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are not aware that kilt is here used in a metaphorical sense, and that it has not the full force of our word killed. But we have been informed by a lady of unquestionable veracity, that she very lately received a petition worded in this mannerTo the right hon. lady E- --P

“Humbly showeth ; “ That your poor petitioner is now lying dead in a ditch,” &c.

This poor Irish petitioner's expression, however preposterous it sounds, might perhaps be justified, if we were inclined to justify an Irishman by the example, not only of poets comic and tragic, but of prose writers of various nations. The evidence in favour both of the fact and the belief, that people can speak and walk after they are dead, is attested by stout warriors and grave historians. Let us listen to the solemn voice of a princess, who comes sweeping in the sceptred pall of gorgeous tragedy, to inform us that half herself has buried the other half.

“ Weep eyes; melt into tears these cheeks to lave:

One half myself lays t'other in the grave.”

For six such lines as these Corneille received six thousand livres, and the admiration of the French court and people during the Augustan age of French literature. But an Italian is not content with killing

* “ Pleurez, pleurez mes yeux et fondez vous en eau,

La moitié de ma vie a mis l'autre au tombeau.”

by halves. Here is a man from Italy who goes on fighting, not like Witherington, upon his stumps, but fairly after he is dead.

“ Nor yet perceived the vital spirit fled,

But still fought on, nor knew that he was dead.” *

Common sense is somewhat shocked at this single instance of an individual fighting after he is dead; but we shall, doubtless, be reconciled to the idea by the example of a gallant and modern commander, who has declared his opinion, that nothing is more feasible than for a garrison to fight, or at least to surrender, after they are dead, nay, after they are buried.-Witness this public document.

“Liberty and Equality. “ May 29th,

Garrison of Ostend. 30th Floreal, 6.


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Muscar, commandant of Ostend, to the commandant in chief of his British majesty.

«General, “ The council of war was sitting when I received the honour of your letters. We have unanimously resolved not to surrender the place until we shall have been buried in its ruins,” &c.

One step further in hyperbole is reserved for him, who, being buried, carries about his own sepulchre.

* “ Il pover uomo che non sen'era accorto,

Andava combattendo ed erà morto."

“ To live a life half dead, a living death,

And buried; but oh, yet more miserable !
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave !”

No person, if he heard this passage for the first time from the lips of an Irishman, could hesitate to call it a series of bulls; yet these lines are part of the beautiful complaint of Samson Agonistes on his blindness. Such are the hyperboles sanctioned by the genius, or, what with some judges may have more influence, the name of Milton. · The bounds which separate sublimity from bombast, and absurdity from wit, are as fugitive as the boundaries of taste. Only those who are accustomed to examine and appraise literary goods are sensible of the prodigious change that can be made in their apparent value by a slight change in the manufacture. The absurdity of a man's swearing he was killed, or declaring that he is now dead in a ditch, is revolting to common sense ; yet the living death of Dapperwit, in the “ Rape of the Lock,” is not absurd, but witty; and representing men as dying many times before their death is in Shakspeare sublime:

“ Cowards die many times before their death ;

The brave can never taste of death but once."

The most direct contradictions in words do not (in English writers) destroy the effect of irony, wit, pathos, or sublimity.

In the classic ode on Eton College, the poet exclaims

“To each their sufferings, all are men

Condemn'd alike to groan ;
The feeling for another's pain,

Th' unfeeling for their own."

Who but a half-witted dunce would ask how those that are unfeeling can have sufferings? When Milton in melodious verse inquires,

“Who shall tempt with wandering feet

The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out

His uncouth way!”What Zoilus shall dare interrupt this flow of poetry to object to the palpable obscure, or to ask how feet can wander


that which has no bottom ? It is easy, as Tully has long ago observed, to fix the brand of ridicule upon the verbum ardens of orators and poets—the “ Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.”



As we have not hitherto been successful in finding original Irish bulls in language, we must now look for them in conduct. A person may be guilty of a solecism without uttering a single syllable—“ That man has been guilty of a solecism with his hand,” an ancient critic said of an actor, who had pointed his hand upwards when invoking the infernal gods. “ You may act a lie as well as speak one,” says Wollaston. Upon the same principle, the Irish may be said to act, as well as to utter bulls. We shall give some instances of their practical bulls, which we hope to find unmatched by the blunders of all other nations. Most people, whether they be savage or civilized, can contrive to revenge themselves upon their enemies without blundering ; but the Irish are exceptions. They cannot even do this without a bull. During the late Irish rebellion, there was a banker to whom they had a peculiar dislike, and on whom they had vowed vengeance: accordingly they got possession of as many of his bank-notes as they could, and made a bonfire of them! This might have been called a feu de joie, perhaps, but certainly not un feu d'artifice ; for nothing could show less art than burning a banker's notes in order to destroy his credit. How much better do the English understand the arts of vengeance ! Captain Drinkwater* informs us, that during the siege of Gibraltar, the English, being half famished, were most violently enraged against the Jews, who withheld their stores of provision, and made money of the public distress -a crime never committed except by Jews : at length the feet relieved the besieged, and as soon as the fresh provisions were given out, the English soldiers and sailors, to revenge themselves upon the Jews, burst open their stores, and actually roasted a pig at

* See his account of the siege of Gibraltar.

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