Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

it not for his imperfect and unpleas- The subject of tnese slight sketches ing utterance, would be listened to are all extremely clever men : yet with much satisfaction, as a man de- (how rare is genius !) even in the Irish livering no mean sentiments with free- Catholic Association there has not apdom, dignity, and fire.

peared a second Sheil.

S.

TO THE MEN OF MILAN,

By the Author of " The Plagues of Ireland.' On the the emperor and empress arrived at Milan, and were received with acclamations : in the evening their majesties honoured the Opera by their presence ; after which a grand ball,' &c. &c.---Times, July 25, 1825.

LEAVE to frail Fashion's tribe their toys,

Their opera and their ball;
Oh! leave them to their boasted joys,

Poor, vain, and worthless, all !
Aside let thoughts of mirth be flung,

Forth through your country go;
And proinpt the old, and teach the young,

To grapple with the foe:
Some seeds may find a barren soil,
But others shall repay your toil.
Haunt not the tyrant's showy court,
Heed not his treacherous sinile

e ;
Let homeborn vassals there resort,

And bow and cringe the while.
To some, perchance, that scene seems gay:

Tis not the place for those,
Who.think there yet may come a day

To end their country's woes :
He, who shall join the despot there,
Is formed that despot's yoke to wear.
Smooth seems he in this easy hour ;

All, all is sunshine now;
No lingering cloud is seen to lour

Upon that changing brow :
Gay glances greet the crowds around,

Smooth words to all are given,
And every joyless sight and sound

Far, far away is driven.
Oh! go and breathe the dungeon's air,
And mark what sights and sounds are there !
There Liberty's crushed votaries sigh,

There droop the suffering brave;
Chained in their cheerless cells they lie,

Laid living in the grave.
And shall they ne'er again be free

To tread their own loved soil ?
Is glorious beauteous Italy

Marked as a tyrant's spoil ?
Ye millions whom the clime can boast,
Why sleep ye when the land is lost?

K.

BETTHEEN-A-VRYNE.

The old man had but a small train and the big tear that hung upon the attending his obsequies. He died at cheek of her child, who knelt beside a distance from the home of his her, and uttered words of soothing in fathers, and the person who had the pauses of her prayer. At length been sent to varn his kinsmen and they quitted the churchyard, and descendants of his death came late their talk was of him whom they had with the tidings.

They were not left behind. aware that he was coming to reside I lingered after the rest_his blood with them for ever; and but few were was in my veins;

I wished to give a gathered to wait on him to his last tear to his memory, but I would not abode.

have it marked whilst I shed it. "Tis 'Twas a lovely evening, in the lat- an unamiable disposition, yet I cannot ter end of February, when we arrived conquer it, although I acknowledge at the churchyard. The obsequies Tears have a quality of manhood in them, were concluded whilst yet the last When shed for those we love. beam of the setting sun was quivering I loitered amongst the monuments on the stream beside us, and gilding of the lords of the manor to conceal the leafless trees that crowned the myself from the others whilst they heights above. There was no wail- were departing. I had just light ing ; the remembrance of his age- enough to spell out the rhymes which the conviction which had long before told the virtues of generations of the dwelt upon our minds that he must D--:I contrasted their last abodes soon depart—had robbed grief of with that which we had just closed, more than half its anguish ; and the ex- and thought - Thou too, old man, pression upon every countenance was shalt have thine epitaph, less pompous sorrow, chastened by resignation. perhaps, but not less sincere.'- He had You would have thought, whilst they --I scrawled the following with my hung in silent prayer over the green pencil, and fastened it with a twig to turf, that they were but performing the sod. The next shower,' thought some religious rite, on which no I,‘ will wash it away :-no matter; a shadow of earthly affection obtruded few years will do the same by the but for the stifled sobs that broke marble.' I shall make no apology from a woman who had thrown her- for inserting it ; 'tis the epitaph of an self across the grave-his daughter; honest man :

J. R. AGED 90.

DIED FEB. 17th, 1825.
Though here no lofty mausoleum swells,

Its proud possessor's titles to unfold,
Beneath this grassy mound, in silence, dwells

The warmest heart that ever yet grew cold !
If costly piles should mark where virtue lies,

And worth by numbers to its grave be borne,
O’er thee the proudest pyramid should rise,

And weeping thousands at thy funeral mourn.
Though few thy train, yet every bosom there

With deep and saddening thought of thee was riven ;
Though many joined not, heartfelt was the prayer

That hailed thy spirit on its way to heaven.
And here, in this thy humble last abode,

As sweetly wilt thou sleep, as calmly rest,
As if the sculptured marble's ponderous load,

In its cold grandeur, o'er thy ashes prest.
Farewell! though long on earth thou didst sojourn,

And hardly earned the meed thou now hast gained,
Forgive the selfishness that bids us mourn,

And prompts the wish that thou hadst still remained.
Vol. I.-No. 7.

'Twas late when we arrived at the people home in a cart had seen somca mountain hamlet which was to be our thing on the common at his return, home during our stay in the country: and had gone to bed sick. I questhat stay was not long protracted by tioned them as to what this something those with whom I came from the might be, but they seemed desirous of city; but the novelty of rural manners, declining any definition: at length, and the desire of observing the cha- with some hesitation, they told me racter of my countryınen in their 'twas a spirit; but whether it were less sophisticated state, tempted me male or female, or whether a human to remain for a period longer. To figure at all, they seemed unwilling relate some of these observations, as or unable to inform me : all I could far as they regard the superstitions learn was, that, as Lheam came over which exist in that part of the coun. the common, the horse* (for it seems try, was the purpose for which I took horses are better ghost-seers than up my pen :--the occasion of my men) stopped suddenly, and neither journey obtruded itself on me, and, whipping nor wheedling could get rather than contend with it, I gave it him forward. Lheam began to grow a place.

terrified; his hair stood on end, his A few evenings after the funeral, limbs trembled, and, looking fearfully whilst I was reading by a comfortable round, he saw something at the other turf fire, around which the family sat side of the horse. At length, by conversing in Irish, a neighbour came almost dragging him along, Lheam in with a story did not attend at got the animal as far as the next first; I did not understard the lan- cabin, from which having procured a guage, and so continued reading until spark of fire (i. e. a sod of turf), he the earnestness, almost approaching travelled on,

without

any

inconto awe, of the relater, and the sub- venience from his ghostly visitor, till dued tones of the commentators the mountain wind wasted the spark, around, attracted my attention. I laid on which it returned again. He was down

my

book, and looked. I knew now near the glen; forced the horse by the first glance that it was a ghost and cart down a pass nearly precipistory, for the women drew their tous; crossed the stream; and left sushtheens closer to each other, the his unwelcome acquaintance (who it children squeezed themselves into the seems could not pass running water) innermost corner of the chimney at the other side. Here he tried to nook, and the men looked at each check his horse, but in vain; the other and at the speaker with a mix- animal seemed to fly up the hill where ture of wonder, curiosity, and I can't before he used to toi), and Lheam, say fear, for few are less fearful than finding all opposition vain, flung himthe Irish peasantry, though scarcely self into the cart, and left it to its any are more credulous; but it seem- own discretion. ed that sort of sensation with which When they arrived at the yard of we hang over a dreadful precipice, the house, the noise of the cart, and whence we could depart, but would the rapidity with which it entered, not, because of the pleasure which drew the family out in alarm, and accompanies the dread that is excited. they found the horse panting at the I could perceive a dash of scepticism door, his nostrils dilated, his eyes in the countenances of some; in the staring, his mane erect, every sinew others it was unmixed credulity. strained, every vein swelled almost to

On asking the subject of their con- bursting, and his body covered with versation, they informed me that the foam and sweat; whilst Lheam was person who had taken the towns- taken from the cart, as they said,

* A Hint to Phrenologists.-An acquaintance, a gentleman of high literary and scientific reputation, who has observed with attention the superstitions of his countrymen, has given me the gradations of the ghost-seeing power in animals. It appears that a dog is the most highly gifted in this particular; a mare the next. Here I must observe that I should suppose (to use an Hibernicism) Lheam's horse was a mare, though my ignorance of what I have since learned prevented my making the inquiry. A woman is the next, and a man the least gifted. Quere--Have phrenologists observed in which of these animals the organ of imaginativeness is most largely developed ?

1

more dead than alive. He kept his may afford some gratification to your bed the next day, but, I am happy to readers. say, was quite recovered from his fright before 1 left the country..

BETTHEEN-A-VRYNE. I laughed at the story, and tried to Upwards of a hundred years since, convince them that those who have the country around Araglen was kept shuffled off this mortal coil' are in a state of constant alarm by the likely to have inore serious occupa- depredations of two brothers, named tion than running about the common O'Bryne, or Byrne, who, together frightening poor people who were with a family of the Keeffes, surnamed employed on their business. That, if Nhealeg, (the wicked,) laid every spirits did return to earth, which I small gentleman and comfortable neither undertook to affirın or deny, farmer in the neighbourhood under it must be for some special purpose contribution; and not unfrequently of Providence, and to accomplish some added ill treatment, and sometimes end which could not be effected in even murder, to the catalogue of their the ordinary course of events. That, crimes. Nay, so bold were they in viewing it in this light, we must dis- their villainies, that having at one believe the so frequent appearance of tine attacked the house of a gentlespiritual beings, since it is impossible man, named Bible, on the banks of to conceive that God made Nature so the Blackwater, and missing the imperfect as to be unable to perform booty upon which they calculated, her own operations without such fre. after stripping the place of what was quent assistance from extraordinary most portable in plate, furniture, and agents. I perceived that, though I provisions, they departed, tying up made some impression on those who their plunder in the ticken of a bed, were before inclined to be incredulous, which they emptied for the purpose, I was only wasting my time with the and leaving word with Bible’s wife (for believers, who clung, more firmly to he himself was fortunately absent) to their opinions in resisting my efforts he prepared with five hundred pounds to drag them from them. I asked against their return on that day week; whether they related these stories to which appointment they actually their clergymen, and what they said kept, though Bible thought it wise to on the subject ? They answered that decamp in the interim to a newlyhe made some such observations as I taken residence at Youghal. did, desiring them to return home They sometimes transacted busisober, and they would fall in with no ness in a more covert manner, and more spirits.

others paid the penalty of their misThis story led to another, and deeds. In one of these secret attacks another; and a variety of instances, on the house of a Mr. Watkins, of which could be attested by persons Waterpark, whom they robbed and then living, were adduced ; and a murdered, one of the O'Brynes receivvariety of arguments, by no means ed a wound on the shin by stumbling deficient of ingenuity, were urged to over an iron pot as he was ransackshake my scepticism. Amongst others ing through the kitchen. When the was the story of Bettheen-a-Vryne, who alarm was raised, two persons, named still visited the glen beneath us ; and Ryland and Keating, people of some some hinted that if I took a inidnight respectability in the county of Tipwalk upon the bridge the lady might perary, were taken up on suspicion ; be kind enough to dissipate my doubts they had been playing at goal on that by a visit.

The wild singularity of day, or some short time prior; and one the tale attracted my attention; and, of them having received a cut on the if it be not spoiled 'in my narration, shin from a hurly,* the servants

* Like M Rory, in O'Donnell, who thought every body knew the master, I imagined that every body knew what a hurly was, till the same ingenious friend who corrected me on ghost-seeing informed me that the English are about as well acquainted with it as they are with potheen : 'that is, that some men of taste for inquiries into national amusaments, like some men of better taste in inquiries after national potations, Peter the Great's Irish, wine, &c. might have learned something of it in the course of their studies. I must, therefore, Mr. Editor, inform you, who I hope are a person of better

of Watkins, who had observed the pensity to cruelty as is attributed to accident which occurred to Byrne, Bettheen could exist in any bosom, took this as a corroboration of what- much less in that of a woman; but ever other testimony appeared against the tradition of the whole country these unfortunate men, and they were is strong against her. Nay, when hanged at Cork, on circumstantial some faint gleams of humanity (and evidence, in the year 1722.

the occurrence was very unfrequent) Their innocence of the crime was would break on the rugged hearts of afterwards made manifest by the con- her brothers, this fiend in human fession of a person named William form cursed them for chicken-hearted Lyne, who, being about to be exe- rascals, and punished them on the cuted in some time afterwards, de- spot for what she termed their clared upon the scaffold that James cowardice. Byrne, Michael Byrne, another, and Yet she could sometimes be obhimself, were the only persons con- liging; and an instance of her kindcerned in the murder and robbery for ness has been mentioned, which, as it which Keating and Ryland so inno- also serves to illustrate her bodily cently suffered, The circumstance strength, I will relate here: is related in the “Cork Remema One day, as Bettheen was about to brancer,' and should be an everlasting cross the Blackwater, (it being a good warning to judges, jurors, and wit- deal swoln at the time,) with a bag of nesses, of the dangers, the doubts, and corn on her back, which she meant to difficulties, attending circumstantial dispose of at a neighbouring town, evidence.

she perceived three men preparing to Great as was the terror excited by cross, yet at the same time displaying the name of these robbers, it was ex- some terror at the swell which was in ceeded by that of their sister Bet- the river. Seeing them neighbours of theen-a Vryne, who surpassed them her own, and being in one of her in bodily strength and savage daring, holiday humours, she desired them as much as she exceeded them in not to be at the trouble of stripmental depravity. To the force of a ping, as she would take them across giantess she added the malignity of a on her back. I must here inform you Send ;

(lest the good people from whom I And, where her glance of hatred darkly fell,

had the story, and who seemed to lay Hope withering fled, and Mercy shrieked particular stress on this part of the

nar. • Farewell.'

ration, should, if ever they meet with

my version, deem it spoiled in the It is related of her, that, when en- telling) that these sojourners by gaged in their predatory proceedings, Blackwater's stream

were a shoewhilst the brothers were ransacking maker, a tailor, and a weaver. Betfor plunder, she indulged her hellish theen desired the shoemaker to mount disposition in inflicting the most re- first upon the sack ; then the weaver ; fined tortures on such of the wretched and, having ascertained that they were inmates as were unhappy enough to up, desired the tailor, the lightest fall into her power. It is almost im- portion of her load, being I forget possible to think that such a pro- how many parts of a man, to settle taste, that a hurly is a piece of timber, about three and a half feet long, and shaped thus:

with which a large-sized ball is tossed from one end of a field to another. The game is called goaling, the favourite, and indeed the principal, amusement of the Irish peasantry, and in which villages, parishes, baronies, and frequently counties and provinces, contend for the honour of victory. It is played in the following manner :-The ball is placed in the middle of a field or common, which an equal number of persons elected out of the opposing parties, (whose election, by-theby, involving the reputation of large portions of the community, are made with a greater regard to the end in view than some with which I am acquainted, 7 strike at with the aforementioned hurly, each striving to opposite ends of the field, the conquest remaining with the party which succeeded in the attempt. 'Tis a very healthful sport, affording a great display of strength and agility; and, but that the angry passions, which are always excited in trials of strength, and which in this instance are heightened by the presence of the disputant's sweethearts, sometimes make it terminate dangerously, it would be a noble exercise.

« AnteriorContinuar »