A Tale of Old;
Printed by Meyler and Son;
and sold by
G. Robinson, 25, Paternoster-Row, and
J. Harding, St. James’s-Street,
This Legendary Tale is taken from the translation of an Irish MS; it relates to a Chieftain of Monaghan, named McMahown, who seemed to have been the terror of the neighbouring Counties.
Amongst his many usurpations was that of the Castle of St. Donaught, situated on the confines of Lough Earne, County of Fermanagh,belonging to a neighbouring Chief; while that Chieftain and his friend Roderick were bravely defending their country against foreign invaders, Mchown assailed that Fortress, took it by surprise, and seized the Lady Donalfraide, with whon he was enamoured, but by whom he had been rejected; her only alternative now was, either to become his Bride—or remain his Prisoner—she preferred the latter.
Upon this incident the following little Legend appears to have been founded; the Scene lies partly in the County of Permanagh, and partly in Cawan.
Names of the Personages.
- Mcmahund, Chief of Monaghan.
- Morven O’Oreial, The O’Reials were formerly the Lords of Cavan. Hence it was called Brenny Oreyle, or Orelie’s County, the manners of the present Landholders form a striking contrast to the rude virtues of their forefathers, but their hospitality is still as unbounded as that of their Ancestors, and the Ancient Brehon Law, will only cease with the existence of the Island—Receive the Traveller hospitably. See Statistical view of Ireland. Lord of Cavan.
- Donald McGuire, The Mountains of Quilca were celebrated for being the abode of the McGuires, Chieftains of Fermanagh; the superstitious Natives still imagine that the fates of their ancient Chieftains, are wrapt up in this Mountains. A proof of the strength of their affection towards the memory of their former Chiefs, which neither time nor power hath as yet shaken. Statistical View of Ireland. N.B. This last note is written from memory, posibly as may not be in the exact words of the Author. Chief of Fermanagh.
- Donalfraide, Daughter of Donald McGuire.
- Page 5, for louring, read lowering.
- —10, —17, for grew, read drew.
- —14, line 6, for swore, read wore.
- —24, —9, for courses, read coursers.
- —25, —1, for onsent, read onset.
- —76, —16, for the World, read my World.
- —78, —8, for my, read thy.
- —102, —8, for life, read strife.
- —103, —2, for sunk, read shrunk.
- —104, —7, for jealousy, read jealousies.
- —111, —11, for there, read where.
- —141, 11 10, for thy, read his.
- —147, — 7, for viel, read veil.
- —150, —2, for Dibultadis, read Dibutades.
- —165, —245, I left out.
When silver laces the mountain rill,
And fleecy snows descend the hill,
When crystal rows deep fringe thy cot;
Bethink thee then—of the Wanderer’s lot!—
When thy piled hearth like summer-heat glows,
And the sparkling draught the cup o’erflows,
When music’s magic soothes thy care;
Bethink thee then of the Wanderer’s fare!—
When love and friendship’s powers combine
To crown thee with blessings, near divine,
Bethink thee of him, who friendless strays,
A wanderer in life’s tangled maze!—
If near thy door he chance to stray,
O let him not thence unwelcom’d away;
So may these blessings ne’er depart,
And the Wanderer’s thanks still cheer thy heart!
When wintry frost shall blanch thy head,
And time’s dark wing be o’er thee spread,
Tho’ the mists of age obscure thy sight,
Yet the Wanderer’s thanks—shall yield delight;
Yes;—gratitude’s tear shall embalm thy name,
And her sighs waft thy deeds to the regions of fame;
Forgotten thy faults, tho’ many they be,
Razed from memory’s scroll by humanity!
So thought the Lord of Reial’s hall,
Whose bounteous gate was free to all,
The weary found a welcome there,
The banquet spread—the ready chair—
There to the bright emlivening fire,
While storms howl’d wild they might retire,3 B2r 3
Think days return’d, almost gone by,
The days of hospitality!!
And bless the heart,—and bless the hand,—
That yet could fashion’s power withstand;
That fashion, It is now become a prevalent fashion in Ireland a fashion more honored in the breach, than in the observance, for people of landed property to desert their own country, and either to let or leave their Family Estates n the hands of their agents and stewards—who too often oppress the tenants for that rent which the landlord squanders in another country.—Alas, poor Ireland! this is not the way to enrich or civilize thy peasantry!!! whose strong icy chain
The mild humanities restrain,
If she her magic wand but wave,
They sink in apathy’s cold grave,
Unlike that mean degenerate race,
He scorn’d to own a mind so base,
Who fly their native land to be
The food for England’s mockery!!!
For this hath Erin’s sons disdain’d
That land where once their fathers reign’d;4 B2v 4
Where independent, free, and bold,
They held their state in times of old,
Where now,—alas!—are only found,
Proud mansions crumbling to the ground.
Those halls where Princes were enthroned,
Are now by mean adventurer’s own’d,—
Blush, Erin! blush and hide thy head!
That it should e’er of thee be said,
Thy sons had fled their native shore,
Their freedom sold for sordid ore.—
Now as the wretched peasants stray
Beneath the high-arch’d portal way,
The old men shake their heads and cry,
See, where our former glories lie!—
But e’en those very mansions gray,
Frown awfully—tho’ in decay,—
And seem to threaten, in their fall,
The little, vassal, Lords of all!!—
The Sgelaighe; or, Tale Teller. Note 1.—Page 5. The Sgelaighe, or Tale Tellers, were a kind of poetical Bard, formerly well known in Ireland. See History of the Irish Bards. In his appendix he gives a most interesting account of one of them, not long since dead, a few extracts from which, may, perhaps, be acceptable to the English reader— Cormac Common (or Cormac Dal) that is blind Cormac, was born in 1703-05May, 1703, at Woodstock, near Ballindangan, in the county of Mayo. His parents were poor and honest, remarkabel for nothing but the innocence and simplicity of their lives; before he had completed the first years of his life, the small-pox deprived him of his sight; this circumstance, together with the indigence of his parents, precluded him from receiving the advantages of education, but though he could not read himself, he could converse with those who had read, therfore if he wants learning, he is not without knowledge. Aa 178 Aa1v 178 Showing an early fondness for Music, a neighbouring Gentleman determined to have him taught to play on the Harp, a Professor of that instrument was accordingly provided, and Cormac received a few lessons, which he practised— con amore: but his Patron dying suddenly, the Harp dropped from his hand, and was never afterwards taken up:—it is possible he could not afford to string it. But Poetry was the Muse of whom he was most enamoured: this made him listen eagerly to the Irish songs, and Metrical tales which he heard sung and recited around the crackling faggots of his father, and his neighbors. These by frequent repetition, became strongly impressed on his memory; his mind being thus stored, and having no other avocation, he commenced a Man of talk, or a Take teller. He left no calling for the idle trade, as our English Montaigne observes of Pope, Hist. Raph. on Pope—p. 11. he was now employed in relating Legendary Tales, and reciting Genealogies at Rural Wakes, or in the Halls of Country Squires, - - — — — — — — — — — — His Muse was generally awakened at the call of gratitude— his Poetical productions are mostly Panegyrial or Elegiac: they extol the living, or lament the dead. See History of the Irish Bards. It was from this very beautiful and animated desription—from which I have only selected a trifling extract, that I took the hint of the Sgelaighe, or Tale-teller. The Author.
The path intricate lay,
Thro’ which an ancinet man
Explored his lonely way;
At times the sobbing wind
In angry gusts blew high,
Whither find a shelter?
Ah! whither could he fly?6 B3v 6
While thus uncertain, weak,
His feeble steps he bent,
Near benighted and alone—
The poor wanderer went!
Lo,—a stream of light
Shone thro’ the parting trees,
Which twinkled, as the dark bows
Trembled at the breeze.
With equal joy he view’d it
As when the polar star
Is hailed by the lorn,
And sea-beat Mariner!
The friendly gleam he follow’d
Which led him to an hall,
Whose gate was never barr’d
To Traveller’s faint call.
Boldy tower’d the building,
Long of antique date,
Where once Knights and Nobles
Sat in feudal state;7 B4r 7
Trophies adorn’d the walls,
Ranged with the hunter’s spear,
The venerable Bede calls Ireland an island famous for stag hunting. And crested by the wide branching
Antlers of the deer. Here ancient hospitality
Still cheers the weary guest,
Fills hgh th’ enlivening bowl,
That drives dull care to rest.
Still the signal of welcome
High waved o’er the roof, Note 2.—Page 7. Still the signal of welcome, High waved o’er its roof. It was formerly the custon in Ireland for Noblemen and Gentlemen when at home, to erect a Flag over their roof, which was universally understood as an invitation to the traveller—who might enter without ceremony, assured of being received with every degree of Hospitality; this laudable custom I am informed is still kept up by a few—very few respectable families in the interior, who are as yet untouched by the torpedian stroke of apathetic Fashion. The author has from good authority been informed, that the late Dr. Hawkins, Bishop of Raphoe, though he did not exactly keep to the letter, adhered to the spirit of this custom. There were certain days, one at least in each week on which he was at Home not in the meaning of the word as fashionably and foolishly interpreted, but in the real and sincere sense which the word originally implied, to all who came within the focus of his cheering mansion, and chose to witness and partake of his hospitable board. This custom did not originate from the want of an Inn in the neighbourhood, as there was one very near the Bishop’s house. Mine host, however, was required on these particular days to mention that the Palace was open to all Strangers that came that way. The Author.
Nor ever might the wandering
Stranger stand aloof.
The Sgelaighe freely enter’d,
So he may be named,
For in legendary lore,
Full well was he famed;8 B4v 8
Oft to faded memory,
Past times he could restore;
Deeds of hereos live in story,
When the heroes are no more!—
Like the bards of old,
He many a tale could tell,
Of the chieftains who conquered—
Of the valiant who fell!
When with wine and wassail
Well cheered and refresh’d,
When no longer unhoused,
Alarmed, or distress’d,
The noble donor thus
He gratefully address’d—
Thanks—mine hospitable host!
The kindness you bestow
Must ever make my heart
With gratitude o’erflow:9 C1r 9
The fears of your ancestors
I fain would now recite,
As generous as thee,
Irresistible in fight;
O blush not mine host
At praises truly earn’d,
From thy hospitable door
The weary ne’er were turn’d.
Courteously the Baron
Bowed to the old man;
Around the guests were seated—
And thus the story ran:
Morven and Donalfraide;
(a tale of old.)
’Twas St. John’s holy vigil,—the clock had struck one,
The beil-tinne no longer like winter stars shone, Note 3.—Page 9. And the Beil-tinne fires ’gan to grow faint. Beiltinne,—On the first of May, and the first of August, (Lughnasa) fires were lighted, and sacrifices offered on the 180 Aa2v 180 most lofty eminences, in every part of the kingdom of Ireland—to Bael, or the Sun; nor is it unlikely, that the dancers were a kind of chorus, who sung, as they danced, an hymn in praise of the Deity whom they were honouring: perhaps the classical reader will find, and we think he may, a similarity between our Rinceadh-fada and the festal dance of the Greeks. See History of the Irish Bards. It is surprising how long ancient customs will remain in a country, when the origin is no longer remembered, or known, except by the Antiquarian, or Historian. The Irish still retain the custom of lighting Beil-tinne, or Bone-fires on the first of May, but instead of lightening them on the first of August, as was formerly their custom, before the Christian religion was established in Ireland—they light them on Midsummer Eve, the Vigil of St. John, their favourite Saint, thus blending idolatry with the Christian religion. Possibly those who are unacquainted with the customs of Ireland, may wish to be informed of the ceremonies of the Beil-tinne, as practised even at this day, by the lower orders. Where can we find a stronger light to pierce through the dark veil of antiquity, than in the customs of a nation, by which we may discover their origin, from the analogy which they bear to other Countries? The Irish are very expert in carrying fire from immense distances. Is not this habit a strong presumption in favour of the opinion of our best Antiquarians, that Ireland was early inhabited by a Scythic Colony? 181 Aa3r 181 We know that the religion professed by Bactria, and perhaps of the neighbouring countries, was that of Zoroaster— who taught his followers to worship Mithra, or the Sun, for their God, and to light fires in honour of him, kindled from a ray of that luminary. Different Temples were erected, where the fire was continually kept burning. Might not the round Towers of Ireland which have given rise to so many strange conjectures, have been erected for the same purposes? I hazard this conjecture, for as yet, with regard to them, nothing certain has been determined, and all still remains enveloped in the mists of obscurity! It was the duty of the Priests to watch their fire Temples night and day, to prevent the pure flame from expiring—but if by any unforeseen accident, this event deemed so unfortunate, was to happen, they were obliged to relight it from that holy Temple whose fire had been kindled by a ray from the Sun; and so sacred, according to Prideaux, (See ) did they hold this fire, that the Priests were not permitted, while carrying it, to prevent its being extinguished, by their breath, or by any other means, than that of the breath of Heaven. Connections The Irish Peasantry are at this day very expert in carrying fire, either of coal or charcoal, to great distance, by means of a damp whisp of straw or hay; in doing this, when the fire appears to be nearly extinguished, they lay the whisp which contains the fire upon the ground, in some spot where there is a current of air; when they take it up 182 Aa3v 182 again, they are observed to whirl it round with considerable velocity, but never to blow upon it with their breath. It is customary on the first of May and Midsummer Eve, for the Irish to light bone-fires, round which they dance in groupes, and many of the most active or most superstitious leap nimbly over them, imagining that by this strange ceremony, they insure to themselves good fortune during the year. In some parts of Ireland, the youth of both sexes form a kind of figure dance, whirling round at the same time lighted brands or furze, smeared with pitch, which flame like torches—which reminds us of the sacrifices and funeral dances of the Ancients to appease the infernal Deities: these customs must no doubt be of very ancient date, and long antecedent to the Christian æra. I hope the reader will excuse one more note which seems undoubtedly to strengthen this opinion. The Author. Moloch, it is certain, was the principal Idol of the Ammonites; but yet not so appropriated to them, but that other neighbouring nations, took the same for their God, for it appears from the Pagan records, that they were very friendly in that point, and frequently lent their Gods to one another; this Deity seems to have been the same with Baal, both of them signifying dominion, but more especially it signifies the Sun the Prince of the Heavenly bodies. ’Tis plain from several passages in scripture, that the old Heathens made their children pass through the fire:—the ceremony of passing through the fire was used 183 Aa4r 183 by way of lustration and purification as they called it—and by this ceremony their children were dedicated to the service of their Pagan God. Sometimes Men and Women danced around the fire or leaped through the flame. See the Antiquities of the Hebrew Republic,— . 166, 167.C 10 C1v 10
Which thro’ midsummer’s ever gemm’d Ierne’s green isle,
Whilst the youth danced around them in many a file,
No more the red brands were seen waving in air,
Like the Bear’s northern streamers, as bright, and as fair!
When mid silence and solitude Donalfraide fled,
By terror pursued but by cheering hope led,
Whilst Nature herself, mock’d the sleep of the dead:—
Her fair graceful form in steel armour bedight,
Disguised in the warlike attire of a knight,
Still forward she press’d, scared by womanish fears,
Her heart throbb’d with anguish , her eyes fill’d with tears;
Her faithful domestic could scarcely keep pace,
So fleetly she went, like a deer in the chace,
For fear wing’d her speed, till the night was far spent,
When exhausted and faint, she with slower pace went:
At that moment a fortress appear’d full in view,
Perhaps there resided some generous Chief,
Who ne’er would refuse the unhappy relief!11 C2r 11
This they hoped—for thro’ gray mist they could not descry
If the banner of welcome there waved on high;
But in cain they essay’d to unbar the firm gate,
Their weak efforts opposing, unyielding as fate,
All is vain—we are lost—was poor Donalfraide’s cry;
I no further alas! I no further can fly;
The dawn will betray—no disguise will avail;
Here terrors unnumber’d her bosom assail;
While thus sad—despairing—her brow was o’ercast
Whilst alarm’d at each sound that arose of the blast;
The portal door suddenly flew open wide,
And a gallant young Cavalier stood by her side.
Whence comes it, with kindest compassion, he said,Thou makest the damp churlish earth thy chill bed; Why ere the bright dawn thus distractedly rove, Like one that’s bewilder’d, or much crossed by love, Hath some fair one ungratefully fled from thine arms And left thee to muse on her frailty and charms; The friend of thy bosom hath he been forsworn, That thus thou dost weep, thus despondingly mourn? 12 C2v 12 Whate’er be thy griefs, here at least seek repose, In sleeps soft oblivion awhile steep thy woes.—
Alas! she replied, when the mind is oppress’dWe never can know the soft blessings of rest; But with thanks, courteous chief, I thy offer receive, Timely shelter and rest may our spirits retrieve; Many a wearisome mile I have journied to seek The friend of my father, the brave Roderique; Companions in arms were that Chieftain and he— And I seek for redress from his famed chivalry! But pardon, sir knight, that so bold I intrude, ’Tis my sorrows, in truth, that have made me thus rude.
The youth she addressed then sighed deeply, and said,
My uncle has fallen—he rests with the dead.
Here she started with trembling emotion and cried,
O would I before this misfortune had died!—13 C3r 13
Where now shall I turn, Where shall Donalfraide find
A friend, a protector?—
O maiden unkind!—
Is Morven forgot?—Lady turn not away;
Every thought of my heart doth with thee fondly stray!
The envious dusk veil’d thy fair charms from mine eyes,
Or sure I’d have known thee in any disguise,
Yet thy voice like soft melody stole to my heart,
And I felt a strange wish that we should not soon part.
Donalfraide.Early friend of my youth, you behold me forlorn, From home’s blest endearments most cruelly torn; ’Tis nearly, Sir Morven, twelve long moons ago, Since this land was beset by the fierce Saxon foe; My father and Roderique bore the command, Against that marauding adventurous band, But ere to the warfare the bold warriors went, For each to a far distant station was bent, 14 C3v 14 Ere they parted, my father his friend thus address’d—: If thou should’st survive, and I’m doom’d low to rest, By thee let my wrongs, and my child’s be redress’d; As a guide, as a guardian, be thou her kind stay, And my friend, Donalfraide, as a father obey;—
To be my protector—he ne’er return’d more—
Weeks—months had elapsed—no tidings I hear!
My mind is o’erwhelm’d by despondence and fear;
When one of our clansmen approach’d at full speed—
O Lady, he cried, instant mount this fleet steed;
Thy father is taken—Our clan put to flight—
And see where fierce Mahund appears full in sight;—
He scarcely had spoke when I sank to the ground ,
The fortress was storm’d, the domestics were bound,
Need I paint to thee, Morven, what then I endured,
In my father’s own castle a prisoner immured,
Surrounded by ruffians at Mahund’s command,
No alternative left but accept of his hand;15 C4r 15
A wretch most abhorrent, whose soul ws deform’d,
Where malice and vengeance untamably storm’d!
How sad was each day, how protracted each hour,
But hope promised I yet should escape from his power;
At length, happy chance, the blest moment was found
When my tyrants and guards were in revelry drown’d,
Then my faithful companion procured this disguise,
By which we eluded their vigilant eyes;—
Now with hearts beating quick, tho’ the rude clan we past,
And thought ev’ry fierce glance upon us was cast;
But so oft had they fill’d th infuriate bowl,
They perceived not our flight while the loud catch they troll;
With coarse jests and laughter my senses they stunn’d,
Now they drank to the health of their Chieftain Mahund!
And my name link’d with his—for a moment I paused—
In my mind what indignant emotions it caused;
When that dark Chief exclaim’d—
Yes, that maid shall be mine,
’Tho’ all Roderique’s powers should against me combine!16 C4v 16
And if my alliance once more she refuse,
My unwonted forbearance still dare to abuse,
No more she departs from the lone western tower,
Her life—nay her honour—now rest in my power;
I ne’er sue in vain—but your Chieftain, ye know;
Wh ever escapted that had made him their foe?
Nay, this moment I’ll try my success wiht the fair,
Too long she has trifled—so let her beware!
I ne’er was so baffled by woman before,
And I swear, by my sword I will bear it no more.
Here one who long eyed him with looks of disdain,
Chieftain, a truce with this high boasted strain;
Nor be too secure—tho’ you talk this o’er well,
The lady, perhaps, other story may tell!’—
Here each glared at the other, each rose from his seat—
Amid the alarm, we unheeded retreat;
We turn’d not—we stay’d not—but fled from the hall,
Quick and silent we went, ye might hear a foot fall;17 D1r 17
Be silent and fear not,—thus whispered our guide,
’Twas my father’s old clansman—in fealty well tried;
Our steed he had ready prepared for our flight,
And we fled mid the canopied darkness of night.—
While far distant thy Morven—O, had I but known
Thy perils—and griefs—to thy aid I’d have flown;
By love alone guided—have left the war field,
Tho’ the proud foe might boast they had forced me to yield;
Left the laurels of glory neglected to fade,
Even fame I’d have slighted!—for thee, lovely maid;
But no rumour I heard—long a stranger I’ve been
To this land of my father’s—this Island of green!—
But wherever the clime—or wherever my lot,
Thy image, one moment, hath ne’er been forgot;
And behold on my shield is emblazon’d thy name,
’Tis a talisman sacred to love—and to fame;
The last time we parted you gave me, fair maid,
This embroidered scarf with which now I’m array’d;D 18 D1v 18
I then felt—but I had not the courage to own,
That I long loved thee, lady! long loved thee alone.
Her cheek before pale, now with glowing red burn’d,
As away from his fond gaze, she bashfully turn’d.
Now one boon let me crave—’tis thy champion to be,
O let me defend one so precious to me;—
And thus on my knee do I swear, as a knight,
That the Caitiff ere long shall restore thee thy right,
Or Morven no more wield a sword in the fight;
Here in safety remain,—sole mistess of all,
Or if I’m victorious—or if I should fall—
Should adverse fate doom that we never meet more,
My vassals will rally round her I adore!
But if wreathed with conquest—O, be my reward,
One sweet smile from thee, but one look of regard;
Say then, may I hope?—
Yes—she timid replied,
Enough!—now I’m happy, with transport he cried,
As yon Sun will soon break thro’ the dark clouds away,
So thy promise shall dawn o’er my soul a bright ray.
End of Part the First.
Part the Second.
Farewell for awhile of the Lady we take,
And follow our Hero o’er brier and brake;
His bold clan he summoned, Note 4.—Page 19. His bold clan he summon’d. Those who held their lands by feudal tenure, were obliged to obey their Lord; we find in a patent roll of 17 of Edward—O’More summoned as a powerful Irish Chief, to oppose Bruce and his Scots—here we see he held his land by feudal tenure, but he performed the conditions no longer than he was coerced by superior power, for in 13461346, throwing off all subjection, Lord Walter Birmingham, and the Earl of Kildare, collected their forces, destroyed his country with fire and sword, and obliged him to acknowledge at Athy that he held his manor of Bellet, and his other lands, in Leix, of Roger Mortimer, as his Liege Lord, &c; Ireland, p. 203. Antiquities of The Lord or Chief could at will impose a tax called Bonaght, for the maintenance of horsemen, of Gallowglasses, and other light armed foot, called Kerns, and these Soldiers thus maintained were sometimes called Bonaght. See p. 32. , who made no delay
But forth they all sallied by break of the day;
Sir Morven his proud fiery courser bestrode,
O’er mountains—morasses—full fleetly he rode,
Yet long seem’d the time ere that fortress he gain’d
Where in thraldom fair Donalfraide once was detain’d—
At length he discern’d, rich, embosom’d in wood,
The turrets high peering—majestic they stood!20 D2v 20
Its base was defended by rocks—rugged—steep—
While beneath, the Earn’s waters slow, silently sweep;
All around seem’d enchantment!—Sublimely arose
The Moon from her soft fleecy bed of repose,
Her orb re-reflected from each mirror wave,
As brilliant as streams where the Fairy Elves have,
’Twas the magic of fancy—her power combined
To sooth the harsh passions that fetter mankind!.....
How blest, sighed the Knight, if my mind were at rest,
If no longer by wavering uncertainty press’d,
With the Maid of my heart, thro’ life’s moonlight to rove,
Encheared by friendship, illumined by love —
The Warrior here paused—he half sheath’d his bright steel—
And shudder’d to think what the many must feel,
When yonder fair vale, yon enamelled mead,
Must be stain’d by the wounded—be heap’d by the dead;—
How changed by the morrow, when yon Moon so bright,
Next arising shall gleam o’er the wrecks of the fight—D3r 21
But soon these reflections to vengeance gave way,
And resentment once more reassumed her fierce sway;
For while on the lake’s trembling surface he gazed,
The tow’r there reflected—seem’d instant emblazed; Note 5.—Page 21. The Tower there reflected seem’d instant emblazed. The Turret reflected on the Lake, appearing to be surmounted by flame is taken from a common circumstance in nature, which will always appear when the Moon shines immediately over any opaque body reflected on water, if there is the smallest undulation, it crowns the shadow with a brilliant scintillation resembling streams of flame.
That tower where a captive his Mistress had been
And its shade, like suspicion, engloom’d the far scene.
There Trees—Fortress—Rocks—appear broken all,
On the lake’s heaving bosom as threatening to fall.
Yes;—this omen, he cried—this glad omen I hail!
Thy arts, cruel Tyrant! no more shall prevail;
Thus thy power shall vanish, thus low shalt thou sink,
Impell’d by destruction on dangers dread brink.…
His clansmen advanced, loud the Buabhall they blew, Note 6.—Page 21. His Clansmen advanced, loud the Buabhall he blew. Buabhall is supposed to be the Corna or Bugle horn which the ancient Irish winded in hunting matches, or sounded in the field of battle, to animate their troops, or to drown the cries of the wounded. Vide —and Irish Bards.
Which Echo repeated the wide forest through,
Whilst the Deer from their coverts fled wild with amaze,
Then stopt and around them would timidly gaze,
Disturb’d by the clangor of warlike alarms,
And scared by the bright gleaming splendor of arms.22 D3v 22
—With not less surprise, tho’ unblended with fear,
Fierce Mahund was roused, when the sound struck his ear;
He starting exclaim’d—Be each man to his post!—Not a moment’s delay, not a moment be lost!— Hark! from yonder defile doth a Herald advance, A truce-flag waves fair from his bright burnish’d lance; But what do I see! raised in letters of gold, Lady Donalfraide’s name!…Now warriors be bold! All arm—quickly arm!—tis her Champion’s proud host, But of conquest o’er Mahund they never shall boast.
The Herald approach’d—Yield this castle he said
And the land you’ve usurp’d from the fair Donalfraide,
Or our swords ere they’re sheath’d must be dyed deep red!
For know that Sir Morven her right doth maintain,
And her foe—or her champion, must rest on the plain.
The Tyrant he listen’d, with scarce repress’d rage,
Then fiercely replied, I accept of his gage!23 D4r 23 With life Mahund ne’er yields, as, rash boy! he shall learn, For none from my vengeance in safety return;— To-morrow we meet—and inform him beside— I there mean to win his fair Mistress for—Bride— Now Herald depart—near approacheth the hour Which shall place that high Maid, and the Youth in my power, My hand she hath scorn’d—that she’s found thanks to fate, Once I sued for her love, let her now dread my hate!
The Herald return’d with this haughty reply;
Morven smiled at the threat—his bosom beat high—
Impatient he waited the dawning of morn,
As impatient as Huntsmen the call of the horn.
The hostile bands now for dire warfare prepared,
And the banner of discord between them was rear’d—
When the Sun slowly rose, veil’d in misty array,
And dim thro’ a cloud gleam’d the bright God of day,
As if yet unwilling the fight to behold,
In darkness he half hid his tresses of gold.24 D4v 24
Hark!—the conflict’s begun! Man to man—steed to steed!
In each pore, in each vein, raging battle doth bleed—
Now our Hero himself rushes fierce on the plain,
Amid groans of the wounded—o’er mounds of the slain:
Sound a parley he cried I alone will advance,
Yon Usurper I dare to the proof of the lance!
Not fleeter an arrow rebounds from the bow
Than her Champion rush’d forward to meet his proud foe.
Their hoofs in the purple tide deeply were stain’d—
When thus spoke, Sir Morven—Chief! now we may prove,Whom Victory will crown with the myrtle of Love— Tho’ my youth you despise, yet perchance you may find, That garland I’ll seize round my temples to bind; Deeds of hardihood well on both sides have been tried, Let our falchions alone!—the fierce contest decide —
The Battle was ceased…now by mutual consent,
Every eye, every mind, on their Chieftains intent!25 E1r 25
As when Winter torrents pour o’er the steep rock,
When vex’d in their course—bold—precipitious—rash!
With head-long destruction o’er vallies they dash…
…Long doubtful the Combat—stilll Victory’s red wing
Impartially wavers—their blows dreadful ring!
Their Spears soon in shivers are flung on the ground,
And their Swords, darkly gleaming, form circles around.—
Ah! how shall Sir Morven avert that dread blow,
See!—already his blood in warm currents doth flow!!
His buckler no longer protection can yield,
Its glittering fragments enrich the stain’d Field;—
His strength is near spent—near o’erpower’d he reels,
A gathering mist on his eyelids he feel;—
But Love rallies the Chief.—Now they close—now they part—
Dark Mahund receives the death stroke in his heart;—E 26 E1v 26
He receives the death stroke—shouts reverberate round,
The Hills and the Vallies re-echo the sound!!!
The Conflict’s decided!—’tis Eventide’s close—
And the tumult of War—sinks to deathlike repose.
How dread is the gloom!—awful—silent—and deep—
As the muttering storm when it sinks into sleep.
Such havoc remains when the Hurricane’s past,
Towns, Villages, Forests, o’erwhelm’d by the blast,
And so still is the Calm when the Battle is tired,
When no longer by fury and vengeance inspired!
Then Man feels for Man—and in brotherhood of grief,
They give and receive, each a mutual relief,
E’en stern warriors lament, when the warfare is o’er,
Some friend whom they’ve lost, or companion deplore!
But hold here my Muse!—this war strain forbear,
Nor on such bold pinions presumptuously dare.
End of Part the Second.
Part the Third.
Return we to her—who, in secret lament,
Many a prayer for her father’s escape warmly sent;
And, need we deny? many a sigh for the youth,
To whom she had plighted her faith and her truth;
Well Mahund she knew—all his force, all his art,
He would raise to subdue the loved Lord of her heart;
Now her mind was depress’d by dispiriting Fear,
Now cheer’d by Hope’s smile, that soft beam’d thro’ a tear,E2v 28
When she thought on the laurels so early he’d won
In fields where high Erin might boast of her son;—
But to calm wild conjecture, to dissipate thought,
In music, relief,—unavailing, she sought;
Morven’s Harp near her stood, which his hand once had strung,
And the Lay that, perhaps—was the last he had sung!
But Love lurked there, o’er the Harp spread his wing,
And sure aim’d his Dart, from each trembling string.
Rise, Morven! rise—the game’s in view,
Already thy fleet dogs pursue:
Hark!—the cheerful horns resound;
List to the music of your hound!
Morven hears, but heeds no more,
His pleasure in the chace is o’er!29 E3r 29
Come, Morven! come—around the board
The guests await to hail their Lord;
The stranger goes unpress’d away,
Where’s now thy hospitality?…
Morven hears, but heed no more,
His pleasure in the chase is o’er!
Arm, Morven! arm—behold the foe!
Again he feels an ardent glow:
Yes—bring my steed—the foe I’ll dare!—
And guard the land that boasts my fair!
Now Morven hears—and now he heeds—
For Love himself the Chieftain leads.—
She ceased the fond strain—for Melody’s charm
Increased more her anguish than soothed her alarm;
Her thoughts wander far—oft unconscious, a sigh
The wind echoes back in low, mournful reply,
While o’er the Harp’s strings, wild, unheeding, she plays,
Mid the wires bewilder’d, her erring hand strays;30 E3v 30
When, lo! at her feet she’s suprizedsurprized to percieve,
A scroll thus inscribed—Lady!—read, and believe.......
Lady, Lady—O beware!
Love and danger hover near:
What does Donald’s daughter here?
Speak the word—and I appear!
Lady, know that I can read
Fate’s dark Book—in time of need!
Therefore, fair one—take you heed!
Speak the word—I’m here with speed.—
Lady!—know I am a seer
In virtue stubborn, and severe,
If thou’rt virtuous—know no fear,
Boldly speak the word…Appear!—
The words—if thou’rt virtuous—a meaning implied
That startled the guardian of Woman—her Pride!—
She exclaim’d Donald’s daughter had ne’er cause to fear
Detraction’s barb’d dart, or Suspicion’s fell sneer;
Know Honour’s firm corslet still cinctures my breast,
Tho’ here I remain till my wrongs are redress’d.
No sooner she spoke—than at distance there stood
A figure enveloped in mantle and hood;
His port was majestic—and piercing his eye,
She felt awed at his presence—yet could not tell why!
When thus he address’d her—in voice deep and low:—
Say—from whence this despondence!—from whence these tears flow?
What! art thou of Friends and of Father bereft?
Was young Morven the guardian with whom thou wert left?
Mysterious Being!—how cruel the task,
To answer the heart-breaking questions you ask;32 E4v 32
But with truth unreserved I make this reply—
My Protector’s no more!—No fond Father was nigh,
When from the Usurper—from Mahund I fled,
And hither kind Fortune my wand’ring feet led!
The Stranger approach’d—but when nearer he drew,
The gleam of bright armour attracted her view;
Alarm’d, she recoil’d—Stay!—fear not—he said,
’Tis thy Father you fly—my beloved Donalfraide!
By Incertitude chain’d, there she motionless stand,
But all fears vanish soon—at true Nature’s commands.
Now she looks!—doubts no more—but flies to his arms,
And that moment repays all her timid alarms.
—But as oft we remark, tho’ Calm sleep o’er the Main,
When scarcely is heard the soft breeze to complain
Long the Ocean’s dark wave, as it moans to the shore,
Former wrecks of the Tempest appears to deplore;
So Anxiety yet heaved her breast with a sigh,
Tho’ the gusts of Misfortune no longer raged high;33 F1r 33
This Sir Donald perceived—smiling bade her beware,
And hoped that as yet she’d evaded love’s snare!
Now trembling, abash’d—her words, faultering, died;
In vain, to conceal her confusion, she tried;—
But the subject to wave—she entreats he’ll unfold
By what unforeseen chance she’s so blest to behold
Her Father again—and why here in disguise?
Twas to check the rude shock of too sudden surprise;
For when joy long a stranger hath been to the soul,
Its returning tides oft too impetuously roll;
This I wish’d to avoid—but no more could I feign,
And I yielded to feelings I could not restrain.
But tis’ time now, my daughter, ’tis time you should learn
My escape from those foes who waylaid my return;
This we owe to a Chief—whose reward is to be,
Thy hand, Donalfraide!—I have promised for thee.—
Here she timidly droop’d—Morven rush’d on her mind:
Her Father!—sure he ne’er would be so unkind,
By a promise, so cruel, Love’s links to unbind!
—Sir Donald continued—Base Mahund you know,Whose alliance we scorn’d, hath since then been my foe, When my Country’s Invaders I rush’d to oppose, Was the moment of vengeance the enemy chose; He had seized on my rights—of this I knew nought, When the war being o’er, my own Castle I sought, Unguarded—alone—unconscious I went, All my thoughts upon home and on happiness bent— When thro’ the thick foliage surprised I descried Several horsemen well arm’d, who towards me ride; Against me they charge—near o’erpowered I fell, But my life I determin’d full dearly to sell; Two Assassins I slew, when a third fiercely press’d, And drew forth a skein The name of a weapon formed like a dagger, formerly used by the Irish.—See . , , &c; lay concealed in his breast— He had just raised his arm—at that moment a blow From a stranger Knight laid the fell murderer low; The rest fled with speed—when I turn’d to the Chief, Expressing my thanks for this timely relief— 35 F2r 35 But judge our astonishment—mutual surprise— What Donalfraide’s Father! exulting he cries! But see?—he appears!—My Deliverer draws nigh!— Whence these looks so averted?—my child tell me why?
The Parting Cup.
He ceased—they all approve his skill—
Round to his health, their Goblets fill—36 F2v 36
Nor were they churlish of their praise,
For well they knew it more repays
The Poet for his Legend Lore,
Than rarest gems—or golden store—
Praise is the Summer of the Mind,
Whose cheering influence can unbind
The icy bonds of grief and care—
Then sure the Bard deserves his share!
All deaths undaunted Warriors dare
In hopes that Fame their tomb shall rear.
That her bright incense still may burn
Unquenched o’er the Soldier’s urn!
For Praise—the Sailor braves the main
The Cannon’s blast—the Mountain Wave—
Oft doom’d to shrine the Hero’s grave,
Happy he sinks!—contented dies!—
Sure Praise shall grace his obsequies!!!37 F3r 37
The learned—the sage—the grave Divine
All in the warm pursuit combine—
But Poets live upon its breath;—
Withhold it —’tis the Poet’s death!—
All hope their fame shall life survive
Their memory thro’ ages live!
The Host was pleased his ancient name
Still lived in Story—lived in Fame—
From noble lineage was he sprung,
And Bards of old their deeds had sung.
From the rich board a costly Cup
He took and fill’d the margin up,
Now pledge me, Bard, with generous wine,
And then receive this Cup as thine;
It was a Minstrel’s Cup of old
’Tis high emboss’d in coloured gold,
And still a Bard’s Cup it shall be,
The meet reward for Minstrelsy!38 F3v 38
—Behold!—how curious ’tis inlaid,
Historic scenes around portrayed,
Here stands a Group around a Seer,
Gazing as struck with awe and fear,
A Harp he seems to strike inspired,
With all a Prophet’s phrenzy fired,
By Inspiration’s magic spell,
His Nation’s future fate to tell;—
What’s he’s supposed to prophecy,
In the three next compartments lie:
The first presents a rocky coast,
And Vessels at short distance toss’d,
Their mimic Pennants streaming fly,
Like Meteors in a troubled sky.
Next ye may view, in many a file,
Men land upon a verdant Isle,
At their approach scared Freedom flies,
The Harp in fragments shatter’d lies,39 F4r 39
While Prejudice untunes each string,
And Discord break it with her wing!
On the reverse Genius behold—
Rising from her kindred mould,
Alluding to the revival of the Irish Harp by the Society at Belfast. Which like the Phoenix from the flame,
Shall soaring raise her Nation’s fame;—
Now take this Cup;—thine shall it be—
The meet reward for Minstrelsy!!!
—No—keep the Cup to grace thy board,
Worthy of its noble Lord!—
When from its golden lip you drink.
Then of your poor Wanderer think!
For more—much more —your generous praise
My now but feeble skill repays;—40 F4v 40
—Mine Host—farewell!—the sky is clear’d,
The rolling Clouds have disappear’d—
The Moon hath thrown her veil aside
Which so oft her beauties hide,
Now she appears to shine more fair,
Like Joy arising from Despair!
And guided by her friendly ray,
Once more I’ll tempt my lonely way;
Farewell!—whilst I life’s path pursue—
With Gratitude I’ll think of You!!!…
Conrade; or, Ancient Ruins.G 42 G1v
The following little Poem was suggested by the Author having visited the venerable ruins of an Abbey in East Meath, established in the early ages of Christianity; it was demolished by Oliver Cromwell, for having a considerable time held out as a garrison against that usurper. Near the abbey are the remains of a magnificent castle, built by king John, the ruins of which are even at this day very extensive. A tower belonging to it still remains entire. The castle was inhabited by one of John’s feudal Barons, who exercised complete sovereignty in their respective districts. He was brother to the Abbot whose monument is described; the name alone is fictitious—the circumstance is true.
Conrade; Or, Ancient Ruins.
’Twas Evening;—at that visionary hour!—
My steps I bent to an age-stricken Tower!—
Awful, in fading grandeur, bold it peer’d;
Amid its ivy crown, the bird of night was heard.
It look’d a Monument of ancient state;
That firmly Tow’ring mock’d at stealing Fate:
Frowning defiance, still it darkled o’er
The Vassal relicks of the days of Yore.
Beneath this Turret, sinking in decay,
The crumbling Cloisters of an Abbey lay;
There, while I, pensive, mused o’er Ruins drear,
A low and falt’ring voice assail’d mine ear!44 G2v 44
Starting, I turn’d, and thro’ an arch descried,
A venerabel Figure near me glide;
An aged Man he was; whose locks of snow
Hung o’er his brow in Wreaths—a flaky row,
That show’d the many winters he had seen—
While, thoughtful, on his staff he oft would lean:
And oft’—times, sighing sad, he paused, and wept
O’er the cold bed where Chiefs—and Heroes slept!
Tho’ his worn form was bent by grief and care,
Yet still a native Majesty was there;
There seem’d a wildness in his dim-sunk eye,
That thrill’d my heart with awe, I knew not why:
He beckon’d my approach, and thus began;
While down his furrow’d cheek the salt tear ran!
Who e’er thou art that lonely wanders here,
Hither a moment turn,—ah! whence thy fear!—
In Me you see one by Old Age oppress’d,
By many—many woes, o’erwhelm’d—distress’d;45 G3r 45
Behold yon Castle’s rich and fair domain;
There, once my Ancestor’s held Sovereign reign,
Sole Lords of all;—this space alone is left;
Of all our former pow’r, and wealth, bereft;
And here, I hope my weary frame to rest,
Amid my Father’s dust; and on my Nation’s breast.
He paus’d—and pointed to a moss-grown wall—
Near hid by Time’s impenetrable pall,
Where, much defaced, in sculpture, was portray’d
An Abbot in his sacred vestments laid;
An high embossed Cross adorn’d his breast;
In his right hand a Sword unsheath’d he press’d:
Beneath, in time-worn Characters I read
These lines—the sad Memorial of the Dead!
He who doth here in silence lie,
Defended once this Monast’ry.46 G3v 46
With a sacred patriot band,
Against the foes of Erin’s land.
Cromwell, whose sacrilegious pow’r
Spread havoc dire each fatal hour,
His vengeance ’gainst this Abbey hurl’d;
The Monks their banners blest unfurl’d,
Resolved his fury to defy,
Protect their rights, or bravely die!
Long they superior force withstood;
At length the foe-men gain’d the wood;
Where, by a secret winding path,
That led from an old Danish Rath,
A pass they found;—and soon possess’d
These Abbey walls:—O day unbless’d!
Fired with revenge, and raging ire,
The Priests beneath their swords expire;
Whilst flames devouring, curling, soar,
They bathed them deep in human gore:
This one lone spot remain’d entire,
Spared from the devastating fire:—47 G4r 47
Respected be this hallow’d ground,
For Conrade rests beneath this mound!
Here wounded, weak, retired to die,
The Abbot of this Priory.
So ought the brave to die, the old man said;
And such a fate was worthy of Conrade!
Now pride and grief, for mas’try struggled high,
Whilst he proclaim’d his noble ancestry:
From that same Abbot, I my lineage claim,
Of gentle blood they were, well known to fame;
I the last, sad, survivor of that race,
Of all our honors scarce remains a trace:
Once I’d a His Son was killed in the rebellion of —bravely defend— ing his country. His body could not be distinguished amongst the slain; so that the unhappy Father could not have the melan— choly consolation of interring him among his ancestors, which in Ireland is thought to be a great misfortune. son,
—with fix’d despair he cried,
Who for his Nation fought—his Nation, died;G4v 48
Tho’ now obscure, unhonor’d he lies low;
They’ve laid him,—ah!—where I shall never know.—
With trembling haste he ’mid the Isles withdrew,
And gently waved his hand a last adieu!——
Alas? I sigh’d, that he who nobly fell,
Should be forgotten in his narrow cell !
But what is human Glory, human Pow’r,
But the bright meteors of the flitting hour!—
The solemn Scene—the Story—all combined
To cast a cloud of sadness o’er my Mind;—
Now gloomy thoughts my startled fancy seize,
And sighing sounds seem wafted on the breeze;
When weary I retired, and sought repose;
Before mine eyes, still the same scene arose:49 H1r 49
Imagination, Fancy’s favourite Child,
Pictured a glowing Vision, strangely wild!
She led me from that old sequester’d Cell,
To where, by Magic Charms and powr’ful Spell,
Ierne’s Genius stood before my sight;
The Natives of Ireland formerly wore Garments stained the Colour of Saffron.—See , , &c; Clad in a saffron robe of temper’d light:
Bright rays of glory round the Goddess glanced,—
Play’d on her Shield, or on her high Plume danced:
Her silver Spear The Genius, both of Great Britain and Ireland, is drawn leaning on a Spear—intimating, as it were, a reliance on their own strength—Silver is always symbolical of purity—therefore an appropriate device for Hibernia. like the pale Lightning gleam’d,
A smile benignant on her features beam’d.—
She pointed to my view that fatal Plain
Where the young Hero had neglected lain.—
Now, as o’er youthful Conrade’s fate she mused,
Her cheek grew pale: her eyes with tears suffused:H 50 H1v 50
The laurel wreath, which round her brow was bound,
She took—and planted it the Sward around;
—There grow, she said, and there unfading bloom,
For ever verdant o’er the Patriot’s tomb!
Tho’ sculptured Art doth not record thy name,
Those dear to Me—can never lose their Fame!
Onward, Companions!—onward go;—
Let us rush to meet the foe;—
Ere the Sun is gone to bed,
Many a Chieftain may lie dead!
But oh! how glorious his repose,
Whose best blood for Freedom flows!
His Nation’s tears—his Nation’s sighs,
Shall grace the Hero’s obsequies.
See, the bright approach of Day,
Seems to warn us of delay!
Let the bugle sound th’alarm;
Let ev’ry Hero quickly arm;
Bring me, Boy, my foaming Steed,
And follow to the Field with speed:
Behold how proud the Foes advance!
But we’ll oppose them—Lance to Lance!——
Onward—onward—see, they fly!!!
Charge their broken Cavalry;—
The day is ours—Hark, that shout!—
The Enemy is put to rout!—
See our Banners tow’ring wave,
In haughty Triumph, o’er their Grave;
Cease—cease—the fierce pursuit give o’er;—
The vanquish’d is a Foe no more.—
The Battle’s done;
The Day is won;
Slowly descend the setting Sun,
That seems in dewy tears to weep
The Brave, who low in silence sleep.
Can we restore the flitted breath,
Or wake them from the dreams of death?
Ah no!—Yet they in Fame may live,
While to their deeds one sigh we give.——
Reflections after victory.
And when we to our Homes retire,
Happy around our social Fire,
And feel the blessings Peace can bring,
Songs to their Memory we’ll sing:
Oft shall the Bard with requiem slow,
Teach the grateful tear to flow;—
Our Children’s Children shall revere
The Patriot’s name—for ever dear!—
It was on Jaffa’s deathful Plain,
Where fierce—triumphant o’er the Slain,
The Man of Slaughter sullen sped;
Tow’ring amid a ghastly Mound,
Which rose in mangled heaps around,
A Fiend terrific, rear’d her Gorgon Head.
Th’ embattled Clouds ensanguined gleam’d
Portentous Meteors glaring stream’d,
As wildly raged the howlng storm:…
Nearer this fiend of Fiend of Horror drew!
’Twas Despotism met his view,
With Garb red stain’d in gore—a giant Form!—
For once the Tyrant stood amazed!
As on the Spectre fell, he gazed:—
Whence art thou?—stern—alarm’d—he said,
That darest upon my Path intrude,
’Mid this drear boding Solitude
That I have made!—amid this Havoc dread?
Hist! hist! my Son!—To thee I bring
A Charm, Kotzebue speaking of Buonaparte’s Boxes at the Theatre, of which there are four in number, says, among other ornaments is a gold Star, which is some times on the top and sometimes at the bottom of the Box. It is said that he believes in a Star of Fortune, on which he places more reliance than o his own great genius.—See Kotzebue’s Journey. shall make thee more than King!
Whole Nations shall thy Pow’r obey;
But ah! beware one favour’d Isle,
Blest by fair Freedom’s choicest Smile,
That ne’er will own my Reign—or bear thy Sway.—
Think not to conquer There!—my Son;
Thy Pow’r the Globe shall half o’er-run—
Not conquer there!—enraged he cried—
Rather let all I’ve gain’d be lost,
Than e’er by that proud Isle be crost!
Why else have I in Blood so deep been dyed?
Know Freedom’s arm protects that shore;
High wave her unstain’d Banners o’er
Albion’s proud Cliffs, and stubborn Band:
She breaks my Spells!—she checks my Pow’r;
And fatally thou’lt rue the hour,
Should mad Ambition urge thee ’gainst that Land.
She then, with Incantations dire,
Like Moloch’s Priests, new fed the Fire,
That issued from a Cavern dark;
And forged a Sceptre, which around,
With Chains of pond’rous weight she bound;—
The hell-hound Spell is done!
Behold! this Talisman is thine!
Behold these Links that round it twine,
Form’d of the Crowns of Kings disposed;—
By Hands infernal they were wrought!—
By Spells infernal hither brought!—
Enough;—I must no more;—the Charm is closed!
Long as these Links thy Sceptre bind,
Thy Pow’r on Land is unconfined:
Beware the Sea!—there ends thy might.—
Low muttering she spoke, then sunk in Night.
Sequel to the Incantation.
Hid deep—impervious to the sight—
Embower’d in shade that mimick’d Night,
A Cavern yawn’d—
No human hand
Form’d ought so gloomy—ought so grand.
The Wild-brier wreaths fantastic hung,
Which round a balmy Perfume flung,
Mixed with the heath of purple hue
And Harebell of Cærullan blue;
Pillars embossed with Crystal spar
Surpassed Art’s labour’d columns far;59 I2r 59
The Floor with marble rich inlaid,
Where Nature formed the Light and Shade:
From its gemm’d Roof, a struggling Beam
Seem’d as thro’ painted Glass to gleam
Its labyrinths none could yet explore
Who entered there—return’d no more—
Yet here resided, as they tell,
A Witch who could unbind each Spell,
Each Spell she could at will unbind,
Wild as the Wind—as unconfined—
There while she wrought her Charms unseen,
Muttering Runic rhymes between,
Hark!—thro’ the sacred mystic Grove
A Stranger’s step is heard to rove!—
Ah!—she cries in accents wild—Thou art Fortune’s favourite Child! Welcome, welcome!—Thee I greet, Welcome to this dark Retreat!— 60 I2v 60 To Thee in part I will unfold What I in Magic knots behold; Know;—as Napoleon traversed o’er Famed Jaffa’s blood distained Shore, A Spectre met him on the Plain, Told him nought could his Power restrain, Till half the Globe his Slaves should be, Till he near counquer’d Liberty— She bade him of the Sea beware, And ne’er one favour’d Island dare—
There Despotism told him true
That Island yet shall make him rue!
The Links which twined his Sceptre round
Are slacken’d—nay—almost unbound—
L—c—n B—p—te. One of the Links, ev’n now, is broke,
For you have fled your Brother’s Yoke!61 I3r 61
Another follows—may be here!
Thus one by one they’ll disappear—
Then soon he’ll finish his career!
But this alone—I’ll say to thee,
Watch well thy Time—act guardedly.—
Stay Prophetess!—one moment stay.
—The Prophetess would not obey—
But to the Cavern’s depths she fled
Nor dare he follow where She led.
An Address to Peace.
Blest Pow’r! whose Brow the Olive wreath entwines,
Whose silv’ry Vest tempere’d radiance shine;
Whither on downy Pinions art thou borne,
While sad forsaken Europe weeps forlorn?—
Why hast thou fled from these once happy Plains?
See! in thy stead the despot, Discord, reigns.
See—where, with scorpion lash, he drives his Steed,
And wields the Sword, by which his Victim bleeds;
There Gallia’s Sons, by Rage and Rapine led,
Smile with fell Joy, o’er Heaps of rifled Dead;63 I4r 63
Nor feeble Age—nor Innocence—they spare;—
Their Hearts, relentless, hear not Mercy’s pray’r!
Her Voice they heed not, whose persuasive Charm
Speaks to the Heart—can Rage itself disarm,
Hath taught ev’n savage Tribes remorse to feel,
And with a Tear to drop the murd’rous Steel.
Not so these Foes to lovely Nature’s plan;—
By Vice transform’d to Brutes—their Prey is Man:
They spread o’er Nations one vast Ruin wide—
Dark and destructive as th’ o’erwhelming Tide,
That o’er a sinking Vessel dreadful pours,
And, foaming, dashes ’gainst opposing Shores.
Yet there’s a Power can their dire force withstand,
Unshaken as the Rocks that gird their Land!
Britannia’s Isles alone may proudly boast
That the last Gleam of Freedom gilds their Coast:
Unlike those Sons of France, tyrannic Race!
Now stain’d by ev’ry Crime;—Humanity’s disgrace64 I4v 64
At their approach gaunt Famine prowls around,
And breathless Warriors strew th’ ensanguin’d ground;
Whilst the fierce Battle’s voice in terror sounds,
Mix’d with despairing Shrieks from ruin’d Towns.
But hold!—no longer will I blot my Page,
With the dire Theme of their infuriate Rage!
No!—let me in Imagination stray
To Realms, sweet Peace!—that own thy milder sway.—
How changed the Scene!—where thy loved Presence cheers,
There faithful Friendship Man to man endears:
Near Thee no rude discordant sounds molest
But gentle Zephyrs lull thee to thy rest;
While bounteous Ceres, with a lavish Hand,
Spreads ev’ry Blessing o’er the happy Land!
That Land, how blest!—which gains a Smile from thee;
There, ev’ry mind is tuned to Harmony!
Soft breathes the Lute—and all is calm and still,
Save, in a pause, is heard a ripling rill,65 K1r 65
That smooth pursues its course, and steals along,
In plaintive Concord to some Lover’s Song.
O then return once more, beloved Peace!
And bid the sanguinary Warfare cease;
Dry mourning Europe’s Tears;—assuage her Grief,
And to the worn-out Nations—yield Relief.
The Hill and the Traveller.
Mark! how this foaming, angry Rill
Frets its lorn course adown the hill,
Its tributary debt to pay,
And own the Ocean’s sovereignty:—
Yes;—little rebel stream, Thou still
Must aid thy Sovereign’s power to fill,
By vassal streams the Main’s supplied,
On which triumphant Navies ride.67 K2r 67
But here thou glid’st, unseen—unknown,—
Thy banks by moss bedeck’d alone.
Near thy lone margin nought doth stray,
But boorish youth or Peasant gray,
Or simple Maid, who knows no art,
But how to gain a rustic heart;
Who never yet in mirror gazed,
But views in thee, her charms amazed.
Then why this murmuring lament?—
To nobler scenes thy course is beat!—
And dost thou me a Rebel deem,
That now my loitering, lingering stream
Loves amid rural plains to glide,
Nor fain would add one drop to pride;—
What is’t to Me if Navies pour
Their thunders round each hostile shore;
What is’t to me if my pure wave
Be doom’d their conquering sides to lave?—68 K2v 68
No;—rather would I smoothly go,
Whilst Autumn’s blessing round me flow,
And quendh the thirst of rustic swain,
Whose heart is free from guilty pain;
Here unpolluted, free I rove,
My whispering stream responds to love;—
But here I must no longer stay,
And see I haste, I glide away,
’Mid waves, unnumber’d, to be tost,
And in th’overwhelming Vortex lost!—
The Rose and the Daffodil. On observing a Vase at Court filled with the rarest Flowers— amongst which was a Daffodil!!!
Encircled in a crystal vase’s bound,
Arranged were many rival flowers around:70 K3v 70
Here the soft Hyacinth of various hue,
And downy feather’d Bell, attracts the view;
There, gracefully the tassell’d Jonquil bends,
And there the Tulip, in rich contrast blends,
Ranunc’lusses, Anemonies, high race,
Whose families ’t were tedious here to trace;
And, strange, amid these flowers so rare, was thrown
The rustic Daffodil, to Courts unknown.
A Rose, near whom the flow’r unconscious press’d,
With haughty scorn the stranger thus address’d.
Plebeian weed! how darest thou here intrude
Amongst superiors, with a form so rude?
A Peasant’s cot thy station ought to be;—
To ornament a Court, belongs to me!
Or blushing on some lovely fair one’s breast,
Envied,—admired by all;—by her caress’d:
To whom, in accents mild, yet firm, replied
The slighted Daffodil:—
And whence this pride?71 K4r 71
Tho’ mean my origin, obscure my birth,
We both alike are children of the Earth;
What! tho’ uncultivated—wild I’ve grown,
Unshelter’d from each blast—unmark’d—unknown——
No child of luxury, but roughly bred,
Nor train’d by skill to raise my drooping head;
Ne’er form’d to grace the bosom of the fair;
Like thee so blest! to die! to languish there:
No!—to an humbler lot my class are doom’d,
Ne’er meant in a rich vase to be entombed;
Yet now, with joy, this honour I’d forego,
Again amid my rural friends to blow:
O! could I my past liberty regain,
But once more bloom upon my native plain;
Ev’n should a noble hand approach my bed,
I’d shrink within my leaves, and hide my head.
Fearless of ev’ry storm of sleet or snow,
Bending, heed not the wind that rages so;72 K4v 72
Safe in my lowly dell each happy hour,
Peaceful enjoy the sunshine and the show’r:
Remote from Courts, from Pride, and Folly free,
Beneath the breath of blighting calumny.
But ah! too late—those blessing all are past,
And my short life is hastening to the last:
Yet, ere call’d hence by sure resistless fate;
How I came here, permit me to relate:——
It chanced for my mishap, one luckless day,
As in Earth’s fos’tring lap I careless lay,
A stranger’s step approach’d the spot, where I,
’Mid my green leaves, shone too conspicuously;
He saw—admired—and soon my doom was fix’d—
Within this brilliant circle soon I mix’d:
Now, simply vain of my bright golden hue,
With eager pride elate, to meet his view,
I forward bent;—and well that hour I rue:—
But mark me, Rose!—thy fate resembles mine;
Nor need we either boast that here we shine;73 L1r 73
Ev’n thou, whose balmy leaves such sweets impart,
Thou bear’st, like me, the poison in thine heart.
Both prisoners, observe, alike are we;
Both distant far—too far—from Liberty:
You, for a while, ’tis true, this place adorn;
Your beauty past—like me, you’ll meet with scorn.—
This, and much more, th’uncourtly flower said;—
Then feebly drooping, hung its withering head.
One sultry ev’ning, in my fav’rite Bow’r,
I sought repose;—’twas that mild pensive hour,
When scarce is heard a sound but of the Breeze,
That faintly rustles thro’ the friendly trees,
Whose sighing murmurs a soft peace impart,
That steal, like Pity’s accents, to the heart.—
This soothing calm invited me to rest,
And sweetest slumbers on mine eye-lids prest:
In the same Bow’r, methought, I still reclined,
That still around, the same sweet charms combined,75 L2r 75
When lo! a Fairy Form now met my sight,
Robed in gay tints, studded with dew-drops bright:
Her wand, a Moon-beam, glitter’d in her hand,
And Phantoms strange appear’d at her command.
Sometimes on airy clouds she seem’d to fly,
Or borne along in solemn majesty.——
What wond’rous Scenes in wild confusion rose,
Wild as Morgana’s fragile domes disclose!
Here a dark Battlement, in low’ring pride,
Appears to threaten; o’er the foaming tide
A mimic Tow’r is seen—or high—arch’d Isle:
While gloomy Cypress seems to plume the pile.
Anon the Scene is changed—light columns rise,
That in perspective view’d, approach the skies.
I would have fled—but we in dreams are bound:
She smiled, as, timidly, I gazed around.—
Fear not;—my name is Phantasy, she said;All own my sway—and all by me are led; 76 L2v 76 For I can make the dreariest Desart please, And soften all the rigour of the Seas; Can deck the sterile Rock with verdure green, And tint with brightest colours ev’ry scene: Friendships I form—and often break them too— For, Proteus-like, I change to ev’ry hue; And She for whom an ardent lover dies, Shall seem an Æthiop to others’ eyes. Whene’er a veil o’er mortal lids I throw, They love or hate, and wherefore do not know; Just as I please, you all my pow’r obey, And blindly follow as I lead the way. Favour’d by me, for once I will withdraw That mist obscure, which, by my pow’rful law, Shades ev’ry Mortal ken—to thee unfold The wonders of the World—and now behold— See there my Subjects:—mark yon wayward Child, Either in tears—or else with transport wild! Deceitfully the little Urchin smiles, And plays strange pranks, and strangely he beguiles. 77 L3r 77 When he’s most playful ye have most to fear; Beware his witching wiles—approach not near; For know—oft Cupid wings a poison’d dart, That when it hits, sure rankles in the heart; Firm Virtue can alone restrain the boy, And turn aside his weapons that destroy.—
Here Fancy paused—and pointed to a troop
Of youths and virgins fair—a lovely group!
Where chiefly I distinguish’d from the rest,
Three graceful nymphs, round whom all eager press’d.78 L3v 78
The first was Poetry—enchanting maid!
In vestments of the purest white array’d;
Round her fair brow unfading bays entwined,
Her golden hair like Phœbus’ glory shined.—
Hail, Poetry! (I cried) whose mild controul,
Checks each rude passion that invades the soul;
Who amid Fancy’s train can equal thee,
And hark that sound!—she tunes her silver Lyre,
She strikes the magic chords, whose tones inspire
The heart with pleasing hope—or chilling fears—
Beguile our care—or cheat us of our tears.—
Such pow’rful sway hath Music o’er the mind,
The sweet Enchantress there rules unconfined.—
See—Painting comes!—but who can picture thee?
So simply bold—so exquisitely free!
Beneath thy pencil glowing scenes arise,
That fill the mind with ever pleased surprise!
Thus I exclaimed———
———When sudden from my view,
The Goddess and her world of wonders flew!!!
I woke—and scarcely could believe I dream’d;
So very true th’ enchanting Vision seem’d.
Emblem of Life!—’tis thus we strive to clasp,
Some flitting shade that mocks our eager grasp.
The Cloud-drawn painting melts in air away,
Dispersed before the light of Reason’s Day.—
Invocation to Taste.
Bewitching Taste! who lovest to dwell
In some retired peaceful dell,
Far from life’s turmoil—far from noise,—
Remote from Fashion’s tinsel joys,
O haste thee to thy Votaries’ aid,
For were we on a desart land,
Or placed on Afric’s burning sand,81 M1r 81
Yet Taste—ev’n there should’st thou appear,
Thy presence all the Scene would cheer;
Tree—Shrubs—and blooming Flow’rs arise!
And all become a Paradise!!
Then haste, sweet Nymph—I prithee haste—
Touch with thy hand the barren waste!
However dreary be the spot,
However low thy Fav’rite’s lot,
Should’st thou approach—his Cottage shines
With Gems that far surpass the Mines!
Pride while she views—may heave a sigh,
And envy that—Wealth ne’er can buy—
Despise her curtain’d rich Brocade,
And with alone for Nature’s shade;
Envy the twisted Woodbine bower,
Where Taste hath planted many a Flower;
Own tho’ rich Lustres flare so bright,
They ne’er can equal Cynthia’s light,
When thro’ entangled boughs she gleams,
Her Ray in soften’d radiance streams;
Own foreign music’s managed thrill
Sounds not so sweet as mountan rill.
While Taste and Nature thus agree,
Children of sweet Simplicity,
Who their Pleasure would forego,
For Pride and Wealth’s fantastic shew?
Not I at least!—with thee I’ll live,
And hail the Joys which thou cans’t give.
Lines on a retired Situation.
I love this wild—secluded Spot,
These Groves and Streams—this peaceful Cot;
Here let me live, unvex’d by strife,
Shelter’d from the Cares of life.
Ambition hence!—far hence ye Great!
This Dwelling boasts nor Wealth, nor State;—
Retired Peace alone you’ll find,
Suited to the pensive Mind.
Doubtless you’d scorn my humble Taste;
Then fly to Splendor—prithee, haste!
This calm Retreat could ne’er suit thee,—
—Leave me from such Inmates free.
Though from Grief’s dart we cannot fly,
Its edge is turn’d by Sympathy:
Our Woes we doubly feel severe,
If no kind, soothing Friend is near.—
Should Fortune all our coffers fill,
There’s something would be wanting still!
Tho’ we unnumber’d riches own,
Who could enjoy them, if alone?
Ah no! we find in every age,
All thro’ Life’s fluctuating stage,
That nought without a Friend can charm,
Or yield us Joy—or Grief disarm.—
Epistle to a Friend.
(Written in Early Youth)
At sober Eve I love to stray,
Or rest beneath an aged tree;
Else, in some grey mantled tow’r,
Enjoy the calm and silent hour,
Where, peaceful, I may muse serene,
On varying life’s fantastic scene;
Yield up one hour to silence due,
Sacred to Friendship, and to You!
In mind thou’rt present still, my Friend,
Still to thy converse I attend.86 M3v 86
Thy accents mild, methinks I hear;
(Accents how mild, and ah! how dear!)
Youthful, yet firm—and blest with sense,
To stem the world’s base influence.—
How few like thee, in spring of youth,
False Pleasure’s toils could break for truth;
By Virtue, and by Honour fired,
Their laws alone thy Soul inspired:
Persist then—Virtue’s laws pursue—
And be to Friendship ever True.—
Upon an Ever-Green Oak.
(written in december.)
Hast thou observed yon verdant Oak?
Now Summer leaves no more are seen;
How bold has it withstood the stroke
Of Winter’s rage—and cold winds keen!—
How oft’ have I ungrateful said,
When Shrubs were deck’d in liveries green,
I wish that russet Tree was dead!
It looks so dark and dull between:
But now, these stripling fops are bare,
Scarce one gay leaf can we discern,
To cheer the prospect chill and drear,
Pleased, to this once scorn’d Oak we turn.
Should Fortune gleam a partial ray,
By Summer Friends we’re circled round;—
Let wint’ry storms deform our day,
To shelter us they’ll ne’er be found!
No! their light leaves in eddies dance,
Borne on fantastic whirlwinds wild;
But the firm Oak—whose boughs advance—
Shields from the blast—Misfortune’s child!—
On a Beech Leaf.
Aged Beech-Leaf! though thy beauty’s fled,
And thou appear’st as almost dead,
Yet still thou ling’rest on the tree,
As if old Time ne’er thought of thee;
But see! fierce March approaches fast;
And thou must take thy leave at last;
And thou shalt fall!—and yield thy place
To a more youthful—vernal race.
Hold!—hold!—cried sad Reflection’s voice;Proud moralist! dost thou rejoice? N 90 N1v 90 Dost thou not in this emblem scan, Something to check the pride of Man? Its fate, alas! resembles thee; Thyself the Leaf—the World the Tree! Thy space of time perhaps as brief, As this pale Beechen wither’d leaf! Retire then—by this lesson taught, And judge of life, as reason ought.—
I sigh’d; and turn’d my steps away,
To think how fleet—our longest day!!!
With mildly pleasing sadness I retrace
Those happy hours, which Time can ne’er efface;
When infant care was hush’d to peace and rest,
And all was calm within my youthful breast;
When smoothly flow’d the tide of human life,
Unvex’d by passions wild—unurged by strife.—
Pleased I recall loved scenes, long since gone by,—
Scenes that can never fade, in Memory’s eye:
They’re fled, alas!—but Friendship’s flame yet burns
Pure in my heart;—once more the past returns,
In glowing vision, to my longing sight!
Once more in my bosom glows—with warm delight.
O Retrospection!—thou tormenting sprite!
Thou death to festive pleasure and delight!
Why to my tortured mind again portray,
Friends that are now no more—or far away?
Those that with whom in youth’s bright flitting May,
I’ve danced along—or sung some mirthful lay?
Begone!—hence—with thy dim delusive glass;—
They’re shadows all—and see!—how fleet they pass!
Snatch thy reflecting Mirror from my view,
Since thou past joys again—can ne’er renew.
On leaving Home.
Home of my early youth, adieu!
From thee I’m doomed to part;
But oft’ shall memory renew
Thy dear scenes to my heart!
Oft’ will she paint those Fields;—that Plain;—
Where, in youth’s thoughtless hour,
I’ve stray’d—nor dream’d of future pain:
And gaily pluck’d each flow’r.
I pluck’d each flower that wildly grew,
And cull’d each varying sweet;
Nor felt how soon the moments flew;—
My pulse with transport beat!—
But could we read the Book of Fate
We ne’er should know repose!—
Few are the blessing of this state;
And they are check’d—with woes!—
The Progress of Time.
Yes!—we’ll pursue Life’s round of pleasure!
Then let no grave thoughts interfere;
The flying moments are a treasure,
Not to be lost with grief and care.
Behold! the mirthful band approaches!
Blithe—hand in hand—they join the dance;
But who is he, unask’d, encroaches?
But who is he I see advance?—
With tottering pace—eyes dim, and sunk—
Lo! bending feebly, he appears!
As if Life’s stream had sapt the trunk;
As though borne down by weight of years.—
With painful step, he seems to steal,
Scarece seen to move, he creeps so slow:
But too—too soon!—we’re doom’d to feel,
He’s fleeter than the driven snow!—
And see!—he singles out a lovely fair;
Sure never Time a brighter victim gain’d!
Spell-struck, at length, she feels his pow’r severe;
At his fell sight she seems as if enchained!—
He spreads his ebon plumes, and nearer draws;
To shun his powerful spells, she vainly tries;
Vain is resistance to Time’s tyrant laws;
See!—eagerly he hastes to seize his prize!
Too well, she cries, I know thee aged Sire!Ah! who can blunt thy scythe, or break thy glass? 97 O1r 97 Yet spare! O spare, those beauties you admire; Nor from my lip the cup of pleasure pass.— Weak maid! think’st thou to ’scape from Time? Useless are all thy wiles and art; Each hour more surely makes thee mine; From thee I now will never part:—
He said:—all trembled with alarm;—
Each fear’d the baleful Sprite;
His very visage was a charm,
That struck the boldest with affright!!!—
Soon he o’ertakes the blooming maid,
His wither’d arm is round her cast:
Now, gradually her beauties fade;
She sinks within his pow’r at last!—
Her agile limbs grow stiff and weak;
The Loves and Graces disappear!
The glowing rose deserts her cheek;
No winning beauty hovers near!NO 98 O1v 98
Ah! heedless Fair;—there’s yet one powerful charm
Might have been thine—that even with age will stay—
Which but retain’d—Time’s scythe could never harm;
Of that deprived—neglected we decay.—
That potent charm alone, is Virtue’s smile,
More mildly radiant than the orient light;
Free from all cloudy passions, or from guile:—
Sweet as the pale Moon breaks upon our sight!
Why is the Earth so gaily dress’d?
Why with ambrosial show’rs refresh’d?
The sparkling sun-beams cheerign play,
That fling around a brilliant day?
All, all—are hints thus to employ
Life’s hour, in giving sweets and joy.—
When e’er we aid the poor oppress’d,
Or pluck one thorn from sorrow’s breast,
When e’er, with an enliv’ning smile,
Their hours of sadness we beguile;100 O2v 100
Then, like sweet flow’rs, our deeds shall rise
To Heaven a grateful sacrifice!
When tears for friends’ distresses flow,
Our sympathy may sooth their woe;
So the Spring’s mildly falling show’r,
Revives the parch’d and drooping flow’r,
Tho’ blighted by March winds severe,
Which turn the verdant leaf to sear!
Thoughts on Spring.
The Spring returns—whose fostering breath,
Again revives each drooping flower,
But oh!—it cannot raise from Death—
The Mortal blighted by his power!
No! fostering Gales! in vain, ye blow—
When once the Heart’s warm tide runs chill,
Though ye may thaw the Winter Snow,
The Ice of Death—is frozen still!—
And frozen it will long remain,
Till the eternal Sun shall rise,
To break the mists of Guilt—and Pain—
Then Fate—shall be the sacrifice!—
Fell Misfortune!—ruthless Power!—
Who hath not wept their melancholy hour,
And felt thy iron fangs their heart enclasp?
Child of Vicissitude—and—Pain—
Foul Fiends have nursed thee in Hell’s cavern drear;
What Mortal may thy wizard Spells restrain,
Whose infant steps were guided by Despair,
Thy sole companions,—meagre Grief, and Care!—104 O4v 104
The World was young—when mid the shade of Night,
Thro’ Tempests—and thro’ Clouds —you winged your way,
Alas! for Man—on Earth you ceased your flight,
And darkened half the joys of coming Day.
You came—to hang upon the springs of Life,
To chase fair Pleasure from her calm retreat,
And Change to saddest Tears her Snile so sweet;
But see where lovely Pleasure flies!—
He gains upon her by surprise,
Now he unsheaths the barbed dart
Which soon must rankle in her Heart!—
Hark! to that groan—that somlemn sound!
’Tis mourning Nature’s sighs resound;
She mourns her Children, doom’d to know
Misfortune’s sure unerring blow,
Her wild Flowers bend beneath her tread,
And drown’d in grief!—she droops her head.
On Perceiving an Old and Revered Friend Sinking to the Tomb.
Low dips the Sun—the Air around is balm,
It sets as peaceful, as its Morn was calm,
And thus Antenor sinks—whose placid Life
Shone with mild splendour—’mid this vale of strife;
Though Grief’s dark Cloud, too oft would intervene,
Obscure his brightness—and his oprospects screen,
Yet still he beam’d—superior and serene!
When doom’d from the loved Partner of his Heart,
By Death’s resistless Mandate—doom’d to part—P 106 P1v 106
Though as a Man he feels the dreadful blow,
And human tears, alas! yet vainly flow,
Still deep—still heartful sighs, his bosom heave—
And though in vain he cannot cease to grieve;
Yet Virtue and Religion chear his way,
Prop his weak steps and point to endless Day!
Point to those Realms of never fading Joy,
Where pure, unmix’d with heavy Earth’s alloy
The varying Passions shall no more annoy!—
Where Friends again—their former Friends shall meet,
In Union undisturb’d—in converse sweet;—
She whom he loved on Earth—his Soul’s delight—
Renew’d in heavenly charms shall burst upon his sight!
These thoughts support him—till that wish’d-for Day,
When Earthly Vanities shall pass away—
He smiles at Death’s approach—nor would he fly;
The Virtuous ever—are prepared to die!—
Home!—the abode of Peace and Pleasure—
There rests our best of earthly Treasure—
And Friends!—how scarce, alas! are they!
Spendthrift would’st thou throw these away?
Home—Friends—how sacred is the name!
More dear to me than Wealth or Fame!—108 P2v 108
As thus I mused, once doom’d to roam,
Far from my dear, my native Home,
Sudden before my steps appear
Three fairy Forms surpassing fair;
One thus address’d me—
From us three?
Chuse one to guide thy destiny;
Wealth first approach’d in dazzling vest,
Rich, sparkling gems adorn’d her breast
A Corslet of bright gold she wore;
Her Sceptre form’d of precious ore,
Which glanced around such dazzling light
As near bereaved me of my sight.
Rash Mortal! darest thou then despise,
Her whose smile is Mortal’s prize!—
See, at my Shrine, what Votaries bend;
Who would Fortune dare offend?
Even high England owns my sway,
And worships my Divinity!—109 P3r 109
But Erin’s proud, rebellious band
Deserve no blessing at my hand;
Through fields of blood they seek for fame,
In search of an heroic name;
Trade, my prime minister, they spurn,
Indignant from his precepts turn—
Mortals, ungrateful, say I’m blind,
Uncertain, wavering as the Wind!—
’Tis false—for fully I reward
Votaries worthy my regard—
But they must own my power supreme
And ne’er of other blessing dream;—
What numbers on my Levee wait!—
How eagerly they throng the gate!—
But few can reach my splendid throne,
Unless by Enterprize they’re shewn:
Idlers may go unblest away,
Nor in the vestibule may stay;
Avarice, my Porter, stern and old,
Turns from my sight each Vagrant bold;—110 P3v 110
But I’ll permit thee now to see
What never Mortal view’d but thee!
She bade me follow—I obey’d
And through Wealth’s ponderous Mansion stray’d.
There presided air-blown Pride,
With riches heaped on every side—
Purse-pride, an old, an hideous hag,
Gloating o’er each money bag!
There Cunning watch’d with curious eye,
And Fraud prepared to seize his prey;
Here glared Mistrust—and Envy sour,
Which seem’d on Fortune’s self to lour,
Whilst Disappointment in the rear
Furious tore her tangled hair!
Cards and Dice the floor bestrew’d
And Sighs were heard—and Curses rude,
Whilst Vengeance gnashed her teeth and raised the feud!111 P4r 111
I turn’d abhorrent—fled with all my might,
And soon of Avarice and Wealth lost sight.
Fame sounds her trumpet—Hark!—that martial sound
Invites me to the blood-stain’d Warrior’s ground,
Where Heroes rest in many a ghastly heap,
—Gone to their eternal sleep!
Where all in sad confusion lie
Under Heaven’s high Canopy!—
There Steeds and Men in torture roll
A sight might pierce a Savage soul;
And tell us Havoc raged there,
Whilst all around—aright!—aleft!—
See smoaking Towns of Men bereft;—
If these thy honours—War! O let me fly—
Fame—fare thee well! Unnoticed let me die!
Soft Friendship—Friendship—calls—whose powerful charm
Can sooth the fiercer Passions—or disarm—112 P4v 112
At her soft voice—all Nature seems to smile,
Pleasing as Childhood’s wiles unmix’d with guile.
She calls—presents me Home—with all its sweets,
Points to the well-beloved—well-known retresats,
The scene of Infant smiles—and Infant tears,
Where Peace with Liberty the Scene endears;
While Memory recalls the pleasing past,
Like parting Sun-beams brightening to the last.
Friendship my first—my best—my earliest choice,
I yield alone to thy persuasive voice;—
Wealth—Fame—farewell!—adoen a Monarch’s throne;
An humbler Choice is mine—Friends—and a Home!
On Revisiting the Scenes of Childhood. Note 7.—Page 113. The lines upon revisiting the Scenes of Childhood, were suggested by the author’s having accompanied a gentleman, a near relative, to the early Scenes of his Childhood. The liberty she has taken of putting herself in the situation of that person, is not unprecedented; she has only humbly followed the example of the inimitable Author of the Task, &c; &c; who has done the same thing in the Poem supposed to have been written by Island of Juan Fernandez. , from the
Haunts of my Youth, I greet each friendly scene,
Each smiling Cottage, and each level Green;
There stands the Village Church—the Woodland glade,
Where once in Childhood’s day I careless stray’d;
The well-remeber’d School attracts my view,
With walls and alleys trim’d of well train’d yew;
The rustic porch, the woodbine bower is there,
With Roses twined, mixed with Clematis fair;
All seem the same, uninjured, unimpaired,
Where the gay throng in Learning’s paths were rear’d.—Q 114 Q1v 114
But they are absent—launch’d on Life’s wild wave—
Some yet afloat! some in the silent Grave!
Different pursuits their anxious bosoms heave,
Since they’ve been doom’d these peaceful scenes to leave;
Some urged by bold Ambition, Love, or Gain;
Some Pleasure seek—but find their search is vain;
Others there are, who Knowledge still pursue,
Who keep that sacred beacon in their view,
For that loved Port they wide unfurl each sail,
Wafted by Hope, the promised Shore they gail:
For yet I find, tho’ distant is the time,
In nought they’ve changed from Boyhood to their Prine;
Tho’ many a year has fleetly pass’d away,
Since here they gambol’d in Life’s transient Day;
Still the same Passions, Hopes and Fears prevail,
Now more confirm’d their manly breasts assail!
Thus infant buds when first disclosed we know,
Full plainly prove the Tree from whence they grow—
So spring the infant Passions—there we scan,
The ruling favorite that’s to lead the Man.115 Q2r 115
Bevil was generous—was bold and free—
The spring of mischief—and the soul of glee;
Thoughtless and wild!—Yet have I seen a tear
Start if a tale of sorrow met his ear!
Seen him turn pale if a poor Wretch pass’d by,
Sly quit his play-mates—after him he’d hie,
Give his last mite—and bid him not to cry:
And once, I recollect me, at the School.
A Miser Boy for this had called him—fool;
This he repented—for soon couching low,
The mean wretch sunk beneath his lusty blow;
Prostrate he fell’d him—fiercely from him turn’d,
His honest face with indignation burned.—
—Mark his pursuits in life—a Soldier’s name,
In every sense is his—he’s gain’d his fame!
The avaricious Boy, now locked in self,
Starves amid plenty—’mid his hoarded pelf;
Starts if a passing breeze but shake the door,
Unlocks his trunks—and counts—recounts his Ore.
Now Grotius I remember, ne’er would he
Yield up his time in Childish sport or glee;
Old musty records—and old books he’d read,
When he and others from their tasks were freed;
A learned Judge he now expounds the law—
Points out each fault—detects each friv’lous flaw.
Another, his companion, loved the Church,
He too would often leave us in the lurch;
At Sunday was the first boy to be there,
And well remember’d every sacred Prayer;
His master’s Sermons liked—tho’ truth to tell
Full sound a sleep his hearers oft times fell.
But, ah! that Master’s gone—his day is o’er,
Nor shall we meet a worthier Pastor more!
I miss him much—with him I might retrace,
My infant steps—but he has run his race;—
A passing Peasant points his Grave-stone nigh,
Instructor of my Youth—Farewell! accept this heart-felt sigh!—
The following Farewell Address was written for the closing of a private theatre.
How melancholy sounds the word—Farewell!
It strikes the heart as tho’ it were the knell
Of our departed pleasure…
Farewell!—Farewell!—to all assembled here;
Who can withhold the sadly parting tear?—
Here oft we’ve chased dark brooding Spleen away,
Charm’d by the mirthful magic of the Play,118 Q3v 118
Nor pleasure our sole aim—
For on the Stage
Are seen the faults, and follies of the age—
Here Individuals may dress their mind,
Nor longer to their own defects be blind,
And while we view the pictured ills that flow
From wilder’d Passion, learn ourselves to know.
So the bright Shield to untamed Orson shone;
To the rude Savage made his features known.
Thalia holds the glass—reflected, see
The weakness of unfounded Jealousy!—
School’d by the Scene where Faulkland near destroys
The happy prospect of his future joys,
When by Suspicion urged, Love’s direst foe,
He to his Julia feigns the tale of woe,
When willing she consents with him to fly
To cheerless exile—or to poverty!
Partake his fate—but when she found ’twas art—
’Twas nought but falsehood to betray her heart;119 Q4r 119
She turned indignant, scarcely could forgive
The fault in one, with whom she’d wish to live.
The vaunting Coxcomb who ne’er heard a shot,
May learn to blush at ancient Pistol’s lot,
When forced at last Flewellin’s leak to chew,
He grumbled—swore—but ne’er the sword he drew.
Change we the Scene! Melpomene appears;—
From Pity’s eye descend the pearly tears:
The fiercer passions yield dto her controul;
She harmonizes—soothes—refines the Soul.
There wretched Lear, too late, perceives his fault,
By harsh Misfortune’s bitter lesson taught.
Take physic Pomp, and mark the passing scene,
Where in each line a moral we may gleam!
Now sad Ophelia mourns, our hearts o’erflow
With all the softer sentiment of woe;—
But with what indignation must e burn,
When we behold the cruel, base return120 Q4v 120
Of Timon’s faithless friends!—there may be view’d
The dire effects of man’s ingratitude!
Thus from the Stage instruction we may gain,
And, while amused, forget not others’ pain.
Here Charity presided—here she smiled,
And every care—and every grif beguiled;
Smiled o’er our labours, with a Mother’s pride,
While from the Widowed eye—the tear we dried. This alludes to a Charitable Institution, to which the Profits of this Theatre were appropriated.
But now the Curtain falls!—Our task is o’er!—
Adieu!—We to this Stage return no more—
All future action?—No;—in fancy’s mood
Your welcome plaudits oft shall greet our ear,
Revive our spirits, and the past endear:
In Curtain’d sleep, when reigns the Witching Night,
This brilliant Circle oft shall meet our Sight;121 R1r 121
Your eyes, ye Fair! repay us with applause,
And give again the palm to Mercy’s cause!!
Still are we Actors! still be our reward,
Our Country’s gratitude and your regard;
At the last closing Scene ’t will cheer each heart
To feel we well have played Life’s arduous Part.
Amongst the romantic and picturesque Scenery with which the Isle of Wight abounds, the Land-slip at Pitlands, Under- Cliff, stands pre-eminent, embracing a considerable extent of the Sea Coast on the South-side of the Island. The Ground has, it is evident, from time to time given way. The Landslip in question, however, took place about eleven years since, and of course presents a most interesting appearance to the curious.
The lapse which began with a great Founder, from the base of the Cliff, immediately under St. Catharine’s, kept gliding down, and at last rushed on with such violence as to change the surface on the ground, so that the whole is at present as if it had been convulsed and scattered about by an Earthquake.
In this partial convulsion of Nature, a Cottage, which stood near the declivity, was precipitated forward towards the Sea with the moving mass of earth, and overwhelmed. From these combined circumstances the following little Poem originated.
Say! Ancient Man—I prithee say—
Whence these signs, of sad dismay?
O, I have seen Earth-waves dread motion,
When darkly rolling towards the Ocean!
Seen all I own’d—my little Cot,
Lost in the Wreck—o’erwhelm’d, forgot!124 R2v 124
Forgot—as though Oblivion wide
O’er all had swept her leaden tide,
While I alone! remain to weep,
O’er Devastation—dire—and deep!—
How silent now,—yon half fallen Grove
Once the abode of Peace—and Love—
How gloomy all the Scene appears!
Scenes that Memory yet endears:—
Were there no Sufferers but me,
I’d bend content to Fate’s decree.—
But mark’st thou, Stranger! yon jagg’d Rock
Reft by the conflicting Shock
Of adverse Elements—hither hurl’d,
As if Convulsions tore the World?
Ah! you will pity when you know;—
It stands—a Monument of Woe!
A Monument alas!—for there—
Lies Everilda young—and fair;125 R3r 125
And she was fairer than the Day,
Fairer! than the Morn of May—
There—there she rests—and by her side
The Youth who for her lived—and with her died!
The Morn was mild—the Mists had now pass’d o’er,
The ripling Wave, faint murmur’d to the Shore,
When Everilda with a Lover’s eye,
Gazed on each whiten’d Sail, that slow pass’d by,
Gazed until distance veil’d them from her view,
Then sighing sad,—her longing eyes withdrew—
Why did she gaze—and why withdraw her eyes;
Why heaved her bosom, with repeated sighs?
The Youth she loved—the Husband of her Heart—
Hope promised she should meet—not soon to part;
For Victory had wreathed his youthful brow,
And led him back to claim her promised vow.126 R3v 126
The vanquish’d Foe no longer raised his head,
For Albion waved around her Banners dread
O’er their stained Trophies!—proudly, bold she rides
Th’ acknowledg’d Mistress of the Vassal Tides!!
He comes not yet, she cries,—turns to retreat,
When lo! at distance is perceived a Fleet,
Mere specks at first;—again she strains her sight,
Nor longer doubts,—she views the Canvas white:
Onward they pass—to reach their destined Port,
No more of marring Winds—and Seas the sport!
Now through her faithful Glass, a Boat she spies
Borne as on Eagle Wings—o’er space it flies!
She hails its near approach—she fears no more—
Her Albert lightly vaults him on the Shore!
Quick to each others Arms—with heartfelt joy they rush;
O’er her pale cheeks suffused—Love’s warmest, deepest blush!—127 R4r 127
We meet at length! they cry—and every Sorrow’s past—
Alas!—their first embrace—Fate dooms to be their last!
In one dread Moment—in one surging Sweep,
The loosen’d Mountain hastens to the Deep!
— — — — —
— — — — —
’Tis past—in Death’s long Sleep they there repose—
Stranger away!—let’s quit this Scene of Woes.
Can sordid Wealth, or glittering Ore,
Or add to Life one Charm the more;
To make us less our Fate deplore,
And break the Barb of Pain?—
Ah, no—these Gems can ne’er restore
Our Peace, once Tempest tost;—
Like one, who wreck’d on some lone Shore,
(Though safe his Treasure, safe his Store)
Feels he himself is lost.
In vain for aid,—in vain his cry!
Gold cannot there relieve;
How senseless—Man!—for that to sigh,
Which cannot Health, or Peace, supply,
Or Liberty retrieve!!—
What is Life?
Say, what is Life?—Friend can you say?
’Tis like a Summer’s holiday—
A sport—a whim—a trifling toy—
We spoil much oftener than enjoy!
As Children break their toys to find
Of what they’re form’d—and how combined—
So do we oft mar Pleasure, when
We seek for what’s above our ken;131 S2r 131
Unprying then—enjoy Life’s span—
The fragile whim of fragile Man—
For life’s a strange, a changeful stage
On which we act from Youth to Age,
Where oft we’re doom’d to play a part
Far foreign from our Mind and Heart;
How oft we sing, how oft we smile!—
Though Pleasure be not near the while.—
Ah! when we weep and when we sigh,
Then Nature tells too truly why!
Life Compared to a Dream!
Life is a jest, and all thing shew it;—
So said Philosopher and Poet;
Yes, tis a jest, and all we view
Unreal mockery—shades untrue!
What though Life’s prospect shines so fair?—
Sudden ’tis changed to gloom and care!—
We fancy oft, in dreams, we leap
From steep, stupendous, over steep;
Or on light wings, we soaring fly
To regions of Eternity!—133 S3r 133
So dream Mankind on Life’s hard bed,
Doom’d for a space to rest their head,
Where many a dream may interpose
That much disturb their short repose:
’Till they awake to endless Day—
Awake to Immortality!—
The Setting Sun.
How mildly sinks the Sun’s departing beam!
One farewell ray is seen through clouds to gleam;
Thus parting friends may force one cheering smile,
Though oft’ a shade of grief obtrudes the while.—
’Tis so with Life!—Hope tints her visions bright,
And images that land of pure delight,
Where friends once more shall meet—once more unite!
While Fancy’s fairy pencil—wild and bold!—
Paints, like yon Cloud, that Sphere —set in a Sea of Gold!!
Youths and Anacreon.
Strike Anacreon!—strike the Lyre!
Let Fancy all the strain inspire;
Now sweep the chord with master hand,
Whilst round thee we delighted stand.—
Ah! why ask one, with age grown chill,
Again to wake his dormant skill?136 S4v 136
’Tis Love that lends to Fancy wings,
And wreaths her Brow, and tunes her Strings.—
Love’s torch for Age will never burn,
Or should one partial Spark return,
’Twould be a faint, imperfect Ray,
Just like the gleam—’twixt night and day.
Ne’er could I sing the Song with fire,
Now Love and Youth no more inspire;
My Heart no longer hopes or fears,
’Tis almost dead to Beauty’s tears!
Cease then, ye Youths! ask me no more!—
To chaunt as once in Days of Yore;
Cold are my joys,—and cold my theme!
All!—all! are past—like some wild Dream!—
Nay, Anacreon! say not so—
Thy sweet Song we’ll not forego;
Though Cupid flies—that Urchin blind—
Bacchus will ne’er be so unkind!137 T1r 137
See!—how thy copious Goblets shine
With Juice of the enlivening Vine;
There Fancy may her pinions lave,
In the bright, glowing, blushing Wave!
Adapted to that Much Admired Air, Called Carolan’s Receipt.
Horatio! whence that Brow of Care!
Though Time hath planted Furrows there,
Though Winter o’er thy Locks doth snow,
Thy Heart may yet feel Summer’s glow.
Thurn thee to Friendship, whose sweet Smile
Will ne’er like wayward Love beguile;
Whose steady Flame, so Mild and Pure,
Will glow with Age—with Time endure.—
Her voice removes his cares and fears;
She smooths his Brow—she dries his Tears.
Love he rejects—he breaks his Toils,
Now ev’ry wily art he foils;
And soon the Urchin found his Dart
Fell blunted ’gainst Horatio’s Heart.
Enraged to find his pow’r so crost,
From him his Bow he frowning tost;
Unfurl’d his Wings—away he hied,
And jealous, thus to Bacchus cried—
I come, of Friendship to complain,
Who, to both Youth and Age lays claim:
My favourite Votary she has gain’d;
I’m now forgot, despised—disdain’d—
’Ev’n you too he prefers to me;
I prithee is this fair of thee?
Mirthful Bacchus slyly smiled:—
Can age by childish sports be wiled?
Cupid! think’st thou to rule the Sage?
Be wiser, Boy!―――subdue thy rage.——
Why art thou so dull, and dead,
Why turn from joys increasing treasure?
The Magic charm of fancy’s fled—
That Talisman to youthful pleasure!
No more ev’n Love’s enchanting wile
Can now my torpid Heart beguile!
’Tis Love who cheers our lonely way,
And cheats dull Time with childish play;
Now graver Reason guides my Soul,
Then why ask one so dull and dead,
Why is the gay Delusion fled?—
Lover, Cupid, and Friendship.
Love I invoke!—lend me thy aid;
Haste, O haste thee to the Maid
Whose Power rules without control,
Rules all the Feelings of my Soul.
Go—and whisper to the Fair,
For her all Storms of Fate I’d dare;
Say naught on Earth can ever stay
Him who feels—who owns her sway—143 T4r 143
Go—Wild Boy! go;—and speed thy Flight
On thy shadowy Pinions light;
If from thy Wing a Feather stray,
Cast not the precious Plume away:
Edge with its Down thy arrowy Shaft,
Love need not sure use other Craft,
True to the Bow-string it will fly,
And deep within her Bosom lie.
That task being o’er, fly where you will,
Friendship soon—thy Place will fill.
So then for all my Skill and Art,
In conquering Gloria’s stubborn Heart,
Me from you, You ungrateful spurn,
This the reward—the sole return—
Friendship, in sooth, my place must fill,
Go—sigh—lament—for Gloria still.
Come, come;—ye must not disagree;
—Why art thou jealous, Love, of me?
We ne’er usurp each others place,
These doubting fears then—prithee—chase—
’Tis your’s to pain the feeling Heart;
’Tis mine—sweet Comfort to impart;
You fly from Age—from Grief—and Care
These Mortal ills—I sooth—and share!
Hark! Hymen calls!—and we must hence:
We must not give the God offence;
Our Powers, United, can bestow
Joys that Mortals seldom know!—
Days, —Weeks,—and Years, swift roll away,
Like Clouds before bright Phœbus’ ray;
Not all our Skill,—not all our Pow’r
Can stay Time’s hasty Step one Hour;
So speaks the Sage;—
To clip his Pinions ere he fly;
(Though fly he will at last away,)
Still, still, his dreaded flight delay:
First bind him with a silken Band;
Then snatch his Scythe—and Glass of SandU 146 U1v 146
And while we have him in the Toil,
His raven Wings we will despoil.—
He said—then with a frolic Smile,
Sought wary Saturn to beguile,
While sly, around in mirthful Play,
He’d clip a Plume,—then fly away!—
The following Song has been adapted to a well-known Irish air.
Away with Gloom and Care?
Cheer’d by Friendship’s Day,
To Fate we’ll leave the Morrow.
From Mirth we will borrow a Smile,
Our Cares in Lethe’s Wave smother;
And fetter dull Spleen his Brother.
Then hence with Gloom and Care, &c;.
Hope, floating on Pinions of Down,
From Grief her barb’d Arrows stealing,
Life’s Precipice hides from our view;
Sweet Visions alone revealing:
Then hence with Gloom, &c;.
That Morrow, whenever it comes,
Tho’ it rise amid Clouds dim gleaming,
Shall find us illumined by Hope;—
That sun of the Soul bright beaming!—
Then hence with Gloom, &c;.
Pliny has transmitted to us the history of the Maid of Corinth, and her Father Dibutadis, a potter of Sicyon, who first formed likenesses at Corinth, but was indebted to his Daughter for the invention!—The girl being in love with a young man, who was going from her into some remote country, traced with a pencil, made of charcoal, the lines of his face, from the reflection of his shadow upon a wall, by lamp-light; her Father filling up the lines with clay, formed a bust, and hardened it in the fire with the rest of his earthen ware. Athenagoras, the Athenian philosopher, gives a similar account of this curious and interesting anecdote, adding the circumstance, that the youth was sleeping when the likeness was taken from his shadow. The same writer, who lived in the second century of the Christian æra, informs us, that this monument of ancient art was extant at Corinth in his time; though Pliny seems to insinuate, that it did not survive the taking of that city by Mummius. In the poesies of Fontenelle there is an epistle from the Maid of Corinth, whom the author calls Dibutadis, to her imaginary lover Polemon. She descrivbes her work in the following stanzas:—
Epistle From Dibutadis to Plemon.
From the French of Fontenelle.)
As musing by the lamp’s pale light,
My sadden’d thoughts were fix’d on thee;
A pictured Shadow met my sight,
Of thee a true epitome!—
Love soon suggested to my mind,
To keep thine Image in my view;
If I the passing Shade confined,
I then might ever gaze on You.
Instant my hand the pencil seized,
Guided by Love—inspired by thee,
Pleased, I the lovely semblance traced;
And oh!—how dear it lives to me!
For though it may not charms present,
Which my loved Polemon adorn,
Whilst on the Shade mine eyes are bent,
I feel as if not quite forlorn!!!
Translation from the Galatie of the Chevalier De Florian.
Nought on this Earth can now my Heart supply.
For I no longer love—nor may I die.—
At thy pure Shrine, mild Friendship, charm of Life,
I’ve immolated Love, ’midst Passion’s strife.—
Much have I suffer’d—but I sought in thee
Repose at last—when once my Soul was free;
Oft’ times I’ve heard, that if of thee possess’d,
Grief ne’er could form an inmate of my breast:
But Fate ordains that I must suffer still;
My Cup of Misery even you must fill!
Nought on this Earth can now my Heart supply,
For I no longer love—nor may I die.—
Come, wild Fancy, mystic Maid!
Come muse with me in yonder Shade;
This is the hour when many a Sprite
Sports by the pale Moon’s silvery light:
In airy rings they skim the green,
And dance around their fairy Queen;
At morning’s dawn folks stare to see
The wrecks of midnight revelry!—
When the Ground’s bespangled o’er
With dew-drop gems—a glittering store—
All vying with the rain-bow dyes,
With rays they’ve drank from Oberon’s eyes,
Fairy pavilions mount in air,
Light as the filmy Gossimer:
Within ’tis said some Goblin sly
Lies wait for mischief—warily!!
Entranced by Fancy’s magic pow’r,
To thee I fly, my absent Fair;
In thought enjoy one happy hour;
But wake to sadness and despair!
Loved Vision stay;—my grief beguile;—
Though thou art but by Fancy drest;
For then I dream on me you smile:
—Awake!—I feel, I’m not so blest.—
The Wreath of Fame.
Steep the ascent, and perilous the road,
That to immortal Fame’s abode
The venturous Pilgrim leads.
High on an Eminence it stands,
And bold the prospect it commands,
Embracing all the World!
There Fame, upon her golden throne,
Prepares unfading wreaths, alone
To deck the chosen Few.158 X3v 158
Her crown a thousand gems display,
Bright dazzling as the Orb of Day!
At which few dare to gaze.
Wild Genius, with her eagle eye,
And out-stretched plumes, may soaring fly,
The streaming Ray to drink:
But Few are they (tho’ many dare!)
Can reach the Goddess pure and fair,
Such powerful guards oppose!
First Envy, with envenom’d dart,
Sly takes her aim at Merit’s heart,
Or springs th’insidious Mine!
O’er her dark brow the night-shade hangs,
With watchful eye and crooked fangs,
She wakes but to destroy!159 X4r 159
Her slavish Vassals, Pride and Scorn,
Strew on the path-way many a thorn,
The Traveller to impede:—
Yet there are Foes, more cruel—fell,
(Who fling around a charmful spell,)
That dim Truth’s radiant Day.
See! Prejudice, with flaming brand,
And Party, twin, join hand in hand,
The guileless to insnare:
Party—whose robe of various dyes,
In colour with the Rainbow vies;
Changing as oft’ its hue:
A Mirror in her hand she rears,
In which inverted all appears,
As gleams her Sister’s Torch.160 X4v 160
Yes!—These—and numerous Perils more,
They must endure—and triumph o’er—
Who’d gain the Wreath of Fame!!!
Adressed to Albion.
Albion! Queen of Wealth, and Fame,
By Fortune favour’d—Glory’s Minion!
While thy proud resplendent Name
Is wafted on her powerful Pinion,
Whence this neglect to one whose aid,
Has help’d to crown thee—Haughty Maid?
The Steep of Danger Erin climbs
Where from its threatening Cliff she tears
The Wreath which round thy Brow entwines;
Though of thy honours—few she shares—
Ah, why such slight—coldness show—
To her whose blood for thee doth flow?
The sole reward she seeks to gain
For this—is Thanks—and Gratitude—
The sole reward for toil—and pain!
Let not fell Envy then intrude,
(With tongue malignant false as rude,)
Say Erin’s Sons could ever be
A useless Burden—laid on thee!!!
Poems on the Irish Harp Society.164 Y2v 165 Y3r
To the Reader.
The Author here feels herself called upon to apologize to the English reader, for the locality of the few following Poems; but as so many of the Irish now reside in England, she hopes that that circumstance will sufficiently plead her excuse; and that although they may have for a tine deserted—they have not become completely indifferent to their Native Land—Surely they must feel themselves interested for their National Music! to which these Poems allude—and which is still kept up by the Society at Belfast; though the Author is sorry to say the Metropolis of Ireland could not boast of equal Patriotism.
It is more than probable that in half a Century their Music woudl have been so neglected, or mixed up in modern com— positions, as to have been sunk for ever in the deep Stream of Time, had not Carolan in time stepped forward and rescued many of their most valuable National Airs. Possibly to his example we owe the reclaiming those delightful medodies so universally—and so justly admired!
England has Yearly a Commemoration of the Music of Handel, though that Country did not give him birth! with how much more reason, and I may say pride, ought we to commemorate our National Music—the Music of our Forefathers—as it evidently proves that we were not at a very early period lost in barbarism. A Nation must have attained a certain degree of refinement before she could have excelled in the Fine Arts— throw out these few hints to the Irish—and again apologize to the English reader.
Intended to have been recited at the first Meeting of the Carolan Club. A Club, which it had been in contemplation to form from the Irish Harp Society. Its object, the perpetuity of the native Music of Ireland.
Joy to our Meeting!— — —
— — —Grant that we may long
Enchanted hear the renovated song
Of other days!—with Patriot pride elate,
Feel that we’ve rescued, from Oblivion’s fate,
Our Erin’s early song!— — — - - -
Her Song once carol’d, wild, uncheck’d by art,
In lays inspiring—bold—or notes that sooth the heart—167 Y4r 167
—Yes!——She was then as simple nature free,
Th’ unschool’d child of sweet simplicity!—
Whene’er she struck the Chord—or soft, or strong
She led the Captive Soul in bonds along;
Whilst Heroes oft’ were rous’d to deeds of fame,
Fir’d by her voice—they fought!—and gain’d a name.
The Lover too—the Harp of Erin strung,
While Love subdued—transported o’er it hung;
Sometimes his downy Plume light touch’d a string,
Then silver tones along the wire would sing.—
These are the Strains which we agian would raise;
Our Harp once more may sound our Nation’s praise.—
Or softly sweet as breathes the Southern Breeze,
That whisp’ring murmurs amid Aspen Trees,
Record Humanity;— Alluding to the Charitable Institution of the Harp Society for Blind Children. whose pow’r sublime,
Hath pierced through darkness with a beam divine!!!
The length of Time in which the Irish Harp and Music had lain dormant—and the enthusiasm with which they were revived, gave rise to the following lines:—
On the Commemoration of Carolan. To Carolan the Irish Nation is indebted for the revival of many of their most valuable Airs.
(1809-09-21September 21, 1809.)
Songs of our Father!—Hail again!
Themes of the Days of Old!
How glowing bright to Fancy’s ken
Past Scenes thou dost unfold!—
Once more the Bardic strains resound;
What Fairy visions rise!
Of noble Dames, and Chiefs renown’d;
They flit before our eyes!!
And Times, that in Oblivion’s page,
Were long neglected thrown;
Dark o’er them roll’d, full many an Age,
Rejected or unknown.—
Dim Prejudice, in gloom obscure,
Had flung a shade around,
And scowling Envy, sly and sure,
The voice of Genius drown’d!
But Carolan!—Those Hydras dire
Ne’er could thy soul alarm;
For Music lent her lulling Lyre,
And Poesy her charm!—
Our Bard thus gifted—thus inspired,
By Taste sublime was led,
Struck one wild Chord!—the mists retired—
These spells of Darkness fled!
Ierne’s Genius tranced he found,
Her Harp was near unstrung;—
Sweet songs were scatter’d all around,
She listless o’er them hung.
The slighted Harp he tuned anew,
Restored the Lay so dear;
And waked the tone—to Nature true—
Lines addressed to An Irish Harp of Great Antiquity. From its curious and rich workmanship, it was supposed to have belonged to some Chief of great renown.
Aged Harp!—of Days long since gone by!—
I feel an awful thrill creep through my frame,
As charm’d I list to thy soft melody;
Whose tones now seem to mourn their former fame.
Perhaps some Son of Erin bold!
To strains of conquest oft’ times tuned thy strings;
Or haply thou a Lover’s passion told,—
In cadence sweet, that kind remembrance brings:
Or in some high-born Chieftain’s hall,
Thy Chords to praise of Warriors have been strung!
While Erin’s Maids so fair—and Gallants all,
Press’d round the Bard who to thy wild Notes sung!
The Minstrel varied oft’ his lays,
The Strain was sometimes deep—impassion’d, strong!
Whene’er it echoed to his Nation’s praise,
Warm Patriot feelings, high, inspired his Song!
But Love a softer note requires,—
Oft’ would he sing of some fair Maid betray’d;
Then sighs of sorrow breathed along the Wires,
Transported!—’rapt!—they trembled as he play’d.
These Times are past:—they’re known no more!
Forgot the Hero’s deeds!—the Hero’s Name—
Oblivion’s mantle dark—hath wrapt them o’er;
Thou Harp alone art left—to sound their fame!
Notes.Note 1.—Page 5. The Sgelaighe, or Tale Tellers, were a kind of poetical Bard, formerly well known in Ireland. See History of the Irish Bards. In his appendix he gives a most interesting account of one of them, not long since dead, a few extracts from which, may, perhaps, be acceptable to the English reader— Cormac Common (or Cormac Dal) that is blind Cormac, was born in 1703-05May, 1703, at Woodstock, near Ballindangan, in the county of Mayo. His parents were poor and honest, remarkabel for nothing but the innocence and simplicity of their lives; before he had completed the first years of his life, the small-pox deprived him of his sight; this circumstance, together with the indigence of his parents, precluded him from receiving the advantages of education, but though he could not read himself, he could converse with those who had read, therfore if he wants learning, he is not without knowledge. Aa 178 Aa1v 178 Showing an early fondness for Music, a neighbouring Gentleman determined to have him taught to play on the Harp, a Professor of that instrument was accordingly provided, and Cormac received a few lessons, which he practised— con amore: but his Patron dying suddenly, the Harp dropped from his hand, and was never afterwards taken up:—it is possible he could not afford to string it. But Poetry was the Muse of whom he was most enamoured: this made him listen eagerly to the Irish songs, and Metrical tales which he heard sung and recited around the crackling faggots of his father, and his neighbors. These by frequent repetition, became strongly impressed on his memory; his mind being thus stored, and having no other avocation, he commenced a Man of talk, or a Take teller. He left no calling for the idle trade, as our English Montaigne observes of Pope, Hist. Raph. on Pope—p. 11. he was now employed in relating Legendary Tales, and reciting Genealogies at Rural Wakes, or in the Halls of Country Squires, - - — — — — — — — — — — His Muse was generally awakened at the call of gratitude— his Poetical productions are mostly Panegyrial or Elegiac: they extol the living, or lament the dead. See History of the Irish Bards. It was from this very beautiful and animated desription—from which I have only selected a trifling extract, that I took the hint of the Sgelaighe, or Tale-teller. The Author. 179 Aa2r 179 Note 2.—Page 7. Still the signal of welcome, High waved o’er its roof. It was formerly the custon in Ireland for Noblemen and Gentlemen when at home, to erect a Flag over their roof, which was universally understood as an invitation to the traveller—who might enter without ceremony, assured of being received with every degree of Hospitality; this laudable custom I am informed is still kept up by a few—very few respectable families in the interior, who are as yet untouched by the torpedian stroke of apathetic Fashion. The author has from good authority been informed, that the late Dr. Hawkins, Bishop of Raphoe, though he did not exactly keep to the letter, adhered to the spirit of this custom. There were certain days, one at least in each week on which he was at Home not in the meaning of the word as fashionably and foolishly interpreted, but in the real and sincere sense which the word originally implied, to all who came within the focus of his cheering mansion, and chose to witness and partake of his hospitable board. This custom did not originate from the want of an Inn in the neighbourhood, as there was one very near the Bishop’s house. Mine host, however, was required on these particular days to mention that the Palace was open to all Strangers that came that way. The Author. Note 3.—Page 9. And the Beil-tinne fires ’gan to grow faint. Beiltinne,—On the first of May, and the first of August, (Lughnasa) fires were lighted, and sacrifices offered on the 180 Aa2v 180 most lofty eminences, in every part of the kingdom of Ireland—to Bael, or the Sun; nor is it unlikely, that the dancers were a kind of chorus, who sung, as they danced, an hymn in praise of the Deity whom they were honouring: perhaps the classical reader will find, and we think he may, a similarity between our Rinceadh-fada and the festal dance of the Greeks. See History of the Irish Bards. It is surprising how long ancient customs will remain in a country, when the origin is no longer remembered, or known, except by the Antiquarian, or Historian. The Irish still retain the custom of lighting Beil-tinne, or Bone-fires on the first of May, but instead of lightening them on the first of August, as was formerly their custom, before the Christian religion was established in Ireland—they light them on Midsummer Eve, the Vigil of St. John, their favourite Saint, thus blending idolatry with the Christian religion. Possibly those who are unacquainted with the customs of Ireland, may wish to be informed of the ceremonies of the Beil-tinne, as practised even at this day, by the lower orders. Where can we find a stronger light to pierce through the dark veil of antiquity, than in the customs of a nation, by which we may discover their origin, from the analogy which they bear to other Countries? The Irish are very expert in carrying fire from immense distances. Is not this habit a strong presumption in favour of the opinion of our best Antiquarians, that Ireland was early inhabited by a Scythic Colony? 181 Aa3r 181 We know that the religion professed by Bactria, and perhaps of the neighbouring countries, was that of Zoroaster— who taught his followers to worship Mithra, or the Sun, for their God, and to light fires in honour of him, kindled from a ray of that luminary. Different Temples were erected, where the fire was continually kept burning. Might not the round Towers of Ireland which have given rise to so many strange conjectures, have been erected for the same purposes? I hazard this conjecture, for as yet, with regard to them, nothing certain has been determined, and all still remains enveloped in the mists of obscurity! It was the duty of the Priests to watch their fire Temples night and day, to prevent the pure flame from expiring—but if by any unforeseen accident, this event deemed so unfortunate, was to happen, they were obliged to relight it from that holy Temple whose fire had been kindled by a ray from the Sun; and so sacred, according to Prideaux, (See ) did they hold this fire, that the Priests were not permitted, while carrying it, to prevent its being extinguished, by their breath, or by any other means, than that of the breath of Heaven. Connections The Irish Peasantry are at this day very expert in carrying fire, either of coal or charcoal, to great distance, by means of a damp whisp of straw or hay; in doing this, when the fire appears to be nearly extinguished, they lay the whisp which contains the fire upon the ground, in some spot where there is a current of air; when they take it up 182 Aa3v 182 again, they are observed to whirl it round with considerable velocity, but never to blow upon it with their breath. It is customary on the first of May and Midsummer Eve, for the Irish to light bone-fires, round which they dance in groupes, and many of the most active or most superstitious leap nimbly over them, imagining that by this strange ceremony, they insure to themselves good fortune during the year. In some parts of Ireland, the youth of both sexes form a kind of figure dance, whirling round at the same time lighted brands or furze, smeared with pitch, which flame like torches—which reminds us of the sacrifices and funeral dances of the Ancients to appease the infernal Deities: these customs must no doubt be of very ancient date, and long antecedent to the Christian æra. I hope the reader will excuse one more note which seems undoubtedly to strengthen this opinion. The Author. Moloch, it is certain, was the principal Idol of the Ammonites; but yet not so appropriated to them, but that other neighbouring nations, took the same for their God, for it appears from the Pagan records, that they were very friendly in that point, and frequently lent their Gods to one another; this Deity seems to have been the same with Baal, both of them signifying dominion, but more especially it signifies the Sun the Prince of the Heavenly bodies. ’Tis plain from several passages in scripture, that the old Heathens made their children pass through the fire:—the ceremony of passing through the fire was used 183 Aa4r 183 by way of lustration and purification as they called it—and by this ceremony their children were dedicated to the service of their Pagan God. Sometimes Men and Women danced around the fire or leaped through the flame. See the Antiquities of the Hebrew Republic,— . 166, 167. Note 4.—Page 19. His bold clan he summon’d. Those who held their lands by feudal tenure, were obliged to obey their Lord; we find in a patent roll of 17 of Edward—O’More summoned as a powerful Irish Chief, to oppose Bruce and his Scots—here we see he held his land by feudal tenure, but he performed the conditions no longer than he was coerced by superior power, for in 13461346, throwing off all subjection, Lord Walter Birmingham, and the Earl of Kildare, collected their forces, destroyed his country with fire and sword, and obliged him to acknowledge at Athy that he held his manor of Bellet, and his other lands, in Leix, of Roger Mortimer, as his Liege Lord, &c; Ireland, p. 203. Antiquities of The Lord or Chief could at will impose a tax called Bonaght, for the maintenance of horsemen, of Gallowglasses, and other light armed foot, called Kerns, and these Soldiers thus maintained were sometimes called Bonaght. See p. 32. , 184 184 Note 5.—Page 21. The Tower there reflected seem’d instant emblazed. The Turret reflected on the Lake, appearing to be surmounted by flame is taken from a common circumstance in nature, which will always appear when the Moon shines immediately over any opaque body reflected on water, if there is the smallest undulation, it crowns the shadow with a brilliant scintillation resembling streams of flame. Note 6.—Page 21. His Clansmen advanced, loud the Buabhall he blew. Buabhall is supposed to be the Corna or Bugle horn which the ancient Irish winded in hunting matches, or sounded in the field of battle, to animate their troops, or to drown the cries of the wounded. Vide —and Irish Bards. Note 7.—Page 113. The lines upon revisiting the Scenes of Childhood, were suggested by the author’s having accompanied a gentleman, a near relative, to the early Scenes of his Childhood. The liberty she has taken of putting herself in the situation of that person, is not unprecedented; she has only humbly followed the example of the inimitable Author of the Task, &c; &c; who has done the same thing in the Poem supposed to have been written by Island of Juan Fernandez. , from the
meyler and son; printers, bath.