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35 suppression of the Repeal movement, argues, in our opinion, that some information of which we are ignorant, has been given to the higher powers.23 Samuel Ferguson, ‘The Fairy Thorn. An Ulster Ballad’ (Taken from Lays of the Western Gael, 1864). One of the most central figures of nineteenth-century Irish literature, Samuel Ferguson’s (1810-86) upbringing in the Ulster Scots rural culture of South Antrim provided inspiration for much of his poetry. Ferguson’s poetry is marked by an intense fascination with the ballad form and the subjects of Irish mythology, folklore and supernaturalism, which have made him, for many, one of the great forerunners of William Butler Yeats and other poets of the Irish Literary Revival. Nevertheless while Ferguson spent much of his career in Dublin; his development of the Irish ballad and his interest in Irish mythology and folklore are chiefly mediated by a profound attachment to the province of Ulster. ‘The Fairy Thorn. An Ulster Ballad Get up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning wheel; For your father’s on the hill, and your mother is asleep; Come up above the crags, and we’ll dance a highland-reel Around the fairy thorn on the steep. At Anna Grace’s door ’twas thus the maidens cry, Three merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green; And Anna laid the rock and the weary wheel aside, The fairest of the four, I ween. They’re glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve, Away in milky wavings of neck and ancle bare; The heavy-sliding stream in its sleepy song they leave, And the crags in the ghostly air: And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go, The maids along the hill-side have ta’en their fearless way, 23 The Repeal Movement was led by Daniel O’Connell and sought the repeal of the Act of Union and the restoration of the Irish Parliament abolished in 1801.

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