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And mourned not the pure Virgin when
At midnight's hour of silence deep
Methought when bow'd this head with time,
'Twas meet to him affection they should provo
Beauty and strength have left my brow,---
No more,---no more shall music's voice
When wailing at the dead of night;
At midnight hour---at morn---at eve,
Oh! in their visits no affection's lost,
I pity ber who never more will know
Her faded eyes her anguish speak,
As the next piece regards the popular superstitions, it may not be unnecessary to give a summary sketch of the principal personages which figure in Irish phantasmology.
The dhaoine maha, or good people, is the generic title under which are comprehended all our supernatural visitants. It includes not only the Pooku species with its varieties, but also the Benshee,-the Fetch,---the Lenauntshee, -the Sheefraogue, and the Clanicuune or Leprichaune. As must necessarily occur in a science which is so very fanciful, the specific traits are but indistinctly shadowed out, and the nomenclature is charged with the perplexities arising from a vague and indefinite system. Having consulted some of the modern senachies and fillees on the subject, we shall endeavour to give the reader some idea of the prevailing notions concerning the traits and functions of the shadlowy tribe. The reading portion of the British and Irish public have been long since introduced to the Benshee. Neither the ancient mythology nor the beautiful superstitions of the south, furnish any personage equal in power and pathos to this melodious apparition. It is but fair to add also that she continues to linger longer amongst us than the rest of the spectre tribe, --and there are thousands to be found even at the present day who have listened with shuddering interest to her song of sorrow. The concern which she appears to take in the fate of mortals,—the fidelity with which she discharges her funerat office,-her melancholy aspect, and the wild sweetness of her unearthly dirge, render her a great favourite with the sons of the Gäel, and her name is generally pronounced with affection and veneration.---The Lenauntshee however, is either still a stranger, or only partially known to the British public. It bears a strong resemblance to the attendant genius of the ancients; but on the whole, its character is benevolent, and its influence propitious. It watches with fond anxiety over the object of its prediliction, and assists him in every doubtful and dangerous emergency. The famous Cuthullin was much indebted to its exertions, and many of the marvellous feats which he is said to have performed, are explained on this principle. In one of the popular legends in which mention is made of his prowess, he exclaims, on seeing the slaughter caused by his invisible friends,Clinim na buillie tromma tieumh is nie fhicim an lamh do bheir,- that is, "] hear the quick weighty blows, but I do not see the hand that gives them.”
It must be admitted however, that the Lenauntshee has not been uniformly a propitious visitant. On some occasions it has exhibited traits of a very opposite eharacter. It has seduced the young and the thoughtless from joys of the social circie,-compelled them to seek the solitary heath and mountain Jake, in melancboly communion and absorbing converse, and dried up all the joyful springs of the heart, until its victim “ smiles po more," and amidst the unavailing caresses and endearments of anxious friends, droops to an early grave. These instances, however, are rather vare, and its disposition is on the whole benign and philantropic.— The
* This last expression may appear strange to the English readur, bui ii is a lite, al t: anslation of the original.
Pooka is a malignant sprite which exults in the destruction of the human species. It stands upon the brow of some darkling mountain, and slays. with its breath whoever has the rashness to approach the lonely region over which it presides, or it descends to the highways and kills and maims the benighted traveller, and exhibits the strangest metamorphosis with extraordinary ease and celerity.—The Claunicaune or Leprichaune, is the most unique species of the dhaoine maha, both in costume and profession. It is well known that they are all followers of Crispin, and well acquainted with hidden treasures, but possessed of such supernatural cunning, as in most instances to be able to baffle the sagacity of the most acute persons. Although the point of the following piece has suffered by translation, yet itpos sesses, even in the ariginal, very little intrinsic merit; we merely introduce it for the purpose of illustrating those cases of abduction in which the good people have been sometimes concerned. It is said to have been sung by a young bride, who was forcibly detained in one of those forts which are so common in Ireland, and to which the good people are very fond of resorting. Under pretence of hushing her child to rest, it appears that she retired to the outside margin of the fort, and addressed the burthen of her song to a young woman whom she saw at a short distance, and whom she requests to inform her husband of her condition, and to desire him bring the steel knife to dissolve the enchantment. This latter circumstance bears such a strong affinity to one of the leading principles of the Rosicrucian philosophy, that had we leisure for the enquiry, we think we could demonstrate some striking analogies between the vulgar and the learned superstition.
Sleep my child !---for the rustling leaves
Sleep! for the weeping flowers have shed
Sleep my child : &c. &c.
Weary hath pass'd the time forlorn,
Sleep my child! &c. &c.
Full many a maid and blooming bride
Sleep my child! &c. &c.
Oh! thou who hearest this song of fear,
Sleep my Child ! &c. &c,
Haste ! ---for to-morrow's sun will see
Sleep my child! for the rustling leaves,
The last piece we subjoin, is a translation from one of the poems of Timothy O'Sullivan, better known by the name of Taiddigh Gaeligh.
It has been executed by one, whose exalted genius, and eminent proficiency in Irish literature, constitute him a worthy successor to our immortal bard. O'Sullivan's poetry is exclusively of a devotional character, and although inferior in point of style to some MS. pieces on a similar subject which we have seen, is remarkable for a depth of feeling, and energy of expression which we have se!dom seen equalled, and which it is very
difficult to transmute into another tongue. It possesses one striking recommendation, that of reflecting the character of the bard himself with singular fidelity. The early part of O'Sullivan's life was unfortunately very dissipated, and Juring that period, he composed some licentious songs, but afterwards, being touched with remorse for his conduct, he was resolved to atone for his former criminality, by the fervour of his penitential exercises,mentered on a pilgrimage, and dedicated his lyre to the cause of religion.
ON THE LAST DAY.
Oh! after life's dark sinful way
And starting from their long, cold sleep,
J. J. C.
LETTERS FROM FLORENCE.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR.
SIR, The collection of letters which accompanies this note are the production of an esteemed and valued friend. They were written some months ago during a residence in Florence, and were never intended to meet the public eye. If, however, you consider them worthy of a place in some future numbers of your Magazine, they are entirely at your disposal, as I know my friend, were he in Ireland, would desire to lend his assistance to so valuable a publication, though he may possibly regret, that a hurried and unfinished correspondence with a relative, should be subject to literary criticism, particularly in its present imperfect state. The letters are certainly written in a diffuse and careless style, and require considerable revisal, probably you would undertake the task :--for my part, I am quite incapable of doing so. The first letter of the series is more or less of a private nature, or at best, is but an introduction to the others. Would it not be advisable to omit its insertion altogether?
Your's, &c. &e.
J. OʻD. Cork, 6th June, 1826.
Florence, 23rd September, 1325. MY DEAR JAMES,
On my return last week from a rural excursion, undertaken at the suggestion of a medical friend, I found on my table a few paintings, which I immediately perceived were representations of scenery to me familiar “in days of yore,”—as also a small note in your writing, con