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When her kings with standard of green unfurld,
Led the Red-Branch Knights? to danger, Ere the emerald gem of the western world
Was set in the crown of a stranger.
On Lough Neagh's bank as the fisherman strays,
When the clear cold eve's declining, He sees the round towers of other days
In the wave beneath him shining!
Military orders of knights were very early established in Ireland : long before the birth of Christ we find an hereditary order of chivalry in Ulster, called Curaidhe na Craoibhe ruadh, or the Knights of the Red Branch, from their chief seat in Emania, adjoining to the Palace of the Ulster kings, called Teagh na Craoibhe ruadh, or the Academy of the Red Branch; and contiguous to which was a large hospital, founded for the sick knights and soldiers, called Bron-bhearg, or the House of the Sorrowful Soldier."
O'Halloran's Introduction, &c. part i. chap. 5.
3 It was an old tradition in the time of Giraldus, that Lough Neagh had been originally a fountain, by whose sudden overflowing, the country was inundated, and a whole region, like the Atlantis of Plato, overwhelmed. He says, that fishermen, in clear weather, used to point out to strangers the tall ecclesiastical towers under water:-“ Piscato
Thus shall Memory often in dreams sublime,
Catch a glimpse of the days that are over; Thus sighing look through the waves of Time
For the long-faded glories they cover!
res aquæ illius turres ecclesiasticas quæ more patriæ arctæ sunt et altæ necnon et rotundæ, sub undis manifeste, sereno tempore conspiciunt et extraneis transeuntibus reique causas admirantibus frequenter ostendunt.”
Topogr. Hih. Dist. 2. c. 9.
THE SONG OF FIONNUALA'.
SILENT, OH, MOYLE! BE THE ROAR OF THY
AIR-Arrah, my dear Eveleen.
Silent, oh Moyle! be the roar of thy water,
repose; While murmuring mournfully Lir's lonely daughter
Tells to the night-star her tale of woes.
To make this story intelligible in a song would require a much greater number of verses than any one is authorised to inflict on an audience at once; the reader must therefore be content to leam in a note, that Fionnuala, the daughter of Lir, was, by some supernatural power, transformed into a swan, and condemned to wander, for many hundred years, over certain lakes and rivers of Ireland, till the coming of Christianity, when the first sound of the mass-bell was to be the signal of her release.—I found this fanciful fiction among some manuscript translations from the Irish, which were begun under the direction of that enlightened friend of Ireland, the late Countess of Moira.
When shall the swan her death-note singing,
Sleep with wings in darkness furl'd? When will Heaven its sweet bell ringing,
Call my spirit from this stormy world?
Sadly, oh Moyle! to thy winter-wave weeping,
Fate bids me languish long ages away; Yet still in her darkness doth Erin lie sleeping;
Still, doth the pure light its dawning delay! When will that day star, mildly springing,
Warm our isle with peace and love? When will Heaven, its sweet bell ringing,
Call my spirit to the fields above?
COME SEND ROUND THE WINE.
AIR--We brought the Summer with us.
Come send round the wine and leave points of
belief To simpleton sages and reasoning fools; This moment's a flower, too fair and brief To be wither'd and stain'd by the dust of the
schools. Your glass may be purple and mine may be blue; But while they are fill’d from the same bright
bowl, The fool who would quarrel for difference of hue
Deserves not the comfort they shed o'er the soul.
Shall I ask the brave soldier who fights by my side
In the cause of mankind, if our creeds Shall I give up the friend I have valued and tried,
If he kneel not before the same altar with me?