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Then, first she felt her bosom bleed
With love and pity, vain distress! Oh, what deep rigours must succeed
This first, sole touch of tenderness! Her eyes grow glaz'd and motionless, Nail'd on his wavering corse each bone,
Hard'ning in growth, invades her flesh, Which, late so rosy, warm, and fresh, Now stagnates into stone.
From limb to limb the frosts aspire,
On which, the Salaminians gaz'd,
Then, tempt not thou fate's angry arms,
But let thy perfect deeds and charms
The Works of Garcilaso de la Vega, by J. H. Wiffen.
WE give the following songs as breathing some por.. tion of the national character of the Irish. The translator says that "It was not out of love for the Stuarts that they (the Irish,) were anxious to take up arms, but to revenge themselves on the Saxons, or English, for the defeat they experienced under William III. and the subsequent depression of their party and their religion." With this opinion, we beg leave to dissent. The songs bear no internal evidence of the kind; and though we admit that the depression of their party, (if party be a term applicable to a whole nation) and their religion, combined with the spirit of retaliation, had a very considerable influence in exciting them to arms we are not the less convinced, that affection to the Stuart family had a much more predominant one. Even at this moment, the name of Stuart revives associations of the most enthusiastic character among the lower orders of the Irish. The writer is also mistaken in supposing, that the epithet of contempt applied by the Irish to James, is expressive of disaffection, either to himself or to his family; for they generally attribute the success of William to the circumstance of James having too much good nature, and aversion from cruelty; a disposition which prevented him from availing himself of all the advantages that lay in his power. This feeling is partly conveyed in the very epithet of contempt which they generally connect with his name. Even the conclusion of the first verse of Brown Drimin, in the original Irish, proves what we assert. After saying that the warriors of Ireland are laid in the trenches, it adds, "and they will remain there, until James is restored to his throne." This, the Translator has omitted. Is not the same sentiment breathed in the lines,
Ten thousand huzzas shall ascend to high heaven, When our prince is restored, and our fetters are riven.
As also in the following:
The wrongs of a king call aloud for your steel,
These sentiments clearly prove, that the master passion," which "swallowed up the rest," was the desire of restoring James to the throne, and avenging his wrongs. The air of the Brown Drimin is, undoubtedly, beautiful; but it is not the air abstractedly in itself, as the translator asserts, but the associations and recollections with which it is connected, that renders it so particular a favourite with the Irish.
With the songs, we think it proper to give the observations which the translator prefixes to them. At the same time acknowledging, that though we have differed with him in his political views, we think his translation poetical and beautiful.-EDITOR.
That the Roman Catholics of Ireland should have been Jacobites, almost to a man, is little wonderful: indeed, the wonder would be, were it otherwise. They had lost every thing, fighting for the cause of the Stuarts, and the conquerors had made stern use of the victory. But, while various movements, in favour of that unhappy family, were made in England and Scotland, Ireland was quiet, not, indeed, from want of inclination, but from want of power. The Roman Catholics were disarmed throughout the entire island, and the Protestants, who retained a fierce hatred of the exiled family, were armed and united. The personal influence of the Earl of Chesterfield, who was Lord Lieutenant in 1745, and who made himself very popular, is generally supposed to have contributed to keep Ireland at peace in that dangerous year; but the reason I have assigned is, perhaps, more substantial.
But, though Jacobitical, even these songs will suffice to prove, that it was not out of love for the Stuarts, that they were anxious to take up arms, but to revenge themselves on the Saxons, (that is, the English generally, but in Ireland the Protestants,) for the defeat they experienced under William III. and the subsequent
depression of their party and their religion. James II. is universally spoken of, by the lower orders of Ireland, with the utmost contempt; and distinguished by an appellation, which is too strong for ears polite, but which is universally given to him. His celebrated exclamation at the battle of the Boyne, "O, spare my English subjects" being taken in the most perverse sense; instead of obtaining for him the praise of wishing to shew some lenity to those whom he still considered as rightfully under his sceptre, even in their opposition to his cause, was, by his Irish partizans, construed into a desire of preferring the English, on all occasions, to them. The celebrated reply of the captive officer to William, that "if the armies changed generals, victory would take a different side," is carefully remembered; and every misfortune that happened in the war of the revolution, is laid to the charge of James's want of courage. The truth is, he appears to have displayed little of the military qualities which distinguished him in former days.
The first of these three songs is a great favourite, principally from its beautiful air. I am sure, there is scarcely a peasant in the south of Ireland who has not heard it. The second is the White Cockade, of which the first verse is English. The third is, at least, in Irish, a strain of higher mood; and, from its style and language, evidently written by a man of more than ordinary information.
O, SAY MY BROWN DRIMIN !
A Drimin doan dilis no sioda* na mbo.
(Drimin is the favourite name of a cow, by which Ireland is here allegorically denoted. The five ends of Erin are the five kingdoms, Munster, Leinster, Ulster, Connaught, and Meath, into which the island was divided, under the Milesian dynasty.)
Silk of the cows, an idiomatic expression, for the most beautiful of cattle, which I have preserved in translating.
O, say my brown Drimin, thou silk of the kine,
My strong ones have fallen, from the bright eye of day,
The cold turf is o'er them, they hear not my cries,
O! where art thou, Lewis? our eyes are on thee
But should the king's son, now bereft of his right,
When the prince, now an exile, shall come for his own,
O'er mountains and valleys, they'll press on their rout,
My sons, all united, shall bless the glad day,