Page images
PDF
EPUB

Sound and strong his heart as biscuit, Unmoored, the vessel glides along,
Love had never known before ;

From high balcony-hark! a song.
He ne'er thought that he could risk it,

Song. Coming to a foreign shore.

Solitude pervades my room A lady in famed Cadiz city,

With a sadly silent gloom ; Saw his handsome form and face;

Watches here my mortal frame, But a stranger-'twas a pity

In quiescence dull and tame. No acquaintance could take place.

Far my soul upon the sea Still, however, she admired him,

Wanders, where my love should be ; Wondering much who he could be ; Seeking all that may disarm As a husband she desired him,

Winds and waves of power to harm. If she thought he would agrec.

Through the swiftly whirling crowds, Of fine lovers she had many,

Of the swarthy growling clouds, But the Captain bore the bell !

Entering his pavilion vast, No Spaniard, Frenchman, nor any

With the spirit of the blast Dutchman, Briton can excell.

Parleying, it fondly tries When she heard that he was going,

Soothing terms of compromise, In her tears she nigh was drown'd;

In behalf of one small bark, Very bad with sorrow growing,

Now careering in the dark. Down she fell on the cold ground.

Through the chambers of the deep, Faint heart gains nor man nor woman.

By coral rock-sea-weed steepAll in jewels the Spanish lass

Shelly grove, and spongy bower, To his lodgings goesher true man

Where sea-monsters prowl and lower, Drinking was his parting glass.

Roaming on, it seeks to find She cries, “ Captain, I adore you,

Sea-nymph pitying and kind; Can you loving maid requite,

Who, when stormy waves are near, Here I am that stands before you,

May avert them from my dear. Ready hand and heart to plight.'

Oft it speeds in eager course, He cries, “ Madam, I adore you,

Where night winds with murmur hoarse, Loving maid I can requite;

By a careless impulse led, True to death I stand before you,

Sport around his rocking bed. Hand and heart to you I plight."

Mingling with, it rules their quires ; Married—both a wife and cargo

Lulling harmony inspires ; Carried off the Englishman.

Careful vigil then it keeps, On a wife there's no embargo ;

Round his pillow as he sleeps. Catch a rich one if you can.

S. MEIKLE.

LETTER FROM GABRIEL SOUTH, ESQUIRE.
TO THE EDITOR OF BLACKWood's MAGAZINE.

Cape Clear, September 30, 1823.
Quis novus hic nostris successit sedibus hospes ?

Quem sese ore ferens ? SIR,—I dare say you are the only Editor in the three Kingdoms, as these two great islands used to be called in the days of our grandfathers, who would not stare with inexpressible astonishment on receiving a letter from this sequestered spot. Not that it is without a reasonable share of that notoriety which belongs to all great capes or headlands, from the circumstance of affording a point of direction to the several vessels in whose conrse it happens to stand. Of my place of residence I can indeed say more than many persons of noble birth and high distinction; namely, that there is not a map of Europe, however small, in which it is not particularly specified, while their princely mansions, villages, and even towns, are passed over without notice. I cannot, however, speak very highly of the literary attainments of my insular associates, in number about 600, among whom, at this present writing, are but seventeen who can converse in the English tongue, and but three of us who can read and write, viz. the priest, the keeper of the light-house, and your humble servant.

Yet remote as I am from you, and far removed as you appear to be

from the wrangling discussions of our Irish politics, I know no one to whom I can with more satisfaction address a series of papers on our affairs. With your sentiments on general politics I entirely coincide. I rejoice at the success which your Magazine has met, and hail in it an auspicious omen of the revival of those true British feelings which had been for a while depressed, discountenanced, and almost sunk under the imposing speciousness of a false philosophy, assuming the garb of liberal sentiment, civic freedom, and universal philanthropy. The mask has been torn off its face, and the features of the monster appear in their native deformity. In every case of combination against his health or life, the British lion, often appearing inert and sluggish in the beginning, but wanting only to be roused, has, when he put forth his strength, never failed to defeat the machinations of his foes, whether internal or external. Of this remarkable fact your own experience will point out numerous instances.—May the justice of the observation be equally confirmed by the experience of all who will come after us !

But our Irish affairs appear cut off from all effective sympathy. We are made a regular butt for the shooting off of Whig liberalism and Whig condolence. You see fellows writing about us as if we were people of different

passions and affections from the rest of mankind. You hear orators, in Parliament and elsewhere, drunk or sober, as chance directs it, lao menting over the Helotism of Ireland, and the savage oppression of its rulers. But

you

neither see nor hear anything real or practical on the actual state of the country. We have got plenty of disquisitions on bottles and rattles, sufficient of investigations as to whether Sir John Newport has read the Bible enough to distinguish one ancient nation from another, an abundance of detail whether Sheriff Thorpe was correct or incorrect in likening the Marquis of Wellesley to the jack of trumps, and an overflowing measure of tropes and figures on the unheard-of oppression of not allowing Mr O'Connell to wear a gown of finer texture than that which envelopes the shoulders of Mr Brougham-of the true state of the country next to nothing. Through your pages, which have been at all times more attentive to Irish affairs than any of your contemporaries, I shall venture to make some observations-perhaps, if you so permit me, at some length. The advantages I possess, however highly to be rated in some respects, are yet such as will draw no envy on my head, as they are chiefly derived from what none of us is in a hurry to attain- length of life. Some of your contributors, sir, lay claim to this distinction, but the youthful blood which occasionally wantons in their productions, plucks the assumed coronal of grey hairs from their heads. In my case it is, I am sorry to saybut why should I be sorry to say that I have lived through a life of smooth and happy current ?—it is quite true. Though not altogether unacquainted with other countries, I have passed the greatest part of my time in this, where I have been neither unobservant nor inactive. The state of Ireland engages, and has for some time occupied, a considerable share of the attention of the sister island, particularly since the cessation of foreign alarms and continental warfare has enabled her to turn her thoughts, with more unremitted energy, on the important subject of domestic concerns; hut, as I have already said, the picture presented to the view of England is partial, and clouded with passions and prejudices. There are, no doubt, many intelligent and welleducated frishmen capable of doing justice to the subject, and amply qualified for the task, by the moderation of their sentiments and the liberality of their minds; but these very qualifications prevent the undertaking. Having no particular inducement to the labour, they remain quietly in the back-ground, leaving the field in the possession of clamo

rous partizans and factious writers, with whom sober facts and simple truth are objects of very secondary importance. In compassionate consideration of Ireland's want of a veracious historian, an English gentleman did her the favour to visit her shores some years since, with the express purpose of supplying that deficiency, and possessing one capital qualification, a perfect confidence in his own ability. His ability to write a book was indeed very apparent; for after a short sojourn in what was to him a strange country, and to which, had he still remained in it, he would be a stranger, he did certainly put forth two huge quarto volumes, of what he was pleased to call a Political and Statistical Account of Ireland. To this I may perhaps hereafter advert, particularly as I find it used as the unquestioned text-book of the philosophers of Constable's Review, the Scotsman newspaper, and other deep speculators on Irish affairs. At present my purpose is to give you some sketches, for I do not pretend to write a formal history, of the actual state of this country and its inhabitants, on the correctness of which I think you may depend ; because, though not divested of prejudices and prepossessions, I am altogether exempt from the agitations of party animosity, sectarian rancour, the irritation of disappointed hopes, or the animosities attending the pursuits of honour or emolument. For this degree of self-commendation you will be the more disposed to give me credit, when I tell you that the merit I claim is founded on my incapacity to mix in the animating pursuits of youth. I have no wish for more than I possess. I take an interest, indeed, in the welfare of my friends and the prosperity of my country ; but the coolness of age, and the distance from which I view the bustling scenes of life, enable me to regard these scenes with comparative indifference, and, as far as other circumstances will permit, to paint them with fidelity. I shall endeavour to avail myself of the Horatian precept, of using a style “ modo tristi sæpe jocoso,” somewhat—" longo sed intervallo”-on the plan of your own audaciously original publication.

But I shall not intrude on your space with farther introductory remarks, and conclude this preliminary letter by wishing you every success, and subscribing myself as, Sir, Your most obedient, humble servant,

GABRIEL SOUTH.

The IRISHMAN. No, I.

PAMPHLETS ON IRELAND.* During the late session of Parlia- was a general flight, leaving the arena ment, our Irish affairs obtained a sur- in the possession of those, who, I may passing degree of attention. More say, were almost professionally engahours, I believe, were wasted on us ged, reinforced occasionally, towards than on all the other topics of Parlia- the end of the evening, by those mentary investigation. The effect on choicer spirits, who had screwed themthe House of Commons was, that every- selves to the sticking place by the stithing connected with us was voted a mulant of the jolly god. I am afraid bore of unendurable magnitude. No that a similar satiety has seized on the sooner had the voice of Sir Robert He- British public—that a kind of Hiberron been heard from the chair, an- no-phobia prevails, very unfavourable nouncing “ that the House had resol- to my design of giving a series of arved itself into a committee, to take in- ticles on our concerns.

Yet when so to consideration the conduct of the many take pen in hand on the same High Sheriff of Dublin,” than there subject, may not I too roll my tub

Observations on Ireland. By the Earl of Blessington, 8vo. London, Longman and Co. 1822.

Views of Ireland. By J. O'Driscoll, Esq. 2 vol. 8vo. London, Longman and Co. 1823.

me.

as busily, perhaps you may say as un- one-of fifteen shillings per vol., has profitably, as Diogenes himself? more recently fallen under my view.

I believe the easiest way to come at If I spend more time in the considerthe consideration of my subject, and ation of this book, than it is, in any to accomplish my design of speaking point of view, worth, you must excuse truth and common sense about my It is brought out under the pacountry, is to devote a paper to the tronage of a great Whig nobleman, a exposure of the falsehoods and follies vast Irish absentee proprietor; and now fashionably current on that head. really, as a fair representative of its I shall take them of the freshest wa- class, shews how such things are usuter, the latest impression. I speak not, ally written. I perceive, too, that some of course, of newspapers, which are for London periodical—I forget whichthe most part mere organs of party, gives it some praise, as exhibiting Irish and very convenient receptacles for the feeling and talent; and I had heard it good or ill humour of their supporters. considerably extolled for the beauty of They furnish a daily supply of light its composition, even by those who disfood for the public palate, which ha- approved of its doctrines ; and, though bit has now rendered indispensably likely to be of that number, I was nenecessary, and which, whether whole- vertheless pleased with the account. I some or noxious, never fails to find felt fully prepared to welcome and apconsumers. The compositions to which plaud a rising star of Irish genius, alI refer are of much higher pretension; though its lustre might be more calprofessing to be works of superior in- culated to dazzle than illumine. Daztelligence, of men divested of all illi- zle it unquestionably did—not, howberal prejudices, intimately acquainted ever, like a first-rate star, but like a with the state of Ireland, competent second-rate comet ; for it contains an to prescribe to the legislature à cure ill-defined nucleus of meaning, envefor all her ills, and kind enough to loped in a halo of verbiage encumbercommunicate it. I have lately seen a ing what it is unable to adorn. I have pamphlet, written by a patriotic Irish every respect for the author's private nobleman, with the good-natured pur- and personal character, and speak only pose of explaining to his Excellency of his book, now public property, which the Marquis Wellesley the nature of every man is free to censure or approve the country he was coming to govern, according to his judgment. To me, I and the measures he ought to pursue. must confess, had I not been told it The acute mind of the noble Marquis was a serious work, it would have may perhaps have derived useful know- seemed a burlesque on fine writingledge from instruction so generously a Chrononhotonthologos turned policommunicated. If so, his Excellency tician. It is far from being agreeable has been more fortunate than I; the to me to expose the absurdity of a wrionly inference I was able to draw be- ter of my own country; and were there ing, that his Lordship would have been nothing in the book reprehensible bebetter employed in cultivating his Irish sides the style, it might wend its way estate, and improving his tenantry, to the “ gulph of all human possesthan in writing political rhapsodies in sions” without any molestation on my London. One observation, however, part. But, in animadverting on the deserves notice. In enumerating the work, it is impossible to pass by a fearaw materials of profitable trade in ture so remarkable, a defect so little Ireland, bis Lordship mentions gra- to be expected in the present day, when nite, (I suppose for its rarity,) which so many models of just composition he earnestly recommends to the citi- exist, and when, in almost every newszens of Dublin as superexcellent stuff paper, are to be found well written pafor staircases, because, as he was cre- ragraphs. In public declamation, pomdibly informed by a person whom he pous inanity has some chance to escape; had reason to think a competent judge flash succeeds flash so fast, that we of such matters, it will resist fire. have not time to analyze and examine; This, indeed, was a notable discovery. but the litera scripta has a more serious

Another political pamphlet, if I may, trial to undergo, and must abide the without degradation, bestow such a deliberate verdict of critical inquest name on two octavo volumes, published and examination. by John O'Driscoll, Esq., and offered I know no writer more peremptory, at the price-a modest and encouraging and yet more unfortunate, in his dicta,

But

than the author of the two octavo vo- the dull quartos of Wakefield, the worst lumes. His very preface begins with of all bad authorities, some brilliant oba false position, owing to the puerile servations of his own, and a few extracts affectation of saying old things in a from works already sufficiently apprenew manner, and clothing trite mean- ciated. This superfluity of appendage, ings in florid diction. Alluding to the argues either a very short memory oran success of a few modern novels and ignorance of the contents of his own poems, he says, “ Fame and Fortune volumes ; for in his preface he thus are the slaves which obey the master speaks. “ We have not valued numespirits of our time, whose choice it is rous references, nor extensive details, to dwell in the enchanted regions of nor a voluminous appendix. These the imagination.” Now the truth is, might have had their use," in former that Fame or Fortune, or both, are

times I suppose,

" and we have not the very idols to which those master- wholly neglected them!" No truly, unspirits bow; they are the main incite- less you call dividing the book with ments of honourable ambition, and them neglect. I cannot forbear quoinstead of being slaves to men, the ting the remainder of the paragraph as fact is that men are slaves to them. a specimen of the author's peculiar But Mr O’Driscoll is not just to him- manner, though it is simplicity itself, self in confining imagination to novel- compared with other passages. ists and poets—his own book will shew our chief object was to convince-to that he knows how to employ it, not persuade—to give to the cause of Ireonly in adorning facts, but in creating fand, if we could achieve it, that intethem. In the same kind of inflated rest which is created not by cold detail diction he proceeds through many a and barren documents," such as his page, using a profusion of words to appendices, “and a 'cheap parade of express badly, what might perspicu- learning; but by those warm and liously be unfolded in a few, a fault too ving pictures, which as they can be often found, I am sorry to say, in the painted only by him who feels, are compositions of my countrymen. One calculated to seize on the feelings of of his subsequent affirmations I am others, and to convince the understandthe more willing to admit, because (as ing, while they possess themselves of Pope observes of Longinus) he exem- the heart. We do not say we have done plifies it himself. “ There is no coun- this, but we would have done it." try about which so much has been writ- There is something in this which at ten, and so badly and imperfectly, as first looks like meaning, but on consiIreland.” Even this, however, is illex- deration it eludes our grasp. His obpressed—it should be, there is no coun- ject, he says, was (is it should be,) to try upon which somuch has been writ- convinceto persuade, but we are not ten badly and imperfectly as Ireland ; told whom he is to convince, or of what for unquestionably there are many they are to be persuaded. The cause countries on which much more has been of Ireland is a vague and indefinite exactually written. Putting the fabulous pression; it conveys no distinct meanhistory of Ireland, as it deserves, out ing, such as might be expected from a of the question, perhaps there is no political philosopher, writing at his nation in Europe on which so little ease in the quiet retreat of Lisnabrinny, has been written. The substance of and wishing to contribute his humble all which this gentleman has compo- mite towards the improvement of his sed in elucidation of its state mighi, if native country. Warm pictures, and written in plain English, be comprized addresses to the passions, are not the in the fourth part of one of his own safest modes of convincing the underoctavos. As it is, the appendix, par- standing, particularly in that which of ticularly in the first volume, though all sciences requires the clearest head apparently less, because the print is and the coolest judgment, the science smaller, is in reality more than the of legislation. The concluding senbook to which it is appended. And tence is neither sense nor English. what do those appendices contain ? The intended meaning, if I do not Some tedious extracts from old docu- mistake it, is as follows. This it is ments, of no value but to the rakers my aim to accomplish, but I do not into antiquity, Mr Grattan's obsolete take upon me to say that I shall be sucphilippic against tithes answered and cessful. We is certainly a very improrefuted over and over, quotations from per designation of a single person, wri

« PreviousContinue »