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And theme of many a song-
I see thee bound along,
That never bore a stain,
Which nerer fell in vain.
Gives back the sound agen,-
But noblest of all men.
Enter FELIX MACARTHY. Ah, merry be your heart, goodman, and much good may it do you. That was a long song, and a good song, -and by the powers 1 am much of a mind to give you a tasting of Brian-a-linn. By the kirtle of Saint Margery, there's a smoke coming from your door like the steam of a still at sweet Inishowen, and fit to fill the crows drunk that roost on the tree tops. I felt the smell of that jolly old bowl half a mile down the river. Ah, the blessings upon its merry face,-it does a man good to behold it. boy, says I, some generous soul wants a rollocking boy like thee, to sing a stave, and toss off a spare cup or two of Saint Patrick's cordial for the cough. Faith, said I, it's a shame-a black, burning shame surely, to crack the heart of a handsome soul so. I'll just step out of my way to oblige bim. So—this seat will do—now give me hold of a quaigh, my souls of boys, that I may drink long life to your roof-tree.
I'll tell ye what, Felix,- whatever more's your name, this is no changehouse, where ye may scatter oaths and squander halfpence. So I'm thinking ye would act wisely in drinking off that cup to whilk ye have sae discreetly helped yourself, and then make yourself scarce, lest I forget that I am an elder of God's kirk, and that ye may, though a wild Irishman, chance to be half a Christian.
Half a Christian ! by the piper who played before Joshua when he whistled down the walls of neat little Jericho--I know the town well, it is in Munster, and Moll Milligan lives in it-I am a whole and a merry Christian, good man, and can break the crown of the cleanest lad in Lurgan, with five-and-thirty neat inches of sloethorn. What can a man do more? -And by the blessed acorn that grew the first shilala, is there ever a man, or a mother's son among you, can be so kind to me? So you see me now, I am as good a Christian as yourself, good man.-May the saints pardon me for saying so in your own house. This now is what I call drink -and kind treatment too, my gallant old soul. By Saint Macarthy - if there is such a saint--and it's high time we had one of the name, for I did not leave Ireland for building churches—this is chirruping stuff. I shall just do you the favour to sup a drop more of it-for it's a shame, and so it is, to see the liquor reeking so piteously, and so few lips to taste it-d'ye see me now ?--(Drinks.)
Do I see ye now?-Aye, by Saint Andrew, do I, my Lurgan lad.-A Catholic oath' is surely not sinfuł in a sound Presbyterian—and hear ye too. But drink and begone, my boy, drink and begone, else ye may chance to ken soon that ye're come uncalled for.
FELIX MACARTHY-(drinks and sings.)
O drink and gang hame,
We'll get an ill name;
fill ourselves fou,
O sit and drink on,
O then we'll begone ;
It's long time till day,
HUGH GLENDYNEN. Why this is a frolicksome soul-and drinks a deep cup and chaunts a good song I'll warrant now he has not a home to put his head in, and so he's asking quarters in this mirthsome way.
Ah! and may the fiend make matches of my fifth rib, but you're just right. By the bagpiper of Belfast, you can like my song no better than I like your
drink. So here's to all good people, say I, who coup out the cup clean like Christians. There's Dan Farles of the Bann-water, and Yadrah Linker, of the Leap of Coleraine-two as neat boys, and early boys too, as ever crushed comfort out of a choppin-stoup; I'm the lad that has laid them with their heels to the wind, like wet sheaves, with never a drop of aught starker than dirty Ferintosh. I see now you want more singing-ah, a love song? My early ones, you shall have it. By the glance of the girl's eye-the ould girl I mean-1 see she wishes for some tender thing-just listen now.
The Bold Shoemaker.
From Belfast town I came,
I listed in the train ;
With me did not agree,
As the night was wearing late,
Hard by the Castle gate ;
With a blow both frank and free,
And gain'd my liberty.
All among the storm and rain,
With fifteen of the train ;
And made the five to flcem
I kept my liberty.
This is a merry companion, and his wild glee mixes right pleasantly with our sedater joy. If he would swear less and drink more-though he drinks as deeply as a man well may-and not look so wildly about him as if he sought for something at night that he could carry away in the morning-I see nought to hinder this wild slip from the green island, as some conceited gowks call merry old Ireland, to sit near our table and hearken to the story of King Bruce's bowl.
To take a cup or two with a fair one,
Up came to me a rich and rare one,
Her eyes so blue, their glance so warming,
And, oh, her tongue was wondrous charming. Ah, now, goodman, you begin to think I have something of the cut of a ready-made blackguard—but you shall see me now as quiet as the big bell of Carrickfergus, when Tom Murphy stole the tongue out of its head. Ah, the mother that bare me almost kilt me, she did,
the nurture and the education she gave me.-After all, you may speak as you like, but the wild hills of Pimroy is the place for education. There you'll see the lumps of boys as big, by the piper, as myself, running untamed among the mountains, without the folly of cravats, or the bother of shoes, shouting in Greek till the very echoes speak Latin, and so they do. Ah, now I have done, good man-good luck to the hero who gave you your ground, and long life to the woman who won it, joy !- I should just like to see one of my wives strip off her shoes, and run Felix Macarthy into a handsome inheritance; powers ! and I should almost chit an eye out of her head for kindness. (Drinks.)
Listen then, and I will tell, for the edification of our young minstrel here, the old story of King Bruce's Bowl, and ye must hold your hands on this happy Hibernian's mouth, to restrain his scraps of songs, and his wild mirth from flowing and o’erflooding my narrative.
Bad luck to the murmur that comes from Macarthy's lip-so say away, good man.
In the time of the wars of Wallace and of Bruce, my ancestor dwelt where I do now—was a shepherd and a husbandman; a warrior too, in the hour of need, and it was his good fortune to be wed to a kind and clever woman. It chanced in the third year of Bruce's reign, that the king was attacked on the banks of Orr by Sir Walter Selby—the contest was fierce and dubious--the followers on each side were diminished to three, and those were sore wounded. Many a battle has been begun by a woman, this was ended by one-to her honour be it spoken.—The clashing of swords-a sound not unusual in those unsettled times, reached the ear of
.the wife of my ancestor, as busied at the hearth-fire she prepared her husband's breakfast. She ran down to the banks of the Orr, and there she saw several warriors lying wounded and bleeding on the grass, and two knights with their visors closed, and with swords in their hands, contending for death and life. They were both bold, stalwart and stately men, and in vain she sought for a mark by which she might know the kindly Scot from the fause Southron. The fire sparkled from their shields and helmets, and the grass was dropped here and there with the blood which trickled to their blows. At length one received a stroke on the helmet which made him stagger-uttering a deep imprecation, he sprung upon his equally powerful and more deliberate adversary, and the combat grew fiercer than
“Ah, thou false swearing Southron!” exclaimed the wife of Mark Sprotte, “I know ye now-I know ye now;" and seizing Sir Walter Selby
by a ringlet of his long hair, which escaped from under his helmet, she * pulled him backwards to the ground at her own threshold- and he yielded himself prisoner.
FELIX MACARTHY. Ah, what a bold chicken of the old blue hen! Powers, and she was a prime one—and I care not much to toss off a cup to the old woman's glory.-(Drinks.) I never knew one worthy of treading down the daisies beside her but one—and that was the mother that bare me.- Soul, and she was a trimmer, and broke my old father's heart and head at the same time --but the like of her at a lyke-wake was never in the north of Ireland straight could she stretch the corse in six ell of Coleraine linen-and pleasantly could she sing, and weep, and wail till it was a joy, so it was, to die to be waked by the ould one.- I mind the time that Dan Felim was killed by big Bob Forgeson-for nothing in all the wide world but saying, that Bob was a break-of-day boy, and had to run from Henlis in Meath for stealing the silver body of St. Patrick from ould O'Hogan the priest-for Bob was a sound protestant, and a sworn foe to silver idols.—Ah, that wicked tongue of mine“I wish, good man, you would give me a silver sixpence to nick the noisy end of it—but I have done now-indeed and I have.
Aweel- the two knights unlaced their helmets-washed their hands in the Orr—and bloody hands they wereuttered their short soldier-like acknowledgements to their saints, for having protected them, and returning to the cottage, seated themselves by the side of their humble hostess. “ Food," said the Scottish knight, “ have I not tasted for two days, else Sir Walter Selby, renowned in arms as he is, had not resisted Robert de Bruce so long." “ And have I had the glory then," said the Englishman, “ of exchanging blows with the noble leader of the men of Scotland ? " “ Leader of the men of Scotland,” exclaimed dame Sprotte" he shall never be less than King Robert in this house-and king too shall ye call him, Sir, else I will cast this boiling beverage, called brose, in your English face-weel favoured though it be." King Robert smiled and said, “ My kind and loyal dame, waste not thy valuable food on our sworn enemy—but allow the poor king of unhappy Scotland to taste of thy good cheer—and, Sir Walter Selby, too, would gladly, I see, do honour to the humility of a Scottish breakfast table. So spoons to each, my heroine.--I have still a golden Robertus in my pocket, to reward such a ready and effectual ally as thee, and take thy seat beside me - this is not the first time I have had the helping hand of a kindly Sprotte.”—The dame refused to be seated-she once feasted Sir Hugh Herries, of Mabie, she observed, and if it was good manners to stand beside a knight-it was bad manners to sit beside a king.--" And such a king, too,” said the dame - God bless his merciful and noble face-long may he live, and much English blood may he have the pleasure of spilling." So saying she placed a small oaken table before him-filled the beautiful wooden vessel which you have admired so much to-night, with the favourite breakfast of Caledonia-rich, hot, and savoury, set it on the table, and laying a spoon of silver beside it, retired to such a distance from her king as awe and admiration may be supposed to
measure to a peasant. “ But my fair and kind subject,” said King Robert, “we have vanquished this gentle knight, and must not let him return to England, and say that the Scotch are churlish to those they vanquish. Let him partake with
“ I should be no true subject," answered the dame, “ if I feasted and cherished our mortal foe. Were I a man, hemp to his hands, and the Keep of the Thrieve for his mansion, and bread and water for his food, should be his instant doom-and as a woman I can only say, I have vowed a vow, that no Southron shall feast within my door in my presence; and shall I be hospitable to the man who lately laid his steel sword with such right good will to my king's basnet ? -- the banks of Orr are resounding with the blows yet.”
Good people, have ye such a thing as her cast off slipper, or a hem of her kirtle, or a pairing of her nail, that I might make a sweet relique of it?-for by the long-necked cock of Munster, that picked all the stars out of the north-west, she was a jewel of a woman—the honey-comb of Henlis--the cranberry of the bog of Allan.
“ I commend thy loyalty," said De Bruce, “and thus shall I reward it. This land, thou knowest, is mine--the hill behind thy house is green and fair-the vale before thy house is broad and fertile. I make thee lady of as much land as thou cau'st run round while I take my breakfast. The food is hot--the vessel is large-so kilt thy coats and fly. With right good will she kilted her coats-bound up her thick and curling hair-tradition says it was jet-black-and stood ready for flight on the threshold of her door. She looked back on her guests with something of a comic expression of eye -returned, and locked fast all her spoons, save the one for the king-muttering, “I can credit a smith's fingers as soon as a monarch's word," and took her station again at the door. “Now,” said Robert, “ a woman's speed of foot against a king's hunger-away”—and as he raised the spoon to his lips she vanished from the door. The Kingsmount, so green and beautiful now, was then rough with wild juniper and briars, and the way round the base was interrupted by shivered stones and thorn-bushes. But the wife of Mark Sprotte loved her husband, wished to become a lady of land, and scorned all such obstructions. She had encompassed one-third of the hill, when she saw a fox moving slowly aud with difficulty along, under the weight of a fine goose she had fattened.--" May the huntsman find thee yet, for coming across me at this unsonsie time," said the dame—“ but a rood of land is better than a fat goose;"—and she augmented her speed till she approached the mill :--the miller, wearied with the labour of grinding corn during the whole of the preceding night, lay stretched asleep on the sheelan-hill, while the fire, which dried his oats, seized on the ribs of the kiln-ran up the roof, and flashed red from between the rafters. “ Burn away,” said the dame, “ if I shriek and awake thee thou wilt demand my help, and a minute's work, or a minute's explanation, will scoop the green holm of Orr out of the inheritance—which I hope to encompass before our king gains the bottom of the bowl.” So the flame encreased, the miller slept—and she reached the place where the hill slopes into the vale, and the water of Orr subsides into a deep quiet pool. This you may observe is nigh the house. A small wicket in the gabel of her dwelling had a board suspended by a leather hinge. Dame Sprotte flew for a moment to this rude casement-lifted it warily up—and there she beheld the monarch and his enemy seated side by side their helmets on the floor-their swords laid aside, and with one spoon between them, smiling in each other's face, as they took alternate spoonfuls of the hot and homely beverage. Tradition avers, that my ancestress smiled and said, “ Fair play, my liege-fair play!” and recommenced her race with renewed agility.
FELIX MACARTHY. Now, not to stop you, good man ; do you know if long Dan Dowlan, of Coleraine, is one of her descendants ? -- he was the boy for a running jump