Imagini ale paginilor

tled with wood, some swelling in elegant modulation, backed by others which rise more wildly, until the eye is lost amidst the gloom and irregularities of gigantic mountains that bound the horizon. At the rear of the hill on which stands the castle, ranges of mountains rise in succession, until lost in the clouds, sprinkled with trees, and traversed by torrents.

No general description can give an adequate idea of such scenery, because so great a similarity must appear; but this is by no means the case when viewed in reality, Nature still presenting us with a different aspect, and from rocks, woods, and water, forming endless combinations. In short, from its mountainous situation, the depth and profound gloom of its scattered woods, the noise of its waterfalls, and the thinness of the neighbourhood, nothing could be more romantic or impressive than the scenery about St. Doulagh's.

In this interesting because ancient fortress, the only descendant of the royal house of O'Neil had taken shelter from “the storms of wintry time," and awaited the coming of that " unbounded spring that shall encircle all,” O'Neil, from whom lieutenant O'Shaughnessy O'Neil was a lineal descendant, in defiance of the whole force of the English, kept his station as king of Ulster, in his ancient castle of St. Doulagh's, down to the sixteenth century, as his coins, dated fifteen hundred and thirty-five, make plainly to appear; but as all human things must have an end, this great Irish monarch lost his power about the time that his holiness the

pope lost his over Henry the Eighth, at which period this defender of the faith ravished the castle of St. Doulagh’s, and its rich domains, from the rightful possessor, and bestowed them on a creature of his own.

Thus stripped - unjustly of their birthright, O'Neil's descendants became scattered about the country: one, however, still contrived, amongst his vassals and retainers, to keep up a rank in society suitable to the royal house from which he sprung: but this branch was finally destined to experience again the oppression of England, through the medium of Oliver Cromwell, who, seizing on what had been retained by them of the original property of the family, banished them, with many others, into the comparatively wild and uncivilized province of Connaught, where, in place of their goodly lands, they were assigned waste, sterile spots, on the sides of bleak and rugged mountains; but this was the policy of Oliver, to break and crush down the spirit of all whom he thought capable of resisting his usurpation; he was jealous of all who seemed likely to oppose him; and thus driving them into this district, had square castles built about it, for the


of hemming in these unfortunate Milesians.

There is particularly blended in the human composition a consoling aptitude to hope, capable of supporting us under almost all afflictions: for this none perhaps are more remarked than the Irish; no sooner is one door shut against them, than their lively imaginations open another. This was the case in the present instance; these oppressed people fully calculated on the retrieval of all they had lost, the moment Cromwell left the kingdom; but his unremitting vigilance defeated this expectation; and when, on the restoration of monarchy, they applied for the recovery of what he had robbed them of, to their utter confusion and disappointment, they were informed that the law considered his grants too firmly established to be shaken.

Barren and bare as their new possessions were, still, in course of time, the descendants of the original Irish managed not only to involve themselves in debt, but to part with most part of their lands to strangers. Of this number was the father of lieutenant O'Shaughnessy O'Neil-SO that when the poor boy, on the death of his parents, came to look about him, an he found himself actual heir to, was about twenty acres of bog, on the top of one of the Cunnamara Mountains; and to heighten the melancholy circumstance, without his being able to discover, either to the right or the left, any friend to serve him; not certainly from there not being many who had the inclination to do so, but from all with whom he was either connected or acquainted being left in no better plight than he was himself. An attentive observer might indeed fairly have thought that there was a competition amongst the families here, to see which would be the soonest ruined, so wild and inconsiderate in general was their conduct; but to close the door against any one, was a meanness which none could permit themselves to be guilty of, how inconvenient so ever it might be to keep a caravansary, as in those days a gentleman's house in this quarter might be considered, a traveller having only to look about him, to consider where he should like to stop, to immediately quarter himself according to his fancy.

How O'Shaughnessy O'Neil managed to get on we know not, except through the immediate assistance of Him" who

« ÎnapoiContinuați »