« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Love, my free gift, 'tis that has caus'd my anguish:
Love without stain, dishonour, or design;
Ah, woe is me! I may not call her mine.
Secluded dwelt, from all the world away;
I'd woo her fondly all the summer day.
But once--and raise me to thyself from death :
Where lurks the beetle the rank grass beneath.
My life's not life-my voice not voice, but air :
Love's slave I mourn, in bondage to despair. This poem is very characteristic: never before had they witnessed so the complaints it expresses are symp- affecting, because so natural, an tomatic of derangement; the loss of Ophelia. As the difference between sleep and appetite; the failure of re- the sane and the insane actress's recollection and discernment, yet the presentation of the distracted maiden, consciousness of his state, the know. so is the difference between the song ledge that his beloved was “she who of a really frenzied poet and that of wrought his harm;" the hopelessness him who only assumes the character of of cure, unless the antidote should a maniac at the moment of writing. proceed from her, as did the bane ; The song of Eamonn-na-chnoic, or and then the touching allusion to his Ned of the Ilills, the celebrated freeheart's memory, that would recognise booter, is given in O'Daly's book ; but her, though it forgot all else.
the version differs so much from that In the mad songs written by some which we have been accustomed to hear, persons, in the character of maniacs that we venture to give a translation (such as Robert Herrick's “ Mad from our own familiar Irish copy, beMaid's Song,"
cause it is so much more characteristic
of the outlaw. Ned of the Hills, ** Good-morrow to the day so fair," &c.,) properly Edmund O'Ryan," of the
county Tipperary, sprung from an and even in Shakespeare's, if we may ancient and once wealthy family, the venture to say so, there is a studied O'Ryans of Kilnelongurty, but ruined wildness, an artificial incoherence. But by the confiscations that followed in the lay of the real maniac, the evi- the civil wars. To a well-born man dences of his malady come out so thus rendered destitute, who could simply, so unaffectedly, that we cannot not dig, and was ashamed to beg, but feel it is nature, not art. It re- it often appeared that no alternative minds us of the anecdote of the actress for existence remained but that of a who had formerly been celebrated as freebooting career, which he persuaded Ophelia, but who was obliged to leave himself into believing a just retribu. the stage in consequence of mental tion-a spoiling of the spoilers. To derangement. Having accidentally this idea, and to the losses the outlaw learned that Hamlet was to be per- had sustained by forfeiture, a strong formed one night at a neighbouring allusion is made in the Irish song in theatre, she eluded her guardian, our possession (said by tradition to escaped from the house, and stealing have been written by Edmund O'Ryan to the place of performance, concealed himself), but which is not to be found herself till the mad scene; then spring- in O'Daly's copy. The song, it will ing on the stage before she could be be observed, takes the form of a dia. anticipated, she went through her once logue between the outlaw and his love; favorite part with a truth and feeling we have preserved the metre as nearly that melted all the audience to tears ; as we could :
He was born in the latter part of the 17th century.
THE SONG OF NED OF THE HILLS.
Whose hand at my closed door is beating?"
Whose heart longs to bear thee his greeting."
Thou’rt drown'd in this pitiless weather ;
We'll watch through the long hours together.”
Dear girl of the ringletty tresses ;
To the wild wood's dewy recesses.
On the yew-tree the cuckoo sits ever;
Where death could discover us never.
Of warmth, as the wintry sun's gleaming:
But a deed I must do that's beseeming.”
To the lone haunted Dun repairing ;
Though its size be the half † of Erin.”
Will bring shame to the maid I cherish,
In the ocean I'd rather perish.
For 'twould break to leave thee behind me :
'Mid the poorest in Ireland I find me. There are, in our Irish version, many love which he could but so ill requite. touches characteristic of the outlaw, There is one “Edmund of the Hills," which are not in the Gælic copy printed as from the Irish, by Lady Morgan by O'Daly, such as the proposed (when Miss Owenson), from what ori. watchfulness, as if to guard against ginal we know not: it has one or two surprise (in the first stanza)—the allu- ideas in common
and sion to his wrongs, and the deed of O‘Daly's ; but is simply a love song, befitting vengeance that he meditated; without a single touch of distinctive the faithful readiness of his mistress to character; and might as well be the leave her home and wander with him lay of the most peaceable and orderly throughout Munster, even harbouring man in the community, even of a jusfor security in places reputed to be tice of the quorum himself, as of an haunted; the allusion to the reproach outlaw. she would incur by becoming the wife The story of Edmund O'Ryan, or of a bandit ; and his own sensibility Ned of the Hills, is that of many of to his impoverished state, rendered the Irish outlaws in the olden times. more acute when he thought of that Scions of proud and honourable fami
* Literally, Dun na n-gealt, the Dun of the wild sylvan beings, or satyrs. There is a Gleann na n-gealt in Kerry.
† Literally, “Munster, a province, and the half of Ireland;" alluding to the division of Ireland into two halves, between Con of the Hundred Battles, and Eugene More, alias Mogha Muadhat; the southern half, Munster, which then included Leinster, being called Leath Mogha, Mogh's balf; the rest was Leath Choinn, Con's half.
lies, beggared by confiscations, unskil. favourable to the growth of the Chrisled in any craft, art, or science that tian graces on any side; and we must would procure them a maintenance recollect the prevalence of ideas of among sober citizens ; too proud to which we now can scarcely form a just stoop to what they would call servile estimate, and the state of education drudgery; too poor to be able to and of the community, so different emigrate and “seek their fortunes” from that to which we are accustomed. abroad; the brand of “caste" upon An honourable exception to the false them to mar and thwart their exertions principles that actuated so many unforat home; trained to field exercises, un. tunate persons, is found in Christopher erring marksmen, dashing riders, un- Fleming, twentieth Lord Slane. At tiring runners, brave, athletic, hardy, the time of the battle of the Boyne, he the life of a freebooter in an unsettled was but a minor; he took no part in country like Ireland suggested itself of the civil wars, but he extended the course—what else could be expected hospitality of his roof, for one night, from them ?- what else remained ? to James II., whom he had been What were ruined Roman Catholic taught to regard as his lawful sovegentlemen to do, when they could not reign, and who had been the friend of get into some foreign military service ? his family. For such venial transPoor, haughty, untaught to earn their gression, this harmless offender, and bread, often prevented from trying to unrebelling “rebel,” forfeited all he learn; sorely tried by natural' heart
possessed, even his title.
With a burnings at seeing themselves driven heavy heart this disinherited and disdestitute from the lands, the homes, titled stripling must have passed nay, the very tombs of their fathers, to through the gate that shut him out for make room forstrangers—then followed ever from that lovely vale, watered by the train of reasoning by which they the Boyne, where stood the castle persuaded themselves of the justice, that, from the twelfth century, had nay, almost the duty, of reprisals. The never lacked a Fleming for its lord, speech of Roderick Dhu (“Lady of the and where the tomb of his mother still Lake," Canto 5), in defence of his pre- exists, amid the ruins of St. Erc's datory habits, is as applicable to the hermitage. But he wreaked no vencondition and actuating motives of geance on society; he warred not with the gentlemen outlaws of Ireland, the laws that he might have considered forced to fly to rocks and moun- as warring with him—he submitted to tains, as if Scott had them in his mind their authority, and became a good when he wrote. We seek not to servant of the English crown. In 1707, justify their transgressions: to trace Queen Anne granted him a pension of their causes, with a charitable allow- £500 a-year for his military services :" ance for human temptation and human and in consideration of his youth, at frailty, is but to account for, not to the period of the confiscation, he was justify. Well would it have been for restored in blood, but not to the lands society and for themselves, had these and title of his fathers, from which he misguided men been able to apply the was barred by a former act of the Irish Christian precept—" In your patience
Parliament. As indemnity, he was possess ye your souls ;” but the wild created Viscount Longford, in 1713. times of Ireland's commotions were not Thus guided by well-regulated senti
*- These fertile plains, that soften'd vale,
Were once the birth-right of the Gacl ;
Pent in this fortress of the north,
ments, he won his way to distinction songs composed on them, were handed by those martial qualities which others down by tradition to posterity; and perverted to a wretched career of around their graves the peasantry still brigandage.*
gather in groups after mass, or after a But though that particular genus of funeral, to talk of the old times. Thus outlaws of which we speak has passed they do round a tomb in the rural away, the influence their career exer- churchyard of Syddan (Meath), emcised over the minds of the peasantry blazoned with arinorial bearings, now has not, even yet, died out. To that much defaced, but still bearing an ininfluence we may clearly trace the scription to the purport, that “ This general sympathy of the lower class
monument was erected by Geralıl (especially in the south and west) for Fleminge, son of Patrick Fleminge offe:zders, and their anxiety to screen and Mary Hussey, in memorial of his them from justice. When a forfeited grandfather; and his uncles, James and ruined gentleman had become a and Patrick Fleminge, of Syddan ; and freebooter, all the compassionate feel. for himself and his posterity, 1687." ings of a naturally warm-hearted and These Fleminges sprang from the same romantic people were enlisted in his stock as the Flemings, Barons of Slane, favour. They saw in him the repre- and forfeited in the civil wars, The sentative of a family to whom they “ uncles," James and Patrick Fle. had ever looked up with affection and minge, became celebrated freebooters, respect (for the Irish peasant always and are still remembered and lamented observed the Oriental, nay Scriptural as “ the poor gentlemen that were rule of reverence to superiors; he could forced to turn highwaymen.” not degrade himself to the coarse blus- The peasantry, when once they had ter of the low English bully, who sets been accustomed to sympathise with his arms a-kimbo at a gentleman with, men under ban, and to support and " I'm as good as yourself any day"); abet them, continued to cherish the they saw one who had been reared in
inclination, though the objects of their affluence a fallen man, worse than a interest had become degraded from the beggar, because more sensitive to pri- romantic outlaw (now extinct) to the vations; then would they recount the vulgar ruflian, the mere robber and former glories of the race “ that bad murderer ; wanting the power of just lived
among them for ages, and al- discrimination, they classed all alike, ways kept the warm house and the
“ poor fellows in trouble." The open hand,” and descant on the per- feeling which originally sprung from fections and the wrongs of their heir, virtues, from fidelity, generosity, and “ turned out for a stranger, and forced respect, has tended downwards to utter to shelter among the woods and rocks, degradation-such is the danger of hosand to starve, or help himself by the tility, under almost any circumstances, strong hand.” So, respecting his birth, to established and recognised authopitying his adversity, admiring his rity. Like some plants-whose root is bravery, abetting his wild deeds, and medicinal, but whose flowers are offen. aiding him to baMe pursuit, they clung sive, or whose berries are poisonousto the man of fallen fortunes (on such the sentiment which at its birth was the genteel world turns its back) with respectable, in its maturity has become a kind of feudal loyalty; amid all their vicious. own poverty gold could not bribe them We seem to have rambled away from to betray the head consecrated in their the “ Poets of Munster” in particular, eyes by misfortune.
Res est sacra to the bandits of Ireland in general ; miser, said a Roman sage ; but the but the text from which our gloss has axiom was never so true anywhere as extended was furnished by one, who, among the Irish peasants in the old celebrating his own wild life in soug, troubles.
combined the characters of the outlaw The feats of the outlaws, and the and the poet, Edmund O'Ryan.
His lordship dying, about 1728, without male issue, the style and title of Fleming, Viscount Longford, became extinct.
AGNES SOREL AND HER COTEMPORARIES.
Ar the commencement of the fifteenth resembled each other. Agnès, who century, the long contests between the was the elder by one year, was rerival houses of Lorraine and Bar markable for her gentleness and winseemed likely to be terminated by the ning sweetness of deportment. Isaextinction of both families. The sole belle had more vivacity, and greater representative of the latter house was brilliancy. They were both beautiful, the Cardinal of Bar, an aged prelate; but the same distinction might be obwhile the destinies of Lorraine hung served in the style of their personal on the life of a feeble infant, daughter charms. Isabelle, though without the of its chivalrous duke, Charles, and shadow of vanity, pride, or hauteur, his exalted consort, Margaret of Ba- “ looked every inch a queen;" the varia.
noble blood of the great Charlemagne The little Isabelle, on whose frail flowed in her veins, and the high-born existence 80 much depended, was lady, destined to command, was appatended, cherished, almost idolised, by rent in every movement and gesture. her future subjects, as well as by her Agnès has been likened to the “Madonfond parents. As she grew in years na" of Raffaelle. Her fair and slender and bodily vigour, the faculties of her form, her large, soft, pleading eyes, precocious mind were developed under bespoke a soul gentle, timid, and the judicious care of her wise mother trusting. Yet Agnès was not a weak and gifted father. Charles of Lorraine or insipid character.
The most acwas the most accomplished prince of complished woman of ber day, the bis day. He had proved himself a brave most delightful converser--so much so, and skilful warrior in his campaigns that even at that epoch, so fruitful in in Germany and Hungary. He had illustrious ladies, she was looked on as commanded the forces of the Teutonic a prodigy—she owed her great and Knights in Prussia, and had been the enduring influence more to her mental main stay of the Hungarian monarch qualities than to her personal attracin his war with the Turks. The Duke tions. She fascinated all who came of Lorraine was no less skilled in the within her sphere ; and occupying, arts of peace. A poet of no mean ex- though she atterwards did, a most cellence, bis refined and liberal mind, anomalous and questionable position, his elegant tastes, and his graceful and she never made a personal enemy, but winning manners, are praised by the gained and retained the affectionate historiographers of his own time, who good-will of those who, we should ever found a welcome at his hospitable naturally suppose, would have recourt.
garded her elevation to power and inL’nder these beneficent influences iluence with envious and indignant the little Isabelle passed her childhood feelings. and early girlhood, not quite com- The aged Cardinal of Bar, feeling panionless, for her playmate from the himself on the verge of the grave, cradle-to whom she was ever fondly anxiously desired to terminate, by a attached_was the fair and gentle marriage between Isabelle and his Agnès Sorel, whose singular adven- grand-nephew René, the strife which tures we are about to narrate.
had for generations been waged_beThe “ Demoiselle de Fromenteau," tween the houses of Bar and Loras she was styled, though of very
raine, The young prince, destined inferior rank to her friend, could for this alliance, was the second son scarcely be regarded as a dependant. of Louis of Anjou and Yolande of Her father, the Seigneur de Saint Arragon, whose mother had been a Gérand, was attached to the service of princess of the house of Bar. The the Count de Clermont; and his little Cardinal had adopted and educated Agnès was tended and educated by Rent, with the design of making him the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine with his heir, and had spared no pains to the same care as their own daughter. perfect him in those arts and exerIn many traits of character the girls cises befitting his high rank and future