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The Elf-Child

Author: Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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Electronic edition compiled by Benjamin Hazard

Funded by School of History, University College, Cork and
Private donation

1. First draft

Extent of text: 660 words


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Text ID Number: E890000-016

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  1. [Details to follow].
    Canon Sheehan on the Internet
  1. Canon P.A. Sheehan, 'The Elf-Child,' The Irish Monthly, 26/296 (February 1898) 72.
  1. Herman Joseph Heuser, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: the story of an Irish parish priest as told chiefly by himself in books, personal memoirs, and letters (New York 1917).
  2. Arthur Coussens. P. A. Sheehan, zijn leven en zijn werken (Brugge/Bruges 1923).
  3. Michael P. Linehan, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: Priest, Novelist, Man of Letters (Dublin 1952).
  4. James O'Brien (ed.), The Collected Letters of Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, 1883–1913 (Wells 2013).
  5. James O'Brien, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile 1852–1913: Outlines for a Literary Biography (Wells 2013). [Bibliographical references 205-11.]
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. , The Elf-Child in The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature, Ed. Matthew Russell SJ. , Dublin, Irish Jesuit Province (February 1898) page 72


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CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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The electronic text represents the edited version.

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Text has been checked and proof-read once.


The electronic text represents the edited text.


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Profile Description

Created: By Patrick Augustine Sheehan (1852–1913) (1898)

Use of language

Language: [EN] The text is in English.

Revision History

Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E890000-016

The Elf-Child: Author: Patrick Augustine Sheehan


  1. 'Mother! is this the storm-fiend, swooping down to seize me?
    He bath slain all my autumn leaves with his lightning sword.'
    Nay, nay, my little one, 'tis angels' fingers straying
    In some wild midnight voluntary on the organ of the Lord!
    'Mother! stars are hidden, and the great cloud-billows
    Pile their big battalions o'er the flying moon;
    Will she be o'erwhelmed, and rise no more to cheer us?
    Nay, nay, my little one, 'tis moon-dance to storm-rune.
    'Mother, list! the death-watch, tapping, tapping, tapping;
    Is this my little coffin that they're nailing, plank to plank?'
    Mother's tears are falling, pitifully falling;
    Mother's heart is sinking in the midnight, drear and blank.
    But she whispered: Nay, my child 'tis angels' fingers swaying
    The woodbine's long, lithe tendrils against the window pane;
    Sleep, my child, thy little couch is canopied and fringed
    By the locked wings of angels against the storm and rain.
    Slept the weary elf-child; slept the mother weary;
    Angels folded ermine wings, like cope of kneeling priest;
    Then upwards through the storm-blast, on their white breasts cradled,
    Passed the sleeping elf-child to the Child-God's natal Feast.