ballykillywuchlin

romycan

New Member
Chinese
Ezra Pound wrote a parody of Yeats's 'Under Ben Bulben', as follows:

Neath Ben Bulben's buttock lies
Bill Yeats, a poet twoice the soize
Of William Shakespear, as they say
Down Ballykillywuchlin way.

[....]

Ezra Pound is obviously playing with an Americanized version of Irish accent here.
But I just like to know if the the word 'Ballykillywuchlin' means anything.
Many thanks.


And Yeats's original is like this:

Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid,
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago; a church stands near,

[.....]
[Quoted text extracts reduced to the permitted maxium. DonnyB - moderator]
 
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  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think it is just a place name that Pound invented to sound typically Irish, and mildly comical; many Irish place names begin "Bally", which means "place".
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    At risk of being told off by the moderators for venturing out of the English language...

    Yes, I expect that Ezra Pound was aware that Bally and Kill are common elements in the Anglicised forms of Irish place names. Irish Baile = town or home (pronounced a bit like Bally), Cill = church or graveyard (pronounced rather like Kill).

    I don't know how much Ezra Pound knew or cared about the Irish language, but Ballykillywuchlin looks to me remarkably like Baile Cill an Bhuachaillín, the town of the church(yard) of the little boy (or little herdsman). ("An" prounounced like unstressed English "a"; Bhuachaillín pronounced woochleen with woo of wood and the ch of loch.) (I am only a beginner in Irish - apologies for any grammar and spelling mistakes.)
    Americanized version of Irish accent here.
    I don't think the spelling unambiguously indicates an Americanized version! Hollywood is famous or notorious for bad imitations of all kinds of foreign accents, but I expect that Ezra Pound was familiar with genuine Irish people, and I wonder if he had perhaps even heard (recordings of?) Yeats reading his own poetry.
     
    Last edited:

    romycan

    New Member
    Chinese
    At risk of being told off by the moderators for venturing out of the English language...

    Yes, I expect that Ezra Pound was aware that Bally and Kill are common elements in the Anglicised forms of Irish place names. Irish Baile = town or home (pronounced a bit like Bally), Cill = church or graveyard (pronounced rather like Kill).

    I don't know how much Ezra Pound knew or cared about the Irish language, but Ballykillywuchlin looks to me remarkably like Baile Cill an Bhuachaillín, the town of the church(yard) of the little boy (or little herdsman). ("An" prounounced like unstressed English "a"; Bhuachaillín pronounced woochleen with oo of wood and the ch of loch/lough.) (I am only a beginner in Irish - apologies for any grammar and spelling mistakes.)I don't think the spelling unambiguously indicates an Americanized version! Hollywood is famous or notorious for bad imitations of all kinds of foreign accents, but I expect that Ezra Pound was familiar with genuine Irish people, and I wonder if he had perhaps even heard (recordings of?) Yeats reading his own poetry.

    This sounds me very likely the case, and quite Poundesque. Many thanks.

    And, yes, Pound spent a lot of time with Yeats and working with him. I'd imagine that the imitation could be very true to what Yeats sounded like.
     
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