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priété intellectuelle dont chacun prend sa part à raison de la puissance qu'ils exercent, je ne saurois en vérité cominent faire pour justifier mon courage !

car il en falloit beaucoup pour avoir osé consacrer mon pauvre talent d'amateur à vos délicieuses poësies, et plus encore pour en renvoyer le pâle reflet à son véritable auteur.

“ J'espère toutefois que ma sympathie pour l'Irlande vous fera juger ma foible production avec cette heureuse partialité qui impose silence à la critique : car, si je n'appartiens pas à l'Ile Verte par ma naissance, ni mes relations, je puis dire que je m'y intéresse avec un cæur Irlandais, et que j'ai conservé plus que le nom de mes pères. Cela seul me fait espérer que mes petits voyageurs ne subiront pas le triste noviciat des étrangers. Puissent-ils remplir leur mission sur le sol natal, en agissant conjointement et toujours pour la cause Irlandaise, et amener enfin une ère nouvelle pour cette héroïque et malheureuse

- le moyen de vaincre de tels adversaires s'ils ne font qu'un ?

“ Vous dirai-je, Monsieur, les doux moments que je dois à vos ouvrages ? ce seroit répéter une fois de plus ce que vous entendez tous les jours et de tous les coins de la terre. Aussi j'ai garde de vous ravir un tems trop précieux par l'écho de ces vieilles vérités.

“ Si jamais mon étoile me conduit en Irlande, je ne m'y croirai pas étrangère. Je sais que le passé y laisse de longs so'avenirs, et que la conformité des

tion:

désirs et des espérances rapproche en dépit de l'espace et du tems.

“ Jusque-là, recevez, je vous prie, l'assurance de ma parfaite considération, avec laquelle j'ai l'honneur d’être,

Monsieur,
« Votre très-humble servante,

“LA COMTESSE * * * * *."

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Of the translations that have appeared of the Melodies in different languages, I shall here mention such as have come to my knowledge.

Latin. “ Cantus Hibernici,” Nicholas Lee Torre, London, 1835.

Italian. G. Flechia, Torino, 1836. Adele Custi, Milano, 1836.

French. Madame Belloc, Paris, 1823. — Loeve Veimars, Paris, 1829.

Russian. Several detached Melodies, by the popular Russian poet Kozlof.

Polish. Selections, in the same manner, emcewich, Kosmian, and others.

I have now exhausted not so much my own recollections, as the patience, I fear, of my readers on this subject. We are told of painters calling those last touches of the pencil which they give to some favourite picture the “ultima basia ;” and with the same sort of affectionate feeling do I now take leave of the Irish Melodies, - the only work of my pen,

by Ni

24

PREFACE TO THE IRISH MELODIES.

as I very sincerely believe, whose fame (thanks to the sweet music in which it is embalmed) may boast a chance of prolonging its existence to a day much beyond our own.

LETTER

TO

THE MARCIIIONESS DOWAGER OF DONEGAL,

PREFIXED TO THE THIRD NUMBER.

WHILE the publisher of these Melodies very properly inscribes them to the Nobility and Gentry of Ireland in general, I have much pleasure in selecting one from that number, to whom my share of the Work is particularly dedicated. I know that, though your Ladyship has been so long absent from Ireland, you still continue to remember it well and warmly,that you

have not suffered the attractions of English society to produce, like the taste of lotus, any forgetfulness of your own country, but that even the humble tribute which I offer derives its chief claim upon your interest and sympathy from the appeal which it makes to your patriotism. Indeed, absence, however fatal to some affections of the heart, rather tends to strengthen our love for the land where we were born ; and Ireland is the country, of all others, which an exile from it must remember with most enthusiasm. Those few darker and less amiable traits with which bigotry and misrule have stained her character, and which are too apt to disgust us upon a nearer intercourse, become at a distance softened, or altogether invisible. Nothing is remembered but her virtues and her misfortunes, - the zeal with which she has always loved liberty, and the barbarous policy which has always withheld it from her, the ease with which her generous spirit might be conciliated, and the cruel ingenuity which has been exerted to “wring her into undutifulness.” *

It has been often remarked, and still oftener felt, that in our music is found the truest of all comments upon our history. The tone of defiance, succeeded by the languor of despondency, - a burst of turbulence dying away into softness, — the sorrows of one moment lost in the levity of the next, and all that romantic mixture of mirth and sadness, which is naturally produced by the efforts of a lively temperament to shake off, or forget, the wrongs which lie upon it. Such are the features of our history and character, which we find strongly and faithfully reflected in our music; and there are even many airs, which it is difficult to listen to, without recalling some period or event to which their expression seems applicable. Sometimes, for instance, when the strain is open and spirited, yet here and there shaded by a

* A phrase which occurs in a Letter from the Earl of Desmond to the Earl of Ormond, in Elizabeth's time. Scrinia Sacra, as quoted by Curry.

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