Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/349

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LITERATURE, SCIENCE AND ART.

beau sabreur—the Murat of the movement; Charles Gavan Duffy as showing a literary character, broad, abundant, luminous as a river, and yet chequered with soft, sad autumnal hues; and Thomas Davis as the archetype of Young Ireland culture, and of the masculine purity of genius hallowed to lofty purposes—the scholar and the poet of his party. He thus admirably hits off the leading characteristics of John Mitchel's energetic journalism in 1848: "Splendid sarcasm, vitriolic in its specific quality as a destructive; argument close and conclusive, couched in eloquent execration, taunt and curse and defiance, jest and jeer, as grim in their way as attainders or excommunications; but above all, history—Irish history—pointed out week after week in such a light as, from the flames of a burning church, one might see the inscriptions on mural tablets a minute ere the slabs crack, and drop into the blazing chaos. Compared to them, the thunderers of the Times were weak rum-and-water to Russian quass or the Tartar distillation from equine milk. The denunciations of Junius, whose flimsy pretensions to power as political literature De Quincey has, among a host of similar services, shown the world, were as lemonade, and inferior lemonade, too, beside the arrack of the Mitchellian diatribes."

And in his elaborate review of the journal kept by John Mitchel during his detention as a prisoner of state, he soliloquises:

"Even to me, an Australian, who spent but a swallow's season in Ireland, there are passages in Mitchel's 'Jail Journal' that set my memory retouching Irish landscapes. They conjure up the places I know best in Erin—the brimming Lee with a midnight flash of the mill-wheels at Dripsey; Gougane Barra, with its 'pomp of waters unwithstood,' sung by Callanan in strains where, as often in martial music,