 'God forgive! My body spake, not I!'

Father Gilligan seeks God's forgiveness for his murmuring and grumbling by saying that it was his weak and fatigued body which complained and not his spirit and mind which were keen to save the souls  of the dying villagers. As he continues to pray he  is completely overwhelmed by sleep. The tired Father Gilligan slept the entire night kneeling down by the side of his chair. Early in the morning, at dawn he woke up to the cheerful sound of the chirping sparrows.

Poor Father Gilligan realized his mistake and rushed off to the house of the dying parishioner, only to be greeted by the dead man's widow with the news that he had actually come earlier on and had ministered the last communion to the dying man and by doing so had ensured the salvation of his soul:

The sick man's wife opened the door,
'Father! you come again!'

It is then that he realizes that God the Creator had taken pity on him who had worn himself out completely in His service, had sent an angel to minister the last communion to the dying man:

'He Who is wrapped in purple robes,
With planets in His care
Had pity on the least of things
Asleep upon a chair.'

This certainly proves that an omniscient and omnipotent God watches over all humanity and comes to the aid of his sincere servants who fulfill his divine plan and purpose.


mrsgiri | Student

Ballad of father Gilligan expresses the old priest Gilligan's loyalty to service and love for god and people. He is very tired from working day and night and goes to sleep forgetting to do his job.. but the almighty sends an angel from above to help father Gillian