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the architect to have been correct in his calculations. A large and lofty apartment was disclosed, richly and completely furnished as a bed-chamber; a large four-post bed, spread with blankets, counterpanes, and the finest sheets, was prepared for instant occupation. The very wax-lights in the candlesticks stood ready for lighting. The room was heavily hung and carpeted as if to deaden sound, and was, of course, perfectly dark. No token was found to indicate the intended occupant, for it did not appear to have been used, and the general conjecture was, that the refuge had been prepared for some unfortunate Jacobite in the '15, who had either fallen into the hands of the Government or had escaped from the kingdom; while the few persons to whom the secret had necessarily been intrusted had died off without taking any one into their confidence; a discretion and fidelity which correspond with many known traits of Scottish character in both rebellions, and were eminently displayed during the escape of Charles Edward.
Biography, although to me the most delightful reading in the world, is too frequently synonymous with tragedy, especially the biography of poets. What else are the last two volumes of "Lockhart's Life of Scott V What else, all the more for its wild and whirling gayety, the entire "Life of Byron?" But the book that, above any other, speaks to me of the trials, the sufferings, the broken heart of a man of genius, is that "Life of Gerald Griffin," written by a brother worthy of him, which precedes the only edition of his collected works. The author of "The Collegians" is so little known in England, that I may be pardoned for sketching the few events of an existence marked only by high aims and bitter disappointments. His parents were poor Irish gentry, with taste and cultivation unusual in their class and country; and all of his early youth that he could steal from Greek and Latin was spent in the far dearer and more absorbing occupation of sketching secretly drama after drama, or in dreaming sweet dreams of triumphs to come, as he lay floating in his little boat on the broad bosom of the Shannon, which flowed past his happy home. When he was about seventeen the elder branches of his family emigrated to Canada, leaving him to the care of his brother, Dr. Griffin, who removed to Adare, near Limerick. It was proposed that he also should follow the medical profession. But this destination was little suited to the cherished visions of the young poet; and about two years after he set off gayly for London with "Gisippus," and I know not how many other plays in his pocket, for his only resource, and his countryman John Banim for his only friend. He was not yet twenty, poor boy! had hardly left his father's roof, and he set out for
London full of spirits and of hope to make his fortune by the stage. Now we all know what "Gisippus" is—the story of a great benefit, a foul ingratitude, suffering heaped upon suffering, wrong upon wrong, avenged in the last scene by such a pardon, such a reconciliation as would draw tears from the stoniest heart that ever sat in a theater. We all know the beauty of "Gisippus" now; for after the author's death that very play, in Mr. Macready's hands, achieved perhaps one of the purest successes of the modern drama. But during Gerald Griffin's life it produced nothing but mortifications innumerable and unspeakable. The play and the poet were tossed unread and unheard from actor to actor, from manager to manager, until hope fainted within him, and the theater was abandoned at once and forever.
During this long agony he quarreled in some moment of susceptibility, long repented and speedily atoned, with his true friend Banim; and went about the huge wilderness, London, an unknown, solitary lad, seeking employment among the booksellers, fighting the battle of unfriended and unrecognized talent as bravely as ever it was fought, and was all but starved in the contest, as Otway and Chatterton had been before him. The production of "The Collegians," the very best tale of what has been termed "The Irish School," averted this catastrophe. But even after " The Collegians," which O'Connell delighted in calling his favorite novel, the struggle, often a losing struggle, seems to have continued. Bitter sufferings ooze out. He speaks of himself in some most affecting stanzas, as doomed to die while his powers are still unacknowledged:
"With this feeling upon me, all feverish and glowing,
For the next dozen years he appears to have lived an anxious and unsatisfactory life, partly in arduous and obscure literary drudgery, working for different booksellers at the several series of "The Munster Festivals," "The Duke of Monmouth," and other tales, partly sharing the happier retirement of his affectionate relations in the county Limerick. But in London, in spite of his fine genius, his high and sterling qualities, he seems to have remained friendless and unknown. Partly perhaps this was the fault of a shy and sensitive temperament. He says himself:
"I have a heart. I'd live
And die for him whose worth I knew;
My full heart forth as talkers do.
Believed me changed in heart and tone
To live alone, to live alone."
And so he labored on; working for uncertain remuneration with diminished hope, and with (as we are suffered to perceive) the shadow of an unfortunate attachment dimming the faint sunshine that was left, until little by little his courage seems to have failed him, and in the year 1838, while only thirty-four years of age, he resolved to join the Society of Christian Brethren at Cork. It is an institution half monastic, half educational, consisting no doubt of pious and excellent persons; and fitted to do good service among the peasantry of Ireland. But I can not help doubting whether the companionship or the occupation were exactly that best suited to Gerald Griffin. One of the old Benedictine abbeys, where the consolations of religion were blended with the pursuits of learning, where the richly adorned chapel adjoined the richlystored library, would have done better. At Cork, his employment was to teach young children their letters; and one day a mendicant from his own county craving relief, and he moneyless, according to the rule of the order, proposing to bestow his alms in the form of a little gold seal, the only trinket he had retained, the permission to do so was refused. After this it is no surprise to find that the feverish disorders, to which he was constitutionally subject, recurred more frequently. In the year 1840, his kind brother, Dr. Griffin, was sent for to attend his sick-bed, and arrived just in time to receive his last sigh. Then came the triumphant representation of " Gisippus," the only one of his plays that he had not destroyed on entering the Christian Brethren, just to show what a dramatist had been let die.
His lyric sseem to me almost unrivaled for the truth, purity and tenderness of the sentiment. This is high praise, but I subjoin a few specimens which I think will bear it out:
Gilli ma chree,
Sit down by me, We now are joined and ne'er shall sever,
This hearth's our own,
Our hearts are one, And peace is ours forever.
When I was poor
Your father's door Was closed against your constant lover,
With care and pain
I tried in vain
Where Fate may smile on me, love!
Sing Gilli ma chree, &c.
I might have said, My mountain maid,
I know a spot, A silent cot,
By one small garden only, Where the heron waves his wings so wide, And the linnet sings so lonely. Sing Gilli ma chree, &c.
I might have said,
My mountain maid,
True hearts to curse
With tyrant force That have been blest in Heaven! But then I said, In after-years, When thoughts of home shall find her, My love may mourn with secret tears Her friends thus left behind her.
Sing Gilli ma chree, &c.
Oh, no, I said,
My own dear maid,
That heart of thine
Shall ne'er repine