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No hope thus left him in the strife,
The burly chief he kindly press'd
Unto his bold and kindred breast." P. 402.
A large proportion of the poem is written in this delectable style; aud however Mr. Hogg may protest against critics, reviewers, and other destroyers of vermin, we must take the liberty to tell him that every body will laugh at such lines as these. To shew him however, that we speak in sorrow rather than in anger, and to substantiate our assertion respecting the occasional brightness of his poetry, we extract parts of the boat race, and the invocation to the Fairy Queen. The allusion to Spenser, Shakspeare and Milton, is modest—an epithet which seems inseparably attached to Scotchmen, whether poets or prosers, whether tories or whigs, whether quidnuncs or philosophers. Mr. Hogg enjoys his full share of the national property, and long may he preserve it. "Around an isle the race was set,
A nameless isle, and nameless yet;
"O come to my bower, here deep in the dell,
my loved muse, my Fairy Queen!
Her rokelay of green, with its sparry hue,
warp of the moonbeam and weft of the dew;
"Then, thou who raised'st old Edmund's lay
And the sons of the morning with it drew,
"I have sought for thee in the blue hare-bell,
For I fear'd thou had'st drunk of its potion deep, And the breeze of the world had rock'd thee asleep;
Then into the wild-rose I cast mine eye,
I have open'd the woodbine's velvet vest,
"But now I have found thee, thou vagrant thing,
That an angel of light might have linger'd there:
Where the sun never shone, and the rain never fell,
And soft as the down of the solan's breast." P. 362.
These are pretty verses, and Queen Hynde must be acquitted for their sake.
ART. VII. Letters from the Irish Highlands. 8vo. 359 pp. 10s. 6d. Murray. 1825.
THERE is matter of all sorts in this little volume, good, bad, and indifferent. The author or authors pretend to be resident Irishmen, but we suspect that they are only visitors. If the suspicion is unjust, they might have guarded against it by favouring the public with their names. The masquerading fashion which prevails among Hibernian writers, not only subjects their readers to much perplexity, but will occa sionally prove troublesome to themselves: and we sincerely wish, that this or any other circumstance would induce them to throw aside their alias domino, and appear at Albemarlestreet in their proper persons.
The errors which disfigure the work are, a recommendation to introduce the poor rates into Ireland, a notion that small farms do no mischief, and that the existing misery is owing to the increased value of the currency. The best portions are, those which recommend the strict administration of impartial justice, the encouragement of fisheries and manufactures, the legalisation of private distilleries, and the extinction of jobbing in all its branches. Those which describe the religious condition of the cottages, and the conduct of their priests, are likewise well worthy of attention. The indifferent parts are occupied with delineations of mountain scenery and Irish character. In the former, the authors do not excel; in the latter, they are very inferior to the writer of "Captain Rock Detected." Presuming that our readers have made up their minds respecting the necessity of some amendment in the conduct of Irish landlords, and trusting that Government will settle the stills and the fisheries, we shall confine ourselves principally to the subjects of religion and education; and it will be seen, that our authors bear very strong testimony in favour of the opinion expressed in our last Number. They are no great friends to the established clergy, and their evidence therefore is doubly valuable.
"One of the inspectors from The Kildare Street Society for promoting the Education of the Poor,' hearing by accident of the girls school which is established here, he called to see it, and gave us an opportunity of understanding fully the views and principles of the society. They profess to be upon the liberal plan of educating the poor without any interference with their religious opinions; but whether the standing rule, that every school in their connexion must place the Scriptures in the hands of the children, is not as contrary to this principle as it is to the practice of the Romish church, seems to me very doubtful. That the Bible is to be read without note or
comment verbal or oral,' appears but a still wider departure from the principles of the Roman Catholic Church."
"The very different situation in which the English and Irish poor are placed, makes a line of conduct commendable, and, indeed, necessary here, which would be cowardly and dangerous with you. In Ireland, the Protestants, generally speaking, are called upon to educate their Catholic dependants. Are they to do it in the true spirit of Christian benevolence, by enlightening their understandings, and inculcating those principles of morality and religion, which are common to both parties? or are they to violate the plain dictates of justice, and entrench on the natural bounds of parental authority, making use of their power, as landlords, in compelling the tenants to sacrifice to temporal interest what they believe to be the spiritual welfare of their children ?" P. 88.
"The Roman Catholic faith is, in Cunnemarra, so predominant, that no Protestants are to be met with, except in the families of the two or three resident gentlemen, and some of their immediate dependants, as farm servants, mechanics, &c. On this estate, I do not suppose that a single Protestant was to be found, till within the last seven years. Of course, the children who attend the school, with scarcely an exception, are Catholics; yet, although the mistress is a Protestant, and it is in the hands of a Protestant landlord, it has been established these five years, with very little opposition from the parish priest. Indeed, I cannot help thinking that if a due mixture of firmness and toleration were at all times shewn, we should not so often hear of those acts of violence which must alike disgrace the professors of all religions. In some places, I have heard of the priest inflicting corporal punishment on those children who attended the schools, in defiance of his authority; and the tremendous sentence of excommunication is the threat commonly held out to the parents: 'the very ground whereon he treads is cursed.' Where a spirit of proselytism exists among the Protestants, and where conversions are, directly or indirectly, attempted, a priest, who acts from conscientious motives, must certainly exert himself to prevent the attendance of the children; and this he will of course endeavour to effect, either by secret persuasion or open violence, according to the bent of his own character and temper. In other cases, the opposition of the parish priest is, I believe not unfrequently, contrary to his own inclination, in consequence of the peremptory orders of his bishop; who, in case of disobedience, as one of them said, has power to command me to the deserts of Africa, or the wilds of America, for the remainder of my days.""
"An instance of this kind was mentioned to us the other day, by a clergyman, who some years ago held a curacy in one of the northern counties of Connaught. He was on very friendly terms with the priest, who, nevertheless, was desired by his bishop strenuously to oppose the school established by the Protestants. This order he obeyed, by occasionally fulminating the thunders of the church against the unfortunate little scholars, giving however