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THE ELYSIUM OF ERIN
THE MYSTERY OF TARA
Bn j£p(c of ancient anD /iBoOcrn Dags
Xd/)ts oi)poi'oO ijivyyvixt.
F. & E. GIBBONS, 19 RANELAGH STREET
(Successors to Adam Holden)
All Rights Resoved
'T^HE main idea which runs throughout this
volume, is that of a National Elysium. This
Elysium is formed of all the noble good and the
departed great of a country. The members of this
ideal sphere have a real and perpetual influence,
in moulding the destinies of their native land, and
in evolving the fate of their descendants. They
not only advance the weal and the welfare of
the land, but elevate and ennoble the character
of the people.
This doctrine is not altogether new ; although
the form in which it is here set forth, may be so.
Why do we write history, and erect monuments ?
We speak of the departed good and great as im-
mortal. Why ? Wherein lies their immortality ?
In their name merely, or in their influence as well ?
Is not the persistence of Moral Force and Spiritual
Energy, as sound a doctrine, as the persistence
of the force or forces, whicii pervade the material
universe ? The Moral Worth of the men, of say
a hundred or a thousand years ago, is surely no
more lost to Humanity, or to the world of Being,
than the energy of the sun, which shone over their
heads, is lost to the universe.
The peculiarity in the present case, lies in trans-
forming a latent and unconscious influence, into a
direct and personal one ; as well, as in the creation
of a sphere, in which this influence is displayed.
The members of this sphere are moreover endowed
with powers, to determine who are to be admitted,
or excluded from their lofty realm. It is the Elysium
of Erin which is here specially unveiled, and the
supernatural tribunal is convened, to weigh the last
eight centuries in the balance.
j/s/ October iSSg.
THE HARP OF POWER . . . . i
THE THRONES OF SPLENDOUR . .21
THE FENCE OF LIGHT .... 39
THE ROLL OF FAME .... 75
THE CALL OF THE AGES .101
THE BAR OF TRUTH .119
XTbe ITDarp ot power.
THE ELYSIUM OF ERIN.
THE HARP OF POWER.
'T^HE sun had set behind the hill ;
The air was clear, the eve was still ;
The heaven above was fair and bright,
The stars just sparkling into sight ;
While softly crooned the moaning sea,
As I lay pensive on the lea.
Then swift as spark, along the wire,
Flashed from each hill a beacon-fire :
" Why flash these fires along the main ?
What news of note flow in their train ? "
I asked ; 'twas of a grey-beard Sire,
Who fronted me with ancient lyre ;
I asked, nor thought me whence he came,
So sudden gleamed the vale with flame.
THE HARP OF POWER.
I deemed him then, good llesh and bone,
A minute erst, he seemed a stone.
He gazed on me with piercing eye,
My soul shrank uj), my spirits fly ;
And o'er me crept a weirdly chill,
My hair uprose, my pulse stood still ;
And every sense seemed numb and dead,
As thus he spake in accents dread :
" Why dare you tread with unholy feet,
The vale, where the Good People love to meet ?
Why trample you down, on this mystic eve.
The sward, where fair Spirits their mazes weave ? "
I shivered like an aspen-leaf,
Was mute, as counsel without brief,
My lips refused to sound a note.
My voice stuck fast within my throat ;
The aged Bard, with baneful gaze,
Seemed to dissolve me to a haze.
" Away," said the Bard, " if thou lovest thy life,
Leave this vale far behind thee, where ruin is rife ;
Where Tarah's proud halls, lie low in the dust,
And her sword, and her sceptre, are eaten with rust.
For the hour is at hand, on this midsummer night,
When the Shades of the Past, will arise in the light ;
Even the sons of old Erin, the good and the great.
Who will sift her dire lot, now pregnant with fate ;
THE HARP OF POWER.
" And the Spirits of Ages, will pass o'er the scene,
In their wisdom and beauty, their lustre and sheen ;
And the issues of time, they in part may unroll ;
But their glory will quench each unpurified soul.
Then away, haste away, for thus it is writ,
That 'mortal must die when Tara is lit.'"
Thus spake the Bard, yet not in ire ;
Though stern, he calmly touched his lyre.
His eye was mild, yet piercing keen ;
And grand, and reverend, his whole mien.
His look was earnest, and, I trow.
Some lofty purpose stamped his brow ;
His aspect now seemed to appease,
So, quietly, I regain my ease.
I deemed him but some wandering sage.
Who used the freedom of old age,
To test the measure of my brain.
And rouse some superstitious vein.
So thinking, I at once display
My cultured doubts, and thus I say :
" Nay, then, O Sage ! you vainly try.
In this shrewd nineteenth century.
To stir quaint feeling ; for low and high.
From superstition, now are free.
In this enlightened age, none can
Care aught, for supernatural ban ;
THE HARP OP POWER.
" Nor even by Spirits or Shades be moved ;
For science, long ago, has proved,
That spirits are but protoplasm.
For Nature never knew a chasm."
Tliese words my dignity relieved.
Alas ! my prudence is deceived.
For when I turned from this short fray,
Behold ! the scene hath passed away.
And what was green and fertile plain.
Is now piled up with stones amain.
But hark the Bard ! — " Dost thou not fly ?
" Rash mortal ! take thy doom and die ! "
Thus said, in deep sepulchral tone,
He touched his lyre, I turned to stone.
Ah ! well for me that there's a power,
More potent far, than wizard's lour ;
That simple means may thwart the plans.
Of weirdly hosts, and all their bans.
Ah ! well for me, full well I ween,
There move around us, though unseen,
Pure influences, which may save.
From many a crisis, dark and grave ;
And one pure thought, and good, oft may
Bring us within their generous sway.
For simple faith in honest right,
Will prove a panoply of might :
THE HARP OF POWER.
And one unconscious act, if true,
May ward off dangers fraught with rue.
'Twas thus, my love for nature gave
The instinct, which appeared to save ;
The impulse, which afforded aid.
When sense was numb, and hope had fled.
For I had loitered by the way.
And gathered, why I cannot say,
A seeded fern-leaf in a dell ;
And now it proved a potent spell.
(So deemed I, though one may be wrong,
Mid new sensations, weird and strong.)
For while my body lay stone dead,
My spirit soared, free, overhead ;
And I could see, while yet unseen,
A transformation of the scene.
Such as mankind had ne'er before
Beheld on earth, even from of yore.
O marvellous ! O rarest herb !
Which can unfold scenes so superb ;
Which gifts a mortal full and free
With wonderful capacity.
To see beneath material rind.
The acts of more than earth-born mind.
What power unseen lies in your leaf?
What occult essence yields relief.
8 THE HARP OF POWER.
Transcending fancy's fond belief,
Transcending even Nature's laws,
Effecting ends by no known cause?
Nay, then ! proud Science ! it is true,
That there are scenes beyond your view;
That you can measure but by sense ;
Your keenest gauge is far too dense.
To fathom mind's mysterious whole,
Or sound depths of the human soul.
For now I feel, from earth set free,
Alone ! on Being's vergeless sea,
With an unbounded liberty ;
The one existence far or near ;
The infinite my private sphere ;
An isolated atom cast,
Amid immensity so vast ;
All being centred in my mind ;
No outer link my soul to bind ;
A weird, yet not a drear estate,
For thought may fly, while sense must wait.
(So have I felt when all was still,
Mid silence of the murk midnight.
My senses numb, yet quick my will.
And roamed the universe for light.)
'Twas but a moment I felt so.
As corporate, doth to incorporate, grow.
THE HARP OF POWER. 9
For now, I feel a Presence near,
Thrilling my soul, with radiance clear ;
Touching my mind, and will, and heart,
Loosing their latent powers with art,
And dowering me with mystic skill
To read the acts of Spirit-will.
" O Presence ! say who mayest thou be,
Whose genial touch, thus thrilleth me ?
Art thou the Fairy of the fern ?
The Genius for whom mortals yearn ?
Art thou some Nymph surpassing fair ?
Some brighter Spirit of the air ? "
Thus spake I, how, I scarce can tell ;
But gently on mine ear there fell
These words, like music of the spheres,
Which trust inspire, and banish fears :
" O mortal ! it bodes not, to tell thee my name,
Enough ! that the true, may my guidance aye claim ;
Else the fate, which hath led thee to this ruined vale.
Might have given thee full cause, thy lot to bewail ;
Nay ! have reft thee of reason, as now on the sward,
Thy body lies, reft of all sense, by the Bard.
But from grossness of earth, I have given thee release;
And I breathe o'er thy soul, the pure kiss of peace.
Be free from distrust, from all doubt, and vain care,
And the mysteries unveiling, their ken ye may share.
lo THE HARP OF POWER.
*' Be thine, then, full faith, and ye may behold,
The scenes which the Spirits of Ages unfold."
Thus spake a sweet, melodious voice,
In tones which made my heart rejoice.
A breeze breathed o'er my soul like balm,
And soothed my mind to peace and calm.
Meantime, the Bard had ceased the strain
Whose notes had quenched my breath amain ;
When suddenly before my sight,
There flashed a brilliant train of light;
A meteor gleamed athwart the sky.
And all at once the bonfires die.
But hark ! the Bard, with skill most rare.
Plies on his lyre another air.
I vouch the Bard is at his best,
For music scarce could yield more zest.
" I do forgive thee, hoary Sire,
The fate inflicted by thy lyre.
Your tones would soothe the wildest strife,
And calm the raging of the seas ;
Nay, even raise the dead to life,
Give mind to matter, tongues to trees," —
But there ! tiie very things I tell,
Evolved by his melodious spell.
For see ! the very stones appear
To raise themselves, up, tier on tier.
THE HARP OF POWER. ii
See ! ruins to fair order rise,
See ! dome expand to princely size ;
And, from tlie keystone to the roof,
The texture fine as any woof;
And see ! fair gardens bloom apace,
Serried with walks, in charming grace ;
And myriad flowers, and shrubs, and trees
Shed perfume round, without a breeze ;
And see ! — but who will list my lead.
Should I rehearse each wondrous deed ?
Should I detail each varied part
Upreared by dint of mystic art ?
Enough ! there stands before my eyes,
A palace, towering to the skies ;
Some mansion, seen in poet's dreams,
The dwelling of the Sun it seems.
'Tis Tarah's stately hall, I ween ;
The goodliest pile that e'er was seen ;
The praise of all, but Erin's pride ;
The glory of the country wide ;
Where liberty and love did rain
The golden age on earth again.
But now it rises to the view.
Of ample space, of gorgeous hue ;
Noble and grand, august, complete.
Where strength of frame, and grace, both meet ;
12 rilE HARP OF POWER.
In grandeur, greater than before,
Tenfold more glorious, than of yore.
So thought I, yet from fact erred far.
For, as the Sun excels a star.
So, did this wondrous dome excel.
All buildings of which earth can tell.
Yet strange ! 'tis Tara we must call.
The name of this most wondrous hall.
Not Taraii, as on earth it stood,
Which earned for Erin her chief fame ;
But Ta-ra, mansion of the good,
Of fairer fibre, finer frame,
Abode of Sun, most bright and pure,
Where peace doth reign, and joys endure ;
Where men, the noblest and the best,
Walk in the light, for ever blest.
But why thus linger on my theme.
When all passed swiftly as a dream ?
When the whole fabric, with its train.
Rose, while the Bard played one refrain ?
The meteor gleam had died away,
And shed its dust above the bay,
Just as fair Tara perfect stood
And graced the soil o'er many a rood.
Yet all within is dark and mute ;
Even silence walks with muffled foot.
THE HARP OF POWER. 13
Were mortal here, his pulse would toll,
As Big Ben, when the years do roll.
A second seems to me a day.
But hark ! the Bard begins to play.
I see him through the murky dark.
His eyes, they twinkle like a spark
Of holy beam, and full of peace.
As if he could give heaven release,
And shed it o'er this ruesome earth,
To give perpetual joy its birth.
But there ! the Bard, his next refrain,
Is softer now, falls, swells again ;
And when it reaches its full height,
The hall shines forth, with heavenly light.
A myriad windows bright and keen ;
A myriad diamonds flash their sheen ;
Each diamond, of a myriad rays,
Each window, myriad diamonds splays.
And lo ! what seemed all void before,
Is crammed from ceiling unto floor,
With beings of a higher mien.
Than could, methought, on earth be seen.
And yet they're human, not divine,
The children of an ancient line,
The race of Erin from of old.
But cast now, in celestial mould.
14 THE HARP OF POWER.
They sit, revolving counsel high,
With conscious look, with beaming eye ;
As if the matters they now weigh,
Were for an age, not for a day ;
And yet all's hushed, and calm, and grave ;
And speech, they for the moment waive,
As if awaiting some known sign.
Ere they, their thoughts to words, resign.
The eyes of all turned to the east.
Just as the Bard, his strain, had ceased ;
But ceased, to seek another air.
To grace the scene, beyond compare.
He struck his harp, no more a lyre ;
The music changed, at his desire.
And for his three-stringed lyre doth bear,
A seven-stringed harp, both rich and rare.
One touch, sufficeth for the cue.
To countless keys, with each tone true.
For now the scene became so strange,
The Bard doth seek a wider range ;
And on this harp, he may command
A range, most glorious, lofty, grand ;
So bold the tone, the reach so high,
A seraph's voice, could never vie.
Joyful, inspiring, grave or gay.
Solemn or cheerful, hymn or lay,
THE HARP OF POWER. 15
Epic or lyric, dirge or round,
O'er the full compass of pure sound,
The air appeared to ebb and flow.
From deepest shades of night below,
Until it seemed to die away,
In far-off spheres of endless day.
At first, 'tis tender, sweet, and low,
But soon, doth wild, and gladder grow.
Until the hall with joy resounds,
And ecstasy o'erleaps its bounds.
It seemed to make the human heart
A living second, to its art.
To east, I said, each look is bent ;
At the first note, the door is rent,
And, opening wide, reveals to view,
A brilliant train of dazzling hue ;
Near and afar, as eye can reach.
As many as the sand on beach,
All canopied with glorious light,
Mortal before ne'er saw such sight.
They move with grand, majestic gait ;
Order and ease, upon them wait.
And thus march in, with stately grace,
The noblest sons of Erin's race.
Kings, queens, and chieftains, each degree
With bards and retinue, we see.
1 6 THE HARP OF POWER.
From first of line, in dimmest past,
Through every age, until the last ;
The last which gained its fond desire.
Through purity's pure purge of fire.
But those alone, have here a place,
Whose wit and worth adorned their race ;
Whose wit, did seek each wound to heal.
Whose worth, was worn for Erin's weal.
The hall was hushed, and brightly shone ;
The noble train moved slowly on.
With banners waving, bright and fair,
More grandly than if waved in air.
The Bard in centre hath his stand,
And strikes his harp with loving hand ;
As king and prince before him passed.
The music varies, slow or fast.
And to the time given by the strain,
In order, move the stately train.
A thousand kings now pass along
A thousand queens, to voice of song ;
Each king hath fifty men and true,
Each queen hath fifty maidens too ;
In beauty, passing mortal ken,
In grace, more rare, than bloomed for men ;
Whose simple look might bliss impart.
Whose every smile might win a heart.
THE HARP OF POWER. 17
But countless princes intertwine,
And chiefs of many an ancient line,
Which long have disappeared from earth.
Their names are heired, but not their worth.
The people too most fair appear,
Moving in van, as well as rear ;
The choicest sons of Erin's race,
Who knew not wealth, nor power, nor place,
Knew innocence, and warmest sooth,
Who scorned a lie, and loved the truth,
Who never reached to earthly fame.
Yet here, have won a fadeless name.
But who are these, whose noble brow,
Mark them as chief of all this throng ?
To whom all royal traits belong.
Before whom kings and princes bow ?
See ! how much majesty they wear !
Divinely simple is their air !
See ! how the host rise them to greet.
And stand, awhile they take their seat !
Calm, as they move with measured pace,
Sublime and godlike, in the face !
These are the heroes, leal and true,
Ollave, and Cormac, and Boru !
And scarce less noble are their peers,
Who walk serene, before, behind ;
1 8 THE HARP OF POWER.
Kings both of early, and late years,
Dowered with a fertile, generous mind,
Whose heart was fixed on Erin's good,
Whose hand might err, but not their mood.
Through the grand aisles, the train now pass,
Moving with ease the brilliant mass.
Until they reach now, last of all.
The centre of the ample hall.
But see ! and say what can it mean ?
What change has crossed the wondrous scene ?
Why is the hall so strangely moved ?
Can music be so rare approved ?
Or what melodious note hath skill.
To move bright spirits with such thrill.
That every feeling of the heart
Doth ebb and flow with supple art ?
Here, some are silent with surprise ;
There, they are glad with moistening eyes ;
Here, weep they, yet with no sad soul ;
There, pleased as if they gained some goal ;
Now calm and serene, as sage of yore ;
Now roused, as if to heaven they'd soar ;
But why run on ? I felt the strain,
But not the charm, which spake so plain.
And yet methinks, I'm not so numb,
To music's power, as now be dumb.
THE HARP OF POWER. 19
Then passed a voice, across my mind,
No words, no sound, but sweet and kind ;
It was my fairy Nymph, I ween.
Whose touch had made my sense so keen :
" O muse, not of mystery, for what's tangled and
To the sons of mankind, is but simple and clear,
To the soul that is touched, with the Heaven-gifted
Of truth as it is, not what to man may appear.
For know, that true music, hath a sway and a spell,
And a speech of its own, to the heart that is pure.
For each note strikes a thought, and each chord tells
And the soul that's attuned, can read it most sure.
Thus, as each noble hero, on the pure light doth
The harp sings his story, yet the ill doth not blend,
And all that is noble, and worthy, and great.
Is revealed to each true heart, from beginning to end."
So said the Nymph, to soothe my care ;
Why in the thrill, I could not share.
And thus, I knew that there are thoughts,
Too deep, for human skill to know ;
That feelings, wider, vaster, grow
Beyond this wharve of changing doubts ;
THE HARP OF POWER.
That something's hidden in the breast
Of Nature, which we cannot read,
And will not, till we reach our meed.
And in Truth's mansion, be a guest.
Ube Ubrones ot SplenDour.
THE ELYSIUM OF ERIN.
THE THRONES OF SPLENDOUR.
"X 1 THILE thus, the music charms each ear,
The hght doth seem to shine more clear ;
And opens up a brilliant view,
Of graceful tone, of dazzling hue ;
It sheds o'er all this mystic scene,
A power, so wonderfully keen,
That its pure radiance doth unroll,
The inner texture of the whole ;
So, not a part, it doth embrace.
But each eye may minutely trace.
Ten zones divide the wondrous hall,
With ample room for one and all ;
Each, wide, expanding, fair, and free,
With its own type of excellency.
THE TIIROXES OF SPLENDOUR.
The train moves to the central zone,
AVhere there is seen a glorious throne,
Sparkling with gems, more fine and grand,
Than all the mines of earth command.
On either side, a throne as fair.
Adorned with gems, as rich and rare.
Each throne is canopied with light.
Whose splendour is intensely bright.
And lesser thrones, around there be.
Varying in splendour and degree.
In number, more than tongue can tell,
The least, all earthly thrones excel.
The humblest in this hall so fair.
Sits on a throne, of lustre rare ;
For virtue yields the highest meed,
And glory crowns each noble deed.
But hark ! a trumpet sounds ; then all
Spread divers ways throughout the hall.
And mark, how well, each one can trace,
The path to his appointed place.
There seems to be some occult sign,
By which, each may his throne divine.
But earth-fixed rank, is not known here,
The peasant, may be more than peer.
For kings and peasants now combine ;
Princes and suites both interwine ;
THE THRONES OF SPLENDOUR. 25
To me, it doth seem somewhat strange,
That peasants, oft, before kings range ;
And side by side, they sometimes meet ;
Yet oft, while kings seek lowest seat,
The man, who never owned a rood,
Takes highest place among the good.
Goodness alone, earns here renown.
And worth it is, wins fairest crown.
But vast and numerous as the train,
Order and ease supremely reign.
One thought, one will, appears to guide ;
One impulse moves the swelling tide.
But who, so vain, as dare to try
To count the mass, before the eye ?
What mortal, wiser than the most,
Could name the grand and glorious host ?
Or paint, more wonderful even still,
A hall, where numbers cannot fill ?
What artist rare, could thus design
A dome, so perfect in each line.
That right before my wondering eyes,
The hall expands, to any size ;
And though, at first, crammed to the door,
It seems no denser than before ?
At length the grand, illustrious race
Have reached their due and well-earned place,
26 THE THRONES OF SPLENDOUR.
Where virtue, doth true joy attain,
And worth, a higher beauty, gain.
But chiefly those the noble three,
Who Erin's race did raise and free,
Who never spared, nor time, nor toil,
Her peace to prompt, her foes to foil :
For tlicm, the central thrones await,
These, they ascend, in glorious state ;
And then, there bursts from that bright throng,
The ringing voice of noble song ;
And forth, resplendent to the view.
Stand Ollave, Cormac, and Boru !
'Tis Ollave, takes the throne on right,
Far famed for wisdom, and for might.
The heir of Erin's noblest line,
A race, oft called, by men divine ;
The race of Dagda, which of yore.
Sprang first from Alba's northern shore,
And spread through Erin, peace and lore,
And golden grain, unknown before ;
While sheep-clad downs, and fertile soil,
Make the whole land with plenty smile.
Ollave renews the Dagda's sway.
And makes the land both blithe and gay ;
THE THRONES OF SPLENDOUR. 27
Even brighter than his father's reign,
When flowers, and shamrocks, on each plain,
Flowed with the ruby, generous wine,
In richer streams, than yields the vine.
'Tis OUave's skill doth now restore
The industries, plied long before.
He trains the land to arts of peace.
Bids learning rise, bids war to cease.
He bids brave heroes, rise, and form.
Ready to quash the threatening storm.
He bids fair maids, bright standards weave,
So, that each hero may receive
From beauty's hand, a sign to save,
And rouse assurance, in the brave.
He bids the bards, their harps employ.
And hail all patriots true, with joy ;
And send their deeds, and glory down.
To generations of renown.
'Tis OUave, who doth first install
A council high, in Tarah Hall,
The hall, which Dagda first had reared,
And made his name o'er earth revered.
Here in full splendour there appear
From every rank, and year by year,
The wise and good, who sit sedate,
And guide the counsels of the State.
THE r 11 ROSES OF SPLENDOUR.
These, wisdom, through the realm, inspire.
Both far and wide, o'er town and shire ;
And Ollave places through the land,
Rulers with just and potent hand ;
And gives them strict, yet equal laws,
Swift to redeem the honest cause,
To crush the base, to scourge the vile.
And purify the land from guile.
He rules with firmness, never swerves
From law which right and peace preserves.
Thus, upright, just, kind, and humane.
No people lived a better reign.