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he can venture at this day to commemorate, with safety to himseli, or perhaps with honour to his country, are to be looked for in those times when the native monarchs of Ireland displayed and fostered virtues worthy of a better age; when our Malachies wore collars of gold which they had won in single combat from the invader, * and our Briens deserved the blessings of a people by all the most estimable qualities of a king. It may be said, indeed, that the magic of tradition has shed a charm over this remote period to which it is in reality but little entitled, and that most of the pictures, which we dwell on so fondly, of days when this island was distinguished amidst the gloom of Europe, by the sanctity of her morals, the spirit of her knighthood, and the polish of her schools, are little more than the inventions of national partiality,--that bright but spurious offspring which vanity engenders upon ignor. ance, and with which the first records of every people abound. But the sceptic is scarcely to be envied who would pause for stronger proofs than we already possess of the early glories of Ireland ; and were even the veracity of all these proofs surrendered, yet who would not fly to such flattering fictions from the sad degrading truths which the history of later times presents to us ?
The language of sorrow, however, is, in general, best suited to our Music, and with themes of this nature the poet may be amply supplied. There is not a page of our annals which cannot afford him a subject, and while the national Muse of other countries adorns her temple with trophies of the past, in Ireland her altar, like the shrine of Pity at Athens, is to be known only by the tears that are shed upon it"; "lacrymis altaria sudant." +
There is a well-known story, related of the Antiochians under the reign of Theodosius, which is not only honourable to the powers of music in general, but which applies so peculiarly to the mourn. ful melodies of Ireland that I cannot resist the temptation of introducing it here.-The piety of Theodosius would have been ad. mirable if it had not been stained with intolerance; but his reign, I believe, affords the first example of a disqualifying penal code enacted by Christians against Christians. Whether his interferance with the religion of the Antiochians had any share in the alienation of their loyalty is not expressly ascertained by historians; but severe edicts, heavy taxation, and the rapacity and insolence of the men whom he sent to govern them, sufficiently account for the discontents of a warm and susceptible people. Repentance soon followed the crimes into which their impatience had hurried them: but the vengeance of the Emperor was implacable, and punishments of the most dreadful nature hung over the city of
* See Warner's History of Ireland, vol. i. book ix.
Statius, Thebaid. lib. xii.
"A sort of civil excommunication," says Gibbon, “which separated them from their fellow-citizens by a peculiar brand of infamy; and this declaration of the supreme magistrate tended to justify, or at least to excuse, the insults of a fanatic populace. The sectaries were gradually disqualified for the possession of honourable or lucrative employments, and Thcodosius was satisfied with his own justice when he decreed that, as the Eunomians distinguished the nature Antioch, włose devoted inhabitants, totally resigned to despond. ence, wandered through the streets and public assemblies, giving utterance to their grief in dirges of the most touching lamentation. At length, Flavianus, their bishop, whom they had sent to intercede with Theodosius, finding all his entreaties coldly rejected, adopted the expedient of teaching these songs jf sorrow which he had heard from the lips of his unfortunate countrymen to the minstrels who performed for the Emperor at table. The heart of Theodosius could not resist this appeal ; tears fell fast into his cup while he listened, and the Antiochians were forgiven.-Surely, if music ever spoke the misfortunes of a people, or could ever con. ciliate forgiveness for their errors, the music of Ircland ought to possess those powers.
on from that of the Father, they should be incapable of making their wills, or of receiving any advantage from testamentary donations."
TO A LADY, WITH SOME MANUSCRIPT POEMS.
ON LEAVING THE COUNTRY.
I leave the friends I cherish here
Perchance some other friends to find,
But surely finding none so dear-
Which votive thus I've traced for thee,
And steal a moment's thought for me.
Whose hearts are not of gentle mould,
With feeling tear, my song behold.
With pity never melt with love;
And all my loving lays reprove.
Which rather loves to praise than blame,
And linger kindly on my name;
By female lips my name be blest :
So sweetly as in woman's breast ?
Her eye indulgent wanders o'er,
And bolder flights of fancy soar ;
And Friendship oft his numbers move;
His sweetest song was given to LOVE!”
TO THE LARGE AND BEAUTIFUL MISS ---
- Ego pars.-Virg.
Where in blanks and in prizes we deal ;
Should so long have remained in the wheel?
To me such a ticket should roll,
For what could I do with the whole ?
When surely there's nothing in nature more common? She vows to be true, and while vowing she leaves me
But could I expect any more from a woman? O woman ! your heart is a pitiful treasure;
And Mahomet's doctrine was not too severe, When he thought you were only materials of pleasure,
And reason and thinking were out of your sphere. By your heart, when the fond sighing lover can win it,
He thinks that an age of anxiety's paid ;
If he live but a day, he'll be surely betrayed.
IMITATION OF CATULLUS.