Irish Minstrelsy/Volume 2/Part 3/Notes

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Irish Minstrelsy by James Hardiman







This poem opens in an awful manner. The ruler of a great empire appears in a state of utter destitution. Driven from his throne for proclaiming liberty of conscience throughout his dominions, he flies for shelter and succour to a part of those dominions, from which he rather deserved "curses loud and deep," than any assistance; to a land, over which his grandfather, father, and brother, ruled more like scourges of God than paternal kings. But the brave and generous, though persecuted people, "whose foible was loyalty," forgot all their wrongs in the contemplation of the sufferings of their monarch. They immediately flew to arms, rallied round his standard, fought his battles, and but for the dastard himself, would have conquered in his cause. Well would it have been for their posterity, if they had bartered him, as the Scotch did his father; but Irish honour forbade the deed. Of the national sentiments towards James and his descendants, no better proofs can be adduced, than the poems and songs in which these sentiments are so forcibly expressed. History has recorded the struggles of this devoted people, and the chivalrous loyalty and patriotism by which they were actuated, are described in these Jacobite productions, with all the characteristic warmth of national feeling.

2Acht daoradh na scoit—

This expression should have been in the plural, acht daoradh na scot. Every reader is now aware that the ancient inhabitants of Ireland were called Scots, and the island Scotia. In succeeding ages, the term was exclusively applied to the Albanian Colonists from Ireland. Hence originated the name of Scotland.

3"Lofty spirits of Milesian line."

The ancient Milesian families of Ireland, after braving the storms of thousands of years, began to yield in the sixteenth century. The disastrous warfare of the succeeding age, and the perfidy of the Milesian Stuart, hastened their political downfall, which was finally completed by their ill-fated en- deavours to restore the second James. A Milesian of the present day looking back on his long line of ancestry and subdued country, may justly exclaim with the Trojan hero:—

———Fuimus Troes: fuit Ilium, et ingens
Gloria Teucrorum, ferus omnia Juppiter Argos
Transtulit: incensâ Danai dominantur in urbe.

But, though the inheritances of Ireland were seised by the adventurer and soldier, the Milesian families retained, even in their decline, a high sense of the dignity of their descent. On this subject, it seems, our English neighbours have been much amused by the following anecdote, which Dr. Johnson was fond of relating as a curious sample of Milesian pride:— "The few ancient Irish gentlemen yet remaining, have the highest pride of family; Mr. Sandford, a friend of the Doctor's, whose mother was Irish, told him, that O'Hara, who was true Irish both by father and mother, and he, and Mr. Ponsonby, son to the earl of Besborough, the greatest man of the three, but of an English family, went to see one of those ancient Irish, and that he distinguished them thus, O'Hara, you are welcome! Mr. Sandford, your mother's son is welcome! Mr. Ponsonby, you may sit down." Doubtless, this story might have afforded merriment to the Doctor and his literary friends, at a time when it was fashionable, as well with the rich vulgar, as the low ignorant in England, to deride every thing Irish, even their misfortunes. But that time is now gone by. America has since triumphed, and Ireland, at the present crisis, seems destined to take her place among the nations, or English policy towards her must speedily change. But to our anecdote. The "one of those ancient Irish" alluded to, was the Mac Dermott, usually stiled Prince of Coolavin, (a district in the county of Sligo,) whose direct ancestor invited over Bruce, to rescue Ireland from English tyranny, at the beginning of the fourteenth century. For the meaning of Johnson's words, "the greatest man of the three," I am wholly at a loss, though well aware that the son of the earl of Besborough, whom he mentions as that personage, was descended from one of those rapacious revolutionary adventurers of Cromwell's training; who on 29th May, 21st Charles II. obtained a grant of lands, iniquitously declared forfeited, in the county of Kilkenny. This man's descendants, with those of an obscure London trader, Tristram Beresford, (whose original proposal to the fishmongers of that city, in the reign of James I. for a lease of their escheat of Ballykelly, in Ulster, I have read,) became the Protestant ascendency rulers of Ireland, where, during the last baleful century, they literally exercised the powers of king, lords, and commons. In this sense, undoubtedly the individual alluded to, was "the greatest man of the three," and perhaps therefore, was honored with leave to sit down in the presence of Mac Dermott.

4"And o'er the deep the festering boars shall flee."

The contempt and hatred which the Irish entertained for the English in former times, are expressed without reserve throughout these poems and songs. In the present, they are scornfully called "festering boars," Bréan-toirc, and in others they are designated fetid goats, wolves, churls, &c. Similar feelings, have given birth to similar expressions amongst the modern Greeks, towards their Turkish oppressors. Accordingly, in their popular songs, we find the Turks called wild rams, wolves, and other opprobrious names. From among many bitter and sarcastic stanzas, current in Ireland, the following epigram is selected, as a striking proof of the national hatred here alluded to. One of our bards seeing an Englishman hanging on a tree, exclaimed extempore:—

Is maith do thoradh a chrain,
Rath do thoradh air gach aen ’craoibh,
Mo léun gan coillte Inse Fáil
Lán de’d thoradh gach aen lá.

Pass on—'tis cheering from yon stately tree,
A foe's vile form suspended thus to see;
Oh! may each tree that shades our soil, appear
Thick with such fruit throughout the lengthen'd year

James the Second, has been accused, not only of overlooking, but even of encouraging the excesses of his soldiery, against the protestants in Ireland; but, whatever were his faults, and they were not few, this was not among the number. The following letter, which I transcribe from the original, is of itself, sufficient to acquit him of that opprobrious charge.—

"James R.

"Our will and pleasure is that you forthwith repaire to our Towne of Cavan where you are during our pleasure to command in chiefe all our fforces in the said Towne and in our County of Cavan. You are likewise to take care that noe disorder be comitted by any of our Army within the said Towne or County of Cavan. And that you from time to time informe us of all accidents that shall happen there or thereabouts relating to our affaires And herein you are not to faile. Given at our Court at Dublin Castle the 30th day of April 1690 and in the Sixth yeare of our Reign.

"By his Majesty's Command

"To our Trusty and well beloved"Ri. Nagle.

"Coll. Denis Mc. Gillecuddy."

With respect to this period of Irish history, whoever would be misled, may consult Archbishop King's "State of the Protestants in Ireland," an appalling monument of a christian bishop's breach of the commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." If truth, however, be sought after, it will be found in the Answer to that book, by Leslie, a protestant gentleman, which proves, that when a divine descends to misrepresentation, he generally deals by wholesale. Yet King's production has been quoted by Harris, Leland, et hoc genus omne, as authority, in their "Histories" of Irish affairs!


While the Irish soldiery spilled their blood in the field, the bards exerted their genius in the closet, to forward the interest of the royal fugitives, and by their songs and poems, proved no mean auxiliaries to the cause in which the nation had embarked. They roused the people to arms, in defence of the legitimate monarch, and excited the utmost enthusiasm for the professor of the ancient faith, and the descendant of the renowned Milesian race of Ireland. But the present beautiful elegy, was produced under very different circumstances; and, is therefore, entitled to particular consideration. It was composed at a time, when all hopes of the royal restoration were at an end; and may, therefore, be taken as a proof of the unfeigned sympathy and sorrow of the Irish nation, for the exiled family of England.

Mary D'Este, who survived her royal consort many years, appears to have been every way worthy, as a wife, a mother, and a queen, of the praises so lavishly bestowed on her by the Irish poet. Though a long time in England, even before her accession to the throne, she was never popular, in consequence of her being a catholic, and warmly attached to her religion; but, for the same reasons, she was an especial favorite with the Irish. She died at St. Germaine, April 26th, 1718. Her son, James Francis Edward, called by his followers James the Third, and, by others, the Chevalier de St. George, is frequently alluded to in these Jacobite Relics.

2 John O'Neachtan, the author of this poem, (and of Maggy Laider, printed in the first volume,) lived in the early part of the last century, in the county of Meath. He was a learned man, and an ingenious poet, and enriched his native language with many original compositions and translations. Several of these are in the possession of the writer; and among others, a copious Treatise, in Irish, on General Geography, extending to nearly five hundred closely written pages, and containing many interesting particulars concerning this country; also, curious annals of Ireland, from A. D. 1167, to the beginning of the last century. These works, if they belonged to any other nation of Europe, even to the island of Iceland, would long since have been deemed worthy of publication; but alas ! the literature, language, and native genius of unhappy Ireland, have hitherto experienced unmeritted neglect. As a poet and miscellaneous writer, O'Neachtan holds the same rank in Irish literature, that Doctor Young, the author of the Night Thoughts, occupies in English. With equal genius and learning, the Irish bard's compositions are more equal and correct, and his style less diffuse than those of the favored English author. Yet, what a different fate has attended these men. The works of the one, are read and admired wherever the language in which they are written extends, the name and writings of the other are wholly unknown, except to the solitary Irish scholar, who may happen to pore over the mouldering manuscripts in which these disjecta membra are preserved. But such has been the fate of Ireland. Its native genius, learning, and talents, have been doomed to languish in obscurity. Truly have they "wasted their sweetness on the desert air."—For with us, since England established its dominion here, it could never be said:—

Ingeniis patuit campus: certusque merenti
Stat favor: ornatur propriis industria donis.

3"Than Cæsar of Hosts"—

That James II. (even though somewhat addicted to swearing,) was a more devoted catholic than any of the Cæsars, has never been doubted, and this I take to be the poet's meaning in this passage; but, that he was greater, as a statesman or general, even with all his naval character, is rather questionable. While William, who deserved the crown he bravely won, was crossing the ensanguined Boyne, amidst the thickest fire of his foes, James, from the church-yard on the hill of Donore, stood a tame spectator of the battle, which decided the fate of his kingdoms. Thence he fled panic-struck towards Dublin, where he was sarcastically complimented by the Lady Tyrconnell, on his superior speed from the field of battle. So dastardly was his conduct on this momentous occasion, that old Sir Teige O'Regan cried out to King William's officers, "Let us change commanders, and we will fight the battle over again." But the fatal blow was struck, and James, of whom some one tauntingly said, that he lost three kingdoms for a mass, fled to France to count over his "Paidereen" for the remainder of his days, after entailing upon Ireland a century of worse than Egyptian bondage. With respect to the memories of James and William, remove the penal code, and it may be fearlessly predicted, that the Irish catholics will unhesitatingly, join their protestant friends in commemorating the latter. In Ireland, bravery covers a multitude of sins.


Cliona is one of those fabled beings of the fairy tribe, called Benshees, so celebrated in Ireland. With these "pale aerial demons," "Le Deamnuib odhra aieor," the bards and scealuidhes enriched their poems and tales. The rock, "Carraig Cliodhna," lies within five miles of Mallow, on the right to the Cross of Donochmore, in a wild mountainous tract, supposed to be the head quarters of all the Munster fairies. It is a large grey stone, surrounded by a number of smaller ones, and is supposed to be the principal residence of Cliona, their queen.

Owen O'Rahally, a well known Irish bard, (who resided at Sliabh Luachra, in Kerry, about the beginning of the last century,) in a spirited poem on the misfortunes of Ireland, addressed to one of the Mac Carthy family, enumerates some of these "shadowy forms," in the following lines, beginning with Cliona.—

Do ghuil Cliodhna trid na sgeulaibh,
Do ghuil Ughna a n-dúrlus Eile,
Do ghuil Aoife a rioghbhrog Fheidhlim,
A’s do ghuil Aoibhil síghbhean leith-chraig!

Do ghuil, go trúaigh, an Ruachtach caoille,
Do ghuil Aine a náras gréine,
Do ghuileadar Ocht nochtair air aonloch,
Do ghuileader ainnre an chairnn san t-sléibhe.

Cliona appears to have had another establishment on the mountain of Carrigalea, in the county of Clare. She was, however, but a provincial ruler, for "the paramount fairy queen of Ireland, was Maidib, that is, mortifying the d, Maib, pronounced Meiv, by a common metathesis of v for b in Irish. From this country the appellation was conveyed to Scotland, and thence to the north of England There Shakspeare found our Maib, and espoused her, Mab, to Oberon, as his Fairy Queen." This has escaped the poet's learned commentators.

2William dall (or the blind) O'Heffernan, the author of this allegorical poem, was a native of the county of Tipperary, and appears to have been living, an old man, within the last fifty years. He composed many poetical pieces which are deservedly popular, but, if he had left no other than the present, it would in itself, be sufficient to rescue his memory from oblivion, and stamp him with the name of poet. The original is adapted and sung to the Irish air, "Staca an Mhargaidh," or the "Market Stake," (which may be seen in Bunting's collection of Irish Music, p. 69,) but, in the translation, it was found impracticable to retain the air without falling short of the beauty of the original.

The machinery (if the term be allowable,) of this ode, or the vision introduced by the poet, has been a favorite form of composition with our later bards. They delighted in decorating these visionary beings with all the charms of celestial beauty; and in this respect, our author appears to have been no mean proficient. His description is heightened with all the glow and warmth of the richest oriental colouring, and the sentiments and language are every way worthy of the subject. "Nothing," observes the ingenious and learned Arthur Browne, formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, "marks more strongly the apathy of some musicians, than their perfect indifference about the words that accompany music. We have had all the polite world lately singing infantine words to the finest music.—To me, sublimity of words adds infinitely to sublimity of music, by infinite associations of idea; so in the pathetic; can it be otherwise where there is any soul."—Sketches, vol. ii. London, 1798.—That a similar opinion was entertained and acted upon by our bards, all their compositions afford abundant evidence.

3 "The virtue—the emprise—in days of yore
That Banba nurtured."—

Banba—one of the early names of Ireland—Inis Banba na m-ban—Banba, isle of beauteous women.—The book of Drom-sneachta, followed by the leabhar Gabhala or Chronicle of Invasions, two ancient historical works in Irish, give the particulars of these primitive names. These venerable volumes lie, however, unheeded among the mass of our unknown unpublished manuscripts.

4"Or Ceirnit————who——
——bade the crystal current of the stream
Heave into life the mill's mechanic frame."

Ceirnit, one of the mistresses of Cormac, monarch of Ireland, about the beginning of the third century, induced that prince to send to Scotland for a skilful mechanic, by whom she caused to be built the first mill erected in Ireland. The circumstance is fully detailed in Keating; and it calls to our recollection, that the old Irish manuscripts contain many creditable notices of the early state and history of Scotland, not elsewhere to be found. With one in particular, I shall take the liberty of troubling the reader. In the "sealed" MS. library of Trinity College, Dublin, there is a copy, (written on vellum, at least six hundred years,) of a yet more ancient tract, entitled "Agallamh an da Shuadh,"The Dialogue of the Two Sages, a correct transcript of which, (formerly the property of my lamented friend John Mac Namara, of the county of Clare, an excellent Irish antiquary and linguist,) is now in my possession. It is written in a language or dialect as old as that used in our Brehon laws, with an interlined gloss; and records a contest which took place, about the time of the birth of our Redeemer, between Neide the son of Adhna, and Ferceirtne, file, or the poet, for the Ollamh's (or chief professor's) chair of Ireland. In the Reimsgeul, or Preface, we are informed that the former went to Albain (Scotland) to learn wisdom,—“Do luidh íaramh an mac sin do fhoghlaim eigse i n-Albain;” but the word eigse, may be also rendered, knowledge, philosophy, or poetry. Here then are two Irish fragments of early date, which shew that Scotland was anciently, as it is at the present day, distinguished for poetry and philosophy; but it is feared that this notable discovery will be lost on the present professors of the "modern Athens," who, with philosophic pride, proclaim the barbarity of their own Gaelic ancestors, and reject the authority of our Celtic manuscripts.

5"My name is Cliona, the beetling side
Of the tall rock my home."

“Is me-si Clíodhna ó thaoibh na carraige.”

Cliona had two habitations, but which of them she alludes to here is doubtful. In this respect, her answers somewhat resembled those of the famous pagan oracles of olden time, and indeed, the whole of her revelation seems cast in the same mould. Even to this day, England's fiat for Irish freedom seems as hopeless as ever.

6"Martin's followers rave."

“Sliochd Mhártain mhalluighthe.”

The Devil and Doctor Martin are generally associated in our native proverbs. Henry the 8th, is sometimes added to make a trio. Indeed, it would be difficult to say which of the three is most generally detested in Ireland, but some are of opinion, that Henry and his immediate descendants, having inflicted more evils on the country than both the others, he seems entitled by way of pre-eminence to the distinguished association which has been rather gratuitously conferred on the great reformer.


1This spirited Jacobite song was composed by Andrew Magrath, the witty and eccentric Mangaire Sugach, as were also the drinking stanzas, p. 192, first vol. of this work. He was a native of Limerick, and author of numerous poems and songs of a jovial, amatory, and political nature, which are current and popular, chiefly in the Province of Munster. As a poet, he not only excelled the mob of English gentlemen who formerly wrote with ease, but also many of those whom Doctor Johnson has designated English poets. He led a wandering sort of life, and was much dreaded for the caustic severity of his wit. His habits and writings closely resembled those of Prior. Like him, the Mangaire "delighted in mean company. His life was irregular, negligent, and sensual. He has tried all styles, from the grotesque to the solemn, and has not so failed in any as to incur derision or disgrace."—Johnson. Our bard was living within the last 40 years, and died at an advanced age.

2"Too long have the churls in dark bondage oppressed me."

We have already noticed p. 119, the expressions of derision used by the Irish towards their unwelcome visitors, the English invaders, whom they contemptuously called the impure refuse of the ocean, "Impurum maris ejectamentum"—Rutgeri Herman, Brit. Mag. p. 379.—"Bos ubi Scotus erat," was likewise a common phrase among them. Some curious instances of the use of the term "Churl," are recorded. When Athenry, in the County of Galway, was burned in 1596, by Hugh ruadh O'Donnell, one of the Irish leaders who was requested to spare the church as it contained the bones of his mother, replied, "I care not even were she alive in it, I would sooner burn them both together, than that any English churl should fortify there." O'Nial, Earl of Tyrone, when marching by Castlemore in the County of Cork, in the year 1600, on his way to Kinsale to support the Spaniards, enquired who lived in a certain Castle? Being told that it belonged to Barrett, a good Catholic, whose family had been possessed of the Estate for above 400 years; O'Nial exclaimed, "No matter, I hate the English churl as if he landed only yesterday."—No one can be surprised at these strong expressions of National animosity, who is at all acquainted with our history since the arrival of the English.

3"Save Bonn and his kindred."

Donn, one of the sons of Mile, or Milesius, according to Eochy ua Floinn, a poet and historian, who died A.D. 984, (and of whose compositions there are several still remaining of great value,) was cast away with his companions on the Duchains, to this day called Teach Duin, or Donn's Mansion, in the West of Munster. In succeeding ages, Donn was exalted by our bards to the rulership of the Fairies of that district, and in that capacity he appears to have taken a particular interest in the subsequent affairs of Ireland. As he defied the vigilance of the priest and bard hunters, several prophetico-political songs have been attributed to him, or rather to his inspiration or revelation communicated to our poets. The present song is one of this character.

4"But Phelim and Heber whose children betrayed it."

This alludes to the renegade Irish who joined the common foe, and of that class, from the days of the infamous Mac Morrough, who invited over the Anglo-Norman auxiliaries to his aid, our Annals have damned many to everlasting fame. Indeed, so effectually did the settlers pursue the Machiavelian policy, "divide and govern," that it gave rise to the disgraceful adage, "put an Irishman on the spit and you will find another to turn him;" but, be it remembered, that the son of the settler was generally the turnspit. Espionage and deceit were the invariable rule of English conduct towards the unfortunate Irish. The last, and it is hoped it will be the last, signal act of treachery in Ireland was committed by the descendant of a settler, Colonel Henry Luttrell, who "sold the pass" at Limerick to King William's forces. Lord Westmeath afterwards endeavoured, but ineffectually, to acquit this unhappy man of the charge; see Ferrar's History of Limerick, 354. He survived, an object of general execration, until the year 1717, when he was shot in a sedan chair in Stafford-street, Dublin. The following Epigram was composed on his death—

If heaven be pleased when mortals cease to sin.
And hell be pleased when villains enter in,
If earth be pleased when it entombs a knave,
All must be pleased, now Luttrell's in his grave.

5Samhain, the 1st of November. "The festival of Samen, or Baal-samen is called the Oiche-samhin by the ancient Irish. Pliny remarks, that the Druids counted their years not by days, but nights. The Irish word Coigtighois, meaning a fortnight in modern acceptation, means really Coig-deagoiche, or fifteen nights, shewing that the Pagan Irish counted lunations of thirty days, and divided them into two periods of fifteen nights each."—O'Conor Cat. Stow MSS. p. 25.

6"The treaty they broke."

This alludes to the treaty of Limerick. So much has been said and written about this celebrated breach of military honor and political faith, that it only remains here to observe, that no single circumstance connected with the affairs of these Islands tended so much as this to estrange the minds of the Irish people from the English government, particularly during the last century. Even the massacres at Mullamast, the carnage at Drogheda, and the murders of the Scotch at Glenco have been forgotten, but this unparalelled dereliction of all principle is still remembered with horror.

7"Shall the gorged Goat."

This is one of the contemptuous epithets before alluded to. The following Epigrammatic stanza is expressive of the feelings conveyed in the text.—

Díbirt agus diansgríos air agus ár,
Pianta gan íce air Fheith a’s air a chnámh,
Air an té úd le’r mhiann lucht bearla bheith slán,
Do dhíbir sliocht Ir agus Eireamháin.

May banishment and desolation light on him, may the plague
and pains without remedy seize his veins and bones,
Who would wish well to the English race,
They who exiled the offspring of Ir and Heremon.


1Ben-Edar. The ancient name of the hill of Howth.—The English, although as a Nation they might truly say with reference to Ireland,

"Nec tecum possum vivere nec sine te."
I cannot with thee live nor yet without thee.

have ever been more ready to censure than to praise both ourselves and our country. This is a deplorable national failing, and one which a high minded and "thinking" people should be ashamed of, for to say the least, it is somewhat ungrateful. But it is hoped, that time may, in its own good season, overcome this rather ungenerous propensity. Our "Bulls" and "Brogue" have always proved inexhaustible sources of merriment to our English friends, and even the simple sounds of our old language have been particularly obnoxious to their "ears polite." Of this a memorable instance remains on record.—"His Majestie (Charles II.) taking notice of the barbarous and uncouth names by which most of the townes and places in his Kingdom of Ireland are called, which hath occasioned much damage to divers of his good subjects, and are very troublesome in the use thereof, and much retards the reformacion of that Kingdome. For remedy thereof is pleased that it be enacted that the Ld. Lt. and Councell shall and may, advise of settle and direct, in the passing of all letters pattents in that Kingdome for the future, have new and proper names more suitable to the English tongue may be inserted with an alias for all Townes, Lands, and places, in that Kingdome, that shall be granted by letters pattents, which new names shall thenceforth bee the only names to be used."—This notable plan, however, failed, and the patentee regicides objected not to the Irish lands, because of their "barbarous and uncouth names." On the contrary, they resorted to every species of force, fraud, and perjury, to wrest them from the ancient possessors. On this subject the strange and unexpected avowals of the late Earl of Clare,[1] who was Chancellor of Ireland when he made them, deserve particular attention. "It is impossible," says he, "to defend the acts of settlement and explanation. Seven millions, eight hundred thousand acres of land were set out under the authority of this Act, to a motley crew of English adventurers, civil and military, nearly to the total exclusion of the old inhabitants of the Island; many of whom, who were innocent of the rebellion, lost their inheritance. A new colony of new settlers, composed of all the various sects which then infested England, Independents, Anabaptists, Seceders, Brownists, Socinians, Millenarians, and Dissenters of every description, many of them infected with the leaven of democracy, poured into Ireland, and were put into possession of the ancient inheritance of its inhabitants: and I speak with great personal respect of the men, when I state that a very considerable portion of the opulence and power of the Kingdom of Ireland, centers at this day in the descendants of this motley collection of English adventurers. The whole island has been confiscated, with the exception of the estates of five or six old families of English blood. No inconsiderable portion has been confiscated twice, or perhaps thrice, in the course of a century. The situation therefore of the Irish nation at the Revolution stands unparalleled in the history of the inhabited world." Such were the novel statements made by this noble Earl, in the Irish House of Lords, on the 10th Feb. 1800, to induce a Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland. They are here introduced as forming a tolerable comment on our Jacobite Relics. After their perusal, the most prejudiced must hesitate, and, perhaps, even excuse the feelings so warmly expressed throughout these National effusions by our indignant bards.

2"O'er bright Sliev-na mon and Knock Greny will wake."

Two well known hills in Tipperary and Limerick.

3"When with Una her Donald's united again."

By Una (Winifred) and Donald, were meant Ireland and the exiled Prince.

4But the four great septs mentioned here, the bard intended to represent the whole body of the ancient Irish, who were ready to espouse the cause of "The King."—Mac-con-Mara in the original, should be Mac Mathghamhna. The particular acts of delinquency of the other personages named in this stanza, have not been ascertained.

5"Then shall Sabia rejoice."

By Sabia is meant Ireland. Our patriotic monarch Brian Boroimhe, had a daughter of that name.

6"The magical pillar where Garret lies sleeping."

Garret Fitzgerald, the great Earl of Desmond, killed in 1582. He is supposed by the country people, even to this day, to be bound to an enchanted pillar in Lough Gur, a lake nine miles south of Limerick. They report, that at the end of every seven years he may be seen riding on the lake, mounted on an enchanted charger, and that when his horse's shoes, which are made of silver, shall be worn out, he will return to life, and destroy the enemies of Ireland. The story of this powerful Earl and his tragical end may be seen at large in our History. It may here be added, that Daniel Kelly, Queen Elizabeth's "well beloved subject and soldier," who cut off his head, was rewarded with a pension of £20. a year for that service; but he was soon after hanged at Tyburn. For such or the like services as those of Kelly, some few of the bribed and renegade Irish were graciously called the Queen's "loving subjects," but such or the like fate as that which he deservedly met with, generally terminated their labours and their lives.


1The Gael—the ancient Irish.—In this fine ode the Bard has, with a master hand, introduced the most signal interventions of the Divine Power and Mercy, as examples to support his countrymen in their afflictions, and to inspire them with a hope of future deliverence. With these views he points out the preservation of Noah in the deluge; and of the Prophet Jonah in the deep; the passage of the Children of Israel through the Red Sea; the patience and Divine approval of holy Job; the penitence and pardon of Longinus; the great atonement of our Divine Redeemer, and the miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead. This is one of the noblest purposes to which poetry can be applied, and is in perfect accordance with the inspired effusions of holy writ. It is much to be regretted that the name of the bard has not survived, if it were only to lead to the recovery of any more of his compositions.

2"The Land of Con."

This may either allude to the whole of Ireland, from the Monarch Con, who ruled early in the second century; or to the northern half, called Leath Cuinn, from the division of the island between that Monarch and Eugenius king of Munster, which will be found fully detailed in our Histories.


Donn has already been introduced to the reader, p. 129. Here he again appears in the character of a Prophet, with the title of Firinneach, or the truth teller, annexed to his name; but if his claim to that character may be judged of from the result of his predictions in the present ode, it rests on very slender foundations. Not one of them has been fulfilled, although it must be confessed, that they have been conceived in a lofty and poetic strain, and delivered with a tone and decision not unworthy of one inspired. Of a far different nature was the following Prophecy of Brecan, one of our ancient saints, a venerable body of men, whom in this age of philosophy and refinement it is unfashionable to mention, except to deride their virtue and piety under the names of weakness and superstition. This prediction has been fulfilled in every point, centuries after it was delivered.

Tigfaid geinti tar muir mean,
Measgfaid air fearaibh Eireann,
Budh uathaibh ab air gach cill,
Budh uathaibh Rí for Erinn.

Erin's white crested billow shall sleep on the shore.
And it's voice shall be mute, while the spoilers glide o'er;
And the stranger shall give a new priest to each shrine,
And the sceptre shall wrest from her own regal line.

2Owen O'Rahally the author of this ode has been already noticed in page, 124.

3"——these wolves perfidious, forsworn."

Here again are meant the English adventurers. A bard describing one of them, who seems to have been a scourge in the country, has the following stanza.—

An madra alla gidh mor a úaill,
Ar bidh aige acht aen chuan;
Ar thig acht aen bhlath air an dris,
Aithris uaim do lucht an ambfis.

The wolf howls savagely, but seek his lair,
One cub and one alone is nurtured there;
The choaking bramble one lone blossom bears.
Tell it abroad and let him hope who hears.

The meaning is, that the individual in question, whom the bard has designated as a wolf, from his rapacity and cruelty, had but one son. Hence a hope is held out that the future ravages of the family would not be so great as if there was a numerous brood.

4By the "Brickler" was meant Prince James Francis Edward, son of James II. He was so called by the Irish bards, from the many reports industriously spread throughout England at the time of his birth, that he was a supposititious child, and amongst others that he was the son of a Brick-layer.

5"And the false ones that knelt not where God's own priests adored."

With every respect for the Protestant Church of Ireland and its ministers, it has been doubted, whether the latter, as a body, really believed the doctrine which they professed. The best proof of conviction in religious opinions is an earnest endeavour to disseminate those opinions in order to bring people over to the truth. This has never been attempted by the Protestant divines in Ireland. On the contrary, every measure which could render their doctrine odious, seems to have been studiously resorted to. Hence the words of our text. It may therefore be concluded, that as England is now a Protestant, and Scotland a Presbyterian, country, so Ireland is, and ever will continue to be, pre-eminently Catholic. If space permit, some curious illustrations of the facts here stated may be given.


The air of this song is more generally known than the origin of its name. Shane Bui, means, literally, Yellow or Orange Jack, (the John Bull of former days,) there being no other word in Irish to express the latter colour. It was an appellation given by the Irish to the English followers of William III. in Ireland. Hence the term Orangemen.


By the rhetorical figure Metonymy, this name is here put for Ireland. It has before appeared that Grana Uile, Roisin Dubh, and several others have been similarly used by the Irish Bards. The orthography, Sheela na Guire, is retained because it is better known than the literal translation of the original name, viz. Sheela (or Cecilia) O'Gara, and the poetical reader will immediately perceive the necessity in this instance for adopting the common orthography and general mode of pronunciation. Sheela has been always esteemed one of our best political songs, and may be pronounced at least equal to Colonel Mac Gillarry, which Mr. Hogg, no bad authority, considered as the best Jacobite song of Scotland. It seems to have been a favorite with the exiled Irish. The printed copy has been taken from one transcribed in France in the last century. The tune is lively and popular.

2"On the height of Lisgreny, cried Daniel O'More."3

Lisgreny is a well-known hill in the South of Ireland. Of the individual O'More, here named, I have not been able to trace any particulars. This distinguished Irish family has been already alluded to.—Vol. I, p. 114.

4"O'Brien of Ara"

A branch of the great family of that name, descended from Brian Ruadh O'Brien prince of Thomond, who was expelled from his Territory in the early part of the fourteenth century, and settled in the district of Ara, in the N. W. part of the present County of Tipperary. This circumstance is fully detailed in the Cathréim Toirdhealbhaigh, or "Catalogue of the battles of Turlough, being valuable annals compiled in Irish by John Mac Craith, in 1459, containing an account of the wars of Thomond, from the landing of Henry II. to the year 1319. A fine copy of this scarce and curious work in the possession of the writer, will, he hopes, be published by a patriotic member of the O'Brien family, as an honorable record of the bravery of his countrymen and ancestors.

5"The laugh of her heart."

This is literal, and according to the usual meaning of the word gáir; but it might also be rendered, a shout, rejoicing, burst of joy.

6"When the Major, the gallant, the graceful, the brave."

The person here alluded to, and so highly extolled, is supposed to have been a member of the O'More family.

7Aoímhreas, more correctly amhras.

8"——when I think of the wretch."

Either Cromwell, or William III. The original, gruagach, however, seems to indicate the latter, as bearing on his personal deformity. The affair of Glenco in Scotland, and the subsequent violation of the articles of Limerick, rendered him an object of aversion to the Irish.


Or more correctly Graine Uile. Grace O'Maley, mother of Theobald, the first Viscount Mayo. Lodge, in his Irish peerage, informs us, that "Mac William" (whom Sir Henry Sidney, on 28 April, 1576, informed Queen Elizabeth he "found verie sensible, though wanting the Englishe tongue, yet understanding the Lattin,") married Grana-na-Male daughter of Owen O'Maley of the Oules, an ancient Irish Chief, and widow of O'Flaherty. A lady much renowned among the natives of Conaught, who relate many adventures and remarkable actions of her courage and undaunted spirit, which she frequently performed on the sea."—vol. iv. p. 235.—For a curious account of this famous Heroine, and her visit to Queen Elizabeth, see the Anthologia Hihernica, vol. ii. p. 1, and iii. p. 340.—Her name has been frequently used by our Bards, to designate Ireland. Hence our Countrymen have been often called "Sons of old Grana Weal."

2This fine Jacobite relic was composed by John Mac Donnell, one of the most eminent of our modern Bards. He was born in the year 1691, in O'Keefe's Country, near Charleville, in the County of Cork, and was known by the name of "Claragh," from the residence of his family, which was situate at the foot of a mountain of that name, between Charleville and Mallow. The following account of this Bard is taken from O'Halloran's introduction to his History of Ireland.—"Mr. Mac Donnell, a man of great erudition, and a profound Irish antiquarian and poet, whose death I sensibly feel, and from whom, when a boy, I learned the rudiments of our language, constantly kept up this custom, (i. e. public sessions of the poets, at stated times, to exercise their genius.) He had made valuable collections, and was writing in his native tongue a history of Ireland; but a long sickness prevented his finishing this work. He proposed to some gentlemen in the County of Clare, to translate Homer into Irish; and, from the specimen he gave, it would seem, that this prince of poets would appear as respectable in a Gathelian as a Greek dress. But the death of the late Mac Namara put a stop to this attempt. This learned and worthy man died in the year 1751, near Charleville, and I have never since been able to find how his papers were disposed of, though I am told he left them to me."—Though grateful to Mr. O'Halloran for preserving even these few particulars, yet the feeling would be greater, had he saved the papers to which he has alluded. They could not have been confided to better hands, and there can be no doubt, but they were well worthy of preservation.

The Bard was interred at the old church yard of Ballyslough, near Charleville, where the following inscription may be read on the humble flag that covers his remains.—



Johannes Mc. Donald, cognominatus Cláragh, vir vere Catholicus, et quibus linguis ornatus, nempe Græca, Latina et Hybernica: non Vulgaris Ingenii poeta, tumulatur ad hunc Cippum. obiit Ætatis Anno 63, Salutis 1754.

Requiescat in pace.

In a subsequent part of this volume will be found an Elegy written on his death. Many excellent productions of his, are extant, composed in his native language, which prove him to have been a man of genius and a poet. Although it may be considered presumptuous to compare an unknown Irish Bard, with the celebrated English poet of Twickenham, yet the comparison might be hazarded without much apprehension for the result. In point of learning Mac Donnell was equal, and neither in genius, judgment, nor power of exquisite versification, was he inferior to Pope. If the latter had been an Irishman, and had written in the language of the country, it would be a matter of difficulty to determine, which would be entitled to the prize. But fortunately for his genius and his fame, Pope was born at the right side of the channel. Here, he would have been doomed, like our neglected Bard, to languish in obscurity, and perhaps never be heard of. That a translation of Homer into Irish was a bold undertaking, must be confessed, particularly when we consider the then political and literary state of the country. Such a work would have considerably enriched our national poetry, but the attempt proved, as might be expected, abortive; while the English poet happily succeeded, even beyond his most sanguine expectations. If any part of the Irish version could now be recovered, it would at once enable us to judge of the merits of the translators, and the powers of their respective languages. The following description of a hero, taken from one of the political poems of our Bard, beginning—“Eistigh lem’ glórthaibh a mhor-shlioct Mílesius,” is not inferior, in the original, to any passage of the Iliad.—

Ta Conn Dán mear mórdha, go torchathach, go treanmhar,
Go lionmhar, go lonnmhar, go leóghanmhar, lásfar,
Le teintibh, le tóirneach, le tórmach, le tréine,
Le saoítibh, le slóightibh, le ceoltaibh cátha.

To crush the strong—the resolute to quell,
Daun[2] sweeps the battle-field, a deadly spell;
Begirt with hosts, a terrible array;
Blood paints his track—and havock strews his way—
The Lion's courage, and the Light'ning's speed.
His might combines—from each adventurous deed,
With haughtier swell dilates the Conqueror's soul;
Like volum'd thunders deep'ning as they roll—
Bards from his prowess learn a loftier song—
And glory lights him through the ranks along.

In politics, Mac Donnell was a "rank" Jacobite, and on more occasions than one he saved his life by hasty retreats from his enemies, the Bard-hunters. He moreover inherited all the hatred of his race for the "Saxon Churls." The treatment of the brave Irish General, Mac Donnell, better known by the name of Mac Allistrum, (whose march is yet remembered in Munster,) of our poet's name and family, who was basely murdered in 1647, at Knockrinoss, near Mallow, by the troops of the brutal renegade, Inchiquin, helped to embitter the poet's mind against the English. His muse never seemed so delighted as when holding them up to the scorn and derision of his Countrymen. His poem on James Dawson is a chef d'œuvre in the bitter and sarcastic style. Among other productions, the present verses to the air of Grana Uile, and the "Lament," which follows, have been always admired. It may be necessary here to observe, that a custom prevailed among our modern bards, to supply stanzas, particularly of a political nature, for the finest national tunes; and these compositions, in general, supplanted the older words, which fell into disuse and were soon forgotten. This was the case with respect to Grana Uile. The original words of this far-famed song I have, however, recovered, and here present them to the Irish reader.


Is buaidheartha a’s ní suaimhneach bheidh Gráinne
Mar dochualaidh sí fuachasa a páisde féin;—
’S é chualaidh me ag gruagach na h-áilne araéir,
Gur suathadh a suan-chorp ag Gráinne Mhaél.
A’s bobarró! dodarró! Gráinne Mhaél!
Bobárró! dodarró! a Ghráinne chléibh’!
Bobarró! dodarró! Gráinne Mhaél!
A’s muna bh-fágh me le bogadh í tá mé réidh!

Chuir mé ann sgioból í, Gráinne Mhaél;—
Shaoíl me ná’r sgumarach grádh mo chléibh:—
Air fhosgailt an dorais le fáinne an laé,
Bhídh cullach ’s an mullach air Ghráinne Mhaél.
A’s bobarró! dodarró a Ghráinne Mhaél!
Bobarró! dodarró a Ghráinne chléibh’!
Bobarró! dodarró! Gráinne Mhaél!
A’s muna bh-fágh mé le bogadh í tá mé réidh!

Another relic of early Jacobite song, the Drimin dubh, O! may not improperly accompany the foregoing. Under that name, by rather a forced allegory, was meant James Charles Edward.—


A Dhroimin dhuibh dhílis, a scoith shíoda na món’,
Cá bh-fuil do mhuintir, nó an maireann siad beódh?
Tá siad ann sna dígibh sínte faoí an bh-fód
Ag súil le Rígh Séamas do thígheacht ann sa’ g-coróinn.

Dá bh-faghainn-si cead aoíbhnis no radharc air an
Thriallfainn go Sacsan d’oídhche a’s do lo,
Ag siúbhal boga a’s curráighthe agus sleibhte dubha
No go sínnfear air drumaibh an Droimin dhuibh ó!

Dia do bheatha do’n m-baile a Dhroimin dhuibh ó!
Badh mhaith do chuid bainne a’s ba mhilis le h-ól,
Do chaoínfinn do leaca a’s do chúm cailce mar rós,
A’s do mhalairt ní dhéanfad a Dhroimin dhuibh O!

In Conaught, the following inferior fragment is sometimes heard. We cannot add, cætera deflenda sunt.

D’éirigh me féin air maidin dé Dómhnaich,
A’s fuair me mo dhruimin dubh báidhte i b-poll móna,
Ghread me na basa a’s chuir me na gártha,
Faoi mo Dhruimin duibh dhílis, gan a leagaint slán dam,
Oró a Dhruimin dubh, oró,
A’s a Dhruimin dubh dhílis go m-bí tú slán.

3"His revenge cannot sleep and his guards will not flee."

The original does not, perhaps, warrant the above expression, which might be considered an invidious allusion to the desertion of General Hamilton's infantry, at the Boyne.

4"The Scots, the true Scots"——

This may allude to the ancient name of the Irish, or more likely to their fidelity to James, in opposition to the treachery of the Scots to his father.

5"The Irish scholar who thinks this version over wrought, may be better satisfied with—

"The long -gorged adventurer shall pine for a meal.
Driven hungry and houseless from Grana Weal."— T.


This excellent Jacobite song has been alluded to in the notes to the last. It was written to the popular air of "The white Cockade," but the reader, or rather the singer, will easily perceive that the time must be slow, and the expression, almost throughout, pathetic. The Scotch claim the air, as "My gallant braw John Highlandman."

2This was an epithet of opprobrium in frequent use with the Jacobites, and applied by them to the House of Hanover, by a mal-pronunciation of the family name of that Royal stock.

3This comparison of the youthful chevalier to the renowned heroes of Irish lore, from whom he was descended, is peculiarly happy, and was well calculated to excite feelings of sympathy in his favour. A French writer, describing the prince and his sister, after alluding to the opinion of Plato, that "the soul frames its own habitation, and that beautiful souls make to themselves beautiful bodies," says, "on both their countenances were divinely mingled the noble features and lineaments of the Stuart's and the D'Este's, and beauty triumphed over both, with this only difference, that in him it was more strong and masculine, as becoming his sex; in her more soft and tender, as suiting with hers; in both excellent and alike." Our bard's description of the young Prince has been much admired.


"Sure," says Spenser, "it is a most beautiful and sweet Country as any under Heaven." "Once," adds Johnson, "the seat of sanctity and learning." "A land," says our illustrious Grattan, "for which God has done so much, and man so little."

2"This indeed is a Country worth fighting for," exclaimed William III. when the beauties of the Golden Vale, in Kilkenny, burst on his astonished view; "and worth defending," replied one of his veteran opposers, who happened to be present. Yet, with a pusillanimity wholly incompatible with the character of the brave, William poured down his weightiest vengeance on the heroic defenders of that very Country, for no other crime than acting on the principle, that it was worth fighting for. This was the grand political error which intailed incalculable evils on these Islands for more than half a century after. It strengthened Catholic France, and enervated Protestant England, the latter expending millions to uphold a tribe of reformed ascendency men in Ireland to oppress the defenceless Catholics. With reference to William, I will not stain my page by noticing the secret services for the profligate grants of this land "worth fighting for," made by him to his Dutch favourites, although on that dark subject, some documents might be adduced, as curious as any that Burnet had recourse to, when he wrote the suppressed passages of his history.—See Routh's genuine Edition, Oxf. 1823.

3"Have wrung reluctant praises from the foe."

"Cursed be the laws which deprive me of such subjects," cried George II. when he heard of the bravery of the Irish Catholic exiles at Fontenoy. This and a few other indications of humane feeling in that Monarch for the political degradation of the Catholics of Ireland, induced one of their bards to attempt his praise in English, as follows.—

Grádh mo chroidhe my own King George,
I'll toss off his health in a bumper at large,
By the Cross of Saint Patrick he's so very civil,
That the French and the Spaniards may go to the Devil.

However ludicrous this Irish attempt at English versification may appear, yet the sentiment which it endeavours to convey is one that deserves the serious attention of our rulers.


A sensible Scotch writer used to say, that if the composition of the songs of a country were left to him, he cared not who made its laws. Hence Lord Wharton boasted, that he rhymed King James out of Ireland by the old Williamite ballad Lilliburlero: and Bishop Percy noticing that song in his Reliques of ancient English poetry, (where, by the bye, within the compass of a few lines, this Christian Divine found room for the hacknied terms "furious papist, bigotted master, violence of his administration," &c.) quotes his brother prelate. Bishop King, to shew that it "contributed not a little to the great revolution of 1688!" The effects, real or fancied, thus ascribed to these droggrel rhymes, (which were written by the author of the "Irish Hudibras,") may enable the reader to form an idea of the influence which our Jacobite songs must have had on the people of Ireland. Clothed in the language of the Country, which was always regarded and still is cherished with national enthusiasm, and addressed to the religious and political feelings of the multitude, these songs helped, in no small degree, to counteract the effects even of the penal laws. They were transmitted from sire to son, and imprinted on the memory with nearly the same degree of reverence as the doctrines of Christianity. Hence the Catholics and Protestants were as much separated and prejudiced against each other in Ireland, as were the Israelites and Egyptians in Egypt, under the rule of Pharoah.

The present song, which promised the expulsion of the sassanagh Shane Bui, was, for that reason, a general favourite. It is said to have been composed by Ellen Quilty, a fair Munster Lady, but this was probably a nom-de-guerre, assumed by some bard to avoid detection.


Josephus, in the seventh book of the Jewish war, relates, that after the profanation of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans, the voices of Guardian Angels were heard in the dead of the night, crying out through its inmost recesses, Μεταβαινωμεν Εντευθεν "let us depart hence."—So, in the seventeenth century, when Ireland was subdued, more by clerical cabal and treachery, than by the arms of Cromwell, a similar cry was heard throughout the devoted land, from the brave, betrayed, and deserted Irish leaders, who until then had been the guardian spirits of the country. One of these was Colonel John O'Dwyer, a distinguished officer who commanded in the Counties of Waterford and Tipperary, in 1651, and soon after embarked at the former port with 500 of his faithful followers for Spain.—Original Irish Privy Council Book, 1651—4. On the occasion of his departure the present fine ode was composed, and it has ever since contained a general favourite, being well known in every part of Ireland. The air is an excellent specimen of our plaintive music. The opening of the first stanza describes the peaceable state of the country before the troubles, when a portentous calm prevailed, like the silence of death, or the awful stillness which generally precedes a hurricane, or the bursting of a volcano. The remainder of the stanza alludes to the ravages of the war. By the woman mourning over her geese, was meant Ireland lamenting her exiles, who were called geibh fiadhain "wild geese," because, like these birds "they flocked together in concert," and made their annual emigration for foreign shores. The cutting down of the woods indicated the downfall of the ancient families. By the playful goat, mentioned in the second stanza, I should suppose was meant some Irish nobleman or leader, or probably, the lascivious exiled King himself. Charles II.

The description of the havoc by the enemy, and the desolation of the country, is throughout conceived in a high strain of poetical feeling.

At the period to which this poem relates, the animosity of the English against their Irish fellow subjects had reached its greatest height. Before this time horrible acts of atrocity are, no doubt, recorded, but they were in general local, or confined for the most part to individual tyranny; but never until now was the whole population of England simultaneously arrayed in deadly enmity against the Irish. A plan was proposed in the English Cabinet, dooming "the entire Irish race to exile or death, and Colonizing the Country with Jews. It was not humanity which checked this plan, but an apprehension that the chosen people of God would rival in commerce their Christian colleagues."—Russel's Letters by Duhigg. This national frenzy was gradually and artfully excited by a few designing men, who afterwards richly profitted by this madness of the many. Amongst other matters they represented the Irish as not entitled to the common rights of humanity; that, in fact, like Nebuchodonozor, they partook of the nature of the beasts of the field, having natural hoofs and horns like their master, the devil; and that a tail was no uncommon appendage to an Irishman's breech. The present generation will hardly believe, that stories like these were then received with implicit credit in England. In the poem of Hudibras we are told that

——tails by nature sure were meant
As well as beards, for ornament.

To this passage there occurs, in Nash's edition of that poem, the following note. "At Cashel, in the County of Tipperary, in Carrick Patrick church, (the cathedral on the rock of Cashel,) stormed by Lord Inchiquin in the civil wars, there were near 700 put to the sword, and none saved but the Mayor's wife and his son. Among the slain of the Irish were found, when stripped, divers that had tails near a quarter of a yard long. Forty soldiers, who were eye-witnesses, testified the same upon their oaths."—It is to be regretted that the names of these forty eye-witnesses were not given, as it is not unlikely but some of them might be traced among the famous ghost depositions of 1641, now carefully preserved in Trinity College, Dublin. Their evidence, however, with respect to the tails had all the effect that was proposed. It was as firmly believed by the vulgar English of that day, as Johanna Southcot's Shiloh is expected by many of the same class at the present. Accordingly in the very year (1647) in which Cashel was stormed, a book was published in London, which ran through several editions, recommending the indiscriminate murder of the Irish, without mercy. The following extract from this horrid book has few parellels among the most sanguinary records of mankind.—"These Irish, anciently called Anthopophagi, man-eaters: have a tradition among them, that when the Devill shewed our Saviour all the Kingdomes of the Earth and their glory, that he would not shew him Ireland, but reserved it for himself: it is probably true, for he hath kept it ever since for his own peculiar; the old Fox foresaw that it would eclipse the glory of all the rest: he thought it wisdom to keep it for a Boggards for himself, and all his unclean spirits employed in this Hemisphere, and the people, to doe his son and heire, I mean the Pope, that service for which Lewis the eleventh kept his barber Oliver, which makes them so blood-thirsty. They are the very offall of men, Dregges of mankind, reproache of Christendome, the Bots that crawle on the Beasts taile. I wonder Rome itself is not ashamed of them.

"I begge upon my hands and knees, that the expedition against them may be undertaken while the hearts and hands of our soul-diery are hot, to whom I will be bold to say briefly: Happy is he that shall reward them as they have served us: and cursed be he that shall doe that work of the Lord negligently! Cursed be he that holdeth hack his sword from blood!!! yea, Cursed be he that maketh not his sword starke drunk with Irish blood!!! that doth not recompense them double for their hellish treachery to the English! that maketh them not heaps upon heaps!! and their Country a dwelling-place for Dragons, an astonishment to Nations! Let not that eye look for pity, nor that hand to be spared, that pities or spares them! and let him be accursed, that curseth them not bitterly!!!"

Within less than two years after this worse than Turkish manifesto, Cromwell landed in Ireland, with 10,000 men, all breathing slaughter. They soon made their swords "starke drunk with Irish blood," and the awful results have been well described by our Bards.

As a relief from this appalling subject, I turn to our poem, of which I present the Irish reader with an additional stanza. There are many inferior verses current as part of it, but the following are, perhaps, among the best.—

D’ólfainn-si geinidhe, le mnáibh breágh ’na finne,
’S ní feárr ’ná mar do shinnfinn, le bárraibh mo méar,
Coróinn ariamh na sgillinn, ni dhearnaidh me dhe chruinneas,
Acht léigeann do silleadh mar dhruchd air an bh-féur.—
’Nois ó tá mé ag imtheacht, ’s gan n-dán damhsa filleadh,
Mo dhá ghadhairín oinich, fagfaidh me a’m dheígh,
Sud mnáibh agus leinbh ag éud agus ann iomadh,
Fágfaidh me-si an t-seilg air an ait aca féin.


This fine River has been the theme of many a song. In the present allegorical poem the genius of Ireland appears on its banks, predicting "in sweet accents" the coming of the

————"hero, to sweep from the coast
The ruthless, false-hearted heretical host."

No liberal, or well informed Protestant of the present day can be surprised at these strong expressions of the past, if he call to his recollection the cruel persecutions which the Irish suffered, and the sweeping confiscations of their estates since the days of Elizabeth. Until a recent period, arms and penal laws were the principal instruments of the Reformation in Ireland. With us it literally became the "holy faith of Pike and Gun." Is it then to be wondered at that this faith made no progress in Ireland, or that the people have expressed themselves of it and its professors in the language of our poem? Respect for the sacred name of religion and its ministers, of whatever denomination, here prevents serious developements, from original documents, on this subject, which would fully justify these expressions, and shew that they were not the result of bigotry, but were wrung from an oppressed and persecuted people. No such feeling, however, exists towards the unprincipled legislature that left these defenceless victims bound and prostrate at the mercy of their fanatical foes. The "ferocious" laws against the Catholics of Ireland, so strikingly resemble those imposed by the Mahomedan Caliph Omar, on the Christians of Jerusalem, when he captured that city in 637, that, if the spirit of persecution were not always the same, it might be supposed that the Irish Parliament had the Moslem restrictions in view, when framing those laws.—See the History of the Turks for the following Articles, and the History of the Irish penal laws for more copious comments.

1st. "That the Christians (Hibernicè Catholics) shall build no new churches, and that Moslems (Hib. Protestants) shall be admitted into them at all times."

[See the Irish Statute Book for similar restrictions.—The writer has frequently conversed with old people who attended the celebration of Divine Service, amid the ruins of monasteries and in lonely vallies and subterraneous caverns; and during its performance, it was usual to place a watch on the next adjoining eminence, to give warning of the approach of the Priest and Mass-hunters.]

2nd. "They shall not prevent their children or friends from professing Islamism (Hib. Protestantism) or read the Koran (Hib. Bible) themselves."

[Even in the present year, 1827, a hot persecution is being carried on by high church landlords in many parts of Ireland, against the poor tenants, for not sending their children to Protestant schools.—As to reading in any shape, the Catholics were effectually deprived of that advantage, for all education was denied them.—See the several Acts against Popish schoolmasters.]
3rd. "They shall erect no crosses on their churches (Hib. chapels) and only toll, not ring their bells."
[See the Irish Statute Book.—Crosses erected on Catholic chapels in Ireland have been repeatedly prostrated according to law.—As to ringing or tolling bells, either was early prohibited, and wholly unknown until of late years.]

4th. "They shall not wear the Arab-dress, ride upon saddles, &c."

[The dress (Hib. rags) of the lower orders, (or according to their own phrase "the poor slaves") in Ireland, has become proverbial for its wretchedness. Their motly, and miserable appearance in this respect, once induced a witty foreigner to ask, if the English had not sent over all their old clothes to be worn by the Irish.—No Catholic dare ride a horse worth £5., and as for a saddle, that luxury was so rarely enjoyed, that its prohibition was considered altogether useless.]

6th. "They shall pay the highest deference to the Mussulmans (Hib. Protestants) and entertain all travellers for three days gratis."

[As for Catholic deference to Protestants generally, from a single example disce omnia.—In the town of Galway, the great majority of the Inhabitants was always Catholic, yet not one of them durst enter an open public building there, called the Exchange, with his hat on; nay more, while in it, he should remain uncovered, in the presence of his bonneted Protestant neighbour, as an acknowledgment of his deference to him, and of his respect for the "glorious" constitution. This degrading observance was strictly enforced, until James Daly (the grand-father of the present member of the name for that county, and who was himself a Protestant gentleman of considerable influence in the town,) put an end to it, about the commencement of the last reign. He walked arm in arm. through the forbidden building, with a Catholic, who he insisted should be covered, at the same time declaring his determination to punish any insolent bigot, who, for the future, should attempt to enforce the above humiliating mark of distinction . The spirited conduct of that gentleman, on this occasion, secured for him and his descendants the corporate influence in the town, and the parliamentary representation of the county; and even to this day it is remembered by the Catholics with feelings of gratitude.—The remainder of the Moslem article is inapplicable, for it was never necessary to enforce hospitality in Ireland, where even the poorest of the poor willingly share their little store with the travelling stranger and the distressed. But the tyranny exercised in this respect over such Catholics as were suffered to reside in corporate towns, is worthy of remark. They were almost exclusively forced, under the bilitting regulations, to entertain the military, and it may be added gratis, for the pretended remuneration allowed them, generally proved nominal.]

6th. "They shall not sell wine or any intoxicating liquor."—

7th. "They shall pay a capitation tax, of two dinars each, submit to an annual tribute, and become subjects of the caliph."

Comment on these last, and only remaining articles, is omitted, to introduce the concessions made by the Mahomedan Chief, in return for the above restrictions.—"The Christians shall be protected and secured both in their laws and fortunes; and their churches shall neither be pulled down or made use of by any but themselves."—In vain do we seek for concessions like these to the unfortunate Irish Catholics. Such lenity was too much for them even to expect at the hands of their fellow Christians, and they were content, if barely suffered to exist. May it not therefore be asserted, that the Moslem rulers of the seventh century, have been more observant of the dictates of justice and humanity, and approached nearer in their practice to the divine maxims of the Christian faith, than the Irish Parliament of the eighteenth. The remainder of this appalling picture is left to the imagination of the reader:—but it should never be forgotten that the Christian of Jerusalem, in imitation of his Divine Master, freely forgave his enemies and prayed for them. To the Irish Catholic we would say, "Go thou and do likewise."—The day of persecution has gone by, and a hope remains (notwithstanding some chimerical reformation endeavours now in progress,) that the mild spirit of the gospel may at length revisit this island, and that the people of all religious denominations, without distinction of sect or party, may finally forget their differences, and cordially unite in promoting the prosperity of the Country, and upholding the glory of the Empire.

To return to our poem, I find it was composed by Owen O'Sullivan, a Munster bard, who died at Knockanure, in the County of Kerry, about the year 1784. He has indulged much in compound epithets of which the Irish language is so capable, but of which it was found impossible to convey any idea in an English version. This may account to the reader for the apparent disproportion in length between the translation and the original.


1Fearflatha O'Gnive, the author of this ode, was family Ollamh, or poet laureat of the O'Nials of Claneboy, and he formed one of the train of the celebrated Shane a Diomas, (or the proud) O'Nial, prince of Ulster, who visited the court of Elizabeth, in 1562. Camden describes O'Nial's appearance on that occasion, and tells us, "the Londoners marvelled much at the strange sight." He was attended by Mac Sweeny the Captain of his guard, Mac Caffry his hereditary standard bearer, O'Gallagher his Marshal, O'Gnive his poet, and several other officers. The O'Gnives continued hereditary poets of Tyrone for a long period, in 1679, Lhuyd mentions the then bard of the name, from whom he informs us, he acquired an ancient Irish writing.—Stowe Cat. Vol. 1, p. 39.—In O'Conor's Dissertations will be found an English prose translation of part of the present poem. The original was addressed principally to the Native Chieftains, whose tottering and degraded state, and horrible persecutions during the reign of Elizabeth, are so powerfully portrayed. O'Gnive may be considered as the Tyrtæus not only of Ulster, but of Ireland. His poems, particularly the present, had no small influence in exciting O'Nial to carry fire and sword through the North, and rousing the ancient Irish nobility to arms against their oppressors in the other parts of the kingdom.

2"The word went forth."————

The proclamations of the Lord Justice Sussex, in 1563, against the Catholic Clergy, and to compel the people, under heavy fines, to frequent the new reformation service, are here alluded to. Of all the measures ever adopted, and there were many, to alienate the minds of the Irish from the English government, this pious solicitude for the safety of their souls, always proved the most effectual. Our ancestors, it seems, wished to go to heaven their own way, but that would not be permitted. The queen declared herself paramount over the souls of the Irish as well as their bodies, and this prerogative has been since stiffly maintained, formerly by the sword, and afterwards by penal laws, even to the present day. In the commencement of the reign of James the first, the principal charge brought against a refractory Irishman in Cork was, that "he swore an othe not to be governed by any Kinge, but such as should give him the libertie of his conscience."—Orig. MS. in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

3"An hour may come."————

So odious did the settlers render themselves on every occasion to the Irish, that, in process of time, all distinction was lost between an Englishman and an enemy. In fact the terms became synonymous. The people exulted in the misfortunes of England, and its destruction, or downfall, was always looked forward to with a hope which consoled them under every affliction. This forced, but justifiable feeling, was carefully kept alive by the bards. The following stanza, is one out of thousands which might be produced to that effect.—

Do threasgair an saéghal is shéid an gaoth mar smál,
Alasdrann, Seasar, ’s an mhed sin a bhidh na b-pairt;
Ta an teamhair na fér, a’s feuch an troidhe mar ta,
A’s na Sacsanaigh fén do b-feidir go ffuighdís bas.

The world subdued—like chaff before the blast
The host of Cæsar—Alexander—past,—
Proud Tarah's site is green—and Troy's in dust,
And England's hour may come—remembering, trust.

4"The plough hath passed each hallowed mound,
Where sages weighed a nation's right."

This passage is explained by the following extract, taken from an Irish Privy Council Book of Queen Elizabeth, preserved in Dublin Castle.—"Articles betwixt the Counsell of Ireland and Sir John O'Reyley, knt. of the co. of Cavan, commonly called the Breney, alias O'Reilie's countrie, the 28th of Aug. in the 25th year of the Queen's reign.—Item, he shall not assemble the Queen's people upon hills, or use any Iraghtes or parles upon hills.—He shall not keepe any Irish Brahons, or suffer the Irish Brahon's lawes to be used within his countrie.—He shall not take Earyckes or recompences for murther or killinge, or suffer any other under him to take the like.—He shall not give comberick to any gent, or Lordes' men, children or brethern that shall happen to offend against the Queen's lawes.—He shall not levy any black rent.—He shall not use, ne keepe within his house, any Irishe Barde, Carroghe or Rymor, but to the uttermost of his power help to remove them from his countrie."—From the orig. MS. A. D. 1584.

5"Tis England all."————

A century after this period, Lawrence boasted, that Ireland might be called west England. The statement was, however, fallacious. It is not so yet, and unless the policy materially change, ages may roll round before it can be so. Ireland has been rendered a paralyzed limb on the empire, but sufficient nerve remains, by which, in some frenzied or convulsive moment, it may inflict a sudden and deadly wound on the body which it ought to protect, support, and adorn. May this awful truth sink deep in the minds of those who have it yet in their power to avert so dreadful a retribution.

6"Banha no more her sons can trace
In failing heart and feeble hand."

The atrocities committed by the English in Ireland, in the reign of Elizabeth, are frequently alluded to by our bards and historians, but the descriptions in most are too general, because the acts were too numerous to admit of particular detail. "When," says our distinguished countryman, Curran, (whose talented Son's translations enrich these volumes,) "you endeavour to convey an idea of a great number of barbarians, practising a great variety of cruelties upon an incalculable multitude of sufferers, nothing defined or specific finds its way to the heart, nor is any sentiment excited save that of a general erratic unappropriated commiseration." For the purpose therefore of conveying a definite idea of the actions, described in general terms in our poem, a single instance out of many which might be collected, may suffice.—

Francis Cosby, a person of slender fortune in England, betook himself to Ireland as an adventurer, in the reign of Queen Mary. He directed his course to the territory of Leix, recently converted into Shire-ground by the name of the Queen's County, and the scene of the horrid massacre of Mullamast. Having recommended himself to the attention of the chief governor, he was, by patent dated 10 Sept. 1558, appointed "general" of the "Kerne," as the then police was called, after the ancient Irish foot-soldiers. Of these, "General" Cosby had 32 under his immediate command, and with their assistance, he performed prodigies of valour against the defenceless natives, on whom he was authorized to exercise Martial law, and inflict capital punishment, at pleasure. The gallows became his favourite implement of death, as the cheapest mode of despatching the surrounding proprietory, and he, accordingly, had one erected near his house in the neighbourhood of Stradbally Abbey, upon a spot, to this day called Gallows-hill. Here he kept up a continual scene of execution for many years, hanging the people in numbers, and not unfrequently suspending them alive in chains, with loaves of bread placed before them, in order to render their death more painful. These necessary severities, as they were called, became a sure passport to the further favourable notice of government; and Sir Henry Sydney, Lord Deputy, in his State papers, reported, that it was needless to make Leix Shire-ground, so great and successful was the care of Francis Cosby and some others, in preserving the public tranquillity; but the Deputy might have added, in the quaint pedantry of his day, ubi solitudinem faciunt tranquillitatem appellant. The tranquillizer, however, was richly rewarded for his "zeal and services against the Irish," by several grants of lands in the new Shire-ground, made to him and his wife, Elizabeth Palmes, by the Queen. Having reached the age of 70 years, he was at length slain by the natives, in a battle of which Camden gives the following account, in his life of Queen Elizabeth.—"When Arthur, Lord Grey, landed in Ireland to take possession of the lieutenancy, before he received the sword and other insignia of his office, hearing that some rebels, under the command of FitzEustace and Phelim Mac Hugh, prince of the numerous family of the O'Birnes, were committing great outrages and had their retreat at Glandillough, 25 miles south of Dublin, to strike greater terror by a vigorous beginning, he commanded the leaders of the band, who came from every quarter to salute him on his arrival, to collect a body of troops, and go along with him against the rebels, who immediately retreated into Glandillough. Glandillough is a grassy valley, fit for feeding sheep, but a great part of it marshy, with many rocky precipices and surrounded with thick shrubby woods, so that the paths and passes are scarce known even to the inhabitants. When the army came to this place, Cosby, general of the light Irish foot, which are called Kernes, who was thoroughly acquainted with the place, apprised the rest of the leaders how very dangerous it would be to attack them in that valley, so fit for ambuscades; nevertheless he expected them with the most manly courage to dare the danger, and immediately, although he was above 70 years old, rushed forward with the rest of them. The instant they entered the valley they were overwhelmed with a shower of arrows like hail, from the rebels, who were hid in every side among the thickets, so that they could not even see them. The greater part fell, and the remainder struggling through the most difficult paths on the precipices, with difficulty escaped to the Lord-lieutenant, who waited for the event on the top of the hill, together with the Earl of Kildare, and Wingfield, engineer general, who, well knowing the danger, kept one of his nephews, George Carew with him, against his will, reserving him for still greater honors. There were lost in this attack, Peter Carew the younger, George Moore, Audley, and Cosby himself, a man flourishing in military glory."

Francis Cosby left three sons, Henry who died in England, Arnold who was executed in 1590, for killing Lord Bourke of Castleconnell, and Alexander[3] who succeeded his father and trod in his footsteps, but particularly in his mode of tranquillizing the Irish. Tradition relates, that he used to hang them in groups, on a large willow tree, near the Abbey of Stradbally; and he is said to have had a common expression, that his Sallow appeared melancholy and unfurnished, whenever it was without one or more of the Irish hanging on its boughs. This circumstance gave rise to the surname Soileioge, or, of the Sallow, which the country, through reproach, bestowed on him and his descendants. For these and other acts of "necessary severity," he was at length obliged to sue out a pardon, or patent of Indemnity, which is dated the 6th of Dec. 1593. This was one of the legal indulgences for crime, which were readily obtained, at small pecuniary fines, for the most atrocious acts against the Irish; but for offences, even of a trivial nature against the English, it was both difficult and expensive to procure them. Not long after, however, Alexander Cosby fell in battle, and like his father was suddenly summoned to account before another tribunal. In the year 1596, Owny Mac Rory O'More, Chieftain of Leix, demanded a passage for his men over Stradbally bridge, and the request, being considered as a formal challenge to fight, was refused. On the 19th of May, Cosby hearing that the O' Mores were on the march, headed his kerne, and proceeded to defend the bridge, taking with him his eldest son Francis, who was married a year before to Helena Harpole of Shrule, by whom he had a son, William, born but nine weeks before this fatal battle of the bridge. Dorcas Sydney, (for she would never allow herself to be called Cosby,) and her daughter-in-law, placed themselves at a window of the abbey to see the fight, and for some time beheld their husbands bravely maintaining their ground. At length Alexander Cosby, as he was pressing forward, was shot, and dropped down dead. Upon this his kerne with melancholy and mournful outcries began to give way; and Francis Cosby the son, apprehensive of being abandoned, endeavoured to save himself by leaping over the bridge, but the moment he cleared the battlements he was also shot, and fell dead into the river. This, as might be supposed, must have been a shocking scene to the widowed ladies, who beheld the entire from the Abbey; yet it is recorded, that Helena Cosby, with the coolest presence of mind, addressed herself to Dorcas Sydney, saying, "Remember, mother, that my father was shot before my husband, and therefore the latter was the legal possessor of the estate, and consequently I am entitled to my thirds or dowry." The Cosby party being entirely routed, O'More ransacked the Abbey, but conveyed the infant and widows to a place of safety. Queen Elizabeth granted pensions to the latter in consequence of their husband's laudable services, and the O'Mores having been declared traitors, their estates were confiscated. The feuds, however, between them and the Cosbies still raged with violence. The infant having died, Richard Cosby succeeded to the Estate, and became leader of the kerne. Eager to revenge the deaths of his father and brother, he challenged the O'Mores to fight a pitched battle. They met in 1606, in the glen of Aghnahely, under the rock of Dunamase, and the engagement was the most bloody ever fought between these rivals. After a long and doubtful conflict, fortune declared in favor of Cosby. The O'Mores were defeated with considerable loss, and seventeen of the principal of the clan lay dead on the field. The revolutions of the seventeenth century completed the destruction of the O'Mores, but confirmed the Cosby family in its possessions.

The foregoing is a single picture, intended to convey an idea of the general practices of the English in Ireland, and of the sanguinary struggles which subsisted between them and the natives, in every part of the Island, for centuries. The Cosbies fought bravely in defence of the possessions they acquired, and, so far, they deserved them; but other settlers resorted to very different modes of aggrandizement, in this ill-fated land of adventure. Amongst these, Richard Boyle, better known by the name of the "great earl of Cork," stands eminently conspicuous. From an obscure adventurer, this man gradually became the most powerful individual in Ireland, and it is related, that Cromwell, a kindred spirit, when he visited Munster, declared that if there had been an earl of Cork in each of the provinces, there would have been no rebellion; perhaps, it might be added, because there would have been but few or none left to complain. The world is already acquainted with Boyle's story, or with such parts of it as his partial biographers, or eulogists rather, thought proper to communicate; but his true character has been studiously concealed. The following extract from a letter[4] written by him from his mansion at Youghal, to the Earl of Warwick, on 25th Feb. 1641, may serve, for so much, to shew him in his true colours.—"But to return to Ireland wherein my fortune lyes, and wherein I have eaten the most parte of my bread for these last 51 years, and have made it a great parte of my study to understand this kingdome and people, in their owne true essence and natures; I doe beseech your lordshipp, beleeve this great truth from me, that there is not many, (nay I may more truely say,) very few or none, that is a native of Ireland, and of the Romish religion, but he is either publiquely in this action, or privately in his heart, an assistant or welwisher unto it, for this rebellion hath infected all of them, and the contagion, thereof, is dispersed throughout the kingdome, and as the poyson is generall, soe hath his majesty and the parliament a fitt opportunitie offered them, for these their treasons to roote the popish partie of the natives out of the kingdome, and to plant it with English protestants, for soe long as English and Irish Protestants and Papists live heer, intermingled together, wee can never have firme and assured peace, and his Majestic may now justly interest himselfe in all their lands and confiscations, and have roome enough to plant this kingdome with new English, which will raise him a great revenue, and secure the kingdome to the crowne of England, which it will never be so long as these Irish papists have any land here, or are suffered to live therein. For admitt, there be but now 200,000 Irish papists in actual rebellion, which I conceive to be the least number that they are, it must not be the worke of a second conquest, to proceed slowly and sparingly, but roundly and really with plentiful provisions of all kynde to support a warre, I assure your lordship it infinitely comforts all us good subjects, that his Majesty hath been graciously pleased, now at the last, to issue proclamations from thence, whereby the rebells, with their abbettors, adherents and releivers, are proclaimed Traytors; and yf it would please his Majesty, with assent of parliament, to cause an Act presently to be passed there, to attainte them all of high treason and to confiscate their lands and estates, to the Crowne, it would utterly dishearten them, and encourage the English to serve couragiously against them, in hope to be settled in the lands of them they shall kill or otherwise destroy. Yf your lordshipp thinke it fitt to communicate this, my undigested proposition, to Mr. Pym, Mr. Hambden, Mr. Strowde, and such other prime and active men of the house of Commons as you shall thinke fittest, and that your lordshipp and they doe relish it, I would gladly upon notice thereof, yf soe required, reduce my conceipts herein, to a more perfect declaration and exacter method."—Such was the horrible proposition of this hoary monster, not the destruction of a single clan or district, as was afterwards carried into execution in Scotland, but the indiscriminate extirpation of an entire people, among whom he "had eaten the most part of his bread for 54 years!" Oh! calumniated Prince of Orange, comparatively pusillanimous exterminator, who, after this, will think thee worth noticing as the pigmy murderer of Glenco? It is time that posterity should do justice, and that the memory of this infamous earl should, at length, be consigned to the eternal immitigable execration of mankind. It avails but little as to his exculpation, that the hideous project was not then realized. In England it was unattended to, because there they were otherwise employed. In Ireland, however, he pressed it on the Lord's justices, and they, particularly, the notorious Parsons, proceeded far towards carrying it into execution. This appears from a letter of the latter to the execrable proposer, dated, Dublin, 20th June, 1643, wherein he tells him, "I am of your mind that a thorow destruction must be made, before we can settle upon a safe peace. I pray you spare none, but indict all of quality or estate. We have done so hereabouts to many thousands, and have already executed some."[5]—I shall add no more. The soul sickens at these dreadful recitals, which not even the sanguinary archives of the Turk can equal. Sufficient, however, has been given to shew, that there was abundant cause for the feelings and expressions of the Minstrels, who mourned over the afflictions of their native land.

The Reformation, and its offspring, the Gunpowder Plot, were sources of innumerable evils to Ireland. The latter, particularly, arrayed the people against each other, and originated those violent feelings of hatred and animosity in the Protestant mind, against the Catholics, which, even yet, are not entirely allayed. But that this was a Protestant and not a Popish plot, few well informed persons of the present day entertain the slightest doubt. From a careful inspection of all the original documents connected with this dark transaction, preserved in the State Paper Office, London, and without reference to any other source or circumstance whatever, I do declare it to be my solemn conviction that the entire was planned and conducted, from beginning to end, by Cecil, Secretary of State to James the first. I do not intend here to enter into the particulars which led me to this conclusion, nor, indeed, is this the place for so doing. One only document, therefore, I shall notice, and that is the official report drawn up by Levinus Moncke, and throughout corrected by his master the Secretary, in his own hand-writing.[6] When perusing this elaborate statement, it appeared to me, that certain passages could not have been expunged, or particular interlined amendments made by Cecil, if he had not been well acquainted with the plot before the delivery of the letter to Lord Monteagle. If Doctor Lingard, perhaps the ablest of England's Historians, had personally inspected these papers, he probably would have been more decided in his account of this horrid Anti-Catholic conspiracy.

In concluding the few desultory observations, which have been considered necessary to explain some passages in the present part of this collection, I may be permitted to add, that they were undertaken with reluctance, and are ended without regret. Ungrateful, indeed, must have been the task, to turn over the crimsoned annals of a people, whose calamities have classed them mongst the most persecuted of mankind. One great consolation, however, was afforded, by the reflection that the day of persecution has passed away; that the children of the tyrant and the slave, the oppressor and the oppressed, now mingle, without distinction, in the great mass of society; and that the angry passions which formerly raged with violence, are generally and rapidly declining. May no untoward circumstance occur to interrupt this happy procedure; and, in the language of one of our modern bards,—

"May Erin's sons, of every caste,
Be Irishmen, from first to last,
Nor name or creed divide them."

  1. His lordship was descended from the old sept of the Clan-Gibbons', and was the best friend to the English interest in Ireland, that these latter times have produced. Against this clan our Irish bards have been bitterly invective. The following stanza is taken from a satirical poem written by Angus O'Daly, called Angus na naor, or the Bárd rúadh, about the year 1600.

    Ní fhuil fearg nach d-téid air g-cul,
    Acht fearg Chríost le cloinn Ghiobúin;
    Beag an díth a m-beith mar tá,
    A fás air olc gach aonlá.
    The sternest puke that heaves the heart to hate,
    Will sink o'erlaboured or with time abate;
    But on the clan Fitz-Gibbon Christ looks down
    For ever with unmitigated frown—
    Did mercy shine! their hearts envenomed slime,
    Even in her beam, would quicken to new crime.

    The following well known epigram is added, to enable the classical reader to judge between it and the foregoing production of the Irish bard:

    Vipera Cappadocem nocitura momordit, at ilia
    Gustato periit sanguine Cappadocis.

    A viper bit a Cappadocian—fain
    Her curdling poison through him to distil,
    But the foiled reptile died—her victim's vein
    Had poison subtiler than her own to kill.

  2. Leopold Count Daun, Field Marshal. This was written before he was appointed to the command of the Austrian Armies.
  3. He married Dorcas Sydney, a relation of the Lord Deputy, and so numerous were the grants of land obtained by him and his Father, from the 28th of Feb. 1562, when the latter got the suppressed religious house of Stradballye, that they at one time possessed half the Queen's County and a Township over.—This narrative is taken from an orig. MS. of the late Admiral Cosby.
  4. Preserved in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.
  5. This Letter is also preserved in the same Library.
  6. Another paper, in the hand-writing of the King, (directing certain queries to be put to John Johnson, alias Guy Fawkes,) deserves attention, as a curious record of the cruelty and pedantry of that weak and worthless Monarch. It thus concludes, " If he will not otherwise confesse, the gentler tortures are to be first applied unto him, et sic, per gradus, ad ima tenditur, and so God speed your good work.!"—From the orig. MS.