Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

In a recent number of our journal we called the attention of correct. The lands on which the castle is situated anciently our readers to the little-appreciated beauties of Lough Erne ; constituted the Termon of St Daveog of Lough Derg, of which and we now present them with another vista of that delightful the Magraths were hereditarily the termoners or churchwar. locality in connection with the Castle of Termon Magrath, or dens; and of this family Myler Magrath was the head ; so that Termon, as it is more usually called,

which is situated at its these lands properly belonged to him anteriorly to any grant of northern extremity, in the county of Donegal. Considered as them derived through his bishopric. He was originally a a sheet of water, the lower lake appears from this side to the Franciscan friar, and being a man of distinguished abilities, greatest advantage ; but its distant shores are but little im was advanced by Pope Pius V. to the see of Down; but have proved by plantations, and consequently look comparatively ing afterwards embraced Protestantism, he was placed in the bleak and barren. In the immediate vicinity of our subject, see of Clogher by letter of Queen Elizabeth, dated 18th May however, the scenery is of the rich character for which Lough 1570, and by grant dated the 18th September, in the same Erne is so remarkable, the shores of the lake being fringed year, He remained, however, but a short time in this see, in with the plantations of the glebe of Templecarn and those of which he received but little or nothing of the revenues, and in Waterfoot, the beautiful seat of Colonel Barton.

which he was probably surrounded by enemies even among The Castle of Termon is situated in the parish of Temple-Cashel on the 3d of February, in the year following: He died

his own kindred, and was translated to the archbishopric of carn, about half a mile to the west of the pleasant and im- at Cashel at the age of one hundred, in the year 1622, and proving little town of Pettigoe, which, if it had a comfortable was interred in the choir of that ancient cathedral, where a inn, would be a good station for pleasure tourists wishing to splendid monument to his memory still exists, with a Latin enjoy the scenery of the lower Lough Erne and that of Lough inscription penned by himself, of which the following quaint Derg, with its celebrated purgatory of St Patrick.

translation is given in Harris's Ware:The foundation of this castle, according to popular tradi

Patrick, the glory of our isle and gown, tion, is ascribed to the celebrated Malmurry, or, as he was

First sat a bishop in the see of Down. usually called, Myler Magrath, the first Protestant Bishop of

I wish that I, succeeding him in place Clogher; and there is every reason to believe this tradition As bishop, had an equal share of grace. i

BY WILLIAM CARLETON.

I served thee, England, fifty years in jars,

however, too valuable to be disclosed, especially to enemies, And pleased thy princes in the midst of wars ;

who would lose no time in turning the important consequences Here where I'm placed I'm not; and thus the case is,

of it against the Danes themselves. The consequence was, I'm not in both, yet am in both the places. 1621.

that from the day the first Dane set foot upon the soil of IreHe that judgeth me is the Lord.-1 Cor. iv.

land, until that upon which they bade it adieu for ever, no Let him who stands take care lest he fall.

Irishman was ever able to get possession of it. It came to be Harris remarks, that the Roman Catholics of his diocese have known, however, and the knowledge of it is said to be still in the a tradition that he returned to his original faith previously to country, but must remain unavailable until the fulfilment of a his death, and that though it was pretended that he was bu- certain prophecy connected with the liberation of Ireland ried in his own cathedral, yet he had given private orders for shall take away the obligation of a most solemn oath, which burying his body elsewhere, to which circumstance, as they bound the original recipient of the secret to this conditional say, the two last lines of his epitaph allude.

But," says

silence. The circumstances are said to have been these:Harris, " although he was no good man, and had impoverished On the evening previous to the final embarkation of the his see by stripping it of much of its ancient estate, yet I do Danes for their own country, the wife of their prince was not find any room to call his sincerity as to his religious pro seized with the pains of childbirth, and there being no midwife fession in question, living or dying. These lines rather seem among themselves, an Irish one was brought, who, as the ento hint at the separate existence of the soul and body.” But mity between the nations was both strong and bitter, reso. however this may be, there is another tradition relative to lutely withheld her services, unless upon the condition of being him less doubtful, inasmuch as it is common to the peasantry made acquainted with this invaluable process. The crisis it of different creeds, namely, that he was the handsomest man seems being a very trying one, the condition was complied in Ireland in his day!

with; but the midwife was solemnly sworn never to commuThe Castle of Termon, like most edifices of the kind erected | nicate it to any but a woman, and never to put it in practice in the sixteenth century, consisted of a strong keep with until Ireland should be free, and any two of its provinces at circular towers at two of its angles, and encompassed by out- peace with each other. The midwife, thinking very naturally works. It was battered by Ireton from the neighbouring hill that there remained no obstacle to the accomplishment of in the parliamentary wars; but its ruins are considerable, and these conditions but the presence of the Danes themselves, by their picturesqueness add interest to the northern shore of and seeing that they were on the eve of leaving the country the lower Lough Erne.

P. for ever, imagined herself perfectly safe in entering into the

obligation ; but it so happened, says the tradition, that al

though the knowledge of the secret is among the Irish midwives THE IRISH MIDWIFE.

still, yet it never could be applied, and never will, until Ireland shall be in the state required by the terms of her oath. So

runs the tradition. Introductory.

There is, however, one species of power with which some of Of the many remarkable characters that have been formed the old midwives were said to be gifted, so exquisitely ludi. by the spirit and habits of Irish feeling among the peasantry, crous, and yet at the same time so firmly fixed in the belief of there is not one so clear, distinct, and well traced, as that of many among the people, that we cannot do justice to the chathe Midwife. We could mention several that are certainly racter without mentioning so strange an acquisition. It is marked with great precision, and that stand out in fine relief this, that where a husband happens to be cruel to his wife, or to the eye of the spectator, but none at all, who in richness suspects her unjustly, the Midwife is able, by some mysterious of colouring, in boldness of outline, or in firmness and force, charm, to inflict upon him and remove from the wife the sufcan for a moment be compared with the Midwife. The Fid ferings annexed to her confinement, as the penalty mentioned dler for instance lives à life sufficiently graphic and distinct ; | by holy writ which is to follow the sex in consequence of the so does the Dancing master, and so also does the Match: transgression of our mother Eve. Some of our readers may maker, but with some abatement of colouring. As for the perhaps imagine this to be incredible, but we assure them Cosherer, the Shanahie, the Keener, and the Foster-nurse, that it is strictly true. Such a superstition did prevail in Irealthough all mellow toned, and well individualized by the strong land among the humbler classes, and still does, to an extent power of hereditary usage, yét do they stand dim and sha- which would surprise any one not as well acquainted with old dowy, when placed face to face with this great exponent of Irish usages and superstitions as we happen to be. The mannational temperament.

ner in which the Midwife got possession of this power is as It is almost impossible to conceive a character of greater follows :-It sometimes happened that the "good people," or self-importance than an Irish Midwife, or who exhibits in her Dhoine Sheethat is, the fairies—were put to the necessity of whole bearing a more complacent consciousness of her own having recourse to the aid of the Midwife. On one of those privileges. The Fiddler might be dispensed with, and the occasions it seems, the good woman discharged her duties so Dancing-master might follow him off the stage; the Cosherer, successfully, that the fairy matron, in requital for her services Shanahie, Keener, might all disappear, and the general bus and promptitude of attendance, communicated to her this siness of life still go on as before. But not so with her whom secret, so formidable to all bad husbands. From the period we are describing; and this conviction is the very basis alluded to, say the people, it has of course been gladly transof her power, the secret source from which she draws the con- mitted from hand to hand, and on many occasions resorted to fidence that bears down every rival claim upon the affections with fearful but salutary effect. Within our own memory of the people.

several instances of its application were pointed out to us, Before we introduce Rose Moan to our kind readers, we and the very individuals themselves, when closely interro. shall briefly relate a few points of character peculiar to the gated, were forced to an assertion that was at least equivaIrish Midwife, because they are probably not in general known lent to an admission, “it was nothing but an attack of the to a very numerous class of our readers. This is a matter cholic,” which by the way was little else than a libel upon that which we are the more anxious to do, because it is undeniable departed malady. Many are the tales told of cases in which that an acquaintance with many of the old legendary powers midwives were professionally serviceable to the good people ; with which she was supposed to be invested, is fast fading but unless their assistance was repaid by the communication out of the public memory; and unless put into timely record, of some secret piece of knowledge, it was better to receive no it is to be feared that in the course of one or two generations payment, any other description of remuneration being consimore, they may altogether disappear and be forgotten. dered unfortunate. Some of those stories have been well told,

One of the least known of the secrets which old traditionary and with others of them we may probably amuse our readers lore affirmed to have been in possession of the Midwife, was the upon some future occasion. knowledge of how beer might be brewed from heather. The From this source also was derived another most valuable Irish people believe that the Danes understood and practised quality said to be possessed by the Irish Midwife, but one this valuable process, and will assure you that the liquor pre which we should suppose the virtue of our fair countrywomen pared from materials so cheap and abundant was superior in rendered of very unfrequent application. This was the power strength and flavour to any ever produced from malt. Nay, of destroying jealousy between man and wife. We forget they will tell you how it conferred such bodily strength and cou- whether it was said to be efficacious in cases of guilt, but we rage upon those who drank it, that it was to the influence should imagine that the contrary would rather hold good, as and virtue of this alone that the Danes held such a protracted an Irishman is not exactly that description of husband who sway, and won so many victories in Ireland. It was a secret, I would suffer himself to be charmed back into the arms of #

ܪ

polluted wife. This was effected by the knowledge of a cer- philtres and the use of charms in Ireland were formerly very tain herb, a decoction of which the parties were to drink nine frequent, and occasionally attended by results which had not successive times, each time before sunrise and after sunset. been anticipated. The use especially of cantharides, or French Of course the name of the herb was kept a profound secret; fies, in the hands of the ignorant, has often been said to induce but even if it had been known, it could have proved of little madness, and not unfrequently to occasion death. It is not value, for the full force of its influence depended on a charm very long since a melancholy case of the latter from this very which the Midwife had learned among the fairies. Whether cause appeared in an Irish newspaper, it was the Anacampserotes of the middle ages or not, is diffi- The Midwife was also a great interpreter of dreams, omens, cult to say; but one thing is certain, that not only have mid- auguries, and signs of all possible sorts, and no youngsters wives, but other persons of both sexes, gone about through the who ever consulted her need be long at a loss for a personal country professing to cure jealousy by the juice or decoction view of the object of their love. They had only to seek in of a mysterious herb, which was known only to themselves. some remote glen or dell for a briar whose top had taken root It is not unlikely to suppose that this great secret after all in the ground; this they were to put under their pillow and was nothing more than a perverted application of the Waters sleep upon, and the certain consequence was, that the image of of Jealousy mentioned by Moses, and that it only resembled the future wife or husband would appear to them in a dream. many other charms practised in this and other countries, which She was also famous at cup-tossing: and nothing could sur. are generally founded upon certain passages of Scripture. pass the shrewd and sapient expression of her face as she sat Indeed, there is little doubt that the practice of attempting to solemnly peering into the grounds of the tea for the imaginary cure jealousy by herbs existed elsewhere as well as in Ireland ; | forms of rings, and love-letters, and carriages, which were and one would certainly imagine that Shakspeare, who left necessary to the happy purport of ber divination, for she felt. nothing connected with the human heart untouched, must great reluctance to forete!l calamity. She seldom, however, have alluded to the very custom we are treating of, when he had recourse to card-cutting, whieh she looked upon as an makes lago, speaking of Othello's jealousy, say,

unholy practice; the cards, as every one knows, being the only “ Look where he comes ! not poppy nor mandragora,

book on which the devil says his prayers night and morning.

Who has not heard of his prayer-book !
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep

We are now to consider the Midwife in the capacity of a
Which thou hadst yesterday."

woman not only brimful of medicinal knowledge, but possessed

of many secrets, which the mere physician or apothecary could Here it is quite evident that the efficaey of the “syrups” never penetrate. As a doctress, she possessed a very high respoken of was to be tried upon the mind only in which the putation for all complaints incident to children and females ; Moor's horrible malady existed. That Shakspeare, in the land where herbal skill failed, unlike the mere scientifie man passage quoted, alluded to this singular custom, is, we think, of diploinas, she could set physical causes and effects aside, at least extremely probable.

and have recourse at once to the supernatural and miraculous. We have said that the Midwife stood high as a matchmaker, For instance, there are two complaints which she is, beyond and so unquestionably she did. No woman was better ac- any other individual, celebrated for managing that is to say, quainted with charms of all kinds, especially with those that headache, and another malady which is anonymous, or only were calculated to aid or throw light upon the progress of known to country folk by what is termed “the spool or bone love. If for instance young persons of either sex felt doubt of the breast being down.” The first she cures by a very foras to whether their passion was returned, they generally con- mal and serious process called “measuring the head." This sulted the Midwife, who, on hearing a statement of their ap- is done by a ribbon, which she puts round the cranium, repeatprehensions, appointed a day on which she promised to satisfy ing during the admeasurement a certain prayer or charm from them. Accordingly, at the time agreed upon, she and the which the operation is to derive its whole efficacy. The meaparty interested repaired as secretly as might be, and with suring is performed twice-in the first instance, to show that much mystery, to some lonely place, where she produced a its sutures are separated by disease, or, to speak more plainly, Bible and key, both of which she held in a particular position that the bones of the head are absolutely opened, and that as --that is, the Bible suspended by a string which passed through a natural consequence the head must be much larger than when the key. She then uttered with a grave and solemn face the the patient is in a state of health. The circumference of the following verses from the Book of Ruth, which the young per- first admeasurement is marked upon a ribbon, after which she son accompanying her was made to repeat slowly and delibe- repeats the charm that is to remove the headache, and mearately after her :

sures the cranium again, in order to show, by a comparison of “ And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee or to return the two ribbons, that the sutures have been closed, the charm from following after thee: for whither thou goest I will go; successful, and the headache consequently removed. It is and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my impossible to say how the discrepancy in the measurement is people, and thy God my God:

brought about ; but be that as it may, the writer of this has "Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried : frequently seen the operation performed in such a way as to the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part defy the most scrutinising eye to detect any appearance of thee and me."

imposture, and he is convinced that in the majority of cases If at the conclusion of these words the Bible turned, she there is not the slightest imposture intended. The operator affirmed, with the air of a prophetess, not only that the affec. is in truth a dupe to a strong and delusive enthusiasm. tion of the parties was mutual, but that their courtship would When the Midwife raises the spool of the breast, the operaterminate in marriage. If, on the contrary, it remained station is conducted without any assistance from the supernatutionary, the passion existed only on one side, and the parties ral. If a boy or girl diminishes in flesh, is troubled with want were not destined for each other. Oh, credulous love ! not to of rest or of appetite, without being afflicted with any parti. see that the venerable sybil could allow the Bible to turn or cular disease, either acute or local, the Midwife puts her not, just as she may have previously ascertained from either finger under the bone which projects over the pit of the stoparty whether their attachinent was reciprocal or otherwise ! mach, and immediately feels that “the spool of the breast is We dare say the above charm is seldom resorted to now, down”-in other words, she informs the parents that the bone and of course this harmless imposition on the lovers will soon is bent inwards, and presses upon the heart! The raising of cease to be practised at all.

this precisely resembles the operation of cupping. She gets a The Midwife's aid to lovers, however, did not stop here. penny piece, which she places upon the spot affected, the If they wished to create a passion in some heart where it had patient having been first laid in a supine posture; after this not previously existed, she told them to get a dormouse and she burns a little spirits in a tumbler in order to exhaust the reduce it to powder, a pinch of which, if put into the drink of air in it; she then presses it quickly against the part which is the person beloved, would immediately rivet his or her affec- under the penny piece; and in a few moments, to the amazetions upon the individual by whose hands it was administered. ment of the lookers-on, it is drawn strongly up, and remains Many anecdotes are told of humorous miscarriages that re- so until the heart-bone is supposed to be raised in such a mansulted from a neglect of this condition. One is especially ner as that it will not return. well known, of a young woman who gave the potion through The next charm for which she is remarkable among the the hands of her grandmother; and the consequence was, that pecple, is that by which a mote is taken out of the eye. The the bachelor immediately made love to the old lady instead of inanner of doing this is as follows :-A white basin is got, the young one, and eventually became grandfather to the lat. and a jug of the purest water ; the midwife repeatedly rinses ter instead of her husband. Indeed, the administering of I her mouth with the water, until it returns as pure and clear

BY COUL GOPPAGH.

as when she took it in. She then walks to and fro, repeating much mystery, and intimates that she could tell many strange the words of the charm, her mouth all the time filled with the stories of high life ; but she is always too honourable to betray water. When the charm is finished, she pours the water out the confidence that has been reposed in her good faith and of her mouth into the clean basin, and will point out the mote, secrecy. In her dress she always consults warmth and comor whatever it may have been, floating in the water, or lying fort, and seldom or never looks to appearance. Flannel and in the bottom of the vessel. In fact, you could scarcely men- cotton she heaps on herself in abundant folds, and the consetion a malady with which the Midwife of the old school was quence is, that although subject to all the inclemency of the not prepared to grapple by the aid of a charm. The tooth- seasons both by night and day, she is hardly ever known to ache, the cholic, measles, childbirth, all had their respective be sick. The cottage of the Midwife may in general be known charms. The latter especially required one of a very pithy by the mounting-stone which is beside her door, and which cast. Every one knows that the power of fairies in Ireland is enables her without difficulty or loss of time to get on horsenever so strong, nor so earnestly put forth, as in the moment back behind the impatient messenger. The window of her of parturition, when they strive by all possible means to se- bedroom is also remarkable for its opening on hinges like a cure the new-born infant before it is christened, and leave a door, a thing not usual in the country. This is to enable her thangeling in its stead. Invaluable indeed is the midwife who to thrust forth her well-flannelled head without any possible is possessed of a charm to prevent this, and knows how to ar- delay, in order to inquire the name of the party requiring her range all the ceremonies that are to be observed upon the aid, the length of journey before her, and such other particuoccasion without making any mistake, for that would vitiate lars as she usually deems necessary. The sleep of the Midall. Many a time on such occasions have the ribs of the roof wife is almost peculiar in its character to herself. No person been made to crack, the windows rattled out, the door pushed sleeps more soundly and deeply than she does, unless to a with violence, and the whole house shaken as if it would tum- knock at the door or a tap at the window, to both of which ble about their heads—and all by the fairies--but to no pur- it may be said she is ever instinctively awake. We questica pose: the charm of the midwife was a rock of defence; the if a peal of cannon discharged at her house-side would dis. necessary precautions had been taken, and they were ulti- turb her ; but give on the other hand the slightest possible mately forced to depart in a strong blast of wind, screaming knock or tap at either her door or window, and ere you could and howling with rage and disappointment as they went. imagine she bad time to awaken, the roll of flannel that con

There were also charms for the diseases of cattle, to cure tains her head is thrust out of the window, which there exist in Ireland some processes of very distant Having thus recited everything, so far as we could rememantiquity. We ourselves have seen elemental fire produced by her it, connected with the social antiquities of her calling, and the friction of two green boughs together, applied as a remedy detailed some matters not generally known, that may, we trust, for the black-leg and murrain. This is evidently of Pagan be interesting to those who are fond of looking at the springs origin, and must have some remote afinity with the old doc- which often move rustic society, we now close this “Essay on trines of Baal, the ancient god of fire, whose worship was once Midwifery," hoping to be able to bring the Midwife herself so general in Ireland.

personally on the stage in our next, or at least in an early Of these charms it may be said that they are all of a reli- number. gious character, some of them evidently the production of imposture, and others apparently of those who seriously be

GLIMPSES IN THE MOUNTAINS. lieved in their efficacy. There is one thing peculiar about them, which is, that they must be taught to persons of the opposite sex: a man, for instance, cannot teach a charm to a What can have become of the old world I remember long man, nor a woman to a woman, but he may to a woman, as a long ago—almost twenty years ago ? It is a weary look woman may to a man. If taught or learned in violation of backward, and the distance hides it. This is not the world I this principle, they possess no virtue.

was born in. I remember when the old men used to show me In treating of the Irish Midwife, we cannot permit ourselves the ways they walked in, scores of years before, and the very to overlook the superstition of the “lucky caul," which comes so corners and the footpaths through the fields. Here they met clearly within her province. The caul is a thin membrane, an old friend—there they took shelter from a storm. On this about the consistence of very fine silk, which covers the head lake they skated all day--from that hill they saw the ships of a new-born infant like a cap. It is always the omen of returning with victory from foreign war. Men walked quietly great good fortune to the infant and parents; and in Ireland, together then in silence or friendly talk, and did not jostle when any one has unexpectedly fallen into the receipt of pro- each other from the way; they went to bed and rose as the perty, or any other temporal good, it is customary to say sun did ; they followed in their fathers' ways-read the same * such a person was born with a lucky caul' on his head.” books, laughed at the same fine old jokes, and believed their

Why these are considered lucky, it would be a very difficult posterity would do the same. Old men then wore grey hairs, matter to ascertain. Several instances of good fortune, hap- and saw their children's children, and were venerable. But pening to such as were born with them, might by their coinci- they are all gone ; and could they look out of their graves (if dences form a basis for the superstition; just as the fact of indeed their very graves be spared), they would not know the three men during one severe winter having been found old world they used to live in. drowned, each with two shirts on, generated an opinion which It is all changed now with us old fellows of five-and-twenty. has now become fixed and general in that parish, that it is We are left doting among the ruins of our youth. There is unlucky to wear two shirts at once. We are not certain whe- nothing left to us of our early days. The old crooked grassy ther the caul is in general the perquisite of the Midwife--some- byeways where we went to gather blackberries and idle away times we believe it is ; at all events, her integrity occasionally a summer day, have been gone over by the surveyor's chain, yields to the desire of possessing it. In many cases she con- and some straight cut, with prim, bare fences, has run it down. ceals its existence, in order that she may secretly dispose of The little stream has been piped over, and, where it “ babbled it to good advantage, which she frequently does ; for it is con- o'green fields,” is a noisy, muddy thoroughfare. Over the sidered to be the herald of good fortune to those who can get green glen where the hazels nourished their brown clusters, it into their possession. Now, let not our English neighbours strides a cursed viaduct ; the execrable railway has frighted smile at us for those things until they wash their own hands the linnets from the boughs, and a bird's nest shall never more clear of such practices. At this day a caul will bring a good be found. In the lonely bay where we used to gather shells, price in the most civilized city in the world--to wit, the good thinking ourselves in fairy land, and wondering what lay be. city of London-the British metropolis. Nay, to such lengths yond the dim horizon, the steamboat roars and splashes. "Riot has the mania for cauls been carried there, that they have been and swearing and slang and vice of cities have usurped the actually advertised for in the Times newspaper.

quiet haunts of country calm and charity. Of a winter evening, at the fireside, there can be few more It is for a coming age all these things are preparing: to us amusing companions than a Midwife of the old school. She is allotted only the vexation and bewilderment. I have no has the smack of old times and old usages about her, and associations to link me to these horrors, and I prefer the old tastes of that agreeable simplicity of manners which always | repose to all the luxuries they bring. What is it to me that betokens a harmless and inoffensive heart. Her language is I can go to East or West in so many days sooner, or even it at once easy, copious, and minute, and if a good deal pedan- the sun that sets on me to-night should rise for me to-morrow tic, the pedantry is rather the traditionary phraseology and by the Ganges? Here is my “fortunate isle;" this is my antique humour which descends with her profession, than the home where my heart is. I have no business with Egypt or peculiar property or bias of her individual mind. She affects the Nile. I wish to sit undisturbed by my own fireside, to

a

[ocr errors]

walk under the old trees, to look on my own fields, to be rich man looks-poor unreckoning fool!—and never pauses to warmed by my own sun. But they will dig a canal through think and tremble. my silent walks, and the infernal city will pour through these Here the wild bee sings among the rich fragrance of the banks its restless impurity, and make them echo with the laugh- heather-bells and thyme, gathering pure honey, fresh from ter of brutal debauchery.

the breath of the immediate sunrise. The larks have their It is something for a man to look on the same scenes he nests among the heath by thousands, and make the whole looked on in his childhood, among the same fields and trees mountain musical. Many strange insects, born and dying in and household ways his forefathers tilled and planted, and the hour, that live on dew-drops, buzz by, and a thousand unknew before him. There is a sanctity grows round them year known creatures, gifted with voice, inhabiting small twigs in by year, enriching the heart, that cannot be broken through | labyrinths of greenest moss, join in the hymn. The invisible nor profaned without a loss never to be repaired. The exile wind, like a ruler of the strings, pours in a sovereign mastercan still listen to the whispering of the woods and the sound note that blends in all one solemn harmony, filling the air till of the streams, but he remembers the woods and waters of the valleys sing for joy. his native land with tears. In twenty years I have grown old Here is Solitude, unforced, and free as the wandering wind. and an exile where I was born. Huge piles have covered the Here is peace like the summer life of untrodden blossoms. green where I played. The roar of busy streets insults the Here is a lofty quiet as of the dreams of the heart over its memory of the green lanes where I strolled at evening: holy memories. Here are everlasting rocks, steadfast as ho

There is no country now. The city has invaded the soli- nour, and true. Here is wealth for Fancy, and a dwelling for tude, and vice and impudent folly march in its rear. The Imagination. Wide and far as the peaks can seek the heabumpkin imitates the swagger of the citizen—the ploughman vens, there is no place for Envy or Hate, where the glens are talks politics—the haymaker shakes the swathe and discourses vocal, and the holy silence compels the heart to adoration, of political economy--the reaper questions the revenue. making a haven for religion among the mighty hills

The mountains yet remain! I can see them, still, from my What throes of central agony heaved up these huge moandoor ; I can see them from the city streets. I can climb up | tains, twisting and folding each into each away as far as the their rugged sides still, and bless God that no discoverer as eye can follow ! What pangs and convulsions at the heart ! yet has uprooted the hills.

What startling from chaotic trance, long before man or his My heart is with them, for they have not changed. With mammoth ancestors, at the creative song of some wandering them I have still a sovereign sympathy, for I can look on them star-messenger, millions of years upon its way! and renew the fancies of my infancy. There is not a torrent My heart enlarges here, and recognises an aërial amity with pouring down their sides, not a crag nor a bramble, that is the sky. I am filled with celestial promptings. I shake off not reverend in my eye.

all incumbrance of the earth. I stretch out my arms to the The world is drunk, and raves. Come away from these blue heaven, and its breath comes into my bosom as a friend. reeling bacchanals, and let us fare among the hills! Long The stir of humanity is dumb beneath me. I leap among the ago, before the time of history, some naked savage here has heathy knolls. I sing beside the infant rivers. I shout, and worshipped the sunrise ; some Druid sacrificed his victims; hear answers from the lurking echoes, like the mysterious some barbarian Spartacus, lurking among the wild deer and voices of infinite years. I drink in unused air with the wolves, has defied his nation'; some young warrior, with

“ Fair creatures of the element, tears on his hardy cheek, has pointed up thither, whispering to

That in the colours of the rainbow live, one beside him dearer than his name, his clan, or his life, and

And play i' the plighted clouds." sped away on the wings of love to the peace and safety of the mountains.

I stand wrapt in mute visions, growing into the majesty of These noble fronts have never varied. The clouds float the mountains. I spurn Decay and Time. I share the enhere over the same ridges on which the eyes of our childhood during strength, and carry lightly the burden of centuries. rested, and of the men of old time. The clank of monstrous The mountains swell up around me like a sea with billows. engines has never yet dismayed the primeval stillness. My footfall is inaudible, and I fleet to and fro like the unbo

The skeleton of creation is visible here, and we see the be- died soul of a great poet that makes the worlds it sees. There ginnings of the world. This solid granite sparkled in the sun are no furrows on this soil : the curse has not fallen here. when " the evening and the morning were the first day," and The sweat of the brow has not dropped here, nor aught save was as firm and solid to the centre when the world was “ with the rain and the dew of heaven. I am still nearer to the anout form and void.” This whinstone rock has been hardened gels, and my spirit begins to put forth unaccustomed wings. in some earthquake furnace long since then, and these flints The ancient gods still linger here, and Antiquity has not are new, though they held fire before Prometheus suffered. yet grown old. The world has not yet heard “the voice of This soft soil is the relics of the life and death of a thousand one crying in the wilderness," nor has Paul yet preached. green years, and the fresh bloom that feeds on its decay will Here I am a devout Pagan. I am the friend of Plato; I renourish succeeding blossoms.

member the voice of Socrates. I worship the Gods reveThe Western nations look here for the dawn, and the people rently, and have come up hither with sacrifice according to of the East for sunset. Young children look up here from the voice of the oracle. cottage doors at evening, and see the portals of Paradise I have drunk with the muses at this fountain. Here, under opened, gazing through vistas brighter than imagination, un- the hanging ivy from the rock, I behold the real Castaly; and folding far into the heart of heaven, and hold their breath, wherever the stream may wander, it will carry music on its waiting for the passage of the archangels. This is a glori- way from divinest voices. From this clump I have listened fied soil. On these peaks hang the morning and the evening to Apollo teaching the shepherds. Yea, I feel my veins stars. The sun and the moon come here to do them honour; tingling with a more celestial liquor ; I own invulnerable limbs, and they clothe themselves with gold and azure, and purple, and am myself a God! deeper than the Tyrian, to receive their celestial guests. It was not Mercury, but I, who passed swiftly down yon

High up here in this blessed solitude there is life, and liberty green declivity with feathered feet, and away over the hillof heart, and sacred peace. No fenced-in space confines me tops like the shadow of a cloud. Those cattle brousing in the here. I breathe in a domain as wide as the horizon, as high thicket, far down the ravine, I stole from Pieria. I bear the as the planets and the sun. The clouds are my fellow-wan- imperial mandates, and the breeze carries the sound of my derers here, and enjoy with me the liberal bosom of the air. eloquence through all theàforests. Their ethereal hills and dales invite my fancy to a real heaven, But I aspire to loftier seats. This is the high Olympus ; where I gather all I love around me. Their shadows cover Saturn is baffled, and immortal Jove laughs at the terrible prome as they pass over, and I bid them “ God speed” as they phecies of the enduring Titan. Let him rend his rivets. Let carry cool showers down to the thirsting land. No miser- him melt the heart of Caucasus, or appease the Vulture ! able moan of want or sickness, no sob of long-breaking hearts, Would that I could as easily escape the reproaches of Juno, or no choked sigh of cheated hope, nor any human woe, alarms overcome Danäe! But it shall rain gold to-morrow in her lap, me here. I see no loathsome household, plague-stricken with and Leda shall fondle in her snowier bosom a snowy swan. poverty, and festering in filth, despised of men, and famish. Meanwhile let the nectar be poured! The laughing gods suring into horrors and crime: no form of woman (black shame round me, and I know immortal vigour. How Mercury jeered before God!) wading in fætid rags through mire and snow, at the grinning Vulcan erewhile as he writhed his iron sinews, with those awful human (!) children of hers, debased as the when I held him over the edge of heaven! Here I compel the swine with whom they sleep (for charity!) and on whom the clouds around me; I sit throned, and thunder.

« AnteriorContinuar »