網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

ties reserved by the Irish chiefs. Eath O'Connor, a near descendant of the famous Cathal, surnamed of the Bloody Hand, rose against the usurper, and defeated the English so severely, that their general died of chagrin after the battle.

Verse 7.1. 7.

Or Beal-fires for your jubilee. The month of May is to this day called Mi Beal tiennie, i. e. the month of Beal's fire, in the original lariguage of Ireland. These fires were lighted on the summits of mountains (the Irish antiquaries say) in honour of the sun: and are supposed, by those conjecturing gentlemen, to prove the origin of the Irish from some nation who worshipped Baal or Belus. Many hills in Ireland still retain the name of Cnoc Greine, i. e. the hill of the sun; and on all are to be seen the ruins of druidical altars.

Verse 8. I. 11. And play my clarshech by thy side. The clarshech, or harp, the principal musical instrument of the Hibernian bards, does not appear to be of Irish origin, nor indigenous to any of the British Islands.- The Britons undoubtedly were not acquainted with it during the residence of the Romans in their country, as in all their coins, on which musical instru.. ments are represented, we see only the Roman lyre, and not the British teylin or harp.

Verse 9. l. 3. And saw at dawn the lofty bawn. Daingean is a Celtic word expressing a close fast place and afterwards a fort. This the English called a Bawn, from the Teutonic bawen, to construct and secure with branches of trees. The Daingean was the primitive Celtic fortification; which was made by digging a ditch, throwing up a rampart, and on the latter fixing stakes, which were interlaced with boughs of trees.An extempore desence used by all nations, and particularly by the Romans.

Non te fossa patens

Objectu sudium coronat agger. In this manner the first English adventurers secured .

their posts at Ferns and Idrone. When king Dennod entered Ossory, he found that Donald its tossarch had plashed a pace, i. e. made large and deep trenches with hedges upon them. Four hundred years afterwards, the Irish had the same mode of defence. Within half a mile of the entrance of the Moiry, the English found that pace by which they were to pass, being naturally one of the most difficult passages in Ireland, fortified with good art and admirable industry. The enemy having raised from mountain to mountain, from wood to wood, and from bog to bog, traverses with huge and high flankers of great stones, mingled with turf and staked down on both sides, with pallisades wattled. Plashing from the Franco-gallic Plesser, is to entwine, and is equivalent to the Teutonic bawen.-Ledwick's Antiquities of Ireland.

Verse 13. l. 16. To speak the malison of Heaven. If the wrath which I have ascribed to the heroine of this little piece should seem to exhibit her character as too unnaturally stript of patriotic and domestic affections, I must beg leave to plead the authority of Corneille in the representation of a similar passion: I allude to the denunciation of Camille in the tragedy of Horace. When Horace, accompanied by a soldier bearing the three swords of the Curiatii, meets his sister, and invites her to congratulate him on bis victory, she expresses only her grief, which he attributes at first only to her feelings for the loss of her two brothers; but when she bursts forth into reproaches against him as the murderer of her lover, the last of the Curiatii, he exclaims “ O Ciel, qui vit jamais une pareille rage, Crois tu donc que je suis insensible a l'outrage Que je souffre en mon sang ce mortel deshonneur : Aime, Aime cette mort qui fait notre bonheur, Et préfere du moins au souvenir d'un homme Ce que doit ta naissance aux intérêts de Rome.”

At the mention of Rome, Camille breaks out into this apostrophe;

[ocr errors]

* Rome, l'unique objet de mon ressentiment !
Rome, à qui vient ton bras d'immoler mon amant!
Rome, qui t'a vu naître et que ton cour adore !
Rome enfin que je hais, parcequ'elle t'honore!
Puisent tous ses voişins, ensemble conjurés,
Sapper ses fondemens encore mal assurés ;
Et, si ce n'est assez de toute l'Italie,
Que l'Orient, contre elle, à l'Occident s'allie;
Que cent peuples unis, des bouts de l'Univers
Passent, pour la détruire, et les monts et les mers :
Qu'elle-même sur soi renverse ses murailles,
Et de ses propres mains déchire ses entrailles;
Que le courroux du Ciel, allumé par mes veux,
Fasse pleuvoir sur elle un deluge de feux!
Puissai-je de mes yeux y voir tomber ce foudre,
Voir ses maisons en cendre, et tes lauriers en poudre.
Voir le dernier Romain á son dernier soupir,
Moi seule en être cause, et mourir de plaisir !"

Verse 14. l. 5.

And go to Athunree, I cried In the reign of Edward the second, the Irish presented to Pope John the Twenty-second, a memorial of their sufferings under the English, of which the langırage exhibits all the strength of despair.—“Ever since the English (say they) first appeared upon oto coasts, they entered our territories under a certain specious pretence of charity, and external hypocritical show of religion, endeavouring at the same time, by every artifice malice could suggest, to extirpate us root and branch, and without any other right than that of the strongest, they have so far succeeded by base fraudulence and cunning, that they have forced us to quit our fair and ample habitations and inheritances, and to take refuge like wild beasts in the mountains, the woods, and the morasses of the country ;-nor even can the caverns and dens protect us against their insatiable avarice. They pursue us even into these frightful abodes; endeavouring to dispossess us of the wild uncultivated rocks, and arrogate to themselves the property of every place on which we can stamp the figure of our feet.”

The greatest effort ever made by the ancient Irish lo regain their native independence was made at the time

when they called over the brother of Robert Bruce from Scotland.-William de Bourgo, brother to the Earl of Ulster, and Richard de Birmingham, were sent against the main body of the native insurgents, who were headed rather than commanded by Felim O'Connor.— The important battle, which decided the subjection of Ireland, took place on the 10th of August, 1815. It was the bloodiest that ever was fought between the two nations, and continued throughout the whole day, from the rising to the setting sun. The Irish fought with inferior discipline, but with great enthusiasm. They lost ten thousand men, among whom were twenty-nine chiefs of Connaught.

Tradition states that after this terrible day, the O'Connor family, like the Fabian, were so nearly exterminated, that throughout all Connaught not one of the name remained, except Felim's brother, who was capable of bearing arms.

NOTES

TO

LOCHIEL'S WARNING.

Lochiel, the chief of the warlike clan of the Camerons, and descended from ancestors distinguished in their narrow sphere for great personal prowess, was a man worthy of a better cause and fate than that in which he embarked, the enterprise of the Stuarts in 1745. His memory is still fondly cherished among the Highlanders, by the appellation of the gentle Lochiel, for he was famed for his social virtues as much as his martial and magnanimous (though mistaken) loyalty. His influence was so important among the Highland chiefs, that it depended on his joining with his clan whether the standard of Charles should be raised or not in 1745. Locbiel, was himself too wise a man to be blind to the consequences of so hopeless an enterprise, but his sen

sibility to the point of honour overruled his wisdom. Charles appealed to his loyalty, and he could not brook the reproaches of his prince. When Charles landed at Borrodale, Lochiel went to meet him, but, on his way, called at his brother's house (Cameron os Fassafern,) and told him on what errand he was going; adding, however, that he meant to dissuade the prince from his enterprise. Fassafern advised him in that case to communicate his mind by letter to Charles. “ No," said Lochiel, “I think it due to my prince to give him my reasons in person for refusing to join his standard."

Brother,” replied Fassafern, “I know you better than you know yourself; if the prince once sets his eyes on you, he will make you do what he pleases.” The interview accordingly took place, and Lochiel, with many arguments, but in vain, pressed the Pretender to return to France, and reserve himself and his friends for a more favourable occasion, as he had come, by his own acknowledgment, without arms, or money, or adherents ; or, at all events, to remain concealed till his friends should meet and deliberate what was best to be done, Charles, whose mind was wound up to the utmost impatience, paid no regard to this proposal, but answered, * that he was determined to put all to the hazard. In a few days,” said he, " I will erect the royal standard, and proclaim to the people of Great Britain, that Charles Stuart is come over to claim the crown of his ancestors, and to win it or perish in the attempt. Lochiel, who by my father has often told me he was our firmest friend, may stay at home, and learn from the newspapers the fate of his prince.” “ No,” said Lochiel," I will share the fate of my prince, and so shall every man over whom nature or fortune hath given me any power.”

The other chieftains who followed Charles embraced his cause with no better hopes. It engages our sympathy most strongly in their behalf, that no motive, but their fear to be reproached with cowardice or disloyalty, impelled them to the hopeless adventure. Of this we have an example in the interview of prince Charles with Clanronald, another leading chieftain in the rebel army.

Charles," says Home, “almost reduced to despair, in his discourse with Boisdale, addressed the two High

« 上一頁繼續 »