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may not befal us again. Meantime, let us maintain the cause of the small farmers; we would gladly see many, very many large holdings scattered over the face of the country; we believe that it is eminently for the interests of agriculture that there should be such, but let them not be to the exclusion of the small holdings; let us have thousands and tens of thousands of the people of the United Kingdom enjoying their six, eight, ten, or twelve acres of land, as their capital may be suited to it; they have unanswerable practical support in the great success of Belgium and the other continental states where they have been encouraged; they will cultivate more closely, and more productively than the large farmer; they will add to the might of the empire, politically, socially, and economically; they will go far in preserving it from mendicancy, that most fruitful source of corruption —and they will save the nation from
the woe that is denounced against those who add field to field, until there be no place, that they may be alone upon the earth."
In treating thus of the resources of the kingdom in the important article of food, we have made no mention of that portion of the supply which is derived from abroad-this we may take occasion to allude to when speaking of the import trade of the country; it is sufficient to say at present, that up to this season of famine, all that we have in any year derived from abroad has been wholly insignificant, when looked upon as a means of providing for our people. The importation of grain in 1846 was very much above the average, and yet the whole amount, including meal and flour, was only equal to five millions and a-half of quarters of grain, or about a bushel and a half for every inhabitant of the kingdom; but, as we have said, we may allude to this subject briefly again.
LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS OF ARCADIA. CHAPTER V.-A GALLOP OVER THE
AN IRISH ELECTION IN THE TIME OF THE FORTIES. BY WILLIAM CARLETON.
JAMES MCGLASHAN 21 D'OLIER-STREET.
WM. S. ORR, AND CO. 147 STRAND LONDON.
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Containing Correspondence with Mr Hallam on the Claims of Archbishop de Londres to a
LETTER TO LORD MORPETH,
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SAMUEL FERGUSON, M.R.I.A.
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Compiled for the Purpose of Quieting the Title of the Sitting Members.
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So sung the minstrel of Erin, awaking with a master's hand the chords of that lyre, whose strains are now familiar as household words in every quarter of the civilized world-fraught with the very soul of song-breathing an inspiration caught from the green hills of Ireland. Alas! those beautiful stanzas were only too prophetic of the future fate of our unhappy country. 'Tis even so: in the darkest day of her long life of tribulation, when the hopes of hearts that but a year ago throbbed with the wild pulses of life's prime, lie crushed and broken-when the thou. sand fire-sides that were thronged then with careless and laughing faces, are cold and cheerless now, their occupants tossing on stormy seas—tired wanderers in strange countries, seeking the means of life they cannot find at home, their thoughts still teeming with the memories of better timesstill turning towards the old country, where their fathers' ashes are, but which shall be a place of refuge no more for them; or happier far, having found in the shelter of the grave from their heavy labours an eternal rest. Alas for Ireland! her heart is heavy with sorrow; and it is impossible to think of her melodies, which have ever been connected with her joys or her griefs, without these mournful reflections arising — reflections rendered still more melancholy by the
thought that when nature is bursting from her long sleep-when other countries are smiling with promise, this joyous season can bring but little hope to us. Yes-even in this glad and happy time, when the green corn is bursting from the earth, blessed with the sunshine and the shower of spring-when holy nature, with a lavish hand, is scattering abroad her joyous gifts upon fertile lands, here it is only upon desolate homesteads and barren fields that the light of her smile can fall now. spring! the time of love-the time when in warm pulses the life blood glows and dances-when youth and beauty thrill with thy mysterious influence. Youth and beauty, what are ye now! The pride and the vigour of lusty manhood are broken; she whose smile was his light of life, has faded like a dying flower; the joyous melody that welled from the happy heart is stilled by the wailings of grief over the unburied dead. Youth and beauty! The wan mother strains to her breast her helpless child
"The babe to whom her breast yields no relief”—
the fountain is dry. Alas for the sufferings and the sorrows of our country! But in the hour of her desolation she is tuneful still; and well indeed may they who have rivetted those indissoluble bonds which have linked our destiny to theirs-well may they, moved to pity
Specimens of the Early Native Poetry of Ireland, in English Metrical Translations, by various hands; with Historical and Biographical Notices, by Henry R. Montgomery, &c. &c. Dublin: James M'Glashan." 1847.
VOL. XXX.-No. 176.
by sorrow which they cannot lighten, and misfortune they are unable to mitigate, although powerful has been the sympathy of England towards her afflicted sister, and munificent her assistance, well may they
"Pause at the song of their captives, and weep."
But let us turn from the dreary page in the history of Ireland which lies before us now, and gazing down the dim vista of the future, indulge in the hope-may it not be a visionary one— that better and happier days are yet in store for our afflicted country. There is one light which shines amid the gloom, and we hail its cheering ray with a satisfaction and a delight not easy to express. The mind of Ireland is becoming educated; a taste for the cultivation of her literature and his
tory is daily on the increase; people are no longer quite absorbed in the stormy pursuits of politics. Men of elegant and refined taste-men of an ability and intelligence of which any country might justly be proud, have been for years devoting their talents and their energies to the task of fashioning the public mind-to the noble and the inspiriting pursuit of making a literature for Ireland. How they have succeeded, in founding at least a national school of poetry, the volumes which it is now our most agreeable duty to notice, afford most abundant proof.
After centuries of neglect and of oblivion, an attempt was made, several years ago, by Mr. Hardiman, to rescue from the obscurity in which they were mouldering, some remains of the ancient literature of Ireland; and this timely interposition, with the consequent efforts of his fellow-labourers and successors, have had the effect of rescuing some of the most beautiful fragments of Irish poetry from the inevitable oblivion to which they would otherwise have been consigned; and we believe that to a series of papers on these volumes, in our own pages,* from the pen of Mr. Ferguson, who has been one of the most distinguished labourers in the field of Irish literature, the success of a movement which is now gaining such rapidly increasing popularity is mainly to be attributed. It may seem invidious to select one from many others distin
guished also by ardour and zeal, but we think it only due to this gentleman that the world should be made aware that it was by the efforts of his accomplished pen that public attention was, in the first instance, directed to those lights of Irish song, whose beams might otherwise have gone down unnoticed in the cheerless sea of oblivion and neglect. A host of others have since followed in his track; but ere we enter upon the discussion of their respective merits, it is only fair that his claims to the honour of being the leader of this movement, should be publicly and satisfactorily adjusted.
The origin of song, as well as of that description of poetry more properly designated as ballad, may be traced to a very remote period-the expression of a sentiment attached to a melody, as contradistinguished from the recital of actions of love or of warfare, being the principal distinction between the two branches.
The passion for the latter species of poetical composition seems to have been transmitted by the stern Romans to the natives of that country which is still, par excellence, termed the land of song, and that the ballad was not unknown to them at a very early period, indeed, we have the evidence of many authorities of weight to prove. But the number of lyric pieces of great excellence, written in
"That soft bastard Latin,
Which melts like kisses from a female mouth,"
which are yet extant, is very considerable. There is a species of these smaller lyrics, composed, it is thought, for the purpose of being sung to the dance at carnivals, which are called canzonets, that are of very superior merit indeed. Lorenzo de Medici, Pulci (to whom Lord Byron confesses himself so indebted for the model of that ottava rima which he afterwards learned to yield with such admirable facility), Politian, and many other great Mæcenases of the fifteenth century, are said to have been distinguished by their ability, not only as composers, but even as singers of these songs, which are very nearly the ballads of the present day.
The provençal minstrelsy of France is derived from a source equally ancient the troubadours an order
* "Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy," April, August, October, and November, 1834.