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BACCHANALIAN ADDENDA

TO THE

REMAINS OF CAROLAN.

ADDEND A.

After the contents of the four parts

which compose

these 'volumes had been distributed, the three following articles remained undisposed of, and as they had been considered worthy of preservation, and appeared to partake somewhat of the sprightly character of Carolan's muse, it was determined to place them immediately after his “ Remains.” Irish compositions of the Bacchanalian class, are numerous, and many of them excellent. These given here, have been selected, not as possessing superior claims to poetical notice, but for presenting, in so many points of view, the subject which they describe with such exquisite humour. The first, is a tolerably good specimen of our jovial effusions; the second, an ingenious satire on our extra-jovial propensities; and in the third will be found a lively description of an Irish merry-making of the olden time. Taken together, they exhibit some striking features of national character.

It is well known, that, in former times, Ireland was distinguished for temperance and sobriety. At more recent periods, it became noted for some of the opposite vices. Cambrensis, Camden, who viewed the country not even “uno oculo,” and other English writers, who seldom omitted any opportunity of vilifying the Irish; in summing up their virtues and vices, have never charged them with drunkenness or intemperance. Dr. Samuel Madden, who published some Essays on Ireland,

we are

us, this

about a century ago,

“and whose name," says Dr. Johnson, “ Ireland ought to honour” tells us, that, “ Many men can remember, when we were as remarkable for our sobriety, as

now for rioting and drunkenness. Dr. Madden's political and religious prejudices, prevented him from pointing out the cause of this sudden metamorphosis. In the common cant of his day, he ascribes it to Pope and popery; but, he well knew, had he the candour to state the fact, that, it owed its baleful origin to the impoverishment of the country, to the oppressed and degraded state of the main body of the people. Wilfully passing over the cause, he takes care, however, minutely to describe the effects. “We drink,” says he, “as Tacitus describes the old Germans, night and day, and though we have poisoned our bodies, and debauched our minds, though we have enriched our enemies, impoverished ourselves, and undone our wretched country, yet to comfort may

be said for our honour, that we have got the character, of bearing our national miseries with the best grace, nay, and of being the most boon companions, and the fairest drinkers of Europe," and concludes, by presenting a hideous picture of the" poverty, idleness, misfortune, and misery which too many of our people languish under," the consequences, he might have added, of English domination, and of penal laws. Not satisfied, with depriving the old proprietors of their ancient estates, or content with driving forth myriads of Ireland's noblest sons, as branded wanderers over the face of the earth, the malignancy of English laws, and English task masters, reduced to the situation here described, the wretched sojourners, who were declared to exist in the country, only by legal connivance.Great is the retribution which England owes this ill-treated land. May the errors of the past be remembered as warnings for the future.

Since the relaxation of the penal laws, great and general amendment has taken place in Ireland. Habits of intemperance

have gradually declined among the middle classes of society, but unfortunately, still largely prevail over the lower orders. Here also they will disappear, when, on the abolition of the impious remnant of that degrading code, security shall be increased, and property extended, the latter flowing like the blood from the heart, and revolving to its source, continually preserving and invigorating the entire system. Of this truth, a forcible illustration has been given by Mr. Coxe, an intelligent English traveller: “A Polish nobleman, Zamoiski, in 1760, emancipated six villages, in the Palatinate of Masovia. Wbile the inhabitants were in a state of servitude, he was occasionally obliged to pay fiues for disorders committed by them, for in a state of drunkenness, they would attack, and sometimes kill passengers: since their freedom, he has seldom received any complaints of this kind against them.”—This fact, applied to Ireland, speaks volumes. May our “wise and enlightened" ” legislators profit by it, and effect on a larger scale, what the patriotic Polander so happily achieved on a smaller. If not actuated by a desire to promote the prosperity of Ireland, and consequently to secure and perpetuate the stability of the Empire; may they, at least, feel for the degradation of their species; and, by an act of legislative justice, prevent our poor countrymen, from exhibiting themselves any longer, as drunken helots to the derision of the world.

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