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THE

LAST EARL OF DESMOND:

А

Historical Romance

OF

1599-16 03.

“On peut tirer un fruit précieux du malheur : une personne sensible, pieuse,
et réfléchie, doit necessairement dans l'infortune perfectionner son esprit et son
caractere. Cicéron a dit des hommes : Ils sont comme les vins ; l'age aigrit les
mauvais, et rend meilleurs les bons.'”-FRENCH Essay.

Bona rerum secundarum optabilia, adversarum mirabilia."--SENECA.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.

DUBLIN:

HODGES AND SMITH, 104, GRAFTON-STREET.

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THE LAST EARL OF DESMOND.

CHAPTER XXX.

“Such usage as your honourable lords

Afford me; assassinated and betray'd,
Who durst not, with your whole united powers,
In fight, withstand one single and unarm’d.”

MILTON.

JEPHSON's Rock is about one mile below the old bridge of Mallow. It rises boldly and bluffly on the bank of the Blackwater, blocks up the path, and says “ Stand,—turn backto all who attempt to pass that way.

Within the bowels of this rock is a cave. In the mouth of this cave stood a tall, high-shouldered

His mood seemed morose. He was watching the silent flow of the river, upon which the moon, as it passed through dark clouds, cast an occasional ray.

He raised his head as he heard, or thought he heard, a man's step, and a rustle among the plantations above him.

man.

VOL. II.

B

You may now see his face. You know him, by his long dark hair, and strong-set teeth. It is John Nugent, the servant of the late Sir Thomas Norreys. What does he there, looking down on the river ?

Writers of Romance are much addicted to the institution of comparisons between the course of dark waters and the flow of dark thoughts. Their ideas on this subject are calculated to make melancholy people run and drown themselves. Dickens is the deuce at this kind of writing, and Sir Bulwer Lytton is almost as bad.

But, notwithstanding these bad examples, if the figure of a flowing river were not “as common as ditch-water," I should have attempted a comparison between this dark river and the darker thoughts which were passing through John Nugent's mind, as he looked down upon it.

“What ! Institute a comparison between the most beautiful river in Ireland, and the most bloodthirsty man in Munster? Preposterous ! I am astonished at you. You are worse than Dickens and his Thames."

The most beautiful reaches of his Blackwater are between Mallow and Youghal, where it terminates. Here it flows silently, slowly, and darkly, between over-hanging trees, as if meditating suicide, by casting itself into the sea.

Truly, now that I look at it, I do see a great many points of resemblance between the course of a river and the career of mankind, from the mountain to the sea, from the cradle to the grave. That dribbling drop of water, creeping from the side of the mountain, is not unlike one of those tiny, contemptible mannikins, at whose birth we make such fuss : “ Parturiunt montes, nascitur ridi. culus mus." That babbling brooklet is uncommonly like a noisy little boy. Yon crystal stream, meandering through the flowery mead, presents a beautiful picture of a modest maiden. The broad river, with its bright, fair face, and swelling bosom,gliding gracefully through the fruitful dale, gives the true type of a lovely woman.

The silent progress of these dark, deep waters, whose surface lies in shade, within the depth of whose bosom heaven is hid, portrays the last and best part of human life, the part which seeks seclusion, where man retires from the sunshine of earth, to the contemplation of eternity and heaven.

But my meditations on human life have carried me too far down the stream of the Blackwater. We must, therefore, return to Jephson's Rock, where we left John Nugent.

We left him, as he raised his head to catch the sound of a man's step, and a rustle in the

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