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I could not brook that now the voice of glee feelings on the trunk of the birch.
THE LOVER'S LAY.
FROM THE SPANISH, Mine long ere this had smild on me once
("Contentamientos de amor,
Que tan cansados llegaye," &c.)
Sweet joys, sweet hopes, the balm of Love, There is a strain of music soft and low;
That come with footsteps slow;
Why come so soon to go ?
Long, long desir'd ye come at last
To rest within my heart;
But at the dawn ye rise in haste, How graceful is the feathery spray Like travellers, and depart. of the light and feathery Birch (betulą alba), whose silvery stem Those guests, though pleasant, I condemă, glints so cheerfully among the darker That only come to show trunks of her sylvan sisters. The tree How much my loss in losing them, is, like the beech, fit for making tab
To leave me deeper woe. lets : its bark, tenaceous, though flex. ible, is easily split into laminæ ; and
And though scant welcomings I pay was, therefore, used by the Romans To joys so brief and vain, for writing upon. Pliny says that
They go not discontent away, books of philosophy and religion, writ
For they return again. ten upon birch bark, were discovered in full preservation in the tomb of
Beside yon quiet pool a large old Numa Pompilius, four hundred years
Willow (salir) casts down its long after his death.
pendulous branches to kiss the unruf.
fled waters. Branches of the birch wreathed the
There is a tradition in Ireland, that fasces carried by the Roman lictors before their rulers.
a young man, who was very ill of epiThe sap of the birch tree, drawn by lepsy, wished exceedingly for apples, skilful incisions, boiled, sweetened,
having dreamt that they would cure and fermented, makes a pleasant
him. The fruit, however, could not be wine. Formerly it was accounted
procured, even the blossoms had not amongst the necessary accomplishments appeared, so early was it in the year. of a country parson's wife, that she
St. Kevin,* the patron saint of Glendashould be able to “ carve and make
lough, celebrated in Moore's Ireland, birch wine." When the Russians be
commencingsieged Hamburg, in 1914, they de
"By that lake whose gloomy shore stroyed all the birch - trees in the
Skylark never warbles o'er," neighbourhood, by draining off the was informed of the invalid's case, and sap in a rough manner, to make a bee immediately caused a kind of yellow verage.
apple to grow on a willow; of these In Scotland, where the “ bonnie the sick man ate, and recovered. In birken tree" forms such a beautiful memory of this circumstance, a cer. feature in the landscape, it is adopted tain kind of willow is said to bear a yelas the badge of the Clan Buchanan. low fruit, called “St. Kevin's Apples," The Clan Chisholm bears for its cog- much esteemed for medicinal virtues, nisance the ALDER, which some na. but not for good flavour. This willow turalists class with the beech as a be. we supposed to be the round-leaved tula ; but others separate it, and terni willow, or salix caprea, whose catkins it alnus.
are ovate, and of a bright yellow. In days more romantic than these, A still more curious story of a willow lovers used to inscribe records of their is told by Irish shannachies. A king
* St. Kevin, born at the end of the fifth century, of a noble family in the country of the O'Tooles, founded a Monastery at Glendalough, about the middle of the sixth century.
FROM THE PROVENCAL OP GUGLIELMO DE BER
of Leinster, named Mayne, but popu. of love forsaken or thwarted. We larly called Lowra Longseach, had ears have seen a pretty French device like a horse. To conceal his deformity willows drawn apart by ropes, but from the knowledge of his subjects, with their tops still inclining towards he allowed himself to be shaved and each other; the motto was, “Le shorn but once a-year, and then put penchant nous unit, le destin nous the barber to death. Happening, how- separe.” (Inclination unites us, desever, at one time to employ the only tiny separates us.) child of a poor widow, he was prevail. Permit a forsaken poet of old Proed on, by her tears and entreaties, to vence to hang his verse upon the let her son live, but he bound the willow. He can plead the merit of young man by a solemn oath never to singularity; rejected poet-lovers in gereveal the king's secret to any human neral lay the blame of their misfortune being. The poor barber was so much on the cruel fair ; but this candid bard oppressed by the weight of the royal confesses, with rare frankness, the fault mystery, that he fell dangerously ill; to be his own:and his mother brought a celebrated Druid to see him. The sage perceived
THE CONFESSION. that it was the burden of something undisclosed which affected him, and he advised the invalid to go to a place
(" Al temps d'Estri qan g'alegran l'ausel," &c.) where cross-roads met, then turn to the nearest tree on his right hand, sa- 'Tis summer, and the birds are gay, lute it, and whisper the secret to it. For they can sing their loving lay ; The barber did as he was desired ; and And meads are glad, for they are drest the tree, which he made his confidant, Once more in green—their favourite vest; happened to be a large willow, from And trees rejoice ; for spray and bough whose shade he returned home restored
Are deck'd with leaf and blossom now;
And lovers all are blithe, who feel to perfect health. It happened that
That love is treasure, health, and weal. Craftiny, the royal harper, broke his
But ah! amid this gladness, I harp, and going in search of wood to
Opprest with sorrow, weep and sigh; make another, chanced upon the bar- My love is lost — for ever goneber's willow, cut it down, made his ins
Yet love or bliss I merit none; trument, and took it to play, as usual, My fault, mine only, wrought for me, at court. But strike the strings how My still Belov'd! the loss of thee. he would, instead of the music he intended to produce, they distinctly Look forward upon yonder knoll to uttered the words -- " King Lowra our right, that heap of prostrate ruins, Longseach has the ears of a horse." sad relics of an ancient castle, now
The monarch, finding his secret thus overgrown with grass and wild flowers, miraculously made public, repented of peeps picturesquely through the close the victims he had sacrificed to it, and bushes that grow around it. How no longer attempted to conceal his surely wherever there is a ruin, baroblemish. The resemblance of this le- nial, ecclesiastic, or domestic, we find gend to the classical fable of King the strong-scented, dusky ELDER, with Midas, with the ears of an ass, whose the large bunches of its white flowers, barber revealed the secret to tell-tale or its black shining berries. Perhaps reeds, is striking. The latter is, we pre- it is on account of its predilection sume, the origin of the former. for ruins, which the peasants believe
The osier-work of the Britons, taken to be haunted at night, that this tree prisoners by the Romans, was much derives its reputation of being particuadmired at Rome, where they intro- larly connected with the elves and duced, with their work, the word bus- fairies. It is strongly narcotic, and caud, a basket (in Irish, bascaeid). to sleep under its shade is hurtful to We read in Martial
constitutions. This quality,
acting upon excitable temperaments, "Barbara depictis veni bascanda Britannis; Sed me jam mavult dicere Roma suam."
sometimes occasions wild dreams, which
Tadbo the rustic sleeper has taken to be acThe willow, from its drooping ap- tual transactions with "the Good pearance, and the pensive rustling of People.” The name “ Elder" seems its leaves, has been made the emblem caves, has been made to
to have some affinity with “ Elle,” a
N. E. M.
Scandinavian word, signifying a the elder tree, and often grows in pernatural being of the elfin order. churchyards beside old dilapidated
The Danish country folk believe tombs. that this tree is the abode of “Hylde- We will append to the ruin-loving moer"-i.e., the elder mother and her elder a suitable strain, with which we attendant sprites, and that it is un. will take our leave of the forest trees. lucky to cut it down, or to have any articles made of its wood without ask.
THE RUIN. ing permission of “ Hyldemoer."
There is a strange tradition that the tree on which Judas Iscariot hanged
Relic of an age long since grown boary, himself was an elder; hence it was ac
Stately tower! a wasted ruin now,
Ah! how chang'd from all thy pristine glory, counted a great disgrace to be crowned
Tempest-shatter'd, lone and sad art thou. with its leaves. The Latin name of the elder, sam
Yet upon the rent and darken'd masses, bucus is derived from the Greek sam
Life, and grace, and beauty meet the eye; buka, a musical instrument made of the Moss and ivy, blossoms wild, and grasses, hollow wood of the tree. There is a And the wall-flower breathing sweets on kindred word in Hebrew, sabcha, ge- high. nerally rendered sackbut, which seems to have been a kind of triangular lyre. Ah! how blest those boons of kind creation
The Dwarf ELDER (sambucus ebu- Springing up the mournful wrecks to hide ; lus) differs from the elder tree in being Giving e'en a charm to desolation, herbaceous, its stems dying down to
Fair meek things that reck not aught of the ground every year, and then shoot
pride. ing up anew ; in having a creeping root, narrower leaves, and the flowers
Lovely thus 'mid wrecks of human sorrow
Springs each spirit-influence, bright and having a stronger scent, and a deeper
pure ; purplish shade than those of the tree; it is
Hope that looks beyond this world's to-moralso a month later in blossoming. Old
row, English tradition says that it sprung Meekness, Patience cheerful to endure. up originally from the Danes when they were massacred in England, in Trustful Energy, and willing Duty, 1002, during the reign of Ethelred ; Aspirations that like incense rise hence it is called in many places, Dane
These to darkest griefs lend grace and beauty, wort. It has the same properties as And to fragrance turn the mourner's sighs.
M. E. M.
POSTSCRIPT OF A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE,
OUR ALLIES, THE AUSTRIANS.
WRITING, as I do, upwards of a thousand miles away, ere this reach you the question involved in Sir Bulwer Lytton's motion will have been answered, and the House of Commons have decided upon one of the grossest recorded cases of political dishonesty. We have indeed fallen upon days of defeat and disaster ! The prestige that once animated us and nerved our courage through many an adverse struggle, seems at length to have abandoned us, and in the falsehearted. ness of our statesmen are we now to detect the signs of an approaching decline ! There probably never was a war for which more valid reasons existed, which could be argued upon so many convincing grounds of necessity and good policy; and yet there probably never was one engaged in with such reluctance and lukewarmnessso little energy in the outset, so little zeal in the progress, while at the same time every bigh ground of principle, every great and inspiriting suggestion which had originated the struggle were one by one abandoned. Indeed the state of the public mind as to the cause of this great contest became confused and distracted their convictions trifled with, their hopes abased, till our people became, like our brave army, the gross victims of every discord and mismanagement, without guidance, without counsel, and without support. This was no war of a “succession;" it was not a dynastic struggle as to what branch of a royal house should inherit a throne and a sceptre; it was not even a contest in which two adverse opinions are the litigants, and a question of national prejudice was at issue ; it was, and it is, essentially a war of Despotism versus Liberty a struggle between the brute force of barbarism and the energy of civilised nations; and consequently on this ground it was, of all others, the most eminently popular war that ever England engaged in.
Has our Ministry taken advantage of this fact ? have they profited by the high ground thus in their possession ? have they replied to the opponents of this struggle by displaying the extent of its proportions, the vastness of its interests ? or have they narrowed the whole question to its very meanest and most insigni. cant bases — marking, even by the terms of accommodation they are willing to accept of, how small are the objects at issue, how ignoble is the whole cause in dispute ?
The terrible sufferings of our gallant soldiers, the noble martyrdom of the bravest army we ever sent forth from England, have served to turn our attention away from the field of discord and misconduct nearer home; but now that we are more at leisure for the inquiry, let us see if the mistakes of Downing-street were not the equal of those at Balaclava, and the folly and incompetence of our statesmen more ruinous and destructive than the roadless camp and the chaotic harbour!
From the very commencement the course was a wrong one. Our war with Russia was eminently the cause of a great principle a principle dear to every nation which loves civilisation to every people who cultivate liberty. Was this, then, the way in which we proclaimed our contest? were these the grounds on which we asserted we should take our stand ? were these the arguments by which we sought to gain allies to our side ?
If so, how came it that our first appeal was to Austria ? Is Austria the enemy of the principles asserted by the Czar? Is she, has she ever been, the foe of despotism? In which of her institutions do we see the germ of civil liberty ? In what state of her vast dominions have we an evidence of her love of freedom? What guarantees for her enlightenment do we detect in her government of Hungary? How many arguments in favour of her rule does Lombardy offer?
If we dread, as we say we dread, the incursion of the Cossack, is it to Austrian sympathy we should have betaken ourself for aid? Are the events of the year 48 so remote as to be forgotten? Have we no memory of the fact that it was
VOL. XLVI. - NO. CCLXXII.
to Russia Austria herself appealed to suppress the rising spirit of Hungarian freedom, and to crush the cause of that very constitution on which we assume to found all that we prize in government?
But our intercourse with Austria of late years was quite sufficient not alone to instruct us as to her policy, but to inform us of the measure of respect and esteem which she accorded to our country. The degree of deference she vouchsafed to our representative during the war in Lombardy, the value she placed upon the counsels of our Government, are matters of record, while there are others not recorded, but remembered, as significant and as meaning,
Sir D. Ralph Abercromby, our then Minister at Turin, can bear witness as to the insulting demonstration he met with when he visited the head-quarters of Marshal Radetzki-an insult which never could have been perpetrated save by the connivance of those in command. But let us turn from these signs of the times, and simply return to the fact—was it from Austria we could hope for a sincere and faithful alliance ?
In the name of what principle did we, at one and the same time, invoke aid from Austria and from Piedmont? What arguments that met acceptance at Turin were heard with satisfaction and pleasure at Vienna ? Or was it that we urged right in one capital—expediency in the other ; justice here-necessity there?
Be it so ; we did not dare to suggest to Count Buol that we felt the cause of liberty in peril — that the great question of human progress was in the issue. We never whispered our dread of Cossack barbarism ; we simply insinuated the possibility, that Russia in the provinces might prove an uncomfortable neighbour, and that the interrupted navigation of the Danube might interfere with Austrian commerce—that is, to Piedmont we preached the cause of mankind and liberty; to Austria we talked of trade and the security of a frontier. Diplomacy, doubtless, knows how to vindicate its own etymology ; and Lord Westmoreland held very different language from Mr. Hudson.
It is not for me to say what I think of such a policy ; perhaps statecraft admits of recourses that ordinary dealings would repudiate, and men of honour reject. I am unskilled in the science of those " cases of conscience," which envoys and special ministers are called upon to resolve. This much, however, I know, that the policy was as weak as it was dishonest—as short-sighted as it was unworthy. On grounds of principle, we ought not ever to have appealed to Austria ; on grounds of expediency, we need not have done so.
For reasons that involve her very existence as an empire, she never could be with us in this struggle; for reasons as powerfully cogent, she never dare be against us. As the ally of the West, she exposes herself, by an open and assailable frontier, to the attack of a most powerful enemy, beyond all reach of aid and all hope of succour. The war, too, from that moment, would change its venue, and the legions destined for the capture of Constantinople would be marching on Vienna. As little could she risk an alliance with Russia ;-all Hungary in insurrectionthe whole of northern Italy in revolt, would demand every bayonet and every sabre she could summon to oppose them.
There is no need of any suggestion on our part to effect these movements they follow, as certain and inevitable consequences. Our mockery of an Austrian alliance has indeed retarded this complication, and weaned from us the sympathy of those who, in the outset of this contest, hoped that the cause of universal liberty was at issue.
Nor was there any necessity why we should, as some have recommended, evoke the slumbering nationality of Poland, or call to our banners the disaffected of every land of Europe. No; our case stood cot in need of such allies; and it has been entirely our own fault if we have not the aid of the whole liberal feeling of Europe. The whole of our negotiation with Austria has been, then, a gross blunder i By no imaginable course of events could we have derived any profit from such aid as she would afford us; and by the line she has adopted we have incurred every injury it was in her power to inflict nor are these light injuries. By the strategy of her military commanders, Russia has been left entirely free to reinforce her_troops in the Crimea. By her occupation of the provinces, as a neutral power, Russia has been spared the necessity of employing a large garrison to hold them, or the moral loss consequent upon the evacuation ; while, by the tone of her diplomacy, Austria has contrived to narrow down the