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HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT,
66 CRODIWELL," "6 THE BROTHERS," ETC.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849,
BY STRINGER & TOWNSEND,
John R. WINSER, Stereotyper and Printer;
* Then the wyld thorowe the woodes went,
On every syde shear;
The bright, warm sunshine of a July morning was pouring its full stream of vivifying lustre over a wide expanse of wild, open country, in one of the south-eastern counties of Ireland. For miles and miles over which the eye extended, not a sign of a human habitation, or of man's handiwork, was visible ; unless these were to be found in the existence of a long range of young oak woodland, which lay to the north-east, stretching for several miles continuously along the low horizon in that quarter, with something that might have been either a mistwreath, or a column of blue smoke floating lazily in the pure atmosphere above it. The foreground of this desolate, but lovely landscape, was formed by a wide, brawling stream, which almost merited the name of a river, and which here issuing from an abrupt, rocky cleft or chasm, in the roundheaded moorland hills, spread itself out over a broader bed, flowing rapidly in bright whirls and eddies upon a bottom of glittering pebbles, with here and there a great boulder heaving
its dark, mossy head above the surface, and hundreds of silver-sided, yellow-finned trouts, flashing up like meteors from the depths, and breaking the smooth ripples in pursuit of their insect prey.
The banks of this beautiful stream were fringed on the farther side by a feathery coppice of aspen, birch and alders, with here and there a doddered oak overgrown with the broad-leaved Irish ivy; or a dark holly brake, relieving by their evergreen foliage the lighter verdure of the deciduous trees around them. Above this screen of brushwood, the moorlands rose in a long expanse of gently-swelling, heathclad ridges, now glowing with the purple bloom of the sweet heather and the mountain thyme, knoll above knoll, with deep hollows intervening, like the seas and troughs of a storm-tossed ocean, until afar off in the dim distance they were bounded to the westward by the blue towering heights of the great mountain of Slievh-Buy.
It was perhaps ten of the clock, though there was little chance that the mour of God's day should be proclaimed in that delicious solitude by the iron tongue of man's machinery; where not a sound had been heard since the peep of dawn, except the rippling music of the stream, the low sigh of the soft west wind among the aspen leaves, the busy hum of the bees from the heather blossoms, and the occasional crow of the gallant gorcock from his station on the crest of yon sunny hillock.
No lack was there, however, of animal life to gladden the tranquillity of that lone moorlands cenery; the water-ousel, with his broad white gorget, now took his stand on the summit of some dripping stone, now dived into the clear stream, on the gravelly floor of which he might be seen a moment afterward running as briskly to and fro as if he had not three feet of water glancing above his head; the kingfisher shot down the channel, gleaming like a winged turquoise in the sunshine ; the whiskered otter prowled along the pebbly margin, and plunged, and emerged again, with a five-pound brook-trout quivering in his