Charles Anderson Read.

The cabinet of Irish literature : selections from the works of the chief poets, orators, and prose writers of Ireland : with biographical sketches and literary notices (Volume 4) online

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The Cabinet of Irish Literature


From a JVioto^mph by El.l.lOTT C" FRY


Cabinet of Irish Literature

Selections from the Works of

The Chief Poets, Orators, and Prose Writers

of Ireland

With Biographical Sketches and Literary Notices by



CHARLES A. READ, f.rh.s.

Author of "Tales and Stories of Irish Life" "Stories from the Ancient Classics" &c.


Revised and greatly Extended by


Author of "Poems" "The Dear Irish Girl" "She Waiks in Beauty" "A Girl of Galway" &c.

Volume IV




Contents of Volume IV


Hon. Emily Lawless, 1

Maelcho tells Fairy Stories, 1

Tells how Maelcho the Senachie for the last

time visited the Hut upon the Cliff, . . 3

The Army of the Dead, 11

William Butler Yeats, 16

Mosada, 17

The Host of the Air, 18

The Wanderings of Usheen, 19

The Lake Isle of Innisfree, 20

The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner, . . 20

The Ballad of Father Gilligan, 20

The Stolen Child, 21

The Ballad of the Foxhunter, 21

The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland, . . 22

The Pity of Love 22

Right Hon. Judge Madden, 23

A Day's Hawking, 23

Dr. George Sigerson, 30

Jesukin, 30

You Remember that Evening, 31

The Ruined Nest, 31

The Dark Girl of the Glen, 31

A Far Farewell, 32

Birds on a Bough, 32

Oro, Darling Fair (Spinners' Song), ... 32

Mrs. Hester Sigerson, 32

A Night in Fortmanus Village, 33

Sarah Atkinson (1823-1893), 36

Penal Days, 36

The Aikenhead Family, 42

Douglas Hyde, ll.d., 47

Teig O'Kane and the Corpse, 47

The Death Lament of .John O'Mahony, . . 53

Were You on the Mountain? 54

My Grief on tlie Sea, 54

My Love, 0, She is my Love! 54

1 shall not Die for Thee, 54

Nelly of the Top-knots, 55

Star of my Sight, 55

Ringleted Youth of my Love, 55

Hon. Rodkn Noel (1834-i894), 56

Lament, 56

Dark Spring, 56

A Milk-white Bloomed Acacia-tree, ... 57

Only a Little Child, 57

John O'Leary 58

Davis, " The Nation", and the Confederation, 58


Ellen O'Leary (i831-1889), 60

To God and Ireland True, 60

My Old Home, 60

Home to Carriglea, 61

William Larminie (isso-iooo), 61

The Poor Brother and the Rich, .... 61

The Fairy of Dungannon, 63

The Nameless Story, 66

William Canton, 68

Her Friend Littlejohn, 68

The Inquisition, 72

Wings and Hands, 73

The Comrades, 73

The Shepherd Beautiful, 73

Kenach's Little Woman, 74

Stopford Augustus Brooke, 76

Riquet Wins his Bride, 76

Lost for Ever, 78

Association, 78

A Moment, 79

Desert is Life, 79

Robert Yelverton Tyrrell, 79

On the Death of Col. Burnaby in the Soudan, 79

"To be Wroth with One we Love ", . . . 79

Lucretius on Death, 80

E. (E. Somerville and Martin Ross, 80

We make Charlotte's Acquaintance, ... 81

An Irish Tenant Farmer, S3

The Pursuit of the Silver Fox, 85

Rose Kavanagh (iseo-ism), 88

Lough Bray, 89

St. Michans' Churchyard, 89

An April Day, 89

Frances Wynne (1866-1893), 90

Sea-gulls, 90

Marigolds, 90

Whisper! 90

En Attendant, 91

"Perhaps", 91

Mrs. J. R. Green 92

The Manners of the Town, 92

George Bernard Shaw, 98

The Newest Soldier, 99

Jane Barlow, 107

Th' Ould Master 107

Con the Quaro One 113

Mad Bell, 122



Louise Imogen Guinet 130

A Friend's Song for Simoisius, 130

Florentin, 131

A Song of the Lilac, 131

The Knight- Errant ( Donatello's Saint George) 131

To a Dog's Memory, 131

Hylas, 132

Virgo Gloriosa JIater Amantis Sima, . . . 132

Ode for a Master Mariner Ashore, .... 132

Edward Marttn, 133

The End of a Dream, 133

Rev. Denis Mcrpht, s.j. (i833-1896), 142

The Flight of Red Hugh, 142

Rev. Matthew Russell, s.j., 145

The Old Spot, 145

Monotony and the Lark, 145

Charlotte O'Conor Eccles, 146

"King William", 147 W. Rollestox, 159

The Dead at Clonmacnois, 159

The Spell-struck 159

For a Reading Lesson, 159

Two Chambers hath the Heart, It30

M. P. Shiel, 160

Sir Jocelin Saul's Diary 160

Ch.vrles Gregory Fagan (i8co-is«o), 163

The Story of C'lessamnor, 164

Sophie M.\cIntosh, 165

Jim Walsh'.s Tin Box, 165

Nora Hopper, 167

The Gray Fog 167

The Cuckoo sings in the Heart of Winter, . 167

Red Clay 168

The King of Ireland's Son 168

Edmund Leamy, 168

The Golden Spears 168

Hilda Gregg (Sydney C. Griek), 174

A Good Turn, 174

Francis A, Fahy, 181

Little Mary Cassidy, 181

Nora, 181

Shan F. Bullock, 182

The Turf -cutters, 182

Lionel Johnson (1865-1902), 189

The Last Music, 189

Glories, 189

To Morfydd 190

R. Barry O'Brien 190

The Death of Thomas Druramond, .... 190
The Capture of Wolfe Tone, 191

L. T. Meade (Mrs. Toulmin Smith), 193

A Dog and His Storj*, 193

Edmund Downey, 196

In an Irish Country-Town, 197

Dora Sigerson (Mrs. Shorter), 201

The Banshee, 201

The Priest's Brother, 202

Cean Duv Deelish, 202

Eleanor Hull, 203

Literary Qualities of the Saga, 203

Richard Ashe Kjng, 205

Stella and Vanessa, 206

Justin Huntley M'Carthy, 208

In the House, 208

Frances Marcella ( Attie) O'Brien (i840-i883), 212
Mrs. Glynn on Marriage, 212

Grace Rhts, 213

After Many Days, 213

Emily Hickey, 216

The Ballad of Lady Ellen, 216

H. A. HiNKsoN, 219

My Lady Betty, 219

Samuel Robert Keightley, ll.d., 226

The Sack of Rayouville, 226

Henry J. Gill, 231

The Lay of the Brave Man, 232


A Mountain Rose, 233

G. A. Greene, 234

Then, 234

Twilight Dream, 234

Spring-time, 234

Ella D'Arcy, 235

The Villa Lucienne, 235

Stephen Gwynn, 239

Firelight, 239

Lost Vision, 241

Mary and Alice Furlong, 241

Glen-na-Smoel, 242

An Irish Love-Song, 242

The Trees, 243

Frank Mathew, 243

Coming Home, 244

Charlotte Grace O'Brien, 247

Bog Cotton on the Red Bog, 247

Mr.S. HuNGERFORD (1855-1897) 248

Zara, 248

George Noble, Count Plunkett, 253

An Old Song, 254

A Messenger, 254



Edwin Hamilton, 254

Prologue to Sheridan's Comedy of "The
Rivals", 254

Rev. p. a, Sheehan, 255

Our Christmas 255

Alice Milligan 258

The Vision of St. Patrick, 258

The Dark Palace, 260

A. E., 260

The Earth Spirit, 260

A Call of the Sidhe, 261

The Place of Rest 261

The Gates of Dreamland, 261

Mrs. Blundell (M. E. Fr.\ncis), 262

Father Pat, 262

William O'Brien, M.P., 266

The Wreckers, 266

Mrs. Esler, 272

The Criminality of Letty Moore, .... 272

Frank Frankfort Moore, 280

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, 280

George Moore, 283

The Man of Ideas and the Man of Action, . 283
The Wedding Gown, 286

Anna Johnston (Mrs. Seumas MacManus), 294

Shiela-Ni-Gara, 294

The Brown Wind of Connaught, .... 294

Patrick J. M'Call, 295

Light o' the World, 295

The Little Harvest P.ose, 295

Herbert Trench, 296

Deirdre in the Woods, 296

Schiehallion, 296

Mrs. Mannington Caffyn ("Iota"), 297

A Disturbing Element, 297

Hannah Lynch,

A Village Sovereign,

M. Hamilton,

A. Death-Bed Scene,



Mrs. Golding-Bright (George Egerton), 310

An Ebb Tide, 310

j "Rosa Amorosa", 312

Rev. William Francis Barry, d.d., 314

lubhdan's Minstrelsies, 314

' Elinor Mary Sweetman, 317

I Sonnet, 317

Lyric, 317

MoiRA O'Neill, 317

Corrymeela, 317

A Broken Song, 318

Mrs. Egerton Castle, 318

An Affair of Honour, 318

Mrs. B. M. Choker, 323

Old Lady Ann, 323

Helen H. Colvill (Katherink Wylde),... 330
A Sick Child, 330

James (Seum.'Vs) MacManus, 332

I When Barney's Thrunk comes Home, . . . 332

Bram Stoker, 338

I Jonathan Barker's Journal, 338

Rev. Richard O'Kennedy, 342

A Round of Visits, 342

CouLSON Kernahan, 345

The Garden of God, 345

, Mary Costello, 348

! Jane : A Sketch from Dublin Life, . . . 348

William Wilkins, 350

In the Engine-Shed, 350


I KathleenO'Meara (Grace Ramsay) (1839-1 888), 352
I The Novel in the Figaro, 352

William Boyle, 356

The Cow Charmer, 356

Julia Crotty, 362

A Blast 363

H. DE Vere St.\cpoole, 367

The Story of the Mysterious Garden, . . 367
The Lost Children, 369

List of Illustrations


W. B. Yeats — From a photograph by Elliott & Fry, Frontis.

Douglas Hyde — From a photograph by Chancellor, 47

Kenach's Little Woman, 74

Jane Barlow — From a photograph by Lafayette, 107

Father Eussell — From a photograph by Chancellor, 145

"King William", 151

A Dog and his Story, 193

Coming Home, 244

F. Frankfort Moore — From a photograph by Elliott & Fry, 280

CouLSON Kernahan — From a photograph by Elliott «& Fry, 345

VOL.IV. ix





[Miss Lawless was born in Ireland. She
is the daughter of the third Lord Cloncurry,
and sister of the present peer. Her books
are : Hurrish ; Major Laxcrence, F.L.S. ; The
Story of Ireland; With Essex in Ireland;
Plain Frances Mowbray ; Grania ; Traits and
Confidences; and Maelcho. From the last-
named exquisite book we give a long excerpt.
However Time may shuffle our modern ap-
preciations there can be no doubt that Miss
Lawless must rank among the first of Irish
novelists. Miss Edgeworth, Carleton, John
Banim, Miss Lawless, Miss Barlow ; in some
such way the bede-roll must begin. In Miss
Lawless's work strength and sweetness are
happily united. Terror and pity meet in
her pages; and the story of Maelcho and
the Desmond Rebellion wi'ings the heart as
intolerably as those few poignant words of
Spenser in which he, an alien and an
enemy, describes the sufferings of the hunger-
stricken in the Desmond country. The
extracts are given by kind permission of the


(from " M.\ELCH0 ".)

Then peace fell upon the camp — that
peculiar, almost unnatural peace which was
apt to follow those melodramatic entrances
and exits. Three or four hours passed.
The Spaniards had left off fort -building
and settled down to their suppers. Upon
his ledge of rock Hugh Gaynard was squat-
ting comfortably upon his heels beside the


fire, in a fashion he had learnt among the
O'Flaherties. It was a damp evening, with
a heavy briny smell, for the air was begin-
ning to curdle up with minute particles of
sea fog. The small stream gurgled sociably
through its limestone shingle, growing all
but noiseless as it sank amongst the roots of
the spurries and stunted scurvy- worts which
covered the lower slopes. A dreamy impres-
sion of melancholy seemed to be brooding
over the whole wide gray wilderness of
water, stretching away sail-less, solitary,
desolate, seemingly to the very bounds of
all creation.

If the background was thus not exactly ex-
hilarating, the foreground of spurting flames
and children's faces was lively enough. The
two little girls had been spending a cheerful
afternoon, racking their small brains to dis-
cover some fresh task to lay upon their big
henchman. At the present moment they
were insisting, as a preliminary to going to
bed, upon being told a story — a long, long,
long stoi'y — one of those ideal stories which
have never yet been heard by mortal ears,
but which all over the world the childi'en
are still faithfully waiting for. In this case
the claim was really almost a reasonable
one. To have the most celebrated senachie
in all Munster — therefore in Ireland — there-
fore in the world — for one's own private
nursery-maid ought surely to mean unlimited
luxury in this direction, if in no otlier.

" Yes, it is a long story, the longest and
best story that ever was told, that is what
you are going to tell us to-night, Maelcho,
honey-man, so begin quick, at onceV the
youngest was saying in a peremptory tone.



She was the fair one — a little blue -eyed
creature with the round, enquiring face and
straw-coloured aureole of one of the camo-
mile flowers, just then closing its petals
against the sky over her head.

" And what tale can the poor old senachie
tell to the little girsha ladies?" sounded in
the deep, rumbling bass. " What tale can
poor old ugly Maelcho tell to the beautiful
little girsha ladies?"

" You will tell us one of the tales that you
used to tell us in Spain, honey-man, only
you will tell us a better one, much better.
It was much, much better tales you said you
would tell us when we got here — beautiful
tales, long tales, tales that were never going
to leave off at all ! But it is no tales we have
had, only wet places to sleep in, and ugly
food to eat, and bad wicked men shouting and
wakening us in the middle of the night ; that
is what we have had here ! " The small pink
face puckered itself resolutely up, evidently
as a preliminary to a vigorous fit of crying.

"Estha! Estha! Estha! Hush, girsha lady!
It is not the poor ladymother you would
be disturbing, would you? Pho/ Pho!
The beautiful little girsha ladies never cry,
never make ugly noises. It is only the
wicked men that do that. Some day the
girsha ladies shall kill all the wicked ugly
men in Ireland, yes, every one of them,
and throw them over there into the sea, so
they shall!"

In spite of this encouraging prospect, the
tyrants were not to be satisfied.

" Then if we are not to cry it is a story
you are to tell us, and if you do not tell us a
story at once, it is beaten you are going to
be," the elder one exclaimed indignantly,
"yes, beaten hard by both of us, hard,
hard, Maelcho, honey-man ! " they cried simul-
taneously ; whereupon four small fists began
pummelling vigorously at his chest, a punish-
ment which, to judge by the expression of
his face, gave the most exquisite satisfaction
to the victim.

" All the tales are done and told, lady
girshas, all the good tales are done and told !
There are no more left ! All over ! all over !
all over!" and the senachie threw up his
hands impressively.

"Then it is a lie you are telling us, a big
black lie I Yes, a lie as big as yourself,
honey-man ! How can the tales be all done
when we can say a number of them ourselves
— when we know all about the good giant
King Finn, who slept with his head on one

bank of the Shannon and his feet on the
other, and who caught the big trout and
salmon, as they ran past him, in his mouth;
only he let the little trout, and the little red
and blue pinkeens, escape because they were
still so young! Tell us that tale, Maelcho,

" Lady girshas, the good giants have all
gone away from poor old Ireland. There
are none left now but wicked giants ; giants
that yawn in the darkness, and make the
caves; giants as big and as black as the bogs ;
wicked black giants, and Fear Gortach, the
big white Hunger-man, who comes when the
little children have nothing to eat. The lady
girshas do not want to hear about Fear Gor-
tach — no, no, I am sure they do not ! It is
he that sleeps across the top of the dead fir-
trees, and when he dreams his bones rattle,
and when he wakes up he reaches down a
long white hand like a fork out of the trees,
and picks up everything he sees — the poor
men and the poor women, and little, little
children, and the young rabbits out of their
holes, and the small unfledged wood-pigeons
from their nests, and eats them all up there
on the top of the trees, and drops their bones
about the wood, so that it seems as if the
sky was raining white sticks. No, no, the
girsha ladies would never like to hear about
such things as those."

In spite of this discouraging assurance,
over which the children began to look ex-
tremely grave, Maelcho presently embarked
upon a long meandering recital about tliree
good young men who went forth to seek
their fortunes, and in process of time con-
quered the whole world, and also the parish
of Shannagheloontippen, in the county of
Tipperary, which they took from three
giants, with only one eye amongst the
three of them, whose names were Goni,
Gum, and Groggertnabognach. Also all the
giants' horses and chariots, and gold crowns,
and three large thrones out of three big
stone castles reaching up to the sky;
and having put all these things together
into one curagh, they set out across the
sea to Hy Brasil, the land of eternal youth,
where nobody ever dies, and where the pigs
are prettier and the wolves tamer than
robins and chickens in Ireland. And there
those three good young men reigned for
ever and ever, and all three of them became
senachies afterwards.



(from " MAELCHO ".)

The further he went in this direction the
quicker his pace grew, till it was like the
long loping gallop of a wolf. Now and then
he threw up his head and gazed around him
at the blasted landscape, but without any-
thought in connection with it beyond the
desire to reach the end of his road as soon as
possible. There was no one to question or
to stop him, for the country was a mere de-
sert; but had there been he would have thrust
them aside, would have killed them, if neces-
sary, and passed on, in the eagerness of that
wild, fierce gallop.

Ni marhh acht a dtaihse an hhciis!^ It was
now like some great bell, ringing incessantly
close to his head. J^i marhh acht a dtaihse
an hhdis! The whole air tingled and rang
with it.

After a couple of hours he reached the
shores of Smerwick Bay, coming out nearly
opposite to the Fort of Gold, at the spot
where the camp of the invaders had been
pitched. Sir James's unhappy Irish Calais
remained just as he had left it. The ditches
half-cut, the bastions half-made, the draw-
bridge unfinished. It stood naked now to
the sea and sky. The Spaniards who had
worked at it were gone, most of them by
this time dead, and it stood there, a ruin
around a ruin, waiting, with something of
an air of conscious suspense, for that more
startling and world - renowned tragedy of
which it was shortly to be the theatre.

Maelcho passed it at the same long loping
gallop, and hastened on till he reached the
cliflf. Here he got upon the same narrow
track along which he had gone the day that
Hugh Gaynard first fell in with the Geral-
dines, and again, as on that day, he paused
where a projecting knoll jutted out, and
glanced down at what lay below.

It looked just as it had looked then, only
that there were a few more traces of recent
habitation. The little shanty on its weed-
covered bracket stood just as he had left it
six months before. The voice of the sea
came up in the same hoarse chorus to his
ear ; the stream trickled over the brink, and
slipped, choking and gui'gling, through the

1 Not dead, only seeming to be dead.

shingle to the shore, the gulls shrieked and

He stood and stared at it all with widely-
distended eyes, eyes in which hope and
hungry expectation were beginning to burn.

Suddenly he started forward at a run, and
did not pause again until he stood upon the
ledge itself. Nothing seemed to have been
touched here either since he left. Bits of
driftwood lay about, mixed up with scattered
moss, spars and shells, which he had himself
collected for the children. He looked first
at one thing and then at another; carefully,
enquiringly; his nostrils expanding as a dog's
do, when it comes home, and looks for a hand
to be put out to welcome it. At last he went
up to the dour, opened it a little way, and
peeped in, peering first to the right hand,
and then to the left.

What did he expect to see? Who can
tell? Doubtless the very sight of that
familiar spot had conjured up those other
familiar images ; doubtless he still saw them,
exactly as he had seen them last — the two
little beloved forms, the two little flowerlike
faces, just as he had left them. Perhaps
they were sleeping, or perhaps they were
round the corner, waiting to pounce out
upon him, and thump him lovingly with
their soft little hands. He had dreamt
that they were dead, but, thank Heaven, it
was only a dream. He knew better now,
he knew that it was only a dream, one of his
old, wicked, lying di'eams. They were not
dead, they were alive, and he should see
them soon.

He stood still, that look of crazed ex-
pectation deepening upon his face as he re-
mained there. At last he began to speak,
at first quite low, under his bi'eath, in a
tender, entreating whisper — " Girshas! Lady
Girshas ! Eh, my little lady girshas ! " He
waited a minute ; no answer ; then whis-
pered again, and waited ; still no answer ;
then louder and louder, and after that louder
and louder still, till the whole cliff" rang with
his voice ; rang and rang with his entreaty
to be answered. Then he waited again.
Silence ! Utter, absolute silence. Suddenly
he started and looked behind him. Some-
thing was tapping there, ta^jping against the
wall behind the partition. Something whifh
sounded exactly like the touch of small im-
patient fingers. Of course they wore there ;
they always tapped there when they awoke
and wanted him to come to them I With
a bound he was across the floor, and had


darted behind the partition. Nothing ! ab-
solutely nothing. Still, it went on, that soft
sound, so like the sound of tapping fingers.
Outside? Yes, outside! Again he rushed
across the floor, thi'ough the door, round
the corner of the hut ; his arms open, his big
body stumbling against everything it encoun-
tered, his lips trembling, his whole face lit up
witli hope and eager expectation.

This time there really was something there,
and something was tapping, he was not mis-
taken about that. Something ? Ah yes I
but what was that something? It was a
minute, an almost invisibly minute fragment
of driftwood, which had somehow got caught
and suspended to the wall by a string of
bind-weed, and each time a gust came it
lifted it ujj and sent it lightly tapping against
the wall ; then it fell back again, and hung
there like a tiny pendulum. As Maelcho
stood looking at it another putf came, and
again the fragment of driftwood I'ose from
the wall ; again it tapped lightly twice, and
again it fell.

He remained staring at it, doggedly, un-
believingly; his eyes wide and bloodshot;
his face, a minute before tender and ex-
pectant, becoming dangerous, and ferocious
looking, as the blood, congealing below the
skin, stained it a dull purple. Suddenly a
fresh roar broke from his throat, a different
one this time, a fierce hollow roar, almost
like the bellow of some wounded bull. Hope
and expectation seemed suddenly to give
way. Rai-sed to their highest possible point,
they fled, leaving nothing behind them.
Despair overtook him absolutely. It black-
ened his whole soul. It turned what a mo-
ment before had been a kindly harmless man
into the semblance of some savafje devourincr
beast. A desire for destruction came over
him like a thirst. Flinging himself upon the
hut, he tore the door of it away from its
hinges with a single effort, and tossed it, with
an exultant shout, over amonsrst the irulls
below. He did not pause there. With
another shout he flung himself upon the rest.
Stone after .stone he pulled them down, and
hurled them over into the sea ; plucking the
rafters from their places, and the clumsy
jambs and corner-stones out of the earth.
His hands were bleeding and gashed; the
perspiration poured down his face; the wound
on his head had reopened, but he never de-
si.sted from his task till of the whole fabric
of the .slianty nothing was left but a few
logs and a shajjeless and scattered heap of

! stones. Even those he continued to seize,

' and to fling down one by one ; savagely,

' exultingly, as he might have flung over some

living foe ; conscious only of a single desii'e,

to destroy ; blindly, senselessly, to destroy.

At last exhaustion overtook him suddenly,

! and he fell down upon the ground, on the

top of the now nearly naked shelf.

The evening closed in ; night came on ; the
shore grew formless, full of vague shadows ;
the stars came out in their myriads, the sky
oveihead was stainless ; the spell of night
and of silence brooded, as it were consciously,
over the face of the Atlantic. In the dis-
tance the small red rows of volcanoes smoul-
dered, flared, and sank again into darkness,
but Maelcho never stirred. He lay there
amongst the scattered stones, only a shadow
amongst the other' shapeless shadows of the
place; only an atom the more amongst the
long, and still-increasing, sum-total of that
year of agony ; agonies which, like his own,
found no articulate voice in which to pro-

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