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Our name, while virtue thus we tender, Shall sweetly sound where'er 'tis spoke;And all the great ones, they shall wonder
What though from fortune's lavish bounty
No mighty treasures we possess 1
And be content without excess.
Still shall each kind returning season
Sufficient for our wishes give;
And that's the only life to live.
Through youth to age in love excelling, We'll hand in hand together tread;
How should I love the pretty creatures,
To see them look their mother's features,
And when with envy, time transported,
Shall think to rob us of our joys,
And I'll go wooing in my boys.
Surely this is the sort of poetry that ought to be popular—to be sung in our concert-rooms, and set to such airs as should be played on barrel-organs through our streets, suggesting the words and the sentiments as soon as the first notes of the melody make themselves heard under the window.
THOMAS DAVIS JOHN BANIM.
Considering his immense reputation in the Sister Island, the name of Thomas Davis has hardly found its due place in our literature. He was an Irish barrister; the most earnest, the most vehement, the most gifted, and the most beloved of the Young Ireland party. Until the spring of 1840, when he was in his twenty-sixth year, he had only been remarkable for extreme good-nature, untiring industry, and very varied learning. At that period he blazed forth at once as a powerful and brilliant political writer, produced an eloquent and admirable "Life of Curran," became one of the founders of the "Nation" newspaper, and carried his zeal in the cause of nationality to such excess, that he actually proposed to publish a weekly journal in the Irish tongue—an impracticable scheme which happily ended in talk.
To the newspaper which was established, and which the young patriots condescended to write in the language—to use their own phrase—of the Saxons, we owe the beautiful lyrics of Thomas Davis. The editor of the "Nation" had faith in the well-known saying of Fletcher of Saltown, "Give me the writing of the ballads, and let who will make the laws;" and in default of other aid, the regular contributors to the new journal resolved to attempt the task themselves. It is difficult to believe, but the editor of his poems dwells upon it as a well-known fact, that up to this time the author of " The Sack of Baltimore" had never written a line of verse in his life, and was, indeed, far less sanguine than his coadjutors in the success of the experiment. How completely he succeeded there is no need to tell, although nearly all that he has written was the work of one hurried year, thrown off in the midst of a thousand occupations, and a thousand claims. A very few years more, and his brief and bright career was cut short by a sudden illness, which carried him rapidly to the grave, beloved and lamented by his countrymen of every sect and of every party:
"His mourners were two hosts, his friends and foes:... He had kept
Oh! that he had lived to love Ireland, not better, but mon wisely, and to write volumes upon volumes of such lyrics as the two first which I transcribe, such biographies as his "Life of Curran," and such criticism as his "Essay upon Irish Song!"
I will deal more tenderly than he would have done with printei and reader, by giving them as little as I can of his beloved Cymric words (such is the young Irish name for the old Irish language); and by sparing them altogether his beloved Cymric character, which I have before my eyes at this moment, looking exactly like a cross between Arabic and Chinese.
THE SACK OF BALTIMORE.
Baltimore is a small seaport, in the barony of Carberry, in South Munster. It grew up round a castle of O'Driscoll's, and was, after his ruin, colonized by the English. On the 20th of June, 1631, the crew of two Algerine galleys landed in the dead of the night, sacked the town, and bore off into slavery all who were not too old or too young, or too fierce, for their purpose. The pirates were steered up the intricate channel by one Hackett, a Dungarvon fisherman, whom they had taken at sea for that office. Two years after he was convicted and executed for the crime.
The summer sun is falling soft on Carberry's hundred isles;The summer sun is gleaming still through Gabriel's rough defiles;Old Inisherkin's crumbled fane looks like a molting bird;And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean-tide is heard;The hookers lie upon the beach; the children cease their play;The gossips leave the little inn; the households kneel to pray;And full of love and peace and rest, its daily labor o'er,
Adeeper rest, a starry trance, has come with midnight there,
All, all asleep within each roof along that rocky street, And these must be the lover's friends, with gently gliding feet;—
A stifled gasp! a dreamy noise !—" The roof is in a flame!" From out their beds and to their doors rush maid and sire and dame, And meet upon the threshold stone, the gleaming saber's fall, And o'er each black and bearded face the white or crimson shawl, The yell of " Allah !" breaks above the prayer and shriek and roar— Oh, blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore!
Then flung the youth his naked hand against the shearing sword;
Midsummer morn, in woodland nigh, the birds begin to sing,
Oh! some must tug the galley's oar, and some must tend the steed,
'Tis two long years since sank the town beneath that bloody band,
He fell amid a sullen shout, with scarce a passing prayer, For he had slain the kith and kin of many a hundred there. Some muttered of MacMurchadh, who had brought the Norman o'er j
Some cursed him with Iscariot, that day in Baltimore.
The more we study this ballad, the more extraordinary does it appear, that it should have been the work of an unpracticed hand. Not only is it full of spirit and of melody, qualities not incompatible with inexperience in poetical composition, but the artistic merit is so great. Picture succeeds to picture, each perfect in itself, and each conducing to the effect of the whole. There is not a careless line, or a word out of place; and how the epithets paint; "fibrous sod," "heavy balm," "shearing sword!" The Oriental portion is as complete in what the French call local color as the Irish. He was learned, was Thomas Davis, and wrote of nothing that he could not have taught. It is something that he should have left a poem like this, altogether untinged by party politics, for the pride and admiration of all who share a common language, whether Celt or Saxon.
MAIRE BHAN ASTOIR*—"FAIR MARY MY TREASURE." IRISH EMIGRANT SONG.
In a valley far away,
With my Maire bhan astoir,
Ever loving more and more.
With the light her heart would pour,
Oh! her sire is very proud, And her mother cold as stone;
She should be my bride alone;
* Pronounced Maur-ya Vaun Asthore.