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Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemmed with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung!-
The oak-crowned Sisters, and their chaste-eyed Queen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green;
Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear,
And Sport leaped up, and seized his beechen spear.
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial:
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addressed:
To some unwearied minstrel dancing:
As if he would the charming air repay,
LXXX. DECLARATION OF IRISH RIGHTS.
See in Index, INHERENT, INSATIATE, LEGISLATIVE, OBLIGE, PARLIAMENT, PARCELED or PARCELLED, GRATTAN.
Delivery. The impassioned character of this eloquent speech requires an earnestness approaching vehemence in the delivery. Several of the passages are instinct with a lively indignation, for the expression of which an accelerated rate of utterance, loud force, and high pitch will be suitable.
1. THE British minister mistakes the Irish character; had he intended to make Ireland a slave, he should
have kept her a beggar. There is no middle policy: win her heart by the restoration of her rights, or cut off the nation's right hand; greatly emancipate, or fundamentally destroy. We may talk plausibly to England, but so long as she exercises a power to bind this country, so long are the nations in a state of war; the claims of the one go against the liberty of the other, and the sentiments of the latter go to oppose those claims to the last drop of her blood.
2. The English opposition, therefore, are right: mere trade will not satisfy Ireland. They judge of us by other great nations; by the nation whose political life has been a struggle for liberty, America! They judge of us with a true knowledge and just deference for our character; that a country enlightened as Ireland, chartered as Ireland, armed as Ireland, and injured as Ireland, will be satisfied with nothing less than liberty.
3. What! has England lost thirteen provinces,—has she reconciled herself to this loss, and will she not be reconciled to the liberty of Ireland? Take notice, that the very constitution which I move you to declare for Ireland, Great Britain herself offered to America! It is a very instructive proceeding in the British history. In 1778 a commission went out with powers to cede to the thirteen provinces of America, totally and radically, the legislative authority claimed over her by the British. parliament; and the commissioners, pursuant to their powers, did offer to all, or any, of the American States the total surrender of the legislative authority of the British Parliament. What has England offered this to the resistance of America, and will she refuse it to the loyalty of Ireland?
4. I shall hear of ingratitude. I name the argument to despise it, and the men who make use of it. I know the men who use it are not grateful: they are insatiate; they are public extortioners, who would stop the tide
of public-prosperity, and turn it to the channel of their own emolument. I know of no species of gratitude which should prevent my country from being free; no gratitude which should oblige Ireland to be the slave of England. In cases of robbery and usurpation, nothing is an object of gratitude except the thing stolen, the charter spoliated.
5. A nation's liberty cannot, like her treasure, be meted and parceled out in gratitude. No man can be grateful or liberal of his conscience, nor woman of her honor, nor nation of her liberty. There are certain unimpartable, inherent, invaluable properties, not to be alienated from the person, whether body politic or body natural. With the same contempt do I treat that charge which says that Ireland is insatiable. Ireland asks nothing but that which Great Britain has robbed her of,her rights and privileges. To say that Ireland will not be satisfied with liberty, because she is not satisfied with slavery, is folly. I laugh at that man who supposes that Ireland will not be content with a free trade and a free constitution; and would any man advise her to be content with less?
6. I might, as a constituent, come to your bar and demand my liberty. I do call upon you, by the laws of the land and their violation, by the instruction of eighteen centuries, by the arms, inspiration, and providence of the present moment, tell us the rule by which we shall go; assert the law of Ireland; declare the liberty of the land. I will not be answered by a public lie in the shape of an amendment; neither, speaking for the subject's freedom, am I to hear of faction. I wish for nothing but to breathe, in this our island, in common with my fellow-subjects, the air of liberty.
7. I have no ambition, unless it be the ambition to break your chain, and contem'plate your glory. I never will be satisfied so long as the meanest cottager in Ireland has a link of the British chain clanking to
his rags. He may be naked, he shall not be in irons. And I do see the time is at hand, the spirit is gone forth, the declaration is planted; and though great men should apostatize, yet the cause will live; and though the public speaker should die, yet the immortal fire shall outlast the organ which conveyed it, and the breath of liberty, like the word of the holy man, will not die with the prophet, but survive him.
The rules which Bryant here lays down for the poet apply, in a great degree, to the reader: they demand as the first requisite for success, attention and sympathy. (See stanza 4th.) How can we expect our hearers to be moved if we are unmoved ourselves?
See in Index, ERE, LIMn, Bryant.
THOU, Who wouldst wear the name
Of poet 'mid thy brethren of mankind,
And clothe in words of flame
Thoughts that shall live within the general mind, –
Deem not the framing of a deathless lay
The pastime of a drowsy summer day.
But gather all thy powers,
And wreak them on the verse that thou dost weave, And in thy lonely hours,
At silent morning or at wakeful eve,
While the warm current tingles through thy veins,
No smooth array of phrase,
Artfully sought and ordered though it be,
Which the cold rhymer lays
Upon his page with languid industry,
The secret wouldst thou know
To touch the heart or fire the blood at will? Let thine own eyes o'erflow;
Let thy lips quiver with the passionate thrill; Seize the great thought ere yet its power be past, And bind in words the fleet emotion fast.
Then, should thy verse appear
Halting and harsh, and all unaptly wrought, Touch the crude line with fear,
Save in the moment of impassioned thought; Then summon back the original glow, and mend The strain with rapture that with fire was penned.
Yet let no empty gust
Of passion find an utterance in thy lay, A blast that whirls the dust
Along the howling street and dies away; But feelings of calm power and mighty sweep, Like currents journeying through the windless deep.
Seek'st thou, in living lays,
To limn the beauty of the earth and sky? Before thine inner gaze
Let all that beauty in clear vision lie;
Look on it with exceeding love, and write
Of tempests wouldst thou sing,
Or tell of battles, - make thyself a part
Of the great tumult; cling
To the tossed wreck with terror in thy heart;