Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/358

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Swamp,—poor unfortunates, whose mentality was about as low as it is possible to imagine in a human being,—used to gather around our camp fire, and listen with bated breath while Boyle related to them, as only he could, the story of the wrongs and sufferings of Ireland, and told of the eight hundred years of oppression which yet had failed to destroy the Irish nationality and the Irish spirit and traditions; and so well did he present his theme, and so perfectly did he measure the language with which he clothed his eloquence by the rude intellectual standard of his audience, that he held them speechless and amazed at what was to them a wonderful romance."

The following clever parody on Moore's "Lake of the Dismal Swamp" went the rounds of the press apropos of O'Reilly's cruise:

He's off for a place rather cold and damp
For a soul so warm to woo;
He goes to explore the Dismal Swamp,
So weirdly sung by a poet-tramp
When the century was new.

And some sonorous song we soon may hear,
Or malarial lines may see,
For the Miasmatic Muse may bear
Some offspring meet for the laurel's wear,
Though derived from the cypress tree.

So the brakes among! Though the way is long
And no primrose path it be;
And what is there wrong in a plaintive song
For the juice of the grateful scuppernong
And the juniper jamboree?

No rill Heliconian to inspirate.
Nor fount of fair Castaly;
And the exhalations that exhalate
Are not the sort that invigorate
Or animate Poesie.

And yet to the fancy that sways supreme
These poetic, aesthetic souls