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times," repeated I—the two phrases made me pause, made me think—how well-chosen, how expressive, those two short sentences ? -What better could be selected for the heading of an article? -How much might be written on them, thought I ?—How came yon broken crone to utter words so apt, so full of meaning ?—What sudden touch of truth was flashing through her mind ?—What was it suggesting and connecting the words “sudden times"" murder-fever?
From the highest to the lowest the Irish have ever the ready word and the ready sympathy — accompanied by the quick, intelligent glance. There is too in their peculiar, artistic expressions, a depth, a meaning, a tragedy or a comedy, all carelessly as they are uttered-expressions that sound at least picturesque to the English ear-if they sound nothing more nor deep into his heart.
Not that the Irish are particularly lavish of their words—they hoard them rather for civility and friendly greetings. For Donnybrook Fair--and the funeral chaunt—for blessing and for cursing and for their begging diversions—the nod and the smile is sufficient for them-fling words to the Saxon !
On my way home I had to force my way through a crowd, that surrounded a high six-storied house, the first floor of which was a bacon shop-occupied when last I past it by the proprietor and his wife—now, on my return, he lay within, a corpse: she was in custody.
" What is the matter ? ” inquired I. “ A woman has just stabbed her husband with the bacon knife.”
Is she dead ?" “Dead as mutton,” said an emaciated young woman with an infant at her naked breast, aye, dead as mutton, and I'm a-looking for my devil—I wish to–I could happen on him,' added she, flashing her wild but keen black eyes, and breaking from the eager crowd amongst whom she had been vainly seeking him.
If every woman would sarve ye in the like style,” said a more decent butodetermined-looking young creature in a floundering cap to a group of men who were battling for a peep through the shop-window where the tragedy had been perpetrated.
"Aye, indeed,"applaudingly exclaimed a chorus of women and girls.
• Faix,” exclaimed one-but they shouldn't tempt us beyontDioul's (pronounced Jowl) own pets!”.
Not a man there bandied a word back to her--crime in woman appals the sterner sex.
“She'll swing for it," said a morose-looking giant, whose voice, however, was mild and compassionate.
Aye, poor soul, she 'll lose her shroud,” said a third. How quickly, thought I, sympathy passes from the murdered to the murderer.
I was next stopped at a crossing, and for nearly half an hour, by a funeral-train which was dragging its slow and weary length along the intersecting street.
This is another curious Irish feature—'tis a fact, that many think less how they are to live-(what is life to them)—than how they are to be buried.--- Not to hwe a decent burial is, indeed, a misfortune, the greatest and last that can befall them-improvident, as they notoriously are, 'tis strange how the Irish poor will
up little sums to furnish themselves with a coffin and a shroud.
It is a remarkable fact, that many, even young girls, provide themselves with funeral garments, and religiously put by a small sum for their “ wake,” to use their own term.
Having occasion, some years since, to go myself to the cabin of a maid-servant I had hired, I found her busy at her needle.
take in plain sewing—this is some bridal grandeur,” said I, taking up what seemed to me a most elaborately-wrought night dress.
« 'Tis no wedding garment,” replied the girl, proudlymy shroud —let life bring what it may, please God, I hope to have a dacent wake.”
The respect the Irish pay to the dead, and to the memory of the past, has always pleased me—'tis the Land of Memory—they have nothing to hurry them away from it, and they love to linger amongst its ruins.
That Ireland should, in spite of its poverty and degradation, continue an imaginative nation, for ever dwelling on the Past or the Future, is another proof that character and individuality can never be crushed out of any community. Trample on it, thrust it aside as ye may—'tis a divinity that will for ever re-appearre-appear till ’tis acknowledged and a place found for it in the world—let nations and individuals preserve their peculiar characteristics, let them go forth unshackled and stand fearlessly erect -each has a distinguishing beauty to be developed - contempt
“ I see you
and scorn but testify the scorner's ignorance. Let him pass, and we will again return to our own warm, comfortable chat.
I write down my thoughts and impressions as they flow-at length comes the last out-side car, crammed and groaning beneath its heterogeneous burden—the hearse has long been lost to viewa satisfactory funeral-train this, mused I, for the deceased's survivors to contemplate and talk about. Let who may deride, ’tis not a whit less consolatory to the affectionate hearts that are following what was once so dear to them on earth to its last resting-place.
“ A half-penny, that ye 'll never miss, for this starving child, that hasn't tasted bit nor sup this blessed day-kind feeling lady —and may the Blessed Vargin protect ye, for the sake of this fatherless babe, faint with the hunger--may God's blessing follow ye—may God's blessing follow ye—follow ye-follow ye
and never overtake ye,” shouted the mendicant, finding her appeal vain. The lady addressed was fashionably and gaily attired.
Look,” continued the beggar, turning to another of her fraternity—“ Look at the cratur, pointing ironically to the lady's fine clothes ; “ the poor cratur ha'n't one half-penny!'
But, lo! whilst the aforesaid scenes and forms have been flitting before my eyes, and the thoughts and fancies they awoke through my mind—I have arrived at home again—and must wish ye-patient companion of my walk-God speed.
We will next visit Merrion-Square, and the more fashionable localities.
THE GODS OF GREECE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
AZETH THE EGYPTIAN.”
ZEUS. APOLLO. HITHERTO, considering the characters of the female divinities alone, -connecting them with present actual existence by the marvellous power of individualising which the Greeks possessed, owing to their own intense appreciation of Life ---we have passed by that which was of far more spiritual importance to them,—the
worship of the male deities. Great, and grand, and necessary as were the Heras, the Athenes, the Aphrodites of their mythology, and powerful as was the influence which they held, not only over the religion, but also over the daily life and household affections of their worshippers,—yet the Zeus, the Apollo, the Hermes, the Poseidon, and the Hephaistos, were of more weight, mythically and spiritually. And this is proved in their lesser individual characters,—being Gods rather than men, while the others were women as much as deity. When we say that the individualism of their characters was less, we do not mean that amongst themselves they resembled each other. Hermes, or, as the Latins named him, Mercury,—fair Maia's son,—had not one distinguishing attribute coalescing with Poseidon the 66 Shaker of the shores,” Jove's brother, the awful but benign Neptune ; Apollo,
Far-darter,” could not at any time, nor by the most ingenious interpreter of what never existed, be involved with Zeus ; nor might Hephaistos and his forging Cyclopes be confounded with Dionysos and his frantic Mænades. As gods they were individual and distinct enough ; but they were not so human in that individuality as were their “well-tressed” sisters, spouses, mothers. They were more sublime, or rather sublimated by a religious fire of faith into a condition more wholly spiritual ; a condition to degrade which into a mere representation of physical phenomena, is to be wanting in the very soul and life of all true poetry and religious fervour. And yet pragmatiser, and materialist, natural philosopher, astronomer, and—to carry out their wishes-even chemists, think each and all to find materials for their separate theories, by which to prove themselves the world's only masters—all others else but blind and foolish. Let them still believe it! The sphere and range of Grecian myth, like the Totun's glove, is large enough to contain all who have a fancy to lodge therein, with room to spare. For deep as man's unfathomable heart, and wide as his vision,-ever increasing as it is, and ever penetrating farther and farther into the misty world beyond, whose signs and shapes it indicates when it cannot describe—is the Grecian mythology with all its glorious first ideas, its lovely later tales !
But to return to the original proposition. The goddesses were divine creations in truth ; in beauty, as in design, glorious beyond all ; but they were none the less living, actual, loving women. How beautiful and refined soever the representation, the inlying idea was womanhood as existing on earth. Not so the gods. They were out of humanity ; the female deities were simply beyond its daily enshrinements. We have our Hera, we have our Athene in daily life ; but we have no type of Apollo, Dionysos, or Zeus speaking of familiar things, and looking into our eyes, our fathers, brothers, or lovers. It may be that men, called more into action—their characters therefore becoming more sharp and defined leaving nothing to the imagination-we see them all displayed anatomically like the muscles of the Dædalian Heracles ; whereas women, wrapped as in a veil by reason of their passivity, are left more to the imagination ; and what we cannot define with accuracy, that we fill up with poetic imagining. A word escaped us unperceived. We said that we had no gods in our lovers. What sad mistake then clouded over our brain !—what most mischievous imp guided our hand, and bade us write a falsehood in place of the truth ! For who does not know that all lovers are the gods of the ancient world, re-incorporate, to each young maiden's soul ? Few of earth's fair daughters would give up the veriest commonplace Lothario who has crept into her heart for even Daphne's pursuer, or the desolate Ariadne's heavenly mate ! And yet we spoke to the calm and sane, not to those "drunk with love's sweet poison,” whose vision is obscured by the so
splendour of their love.” Peace be with them, poor trembling hearts ! Let them still believe their Fredericks and their Alberts, their Charleses and their Adolphuses all that gods could create or man enshrine! It is a harmless fancy, pleasant while it lasts, but fallacious enough ; and a few months of hard reality will reduce it to the nothingness whence it sprang. Marriage is love's best cure, according as marriages are made and persevered in at present; and the girl who, after that fatal ordeal, still believes her “ dear Alphonso the same being as whilome was the idol of her courtship, bids fair to live and die the blessed victim of a most blessed delusion!
The gods were lovers ; but they had all Greece for their homesteads, and every living heart for their possession. We doubt if even Anaxagoras, or Protagoras, or any of those called atheists by their countrymen, could ever, even in their deepest reflections, cast off the influence of the faith they disbelieved. The very air was impregnated with it ; they might not turn their eyes without beholding evidences of its power,
a power not all unbeneficial to their fellow-men. And the sternest, hardest, most mathematical