Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

hunting widow; Michael Armstrong, or the Factory ceased to keep alive the strongest and often the Boy, a caricature of the evils attendant on the manu- worst passions of our nature; whose pauses, during facturing system ; and One Fault, a domestic story, that long lapse of a country's existence, from actual illustrating with uncommon vigour and effect the conflict in the field, have been but so many changes dismal consequences of that species of bad temper into mental strife, and who to this day are held which proceeds from pride and over sensitiveness. prepared, should the war-cry be given, to rush at In 1840 we had The Widow Married ; and in 1841 each other's throats, and enact scenes that, in the The Blue Belles of England, and Charles Chesterfield. columns of a newspaper, would show more terribly The latter relates the history of a youth of genius, vivid than any selected by us from former facts, and contains a satirical picture of the state of lite- for the purposes of candid, though slight illustrarature in England, branding authors, editors, and tion. There was too much of this strong writing' publishers with unprincipled profligacy, selfishness, in The Croppy, and worse faults were found in the and corruption. In 1842 Mrs Trollope, besides prolixity of some of the dialogues and descriptions, throwing off another novel (The Ward of Thorpe and a too palpable imitation of the style of Sir Combe), gave the public the result of a second Walter Scott in his historical romances. The scenes visit to Belgium, describing the changes that had peculiarly Irish are, however, written with Mr been effected since 1833, and also A Visit to Italy. Banim's characteristic vigour : he describes the The smart caustic style of our authoress was not burning of a cabin till we seem to witness the spec. so well adapted to the classic scenes, manners, and tacle; and the massacre at Vinegar Hill is portrayed antiquities of Italy, as to the broader features of with the distinctness of dramatic action. Nanny American life and character, and this work was not the knitter is also one of his happiest Irish like50 successful as her previous publications. Return- nesses. The experiment made by the author to ing to fiction, we find Mrs Trollope, as usual, prolific. depict, like Scott, the manners and frivolities of the Three novels, of three volumes each, were the pro- higher classes—to draw a sprightly heroine, a maiden duce of 1843 Hargrare, Jessie Phillips, and The aunt, or the ordinary characters and traits of genteel Laurringtons. The first is a sketch of a man of society-was decidedly a failure. His strength lay fashion; the second an attack on the new English in the cabin and the wild heath, not in the drawidge poor-law; and the third a lively satire on 'superior room. In 1830 Mr Banim published The Denounced people,' the bustling Botherbys' of society. Reviews in three volumes, a work consisting of two tales ing the aggregate labours of this industrious author- -The Last Baron of Crana, and The Conformnists. ess, we cannot say that she has done good propor The same beauties and defects which characterise tioned to her talents. Her satire is directed against The Croppy are seen in The Denounced; but The the mere superficialities of life, and is not calculated Conformists is a deeply-interesting story, and calls to check vice or encourage virtue. In depicting forth Mr Banim's peculiarities of description and high life, she wants the genial spirit and humanity knowledge of character in a very striking light. His of Theodore Hook. She has scattered amusement object is to depict the evils of that system of antiamong novel-readers by some of her delineations ; Catholic tyranny when the penal laws were in full but in all her mirth there is a mocking and bitter force, by which home education was denied to Cathospirit, which is often as misplaced as it is unfemi lic families unless by a Protestant teacher. The nine.

more rigid of the Catholics abjured all instruction

thus administered; and Mr Banim describes the JOHN BANIM.

effects of ignorance and neglect on the second son of

a Catholic gentleman, haughty, sensitive, and pain. The Tales of the O'Hara Family, first and second fully alive to the disadvantages and degradation of series, 1825 and 1826, produced a strong and vivid his condition. The whole account of this family, impression on all readers of fiction. The author the D'Arcys, is written with great skill and effect. seemed to unite the truth and circumstantiality of In 1838 Mr Banim collected several of his contribuCrabbe with the dark and gloomy power of Godwin; tions to periodical works, and published them under and in knowledge of Irish character, habits, customs, the title of The Bit o' Writin', and other Tales, In and feeling, he was superior to even Miss Edge-1842 he came forward with an original and excellent worth or Lady Morgan. The story of the Nowlans, novel, in three volumes, Father Connell, the hero and that of Croohore of the Bill-Hook, can never be being an aged and benevolent Catholic priest, not forgotten by those who have once perused them. unworthy of association with the Protestant Vicar The force of the passions, and the effects of crime, of Wakefield. This primitive pastor becomes the turbulence, and misery, have rarely been painted patron of a poor vagrant boy, Neddy Fennell, whose with such overmastering energy, or wrought into adventures furnish the incidents for the story. There narratives of more sustained and harrowing interest. is, as usual with Mr Banim, a variety of incidents The probability of his incidents was not much at- minutely related-scenes of gloom and terror--and tended to by the author, and he indulged largely in a complete knowledge of the moral anatomy of our scenes of horror and violence-in murders, abduc- nature. This was destined to be the last work of tions, pursuits, and escapes—but the whole was re- the author. He died in August 1842, in the prime lated with such spirit, raciness, and truth of cos- of life, in the neighbourhood of Kilkenny, which tume and colouring, that the reader had neither time also was his birthplace. •Mr Banim began life as nor inclination to note defects. The very peculiari- a miniature painter; but, seduced from his profession ties of the Irish dialect and pronunciation (though by promptings too strong to be resisted, and by the constituting at first a difficulty in perusal, and success of a tragedy, Damon and Pythias, he early always too much persisted in by Mr Banim) abandoned art, and adopted literature as a profesheightened the wild native flavour of the stories, sion; and he will be long remembered as the writer and enriched them with many new and picturesque of that powerful and painful series of novels, “ The words and phrases. These original and striking O'Hara Tales." Some years previous, the general tales were followed up in 1828 by another Irish sympathy was attracted to Mr Banim's struggle story, The Croppy, connected with the insurrection against the suffering and privation which came in the in 1798. •We paint,' said the author, ‘from the train of disease that precluded all literary exertion; people of a lan amongst whom, for the last six and on that occasion Sir Robert Peel came to the hundred years, national provocations have never ) aid of the distressed author, whose latter years were

restored to his native country, and made easy hy a hard towards a spot brilliantly illuminated, they saw yearly pension of £150 from the civil list, to which Saunders Smyly vigorously engaged in one of his tasks an addition of £40 a-year was afterwards made for as disciplinarian to the Ballybreehoone cavalry. With the education of his daughter, an only child.' * Bermuch ostentation, his instrument of torture was sides the works we have mentioned, Mr Banim flourished round his head, and though at every lasb wrote Boyne Water, and other poetical pieces, and the shrieks of the sufferer came loud, the lashes themhe contributed largely to the different magazines and selves were scarce less distinct. annuals. • The O'Hara Tales' had given him a name A second group challenged the eye. Shawn-a-Gow's that carried general attraction to all lovers of light house stood alone in the village. A short distance literature; and there are few of these short and before its door was a lime-tree, with benches contrived hasty tales that do not contain some traces of his all round the trunk, upon which, in summer weather, unrivalled Irish power and fidelity of delineation. the goasipers of the village used to seat themselves. In some respects Mr Banim was a mannerist : bis This tree, standing between our spectators and the knowledge extended over a wide surface of Irish / blaze, cut darkly against the glowing objects beyond history and of character, under all its modifications ; it; and three or four yeomen, their backs turned to but his style and imagination were confined chiefly the hill, their faces to the burning house, and conseto the same class of subjects, and to a peculiar mode quently their figures also arpearing black, seemed of treating them. Thus the consciousness of power busily occupied in some feat that required the exerin the description of unhallowed and unregulated tion of pulling with their bands lifted above their impulse, appears to draw him often away from con

I heads. Shawn flashed an inquiring glance upon them, tenplating those feelings of a more pleasing kind,

f a more pleasing kind and anon a human form, still, like their figures, to comprehend and to delineate which is so neces

vague and undefined in blackness, gradually became sary a condition to the attainment of perfection in

elevated from the ground beneath the tree, until its his art. Thus the boldness and minuteness of detail,

head almost touched a projecting branch, and then which give reality to his frequent scenes of lawless

| it remained stationary, suspended from that branch. ness and violence, are too often forced close on the

| Shawn's rage increased to madness at this sight, verge of vulgar honour and melodramatic artifice.

though he did not adınit it to be immediately conTo be brief, throughout the whole of his writings

nected with his more individual causes for wrath. there is a sort of overstrained excitement, a wil

And now carne an event that made a climax, for the ful dwelling upon turbulent and unchastened pas

present, to his emotions, and at length caused some sidns, which, as it is a vice most often incident to

expressions of his pent-up feelings. A loud crackling

crash echoed from his house ; a volume of flame, the workings of real genius, more especially of Irish

taller and more dense than any by which it was pregenius, so perhaps it is one which meets with least mercy from well-bchaved prosaic people.'t This

ceded, darted up to the heavens; then almost former

darkness fell on the hill-side; a glooiny red glow defect he partially overcame in his later writings. * Father Connell' is full of gentle affectionate feel

alonc remained on the objects below; and nothing

but thick smoke, dotted with sparks, continued to ings and delineation, and some of his smaller tales

issue from his dwelling. After everything that could are distinguished by great delicacy and tenderness.

interiorly supply food to the flame had been devoured,

it was the roof of his old house that now fell in. [Description of the Burning of a Croppy's House.] By the ashes o' my cabin, burnt down before me

this night-an' I stannin' a houseless begrar on the The smith kept a brooding and gloomy silence ; hill-side lookin' at id—while I can get an Orangehis almost savage yet steadfast glare fastened upon

man's house to take the blaze, an'a wisp to kindle the element that, not more racing than his own

the blaze up, I'll buru ten houses for that one! bosom, devoured his dwelling Fire had been set to! And so asseverating, he recrossed the summit of the the house in many places within and without; and hill, and, followed by Peter Rooney, descended into though at first it crept slowly along the surface of the the little valley of refuge. thatch, or only sent out bursting wreaths of vapour from the interior, or through the doorway, few minutes elapsed until the whole of the combustible roof

T. CROFTON CROKER. was one mass of flame, shooting up into the serene air MR CROKER has been one of the most industrious in a spire of dazzling brilliancy, mixed with vivid and tasteful collectors of the legendary lore, the sparks, and relieved against a background of dark-poetical traditions and antiquities of Ireland. In gray smoke.

1824 appeared his Researches in the South of Ireland, Sky and earth appeared reddened into common ig

| one volume, quarto, containing a judicious and happy nition with the blaze. The houses around gleamed

mixture of humour, sentiment, and antiquarianism. hotly; the very stones and rocks on the hill-side

This was followed by Fairy Legends and Traditions seemed portions of fire; and Shawn-a-Gow's bare head

of the South of Ireland, 1827; Legends of the Lakes, or and herculean shoulders were covered with spreading | Savings and Doings at Killarney, two volumes, 1828 ; showers of the ashes of his own roof.

Daniel O'Rourke, or Rhymes of a Pantomime founded His distended eye Sixed too upon the figures of the

on that Story, 1828 ; Barney Mahoney, 1832; My Vilactors in this scene, now rendered fiercely distinct,

| lage versus Our Village, 1832 ; Popular Songs of Ireand their scabbards, their buttons, and their polished

land, 1839, &c. The tales of Barney Mahoney' and black helmets, bickering redly in the glow, as, at a • My Village' are Mr Croker's only efforts at strictly command from their captain, they sent up the hill

original composition, his other works being compi. side three shouts over the demolition of the Croppy's

lations, like Scott's Minstrelsy, and entered upon dwelling. But still, though his breast heaved, and

with equal enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject. though wreaths of foam edged his lips, Shawn was

Barney is a low Irish servant, and his adventures silent; and little Peter now feared to address a word

are characteristic and amusing, though without to him. And other sights and occurrences claimed

much force or interest. “My Village' is an English whatever attention he was able to afford. Rising to a

tale, and by no means happy either in conception pitch of shrillness that over-mastered the cheers of

or execution. Miss Mitford may have occasionally the yeomen, the cries of a man in bodily agony struck

| dressed or represented her village en vaudeville, like on the ears of the listeners on the hill, and looking

8 | the back-scene of a theatre, but Mr Croker errs on Athenæum for 1842. Westminster Review, 1828. I the opposite side. He gives us a series of Dutch

paintings, too little relieved by imagination or pas- which, to be sure, it never can be: and that's the way sion to excite or gratify the curiosity of the reader. St Patrick settled the last of the sarpints, sir. He is happiest among the fanciful legends of his native country, treasuring up their romantic fea. The national character of Ireland was further tures, quoting fragments of song, describing a lake illustrated by two collections of tales published or ruin, hitting off a dialogue or merry jest, and anonymously, entitled To-day in Ircland, 1825; and chronicling the peculiarities of his countrymen in Yesterday in Ireland, 1829. Though imperfectly their humours. their superstition, and rustic sim- acquainted with the art of a novelist, this writer plicity. The following is the account which he puts is often correct and happy in his descriptions and into the mouth of one of his characters, of the last historical summaries., LIX

historical summaries. Like Banim, he has ventured of the Irish serpents.

on the stormy period of 1798, and has been more

minute than his great rival in sketching the circumSure everybody has heard tell of the blessed St stances of the rebellion. MR CROWE, author of Patrick, and how he druve the sarpints and all man- The English in Italy and France, a work of superior ner of venomous things out of Ireland ; how he merit, is said to be the author of these tales. The 'bothered all the varmint' entirely. But for all that, Rev. CÆSAR OTWAY, of Dublin, in his Sketches of there was one ould sarpint left, who was too cunning Ireland, and his Tour in Connaught, &c. 1839, has to be talked out of the country, and made to drown displayed many of the most valuable qualities of a himself. St Patrick didn't well know how to manage novelist, without attempting the construction of a this fellow, who was doing great havoc; till, at long regular story. His lively style and humorous illuslast he bethought himself, and got a strong iron chest trations of the manners of the people render his made with nine boults upon it. So one fine morning topographical works very pleasant as well as inhe takes a walk to where the sarpint used to keep ; structive reading. Mr Otway was a keen theoloand the sarpint, who didn't like the saint in the least, gian, a determined anti-Catholic, but full of Irish and small blarne to him for that, began to hiss and feeling and universal kindliness. He died in March show his teeth at him like anything. Oh,' says St | 1842. Patrick, says he, where's the use of making such a piece of work about a gentleman like myself coming to see you. 'Tis a nice house I have got made for

GERALD GRIFFIN. you agin the winter; for I'm going to civilise the

GERALD GRIFFIN, author of some excellent Irish whole country, man and beast,' says he, 'and you can + come and look at it whenever you please, and 'tis my

an tales, was born at Limerick on the 12th of December self will be glad to see you.' The sarpint hearing such La true Milesian pedant and original, for one of his

| 1803. His first schoolmaster appears to have been smooth words, thought that though St Patrick had druve all the rest of the sarpints into the sea, he meant

advertisements begins — When ponderous polly. no harm to himself; so the sarpint walks fair and

syllables promulgate professional powers !'-and he easy up to see him and the house he was speaking

boasted of being one of three persons in Ireland who about. But when the sarpint saw the nine boults

knew how to read correctly; namely, the Bishop of upon the chest, he thought he was sould (betrayed), |

Killaloe, the Earl of Clare, and himself, Mr Mac. and was for making off with himself as fast as ever he

Eligot! Gerald was afterwards placed under a pricould. "'Tis a nice warm house, you see,' says St

vate tutor, whence he was removed to attend a school Patrick, "and 'tis a good friend I am to you. 'I

at Limerick. While a mere youth, he became conthank you kindly, St Patrick, for your civility,' says

nected with the Limerick Advertiser newspaper; but the sarpint; but I think it's too small it is for me'

having written a tragedy, he migrated to London in meaning it for an excuse, and away he was going.

his twentieth year, with the hope of distinguishing *Too small !' says St Patrick, stop, if you please,' says

himself in literature and the drama Disappointhe, 'you're out in that, my boy, anyhow-I am sure

ment very naturally followed, and Gerald betook 'twill fit you completely; and I'll tell you what,' says

himself to reporting for the daily press and contri- ! he. "I'll bet you a gallon of porter.' says he that if buting to the magazines. In 1825 he succeeded in you'll only try and get in, there'll be plenty of room getting an operatic melodrama brought out at the for you.' The sarpint was as thirsty as could be with / English Opera House; and in 1827 appeared his his walk; and 'twas great joy to him the thoughts of

Holland-Tide, or Munster Popular Tales, a series of doing St Patrick out of the gallon of porter; so, swell- shor

wells short stories, thoroughly Irish, and evincing powers ing himself up as big as he could." in he sot to the l of observation and description from which much chest, all but a little bit of his tail. There, now,' might be anticipated. This fortunate beginning says he, I've won the gallon, for you see the house is was followed up the same year by Tales of the Muro too small for me, for I can't get in my tail.' When ster Festivals, containing Card-Drawing, the Half-Sir, what does St Patrick do, but he comes behind the and Suil Dhuv the Coiner, three volumes. The great heavy lid of the chest, and, putting his two nationality of these tales, and the talent of the hands to it, down he slaps it with a bang like thunder. author in depicting the mingled levity and pathos When the rogue of a sarpint saw the lid coming down, of the Irish character, rendered them exceedingls in went his tail like a shot, for fear of being whipped popular. His reputation was still further, off him, and St Patrick began at once to boult the nine by the publication, in 1829, of The Collegians; & ! iron boults. “Oh, murder! wont you let me out, Second Series of Tales of the Munster Festivals, three St Patrick ? says the sarpint ; ' I've lost the bet fairly, volumes, which proved to be the most popular of all and I'll pay you the gallon like a man.' Let you his works, and was thought by many to place Griffin out, my darling,' says St Patrick, 'to be sure I will, as an Irish novelist above Banim and Carleton. by all manner of means; but you see I haven't time Some of the scenes possess a deep and melancholy Dw, so you must wait till to-morrow. And so he interest; for, in awakening terror, and painting the cook the iron chest, with the sarpint in it, and pitches sterner passions and their results, Griffin displayed it into the lake here, where it is to this hour for cer- the art and power of a master. The Collegians, tain; and 'tis the sarpint struggling down at the bot- says a writer in the Edinburgh Review, is a very tom that makes the waves upon it. Many is the liv- interesting and well-constructed tale, full of incident | ing man (continued Picket) besides myself has heard and passion. It is a history of the clandestine union the sarpint crying out from within the chest under the l of a young man of good birth and fortune with a water- Is it to-morrow yet ?-is it to-morrow yet!' | girl of far inferior rank, and of the consequences

which too naturally result. The gradual decay of Still be his care in future years an attachment which was scarcely based on any

To learn of thee truth's sirople way, thing better than sensual love the irksomeness of And free from foundless hopes or fears, i concealment-the goadings of wounded pride—the Serenely live, securely pray. , suggestions of self-interest, which had been hastily neglected for an object which proves inadequate

And when our Christmas days are past, when gained--all these combining to produce, first,

And life's vain shadows faint and dim, neglect, and lastly, aversion, are interestingly and

Oh, be my sister heard at last, vividly described. An attachment to another, su

When her pure hands are raised for him! perior both in mind and station, springs up at the Christmas, 1830. same time; and to effect a union with her, the un

His mind, fixed on this subject, still retained its happy wife is sacrificed. It is a terrible represen

youthful buoyancy and cheerfulness, and he made a tation of the course of crime; and it is not only

tour in Scotland, which afforded him the highest saforcibly, but naturally disply.yed. The characters

tisfaction and enjoyment. He retired from the world sometimes express their feelings with unnecessary

in the autumn of 1838, and joined the Christian energy, strong emotions are too long dwelt upon,

Brotherhood (whose duty it is to instruct the poor) and incidents rather slowly developed; but there

in the monastery at Cork. In the second year of is no common skill and power evinced in the con

his noviciate he was attacked with typhus fever, duct of the tale. In 1830 Vir Griffin was again in

| and died on the 12th of June 1840. the field with his Irish sketches. Two tales, The Rivals, and Tracey's Ambition, were well received, though improbable in plot and ill-arranged in in

WILLIAM CARLETON. cident. The author continued his miscellaneous

WILLIAN CARLETON, author of Traits and Stories labours for the press, and published, besides a

of the Irish Peasantry, was born at Prillisk, in the number of contributions to periodicals, another series of stories, entitled Tales of the Five Senses.

parish of Clogher, and county of Tyrone, in the year These are not equal to his Munster Tales,' but are,

1798. His father was a person in lowly station--a nevertheless, full of fine Irish description and cha

peasant-but highly and singularly gifted. His meracter, and of that .dark and touching power' which

mory was unusually retentive, and as a teller of old Mr Carleton assigns as the distinguishing excellence

tales, legends, and historical anecdotes, he was un. of his brother novelist. In 1832 the townsmen of

rivalled; and his stock of them was inexhaustible.

Ile spoke the Irish and English languages with nearly Mr Griffin devolved upon him a very pleasing duty

equal fluency. His mother was skilled in the native - to wait upon Mr Moore the poet, and request that he would allow himself to be put in nomination for

music of the country, and possessed the sweetest and

most exquisite of human voices.* She was celethe representation of the city of Limerick in parlia

brated for the effect she gave to the Irish cry or ment. Mr Moore prudently declined this honour,

• keene.' 'I have often been present,' says her son, but appears to have given a characteristically kind

' when she has “raised the keene" over the corpse and warm reception to his young enthusiastic visitor,

of some relative or neighbour, and my readers may and his brother, who accompanied him.

| judge of the melancholy charm which accompanied Notwithstanding the early success and growing

this expression of her sympathy, when I assure them reputation of Mr Griffin, he appears to have soon

that the general clamour of violent grief was gradubecome tired of the world, and anxious to retreat

ally diminished, from admiration, until it became from its toils and its pleasures. He had been edu

ultimately hushed, and no voice was heard but her cated in the Roman Catholic faith, and one of his

own-wailing in sorrowful but solitary beauty.' With sisters had, about the year 1830, taken the veil.

such parents Carleton could not fail to imbibe the This circumstance awakened the poetical and de

peculiar feelings and superstitions of his country. votional feelings and desires that formed part of his

His humble home was a fitting nursery for Irish character, and he grew daily more anxious to quit

genius. His first schoolmaster was a Connaught man, the busy world for a life of religious duty and ser- ||

named Pat Frayne, the prototype of Mat Kavanagh vice. The following verses, written at this time,

in the · Iledge School.' He also received some inare expressive of his new enthusiasm :

struction from a classical teacher, a tyrannical

blockhead' who settled in the neighbourhood, and it Seven dreary winters gone and spent,

was afterwards agreed to send him to Munster, as a Seven blooming summers vanished too,

poor scholar, to complete his education. The poor Since on an eager mission bent,

scholars of Munster are indebted for nothing but I left my Irish home and you.

their bed and board, which they receive from the How passed those years I will not say ;

parents of the scholars. In some cases a collection They cannot be by words renewed

is made to provide an outfit for the youth thus leavGod wash their sinful parts away!

ing home; but Carleton's own family supplied the And blest be he for all their good.

funds supposed to be necessary. The circumstances

attending his departure Mr Carleton has related in With even mind and tranquil breast

his fine tale, • The Poor Scholar.' As he journeyed I left my youthful sister then,

slowly along the road, his superstitious fears got the And now in sweet religious rest

better of his ambition to be a scholar, and stopping I see my sister there again.

for the night at a small inn by the way, a disagree

able dream determined the home sick lad to return Returning from that stormy world,

to his father's cottage. His affectionate parents How pleasing is a sight like this!

were equally joyed to receive him; and Carleton To see that bark with canvass furled

seems to have done little for some years but join in Still riding in that port of peace.

the sports and pastimes of the people, and attend

every wake, dance, fair, and merry-making in the Oh, darling of a heart that still, By earthly joys so deeply trod,

* These particulars concerning the personal history of the At moments bids its owner feel

novclist are ontained in his introduction to the last edition The warmth of nature and of God!

of the Traits and Stories,

neighbourhood. In his seventeenth year he went to various scenes which passed before him in his native assist a distant relative, a priest, who had opened a district and during his subsequent rambles. In exaclassical school near Glasslough, county of Monaghan, mining into the causes which have operated in where he remained two years. A pilgrimage to the forming the character of the peasantry, Mr Carleton far-famed Lough-derg, or St Patrick's Purgatory, alludes to the long want of any fixed system of excited his imagination, and the description of that wholesome education. The clergy, until lately, took performance, some years afterwards, 'not only,' he no interest in the matter, and the instruction of the says, 'constituted my debut in literature, but was children (where any instruction was obtained) was also the means of preventing me from being a plea- | left altogether to hedge schoolmasters, a class of sant strong-bodied parish priest at this day ; indeed men who, with few exceptions, bestowed 'such an it was the cause of changing the whole destiny of my education upon the people as is sufficient almost, in subsequent life.' About this time chance threw a the absence of all other causes, to account for much copy of Gil Blas in his way, and his love of adven- of the agrarian violence and erroneous principles ture was so stimulated by its perusal, that he left which regulate their movements and feelings on that his native place, and set off on a visit to a Catholic and similar subjects.' The lower Irish, too, he justly clergyman in the county of Louth. He stopped remarks, were, until a comparatively recent period, with him a fortnight, and succeeded in procuring a treated with apathy and gross neglect by the only tuition in the house of a farmer near Corcreagh class to wliom they could or ought to look up for This, however, was a tame life and a hard one, and sympathy or protection. Hence those deep-rooted he resolved on precipitating himself on the Irish me prejudices and fearful crimes which stain the history tropolis, with no other guide than a certain strong of a people remarkable for their social and domestic feeling of vague and shapeless ambition. He entered virtues. In domestic life,' says Mr Carleton, there Dublin with only 2s. 9d. in his pocket. From this is no man so exquisitely affectionate and humanised period we suppose we must date the commencement | | as the Irishman. The national imagination is active, of Mr Carleton's literary career. In 1830 appeared and the national heart warm, and it follows very na. his Traits and Stories,' two volumes, published in turally that he should be, and is, tender and strong Dublin, but without the author's name. Mr Carleton, in all his domestic relations. Unlike the people of in his preface, 'assures the public, that what he offers other nations, his grief is loud, but lasting; vehement, is, both in manufacture and material, genuine Irish; but deep; and whilst its shadow has been chequered yes, genuine Irish as to character, drawn by one born by the laughter and mirth of a cheerful disposition, amidst the scenes he describes-reared as one of the still, in the moments of seclusion, at his bed-side people whose characters and situations he sketches prayer, or over the grave of those he loved, it will" --and who can cut and dress a shillaly as well as put itself forth, after half a life, with a vivid power any man in his majesty's dominions; ay, and use it of recollection which is sometimes almost beyond too; so let the critics take care of themselves.' belief.' A people thus cast in extremes-melancholy The critics were unanimous in favour of the Irish | and humorous-passionate in affection and in hatred sketcher. His account of the northern Irish-the -cherishing the old language, traditions, and recolUlster creachts—was new to the reading public, and lections of their country-their wild music, poetry, the dark mountains and green vales' of his native and customs-ready either for good or for evil-such Tyrone, of Donegal, and Derry, had been left un a people certainly affords the novelist abundant matetouched by the previous writers on Ireland. A rials for his fictions. The field is ample, and it has second series of these tales was published by Mr been richly cultivated. Carleton in 1832, and was equally well received. In 1839 he sent forth a powerful Irish story, Fardorougha the Miser, or the Convicts of Lisnamona, in which the

[Picture of an Irish Village and School-house.) passion of avarice is strikingly depicted, without

The village of Findramore was situated at the foot its victim being wholly dead to natural tenderness of a long green hill, the outline of which formed a i and affection. Scenes of broad humour and comic kwa

low arch, as it rose to the eye against the horizon. extravagance are interspersed throughout the work.

This hill was studded with clumps of beeches, and Two years afterwards (1841) appeared The Fawn of

sometimes enclosed as a meadow. In the month of Spring Vale, The Clarionet, and other Tales, three bly when

three July, when the grass on it was long, many an hour volumes. There is more of pathetic composition in have I spent in solitary enjoyment, watching the this collection than in the former; butone genial light- I wavy motion produced upon its pliant surface by the hearted humorous story, 'The Misfortunes of Barney

sunny winds, or the flight of the cloud shadows, like Branagan,' was a prodigious favourite. The collection

gigantic phantoms, as they swept rapidly over it, was pronounced by a judicious critic to be calculated

whilst the murmur of the rocking trees, and the 'for those quiet country haunts where the deep and

glancing of their bright leaves in the sun, produæd a natural pathos of the lives of the poor may be best heartfelt pleasure, the very memory of which rises in read and taken to heart. Hence Mr Carleton ap- my imagination like some fading recollection of 5 propriately dedicates his pages to Wordsworth. But I brighter world. they have the fault common to other modern Irish | At the foot of this hill ran a clear deep.banked novels, of an exaggerated display of the darker vicis-river, bounded on one side by a slip of rich level situdes of life: none better than the Rydal philo- meadow, and on the other by & kind of common tor Bopher could teach the tale-writer that the effect of the village geese, whose white feathers during the mists, and rains, and shadows, is lost without sun- summer season lay scattered over its green surface. breaks to relieve the gloom.' The great merit, how- It was also the play-ground for the boys of the village ever, of Mr Carleton, is the truth of his delineations school; for there ran that part of the river which and the apparent artlessness of his stories. If he with very correct judgment, the urchins bad selectee has not the passionate energy--or, as he himself has as their bathing-place. A little slope or watering termed it, the melancholy but indignant reclama-ground in the bank brought them to the edge of the tions' of John Banim, he has not his party prejudices stream, where the bottom fell away into the feartal or bitterness. He seems to have formed a fair and depths of the whirlpool under the hanging oak on just estimate of the character of his countrymen, the other bank. Well do I remember the first time and to have drawn it as it actually appeared to him I ventured to swim across it, and even yet do I see ib at home and abroad-in feud and in festival-in the imagination the two bunches of water fiagons on !

« НазадПродовжити »