Verses
on the
Present State of Ireland.

By
Lady Lucan.

“. . . . .si Dieu me donne encor de la Vie je ferai
qu’il n’y aura point de laboureur en mon
Royaume qui n’ait moyen d’avoir une poule
dans son pot. . . . . .”

Vie d’Henri le Grand.

Dublin:
Printed by Wogan, Bean, and Pike, No. 23,
Old-Bridge

1767MDCCLXVII.

Advertisement
To The
Reader.

The writer of the following verses,
owes many obligations to the country,
which is the subject of them; she has a
long time lamented the unhappy situation
of the people of Ireland, both as to trade
and religion; and as a relief to her feelings,
she wrote these lines. There now
seems to be something in agitation with
regard to Ireland, and she thinks that at this iv
this crisis, her hints may be of some use,
and may raise compassion in the breast of
power: to contribute her mite therefore
to so important an end, she lets them go
into the world with all their imperfections:
hoping that her intentions will apologise
for her verses. She, however, is aware
of its being objected, that the subject she
has undertaken, was not suited to a female
pen: and her performance perhaps
proves it; but she is willing to suffer
every critical censure, provided any benefit
accrues to the cause she endeavors
to plead. omittedlibrary stamp

Verses
On The
Present State of Ireland.

See! with what pale and mournful look appears,

England! Thy faithful sister drown’d in tears.

Thus wrong’d Hibernia sues to Britain’s throne:

Where is thy justice, where thy wisdom flown?

In me a suff’ring, loyal, people see,

Harrass’d and torn, by wanton tyranny.

Hear this, ye great, as from the feast ye rife,

Which every plundered element supplies!

Hear when fatigued, not nourish’d, ye have dined,

The situation of these miserable people in the province
that I am most acquainted with, is truly lamentable. The
lower class never eat meat or bread, not even on Christmas
Day, (when all the poor of all other countries make a feast)
but are confined to potatoes for food, and to water for their drink.
drink. A working man who labors from six o’clock in the
morning to six in the evening, has nothing to support him but
roots and water; four pence is the price of a day labourer in
Connaught; in other parts I believe it is something more,
but a very trifle. Let his majesty ask those who have had
the curiosity to visit the interior parts of the country; let
him ask one of the lords of his bed-chamber, who laterly made
a tour through Ireland, and he will find that I do not exaggerate.
—As to their cottages, such is their wretched poverty,
that it is a known fact, the cottager frequently pulls it down
to exempt himself from paying the hearth tax, which is two
shillings only, but which he is absolutely unable to pay; and
he and his family remain exposed to all the inclemencies of
the open air, until the time of collecting this cruel tax is
passed. If these unworthy lines should even reach his majesty’s
hand, and excite him to enquire into the truth of
what I allege, I shall esteem myself more fortunate, as I am
sure the result will be the railing sensations in his royal breast,
like those experienced by Henry the great, when bursting into
tears, he expressed that humane and benevelonet sentiment,
which I have chosen from amongst a multitude of other, of
that great and good monarch to put at the head of these
verses. omittedlibrary stamp
The food of thousands is to roots confin’d!

Eternal 6

Eternal fasts that know no taste of bread;

Nor where who sows the corn, by corn in fed.

Throughout the year, no feast e’er crowns his
board,

Four pence a day, ah! what can that afford?

So poor their country where they strive to live,

No ampler pay can starving farmers give.

Did you not blast us with a jealous eye,

Our industry and arts with your’s would vie.

Nature’s best face in our soft clime is shown,

And commerce here would gladly fix her throne.

E’en might that commerce far as India roam,

No Irish soul wou’d chain that wealth at home.

Fools 7

Fools that ye are, to you that wealth wou’d roll,

And loadstone like, you wou’d attract the whole.

But you are sway’d by a narrow policy,

And in a friend a hated rival see.

Our journals show, with how profuse a hand

Hibernian senates give, on your demand;

Freely they give, nor aught from you require,

But justice, only justice they desire.

Your gratitude unlike our bounty flows;

Our idleness this truth too plainly shows;

The linen is the only trade carried on to any extent in
Ireland, and this is unjustly cramped by English policy and
acts of parliament; I say unjustly, as notwithstanding the
most solemn and legislative compact between the two kingdoms,
on Ireland’s submitting to give up the woollen manufacture:
she was allowed to carry on the linen manufacture in all its
branches
, and to the fullest extent. Yet contrary to this
mutual agreement, painted and coloured linens are not suffered
to be exported; sail cloth, cordage, and various other
articles are also prohibited, and even hemp, unwrought, received
no encouragement to be imported into England, though
at the same time England gave a bounty of 81. per ton on
all hemp imported from America. The linen business is extended
only in one province; and in many parts of the kingdom
it cannot be carried on, as there are large tracts of
country unsuited to it, where neither fire not water are in
sufficient quantity, and where the foil is totally unfit for the
raising of flax. Whole counties in Ireland are in this predicament.
The hardships that country labours under, is more
conspicuous in this instance, than in any other; for as it appears,
that the soil, in general, is unfit for the linen manufacture,
and therefore that nature has pointed out to the
inhabitants the manufactures of wool, yet nevertheless, they are
are forced by rigid laws to relinquish it, and to follow another
totally improper for them.
This trade, so much boasted of, is not a certain nor a
steady one, depending on many adventitious circumstances.
When I lived in Ireland, which was for several years, the
complaints were grievous and frequent, that the markets
being down, there was, consequently, no demand, either
for the coarse or for the fine linen: sometimes the flax failed,
owing to a bad season; at others, even to the want of seed.
Merchants were often ruined; bankers obliged to shut up;
all which is sufficient to shew, that it is a precarious branch
of commerce, and that a country, depending upon one trade,
must ever be in a dangerous situation. At present, the hall
in Dublin is gutted with linens, while there is no call for
them; the course of exchange shews it. Mr. Brownlow, a
man of a most respectable character, and membesmember of parliament
for one of the first counties in Ireland, has represented
in the House of Commons this session, that the linen trade is
visibly on the decline. As he is a man of truth, and perfectly
independent of all party and faction, this assertion is
the more worthy of notice.
One trade alone, your jealousy affords,

(To paint such mighty folly, grant me words!)

One 8

One trade alone, is to this people given,

Tho’ bles’d with ev’ry requisite by Heaven.

And when for taxes, pensions, loud you cry,

Like fools you stop the means of your supply.

Ireland is not suffered to export any sort of woolen
goods, even to those foreign markets where the English
woollen manufactures are not sent. There are a variety of
woollen and mixed goods which they are inclined to make in
Ireland, such as poplins, serges, narrow coarse cloths, linsey
woolseys, felt hats, knit stockings, and gloves, which England
does not run into, and which would be a most advantageous
trade to Ireland. The French have beat out the
English in several foreign markets, particularly in the Levant and
and Turkey, by making these goods; and they make them,
shame to the English Parliament and ministry! with Irish
smuggled wool. As to the inland woollen trade of Ireland,
it is incumbered with every disadvantage, and receives every
check that can be laid upon it; it is controuled and taxed
so that a pair of knit woollen stockings, the labor of old age!
cannot be exposed to sale without first paying a duty to an
officer, called an Alnager. Mr. Perry, the present Speaker
of the House of Commons, with that integrity and good
sense which has always distinguished his conduct, and with a
spirit becoming his situation, has repeatedly, in his speech at
the bar of the House of Lords, solicited the Crown for an
extension of the trade of Ireland; that the restraints and
shackles laid upon it should be taken off; but as yet he has
not been attended to. The House of Commons, through
delicacy, (for I am unwilling to attribute it to any other
motive) have hitherto declined making any strong remonstrance
to the throne on this subject. But if they do not
choose to embarrass government at this critical moment with
their just claims, if they do not choose to plant another
thorn in the royal pillow, yet every man in the kingdom
individually feels the cruel oppressions their country labours
under, and ardently wishes to have them redressed. This
moderation should be remembered and rewarded, as it arises
from, and is united with, that steady and uniform loyalty
which always does honour to the Irish senate, and never
more than at this present moment, when forgetting all injuries,
and only actuated by a love for their King, and zeal
for the honour of their sister country, they unanimously have
addressed his Majessy, to assist him with their lives and fortunes:
this address comes with infinite weight, as it was
moved by Mr. Daley, a gentleman of very great property,
of great abilities, and most popular character. My wishes
are, that such repeated acts of generosity to this country,
this active spirit of loyalty, which shines in Ireland, should now
now have the effect it ought on English minds; and that the
situation of Ireland should be taken under consideration;
that the Legislature will review those laws which restrain
our trade, laws they will find so palpably cruel and unjust,
that I cannot doubt of their being repealed, and that our
trade will be perfectly free; for to redress our grievances by
halves is unworthy of England, not, more especially, when
every thing is going to be granted to America; no time
should be lost, the British Legislature should not wait to pay
that tribute to fear, which is due to gratitude. I have heard
many sensible people say, whenever this subject was mentioned,
that Ireland would do wrong to receive as favours,
trifles which are beneath her acceptance: no encouragement
to the imports is of any consequence, nor is a liberty to export
coloured and painted linens as object, as it would be
only a local advantage, but no general relief. The woollen
trade is the great point, and I flatter myself that the eyes of
England will, at last, be opened in regard to it, and that
the laws affecting it will be repealed, in reward for the constant
and steady attachment of Ireland to England, and as
the most effectual means of riveting the minds and affections
of the people to their King and to this country, at this important
moment.
To English marts alone our wool must speed,

And sinks or swells in value as the bid.

What 9

What free born souls will such oppression bear?

We sell to France, prevent us if you dare.

Thus 10

Thus laws too strict are ever useless made,

And enemies and rivals get your trade.

For us in vain our flocks their fleeces bear;

A sad reward for all the shepherd’s care.

To card or spin, the careful housewife fears,

She trembling draws the fleece, and spins with
tears.

Early and late her weary hours are spent,

And much she toils to pay the landlord’s rent.

But when to publick sale her work she’d send,

A cruel seizure does her labours end.

Oh! Charlotte, lend a while thy sacred ear,

While I recount the griefs, thy subjects bear,

With 11

With patience hear, O may they be redrest!

May this poor plaint arise within thy breast

One spark of pity; when our story’s known,

May Charlotte make a nation’s grief her own:

Nor wonder, that to thee my song I raise,

The tear that flows for misery’s thy praise;

Nor midst imperial Albion’s crown appears

A brighter gem, than pity’s pearly tears.

And let them fall, embalm thy bosom down,

Each tear’s a gem brighter than England’s crown.

A female pen does now thy aid implore,

Oh! deign to tell our tale, we ask no more.

Thus shall our pious king our suff’rings hear,

And modest truth attain a monarch’s ear

The inhabitants of Ireland are computed at about
2,300,000, of whom 1,700,000 are papists; by the popery and
penal laws those unfortunate people are deprived of the rights
of free-born subjects; they can neither take lands, purchase
lands, nor enjoy paternal estates, nor can they lend money
on mortgages with any security; they cannot keep arms to
defend their houses, nor wear them to defend their persons,
or to appear like gentlemen; they cannot keep a horse without
being liable to be deprived of him; they cannot send
their children abroad for education, nor are they allowed
schools to educate them at home. The gavel and popery
laws corrupt and destroy the morals of the people; they prevent
the improvement of uncultivated lands; they prevent
trade, commerce, population, and every thing which a wise
legislature should encourage. It is a doubt whether this
penal code was originally made upon a right principle; but
allowing it to have been necessary at the time; as the causes
which made it then wise and prudent, do not now exist,
when those laws are attended with so many ruinous consequences,quences,
ought they not to be reconsidered, and some relaxation
granted? For surely whilst 1,700,000 people are permitted
to exist as subjects, they ought to be allowed the
natural rights and benefits of mankind. I cannot pretend to
know enough of this subject, to say how far the legislature
should go, as to the repealing of those laws; but my opinion
is, that if the Parliament of England wish that the Parliament
of Ireland
should make any alteration in their popery
laws, they ought to begin with repealing those which exist
here against papists, which seem to be of no use, and are
never carried into execution.
Bred in a faith, they guard their souls sincere.

For right or wrong, that faith to them is dear:

’Tis 12

’Tis what their fathers and forefathers taught,

For which they suffer’d or for which they fought;

No wonder then, tho’ wrapt in error’s night,

They breed their sons in what they think is right,

Various religion’s, still they deem the same;

’Tis virtue always diff’ring but in name.

Our gavel laws, few converts can create,

The persecuted soul grows obstinate.

A land of liberty can this be call’d,

Where by such tyrant laws we are enthrall’d?

That snatch the weapon from the father’s hand,

His home exposing to the ruffian band?

Ah! wretched parents, little you foresee

Of gavel laws, the sad calamity;

Laws still accursed by the good and wise,

That teach the son, his father to despise:

Most cruel laws, that can such acts approve,

Ah! sad return of our paternal love,

That from all ties of brotherhood deters,

And him, that’s first a hypocrite prefers.

China thy laws that bright with wisdom teem,

The pious sons, the best of subjects deem,

But 13

But English councils otherwise have thought,

Their laws a sort of parricide have taught.

Ireland awake! raise up thy drooping head,

Look to these laws, their consequences dread!

Think what pernicious precepts to thy youth,

Instead of teaching piety and truth,

Instead of showing, to be good, is wise,

That father’s, brother’s, love, are holy ties;

Inculcate vice, sets gold before their eyes,

To feign conversion and their God despise;

Teaching ambition, how by vice to climb,

And turn religion to a deadly crime.

Since toleration is Britania’s pride,

Why, by such cruel laws, is Ireland tied?

Beware ye senators, look round in time,

Rebellion is not fix’d to any clime,

For ’twould be strange, a most unnat’ral thing,

That he who hates his sire should love his king.

In trade, religion, every way oppressed,

You’ll find, too late, such wrongs must be redress’d

Those riches in America you’ve lost,

May soon again be found on Ireland’s coast:

Open our ports at once with generous minds,

Let commerce be as free as waves and winds;

Seize quick the time, for now, consider well,

Whole quarters of the world at once rebel.

My theme I’ll close with a poor simple tale,

To show at once the hardships we bewail:

Murrough and Dairine pass’d their days content,

Nor curs’d that poverty which heaven had sent,

Their cares not great, but what they were they
shar’d

They worship’d God, and his behests rever’d;

And 14

And still they bless’d their fate, their quiet lot,

That plac’d them on a fertile pleasant spot.

Cara, a barony in one of the Western counties. On Cara’s plains, beneath a sheltering rock,

His cabin stood, and well was fenc’d his flock;

Much by his neighbours rev’renc’d was the sage,

One only daughter bless’d his trembling age:

The virtuous Eva, she was good as fair,

And from her birth was train’d with holy care;

Nor lost those cares, her parents were secure,

Her heart was tender and her soul was pure;

By many sigh’d for, Connor did prevail,

Without a blush the virgin heard his tale;

For ’twas not love by vicious folly led,

That influenc’d her choice the youth to wed;

Long had she known him, known his virtuous
mind,

From early childhood worthily inclin’d.

Near to her cabin lay his father’s farms,

And Connor’s pious care the maiden charms:

She thought that heart must harder be than stone,

To see his filial love and not be won!

That love how sweet! his father felt the balm,

Those sorrows dreadful that it cou’d not calm!

With sharpest pangs his rev’rend breast was torn,

He curst the day his younger son was born,

Murdac his name: his early treacheries

With constant dread the wretched parent sees,

’Till pitying Heaven, who knew his sorrows best,

Releas’d and called him to eternal rest.

Whilst pious Connor clos’d his father’s eyes,

Swift to a priest the villain Murdac flies;

Quick to abjure his impious bosom burns,

His God, religion, faith, thus overturns.

His 15

His brother’s birth-right, dying father’s will,

Tho’ God’s against, our laws are with him still;

Equal to him the doctrine best or worst,

Our church thus gains a profligate accurs’d.

To perjury doom’d, he careless grasps at oaths,

He laughs at shame, and all that’s sacred loaths.

Those forms gone thro’ which laws conversion name,

Proud he returns, vaunting aloud his shame.

His brother mocks, the object of his scorn,

His farm, his dear lov’d farm thus from him torn;

Connor submits with manly fortitude,

Submits to Heaven and quells the rising blood.

Murdac a lawful robber, ruffian bold,

Seizes on all with cruel rage for gold;

Greedy he rummages their little store,

Such is the hospitality of the poor people of Ireland,
that it is the custom of the lower class, even to this day, to
throw open their doors, when they sit down at their meals.
It is said that formerly, in the contests between the old Irish
and the English settlers, that when the Irish Chieftan got the
better of his antagonist, and took his castle, that he often
gave him back the possession of it, upon his promising never
to shut his doors when he went to dinner.
And firmly bolts the ever open door

His mother now no more her grief suppress’d:

“Oft hath the weary trav’ler here found rest

My son, she cry’d, ah! shut up not that door,

The poor shall pray, and God increase your
store.”

Now with such rage his furious anger burn’d,

He forth into the world the matron turn’d;

Out-cast, forlorn, alas! what can she do?

To such a son, how can a mother sue?

Connor receives her, warms her in his breast,

He sooths her cares, and lulls her griefs to rest.

Then 16

Then flies to Eva, Eva ever dear,

Tells the sad tale, nor spares the briny tear:

“Oh! thou the tend’rest daughter, mother, wife,

Canst thou resolve to quit this peaceful life

With wretched Connor, now an outcast flee,

No longer wretched if possessing thee?”

Like lightning quick into his arms she flew,

“Connor, through the wide world I’ll follow you;

I’ve youth and strength, no poverty I dread,

The laws of other climes shall yield us bread:

My work my helpless parents shall maintain,

Their drooping heads my bosom shall sustain,

And their last prayer a blessing shall obtain.”

And thus they leave their village once so dear,

Her infant babe in gentle Eva’s care;

The faithful Connor keeping by her side,

Strives in his breast his heavy griefs to hide;

While his strong arms support decrepid age,

His tender words their various ills asswage.

Those wretched parents now wou’d feign rehearse,

Their past contentment, and the sad reverse;

How on those fertile plains their youth they spent,

In wholesome toils and pastimes innocent.

Now bow’d with age, and longing much for rest,

Their friends of youth must quit, with grief opprest.

One comfort still their last sad hours attends,

They see the mourning of their village friends;

For all the neighbours flock with grief sincere,

Alas! they’ve not to offer, but a tear.

“Sweet Cara’s plains adieu”! then Eva cry’d,

And wip’d her cheek where the first tear did glide;

But not the last; for she must now begin

To combat with the world and wiles of sin.

Thus to’ards the ship, in Newport’s stormy Bay

These virtuous fugitives must take their way;

The mourning village their last steps attends,

And from the shore the voice of woe ascends.

The End.

omittedlibrary stamp