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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 The whiteness of his soul, and thus men o'er him wept.” Oh! that he had lived to love Ireland, not better, but more 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 printer 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 Carbery, 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 Carbery's hundred isles ;
A deeper rest, a starry trance, has come with midnight there,
calm ; The fibrous sod and stunted trees are breathing heavy balm, So still the night, those two long barques round Dunashad that
glide, Must trust their oars, methinks not few, against the ebbing tide ; Oh! some sweet mission of true love must urge them to the
shore, They bring some lover to his bride, who sighs in Baltimore,
All, all asleep within each roof along that rocky street,
roarOh, blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore! Then flung the youth his naked hand against the shearing sword; Then sprang the mother on the brand with which her son was
gored; Then sank the grandsire on the floor, his grand-babes clutching
wild; Then fled the maiden, moaning faint, and nestled with the child. But see yon pirate strangled lies and crushed with splashing
heel, While o'er him, in an Irish hand, there sweeps his Syrian steel. Though virtue sink, and courage fail, and misers yield their
store, There's one hearth well avenged in the sack of Baltimore! Midsummer morn, in woodland nigh, the birds begin to sing, They see not now the milking maids-deserted is the spring! Midsummer day, this gallant rides from distant Bandon's town, Those hookers crossed from stormy Skull, that skiff from
Affadown. They only found the smoking walls with neighbours' blood
besprent, And on the strewed and trampled beach awhile they wildly went, Then dashed to sea, and passed Cape Clear, and saw five leagues
before, The pirate galleys vanishing that ravaged Baltimore. Oh! some must tug the galley's oar and some must tend the
steed, This boy will bear a Scheik's chibouk, and that a Bey's jerreed. Oh! some are for the arsenals by beauteous Dardanelles, And some are in the caravan to Mecca's sandy dells.
The maid that Bandon gallant sought is chosen for the Dey; She's safe! she's dead ! she stabbed him in the midst of his
serai! And, when to die a death of fire, that noble maid they bore, She only smiled-O'Driscoll's child !-she thought of Baltimore.
'Tis two long years since sank the town beneath that bloody
band, And all around its trampled hearths a larger concourse stand, Where, high upon a gallows tree, a yelling wretch is seen, 'Tis Hackett of Dungarvon, he who steered the Algerine. 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; 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 unpractised 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 colour 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.
With my Maire bhan astoir,
Ever loving more and more.
With the light her heart would pour,
Fond is Maire bhan astoir,
Sings my Maire bhan astoir.
And her mother cold as stone;
She should be my bride alone;
And he knew she loved me too,
True is Maire bhan astoir,
From my Maire bhan astoir.
Surely reaps the crop it sows,
Where the broad Missouri flows;
From our hearth with maith go léor,
Of my Maire bhan astoir.
Pronounced Maur-ya Vaun Asthore.