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At human selfishness; no frothy terms
Ye sons of genius, whom our country boasts ;
the hot boiling blood of youth, With o'er-excitements of licentious song ?
Ye men of station and authority; Ye, who can dictate, here exert your pow'r, Here lend your influence! Better 'twere to raise These holy suppliants from their low estate, Than bribe a senator, or buy a vote, And speed corruption's progress through the land !
And thou, my country, thou, in generous aid Still first, and most unwearied; whose best praise Is charity to strangers, tho' perchance Their creed and language differ from thine own ; Whose truest glory to relieve the poor, To raise the fall'n, to comfort the distress'd! Come, place another wreath around thy brow; Come, and reward such deeds, as thou hast done, Nor let the memory of the virtuous die.
Time will not spare ; but human hands may prop, Bounty restore, benevolence rebuild, And charity undo the work of years ; Following, like spring on winter, to repair The desolating fury of its storms.
Come then, my country, hasten with your help To renovate and strengthen that old pile, St. Bernard's solitary Hospital, Highest of human dwellings: let it be Once more a habitation strong to bear The shocks of time and nature. Oh my country! It will be sweet to think those holy men, At matin, vesper, or their social board, Shall bless the name of England ;--and whene'er They muse on menac'd wretchedness and then Upon the added comforts they enjoy, Shelter, and safety, happiness, and health, Hither o'er main and mountain waft their pray'r, That these with freedom ever may be thine !
COUNCIL OF TEN.
LOREDANO. We have decided.
The Ten in Council.-LORD BYRON.
ON THE STATE OF IRELAND.
No. I. As long as the great councils of the empire were deliberating upon its general interests, we judged it wiser and more decorous to refrain from offering opinions, which could have no possible influence upon their decision, and which must as yet, we are well aware, derive their whole weight rather from the reasonableness of what is said, than from the authority of the speaker. Moreover, amid the rapid succession of legislative enactments, the aspect of affairs might be changed, almost before our sentiments could be expressed. But since the Parliament has been prorogued, we can take a retrospective view, at once accurate and extensive: we can comprehend any political object in all its bearings at a single glance ; undisturbed, on the one hand, by the daily conflicts of party, and the vehemence of senatorial harangues ; and without fearing, on the other, that the matter under discussion could be endued with the faculty of Proteus, and elude our grasp by altering its form. Dispassionately, therefore, but firmly; without bias, but not without interest, we shall proceed to a review of the most important subjects, which have occupied, during the recent session, the attention of our legislators ;-and, in the first place, we are impelled both by our feelings and our judgment to a brief and
cursory investigation of the posture of things in the sisterkingdom.
In discussing the concerns of Ireland, we shall trace the history of the past, only as far as may be necessary for present instruction. There is little consolation in turning to the age of Henry, or Elizabeth, or James, or William, or to later periods under the government of the existing line of British monarchs. Why, indeed, should we look back, when there arise from amid the gloom which envelops the times which are gone, only the dreadful apparitions of anarchy and rapine, devastation and desolation, conflagration and plunder, religious fanaticism and political persecutions--confiscations and murder, and blood shed in torrents by the hands of fellow-countrymen and neighbours-horrible massacres and as horrible retaliations. We have no pleasure in the contemplation of bigotry and folly and barbarity; we would rather escape, if it were possible, from the view, that is immediately before us, and carry our glance onward through a long and gloomy vista to the opening of a brighter prospect. We would endeavour to perceive beyond the night and tempests which now brood over that unhappy country, the dawn of some future morning which may break out at last in serenity and sunshine.
The present state of Ireland is the greatest moral phænomenon which has been exhibited at any period in the civilized world.-An integral part of a polished and mighty empire, divided by a narrow channel from the most glorious and enlightened country on the face of the universe-affording to the government of that empire its first commander, its most eloquent statesman, its most efficient supports, and to the society of that country many of its brightest ornaments--with a national character, at once high-spirited, good-humoured and warm-hearted, frank, gallant, hospitable, generous, capable of the noblest feelings, the purest patriotism, the most exalted virtue-with its men brave, its women beautiful, its territory populous and fertile-Ireland ought to stand pre-eminent in prosperity and peace-and partake of the happiness, while it contributes to the honour and security, of the British dominions. But, alas, the picture has its reverse! We see a country deserted by its natural guardians, and “ divided against itself"-one vast theatre of insurrection and disorganization-full of lawless disaffection and contempt for the established authorities—destitute of the connecting links, which cement together the highest and lowest classes in well-ordered states, and infuse strength, union and harmony, into the whole frame of their society-torn and wounded by political and religious conflicts—chained in the bonds of unmitigated superstition-debased, if not by positive vices of the deepest dye, yet by principles relaxed, weakened, and unhinged-in all parts full of calamity and wretchedness—in many a mere lazarhouse of filth and disease and beggary and famine.
Nor is the gloom, which overspreads the sister-kingdom, a passing cloud, a darkness of yesterday. There are few, very few, periods in Irish history, which can reflect discredit upon the rest by their superior brilliancy and repose. In this unhappy land, for which it is emphatically said, that “ God has done every thing, and man nothing," every generation has to recount the same tale of misfortune with those which went before, and those which have succeeded it. Ireland is now what Ireland was in the days of Spencer. This description will apply almost to the letter. The same evils with which Cromwell had to struggle, the English Government has at this moment to subdue. Other nations have marched forward to refinement or regeneration; England herself has advanced with rapid and gigantic strides to political ascendency and social tranquillity; in Ireland alone there has been no improvement, no change: centuries, which brought knowledge and civilization to surrounding and contiguous shores, have past over her in vain: Ireland alone has remained stationary, or even retrograded into barbarity, and been plunged deeper in the crimes and outrages which characterize and disgrace the infancy of states.
When we affirm, that there has been no improvement, no change, we are far from meaning that no variety has appeared in the mere externals of administration. These may have gone through all the phases of political vicissi
tude. Alterations, and plenty of alterations, there have been in the forms of government, and the names of governors. but what are they? Nothing-absolutely nothing-it would appear, with reference to the progress of the people. The system is the same, and their habits are unaltered. Towns, it is true, have arisen, and manufactures flourished; But parties have not coalesced; there is no amalgamation among the different ranks of the community, There have been times when - Ireland has sunk into silence ; when all was mild and grateful and hollow, a halcyon calm, momentary and delusive.” But on every fresh occasion the fires of political and religious animosity have been, and are still ready to burst into a blaze. Mutual hatred and alternate insults have not ceased. Catholics and Protestants, the English and the Irish, have almost as few common feelings, as little of good fellowship and good-will, as when “ the king's deputies, and the deputies of the deputies, were strangers and soldiers, needy and tyrannical ; their duty, conquest; their reward, plunder; their residence, an encampment; their administration, a campaign; when the capital and a small neighbourhood, emphatically called the English pale, acknowledged the theoretic existence, but enjoyed not the practical benefit, of the laws.” The Irish peasant still pays more regard to his priest, than to the government; and can still roam about his hills and moors almost in a state of savage rudeness.
But there has been the Union. Yes! and what has it yet done? Its effects have only been displayed in more bitter hatred, more complete disorganization-on the one side, mad and drunken and disgraceful triumphs; on the other, a sullen servitude, a deep exasperation, a thirst of vengeance raging and unquenchable. There has been an union between the English and the Irish governments: but no farther union has been made-no farther union has been attempted.
Still, then, at this very moment, there is every thing to be done. From the individuals of the Irish nation, we still hear complaints mingled with admiration; and expostulation making a sudden discord in the chorus of