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THE LAMENT OF LIBANIUS. 1

Cogito, ergo sum periturus.

Nimium vobis Humana propago
Visa potens, Superi, propria hæc si dona fuissent.

Two things I view with ever keen surprise-
Enduring Nature and Mankind that dies.
The quenchless lamps that nightly radiance strew
See not their light and know not what they do:
Streams in unhasting and unresting flow
Make joyless sport,-yet change to envious woe
Our envied mirth : the everlasting hills,
Like giant mummies, feign to mock our ills ;-
They counterfeit to see, with sightless eye,
Our pigmy generations live and die :
While we, alas, though fashioned in the womb,

Cast longing gaze beyond our night of doom
To that eternal dawn unshadowed by the tomb.

We gaze, we strain our eyes, we seem to see

That-barren bills are less and more than we !
To think, like Man, and yet, like Nature, to abide, -
This double boon to Man and Nature is denied ;
This boon the Gods enjoy and give to none beside.

LIONEL A. TOLLEMACHE.

· Libanius, one of the most eminent of the later Pagans, was the guide, philosopher, and friend of the Emperor Julian. He was therefore in, yet not of, a more or less Christian society, whose morality he practised, but whose faith and hope he did not share. Some readers will feel an historical, if not a personal, interest in reflecting for a moment on the dreary sense of isolation and on the restless murmur. ings akin to those contained in this Lament, to which such a man with such surroundings was assuredly not a stranger.

IRELAND AND ENGLAND,

We

land were ruled by one sovereign more favourable than the present, to any reasonable and well considered scheme for the benefit and advancement of Ireland. This arises from many convergent causes. History has laboured and not wholly in vain, to show us in its true light the cruelty and greed of which for some six hundred Fears that unhappy island became the victim. We feel that we owe her a signal reparation. We are not careful to defend the conduct of our ancestors in this matter, nay, there is some risk that in the sincerity of our repentance, we may do less than justice to the English side of the question. All our predispositions are against ourselves. We put Ireland in the scale, weigh her against Scotland, and ask why it is that wounds so deep and envenomed have been entirely healed in the one case, and scarcely even cicatriced in the other. What ought to have been the pacification of Ireland should, according to dates, have preceded by fifty years the pacification of Scotland, but Scotland has been one with England for at least a century, while as to Ireland we have not yet done with the question whether she should be united to us at all. With every desire to take as much of the failure as is reasonably possible upon ourselves, we cannot fairly throw the blame upon our own Parliament during the last fifty years. Catholic emancipation, the establishment of education for the poor, far in advance of anything that was done at that time for England, the grant to Maynooth, the undenominational colleges, the abolition of the Protestant establishment in Ireland, the Bill giving compensation to small tenants in case of eviction, the Bill for intermediate education, and the Bill of this Session for placing Catholics in a still better position as regards university training, bear witness at least to the sincere desire of both parties in the State to do real though tardy justice to the claims of Ireland. Nor, indeed, is this desire, though we believe it to be thoroughly genuine among the best minds of both parties, the result of sentiment alone. As things stand, the support of the extreme Irish party is a matter of the utmost consequence to either side. A little temper, a little tact, a little consideration for the feelings and interests of others, are all, as it would seem, that is necessary in order to secure for Ireland every benefit that it is in the power of legislation to bestow. By what inexplicable fatality does it come to pass that Ireland delights to select as her leaders men who seem born for no other purpose than to stand between her and the

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back the hand that is stretched forth in all good will to raise and to help her?

We are on the eve of a desperate conflict of parties in which, as many believe, is involved the future destiny of this country. One would suppose that those who may very likely hold the balance between the competitors had nothing to do but to ask and bave, and yet, so strangely have the Irish managed matters that they have contrived to make themselves equally impossible to both parties. Carefully avoiding anything that either party could by any possibility grant, they have contrived to fix on demands which one would think devised for no other purpose than to put an end to any thought of doing anything whatever for the good of Ireland.

What then is it that Ireland desires, and what would she accept as a satisfaction for her long account of wrongs and miseries? Of course the answer that those members who feel themselves called upon to fight this battle would make is the repeal of the union. Certainly it is not the fault of the Irish members who put forth this claim if the union is not as odious to us as it is to them. When we consider the deplorable loss of the public time, and the discredit which the systematic culture of the arts of delay has cast over all the proceedings of the last two Sessions of Parliament, we must admit that anything within the limits of possibility would be gladly submitted to if by this or by any other means we could recover the power we once possessed of fully and fairly discussing our most interesting affairs, or legislating for our most pressing wants, or checking the tendency which exists among English members to imitate the example set by Irish members in matters not relating to Ireland. But just as strongly as the extreme Irish party plead for this concession does the march of science plead against it. If it was felt to be impossible eighty years ago to have two parliaments sitting so close to each other, how greatly is the argument strengthened by the railway and the electric telegraph, which have made communication between the two countries instantaneous, and have reduced the journey from London to Dublin to a short day or night. The Irish demand is, as those who make it well know, an impossibility, and it is for that very reason that it is made and persevered in. We do not believe that there is the wish, even if there were the power, to carry it. We do not believe that it is desired by the educated Irish themselves, and we regard it simply as a catchword by which the old feeling of animosity to England may be most readily perpetuated.

There is no chance of the demand for the repeal of the union being either conceded or given up, but the determination to keep open this sore does not in the least prevent the Irish leaders from pressing on the attention of Parliament other demands quite inconsistent with its continuance. Many evils might undoubtedly follow from the repeal of the union, but some advantages might, we should have supposed, accrue. Among these we should have thought would

the embarrassments of Irish finance, and from the difficulties and the discredit of purely Irish legislation. This is an entire mistake, and if any one doubts it let him read and ponder the proposal that has just been submitted, in the Nineteenth Century' of last month, for the consideration of the Legislature. Ireland, we are told in that production, wants no alms from the English Government; she only asks justice, and the freedom to develop her own resources in her own way. Every Irishman has, we are told, a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is, not only to pursue these natural objects of desire under the protection of the law, in which sense these words have hitherto been understood, but that the State is bound to provide them with all these good things—life, liberty, and happiness—at its own proper costs and charges. This proposition being assumed as too clear for argument, all the rest follows as a matter of course. Life cannot be had without food, food cannot be had without land, and the pursuit of happiness cannot exist for an Irishman anywhere except in Irelard. These simple and self-evident maxims dispose of the whole case. The duty of England becomes alarmingly plain. She has nothing more to do than to reverse everything that has been done for the last seven hundred years.

The proposal, stripped of all ambiguity, is to abolish landlordism and make the cultivators the masters of the soil. The State is to take over the land, giving the present proprietors compensation. The sum which would be required to absolutely extirpate the race of country gentlemen from Ireland is estimated at two hundred and fifty millions. It is very considerately observed that all this will not be wanted at once. But the pursuit of happiness is not to be stopped by trifles, and this is the sum that England and Scotland (for Ireland has been, we imagine, too much hampered in her pursuit of happiness to be called upon for any further contribution) have to provide. The transaction has, it must be admitted, rather a threatening aspect, but let no one be afraid ; England and Scotland are to get every farthing of their two hundred and fifty millions back again. The Irish peasants are intolerant of landlordism, but they are quite sure to pay what they owe to the State. They cannot endure the idea of paying to families which have been settled in the country for hundreds of years, but they will, however much it may interfere with the pursuit of happiness, pay the full price of their land to the rich and alien Government of Great Britain, which, they will be told, does not want the money nearly as much as they do. Of course we should never hear, under this arrangement, of the hardship of wringing from the poor cottier the bread of his wife and children in order to satiate the greed and gorge the unfeeling avarice of an English Chancellor of the Exchequer. Of course, also, these tenants, whose pursuit of happiness is so entirely destroyed by the melancholy and shameful necessity of paying rent, will find themselves perfectly able to pay the principal by instalments as well

back the hand that is stretched forth in all good will to raise and to help her?

We are on the eve of a desperate conflict of parties in which, as many believe, is involved the future destiny of this country. One would suppose that those who may very likely hold the balance between the competitors had nothing to do but to ask and have, and yet, so strangely have the Irish managed matters that they have contrived to make themselves equally impossible to both parties. Carefully avoiding anything that either party could by any possibility grant, they have contrived to fix on demands which one would think devised for no other purpose than to put an end to any thought of doing anything whatever for the good of Ireland.

What then is it that Ireland desires, and what would she accept as a satisfaction for her long account of wrongs and miseries? Of course the answer that those members who feel themselves called upon to fight this battle would make is the repeal of the union. Certainly it is not the fault of the Irish members who put forth this claim if the union is not as odious to us as it is to them. When we consider the deplorable loss of the public time, and the discredit which the systematic culture of the arts of delay has cast over all the proceedings of the last two Sessions of Parliament, we must admit that anything within the limits of possibility would be gladly submitted to if by this or by any other means we could recover the power we once possessed of fully and fairly discussing our most interesting affairs, or legislating for our most pressing wants, or checking the tendency which exists among English members to imitate the example set by Irish members in matters not relating to Ireland. But just as strongly as the extreme Irish party plead for this concession does the march of science plead against it. If it was felt to be impossible eighty years ago to have two parliaments sitting so close to each other, how greatly is the argument strengthened by the railway and the electric telegraph, which have made communication between the two countries instantaneous, and have reduced the journey from London to Dublin to a short day or night. The Irish demand is, as those who make it well know, an impossibility, and it is for that very reason that it is made and persevered in. We do not believe that there is the wish, even if there were the power, to carry it. We do not believe that it is desired by the educated Irish themselves, and we regard it simply as a catchword by which the old feeling of animosity to England may be most readily perpetuated.

There is no chance of the demand for the repeal of the union being either conceded or given up, but the determination to keep open this sore does not in the least prevent the Irish leaders from pressing on the attention of Parliament other demands quite inconsistent with its continuance. Many evils might undoubtedly follow from the repeal of the union, but some advantages might, we should have supposed, accrue. Among these we should have thought would

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