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a month from that of the interview. The poem treats of such an incident. The Cluricaune is another apparition, said to be well acquainted with the hiding-place of vast hidden treasures, which, if a man can come stealthily upon and grasp him, keeping the eye steadily fixed upon him, he will, in order to obtain his freedom, reveal. Lover, in his * Fairy Boy," treats of the legend that when a beautiful child pines and dies, the healthy infant has been stolen by the fairies, and a sickly elf left in its place. Dr. Anster has a touching ballad on the same subject. The legend of Hy-Brasil, which is one of the most widely known of Irish national traditions, has been well utilised by M‘Gee. Hy-Brasil is an island which used once every seven years to emerge from the depths of the ocean, far to the west of Arran. It was like Eden in its beauty, and like it, too, in being shut against the race of
Dangerous and fruitless voyages were undertaken by the adventurous and the visionary in search of this fable-land. Amongst legendary personages there is the Gobban Saer, builder of the Round Towers, who divides popularity with Finn and St. Patrick, and concerning whom we have the same amount, or the same absence, of authentic information. Callanan has enshrined a very peculiar story in • The Virgin Mary's Bank.” It seems that from the foot of Inchi. dony Island a tract of sand runs out into the sea, terminating in a high green bank. Tradition relates that the Virgin came one night to this hillock to pray, and was discovered kneeling there by the crew of a vessel that was coming to anchor near the place. The sailors laughed at her piety, and made some merry and unbecoming remarks on her beauty ; upon which a storm arose and destroyed the ship and her
From that time no vessel has been known to anchor near the spot. A hundred other interesting legends might readily be cited.
In descriptive ballads great success has been achieved by Denis Florence M‘Carthy, John Fraser, Francis Mahony, and others. Father Prout's “ Bells of Shandon ” have attained a popularity which is following hard after the notes of Poe's Bells." Richard Dalton Williams sang gracefully of the “Hills of Howth,” and Gerald Griffin of the “Vale of Adare.” Griffin is chiefly remembered as one of Ireland's foremost novelists, and as the author of a play which has been pronounced "the greatest drama of modern times.” As a poet, however, in which capacity he is not so widely known, he exhibited considerable elegance and power. Disappointed with literary fame and ambition, Griffin joined the Christian Brothers in Cork, and died in their midst. Amongst writers of political ballads, besides some of those I have already named, “Eva” (Mary Eva Kelly) and
Speranza” (Lady Wilde) take a high place. In a thoughtful poem by the latter, entitled “Ruins," which shows that the author could
gather inspiration at foreign springs, there are many lines worthy to be remembered, as
The touch of man's misdoings
Leaves more blighted tracks than time. After glancing at the broken ruins of the past, the writer concludes with this pathetic and eloquent apostrophe :
Poet wanderer, hast thou bent thee
O'er such ruins of the soul ?
May efface that hour of dole.
From the dust which time hath cast;
Once again where silence passed.
We had built up in our dreams,
And Truth's glorious sunrise beams-
All our aspirations vain,
Who will raise them up again ? Many of the best political ballads have been garnered into the volume “The Spirit of the Nation," and in this permanent form are readily accessible. In this collection Davis has by far the widest representation; but Mangan, Williams, MacCarthy, Sliabh Cuilinn, and Duffy, contribute many rousing lyrics. Of the pathetic ballads of Ireland, who is not acquainted with Lady Dufferin’s “ Lament of the Irish Emigrant?" Few readers of the English tongue in either hemisphere can plead ignorance of this. And how beautiful are those lines, “My Grave," by Thomas Davis :
Shall they bury me in the deep,
Nor sods too deep; but so that the dew,
Ob! 'twere merry unto the grave to go,
Here, surely, was a poet in sympathy both with Nature and Humanity. Moore has immortalised the tragical story of young Robert Emmet and his betrothed Sarah Curran; and Frazer and other singers have chanted their solemn dirges for the death of Davis. Amongst ballads of the affections, Griffin's “Gille Machree" is deservedly a favourite ; but perhaps by common consent the " Soggarth Aroon ” of Banim holds the highest place in this class of effort. Edward Walsh, the Rev. Charles Wolfe, the Hon. Mrs. Norton, William Kennedy, and John Sterling, have also written successful ballads of sentiment and feeling. Coming to miscellaneous ballads for a moment, Sir C. Gavan Duffy has taught manly and valuable lessons in his "Lay Sermon."
Be the thing that God hath made you,
Channel for no borrowed stream;
See you travel in their beam!
The true man needs no patron,
He shall climb and never crawl;
The strong man and the waterfall.
One would like to linger over the poems of the elder De Vere, Maginn, Keenan, Walsh, and many more, with the great number of very excellent anonymous ballad writers, but we must forbear. I have touched but the fringe of this enticing subject, yet my space for the present is exhausted. My chief object, however, will have been answered should this article attract the reader into the fields of investigation I have but merely suggested and indicated. Profit and delight cannot but ensue from a closer acquaintance with the diversified riches which are to be found in the ballad poetry of Ireland.
In a subsequent Paper, having now cleared the ground for that pur. pose,
I propose to treat of certain living writers of Irish Ballads, who are worthily keeping alive the spirit of song in the sister country.
G. BARNETT SMITH,
Rid of the world's injustice, and his pain,
He sleeps at last beneath God's veil of blue:
Taken from life when life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
No cypress shades his grave, nor funeral yew,
But gentle violets weeping with the dew Weave on his bones an ever-blossoming chain. O proudest heart that broke for misery!
O sweetest lips since those of Mitylene !
O Painter-poet of our English land !
And tears like mine shall keep thy memory green,
CLARA BERESFORD, the successful, the beautiful young actress, the idol of a certain kind of society, the rage both in England and America, lay sick with small-pox at her charming West-end residence in London—a bijou of a place, so people said.
It was bright May weather; London was going wild over Miss Beresford's representations of “Juliet,” when the cruel, hateful complaint walked in at the stage-door and claimed her for its own. It took also a poor little woman who played subordinate parts; but as she was not very pretty, and not very happy, and had no one but a drunken old father to shed a few beery tears over her, hers was a case of very minor importance; but Miss Beresford's illness was a blow to thousands.
Mr. Priggs, the manager, whose fortune she was making, was in despair. The jeune premier, who was secretly in love with his fascinating stage-heroine, became tragic in very earnest.
And what of all her countless admirers and flatterers ? What of the young men, with good balances at their bankers, and by no means an equal provision of brains-young men whose pride it was to lisp out at their clubs, “ No, my dear boy, can't really; have to drive the Beresford down to Richmond?”
What of her æsthetic worshippers-men who rolled their eyes when they spoke of her; men who vied with each other in æsthetic absurdities ; one impulsive youth declaring he would walk five miles barefooted to see her acting; the same youth, by the way, of whom it is rumoured that he came by night to kiss the steps of her house. While thus devotionally engaged, it is also reported, he was discovered by the local policeman, who, refusing to believe that he was sober, marched him off to the nearest station, on which event he is reported to have said, “I went proudly as martyrs of old went singing to the stake. At that very moment I sang that little song she sings so divinely