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Full text of "The life of Gerald Griffin"

Ipresenteo to 

Zhc Umvcveixv of Toronto Xibrarp 

ibume JBlafce, Esq, 

from tbe books of 

Ube late Ibonourable JE^warfc :J6lafte 

Chancellor of tbe *amv>ersit\> of tto 

(1876*1900) 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

University of Toronto 



http://www.archive.org/details/lifeofgeraldgrifOOgrif 




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PREFACE 

TO THE FIRST EDITION. 



f have many npologies to offer to the public, for the serious 
interruptions and delays which the following Memoir met 
with in its progress through the press. These were prin- 
cipally owing to the pressure of professional avocations, 
generally of a very distracting character, and so constant 
in their operation as to give the nature of a task to that 
which would otherwise have been a pleasing relaxation. 
The same circumstances have, I also fear, affected, in no 
inconsiderable degree, the manner in which the work haa 
been executed. I cannot help thinking there is but little 
of a brother's partiality in the opinion, that it was a noble 
subject for one who had the ability to do it justice. The 
lofty nature of our author's early aspirations, — his bright 
and undying hope, — his indomitable energy, baffled and 
defeated at every step, and the calm religious retirement 
in which his life ended, were a theme for poetry rather 
than prose, and, with the abundant materials which his 
letters supplied, were worthy in every respect of a better 
advocacy ; for I feel that the interruptions I speak of often 
gave rise to a coldness of SDirit unworthy of a near relative, 

A 



6 MBFACB TO TEE, «*&T EDfUOK. 

and especially unwortJi/ of one who bad known him so 

lung and intimately. ihe only countervailing point against 
such a disadvantage is a determination, which I early 
adopted, to give all the circumstances of his life with a 
sincerity and openness that would enable the reader to 
form his own conclusions, and leave him but few questions 
to ask. This determination I have adhered to, it may be 
bumetimes thought, perhaps, with a blameable pertinacity ; 
but I was convinced that in such a life there was little to 
conceal, 

Nothing can be more gratifying to the author's friends 
tnaji the manner in which his memory seems to be cherished 
by his countrymen since his death ; I speak especially of the 
luanner of it ; for in most of the notices which have appeared 
respecting him, there are not only marks of the highest 
admiration of his genius, but expressions of deep, earnest, 
and affectionate attachment, such as could hardly be ex- 
pected except among his nearest relatives. To this par- 
Lai feeling I may. perhaps, took fur a deg.ee of indulgence 
for the following pages, of wjpcfc &ej woojd bo Dhfeerwjae 
Moving, 



PREFACE 

TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



The present edition of this Memoir has b°en cart fully re- 
vised, some important errors corrected, and nothing omittei 
that conlcl have any attractions for the general reader. 
Some letters have also been added, which, not being in my 
possession originally, were never before published, and 
which, from the importance of the subject they treat of, as 
well as the manner in which it is discussed, will, I have no 
doubt, contribute much to the interest of the volume. 
This, however, is far from being the motive with which I 
have now inserted them, which was done entirely under 
the belief that they would tend to place in a still higher 
and brighter point of view, a character in which the Irish 
public has, on several occasions, shown a very deep interest, 
and render it more deserving than ever of that highly 
favourable and friendly feeling and afitclionate regard 
which has always been bestowed upon it. 

LlMEKICK, 

July 30, 1857. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER L 

1803—1810. 
Gerald Griffin's Birth, Childhood, and early Education — Anec- 
dotes and Incidents of this Period — Removal to the Counjry 13 

CHAPTER II. 
1810-1819. 
Fairy Lawn, and Mode of Life there — Gerald's First Signs of a 
Love for Literature — Anecdotes of his Boyhood - - '29 

CHAPTER TIL 

1810—1823. 
Deputes* from Fairy Lawn, and Emigration to America— Idea 
of "bringing Gerald up to the Medical Profession — Adare — 
His firet regular connection with Literature — Letters to his 
Mother— His writing and acting Tragedies — Removal to 
Pallaa Ker\ry, and his first Journey to Locdorj - - 51 

CHAPTER IV. 
1623—1826. 
Gerald's eany Struggles in London — Tragedy of Aguire pre- 
sented — His Letters — State of the Drama — Madam Riego — 
Mr. Banim — Difficulties— Public Taste— Rejection of Aguire 
— Plaj of Gisippus — Author's Remarks regarding it — Scene 
from Gisippus in his Letters — His Observations on the Char- 
acters in it — His further Struggles — Mr. Banim's Friend* 
ship Authojr's own De*criptiuu of his Difficulties - • <6 



CONTENTS. 9 

CHAPTER V. 

1823—1826. 

Performance of Gisrppug at Drury Lane in 1842 — Letter* 
to America — The Author's Account of his Labours — First 
Successes — His great Mental Energy — His writing anony- 
mously — Success of these Attempts — Account of the Discovery 
of his Incognito — Satirical Verses — Verses on Recent Topics 
— Feelings of Depression — Poetry — Anecdotes — Independence 
of Character— Mr. Crabbe ------ 119 

CHAPTER VL 

1823— 1S26. 

Letters from London — Literary People— Dr. Maginn — Mr. 
Campbell — Miss Landon — Mr. Alaric Watts — Death of Mr. 
Foster— The O'Hara Tales— Public Taste— Literary Puf- 
fing — Party to Westminster Abbey — Religion in London — 
Mr. Keats — Catholic Meeting — O'Connell — Shiel — Author's 
Objurations on Literary Reputation — Sonnet — He devotes 
hinibelf to Writings in Prose — State of Health — Drama ac- 
cepted <jt the English Opera-house — His Feelings upon it - 15S 

CHAPTER VTL 

1826. 
Author's Occnnafion as a Reviewer — His state of Health on bit 



Brother's Arrival — Proposal for a genuine English Ope 
Correspondence with Mr. Arnold on the subject — Correspoo- 
dence with Mr. Banim — Gerald's Distaste for Patronage— 
Instances oi it — His Love of Originality — New Comedy writ- 
ten and subsequently destroyed — Frequency of Coincidences 
in Literature, and strong natural Probability of them — Com- 
plete, of " Holland- tide" - - 1*7 

2 A 



30 



CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

1827—1828. 

Continuation of the Correspondence vith Mr. Banim — Explana- 
tions — Reconciliation — Allusion to Religious Opinions — Clare 
Election of 1828 — Conclusion of Correspondence - - 17.1 

CHAPTER EX. 

1827—1828. 
Gerald's Return to Pallas Kenry — Death of his Sister— Sonnet 
to her Memory — Reviews of Holland-tide — Tales of the 
Munster Festivals — Life at Pallas Kenry — His great Power 
of Abstraction — Opinions on Literary People — Campbell- 
Byron — Moore and Burns — Fondness for Nature and Reality 
— The unintelligible School of Poetry — Coleridge's Table- 
talk — Gerald's Love of Music, and fine Taste in it - - 193 

CHAPTER X. 
1828— 1S29. 
Publication of Tales of the Munster Festivals — Gerald's Return 
to London — The Collegians — Circumstances in which it waa 
written — His Remarks on the Moral of the "Work — George 
Coleman, as a Deputy Licenser — Gerald enters as a Law Stu- 
dent at the London University — His Mode of Life in London 
— His Study of Irish History — The Invasion — Letters — 
Anecdote - ....... 219 

CHAPTER XL 

1829—1830. 
Jseturn to Pallas Kenry — Correspondence with Mr. and Mrs. 

. — Renewed Tisit to London — Letters from thence — A 

Dinner Party of Metaphysicians — Return to Ireland — Letters 
from the Sea-side ....... 242 



CONTENTS. 11 

CHAPTER XIL 

1830—1832. 

Alteration in Gerald's Opinions regarding Literature — Circum- 
stances which tended to produce it — Earnestness and Depth 
of his Religious Feelings — Effect of this change upon his 
Pursuits and the Character of his "Writings — Letters — Poems 
of a Religious Character — Continuation of the Correspondence 
with Mrs. ...267 

CHAPTER XIII. 

1832—1835. 

Cisit to Mr. Moore at Sloperton — Anecdotes — Mr. Moore and 

Grattan — Letters to Mrs. , describing this Visit — Gerald's 

Remarks on his alteration of Feeling — Continuation of Cor- 
respondence — Verses addressed to Mrs. . — Singular 

Presentiment — Sonnet - - - • ■• - -307 

CHAPTER XIV. 

1838. 

Gerald's latest Publications — The Barber of Bantry — the Duke 

of Monmouth -—A Trip to Scotland — Letter to Mrs. . 

Shorthand Notes of our Tour — Scenery on the Clyde — His 
Enthusiasm about it - - - - • • -32! 

CHAPTER XV. 

1838. 

Continuation of Tour — Glasgow — Falkirk — Linlithgow — Edin- 
burgh — Remarks on Burns' Monument — Holy rood House— 
Apartments — Portrait of David Rizzio — Miniature of Queen 
Mary-— Remarks on reading Character — Botanic Gardens- 
Slight Blness— Reflections --,-.- 338 



12 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

1838. 

Tour in Scotland continued— Stirling — Callander — Locb Achray 
—The Trosaclis— Fellow Travellers— Settling a Waiter's Bill 
— Loch Katrine — Beautiful Day — Pass of Inversnaid — An 
Edinburgh Schoolmaster — Loch Lomond— Remarks on Smol- 
lett and Fielding — Miss Martineau's Opinion on Cemeteries — 
Farewell to Scotland — Lovely Weather — Dublin — Return by 
Canal — Passengers — Anecdote — Conclusion ... 351 

CHAPTER XVIL 

1838—1840. 

Gerald's Return home — His Determination to embrace & Monas- 
tic Life — The Christian Brothers — His previous Habits and 
Conversations — Destruction of his Manuscripts — His Depar- 
ture — Letter to Mrs. . — His Religious Life — Feeling 

of Happiness in it — Strength of his Attachments — Removal 
to Cork — Visit to his Sister — His Illness and Death — Char- 
acteristic Incident*— Lines addressed to Mis. - 364 



THE LIFE 
or 

GERALD GRIFFIN. 



CHAPTER I. 
.1803—1810. 

GERALD GRIFFIN'S BIRTH, CHILDHOOD, AND EARLY EDUCATION — 
ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS OF THIS PERIOD — REMOVAL TO THB 
COUNTRY. 

Gerald Griffin, the subject of the present memoir, was 
born in the city of Limerick on the 12th of December, 
1803. The family from which he was descended was of 
Irish origin,* and appears, from ancient manuscripts still in 

* I am glad to have an opportunity of correcting a very serious 
error into -which I fell on this subject on the publication of the first 
edition of this memoir, which represented the family as probably of 
Welsh origin. From the moment I discovered this error I regretted 
it exceedingly, and can only plead as an excuse, that ray opportuni- 
ties for inquiry were, at that time, extremely limited, -which made 
me attach undue weight to circumstances hardly deserving of notice. 
I was, besides, then wholly unacquainted with the fact, that there 
had long existed in this country an ancient and purely Irish sept of 
that name. My ignorance of this will excite surprise, but so it was. 
Of course, if I had been aware of it, it would have been ridiculous and 
absurd to look elsewhere for the lineage of a family living in the 



14: LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

existence, to have been located from a very early period in 
the barony of Inchiquin, and the northern and western parts 
of the connty of Clare. The name is mentioned as O'Gri- 
obhth, prononnced O'Greefa, and anglicised Griffy, Griffith, 
and Griffin. Members of the family passed from time to 
time into the neighbouring counties of Kerry and Limerick, 
and settled there ; of these, our author's grandfather, James 
Griffin of Corgarriff, or Corgrigg, in the latter connty, was 
one. His third son, Patrick, having dwelt several years in 
a lovely and romantic spot called "Woodfield, on the border 
of one of those beautiful lakes which abound in the county 
of Clare, came into Limerick for the education of his chil- 
dren, and undertook the management of a brewery in 
Brunswick-street, a business with which he was but little 
acquainted. During the progress of a dwelling-house which 
he was building near it, he took a house in that part of the 
city called the King's Island, and here, in one of the most 
ancient and celebrated parts of the town, within the old 
city wall, and close by the cathedral, his ninth son. Gerald, 
first saw the light. 

In encountering the first steep ascent by which the 

country in ray own time, and of the same name ; but in truth, I had 
not the least idea that any means existed of establishing it histori- 
cally. Mr. Eugene Carry, the eminent Professor of Irish in the Ca- 
tholic University, has kindly favoured me with a paper, to be found 
in the Appendix, containing extracts from the book of Lecan, the 
Annals of the Four Masters, and other authorities, which, with the 
assistance of traditionary local testimony, sets the question entirely 
at rest, and proves beyond doubt that the family of Gerald Grifhu 
was of the old Milesian stock. Dr. John 0' Donovan, another equally 
well-known and eminent Irbh scholar, also notices this error in a note 
in the last edition of the Annals of the Four Ma-ters, and passes son e 
severe strictures — in this instance somewhat undeserved — on "the 
attempt, in modern times, to obscure the Irish origin of some families. 1 ' 
I trust I shall not be thought obtrusive in directing attention to these 
documents. I venture to insert them, first, with the view of estab- 
Hshing what is undoubtedly true : and secondly, lest the first erroneous 
itatements made should be considered of anv ^uthorifv. from the fact 
of their having come from a near relative of the author. 



lirrJ.ODUCTCRY. lb 

votaries of literature obtain a footing within the threshold of 
her temple, the subject of the present memoir will be found 
to have had his full share of those difficulties which are the 
unfailing inheritance of the untried and unknown, and per- 
haps, beset the paths of many melancholy souls who sink in 
the contest. Independent of these circumstances, which 
may be considered in some sort an apology for bringing for- 
ward the following notices of the life of Gerald Griffin, 
there are others which, without any unjust partiality to his 
memory, his friends cannot help thinking of much interest. 
In him, above all other men that ever lived or wrote, the 
passion for literature was least mixed up with the desire of 
gain. He always felt that it was deserving of a more ex- 
alted aim, and of ends that were not personal. For these 
he contended, and when, eventually, his devotion to it de- 
clined, this occurred only because he thought it an imperfect 
instrument for the accomplishment of that which he had 
principally in view ; for, at the time this change came over 
his mind, his reputation was at its highest, and his success, 
in a worldly point of view, complete. Besides, with such 
extraordinary dramatic power as the world has acknow- 
ledged in at least one of his works, there was united a 
lowliness of pretension that was altogether remarkable. 
"With a turn of mind singularly graceful and pure, and an 
imagination that threw off the richest gems in a certain 
walk of poetry, there was never seen the least trace of thai 
coarseness and grossness of sentiment which is so often 
intermixed with even the finest passages of our best writers, 
that it has been thought by many an essential ingredient of 
the strength by which they are characterised. He was one 
of the very few, indeed almost a solitary instance, of a 
young person of nineteen, thrown upon the world in Lon- 
don, without a single friend to look to for counsel, assistance, 
or support ; with the wasting labours of literature for his 
hope : with a feeling of independence so strong, and a scorn 
rtf aii paa-ona^*) so intense, that, as if in contrast v>ith the, 



16 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFD?. 

want of those high and manly principles exhibited by many 
men of genius of earlier times, he seems to have cultivated 
them with a severe and almost antithetical zeal ; relying 
entirely upon his own resources ; unaided by experience ; 
exposed to all those dangers which genius is sure to fall in 
with in a great city ; and yet coming out of this fiery trial 
with the character of his mind only elevated and purified 
in every one of those qualities we are accustomed to admire. 
The circumstance too, of a young man entering on his 
career with a stroug thirst for literary fame, having this 
thirst completely gratified, and then, at an early age, de- 
voting the remainder of his life to religion, is a fact rather 
new to literary history ; one which, though it may be dis- 
tasteful to a certain portion of the public in these frenzied 
times, will surprise, and perhaps startle many who live 
uuder the dangerous despotism of a worldly pride ; and the 
motives to which will be a curious subject of reflection even 
with those whom it cannot edify. 

I believe few persons have ever entered on a work of 
tins kind without a certain feeling of incompetency. It is 
not easy, with all the materials one can collect, to give a 
true history of the movements of the mind of any one in- 
dividual, and there are many sources of error on particular 
points from which it is difficult to escape. With the im- 
mediate friends, too, this sense of incompetency must b& 
rather increased than diminished. It is true, their intimacy 
and relationship give them many opportunities of informa- 
tion from which others are shut out ; but a partiality that 
is not unnatural, exposes them at the same time to the 
danger of overlooking many imperfections of character which 
to strangers would be obvious, while their affectionate 
interest in the memory of those who are gone, may tempt 
them to form too high an estimate of their abilities, or to 
run into panegyrics with which the public will not sympa- 
thise. All these circumstances render the biography of an 
individual a matter of delicacy and difficulty v> ith. his im- 



INTRODUCTORY. 17 

mediate friends ; but it may be stated, that at least the first 
of the dangers alluded to can certainly have no place here, 
since, in the history of literature, there have been few char- 
acters so slightly soiled by imperfection as that of which 
we treat, and for the rest, the works of the Author of the 
Collegians, his letters, and many pieces both of prose and 
poetry never before brought forward, will enable the public 
to form & correct notion of the justice of any opinion that 
is offered. 

The principal part of the narrative has been entrusted to 
me, as one who, being next above him in age, was the con- . 
stant companion of his childhood, and had on this account 
the still further happiness of enjoying through his whole 
life that confidence and intimacy to which, from a certain 
not unamiable peculiarity in his disposition, very few were 
admitted ; and further, that I was the only member of his 
family to whom fell the melancholy office of closing his eyes 
in death. A memory very defective upon particular points, 
with other circumstances besides those above-mentioned, 
makes me feel strongly my incapacity for such a task, but 
I undertake it with the less unwillingness, that many ch> 
cumstances relating to the more advanced and more im- 
portant portions of his life will I hope be furnished by others 
more capable of doing them justice. In these communica- 
tions, and more especially in his letters, will be seen much 
evidence of the constant cheerfulness by which he was ani- 
mated even in circumstances of great mental toil. He had 
a natural flow of good spirits, which at times burst forth, 
into such a sparkling and brilliant playfulness, as would be 
little anticipated in one apparently so grave, by those who 
had but a slight acquaintance with him. With these, from 
a constitutional timidity of habit, he was usually reserved, 
unobtrusive, and even retiring. They will no doubt bo 
astonished to perceive what a gentle and playful fire was 
screened from the public eye under that subdued and quiefc 
bearing, for it was one of his characteristics that he should 



18 LIFE OF GERALD GP.IFFIX. 

be known intimately to be known at all. Indeed, there 
conld hardly be a stronger contrast than that which was 
exhibited by his manner before strangers and in his owu 
family. While in the former case it was not deprived of 
that peculiar grace and charm, which a certain moderate 
dinidence always gives, and by which the interest of his 
conversation was enhanced when in the society of persons 
whose tastes were similar to his own ; his reserve was still 
£uch as to render it impossible for those persons to conceive 
the uncontrolled bursts of merriment of which he was capa- 
ble when at the firesides of those with whom, from frequent 
intercourse, he was accustomed to consider himself perfectly 
at home. His affection for his friends, and particularly for 
the members of his own immediate family, was so strong, 
that its full power was not always understood even by those 
who were the objects of it, a circumstance which arose in a 
great measure from the total absence of any tendency to 
display, so that it was sometimes revealed in its deepest 
forms by the occurence of trivial incidents, often far apart, 
and of a passing and accidental nature. One might indeed 
have lived for years with him before its entire force could 
be fully apprecia: 

My memory does not carry me so far back as the period 
of his infancy. The first I can remember of my young 
brother, was after our removal to the house in Brunswick- 
street, and of this time only a few incidents that tend to 
show his gentleness and susceptibility of spirit, and the 
vividness of his imagination. At that time the King's 
!▼, repeated beyond the ordinary number of terms, 
was celebrated by the usual signs of public joy, such as 
bonfires — the firing of cannon and musketry, «fcc, and the 
head of our street was a customary station for such dis- 
On one of these occasions, and it is my earliest 
recollection, I remember him, a small an I child, 

falling into floods of tears at the discharge of every new 
volley — my mother taking him into : raring him 



CHILDHOOD — SENSE OF THE SUPERNATURAL. 32 

diere was no danger, and trying to comfort him with * 
.song that he seemed at other time* fond of, 

His disposition to be affected by the supernatural was 
at thi3 time so strong that it sometimes put me upon pranks 
that were very unamiable, and some of which, considering 
the extreme sensitiveness of his nature, even the thought- 
lessness of childhood would scarcely sufficiently excuse. On 
one occasion, when we were together in a dark room, I 
observed that a light through the key-hole from a candle 
iu the next chamber fell upon the wall near where we sat, 
making a bright spot, and I asked him what it was ? He 
could not tell — I showed him that I could make it appear 
and disappear at my pleasure, while the motion of my 
hands in doing so were quite unseen by him. At length, 
when he was perfectly puzzled and seemed to be fully 
under the influence of that insecure feeling which attends 
the indefinite, I hinted to him the possibility of its being 
a spirit's eye. 'Twas like a match to gunpowder — he 
screamed out violently, and instantly brought the house 
about us. Before the authorities could appear, however, I 
found time to tell him what it was, which immediately 
quieted him. To all their inquiries as to the cause of the 
outcry they could obtain no satisfactory explanation, and if 
they continued to think of the affair afterwards it must 
have remained a mystery, for i" felt ashamed to acknow- 
ledge that I had been so mischievously occupied, and he r 
that he could have been so simply imposed upon, or so 
easily frightened. 

His imagination, always deep and glowing, had, as I have 
said, a strong tendency to be affected by the supernatural. 
This disposition, and even somewhat of a leaning to super- 
stition, has been often noticed as characteristic of the poetic 
temperament. It appears to arise partly from the power 
of the creative faculty itself — that great treasury of every 
poetical gem — and partly from that sensibility of spirit, 
which gives every impression of the fancy the fore 



20 LIFE OF GEBALD GRIFFIN. 

reality. If the credulity of childhood seem9 to come 
under the dominion of a more mature and rational feeliDg a3 
life advances, the strength of the imagination is, on the other 
hand, rather increased than diminished by the treasures it 
has collected in its progress, so that this tendency, when 
once established in early life, is seldom found to decline, 
and perhaps it would not be favourable to poetry that it 
should do so. The cold spirit, which has not a strong 
feeling of the incorporeal world, will be seldom found to 
originate powerfully. It is curious to trace tins feeling from 
early childhood through one's riper years. With Gerald, 
though strong, it was never paramount or irrational. He 
was, however, himself, very sensible of its power, and as 
it may be interesting to notice some of his allusions to it 
m after life, I insert a few of them here. The following 
exquisite address to Fancy forms the introduction to a 
published poem of his, called " Matt Hyland :" 



Thou rushing spirit, that oft of old 

Hast thrilled my veins at evening lonely. 
When musing by some ivied hold, 

Where dwelt the daw or martin only ; 
Thit oft hast stirred my rising hair, 

When midnight on the heath has found me, 
And told me potent things of air 

Were haunting all the waste around me. 



n. 

■■veep'st upon the inland breeze, 
By rock and glen in autumn weather, 
With fragrance of wild myrtle trees, 

And yellow furze, and mountain heather* 
Who sea-ward, on the scented gale, 
To meet the exile coursest fleetly, 
."."hen slowly from the ocean- vale 
His native land arises sweetly. 



ADDRESS TO FANCT. 21 

m. 
•That oft hast thrilled with creeping fear 

My shuddering nerves at ghostly'storr, 
Or sweetly drew the pitying tear, 

At thought of Erin's ruined glory. 
A fire that burns— a frost that chills, 

As turns the song to woe or gladness ; 
N ow couched by wisdom's fountain rills, 

And skirting now the wilds of madnese. 

IV. 

Oh ! spirit of my Island home, 

Oh ! spirit of my native mountain, 
Eomantic fancy ! quickly come ! 

Unseal for me thy sparkling fountain, 
If e'er by lone Killarney's wave, 

Or wild Glengariff's evening billow, 
My opening soul a welcome gave 

To thee beneath the rustling willow. 

v. 

Or rather who, in riper days, 

In ruined aisles at solemn even, 
My thoughtful bosom wont to raise 

To themes of purity and heaven ! 
And people all the silent shades 

"With saintly forms of days departed, 
When holy men and votive maids 

Lived humbly there, and heavenly hearted 

VL 

Oh thou, the minstrel's bliss and bane, 

His fellest foe, and highest treasure, 
That keep'st him from the heedless train, 

Apart in grief— apart in pleasure. 
That chainless as the wandering wind, 

Where'er thou wilt, unbidden blowes*. 
And o'er the rapt, expectant mind, 

All freely com'st, and freely goesL 

vn. 
Come, breathe along my eager chord, 
And mingle in the rising measure. 



22 LIFE OF GEEALD GElFFDi. 

Those burning thoughts and tinted words 
That pierce the inmost soul with pleasure. 

Possess my tongue — possess my brain, 
Through every nerve, electric thrilling, 

That I may pour my ardent strain 

With tuneful force, and fervent feeling. 

His father having been unsuccessful in business gave up 
the concerns in Brunswick-street, and retired again to the 
Island, but not to the same house he formerly occupied. 
Here began Gerald's earliest school days, under Richard 
MacEIigot, a character of some celebrity at that time in 
Limerick, and still well remembered there — a man of singu- 
lar ability and industry — a self-taught scholar, and one 
who, notwithstanding some peculiarities of manner, and per- 
haps a little pardonable vanity at the variety and extent 
of hi3 acquirements, had yet amassed a great amount of 
solid learning, and was held in very high esteem by Irish 
scholars of the time.* 

My mother went to the school with the boys on the first 
day of their entrance. " Mr. MacEIigot," said she, " you 
will oblige me very much by paying particular attention to 
the boys' pronunciation, and making them perfect in their 
reading." He looked at her with astonishment — " Madam/' 
said he, abruptly, " you had better take your children home, 
I can have nothing to do with them !" She expressed some 
surprise. " Perhaps, Mrs. Griffin," said he, after a pause, 
" you are not aware that there are only three persons in 
Ireland who know how to read." "Three!" said she. 
" Yes, madam, there are only three — the Bishop of Killaloe, 
—the Earl of Clare — and your humble servant. Reading, 
madam, is a natural gift, not an acquirement. If you 

* A very able and learned essay from his pen, on the grammatical 
structure, character, and literature of the Irish language, is still ex- 
tant in the first volume of the Transactions of the Gaelic Society o£ 
Dublin : 1806. He is said also to have compiled an Irish Grammar ; 
Lut this, I believe, was never published. 



EARLY SCHOOL DAYS. 23 

choose to expect impossibilities, you had better take yonr 
children home." My mother found much difficulty in keep- 
ing her countenance, but, confessing her ignorance of this 
important fact, she gave him to understand, that she would 
not look for a degree of perfection, so rarely attainable, and 
the matter was made up. 

I scarcely remember what Gerald was put to just then — 
not more than the first rudiments of learning ; and, indeed, 
I believe he was sent' to school at that early age, rather for 
the purpose of being drilled into the habit of saying lessons, 
than for any knowledge he was likely to acquire, or, per- 
haps, for the sake of keeping him out of mischief at home y 
where he used to indulge his fancy in pranks of so singular 
a nature, that when the astonishment of the house at one 
of them had subsided, it was difficult to tell how soon, or 
by what strange frolic, it might be called up again. On one 
occasion, while the family were out, he took the hearth- 
brush and went up the parlour chimney to sweep it. On 
being called, he descended to the earth. He wore, I think, 
a little plaid dress, and this, as well as his hands and face, 
were so smutted, dingy, and black, as not only indicated 
great zeal in his new vocation, but made it absolutely diffi- 
cult at first to distinguish him from a real sweep. Among 
his other tendencies at this age, he showed a taste for draw- 
ing, and much of his time at school was spent in endeavour- 
ing to copy figures of dogs, horses, and other animals, 
which he found in the various spelling-books around him. 
For this he seems to have had a strong natural bent, and 
though he took no pains afterwards to cultivate it, and 
scarcely ever received any instructions, he was capable of 
taking sketches of any scenes that interested him, in a cor- 
rect and agreeable manner. The engraving which is at- 
tached to the Collegians in this series, and in which a figure 
of Eily O'Connor on horseback has been introduced by the 
artist, is taken from a drawing of the gap of Dunloe by his 
hand, which is however, an exceedingly rude one, compared 
to some of his other sketches. 



24 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

He was, when a child, of a timid aud shy disposition, and, 
though cheerful and free among friends, was very much 
disconcerted by any circumstance that brought him under 
the observation of strangers. A woman came to the school 
one day with the singular request, that he might be allowed 
to touch her child for the evil. It is an opinion among the 
lower classes in Ireland, that the seventh son is born a 
physician, and has the same healing virtue in his touch, 
that was once attributed to the kings of England. Gerald, 
though the seventh son living, was, in fact, the ninth son 
born, as I have before stated, but this, the woman was 
probably not aware of. Mr. MacEligot kindly chose to 
gratify her wish, and one of the boys was desired to take 
him down to her. The circumstance immediately attracted 
the attention of the whole school. The moment he was 
singled out, he seemed thunderstruck at becoming at once 
an object of such public notice, and burst into tears. It 
was found difficult to get him to comply, as he seemed to 
be under some apprehension of danger, and I was directed 
to speak to him. After some persuasion, I took him by 
the hand, and led him down amid much tribulation, and an 
arm was presented? to him, such, that it was no wonder a 
child of a sensitive turn of mind should shrink from ap- 
proaching it. The woman took his hand, and passed it 
over the affected parts with such movements as were usual 
in these circumstances, but her attempts were frequently 
interrupted by his pulling away his hand eveiy moment, 
from his constant horror of the unhappy object. Indeed, 
he went through the whole ceremony very unwillingly, 
and with much suppressed grief. The poor woman seemed 
to go away dissatisfied, and certainly if the grace of cheerful- 
ness in the giver was necessary to sanctify the gift, or render 
the issue prosperous, this case must have been wholly un- 
successful. I have thought it not out of place to mention 
the particulars connected with it, as it presented some signs 
of that retiring and diffident manner before strangers, which 
go strongly marked his character in after life. 



INCIDENTS OF CHILDHOOD. 25 

I must now mention an occurrence which took place a, 
year or two after this period, and which, though he was 
not the principal actor in it, it is necessary to describe, 
partly because it gave me one of the earliest occasions of 
observing and feeling the strength of his affection, and partly 
because it was on the point of involving his destruction. 

One Sunday, Gerald and I, with two younger sisters, 
being left at home while the rest of the family were at 
their devotions at the chapel, were amusing ourselves 
together in the parlour. While playing about the room, I 
don't know which of us first perceived a case of pistols 
that my father had very imprudently laid on the chimney- 
piece before his departure. Such things are always an 
object of curiosity to children, and we eagerly seized on 
them. We must have been still very young at the time, 
for I remember we could only see them as we stood at the 
farther end of the room, and we were obliged to place a 
chair near the chimney-piece to take them clown. I was 
old enough, however, to know, that the length of the ram- 
rod was a measure of the ban-el of the pistol when empty, 
and as the question at once arose whether they were 
loaded or not, I looked for this instrument to try, but they 
were screw-barrelled pistols and therefore had no ram-rod. 
I then threw back the pan — there was no priming — so, with 
that common feeling which leads people to lean to what 
they most wish where the circumstances are doubtful, we 
took it for granted, in the absence of any positive proof to 
the contrary, that they were not loaded. It was imme- 
diately agreed that Gerald and I should right a duel. The 
little girls were too young to take much interest in such 
things, and the amusement was therefore entirely our own. I 
cocked both pistols — Gerald had net sufficient strength to 
cock his — and we took our stand at opposite comers of 
the room, took aim at each other, and snapped at a given 
signal, but no effect took place beyond a few sparks. This 
as repeated several times with the same result. At 



26 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

length we grew tired of it, and I began to cock and snap 
my own pistol without any other object than to watch the 
gay shower of sparks that sometimes arose from the pan. 
Gerald came over to look at me. It is an old and oft- 
repeated remark, " The mystery of the ways of providence." 
I have often thought since how inscrutable is its course — 
what excessive dangers it sometimes permits, and what 
trifling circumstances the preservation of a life of some 
importance seems occasionally to depend upon. I had the 
stock of the pistol to my breast, holding the barrel in my 
left hand, and he stood opposite me in such a position that 
if it went off then, the ball could take no other direction 
than through the centre of his heart. From what took 
place immediately afterwards, I have so often thought of 
this fearful moment, that every circumstance connected with 
it has entered my mind with a force that time can never 
weaken. I see it all as if it occurred an hour ago. I could 
point out the very board of the floor he stood upon. I 
could almost tell the direction of every spark in the magni- 
ficent shower that flew upwards as I drew the trigger- 
but Heaven, in whose hands is the guidance of every one 
of those illuminated atoms, was then watching over him 
and decreed it otherwise. The constellation of fiery points 
that arose at that moment was so much more brilliant than 
usual that we both shouted with delight, and I ran with 
ecstasy to repeat the experiment for one of my little sisters 
who was seated upon the end of a table near the window, 
with her feet upon a chair, laughing and enjoying herself. 
" Oh, Anna, said I, look at this !" I pulled the trigger, 
and was immediately stunned by a loud and ringing report. 
We were both enveloped in smoke, and the pistol fell from 
my hand. The ball passed through both her thighs — she' 
uttered a piercing cry, sprung from the chair, ran across 
the room, and fell bleeding at the door. There was a 
military hospital opposite us, and one of the surgeons being 
there at the moment, the sentinel directed his attention to 



EARLY AFFECTIONS. 27 

our house, saying he feared some accident had occurred, as 
he had just heard the report of firearms and saw smoke 
in ^ the parlour. The surgeon ran over, caught up the 
child in his arms, dressed her wounds, and had her placed 
quietly in bed by the time my father and mother returned. 
She was quite well in a month.* 

Meantime, I was beyond conception miserable. Not that 
I felt very acutely the consequences of my thoughtlessness, 
for though I had frequent tremblings as to the fate of my 
little sister, about whom there was for a time much anxiety, 
I had in general too little quickness to be impressed by 
such things as I ought. Neither was it the fear of being 
handed over to the public executioner for the act, though 
I was repeatedly assured by the servants, that this ceremony 
would certainly take place, as soon as my sister's wounds 
were healed, and the family had time to attend to it; nor 
was it a dread of my parents' anger, for my father, I 
believe, blamed his own imprudence principally for what 
had occurred, and my mother was too much stunned by the 
shock, and too much occupied with the object of her grief 
and solicitude to think of me. But there was a host of 
visitors' every day at the house, relatives and others, who 
came to inquire and sympathise, none of whom ever thought 
of leaving it without paying me the compliment of a visit, 
however obscure the comer I fled to, and letting me know, 
in person, then- opinion of me, together with the methods 
they would take to illustrate it, if the matter was left in then- 
hands. It is needless to describe these occurrences minutely. 
The expressions used, though they indicated no more than 
a strong feeling of horror at the deed, yet, as they took no 
note^of the slight degree of criminality, by which it might 
possibly be accompanied, were sufficient to make me 
wretched. It was the constant and miserable sense of 

This young lady afterwards entered the religious order of the 
Sisters of Charity, and is at present living in that community. 



28 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

being in disgrace with everybody, — of meeting almost 
everyone with an altered countenance, a state of things lesi 
intolerable to grown persons than to children, who usuall) 
depend so much for their comfort on those around them, — 
this it was that affected me. I spent my time every day 
either in tears, or in a wearied and tearless stupor from 
morning till night. In these circumstances, — and I only 
go into the detail of them for the sake of noticing it, — 
there was one faithful friend, who never deserted me for a 
moment, night or day. Has not the reader observed that 
kind of affection — pure and beautiful in its manifestation, 
as it is deep and fervent in its character — which shows 
itself not by words, or sounds, or the contemptible alphabet 
of professions, — which is best observed in early childhood, 
when all the good feelings of our nature are springing forth 
with the enchanting tenderness of life's first season, before 
vanity has yet aiisen to spoil them, or the selfishness of 
the world has come to cool them, — that fine attachment 
which is seen only in the silent testimonies of motion, 
those mute signals of a deep sympathy, innate and perfect ? 
Such was the affection I experienced in this mournful time, 
and that one friend was my young brother Gerald. I do 
not think, during the whole continuance of these vexations, 
he ever left my side for an hour. He scarcely ever opened 
his lips to me, but from the moment the accident first 
occurred, he seemed to feel it as I did, gave up all his little 
amusements, observed my looks, watched all my motions, 
brought me what I wanted before it was asked for, and 
followed me wherever I went. If I sat upon a stool, 
he placed himself upon the end of it ; if I sat upon a 
chair, he occupied the corner of it ; and if I went to my 
room and flung myself on the bed, he lingered some- 
where about the bedstead, or sat at its foot. It was more 
like the silent ministering of some benevolent guardian 
spirit, than of any earthly being, even of a brother. 
Such are the principal events, few but significant, which 



FAIRY LAWN. 29 

I can call to mind, regarding the period of his infancy and 
early childhood. During the latter part of our residence 
in limerick, my father had taken a place in the country, and 
•was occupied in building a house upon it according to a 
design of his own, the principal character of which was 
internal comfort To this we removed about the year 
1810, which leads me to a new portion of the subject. 



CHAPTER II. 
1810—1819. 

FAtBY LAWN AN"D MODE OF LIFE THERE — GERALD'S FIRST SIGN& 
OP A LOVE FOE LITERATURE — ANECDOTES OF HIS BOYHOOD. 

Our new residence, to which the name of Fairy Lawn wa3 
given, was situated on the Shannon, about eight-and- 
twenty miles from Limerick, and having left the city 
finally, we entered on our life there with all the freshness 
of a new beginning, and cheered by the novelty and the 
natural charms of a country home. The river, which grows 
wider by degrees in its onward course, expands a little 
above this spot into a vast sheet of water, separating the 
shores of Limerick and Clare by a distance of three miles, 
and giving the last named county, when viewed from the 
Limerick side, the appearance of a thin line of land stretch- 
ing away to the westward, where the shores seem to meet, 
and the river becomes again land-locked. Nothing can be 
more glorious than the magnificent floor of silver it presents 
to the eye on a fine evening in summer, when the sun ia 
setting, and the winds are at rest. The prospect from any 
elevated ground in such circumstances is quite enchanting. 
Indeed, there is no river in these countries that at all ap- 
proaches it in magnitude. Viewed from the heights of 



SO LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Knock-Patrick on a clear day, when the tide is full, and 
from whence one can see the broad Fergus, one of its tri- 
butaries, dotted with islands, and the Shannon itself as far 
as the distant island of Scatteiy, with its round tower aud 
ruined churches — that bright spot, where the stern saint 
sung his inhospitable melody — 

" Oh ! haste and leave this sacred isle," 
" Unholy barque," &c. ; 

and where its waters mingle with the Atlantic, it is pre- 
cisely what the poet Spencer has described it — 

"The spacious Shenan, spreading like a sea. : ' 

To the minds of those who have spent years on its margin, 
and enjoyed its ever-changing beauties, this oft-quoted 
eulogy is ever present. Yet these beauties are considerably 
diminished by the absence of lofty mountain scenery along 
its shores, and by its vastness, which makes any such fea- 
tures as do exist, as well as the woods and plantations with 
which it is too scantily furnished, shrink into nothing. 

It was on a lovely evening, just such as I have alluded to, 
that Gerald and I first arrived there. My father and mo- 
ther, who had gone there some time before, were walking 
about the grounds at the moment, and we ran up to them 
with the utmost delight. The latter, after welcoming us 
affectionately, immediately cast her eyes on our dress, some 
derangement in which was sure to betray us, whenever we 
indulged in any riotous or forbidden pastimes. About this 
she was always very particular, and the observation ap- 
pearing to be satisfactoiy, she dismissed us, saying we 
might run about and amuse ourselves. Nothing could ex- 
ceed our transport on beholding the grounds, the house, the 
garden, the river, the boats, with then* sails of glossy black, 
passing up and down ; and the enchanting views of the 



FAIRY LAWN. 31 

western sky. In the fever of our ecstasy, we ran to my 
mother, repeatedly and urgently requesting to know, '• how 
long we were to live there ?" She said, " I don't know — 
1 hope a very long time." " Were we to live ten years 
there?" "Oh, go now — don't ask foolish questions." 
We skipped off and "Taced about, until we became heated 
with exercise in our eagerness to see and examine every- 
thing. We then went into the house. Our two little sis- 
ters, nicely dressed — the eldest some time recovered from 
her wounds — stood, one at each side of the fire, leaning 
against the chimney-piece. They looked beautiful, and the 
very pictures of happiness, but were so bashful and timid 
from not having seen us for some time, that we could 
scarcely get a word from them, and it was half an hour or 
so before the ice was broke, and they became perfectly 
playful. It may be easily judged with what fondness and 
warmth of feeling Gerald was accustomed to look back 
to these scenes of his boyhood, from the opening stanzas in 
" Shanid Castle," one of his late poems, and perhaps it was 
tins very evening — though indeed there were many such — 
that was present to his mind, when writing the few sweet 
descriptive lines with which it commences : 



On Shannon side, the day is closing fair, 

The Kern sits musing by his shieling low, 
And marks beyond the lonely hills of Clare, 

Blue rimm'd with gold, the clouds of sunset glow. 

Hush in that sun the wide-spread waters flow, 
Returning warm the day's departing smile, 

Along the sunny highland pacing slow, 
The Keyriaght lingers with his herd the while. 
And bells are tolling faint from far Saint Simon's isle ! 

H. 
Oh, loved shore ! with softest memories twined, 

Sweet fell the summer on thy margin fair! 
And peace ccme whispering like a morning wind, 

Dear thou gits of love, to every bosom there 



82 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

The horrid wreck, and driving storm forbear 
Thy smiling strand — nor oft the accents swell 

Along thy hills, of grief or heart-wrung care, 
But heav'n look down upon each lowly dell, 
And bless thee for the joys I yet remember well ! 

As the period of onr residence at Fairy Lawn was an 
important part of Gerald's life, being that in which children 
usually receive the most lasting impressions for good or for 
evil, it will be well to show how the early part of his edu- 
cation was conducted ; and for this purpose, in giving some 
account of our mode of life there, it may perhaps be inter- 
esting to give also a slight sketch of those on whom the 
charge of it principally devolved. 

The family at this time consisted of his father and mo- 
ther, two elder sisters unmarried, two younger ones before 
spoken of, Gerald and myself. His eldest brother, while 
yet a mere boy, had obtained a commission in the army, 
and was gone to join his regiment. The next was sent to 
sea as a midshipman in the Venerable, a seventy-four gun 
ship, then cruising with the fleet in the channel ; and two 
others had been put to business in Limerick. 

His father was a man of active, business-like habits, but 
of such an easy, quiet temper, that few things could ever 
seriously disturb his equanimity. He seemed to possess, in 
a very high degree, that calmness of mind, and that cool, 
philosophic turn of thought, which are so much admired by 
Hamlet in his friend Horatio : 

-for thou hast been, 



As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing ; 
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards 
Hast taken with equal thanks ;" 

fltnd was truly one of those persons — 

" Whose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled, 
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger, 
To sound what stop she please ;" 



FAIRY LAWN. 33 

and whom, therefore, the thotight-worn and unhappy prince 
in the same passage pronounces as blest. Many a time 
have I seen him in those embarrassments, the distressing 
nature of which he was by no means insensible of, endea- 
vour to quiet the apprehensions of my mother, who always 
felt them more acutely, by representing to her the inutility 
of grieving for evils that were inevitable. When reasoning 
failed, he sometimes tried to laugh her out of her despon- 
dency ; and it was amusing to observe the slight toss of the 
head with which he gave up the contest, and the smile that 
played around his countenance, when he found both equally 
unavailing. He possessed a constant fund of humour, un- 
tinged by any shade of sarcasm, which, with his unchang- 
ing cheerful temper, always promoted cheerfulness in those 
around him, and made every one, even the youngest, quite 
happy in his society. He was fond of reading, and, though 
delighted with works of fiction, showed rather a leaning to 
those of a more solid character, though sometimes, when 
nothing better offered, he would take up with almost any- 
thing that came in his way, the most trifling works which 
Gerald or I brought from school, especially those from 
which he derived pleasure in his childhood, being sufficient 
to fill a vacant horn and satisfy his wants for the time. He 
was now and then, when at home, a little careless in his 
dress, for which he was sometimes taken to task by mem- 
bers of the family, though often without much amendment. 
He was, however, rather more particular, though not always 
so, before strangers, and I remember an amusing incident 
in relation to it. Walking one day towards the garden, he 
thought he perceived the bonnets of several ladies appear- 
ing above the hedge. As it was somewhat deep in the 
afternoon, and he took it for granted these visitors would 
remain for the day, he turned back to the house, called for 
hot water, shaved and dressed, and having made himself 
all right, returned to reconnoitre. On drawing nearer to 
the scene, he discovered, with much mortification at the 

c 



ol LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

trouble he bad been pnt to, that the appearance arose from 
a number of tall hollyhocks, which, as the season advanced, 
had grown above the hedge, and, by the brightness of their 
tints, gave the idea of the bonnets and gay ribands of a 
rich summer fashion. Every one was astonished to see 
the old gentleman come out so unusually gay at dinner, and 
bia explanation of the cause produced much laughter and 
quizzing. 

With these touches of the philosophic spirit, he was ex- 
tremely fond of politics, and entered with the warmest 
patriotism into the successful demonstration made in 1782 
in favour of free trade. It was always a subject of satis- 
faction to him to have been one of the Irish Volunteers, 
though he deeply regretted that they finally lost sight of 
their one great and true vocation, and in some sense be- 
trayed their trust, by omitting to seize the immense occa- 
sion which Providence had placed within their reach for 
the deliverance of their country. His natural equanimity 
of character and habitual patience was sustained by a deep 
religious principle, which attended him under every trial, 
and remained, even to his latest hour, unchanging through 
severe and tedious illness ; while his own disappointments 
in life, and the anxieties to which they gave rise, only 
made him more keenly alive to the distresses of others. 
Among other calls for his sympathy, he felt acutely the 
sufferings of the peasantry in the disastrous period of 1798, 
and did everytliing in his power to mitigate them. During 
these unhappy times, his words of warning or advice, and 
his endeavours to avert punishment, prevented or softened 
many instances of individual hardship wherever he had influ- 
ence. He was intensely interested in the straggle for eman- 
cipation, and in the great historical drama then in pro- 
gress on the European stage, and afterwards brought to 
such a brilliant conclusion on the fields of Waterloo. He 
was a great admirer of some public characters, particularly 
of Sir Samuel Piomilly, and I do not know that I ever saw 



FAIRY LAWN. 35 

him more violently or more deeply affected — at least by any 
thing that did not concern his own immediate family — than 
on one occasion when I met him on the lawn, and hand- 
ing him the newspaper, which I had just looked into at 
the village, gave him an account of the melancholy end of 
that lamented statesman. 

Gerald's mother, who was sister to an eminent physician 
in Limerick, a man of considerable talent and ability, was 
a person of exceedingly fine taste on most subjects, par- 
ticularly in literature, for which she had a strong and origi- 
nal turn, and which was indeed her passion. She pos- 
sessed, in an exquisite degree, that sensibility of mind which 
I have above noticed, as in some circumstances so distress- 
ing to her ; and this sensibility, the restless and inexhausti- 
ble fountain of so much happiness and so much pain, she 
handed down to her son Gerald in all its entireness. She 
was intimately acquainted with the best models of English 
classical literature, took great delight in then- study, and 
always endeavoured to cultivate a taste for them in her 
children. Besides that sound religious instruction which 
she made secondary to nothing, and which in her opinion 
was the foundation of everything good, it was her constant 
aim to infuse more strongly into their minds that nobility 
of sentiment, and princely and honourable feeling in all 
transactions with others, -which are its necessary fruits, and 
which the world itself, in its greatest faithlessness to re- 
ligion, is compelled to worship. She would frequently 
through the day, or in the evening, ask us questions in 
history, and these were generally such as tended to strengthen 
our remembrance of the more important passages, or to 
point out in any historical character, those traits of moral 
beauty she admired. " Gerald," I have heard her ask, " what 
did Camillus say to the schoolmaster of Falerii?" Gerald 
instantly sat erect in his chair, his countenance glowing 
with the indignation such an act of baseness inspired, and 
repeated with energy — "Execrable villain;" cried the nobla 



36 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Roman, " offer thy abominable proposals to creatures like 
thyself and not to me. What ! though we be enemies of 
your city, are there not natural ties that bind all mankind 
which should never be broken ?" Sentiments of the same 
exalted character were often renewed in her letters, but, 
whether spoken or written, they always assumed an attrac- 
tive form, and seemed principally intended to lay the 
ground-work of those virtuous habits of feeling and oi 
action, the formation of which it was her delight to secure. 
To this her exhortations were chiefly directed, and they 
were dwelt upon and repeated with an earnestness and force 
that could hardly fail to enter deeply into the minds of 
those to whom they were addressed. In one of these 
letters, written the first time Gerald was ever removed from 
her anxious and affectionate eye, and which I find pre- 
served among his papers with an almost religious care, she 
says: ." We were very apprehensive the morning you went 
away, lest the weather should turn out too rough for the 
small boat. I was not easy, indeed, until she returned. I 
hope, my dear Gerald, you will attend to all the advice I 
gave you on leaving this. Our parting was a painful 
moment to me, and the greatest comfort I can have, will 
be to hear that you are a good boy, and attentive to your 
duties." And in another of a later date : " And^now, my 
dear Gerald, this subject gone by, I hope you have quite 
recovered your strength and spirits after your late attack. 
I feel grateful to our good friends for their kind attention 
to you, and hope you will always continue to deserve it. I 
shall be glad to hear that you have been at conrmunion, 
as the best thanksgiving you can offer for the blessing of 
health, and it will always be my pride and sweetest pleasure, 
and my best comfort in your absence, to hear that you are 
a good boy." Will the reader forgive another short ex- 
tract in this place, from the letters of one, of whom but 
too little will be ever known, and who, even from these 
faint outlines, must ever be considered by persons of all 



fAIRY LAWN. 37 

shades of opinion, an admirable character — one indeed in 
regard to which it may be said, that the most fervent praise 
of her children can never be called enthusiasm ? The letter 
is from America, where she spent the latter part of her 
life. She still addresses Gerald, and speaking of him and 
me, with the touching earnestness of one who felt that sh© 
had made her final parting, says : " I hope, dear Gerald, you 
will continue to love one another, and that you will always 
strengthen each other in virtuous sentiments ; and let me 
impress on both your minds that nothing will procure you 
such solid peace in the evening of life, as the consciousness 
of having lived virtuously, and having served in spirit and 
in truth the great Creator of all." How deeply these early 
lessons had sunk into his mind, may be easily seen from 
the religious tone, and the fine spirit of morality that 
breathes through all his works. Whether that hope, which 
so constantly casts its light before the reality that is too 
often doomed to disappoint it, and which naturally burns 
with unusual brightness in the bosom of a mother, ever 
led her fully to anticipate the triumphs he afterwards 
achieved, it is difficult to say. In all probability not ; but 
it cannot be doubted, that in these early examinations her 
acute mind was able to perceive the seeds of much genius, 
for I remember distinctly, that, during the course of them, 
his recollection of events and their circumstances was ex- 
ceedingly strong, and though he was much younger, wag 
beyond all comparison superior to mine. She had the 
happiness of living to witness and enjoy the rich harvest 
that sprung from germs thus implanted and nourished by 
her own hand ; and it is a source of keen satisfaction to 
those who have survived her, and remember a thousand 
things deserving of praise — too long however to detain 
the reader with — that an occasion has risen for recording 
a few of those virtues, which were daily exercised without 
a thonght or a wish that they should ever come before the 
world, and without an end or a hope, beyond what heaven 



SS LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

itself would "ardently sanction. She died, as I have stated, 
in America, whither she and my father with some other 
members of the family had emigrated some years before, 
and was buried " on Susquehanna's side," after a few days' 
illness, caught during an attendance on my eldest brother, 
who had left the army, and was then living with them. 
A piece of glass was inserted into the lid of her coffin, to 
enable her friends to look on her countenance to the latest 
moment, and that calm, pale face, too soon to be for ever 
hidden, was gazed on with veneration by her weeping 
children, during the few short hours that elapsed before 
her remains were conveyed to then- final resting-place. 

Soon after our arrival at Fairy Lawn, a tutor was en- 
gaged to attend us for some horns every day. He was a 
man of great integrity, of very industrious habits, an ex- 
cellent English scholar, a good grammarian, and wrote a 
beautiful hand. He was very fond of quoting Shakspeare, 
Goldsmith, and Pope, and the first Hues of our copies almost 
always consisted of some striking sentiment from one of 
these authors. Goldsmith, however, seemed his great fa- 
vourite, and he frequently repeated long extracts from the 
"Deserted Village," and other poems, which, if it were not 
for their extraordinary sweetness and truth, would have 
become very unpopular with us, from the flippancy and 
settled accent with which, from long familiarity, the finest 
thoughts in them were expressed. Even with all their 
beauties, this constant iteration was subjecting them to a 
very severe test. Besides the loss of that novelty and 
freshness which drives the world eternally to seek for some- 
thing new, and to prize originality in every production, the 
most beautiful pictures in them were associated with tones 
and inflexions of voice not always agreeable, and but little 
calculated to convey the depth and tenderness of the author's 
meaning ; yet I well remember that even at this early time, 
and under all these disadvantages, they laid a strong hold 
on Gerald's imagination This was the case particularly 



FAIRY LA\ry, 39 

with many exquisite passages in the "Traveller," and those 
charming scenes and touching delineations of character in 

the " Deserted Village," which, when once read, whether 
in childhood, youth, or age, can never be forgotten. He 
repeated them frequently to me, and made remarks on 
them which I now forget, bat his favourite parts seemed 
to be the description of the clergyman and the village 
schoolmaster, together with that enchanting apostrophe to 
poetry at the close of the latter poem. On going over his 
papers lately, I have found among them a manuscript copy 
of this beautiful poem, which seems by the date to have 
been given him when he was about ten years of age, and 
is in the hand-writing of that fond parent who cherished 
his rising love of literature, with a mother's warmest aspi- 
rations. It begins without any title, but at the foot of the 
last page is written, in the same hand, the words : " De- 
serted Village, an invaluable treasure." I mention these 
matters just to enable the reader to judge how far they may 
have influenced his subsequent tastes ; and I cannot help 
thinking that such sweet scenes being presented to his mind 
at this early and susceptible age, may have produced a 
lasting impression, and may have had something to do in 
forming that delicacy of thought, and that passion for truth, 
and nature, by which his writings were afterwards distin- 
guished, and which were such strong characteristics of that 
poet, to whom he seems in many respects, in the tone and 
colouring of his ideas, to have borne a marked resemblance. 
As our tutor had a school in the neighbouring village of 
Loughill, he could only devote the first part of the day to 
us, and he was so active and punctual in his attendance, 
that we were usually dressed and seated on the side of the 
bed for some time before we had sufficient light to go to our 
lessons. He generally knocked at our window at the first 
glimmering of dawn, and repeated the word " up," slowly 
at first, but then several times in succession, with a rapid 
articulation and gradually rising voice, until at length it 



40 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

sounded on our startled ears like a discharge ot artillery, 
and put the possibility of sleep quite out of the question. 
We remained with him until breakfast hour, when he went 
away to his school, but usually returned in the evening to 
give us lessons in writing and arithmetic. Our elder sisters, 
whose education was completed, took the instruction of the 
little girls almost entirely into their own hands, and during 
the course of the day made us join them in their Frenchlessons. 
While these lasted it was the rule to speak nothing but 
French, and any one who then inadvertently let slip a word 
of English, had a card instantly hung by a riband round 
his neck, which was looked on as a mark of disgrace, and 
obliged to be worn until some other person transgressed in 
a similar manner, when it was joyfully transferred. As 
these lessons were over early, there was a considerable space 
left for recreation, between them and dinner. In the even- 
ing, Gerald or I, or one of my sisters, read a chapter or 
two in the Bible, after which my father and mother played 
a few games of chess — rarely, however, more than one. 
Those who have witnessed their contests at this beautiful 
game, will not forget the pleasant, good-natured raillery on 
past triumphs over each other by which they were accom- 
panied, nor the little poetical scraps which the latter brought 
to her aid on any emergency, and by one of which she was 
accustomed sometimes, after a pause of deep consideration, 
to intimate the difficulty of her position — 

" I do not like thee, Doctor Fell — 
The reason why, I cannot tell ; 
But this I'm sure I know full well, 
I do not like th«e, Doctor Fell !" 

^ot nnfrequently they and my elder sisters, or some occa- 
sional visitors, formed a party for whist, or sometimes there 
was a round game of cards, in which, when our evening 
tasks were completed, wc were occasionally permitted to 
join. These recreations were soon over, and the family re- 
tired to rest early. 



LIFE AT FAIRY LAWN. 4l 

The circumstances in which Gerald was placed, therefore, 
though they did not afford opportunities for extensive or 
varied information, were not, on the whole, unfavourable to 
the cultivation of literature, and his early love for it was re- 
markable. It evinced itself at this time by his generally 
sitting to his breakfast or tea with a book before him, which 
he was reading, two or three under his arm, and a few 
more on the chair behind him ! This was often a source of 
amusement to the rest of the family. He had a secret 
drawer in which he kept his papers, and it was whispered 
that he wrote scraps and put them there ; but he was such 
a little fellow then, that it was thought to be in imitation 
of one of his elder brothers, who had a strong taste for 
poetry, and as it did not, on this account, excite the least 
curiosity, no one ever tried to see, or asked him a question 
about them. His mother met him one night going to his 
room with several large octavo volumes of " Goldsmith's 
Animated Nature" under his arm. " My dear child," said 
she, with astonishment, " do you mean to read all those 
great books before morning ?" He seemed a little puzzled, 
but looking wistfully at the books, and not knowing which 
to part with, said he wanted them all, upon which he was 
allowed to take them. One evening, while one of our young 
people was reading aloud something about the trade-winds, 
one of his elder brothers, to whose tastes I have before 
alluded, and who from his childhood had shown the greatest 
activity of mind, imagined he could illustrate the subject 
with a spinning-wheel that was in the kitchen, and went 
out to try. While the servants observed him with aston- 
ishment, and some concern for his senses, Gerald instantly 
guessed what he was about. On returning to the parlour, 
his mother asked, " Gerald, where is William ?" " He is 
spinning monsoons, mamma," said Gerald, with an air of 
great gravity. He made a blank book, and many of hi3 
hours of recreation were occupied in copying pieces of poetry 
into it. As our library was not large, the poetry it con- 



42 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

tained was very select in its character, so that anything he 
could lay hands on in general qnite satisfied him, but for 
the most part the pieces he copied consisted of Moore's 
Melodies, .or extracts from his longer poems, which were 
written out with a care and completeness that showed his 
high admiration of them, the ah* being marked at the head 
of each of the melodies, and even the notes to them being 
included. 

A few more anecdotes of his childhood may not be un- 
acceptable, though I have some fear of dwelling too long 
npon them. One day an uncle of ours came to the house, 
brought a large dog with him. and stayed to dinner. Ger- 
ald dined at the side table, and the dog stood behind his 
chair, seeming to watch where his best chance lay. He 
was one of the most beautiful specimens of the greyhound 
tribe, being of a mouse colour, with the lofty stature, slender 
bead and limbs, flowing outline, and piercing vision, that 
give to that species its full perfection. On this occasion he 
took a dishonourable advantage of these personal qualities, 
for when Gerald lifted his arm a little from his side, he 
popped Ms head through the opening, and the plate was 
cleared. A second supply met with the same fate, and this 
was repeated two or three times in succession, the dog 
coming in unobserved every time the parlour door was 
opened. At length the quantity the little fellow was con- 
suming seemed to attract his mother's attention. Having 
supplied him once more, she cast her eye a few minutes 
afterwards towards the side table, and the state of affairs 
there set the whole table in a roar. Gerald had this time 
watched his interests much more closely, and when his ag- 
gressor thrust his head again through the narrow defile, he 
closed his arm upon it and kept it fast locked. When she 
looked over she saw him very contentedly prosecuting his 
dinner, with the huge animal's head under his arm, his left 
hand being, however, a little limited in its motions by the 
necessity of keeping his prisoner close. The dog did not 



AMUSEMENTS. 43 

struggle, nor attempt to get away, the agreeable prospect 
before him probably compensating for his temporary loss of 
liberty ; but he seemed to follow with his eyes the point of 
the fork, in the very important semicircles it was describing 
between his keeper's plate and his lips. 

At this time he was very fond of birds, and made re- 
peated attempts to rear them, but most unfortunate were 
those that came under his guardianship. They seemed ever 
fated to disappoint the care he bestowed on them. He once 
asked one of his elder sisters to feed one while he was away 
somewhere, which she never thought of doing until she saw 
him on his return within a few steps of the door. Her for- 
getfulness provoked a general laugh, and she had not time 
to compose her countenance again properly, when Gerald 
found her trying to revive the drooping little victim, but too 
late. He said afterwards, complaining gently of it to one 
of the family, " Ellen speaks to me sometimes about cruelty 
to animals, but I actually saw her laughing and my bird 
gasping." " I observed," says one of his sisters, " the cat 
flit by him once or twice with an appearance of fear, and 
said, ' How have you managed, Gerald, to make the cat so 
much afraid of you ?' ' Oh, not of me particularly, per- 
haps,' said he, * but she generally feels a little timid after 
having killed a bird.' " He usually reared his birds in the 
nests in which they were found. These were placed in a 
bandbox for security. He laid the cover on it after having 
fed them at night, and put it on the top of a high roofed 
bed in which he slept. On taking it clown one morning, 
he thought it felt unusually heavy, and lifting the cover, 
which was loose, he foimd the cat there, taking a comfort- 
able nap, after having disposed of the whole of his young 
family. The feeling with which he would regard an enor- 
mity of this nature may be guessed, and in such circum- 
stances it would not be wonderful if the animal knew some 
good reasons for flitting by him in the manner represented. 

His principal amusements at this period were fishing and 



44 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

shooting. In the latter art his ambition was not very high, 
being confined for the roost part to sparrows, larks, yellow- 
hammers, and the smaller tribe. He used a rusty old gun 
of my father's, about the performance of which, in other 
hands, there were many traditions, but which in his did 
little credit either to his skill as a sportsman, or to its own 
ancient fame. He sometimes manufactured his own pow- 
der from a recipe found in some old book about the house, 
a bold idea to which he was tempted by the distance to 
Limerick, and the uncertainty of messengers. It was, 
however, veiy slow to ignite, and though wonderful as the 
production of a boy nine or ten years old, was, a? may be 
conjectured, but indifferent stuff compared to what he might 
have purchased for a small sum in town. He eventually gave 
up these attempts entirely, his resolution to do so being 
hastened by the explosion of a large platefull of it which 
he was drying near the fire, and on which he incautiously 
let a spark fall. By a singular coincidence, the very sister 
who was before so dangerously wounded, was sitting before 
the plate when the explosion took place, but did not suffer 
any injury this time, though the flame of the powder seemed 
to fly in her face. In these sporting excursions a cousin 
of his, v to whom he was much attached, and who was a 
great quiz, used to tell a story of him, which, without pro- 
nouncing upon its accuracy, I will just mention, since, though 
very repugnant to his well-known sensibility, it may, amid 
the changing and unsettled feelings of boyhood, be consi- 
dered somewhat characteristic. He said that Gerald one 
day, when out shooting, had just presented his gun at a little 
bird perched on the top branch of a tree, and was about to 
fire, when suddenly the bird began to sing. Gerald's ear 
was caught ; he took down the piece, fell into a listening 
attitude, and seemed to drink in the melody of the little* 
songster with the greatest delight. When it was entirely 
over, however, the temptation to a sitting shot becoming 
irresistible, he resumed his first intention, and " the mia- 



SHOOTING. 45 

strel fell." This horrible profanation of the tenderness usually 
allied to the poetical, Gerald strongly abjured all remem- 
brance of, while his friend has strongly persisted in its 
truth. 

With such rude appliances as I have mentioned, his 
home-made powder and shot, and his flints sometimes 
formed of pieces of white silex found on the shore of the 
river, it will readily be believed that his essays as a sports- 
man consisted rather in a succession of rude alarms, than 
any very extensive destruction among the feathered inhabi- 
tants of our neighbourhood. Such as they were, however, 
they afforded him much amusement, and formed a bright 
contrast with the ill-requited pursuits of his later years. 
There are few persons, however calmly they may have 
passed through the after part of life, that do not feel the 
force of this contrast, and look back with a fondness un- 
exampled to the sunny days of their childhood : and how 
firmly do its pictures remain fixed in the memory ! I can 
call up those happy visions still, with the distinctness of 
yesterday ; his slender figure, fight and active step, and 
the calm yet thoughtful light that beamed in his eyes. 
When I have shown all that has passed since; hi3 
desperate yet vain struggles for dramatic distinction, his 
shattered constitution, half gratified ambition, and early 
death, I cannot help thinking that the public will feel a 
Strong sympathy for the wearied spirit that was obliged 
at last to place its hopes where they could not again be 
cheated : even now, while praises are poured forth that can 
never reach his ear, and the press teems with eulogies 
too late for his heart to prize, it is not without an intense 
degree of feeling that I turn to the time, when, with that 
heart buoyant and fight, and with the current of life still 
fresh upon his cheek, he stooped and stole along the hedges 
in the afternoon, in the pursuit of some one of the little 
persecuted inhabitants of our plantation, who, with an 
attraction for him more keen than the " talisman's glitter- 
ing glory," flitted from tree to tree. 



46 HFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

In the year 1814, being then about eleven years 01 age, 
he was sent to Limerick and placed at the school oi Mr. 
T. M. O'Brien, whom I have before mentioned as one of 
the first classical teachers in the city. Here he had the 
high advantage of having as an instructor one who wag 
passionately devoted to the ancient poets, and showed a 
highly cultivated taste in then- study. In addition to his 
natural bent, he therefore caught up much of this spirit, 
and from this, as well as a good natural capacity, made very 
rapid progress. He was exceedingly fond of Virgil, Ovid, 
and Horace, particularly the first, winch he read with such 
an absorbing interest that his lessons lost all the character 
of a school-boy's task. Lucian, also, he was greatly taken 
with, though he did not make much progress in it until 
afterwards. The strong interest he took in these authors, 
which was so much in accordance with Mr. O'Brien's own 
tastes, made him a prime favourite with him, and long 
alter he had left the school he was asked for with an 
affectionate regard, and spoken of by his kind instructor, 
as one who would yet become distinguished. A young 
man named Donovan, from the classical " Kingdom of 
Kerry," having opened a school in the village of Loughill, 
near Fairy Lawn, and being already engaged in teaching 
'two of his brothers, it was determined to take him from 
Mr. O'Brien's and place him under his care. The tastes, 
however, which he had imbibed in Limerick never left him, 
and there was always a strong contrast between the elegant 
yet simple language which Mr. O'Brien had taught him to 
seek in his translations, and the rough, homely, and straight- 
forward methods pursued at the village school, which last 
were sometimes made surpassingly ridiculous, by the literal 
rendering of expressions purely metaphorical. How much 
alive he was to the drollery of this contrast is shown by 
his sketch of a country school in the " £:vals. : ' which, as 
far as regards the attempts at translation made by the 
scholars, is not in the dightest degree exaggerated. Is 



AMUSEMENTS. 47 

must, however, be stated, that the amusing and characteristic 
commentary on the beauties of the poet in that sketch, 
is not a correct representation of what fell from the lips of 
our instructor there, who was a young man of very respec- 
table acquirements, and would have been himself as much 
diverted by it as any other person could be. It is, neverthe- 
less, not at all untrue. It is a perfectly correct type of a 
class of teachers that once existed in the south of Ireland, 
and perhaps may still be found there, whose progress in the 
classics, particularly in the western part of the country, 
forms as remarkable a contrast to their primitive and 
unpolished manners, as it does to the poverty and almost 
raggedness of their dress. Even with the more respectable 
pretensions of our Kerry master, some droll incidents in 
connection with our studies occasionally took place, of 
which the following may be taken as a specimen. " Mr. 
Donovan," said one of the scholars, " how ought a person 
to pronounce the letter i in reading Latin ?" If you intend 
to become a priest, Dick," said the master in reply, " you 
may as well call it ee, for I observe the clergy pronounce it 
in that manner i but if not, you may call it ee or i just as 
you fancy." " Dick" has become a priest since, and a 
most excellent one, and I have no doubt pronounces the 
letter in the manner recommended in that contingency. 
Gerald was excessively amused with this answer, having 
never learned anything of this conditional pronunciation 
during the progress cf his studies in Limerick. 

I have mentioned fishing as one of his amusements, and 
it was a recreation of which he was exceedingly fond. 
The country to the southward and eastward of our house 
was cut by a deep ravine, at the bottom of which ran a 
river called the Ovaan, or white river, which, during the 
lapse of centuries, had cut its way down to the very basement, 
and there, flinging itself over shelving rocks of limestone 
in cataracts and rapids, sometimes forming dark and deep 
pools, at others, broad and glistening shallows, sometimes 



48 LIFE OF GEEALD GEIFFEN'. 

bound by a lofty cliff, sometimes by a pebbly shore or grassy 
slope, gave rise in its serpentine and winding course to 
every beauty of which that kind of scenery is susceptible. 
Part of it was very well wooded, and I do not know a ramble 
more delightful in its solitude than that which might be had 
by wandering through the ravine for some miles along its 
bed. In a wild and lonely glen, on a little green spot near 
its margin, and close by a huge cliff, stood the parish 
chapel, a small cruciform thatched building, in which Mr. 
Donovan on week days was permitted to hold his school, 
and which, therefore, besides the beauty of its situation, had 
other winning associations for us. This, which was a 
favourite haunt of my brother's in his fishing days, has 
been long gone to decay. He alludes to it feelingly, and 
to other scenes associated with it, in the introductory 
stanzas to the earliest of the " Tales of the Monster Fes- 
tivals," in which the reader will see the abiding affection 
with which his heart was drawn to the parents and friends 
from whom he was too early separated : 



Friends, far away — and late in life exiled, 

Whene'er these scattered pages meet your gaze, 
Think of the scenes where early fortune smiled, 

The land that was your home in happier days. 

The sloping lawn, in which the tired rays 
Of evening stole o'er Shannon's sheeted flood, 

The hills of Clare, that in its softening haze. 
Looked vapour-like and dim, the lonely wood, 

The cliff-bound Inch, the chapel in the glen, 
Where oft with bare and reverent locks we stood, 

To hear th' Eternal truths ; the small, dark maze 

Of the wild stream that clipp'd the blossom'd plain, 
And toiling through the varied solitude, 

I prais'd its hundred silver tongues and babbled praise 



That home is desolate ! — our quiet hearth 
Is ruinous and cold— and many a sight 



OVAAN RIVER. 49 

And many a sound are met, of vulgar mirth, 

Where once your gentle laughter cheer'd the night. 

It is as with your country ; the calm light 
Of social peace for her is quenched too, 

Rude discord blots her scenes of old delight, 
Her gentle virtues scared away, like you : 

Remember her, when in this Tale ye meet 
The story of a struggling right — of ties 

Fast bound, and swiftly rent — of joy— of pain — 

Legends which by the cottage-fire sound sweet, 
Nor let the hand that wakes those memories 

(In faint, but fond essay) be unremembered then. 

He took great delight in straying along the glen, by the 
bed of the river, usually taking a book with him, sticking 
the end of his- fishing rod in the bank, and lying down on 
the grass to read while waiting for a bite. A good deal 
of time was spent in this recreation, but he was encouraged 
in the pursuit of it by the circumstance, that one of his 
sisters, the same wkom he had so touchingly charged with 
the neglect of his bird, had for some time been in a declin- 
ing state of health, and shown a capricious and delicate 
appetite, to which fish was a great treat. Though his ap- 
paratus for the exercise of this art was even still more rude 
than that used in shooting, and consisted generally of a 
crooked pin, with a worm on it, regular fishing-hooks being 
a luxury which, in practice, he knew nothing of, his suc- 
cess in it was infinitely greater, and he seldom returned at 
five o'clock — the hour at which he usually made his ap- 
pearance — without a nice dish of trout, drawn from the 
shaded depths of this sweet stream. In these excursions 
he was generally attended by a poor little creature from the 
village, who seemed to have a wonderful desire for his 
society. He was a little simpleton named Kilmartin, who 
went about with a sort of one-sided jerking gait, like St. 
Vitus's dance, spoke with a very indistinct articulation, and 
stammered dreadfully, his attempts to make himself under- 
stood throwing his countenance into contortions, that only 

D 



50 • LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

in a more horrible manner relieved its natural expression of 
imbecility. Wherever Gerald's line was thrown, little Kil* 
martin's was sure to be beside it, or sometimes flung across 
it, as if he was determined to share in all his fortunes whe- 
ther good or evil, and it was amusing, and yet touching 
and pitiful, to observe the joyous light that straggled feebly 
in his eyes, and the distortions of face and indistinct chuck- 
ling that expressed his pleasure and his triumph when- 
ever he drew a trout from the spot, where the line of his 
companion lay in dull and unpromising repose. Gerald 
always looked upon this poor creature with the strongest 
sympathy, and at length became so accustomed to his at- 
tendance, that he felt rather lonely whenever accident or 
illness prevented his appearance. He often asked him 
questions, with the view of ascertaining the degree of in- 
telligence he possessed, and though the little fellow's an- 
swers could seldom be understood, he yet made such at- 
tempts at communication as few others could have drawn 
from him, and my brother often expressed his conviction, 
that his mental faculties were not as weak as they were 
thought to be. 

This unhappy object some years afterwards was bitten 
by a mad dog, and died of hydrophobia in frightful agony. 
It was after we had left that part of the country, but Gerald ; 
I remember, was very much affected when he heard it. The 
memory of these sweet scenes of his boyhood always rested 
in his mind with an indwelling and powerful feeling that 
nothing could remove or weaken. He recurs to them again 
and again, in various passages of his poetry, and a few of 
the descriptive scenes in his novels are taken from them. 
One of his sisters, writing from America some years ago, 
requested him to send her some words to the air of " Roy's 
wife,"* as she was dissatisfied with those they were accus- 

* This air is equally well known in the south of Ireland by the 
name of " Garnevilla," from some words which were adapted to it by 
the late Edmund Lysaght, of Gars, which were at one time extremely 
popular. 



EARLY RECOLLECTIONS. 51 

tomed to sing to it. In complying with her desire, he re- 
calls the same subject again, and takes occasion once more 
to indulge his long cherished recollections in the following 
beautiful lines : 



Know ye not that lovely river ? 
Know ye not that smiling river ? 
Whose gentle flood, 
By cliff and wood, 
With wildering sound goes winding ever. 
Oh ! often yet with feeling strong, 

On that dear stream my memory ponders. 
And still I prize its murmuring song, 
For by my childhood's home it wanders 
Know ye not, &c 

n. 

There's music in each wind that blows 

Within our native valley breathing ; 
There's beauty in each flower that grows 

Around our native woodland wreathing. 
The memory of the brightest joys 

In childhood's happy morn that found us, 
Is dearer than the richest toys, 

The present vainly sheds around us- 
Knw ye not, &a 

m. 

Oh, sister ! when 'mid doubts and fears, 

That haunt life's onward journey ever, 
I turn to those departed years, 

And that beloved and lovely river ; 
With sinking mind and bosom riven, 

And heart with lonely anguish aching, 
It needs my long-taught hope in Heaven, 

To keep that wer.ry heart from breaking ! 
Know ye not, &c. 

The exquisite tenderness and depth of the feeling con- 
veyed in these lines rendered them, like those touching ones 



52 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIX. 

addressed by the late Rev. C. Woulfe to " Mary," but badly 
adapted to be sung to any air, however beautiful. It is 
evident they were written after that change had come over 
his mind, to which I have already slightly alluded, and which 
took away entirely his early and strong thirst for literary 
fame. However people in general may regret such an 
alteration, there are few persons who have arrived at that 
period of life when reflection begins to prevail, and enables 
them to perceive clearly the fleeting destiny of every tem- 
poral interest, who have not themselves at one time or 
another been under the visitation of those " doubts and 
fears" they so beautifully express, and who will fail therefore 
to sympathise with that serious cast of thought, which was 
so prevalent in his later writings, though it lessened their in- 
terest, by depriving them of that character of passion which 
is so prized by the multitude. 

I cannot perhaps conclude this chapter better than by 
the insertion of a few other verses of his — to be found I 
believe in the story of " Suil Dhuv" — in which the same 
tender glance towards childhood — the same " longing, 
lingering look behind" — is given with great sweetness and 
simplicity : 



Old times ! old times ! the gay old times! 

When I was young and free, 
And heard the merry Easter chimes 

Under the sally tree ; 
My Sunday palni beside me placed, 

My cross upon my hand, 
A heart at rest within my breast, 

And sunshine on the land ! 

Old times! old times! 



n. 
It is not that my fortunes flee, 

Nor that my cheek is pale, 
I mourn whene'er I think of thee, 

My darling native vale ! 



EARLY RECOLLECTIONS. 53 

A wiser head I have, I know, 

Than when I loitered there ; 
But in my wisdom there is woe, 

And in my knowledge, care. 

Old times! old times! 

m. 
Tve lived to know my share of joy, 

To feel my share of pain, 
To learn that friendship's self can cloy, 

To love, and love in vain : 
To feel a pang and wear a smile, 

To tire of other climes, 
To like my own unhappy isle, 

And sing the gay old times ! 

Old times ! old times ! 



And sure the land is nothing changed, 

The birds are singing still ; 
The flowers are springing where we ranged 

There's sunshine on the hill ; 
The sally waving o'er my head, 

Still sweetly shades my frame, 
But, ah those happy days are fled, 

And I am not the same ! 

Old times! old times! 



Oh, come again, ye merry times ! 

Sweet, sunny, fresh, and calm ; 
And let me hear those Easter chimes, 

And wear my Sunday palm. 
If I could cry away mine eyes, 

My tears would flow in vain ; 
If I could waste my heart in sighs, 

They'll never come again ! 

Old times! old times! 



54 

CHAPTER IIL 
1810—1823. 

DEPARTURE FROM FAIRY LAWN AND EMIGRATION TO AMERICA — 
IDEA OF BRINGING GERALD UP TO THE MEDICAL PROFESSION— 

ADARE HIS FIRST REGULAR CONNECTION -WITH LITERATURE — 

LETTERS TO HIS MOTHJSR — HIS WRITING AND ACTING TRAGEDIES 
— REMOVAL TO PALLAS KENEY, AND HIS FIRST JOURNEY TO 
LONDON. 

In the year 1817, my eldest brother having spent several 
years in the army, came to reside with us at Fairy Lawn. He 
had been stationed several years in Canada, and being greatly 
delighted with the country, and the advantages it afforded 
to settlers, and perceiving the difficulties the family had to 
contend with at home, urged them to emigrate. This 
proposal they were not at first disposed to listen to, but 
after some time, finding their circumstances still not in an 
easy condition, and his praises and solicitations continu- 
ing, it began at length to be seriously thought of, and was 
finally determined on and put into execution in the year 
1820. My father, however, being now rather advanced 
in life, and neither he nor my mother enjoying very vigorous 
health, the severity of the Canada winters was feared 
for them, and after a good deal of consideration, it was 
arranged that they should settle farther south. They there- 
fore took shipping for the States, and chose for their future 
abode a sweet spot in Pennsylvania, in the county of 
Susquehanna, about a hundred and forty miles from New 
York, to which, influenced by old and happy associations, 
they gave the name of Fairy Lawn. I have already quoted 
some lines that show the keenness with which Gerald felt 
this separation. It was the first misfortune that touched 
his young and sensitive spirit, and he felt it with all the 



HIS IDEA OF ADOPTING THE MEDICAL PROFESSION. 55 

heaviness of a deep affliction. Some of the family, how- 
ever, were to remain in Ireland. His sister, already once 
or twice alluded to, was considered incapable of undertaking 
a long sea voyage, and was left under the care of Dr. 
Griffin, who, having completed his medical education, had 
for some time resided with the family, and on their abandon- 
ment of Fairy Lawn, took up his residence in the village of 
Adare, about ten miles from Limerick. A younger sister, 
whose affectionate attention could never be too highly 
thought of, remained with her as a companion. These, 
together with Gerald and myself, completed the party. At 
this time there was some idea of bringing him up to the 
medical profession, and he had even made some slight progress 
in his studies under his brother's instruction, until that passion 
arose which soon swallowed up all other desires. He once 
told me how much puzzled he was in one of his earliest 
essays in the art about this period. Dr. Griffin being from 
home, he was sent for to see a man who had hurt his knee 
severely. One of those empirics, known in the country 
by the name of " bone-setters," had arrived before him. 
These persons assume an air of learning in their intercourse 
with the poor, and pick up technical terms, which they 
use with as much ease and confidence as if they were 
familiar with the deepest mysteries of the science. Gerald 
examined the injured limb with the timidity and diffidence 
which were natural to him, and which were heightened at 
this moment by his being placed under the severely critical 
eye of the bone-setter, who looked on in silence, and when 
his examination was entirely over, asked with an air of 
great gravity before all the people — " Pray, sir, do you think 
the patella is fractured ?" " I was puzzled," said Gerald, 
" to think what answer I should give him, for I did not 
so much as know what the patella was. I kept looking 
at the limb, all the while engaged in trying to^ keep my 
countenance. At length I said as gravely as I could, and 
with perfect truth, ' I do not know that it is/ with which 



56 LIFE OF GEE ALT) GRIFFIN. 

be seemed satisfied, so I recommended some soothing appli- 
cations, and got ont of the house as quickly as I could, to 
avoid any more of his learned questions." 

The circumstances he was now placed in, if not favour- 
able to the cultivation of his taste for literature, were at 
least very much so to its development. The village of 
Adare was situated on a winding river called the Mague, 
which, though passing through an almost level country, had 
many beauties. The seat of the Earl of Dunraven adjoined 
the town, and contained some enchanting scenery. Its 
gentle undulating grounds, rich and extensive pastures, and 
the various aspects of the sweet river that ran through it ; 
its ancient and lofty elms ; its enormous oaks, flinging wide 
their knotted arms, which shaded the turf beneath them to 
an immense extent ; the charming solitude of its distant 
plantations ; but, above all, its ruins, some of the finest in 
the south of Ireland, which gave to this feeling of solitude 
its grandest character, that of reverence and piety — all these 
were circumstances well calculated to affect such a dispo* 
sition as Gerald's, and he felt their influence with the full 
force and fervour of a poet's heart and mind. Ecclesiasti- 
cal and monastic ruins especially, had always a deep and 
touching interest for him. Here, within the demesne, is the 
abbey of the Franciscans, with its slender-shafted windows, 
shaded cloister, and lofty tower — a ruin that, for those to 
whom it brings no deeper feeling than a love of the pic- 
turesque, must, like Melrose, be seen by moonlight to have 
its mournful beauties properly appreciated ; the ancient 
abbey of the Trinitarians, in the village, an order instituted 
for the redemption of Christian captives, each of the mem. 
bers of which was bound by one of their vows, to offer him- 
self in the place of any captive whose ransom he could nok 
otherwise procure ; and the abbey of the Augnstinians, also 
a beautiful one, the ruins of which are in a better state of 
preservation than those of the rest. The two last have 
been long used as the Protestant and Catholic parochial 



MONASTIC RUINS. 57 

churches, and have lately been beautifully restored, the 
former by Caroline, Countess of Dunraven, the latter — 
which has been entirely remodelled and made a beautiful 
church of — by her ladyship's eldest son, the present Earl. 
Here also are the remains of the old castle of the Earl of 
Desmond, remarkable for having been the scene of many 
fierce contests, until it was dismantled, in 1657, by the 
orders of Cromwell. Gerald took the greatest delight in 
wandering with his sisters through these sweet scenes, steal- 
ing sometimes at dusk of evening through the dim cloisters 
of the abbey, and calling to mind the time when religion 
held her undisturbed abode there ; when the bell tolled for 
morning prayer or the vesper hymn ; or the sounds of war 
or revelry were heard in startling contrast from the adjacent 
castle. All these ruins, particularly the religious ones, 
affected him with a warm and reverent enthusiasm, and his 
familiarity with t.hem at this time produced an impression 
which, I have reason to think, was never entirely lost 
during the highest flights of his literary ambition, and which 
was awakened, and gathered new strength again at a later 
period, when he perceived the hollowness of such an aim. 
He looked back to them with the same affection that he 
felt towards the scenes of his childhood, and everything 
with which they were associated was dear to him. The 
following lines from a poem I have already spoken of, con- 
tain some allusion to these remains, which will be read with 
interest : 



A ruin now the castle shows, 

The ivy clothes its mouldering towers, 
The wild rose on the hearthstone blows, 

And roofless stand its secret bowers j 
Close by its long abandoned hall, 

The narrow tide is idly straying j 
While ruin saps its tottering wall, 

Like those who held it, fast decaying. 



58 LIFE OF GEBALD GRIFFEY 

EL 

Peaceful it stands, the mighty pile, 

By many a heart's blood once defended, 
Yet silent now as cloister'd aisle, 

Where rung the sounds of banquet splendid. 
Age holds his undivided state, 

Where youth and beauty once were cherished , 
And leverets pass the wardless gate, 

Where heroes once essayed and perished. 

m. 
Oh, sweet Adare ! Oh, lovely vale ! 

Oh pleasant haunt of sylvan splendour, 
Nor summer sun, nor morning gale, 

E'er hailed a scene more softly tender. 
How shall I tell the thousand charms, 

Within thy verdant bosom dwelling ! 
Where, nursed in Nature's fostering anal, 

Soft peace abides, and joy excelling. 

IV. 

Ye morning airs, how sweet at dawn 

The slumbering boughs your songs awaken, 
Or linger o'er the silent lawn, 

With odour of the hare -bell taken. 
Thou rising sun, how richly gleams 

Thy smile from far Knock Fierna's mountain. 
O'er waving woods and bounding streams, 

And many a grove and glancing fountain. 

V. 

Ye clouds of noon, how freshly there, 

When summer heats the open meadows, 
O'er parched hill and valley fair 

All coolly lie your veiling shadows. 
Ye rolling shades and vapours gray, 

Slow creeping o'er the golden heaven, 
How soft ye seal the eye of day, 

And wreath the dusky brow of even, 

VL 

There oft at eve the peasants say 

Around the ruined convent haunting, 

When dimly fades the lingering day, 
Till even the twilight gleam is wanting ; 



SCENERY. 59 

All sadly shrieks the suffering ghost,'' 

Above those bones now mouldering slowly, 

And mourns eternal quiet lost, 

For fleeting joys and thoughts unholy. 

vn. 

There, glides the Mague as ■ilver clear, 

Among the elms so sweetly flowing, 
There fragrant in the early year, 

"Wiid roses on the banks are blowing. 
There wild duck sport on rapid wing 

Beneath the alder's leafy awning, 
And sweetly there the small birds sing, 

When daylight on the hill is dawning. 

vm. 

There mirror' d in the shallow tide, 

Around his trunks so coolly laving, 
High towers the grove in vernal pride, 

His solemn boughs majestic waving. 
And, there, beside the parting flood, 

That murmured round a lowly island, 
■Within the sheltering woodland stood 

The humble roof of poor Matt Hyland. 



Beside the beauty of its scenery, Adare had other ad- 
vantages. Being within ten miles of Limerick, he was 
enabled frequently to consult such works as his taste in- 
clined him to, and had opportunities of meeting there occa- 
sionally, persons whose pursuits were similar to his own. 
It was in Limerick he first met his friend Mr. Banim, who 
afterwards, by many important services in London, proved 
the warmth and deep sincerity of his attachment. Mr. 
Banim was then in the commencement of his literary la- 
bours, and was, I believe, scarcely yet known to the world. 
There was a Thespian Society established at the time in 
Limerick, which consisted of several respectable young men 
©f the city, assisted by two or three professional persons. 
They used to perform two or three times a week, and the, 



60 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

receipts were applied to charitable purposes. During his 
occasioual visits to the city, Mr. Banim was accustomed to 
write critiques on their performances, under the signature 
of " A Traveller," which displayed considerable knowledge 
of the stage, and from the superiority of their style attracted 
very general attention. It was during the progress of these 
that he became acquainted with Gerald, who had the high- 
est admiration of his talent, and who, young as he was, 
was excited by his literary tastes to similar attempts. 
These, however, were carried on with perfect secresy. A 
young acquaintance of his, whose tastes were also of the 
same character, afterwards told me an anecdote of him, 
which occurred about this period. This gentleman had, 
under an assumed name, written a letter to one of the 
Limerick papers, upon some subject of a literary character, 
the nature of which I quite forget. In the next post a 
letter appeared, with an anonymous signature, containing 
some severe strictures upon it ; he brought both to Gerald 
to consult him as to his reply ; they put their heads toge- 
ther, and an answer was agreed upon, to which another 
letter appeared from the unknown enemy, so completely 
crushing as to induce the gentleman to " hide his diminished 
head." " What was my astonishment," said he to me in 
telling the story, " to find, when the whole thing was at an 
end, that both these epistles were written by no other per- 
son than my friend Gerald himself, and only just think of 
the coolness with which he preserved his incognito in such 
circumstances !" 

Up to this time, the passion for literature which had been 
gradually growing upon him, had only shown itself by the 
intense interest he took in the poets, especially in dra- 
matic poetry, and in the production of occasional short 
pieces, such as I have noticed, together with others which 
were principally of a pastoral character, but now it de- 
veloped itself so strongly, that all idea of the medical pro- 
fession was entirely given up ; he became \ery fond of 



CARES OP EDITORSHIP. 61 

theatricals, and soon began to occupy himself in writing 
tragedies. I am uncertain whether he completed any re- 
gular piece at this period, at least if he did, none of then 
came under the observation of the elders of the family. 
He used, however, with the assistance of some of his 
cousins, to enact scenes from those he wrote ; and on one 
occasion, when it was necessary to poison one of the char- 
acters, he made a niece of his, who played the heroine, 
drink off a glass of infusion of quassia, in order, probably, 
to deprive her of all pretext for hypocrisy in the contortions 
of visage that were to usher in death. From his occa- 
sional visits to his native city, his talent for writing began 
to be known there, and his services were found useful in 
various offices connected with the public press. These en- 
gagements, though attended with very little remuneration, 
presented advantages that he was unwilling to forego. They 
enabled him, as he says, " to write with quickness, and 
without much study ;" though the following extract from 
a letter to his mother, about this period, will show that 
they now and then involved compliances which were gra- 
ting to his natural feeling and early instilled principles of 
truth : 

" I was applied to a short time since by McDonnel, of the 
Advertiser ', to manage his paper, and did so for about a month, 
but could not get him to come to any reasonable settlement. 
I saw, moreover, that it was a sinking concern. Though a fine, 
large, well printed journal, having a dashing appearance, it 
is only a painted sepulchre. Even if he had answered my ex- 
pectations, I should still have considered the editing of such a 
paper a most disagreeable office, for, although it professed a little 
liberality, it is in reality quite dependent upon the government. 
His manner of considering my ideas would have amused me 
much, if I was not so heartily sick of his trilling and timidity. 
When I wrote, he always threw the proclamations into on& 
scale and the article de quoi il s'agitaii into the other, and 
'if all did not tally, the latter was sure to he exploded. His 
maxim was to ' please the Castle,' and I, in.< gnificant as my 
opinions were, wished to tell a little truth, which could not l>j 



62 LIFE OF GEBALD GBIFFW. 

any means be always pleasing to the Castle. A few days since,* 
after I had ceased going to McDonnel's, he called to me,' 
and with a very long face told me that an article which I had 
inserted had 'pulled the Castle about his ears,' and that he 
got, by that day's mail, a severe ' rap on the knuckles' for it. 
This ' rap on the knuckles' I afterward learned from him- 
self was nothing less than a peremptory order to withdraw 
the proclamations, and I felt really uneasy at having been 
the means of such a ruinous injury to his establishment ; al- 
though if I had foreseen any such consequence, I should be very 
sorry, through so vain a weakness as an eagerness to display 
elevated feelings, to do so against the interest of a poor man 
who could only hope to maintain his place with them by doing 
as they wished. To make some amends, therefore, I filled two 
columns of an after publication with a truly editorial sketch of 
the life and character of our Lord Lieutenant, the Marquis 
Wellesley, most charitably blind to all his foibles, and sharp- 
sighted as an eagle in displaying his good qualities. It was my 
first step into that commodious versatility of principle which is 
so very useful to newspaper writers, but it will be my last also. 
Indeed, I could hardly call it a compromise, for he is in reality 
a worthy character. I have since found, with much gratifica- 
tion, that the displeasure of the Castle was owing to a very 
different cause. Though I derived little pecuniary advantage 
from my connection with McDonnel, yet I was not sorry for 
the time I spent with him, as I could not say it was lost. By 
constantly attending the courts I acquired a considerable faci- 
lity in reporting, which is a very useful attainment in any situ- 
ation almost, and the short time which I had spared to prepare an 
original article obliged me to write with quickness and without 
much study. During the few months I was idle, I applied my- 
self more closely to French, and can now read any book I meet 
with in that language almost as easily as English. It was not 
bad at the end of three months to be able to write a pretty long 
French verse for the newspaper correctly and without assis- 
tance. You will say I am grown an egotist, but believe me I 
only mention it be«use I know it will be some gratification to 
you to see that I am not very idly disposed." 

The letters to and from America, from one of which the 
above extract is taken, were very closely written on large 
sheets of paper, and frequently crossed, so that the corre- 
spondence, having lasted several years, is very voluminous. 



LETTERS. 63 

It contains many passages of much interest to the memoir, 
some of which I may occasionally be tempted to make use of. 
The following extract, which I find on the same sheet with 
the above, is from the sister whose feeble state of health 
obliged her to remain in Ireland, and the delicacy of whose 
appetite made the industry of his recreations more keen and 
gratifying in his fishing days. It is addressed to his mother, 
and shows, more than anything I have yet saijl, the nature 
of those hopes and wishes which the writer knew were 
uppermost in the mother's heart : " Gerald has a biscuit 
from your sea store, which he says he will produce at the 
first meal we eat together in Susquehanna. He seems in 
principle, conduct, and sentiments, more every thing you 
can wish than any lad of his age that I am acquainted 
with." 

The following letter, of a subsequent date, contains some 
passage's of interest, and gives an account of the success of 
his friend Banim in his first great literary effort : 

To his Sister. 

Limerick, May 7th, 1822. 

My dearest Mary Anne, — Notwithstanding the apology 
I made to you for not writing, to show you it was not indolence 
induced me to do so I will now double my claim on you for an 
answer. The weather has been exceedingly oppressive here, 
early as the season is. The end of April was as hot as any 

summer day I can recollect. I perceive sent you some 

extracts from his tragedy. If I had known he was doing so I 
would have selected other passages than those he has done, for 
I do not think they are the very best in the piece. The poem 
on death I am sure you will like, though I am not fond of such 
subjects. Kirke White and Mrs. Tighe always put me in the 
horrors; yet I read this a second time with a great deal of 
interest. The destruction of the Indian in his canoe is I think 
drawn with much spirit, as also the shipwreck, I don't know 
whether you recollect some letters in the Limerick Evening 
Posi, signed " A Traveller," which I remember you all admired 
at Fairy Lawn, containing critiques on the Thespian Society. 
The writer of them, a Mr. Banim, whom I had the pleasure of 



64 LIFE OP GERALD GFJFFD7. 

knowing very "well during his occasional visits to this city, has 
since written a tragedy on the ancient story of Damon and 
Pythias, which met with the most brilliant success in Covent 
Garden. The critics say it is the best historical tragedy which 
the age has produced. He has also written a piece called ' ' The 
Celt's Paradise," from which I have seen several beautiful ex- 
tracts. I was sorry I could not procure more newspapers for 
you. I could not obtain possession of many London or Dubliir 
ones. Perhaps, howevtr, those which contain an account or 
the state of our county will be more interesting to you than 
others, and perhaps, also, you may find some amusement in 
them if it was only in laughing at my editorial blunders. At 
all events, whether you laugh at them, paper your hair with 
them, or make up your home-made sugar in them, I shall be 
oontent if you will believe that it was my affection, not my 
vanity, sent them. Dearest Mary Anne, your fondly attached, 

Gerald Geotix. 

The quantity of time left on his hands from the unsatis- 
factory nature of his engagements with the press made him 
devote himself with more assiduity to literature, and I be- 
lieve it was about this time the idea became strongly fixed 
in his mind of looking forward to it as a profession. Adare 
was the scene of his earliest labours. The morning was 
usually occupied in writing. In the day time, as I have 
already said, he refreshed himself by a ramble with his 
sisters through the demesne — wandering by the river side, 
or visiting the old ruins and enjoying their ever welcome- 
associations. The evening, after Dr. Griffin's return from 
his professional avocations, was spent in reading some of 
the most popular literary works of the time, or in conversa- 
tion, or occasionally in trials of skill at our favourite game 
of chess. Such was the usual routine of cm' little family 
party. Dr. Griinn observed that for some time he had 
been writing more constantly than usual, but had no idea 
of what he was engaged in. At length, Gerald called him 
into his room one morning, and gave him a L-agedy called 
"Aguire" to read, which wa3 founded upon some old 
Spanish story. On reading it, Dr. Griffin, was perfectly 



YOUTHFUL PROJECTS. 65 

astonished at so extraordinary a production from a person 
then scarcely above the age of boyhood. As the play has 
been since destroyed, we can only form an opinion of it from 
the impressions then produced on his mind by its perusal. 
He says there were many passages of exquisitely beautiful 
poetry throughout ; that the scenes were well contrived , 
the passions naturally and forcibly portrayed; and th* 
interest intense and well supported. "We shall afterwards 
see that it was also highly thought of, by one who was no 
inferior judge of dramatic excellence, Mr. Banim.- When 
the reader is informed that this play was produced in his 
eighteenth year — that Gisippus, received with such brilliant 
success at Drury Lane, was written in his twentieth, and 
the Collegians, one of the most thrilling tales in our language, 
before he had completed his twenty-fifth, it cannot be 
doubted that the destruction of this, and two other dramas 
written at a later period, was a serious loss to literature. 
These, as we shall find, he made various efforts to get ac- 
cepted at the theatres in London, but without success, and 
Gisippus, the last of them, is the only one of the four that 
has survived the wreck of his hopes. 

I shall have to speak of these efforts in detail afterwards, 
and will now mention some circumstances that may have 
influenced the result to which they led. Young as he then 
was, and entirely removed from the great tribunals before 
which all dramatic productions must be tried, his interest 
in such, subjects enabled him to perceive that the public 
taste was vitiated, and that the managers of the time, so 
far from taking any step to improve it, lent themselves to 
the childish fancies of the multitude, with all the zeal that 
a love of full houses and of money could inspire. The 
theatres indeed had become the scenes of many exhibitions 
of an amphitheatrical kind, tending merely to attract the 
admiration of the senses, but of such a gorgeous and im- 
posing character, that many persons of good taste who longed 
for a better state of things, were for a time dazzled by their 

E 



66 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN, 

brilliancy ; while the literary portion of the pieces repre- 
sented had become quite subordinate, and was wanting in 
every quality that could give it the least claim to public 
attention. With a strong sense of this prostrate condition of 
i the draina, and with that sustaining hope which ever 
lights the eye and stands firm in the heart of the young 
aspirant for literary fame, Gerald bent himself to the des- 
perate task of, as he himself says, " revolutionising the 
dramatic taste of the time by writing for the stage." Extra- 
vagant as the notion may seem, of a young person totally 
unknown to anybody, and without a particle of influence 
or experience, attempting a task of the kind, it is quite 
certain that he entertained it, and that these lost dramas 
were constructed upon such a design, though the idea created 
as much amusement in his own mind afterwards as it could 
possibly do in that of any other person. These circum- 
stances render it probable that the very character which 
would tend to make us regret the loss of these plays the 
more — that of their being much purer specimens of the 
genuine drama than those which were popular at the time — 
was one of the causes why he found it impossible to ob- 
tain a trial for them at all. Another in all likelihood was 
their highly poetical character, and their containing several 
passages the tendency of which was, rather to indulge the 
imagination than carry on the purposes of the piece. This, 
the natural effect of the luxuriance of a young mind, how- 
ever allowable and even pleasing it may be in a mere dra- 
matic poem intended for the closet, requires exceeding great 
skill and moderation in its use to make it tolerated to any 
extent upon the stage. It is perhaps an unhappy circum- 
stance for the poetry of dramatic writings, that the portion 
of the public that can properly appreciate its merits is but 
small, and that however theatrical managers may respect 
the opinions of this intellectual minority, it is very seldom 
their interest to make its approbation a primary object. 
However this be, it is, as I have before said, certain, that 



YOUTHFUL PROJECTS. 67 

the high and at that time extravagant aim of his hopes, as 
well as the warmth of his fancy, had an influence upon the 
whole cast and course of these his first dramatic productions, 
and gave them a character of novelty very little likely to 
be relished by those in London, who, from experience, and 
from their want of all sympathy with any attempt at reform, 
preferred consulting the public taste, whatever it might be. 
When he showed this play to his brother he explained to 
him his desire to try his fortune in the literary world in 
London. It was a serious consideration, committing one so 
young to the dangers of a great city, and to the fierce 
struggle for intellectual existence, in which so few eventu- 
ally attain any decided success. There were circumstances, 
too, which might well make Dr. Griffin hesitate. Gerald was 
his youngest brother ; from the similarity of their tastes he 
had taken more than a brother's interest in him from his 
childhood up ; his parents had left him under his protection, 
and, as he took their place, this, with his strong natural 
feeling, made him share fully their anxiety : besides, his 
young protege had always shown a quickness of apprehen- 
sion, and a capacity which would render him fully fit for 
whatever pursuit he might turn himself to, and he was young 
enough for any. On the other hand, his high opinion of 
Gerald's talent, the extreme beauty of the writings now 
put into his hands, and perhaps somewhat of a brother's 
if not of a parent's pride in the success he anticipated as 
certain, led him to attach less weight to these considerations 
than they deserved. In fact, he felt fully confident that 
it would require but a short time to have such talent as 
Gerald's perceived and properly appreciated, and he made 
but little difficulty ia yielding to his wishes. The event 
proved, after a severe and wasting trial, that the degree of 
success attained was not worth what it cost, and in the end 
brought even to the mind of him who was most sanguine 
of all, the sad conviction, that a constitution sapped and 
shattered by mental toil, and hopes so deeply blasted that 



68 LIFE 09 GERALD GRIFFIN. 

no earthly ones could ever take their place again, were too 
high a price to pay for the " half of a name," which he con- 
sidered himself to have won in the struggle. Dr. Griffin 
little dreamed then of the difficulties both mental and bodily, 
in heart, in mind, and in frame, that beset the progress of 
a young writer in London : the incessant intellectual exer- 
tion, the continual rejection by the publishers, the separa- 
tion from friends, the heart-breaking depression of mind, 
from a sense of literary merit despised and defeated, a 
feeling heightened by the observation of the worthies* 
stuff every day palmed upon the world as literature, while 
the reality pleads for its place in vain. There was, besides, 
another circumstance of great importance left out of the 
calculation altogether, the full force of which was only 
perceived at a long and late period afterwards, but which was 
then entirely unthought of. It will scarcely be anticipating 
the narrative just to allude to it. Gerald had, as I have 
already hinted, always shown a strong sense of indepen- 
dence. When the unfortunate issue of his literary efforts 
in London, had, after considerable perseverance, led him 
into great distress, this feeling, so far from sinking under 
it, became heightened, and at length attained for a time a 
degree of morbid sensibility that could neither have been 
anticipated nor provided for. Under its suggestion, he 
concealed his circumstances from his friends, hid himself 
from all his acquaintances, and went through a degree of 
suffering extremely painful to think of, and the occurrence 
of which indeed is hardly credible, considering how easily 
it might have been avoided. It was exceedingly distress- 
ing to his relatives when it first came to their ears, though 
this took place entirely through another channel, and only 
when the contest was over and their assistance was no 
longer needed. Could all these things have been foreseen 
at the time, they would have added in no light degree to 
the anxiety which his brother felt in letting him pass from 
under his protection, and trusting him alone to the world., 



PASSION FOR LITERATURE. 69 

It was, however, as I have said, settled that he should go, 
though some circumstances delayed his departure for a few 
months. During this interval he wrote a play, the name of 
which I have not been able to ascertain, and was far 
advanced in a second, founded on the same story which 
suggested Thompson's " Tancred and Sigismunda." In 
his moments of leisure the passion for literary fame, already 
fully awakened, began to grow strong upon him, and he 
indulged in all those fond visions of the future, and those 
bright and enchanting creations which the heart of the 
inexperienced will never be brought to look upon as aerial. 
At this period of life hope reigns paramount ; casts her 
rich light on all things to come ; belies truth to her face, 
and, being much the boldest speaker, receives, according to 
the usual rule of the world, implicit credit. In this instance 
she had one to deal with who, so far from struggling against 
her delusions, was caught by every changing light in which 
they were exhibited, and indeed it would be difficult to 
have any conception of the degree to which he delivered 
himself up to then' influence. His whole soul was en- 
grossed with the thought of literature and its triumphs, 
and the desire of excelling in it became so overwhelming, 
aud so deeply planted in his heart, that it was no wonder 
the storm that tore it away should have rooted up every 
earthly feeling with it. In truth, as it was this passion 
that led him into the difficulties he afterwards endured in 
London, so nothing but its violence and intensfty could 
have supported him under them. If all great performances 
may be traced to some deep and ruling passion, it is im- 
possible to say what such a disposition as this might not 
have been capable of, if it had only received the proper 
encouragement, for at this time it possessed him to such a 
degree, as made his sister, with whom he used to converse 
on the subject, somewhat alarmed at its vehemence. 
When he indulged in those high flights she used some- 
times endeavour to pluck a few feathers from his wing, but 



70 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

without success. She was a person of very extraordinary 
understanding, with a considerable knowledge of human 
nature, and much acuteness and solidity of thonght. There 
are some persons who, without stirring from the spot of 
their birth, seem by a sort of intuitive keenness of mind to 
have as full a knowledge of the world and its modes of 
thought, and even of the vices and corruptions of society, as 
if they had always been its most devoted worshippers, and 
won their knowledge from experience. It is an old remark, 
how frequently these intellectual attributes are foimd in 
individuals whose health is sapped by some fatal disease, 
in which instances their exalted quality seems a kind of 
compensating gift for the briefness of the term duriug 
which they are to be exercised. His sister was blessed 
with them to the last hour of her life, and that to a degree 
which it was surprising to witness, considering the extreme 
and daily increasing feebleness of her bodily powers. 
Gerald had a strong affection for her, and the highest 
respect for her opinions, her influence over him being 
strengthened by the depth of her religious feelings, and 
by a piety elevated and rational, and quite free from every 
kind of enthusiasm. In reverting to then* intercourse 
afterwards, I have often admired the tact and skill with 
which she managed him. She did not venture to offer aay 
direct or violent opposition to his opinions in the first 
instance. Such a proceeding would have lessened her 
influence with him in the excited state of feeling by which 
he was then possessed; but she met him by dexterous 
insinuations and allusions to the past history of authorship, 
and by occasional questions that led to inferences which 
she knew would attack him in his calmer moments, at the 
same time stating her opinion quietly, that the object he 
aimed at with so much earnestness was very difficult of 
attainment, and even if secured would fail to satisfy him. 
This prophecy was verified in both points, and her argu- 
ments produced the effect she intended, though she did not 



ALTERATION OF FEELING. 71 

live to witness it ; and indeed they failed altogether in 
bringing about the end she had principally in view at the 
time, which was to moderate the violence of his passion. 
When, however, the world withheld or gave but spariDgly 
that encouragement on which his heart was so fondly set, 
and he turned in disappointment from it, he was in a frame 
of mind more suitable for recognising the wisdom of his 
sweet sister's counsel, though it came, as the truth ever 
does, late and tardily. The power with which this altered 
state of feeling aifected him was probably augmented by 
the circumstance, that he departed on his high mission with 
her kind warnings in his ear, while the lips that had 
uttered them were found for ever sealed on his return. He 
notices the change himself in a little poem addressed to 
her after her death, and published under the title of 
" Lines to a departed friend," in a volume of his moral 
tales which is very popular, called the Christian Physi- 
ologist. It contains so many touching allusions to their 
intercourse, and to this altered state of feeling as well 
as of health, that I make no apology for inserting it 
entire : 

When May, with all her blooming train, 
Came o'er the woodland and the plain — 
When mingling winds and waters made 
A murmuring music in the shade — 
I loved to hear that artless song, 
I loved to stray those groves among ; 
And every sound of rustic pleasure 
Waked in my heart an answering measure. 

But now no more that gentle scene 
Of mellow light and freshening green 
Seems lovely to mine altered eye ; 
And that soft west wind hastening by 
Seems breathing near me faint and low, 
Some warning dirge, some song of woe. 
How have 1 loved, at early morn, 
When the dew topp'd the glistening thorn, 
When o'er the hill the day-beam broke, 
And nature's plumed minstrels woke, 



72 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

To praise with them tlie will divine 
That bade that glorious sun to Rhine ! 

That day -beam burns as brightly still, 
The -wild birds charm the echoing hill $ 
But light and song alike are vain 
To soothe a heart "that throbs in pain ; 
And pale disease that scene surreys 
Without one languid smile of praise. 

Thine was the gift, Almighty power J 
That brightened many a youthful hour, 
Found joys in winter's havoc drear, 
"When heaven was dark, and earth was bare, 
And raised the heart on secret wing 
To rapture in the bloom of spring. 
That blessing thou hast claimed again, 
And left me rapt in lingering pain : 
Almighty power ! the will was thine, 
And this weak heart shall ne'er repine ; 
In joy or grief, in good or ill, 
This tongue shall praise thy mercies still ! 
But may that feeble praise be blest, 
And deeply felt, though ill confessed — 
Blest, in my own awakened heed ; 
Felt, in the hearts of those who read. 

Lost days of youth ! Oh, holy days, 
When joy was blent with prayer and praise c - 
When the sad heart, now deeply dyed 
With many a thought unsanctified, 
Trembled at every venial stain, 
And shrank from sin, as now from pain ! 
Oh ! not that even in that hour 
Of early reason's dawning power, 
My soul was pure from thoughts of sin, — 
But now so dark the past hath been, 
That those first stains of young offence 
Were the light hue of innocence I 

Departed spirit ! often then, 
By peaceful fire, in lonely gien, 
Did thy maturer reason shine*, 
A guidance and a light to mine ; 



TO A DEPARTED FRIEND. 78 

Did thy maturer piety 

Awake some holy thoughts in me ! 

Late, wandering in those silent ways, 

I thought upon our early days ; 

Oh ! may I never feel again 

The pain that touched my spirit then ! 

For every shrub and every tree 

Spoke with a still reproach to me, 

And even the scene of boyish crime 

Seem'd hallow'd by the flight of time ! 

What could my heart, in passion tried, 
If it could err when by thy side ? 
Ambitious, there it would not dwell j 
We parted — and the faithless fell ! 
We parted — and the world since then 
Has learn'd the lesson o'er again, 
That Virtue, humble, simple, fair, 
Is all the knowledge worth our care ; 
That heavenly wisdom is a thing 
Above the flight of reason's wing ; 
That human genius cannot sound 
The depths in which her truth is found ; 
While a poor peasant's simple prayer 
Will find her always watching there : 
That hearts untaught can learn her rules, 
While far she flies from human schools ; 
That learning oft is but a rod — 
That he knows all who loves his God ; 
And every other eye is dim 
Save theirs, who hope and trust in Him. 
Willing to serve is truly free ; 
Obedience is best liberty ; 
And man's first power — a bended knee. 

'Twere vain to hope, if I could park 
Upon this page my bleeding heart, 
And to the young inquirer show 
How often knowledge ends in woe, 
Hearts would no more by earth be riven. 
And souls no longer lost to heaven. 
No ! — human pride and passion still 
Will hold the reins of human will ; 
And even in passion's fierce excess 
Find argument of haughtiness ! 



74 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Youth's budding virtues -will be blighted, 
The law of heaven forgot and slighted, 
Age follow age, yet, hurrying on, 
Trust no experience but its own — 
Yet it is something if we steal 
One spirit from the dizzy reel ; 
A few may wake where thousands sleep, 
Millions may scoff, but one may weep ! 



'Tis something, too, to think that, now, 
"While I renew mine infant vow, 
Thy gentle shade may wander near, 
And smile on each repentant tear ■ 
To find, as thus I glance mine eye 
Over those pages mournfully, 
Something that might in former days 
Have won that blameless spirit's praise. 
Oh ! it were all, if now, at last, 
This offering for evil past 
Might pierce the ear of heaven, and win 
Oblivion for that faithless sin ; 
If thy pure, saintly, fervent prayer 
Might find a sweet acceptance there ; 
And from that sacred home on me 
Draw down the fire of charity ! 
That 1 might scatter wide and far 
My Maker's praise from star to star , 
And joyous sing how he had smiled 
Forgiveness on his erring child ! 
That all who heard that grateful song 
Might learn to grieve for secret wrong ; 
And turn their hearts from joys of sen36 
To holy praise and penitence J 

Ah, sanguine hope ! not in an hour 
Can zeal from passion wrest his power ! 
Nor former scandals be removed, 
Though those we teach be dearly loved ; 
All the repentant soul can do 
Is still to toil and labour through 
The remnant of life's shortening day, 
And for the rest, to hope and pray. 



rOETIC PIECES. 75 

What a contrast the sentiments conveyed in these lines 
present to those by which he was animated in the early 
part of his career ! Before he had yet left Ireland, some 
advantageous circumstances that offered induced Dr. Griffin 
to remove with the family to a village called Pallas Kenry, 
about six miles from Adare and twelve from Limerick. 
Gerald of course accompanied them, but no other incident 
of any note took place previous to his departure. 

Though most of the pieces which he wrote at this time 
were filled with the ardour and warmth of feeling which is 
peculiar to youth, there is about some of them a chasteness 
and grace of expression, and a maturity of thought, which 
would not be unworthy of the best poet even in his bright- 
est hours. The following, written in 1820, in his seven- 
teenth year, may be taken as a specimen : 

I looked upon a dark and sullen sea, 

Over whose, slumbering waves the night-mista hung. 
Till from the morn's gray breast a fresh wind sprung, 

And swept its brightening bosom joyously ; 

Then fled the mists its quickening breath before ! 
The glad sea rose to meet it— and each wave 
Retiring from the sweet caress it gave, 

Made summer music to the listening shore. 

So slept my soul, unmindful of Thy reign : 
But the sweet breath of Thy celestial grace, 
Hath risen— oh, let its quickening spirit chase 

From that dark seat, each mist and secret stain, 

Till, as in yon clear water mirror'd fair, 

Heaven sees its own calm hues reflected there. 



76 

CHAPTER IV. 

1823—1826. 

GEBALD'S EARLY STRUGGLES IN LONDON — TRAGEDY OP AGUIRE 
PRESENTED — HIS LETTERS — STATE OF THE DRAMA — MADAME 

RTEGO MR. B ANTM — DIFFICULTIES — PUBLIC TASTE — REJECTION 

OF AGUTEE — PLAY OF GISIPPUS — AUTHOR'S REMARKS REGARD- 
ING IT — SCENE FROM GISIPPUS IN HIS LETTERS — HIS OBSERVA- 
TIONS ON THE CHARACTERS IN IT — HIS FURTHER STRUGGLES — 
KB. BANIM's FRIENDSHD? — AUTHOR'S OWN DESCRIPTION OF HIS 
DIFFICULTIES. 

To the public, as well as to literary aspirants themselves, 
the history of the early struggles of a young writer in Lon- 
don must always be a subject of interest. To the former 
it brings evidence of the costly nature of their amusements 
to those with whom their sympathy would be strong, if 
they but knew their condition, and of the many obstacles 
that stand between them and the exercise of that patronage 
which they are ever willing to bestow upon merit ; while 
to the latter, who often only hear of an author for the first 
time when he bursts upon them in the noon of his fame, it 
reveals the secret, that the reputation he has at last attained 
is not the consummation of a long series of successes, but 
was preceded by many trials and disappointments of a very 
painful nature, under the pressure of which some of them- 
selves, perhaps, at the time lie withering. If to the more 
desponding of these, the present narrative brings the hope 
that perseverance may at last prevail, and if it warns the 
more sanguine with the oft-repeated lesson, that even con- 
siderable abilities have occasionally difficulties almost insur- 
mountable to contend with, it will effect some good ; and 
in any case, as the character of an author is sure to be de- 
veloped with more sharpness under the stern influence of 



PLAT OF AGUIRE. 77 

such trials, it would be ridiculous, through any false f deli- 
cacy, not to enter into as minute a detail of them as our 
information is at all capable of supplying. 

It was in the autumn of 1823, ere he had yet completed 
Ills twentieth year, that Gerald first arrived in London. I 
have dwelt so fully upon the feelings with which he set 
out, and the reader so well understands the objects he had 
in view, that the account of his progress there will be much 
more agreeably given by transcribing the letters received 
from him from time to time than by any other method. 
As these treat of many subjects unconnected with his own 
immediate interests, his opinions and feelings with regard 
to them will be interesting, and will exhibit his character 
with a delicacy, vividness, and truth, of which description 
is incapable. I shall therefore proceed to give them in the 
order of their date, with such remarks and explanations as 
they seem to require, and such additional information as I 
have been able to obtain from other sQurces. 

To his Brother. 

Londor, Monday, Nov. 10, 1823. 
My dear William, — I have just had a rather long interview 

with , at his house, and lie has kept the tragedy of " Aguire" 

for the purpose of reading it. He asked me what the plot, &c. 
of the piece was, and promised to give me an answer in the 
course of next week, if possible ; at least he said I might de- 
pend on the earliest he could give. I was surprised to find it 
so difficult to ascertain Banim's address. In fact, I could not 
learn whether he is in town. I called on Mr. Kenible, who 
could give me no information, but referred me to Mr. Young, 
and all the success I could procure in the latter quarter was a re- 
quest if I should ascertain it to let him know it, as he also wished 

to see that gentleman. I asked if he was in town, and he 

told me that he had not seen him this year. I am very much 
surprised that Banim should not have availed himself of the 
success "Damon and Pythias" met with, to push his fortune, 
although that piece is not, I think, so much a favourite here as 
it deserves. says " it is a very effective piece in represen- 
tation, but not one that would attract houses. The femab 



78 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

character Calantlie was wretchedly performed on its first ap- 
pearance, which tended much to injure it." You may remem- 
ber some time before I left Ireland, I told you tbe plot of a 
tragedy, which I at first intended to be called " The Pro- 
digal Son." tells me that it is the name of the new tra- 
gedy which Banim has presented, and which has been accepted 
at Drury Lane. He does not know the subject. He asked me 
if I had written anj-thing else, and I told him I had another 
unfi nished — though, by the way, I have looked over that lately, 
and scarcely think, even if Aguire succeeded, that I should ever 
present it. He says there was a new piece in preparation at 
Drury Lane, where he is engaged, but it has been withdrawn 
in consequence of some disagreement about the casting of the 
parts. If it is not again brought on, he will give me an answer 
next week ; otherwise he cannot promise so soon, so that until 
then I can enjoy all the delights of suspense in their fullest 
force. Every one to whom I showed the play here assured me 

of its success ; among the rest, your old friend ^Ir. W , who 

was particular in his inquiries about you, and whom I like very 
much, although at first sight I thought I never should. His 
circumstances are, I believe, so so. I have had a tiresome piece 
of work since I came, transcribing the play, which, I was told, 
was almost illegible. With respect to the situation of reporter, 
it is almost impossible to procure it at present, as the business 
season has not commenced. That of pvlice reporter is easy- 
enough, I believe, to be procured, but I am told the office is 
scarcely reputable. I shall take a report of some matter, and 
send it to the papers the first opportunity. I have had such 
harassing work, looking after addresses, &c, together with 
continued writing, and the terrible damp fogs that have pre- 
vailed here lately, that I got this week a renewal of my old 
attacks of chest. I am, however, much better. With respect 
to the state of my finances, they are getting low. I was put to 
some expense while looking for lodgings, as my good friend 

P had no bed. If you could spare me a few pounds, I am 

pretty certain I can do something shortly. At all events write 
to me and let me know what you think of my prospects, and 
of what I have done and ought to do. Believe me, my dear 
William, ever affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

The letter he received in answer to this, brought him 
some painful intelligence. His brother, Dr. Griffin, was 
seized with a species of nervous rheumatism in one of his 



LITERARY PROSPECTS. 79 

limbs, which was at first mistaken for a more formidable 
affection by some eminent surgeons, and seemed to require 
the most perfect repose for its cure. The illness, though 
protracted, did not, in the end, lead to the serious conse- 
quences at first apprehended, but Gerald seems to have felt 
it keenly at the time, as may be seen by the following letter 
which he wrote immediately : 

To hit Brother. 

London, Nov. 22, 1823. 

My dear William, — I never experienced until this morning 
what the pain was of receiving unpleasant news from home. I 
opened your letter with anticipations very different from the 
information it brought me, but I was cruelly disappointed. The 
account which you give of the state of your health was as unex- 
pected as it was distressing. I am still, however, in hopes that 
the case is not so bad as you seem to apprehend, but at all events 
I think you ought to avoid despondency. I have myself ex- 
perienced, since I came here, the advantage of using eve^r 
means of distracting the attention from the state of one's health? 
I have scarcely thought about it, and am much better than I 
was when in Ireland. I have not once had those palpitations 
which were my great annoyance, though my chest was a little 
affected, by too much writing, for a few days. 

The bill on Sir E. Flyn and Co. I have received. It was en- 
tirely too much for you to send me under the circumstances. 
Half the money would, I am sure, with economy, enable me to 
get through until I have procured a way of doing something. 
I have sent some pieces to the new monthly magazine, and if 
they are accepted, intend to offer Colburn the first number of 
a series of papers. He pay3 liberally for these contributions. 
The success of this, however, I do not set much reliance upon. 
1 intend to report the trial of the murderers of Weare, which 
will come on soon. H I can effect it I will agree beforehand 
with some publisher. I have not yet received an answer from 

, as the new piece which he spoke of has been produced. 

It is called Caius Gracchus, written by Knowles, but not near 

so happy an effort as his Virginius, nor so successful. Mr. P 

procures me box tickets now and then for the theatres. I am 
not so sanguine about my prospects as that I could not easily 
resign myself to a disappointment. Mr. W often advises 



80 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

me to avoid it, as he says there are so many mortifications 
mingled even with success, that a person who is very sanguine 
is sure to be disappointed. But among all the dampers I meet, 
there is not such a finished croaker as a young student at the 
bar, who is himself a disappointed dramatist, and never meets 
me without some agreeable foreboding or other. With respect 
to the taste of a London audience, you may judge what it is, 
when I tell you that Venice Preserved will scarcely draw a 
decent house ; while such a piece of unmeaning absurdity as the 
Cataract of the Ganges has filled Drury Lane every night those 
three weeks past. The scenery and decorations, field of battle, 
burning forest, and cataract of real water, afforded a succession 
of splendour I had no conception of, but I was heartily tired of 
the eternal galloping, burning, marching and counter-marching, 
and the dull speechifying with which it abounds. A lady on 
horseback, riding up a cataract, is rather a bold stroke, but 
these things are quite the rage now. They are hissed by the 
gods, but that is a trifle so long as they fill the house and the 
manager's pockets. Damon and Pythias has not variety nor 
scenic effect enough for them. I build great hopes out of the 
burning convent and the thunder storm, if Aguire should be 
accepted, as well as a grand procession and chorus which I have 
introduced in the second act. My dearest William, I hope 
your next letter will bring me better accounts than that which 
now lies before me. I have set my happiness, if I should suc- 
ceed, on sharing with you the pleasures and pains of authorship, 
and if this unfortunate attack should disable you (though I 
have fervent hopes it may not turn out so serious as you fear), 
greater success than I can ever hope for would make no amends. 
Your affectionate and grateful, 

Geeald Griffin. 

The following, written on the same sheet, breathes a 
similar spirit, and brings before us the name of one whose 
fate excited much sympathy at the time : 

To his Sister. 

My deaeest Ellen, — I have but a small space left for you, 
so I must confine myself. William does not mention whether 
you wrote to or heard from America since I left Ireland. When 
you write, tell Mary Anne that while her affectionate remem- 
brance of me in her last letter gave me pleasure, I felt no small 



MADAME E1EG0. 81 

degree of pain at the air of. doubt with which she requested 
that "the muses should not supersede her in my affections." 
I was hurt by it at the time, and have not since forgot it. Tell 
her that, long as we have been acquainted, she yet knows little 
of me, if she thought the charge necessaiy. Since I came hero 
I have discovered that home is more necessaiy to my content 
than I previously imagined. The novelty of change is beginning 
to wear off, and even amid the bustle of this great city I think 
of you already with a feeling of loneliness, which rather increases 
than lessens by time. I do net expect you to write to me, as I 
know it distresses you, but you can remember me now and then, 
and make William, or whoever writes, be particular in the ac- 
count of your health. Never give up hope. It is the sweetest 
cordial with which heaven qualifies the cup of calamity, next 
to that which you never lose sight of, religion. I have been 
negotiating lately with my host, for lodgings for the widow and 
brother of poor General Eiego. They are splendid apartments, 
but the affair has been broken off by the account of his death. 
It has been concealed from her. She is a young woman, and is 
following him fast, being far advanced in a consumption. His 
brother is in deep grief. He says he will go and bury himself 
for the. remainder of his days in the woods of America. I am 
cut short — Dearest Ellen, remember me affectionately to all, 
and believe me, Yours ever, 

Gerald Griffin. 

To his Brother. 

London, Dec. 29, 1829. 
My dear William, — I mentioned to you a few days since 
that I had seen Banim. I dined with him on Thursday ; there 
were INIrs. Banim, and an Irish gentleman, and we had a 
pleasant evening enough. He had read Aguire twice. He 
went over it scene by scene with me, and pointed out all the 
passages he disliked. He then gave me his candid opinion, 
which was, that after making those alterations the play 
ought to be accepted and to succeed. He gave it very high 
praise indeed, especially the third and fourth acts, which he 
said could not be better. Parts of the others he found fault 
with. The piece would not suffer by the loss of those passages, 
as he thought the acts too long. He recommended me to per* 
severe in writing for the stage, and if I did so, to forswear 
roses, dewdrops, and sunbeama for ever. _ The fate of the 
unfortunate Vespers of Palermo told me this before. Poetry 
is not listened to on the stage here, I coidd not, on the whole, 



82 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

have expected Banim to act a more friendly or generous part 
than he has done. On the second day I called on him (Satur- 
day) he made me stop to dinner. I put the direct question to 
him, whether from what he had seen it was his real opinion 
that I should be successful as a dramatist. His reply was, 
that he thought I had every claim, and since I had dealt so 
candidly with him, he advised me to write on, and that he 
would do everything for any piece I wished to bring forward 
that he would do if it was his own. With respect to the pre- 
sent piece, he advised me to leave it in 's hands until he 

sends it to me, and not call or write to him. If he knows any- 
thing of him, he says he will keep and play it. I am very 
sorry I did not see Banim first. In that case I should long 
since have known its fate, as he could have procured me an 
answer from the committee in ten days. "With regard to his 
present views, he has placed me on my honour not to breathe a 
word of them, therefore on that subject 1 can say nothing , 
but I may talk of the Prodigal Son, as I had before heard 
of it. You recollect I mentioned the coincidence in name 
with a play of mine. I asked him about it. He showed me 
sketches of it in his note-book. The story is the same, and the 
scene is laid in the same place, so that all my fine visions are 
knocked on the head there. He also lent me part of another 
manuscript tragedy of his, which will come out at Covent 
Garden, in which I found the counterpart of my character of 
Canabe. Is not this vexatious ? But, enough of theatricals, as 
Lucy calls them. Your last letter gave me a great deal of 
pleasure. I should scarcely have believed you capable of so 
much perseverance, and I hope you will continue to follow Mr. 
Abernethys prescription, as jovl find it has done you good. 
The weather here is extremely mild, so I am in hopes that 
with you the winter will not be too severe for Ellen. I have 
not been able to procure an engagement since I wrote last. 
It is very difficult to do so. I intend, however, to make a 
desperate effort this week, for it must be done before long or 
not at all. I have got a cold and an ugly cough at present, 
but my health on the whole is very tolerable. I have been 
obliged to lay out nearly half the money you sent me in 
clothes, as without them I might as well have remained at 
home. I owe but the last week for my lodgings, but if I can- 
not get an engagement very shortly, I will give them up 
altogether, for the rent is too m"ch for me. Mr. P. could 
manage forme I believe, but it wo old not be to my advantage 
under the present circumstances. Besides, his prospects are 
wheeling about sadly, and I fear his speculations are not so 



THE ENGLISH DRAMA. 83 

prudent as they ought to be. I am now run dry. Knowing aa\ 
I do the obstacles which have occurred to retard you in your 
profession, it gives me great pain to think what an expense I 
nave already been to you. I would before have gone to Mr. 

P while I was endeavouring to procure an engagement, but 

was unwilling to take that step without letting you know it. 
I could manage not to be an expense to him, but it would be a 
great advantage to me if I could keep my lodgings for some 
time, as with such a friend as Banim, acquainted in the first 
literary circles in London, and willing to give me every assis- 
tance in his power, there can be little doubt of eventual 
success. He is in high estimation at the theatres, and says he 
will procure me an answer immediately to any piece I wish to 
present. He has lent me a new French tragedy, which was 
sent him by Talma ; a very fine piece as far as I have read. I 
don't know if you will be able to decipher this scrawl. I 
have of course a bad pen and write hastily. Believe me, my 
dear William, Your affectionate, 

Gerald Griffin. 

It is amusing to observe by one of these letters how his first 
notions about the reformation of the English drama began 
to decline on observing the tastes that prevailed at the 
time, and how such nnintellectual incidents as " a burning 
convent," " a thunder storm,' and a "grand procession and 
chorus," which he would have scorned to place any reliance 
on before he left home, began now to strengthen his hopes. 
There was no one who would have been more amused by, 
the consideration of this sudden change than himself, witi 
the feelings he afterwards entertained of dramatic pursuits. 
In another, written about the same time, however, he makes 
a remark on the subject which is worthy of notice : " When 
I spoke of the rage for spectacle which at present charac- 
terises the London audience, I thought only of 'the 
million.' The taste of ' the few^ is still correct, and real 
merit will, after all, be successful, even without the allure- 
ments of scenery and show." The Vespers of Palermo, to 
which he alludes in the last letter, was produced at Covent 
Garden on the twelfth of December, 1823, which was 
about a fortnight before that letter was written. Mrs. 



84 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Hemans' friends, as well as others at the time, attributed 
the ill success of that play to the inefficiency of the actress 
who personated the principal female character Constance, 
and we see by these letters that a circumstance of the 
aame kind was thought to have materially injured the play 
of Damon and Pythias also on its first appearance. If 
such trivial incidents as what Mr. Kemble calls a " singu- 
larity of intonation in one of the actresses,"* are capable of 
injuring pieces of considerable merit, or even of throwing 
them altogether off the stage, it is obvious that where 
reliance is placed upon literary excellence rather than any 
other quality, it is difficult for any piece to obtain a footing 
or maintain its place on the boards in times when the taste 
for pure dramatic literature is low, since the performance of 
the principal characters by people of the first repute in their 
profession is at all times attainable with difficulty, and 
would then be less appreciated than ever. This circum- 
stance may perhaps account for the hesitation of those to 
whose judgment Gerald's plays were at the time submitted, 
particularly if the earliest of them were, as that of Mrs. 
Hemans was said to be, redundant in poetical imagery. 
We must therefore look upon the tone of disappointment 
in the following letter, and the sharp little flashes of half 
suppressed anger which it exhibits, as the natural effect of 
the unsuccessful issue of a deeply interesting affair on a 
mind more than usually sanguine, aud we must not be too 
ready to infer that an unsound discretion was exercised 
regarding it. Notwithstanding the high praise bestowed 
upon the play by other good judges, it is probable that it 
would not have been at all prudent to proceed further with 
it in the circumstances of the time. Indeed, Gerald him* 
self, as will be seen, admits this fully, almost in the same 
breath with his censure ; and when we remember how deeply 
his feelings were wound up in its success, and how his 

* Memoir of Mrs. Hemans by her sister, page 71. 



THZ DRAMA, 85 

pride was hurt at having exposed himself to what he con- 
ceived a want of consideration for his feelings in the length 
of time he was kept in suspense, we cannot help admiring 
the promptness and candour with which he makes this 
admission. In this letter we see the first distinct expres- 
sion of that wish to rely upon his own powers solely, and 
that utter dislike of all patronage, which began just then 
in his difficulties to grow more strongly upon him, and of 
which Ave shall afterwards meet some singular examples. 

To Ms Brother, 

London, January 12, 1824. 

My dear William, — I have just received yours with the 

enclosure, but too late for this night's post. ■ has sent me 

back my piece (I don't like that word rejected), after keeping 
it nearly three months, without any opinion, other than the 
mere act of doing so. I had just the day before said to Banim, 
that I wished he would do it, for I heartily disliked the idea of 
his being considered my patron if he should accept it. From 
the description I have received of the manner in which actors 
deal with those who are brought before the public through 
their instrumentality, I am in a fine vein for cutting at them. 
Pope says very truly, they are judges of what is good just as 
a tailor is of what is graceful. Johnson, that sensible old fel- 
low, always despised them. The fact was, of all the introduc- 
tions I could get, none could have been slighter than that I 

handed to , though I thought it a fine thing at the time. 

Of all the people I could have applied to, an actor was thfe 
least likely to pay me attention ; and of all actors I could have 

selected, was the worst : for you must know he dabbles 

in tragedy himself ; and I suppose you recollect the whisper to 
Sir Fretful, or Puff, (which is it ?) in the Critic, — "Never send 
a piece to Drury" — "Writes himself?" "I know it, sir." 
However, after all this, the piece deserved to be rejected, for 
it had many and grievous sins. Banim said if I change th« 
name, and make those alterations he pointed out, he will pre- 
sent it for me, and get me an immediate answer. I have not 
seen him since I wrote to you, for I was unwilling to be too 
troublesome to him, especially as he is himself constantly en- 
gaged. I let him know 's decision, however, and have a 

letter from Hm by me, where, in answer to my question, whe- 



86 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

ther I should send Aguire or another ? he encourages me to do 
the former, but at the same time he leaves the utrum horum to 
myself. For many reasons I have chosen the latter. In the 

first plaee it would not be pleasant if should recognise it 

at the Jheatre ; secondly, it was known too generally that I was 
the writer ; and lastly, Banim seems to think it better I should 
do so. "With a true, indefatigable Grub-street spirit, I have 
therefore commenced a new one, and have it nearly half finished. 
The plot is that of Tancred and Sigismunda. Banim, I think, 
would be apt to interest himself more in one which is written 
under his own eye. He says, at the conclusion of his letter, 
if I give him a call he will speak about my commencing a con- 
nexion with the press in a limited way. I don't know what he 
means, bat I will see him this week. On looking over a num- 
ber of old books the other day, I found a Comedy founded on 
that story in GilfBlas, of Aurora and Don Lewis Pacheco, by 
Edward Moore, author of the Gamester, but I believe a very 
poor thing. There is a great dearth of talent in that way at 
present. You were right in supposing that there are a great 
number of pieces presented at the theatres. Banim tells me ha 
supposes there are no less than a thousand rejected every year. 
I was born under some extraordinary planet, I believe. You 
recollect the coincidences I before mentioned to you. A tragedy 
founded on the story of Aguire, and called the Spanish Revenge, 
has been presented at Covent Garden and rejected. The profits 
of a successful play vary from £300 to £700, and over, accord- 
ing to the run it has. The bookseller who bought Mirandola 
gave £300 for the copyright. I have been very busy lately, 
both in writing and endeavouring to procure some regular em- 
ployment. P tells me it is very difficult at present, but 

as soon as parliament opens, he says I would have a very good 
chanee at the Law Courts. Banim said he thought he could be 

©f^wrvice to me in that way, and P promised to do all he 

cosHL A Spanish gentleman, with whom I have some acquain- 
tance, proposed to me to engage in a translation of the drama of 
hi 3 country, which has not yet been published in England. 
Banim thinks the idea a very good one, and advises me to pro- 
ceed with ^specimen and submit it to the booksellers. My 
Lealth is very good ; at least I don't think about it. Believe 
me, my dear William, affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

In the following letter we find the first notice of Gisippus, 
and perceive some of the author's feelings regarding it. It 



GISIPPU6. 87 



contains some further allusion to poor Madame Riego, 
with several remarks on various subjects connected with 
the stage. 

To his Brother, 

76, Regent-street, Feb. 1824 
Thursday Night. 

My dear William, — I have delayed thus long answering 
your kind letter, which was duly received, that I might if 
possible be enabled to let you know something decisive with 
respect to my prospects, but on hearing again by this day's 
post, I determined to put it off no longer. I was in hopes before 
that your apprehensions with respect to the malady might have 
been premature, but was most grieved to find that you still 
hold the same opinion. Do you think those you consulted 
in Dublin have sufficiently considered the case to authorise 
them to form a just opinion on it ? and do you continue apply- 
ing remedies during those long intervals in their attendance 
which you complain of ? I hope in God that you may get over 
it soon, for it must be dreadful to you as it is. Since I last 
wrote I have been making the utmost efforts to secure some im- 
mediate way of support, and nevertheless, in that point, still 
remain in abeyance. Banim, who is very kind to me, can do 
nothing at present with the press, as those with whom he has 
influence are all pre-occupied. Of the daily or political press 
he knows nothing. On my calling on him, I believe the day 
after I wrote to you last, he urged me to alter Aguire in those 
passages he pointed out, and told me that he still persevered in 
his opinions of it ; that there were scenes in it which, for stage 
effect and every requisite, could not be better. I have conned 
the play over so often myself, that I don't know what's bad or 
good in it but as I am told, and therefore found the alterations 
very troublesome. The first four acts now, he says, want no- 
thing. The last scene of the fifth I have yet to change. Banim 
is much occupied. That comedy of Edward Moore's, from Gil 
Bias, I find was almost damned for its resemblance to "She 
would and she would not," in plot, &c. You know his forte 
was not comedy. The paragraphs which you speak of, neither 
of them referred to Banim. That of the interdiction, alluded 
to a tragedy written by Shea, a friend of Banim's, whose 
" Bhymes of Art" have been so celebrated, and whom Lord 
Byron speaks so highly of in the "English Bards and Scotch 



SS LIFE OF GERALD GBIFFIS. 

Reviewers." As regards the length of pieces, do you know 
that the "Pdvals"' was all but damned the first night for its 
length ? "Will you excuse niy anxiety to have some opinion on 
which I can rely, of a piece which I have written, (and four 
acts of which I left to-day with Banini), if I transcribe a scene 
from it, merely that you should let me know what you thought 
of it ; whether it was better or worse than Aguire. The story 
is that which you know already of the two friends in Bocacio. 
The passage I give you is part of a scene, subsequent to the 
sacrifice which the one makes to his friend. Tell me what it 
is really worth, for that is my object in transcribing it. So- 
phronia and Fulvius have gone out, and Gisippus remains on 
the stage looking after them, 
soliloquy. 

Gis. — They take their places near the window frame — 
Gods ! how they drink each other's smiles. I would 
Be spared that picture. What ? yet more ? 

Enter Cheemes. 
Chre. — Gisippus ! 

Have you seen Fulvius lately ? There has been 
Another messenger to seek him. 
Gis.— What 
Could he have said to call that crimson shame 
Into her cheek and forehead ? Chremes ? ha ! 
Look there ! look there ! (Grasping his arm and pointing 
off the stage.) 

Chre. — Sophronia ? — and Fulvius ? 

Gis. — I've given her to him, Chremes ; would'st thou think it ? 
Poor Fulvius ! he loved her secretly, 
And his love pined him ! I have made him blest 
In her — and now — I am so happy ! 

Chez. — Trust me 
You do not look so, Gisippus. I hope 
You'll not repent this ? 

Gis. — Repent ? No, no, I don't repent it, Chremes. 
I never will. Why should'st thou fancy that ? 

Cure. — I only hope it may be as you say ; 
But yet, your accents suit not with your looko— 

Gis, —By all the gods on high Olj-mpus— by 



ciTsiPPus. 89 

The infernal river, and its shrieking wanderers— 
And by their torturing ministers, I swear, 
I do not grieve for that which I have done. 
My looks are false if they belie my words* 

Ciiiie. — This vehemence contradicts itself. 

Gis. — Come on! 

I tell thee I am happy ! The wild joy 

Runs through my breast and riots in my veins ; 

It eats into my heart, and brain, and soul ! — 

A smile ? a rich one ! — How he feasts upon it ! 

Why should he not be happy, Chremes ? They 

Were all I loved on earth, and I have blessed them ! 

Come ! come ! come ! I shall madden with my joy ! 



Banim thinks the story a beautiful one for the stage. He gives 
me encouragement, without which I should not feel myself 
very confident. He jwophesied, as he said, to-day, that I should 
hold, a very high place on the English stage. I tell you all 
these things that you may see my chances as they stand. Of 
course it would be at present most imprudent and unwise in 
me to let such sillinesses go further. Besides these things 
already mentioned, 1 have been deeply engaged in the Spanish. 
The Spaniard's name is Valentine Llanos. I like him very 
much. We shaU present a specimen I think in a few days to 
a publisher. I will make a most lucrative thing of it if we get 
a publisher to undertake it readily, and of that I do not think 
there is much doubt. Llanos is acquainted with Bowring, 
whom of course you have heard of, and who is now Editor of 
the Westminister Review. I trust in God that I may be en- 
abled to do something which will prevent my again trespass- 
ing on you. I could not economise more rigidly than I do. 
My lodgings I have still kept, as at that time I owed a little, 
and if 1 was to go into new I should be obliged to pay ready 
money for some time, and that is not now absolutely necessary 
where I am ; and considering the difference in charge I could 
procure another for, the advantage I think was on the side of 
remaining. I have now shown you my circumstances. Before 
another fortnight or three weeks, I think I shall be able to 
let you know that I have been either accepted or rejected at 

the theatres. I find has been with you. He left this, I 

believe, the very day I received my manuscript. Peace be with 
him ! he has cured me of histrionic patrons. 



90 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

I was introduced the other day to poor Madame Riego, the 
relict of the unfortunate patriot. We could not converse very 
fluently, for she knows very little English. I was surprised to 
Bee her look much better than I had been prepared to expect, 
as she is in a confirmed consumption. You see what a jumble 
of intelligence I am huddling together ; but the unity of action 
is not necessary in a letter, whatever it may be in a play — and 
by the way, I have found from experience that it is absolutely 
necessary there. 1 tell everything that comes into my head 
that I think may interest or entertain you. The paragraph 
which you mention respecting a quarrel between dramatist and 
manager, and the consequent rejection of a play, related, I 
believe, to a Mr. Clarke of Dublin, who imported here a piece 
of his, which was terribly mauled by his own countrymen, 
and has not met a very encouraging reception on this side the 
water ; I mean in the green room, for further it did not go. 
One thing I shall tell you ; never waste a thought on those 
newspaper squibs ; they are mere puffing trash. Will you tell 
me when you write next, what you consider the faults or weak- 
nesses of Aguire ? Again, of those paragraphs : good authors 
find them sometimes put in without their knowledge, and 
perhaps against their wishes, while bad ones endeavour to make 
a show off by their means. You may remember seeing one 
about Banim some time back. It was done without his know- 
ledge by some of the minor performers while his tragedy was 
in rehearsal with Kean and Young. Have you read Yirginius ? 
It will be worth your while to get it, but if you would retain 
the good opinion it will give you of Knowles, don't read his 
Caius Gracchus. "Tis a poor piece of folly, but either will 
show you that poetry is a cast off ornament in the drama now. 
In fact, mere poetry on the stage sounds like a weakness. 
Action is the grand object, and indeed I think justly, con- 
sidering that plays are not composed for the closet. Milman's 
Fazio, which I admired so much, and do still admire, I have 
got quite cold about as an acting play. If the drarna was in- 
tended to develope the characters of men, and show us our- 
selves by reflection, that end is not likely to be attained by 
flowing numbers and poetical conceits. I don't know if I make 
my feeling clear, but so do I feel at present. 

On looking over my letter, I find it a most whimsical piece 
of confusion, but it will answer the purpose. I hope in my 
next to be able to tell you that I have done something certain. 
Heaven knows how I toil for it. I know not how I've got this 
adamantine health since I came, but though I am writing from 



MADAME RIEGO— LITERARY SQUIBS. 91 

morning until two or three at night regularly, I am quite well ; 
if I except a cough that is sticking to me. 

Yours affectionately, 

Gerald Grtjtin. 

I have not finished Tancred and Sigismunda, for the reason 
that you give for your fears. An accident led me to the con- 
clusion, that it would not be wise in a first piece. 

I believe the reason assigned, was the injudiciousness of 
choosing an old subject for the first piece of an unknown 
author. By a letter of Dr. Griffin's, which I have disco- 
vered among Gerald's papers, I find that the idea of Gisip- 
pus was conceived even before he had left Ireland, though 
I do not believe any progress was made it. He says : " the 
grand difficulty that struck me in the plot from Boccaccio, 
in which you are engaged, when first you mentioned it to 
me here, was how to reconcile the lady so naturally and 
readily to the disposal of her person or affections from one 
of the friends to the other. How have you got over that ?" 
I shall have to give such a number of letters from time to 
time, that it is unnecessary to trouble the reader with many, 
which contain only repetitions of several unsuccessful at- 
tempts to biing his writings before the public. They 
afford evidence of much perseverance, and show that he 
left no effort untried, that offered a reasonable hope. In 
one of them he says, " I must have heartily tired and sick- 
ened you before now, and I am sick and tired myself. I 
had little idea before I left Ireland that it was possible I 
could be nearly five months in London without doing any- 
thing : but it is not through my remissness that has been 
the case. A very little time longer will tell me all that I 
have to expect, and I shall then take measures accordingly. 
I had a visit from Banim the other day. What with the 
delays and disappointments I have met since I came here, 
it is only his encouragement, and his friendship, that keeps 
hope alive. I shall write to you again when I know the 
issue of the play, which I have long since finished." The 



92 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

following letters are more interesting. In the first of them 
we have some further notice of Gisippus, with an expres- 
sion of his own feeling regarding it, while the short one to 
his sister, which accompanies it, is again radiant with that 
hope which beamed upon him so cheeringly even in his 
deepest difficulties. In the second to his brother, we find 
the earliest evidence of that feeling, called first into being 
by the sickness of hope deferred, which, if it did not after- 
wards deprive literature of its charms, at least took away 
from it his heart's best devotion, and ripened into that 
ardent religious offering in which his life ended. " I mean 
the terrible idea that it might jiossibly be he was mispend- 
ing time." The " dismal catalogue of misfortunes," which 
he alludes to, consisted in the loss of some dear and valued 
relatives, with whom he had been long intimately associated, 
and who were all carried off within a short period. 

To his Brother. 

London, March 31st, 1524. 
My dear "William. — The enclosure which you sent in your 
last was an unexpected, though I will confess not an unseason- 
able remittance, but of this by and by. ****** Banim's 
friendship I find every day growing more ardent, more cordial, 
if possible. I dined with him on Sunday last. I told you in 
my last I had left him four acts of a play, for the purpose of 
leaving it to his option to present that or Aguire. I antici- 
pated the preference of the new, and have with him succeeded 
to my wish. He says it is the best I have written yet, and will 
be when finished " a most effective play !" But what gives me 
the greatest satisfaction respecting it is the consciousness that 
I have written an original play. That passion of revenge you 
know was threadbare. Banim has made some suggestions 
which I have adopted. I will finish it immediatly, place it in 
his hands, and abide the result in following other pursuits. 
He advises me to have it presented at Covent Garden, for. 
many reasons. Imprimis they are more liberal ; next, Gisippus 
is a character for Young or Macready ; the former I should' 
rather to undertake it, as I have placed the effect of the piece 
more in pathos than violent passion. He wishes to «roeak to 



GISIPPUS — THE ENGLISH OPERA. 93 

Young, who is his intimate friend, before he presents it, in 
order to learn all the Green Boom secrets. Young will be in 
town this week. Banim made me an offer the other day, 
which will be of more immediate advantage than the tragedy, 
inasmuch as I need not abide the result. He desired me to 
write a piece for the English Opera House. When I have it 
finished he will introduce me to Mr. Arnold of Golden-square, 
the proprietor, who is his friend, and get me immediate money 
for it, without awaiting its performance. This was exactly 
such an offer as I wanted, and you may be sure I will avail 
myself of it. It is doubly advantageous, as the English Opera 
House continues open until next winter, but I must see it 
first. You are aware that the performances are of a peculiar 
nature, and the fact is, a tailor might as well seek to fit a man 
without seeing him, as one might write for a particular theatre 
without knowing its performers. I do not speak now of the 
legitimate drama. If you have ever seen Miss Kelly, you may 
guess what are the performances of the theatre I speak of. 
In the meantime I am pushing on my Spanish speculation. I 
have made a tolerable progress in the language. We spoke 
to Colburn, and had the recommendation of Mr. Blacquiere, 
whom you may have heard of. He told us he had been 
speaking to Blacquiere two days before on that subject, and 
mentioned to him that it was a publication entirely out of his 
line. This was no" rejection, for he saw no specimens. We 
intend to try the Row, and Colburn said he had no doubt but 
many booksellers would undertake it. You see our prospects 
go on slowly, but every day 1 feel the ground more firm, 
beneath my foot. Banim offers me many introductions. He 
i3 acqainted with Thomas Moore — who was to see him the 
other day — Campbell and others of celebrity. Ugo Foscolo 
of course you have heard of ; he asked me if I should wish to 
be introduced to him, but I do not wish to know any one 
until I have done something to substantiate my pretensions to 
Bueh acquaitance, and to preserve it, if I can do so. You must 
not judge of Shell's ability from Bellamira. Of those of his 

fieces which have succeeded, it is, I believe, the worst. The less 
think that is said about my theatrical views at present the 
better. Lord ! if I should be damned after all this. But 
no ? that will not be the case I am sure, for I have a presenti- 
ment of success. What would I have done if I had not found 
Banim ? I should have instantly despaired on 's treat- 
ment of me. I should never be tired of talking about and 
thinking of Banim. Mark me ! he is a man — the only oae 
I have met since I have left Ireland, almost. 



94 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

We -walked over Hyde Park together on St. Patrick's day, 

and renewed our home recollections by gathering shamrocks, 

and placing them in our hats, even under the eye of John 

Bull. I had a great deal more to say, but am cut short, 

My dear William, affectionately yours, 

Glf.ald Grlffdt. 

To his Sister. 

London, March 31st, 1824. 

My dearest Ellen. — It is now a long time since I have 
written to, or heard directly from Pallas. William mentioned 
in his last that you were very ill, but I hope you do not add 
to your already severe sufferings those of imagination : indeed 
I know you do' not. Oh ! my dear Ellen, if I could but transfer 
to you and William a little of the hope ; the bright expectancy 
that cheers and bouys up my own spirit through the anxieties 
of suspense, I think it would be well both for your health and 
happiness. I am not impatient, though anxious. I should 
myself have wondered if I had stalked at once into reputation 
and independence. 's rejection of me I regard as a dis- 
pensation of Providence. I was a lee tile too confident perhaps, 
and it was a seasonable humiliation in the commencement of 
my career. However this does not excuse him. I do not say 
he might not have rejected me, but his manner of doing so was 
bad. He knew I was a stranger in London, young and inex- 
perienced in such matters, and his countryman, and he kept 
me in suspense three months ; then sent back my piece without 
comment, wrapped in an old paper, and unsealed ! If I had 
auy wish far a little revenge — but I have not — I understand it 
will soon be gratified in some measure. The affair, without men- 
tioning names, will be taken up in one of Blackwood's forth- 
coming Magazines — not much to his advantage. I have no 
enmity to the man, but for justice sake, I don't grudge him 
whatever he gets from Blackwood for it. 

Dearest Ellen, Yours, 

Gsrald Grlfflv. 

To his Brother, 

London, May ISth, 1824. 

My dearest William. — I received last night, too late for 
the post, your letter of Thursday. The melancholy intelligence 



LETTERS. 95 

which that of a fortnight previous brought me, was not relieved 
by this. I don't know what to say, or how to express the feel- 
ings which both gave me ; to say that I was never so shocked 
in my life, would give you a very faint idea of them. A person 
who is at home and amongst his friends can scarcely conceives 
how terrible it is, in a strange land and amongst strangers, to 
open a letter with the gratification which the receiving of iU 
always gives, and find it filled with such a dismal catalogue of 
misfortunes as yours contained. I thought it would never end. 
It has thrown me into a gloominess of mind, which I have not 
felt before since I came here, and which I thought I had got 
rid of entirely. But it is a subject which cannot, and perhaps 
ought not to be dwelt on much if we would remain contented. 
My only hope is, that the visitation has for the present passed 
away, and that Providence in its mercy may withhold a recur- 
rence of it. You speak in a very dreadful way of your own 
illness, and the idea is the more dreadful from the reality of the- 
cause ; but with respect to the apprehensions you express as to 
the result of the attack, I cannot, nor will not, coincide with 
you. I look upon it as one of those calamities which are too 
mighty to be feared. The last attack which you mention, and 
which deprives you of the amusement of writing, must have 
left you very miserable indeed, unfurnished as you are with 
any extensive means of occupying the hours of suffering — 1 
mean as to books or newspapers — they must hang very heavily 
upon your hands. But I shall not add to your despondency by 
my own sombre reflections. My dear William, when I speak 
of your apprehensions, or wish you to avoid them, do not ima- 
gine that anybody can appreciate more highly your philosophy 
and fortitude. I merely seek to caution you against yielding 
too easily, or rather to resist with all the powers of your mind 
the physical despondence from which no one is secure. For 
myself, I am quite tired of this, if I may use a cockney idiom, 
hot-water kind of life ; or our own more rich and expressive 
mode of conveying the idea, " pulling the devil by the tail." 
It would be a great thing for me if 1 could secure a present 
livelihood, while I prosecuted other views at the same time,, 
for I cannot do anything with confidence or ease while I have 
the terrible idea starting on my mind at intervals, that it may 
possibly be that I am mispending time ; but this at least, I 
hope, is not the case. At all events there are many things I 
could then do which I can scarcely do now with comfort ; 
among the rest, writing for magazines, which 1 have been 
strongly recommended to try, and which one gentleman whom 
I know told me he used to make £300 a year by, and yet with- 



96 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

out permanently engaging himself with any. Of the great, 
theatres I know I cannot form any immediate expectation, and 
the summer one is not open yet. It is not precisely the kind of 
piece that you mention that is adapted to it ; something nearer 
to the serious ; a kind of vndassical tragedy, I apprehend, but 
have not seen it yet. When you write for those places you 
must go to the house to see the principal performers, take tJieir 
measure, and fit them with a character. 

You cannot conceive what a sensation the death of Lord 
Byron has produced here. Every individual, in every class, 
who were not his enemies, talk and look as if they had lost an 
acquaintance or a companion. All his errors and wanderings 
seem to have been forgotten in an instant, and the delight 
which his genius gave is all that remains in the memory, even 
of the most prejudiced. Have you seen Moore's Captain Rock 
yet? when you do, you will remark a note which refers to 
Br.nim — a very friendly one. I wish I knew some friend going 
to Limerick, I would send you his Loves of the Angels — a very 
feeble thing for him — and some of Byron's poems, which have 
been given me. I find that Banim's amanuensis is a fel- 
low citizen of mine, but I have never seen him, as he writes in 
another room, and Banim, who laughed when he told me of it, 
would not, I suppose, from motives of delicacy, tell me his 
name : not that I ashed it. He came over, I understand, with 
great hopes, from our poor pestered countryman, Sir Matthew 
Tierney. The comedy from which you have seen extracts, and 
which you admire so much, is written by the Bev. Mr. Croly, 
of the Literary Gazette, the author of Paris. It has had great 
6uccess on the stage, more, I believe, than it has met with from 
the critics, the wise few ; at least I have seen, here and there, 
hints about Parsons writing five act farces, &c. &c. I have not 
eeen it, but I heard that on the whole it was not worthy of Croly. 
I will tell you now some things which will give you some idea 
of the drama, and the dramatic management of the day, which, 
however, for the credit of the metier, I would not breathe to 
' ' ears prophane. " Of all the walks in literature, it certainly is 
at present the most heart-rending, the most toilsome, and the 
most harrassing to a man who is possessed of a mind that may 
be at all wrought on by circumstances. The managers only 
seek to fill their houses, and don't care a curse for all the dra- 
matists that ever lived. There is a rage for fire and water, and 
iorses got abroad, and as long as it continues — fire and water 
.and horses are the lookout of the sovereigns of the drama. 
Literary men see the trouble which attends it, the bending and 
inging to performers— the chicanery of managers, and the 



STATE OF THE DRAMA. 97 

anxiety of suspense, which no previous success can relieve them 
from — and therefore it is that they seek to make a talent for 
some other walk, and content themselves with the quiet fame 
of a " closet writer," which is accompanied with little or none 
of the uneasiness of mind which the former brings with it. 
Elliston wrote some time hack to Scott, asking him to write a 
play, and leaving a blank for his terms. Scott laughed at him. 
This was told me by a person who had it from Elliston himself. 
At the same time, allow me to say, that with all my veneration 
for the Great Unknown, I am not very ready to admit his 
capabilities for actual dramatic— at least tragic writing ; nor 
indeed can I immediately fix my eye upon any one who I should 
say, without hesitation, was qualified to furnish us with a good 
tragedy, excepting only my friend Banim, and countryman 
Kuowles. They decidedly stand best on the stage at present. 
Kean is going off to America, and Macready, I understand, 
speaks of entering the Church, a curinus idea enough, but I 
should be sorry for it. This I have only just heard said, and 
know not whether it be quiz or earnest, but it is widely re- 
ported. That he is not strongly attached to his present pro- 
fession I am very sure. Have you jeen any more of Shiel's 
works ? I think his last piece, the Hugonot, a very indifferent 
one, and the public thought so too, for they damned it to three 
nights. For us, poor devils — who love the drama well and are 
not so confident in other branches of that most toilsome and 
thankless of all professions, authorship — we must only be con- 
tent to wade through thick and thin, and make our goal as soon 
as we may. This saw-dust and water work will pass away 
like every thing else, and then perchance the poor half-drowned 
muse of the buskin may be permitted to lift her head above the 
flood once more. I don't know how it is, though I have never 
put a line in print since I came here — at least so that I waa 
known in it by any body — I have got a sneaking kind of repu- 
tation as a poet among my acquaintances. The Canon Riego, 
brother to the poor martyr, sent me the other day a Spanish 
poem of many cantos, having for its subject the career of the 
unhappy General, and expressed a wish that I might find ma- 
teriel for an English one in it, if I felt disposed to make any- 
thing of the subject. Apropos, Madam Riego is almost dead. 
The fire is in her eye, and the flush on her cheek, which are, I 
believe, no beacons for hope to the consumptive. She is an in- 
teresting woman, and I pity her from my soul. This Mr. 
Mathews, who was confined with her husband, and arrived 
lately in London, and who, moreover, is a countryman of mine, 
brought her, from her dying husband, a little favourite dog and 

G 



98 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

a parrot, which were his companions in his dungeon. He ve.17 
indiscreetly came before her with the remembrances without 
any preparation, and she received a shock from it which she 
has not yet, nor ever will recover. What affecting little cir- 
cumstances these are ! and how interesting to one who has the 
least mingling of enthusiasm in his character. 

With regard to comedy, the surest ground for a comic writer 
to go on, is to select present manners, follies, and fashions for 
his target. These hits always tell well in the performance, and 
carry off many a heavy plot. Croly has practised this with suc- 
cess in his piece. Shall I tell you a secret ? The most successful 
dramatist of our day, I mean as to the number of successful 
pieces he produced, wrote six plays before he could get one ac- 
cepted. My dearest William, yours affectionately, 

Gerald Griffin. 

From a passage in one of the letters to his brother last 
given, it appears that he considered the character of Gisip- 
pus well adapted to Mr. Young, or Mr. Macready, though 
he preferred the former. Had he lived to witness Mr. 
Macready's performance of it, he would I think have found 
that there was no sufficient reason for this preference, as 
all the criticisms of the day, almost without exception, as 
well as the strong public feeling regarding it, show it to 
have been a most finished piece of acting. The keen in- 
terest which has been excited with regard to this play from 
several circumstances, makes every particular connected 
with it of some importance. The following short notice of 
it written to his mother will therefore be very acceptable, 
as he not only gives an account of the plot, but enters very 
fully into his own designs with respect to the characters, 
and into a pretty minute analysis of the two principal ones. 
The reader will perceive the circumstances in which it was 
written : " all in coffee houses, and upon little slips of 
paper '." 

" Here I give you what I believe you have never had any- 
thing of— a specimen of my tragedy writing. The drama I 
have written since I came to London. You'd laugh if you 
saw how it was got through. I wrote it all in coffee houses, 



THE DRAHA. 99 

and on little slips of paper, from which I afterwards copied it 
out. The story is that Greek one of the friend who gave up< 
his love, who loved him not, to the friend who loved her, 
and whom she loved ; and who afterwards got fame and 
wealth, and forgot his benefactor. I have been compelled to in- 
troduce many additional circumstances, which I cannot detail, 
but you must suppose that Gisippus, the generous friend, after 
numberless hardships, arrives in Rome, where he first hears of 
the wealth and new-sprung pride and pomposity of his college 
chum Fulvius, to whom he gave up his early love and happiness. 
Two words on the character of the friends. Gisippus I have 
made a fellow of exquisite susceptibility, almost touching on 
weakness; a hero in soul, but plagued with an excessive 
nervousness of feeling, which induces him to almost anticipate 
unkindness, and of course drives him frantic, when he finds 
it great and real — at least apparently so. Fulvius is a sincere 
fellow, but an enthusiast for renown, and made insolent by 
success. This is the fourth act, when Gisippus has not 
appeared for many scenes — when he was the gay, manly 
student of the Lyceum — and is supposed entirely forgotten, or 
not thought of by Fulvius. He then comes upon the stage, 
after being persecuted for giving up Sophronia by her relatives, 
and appears a totally altered being, as you may perceive, The 
preceding scene has been one of splendour, and clash, and honour 
to Fulvius, who has just been made a Prsetor. This is not 

the play I showed 

(Here is inserted the fourth act of Gisippus.) 
" Fulvius succeeds in pacifying Gisippus, and the scene runs 
on to much greater length, but I have given you enough in all 
conscience. Give me all your separate criticisms upon this 
broken bit, by no means the best in the play ; but the situation 
is original. It is, Banim says, one of the best acting scenes. I 
have had the bad taste to suffer three lines of poetry to creep 
into it, but I let them stand. 

The following, to his sister, under the same date witk 
that to his brother last given, shows further how the fervour 
of his feeling was beginning to wear down under the vexa- 
tion of repeated delays. He still, however, contends for 
the usefulness of the drama, and it is a curious circumstance, 
that the same arguments he here uses in its defence, were 
found totally ineffectual with himself at a later period, 
when his passion for it became lost in a deeper feeling. 



LOO LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 



To his Sister. 

My dearest Ellen. — I give you a thousand thanks for 
your kind letter, and I am the more grateful for it, as I know 
writing is no easy effort for you. I am sorry you do not say 
anything of the state of your own health, but I take that very 
silence as a sign that you are perhaps experiencing some relief. 
Do you know I cannot help thinking sometimes, that we should 
all have been better and happier if we had accompanied the first 
emigrants of our family and settled with them in Susquehanna. 
For my part, situated as I am at present, uncertain of the 
ground I stand on, and sickened by repeated delays and dis- 
appointments, there is only one thing that makes me imagine 
1 should not be more at ease there, and that is that I know I 
never could be so anywhere, until I had tried London ; and 
even yet, nothing but the consideration of being amongst my 
friends would induce me to make the exchange ; I mean to 
say being amongst them, and seeing them in health and 
comfort. 1 look on success now as a matter of mere business, and 
nothing more. As to fame, if I could accomplish it in any 
way, I should scarcely try for its sake alone. I believe it is 
the case with almost everybody before they succeed, to wear 
away all relish for it in the exertion. I have seen enough of lite- 
rature and literary men to know what it is, and I feel convinced 
that at the best, and with the highest reputation, a man might 
make himself al happy in other walks of life. I see those who 
have got it as indifferent about it as if totally unknown, while 
at the same time they like to add to it. But money ! money 
is the grand object — the all in all. I am not avaricious, but I 
see that they are the happiest who are making the most, and 
am so convinced of the reality of its blessings, that if I coidd 
make a fortune by spitting matches, I think I never would put 
a word in print. 1 thought to have set your mind at rest upon 
the question of the draina in this letter, but I have scarcely 
room for my arguments. Give me leave to say, however, that 
where an humble individual observes a great deal of immo- - 
rality in a very alluring form, I cannot see anything wrong in 
his making whatever exertions he can to use an efficient means 
in a more worthy cause. I believe no one ever asserted that 
• the stage was in itself immoral, and to destroy it altogether, 
■would be — to use a medical simile — to abolish a very powerful 
medicine because quacks had contrived to make it kill. Every 
inght on which you prevent a number of people from doing ill, 
and help them to do well, is in my opinion, not badly spent 



INDUSTRY AND PERSEVERENCE. 101 

Don't you know that one of the fathers — St. Gregory as I 
recollect — did not deem it beneath his gravity to write a play ? 
At the time, when the church launched its thunders against the 
scene, it was certainly deserving of censure ; but we are 
reforming. Old Reynolds, who reads for Drury-lane, would 
not permit an exclamation bearing a resemblance to a curse, 
even from a tragic hero. This I was told by a tragedian, who 
showed in mentioning it great symptoms of contempt for the 
preciseness. Dearest Ellen, yours affectionately, 

Gerald Griffin. 

The " saw-dust and water work," as he calls it, did not 
pass away as speedily as he anticipated. His friend Mr. 
Banim's efforts to get Gisippus forward were as unsuccess- 
ful as his own were with regard to Aguire, and he was left 
to his struggles. He wrote for weekly publications, all of 
which, he says, except the Literary Gazette, "cheated him 
abominably " finding this to be the case, he wrote for the 
great magazines. His articles were generally inserted, but on 
calling for payment, " there was so much shuffling and shabby 
work," that it disgusted him, and he gave it up. It will 
be seen by a letter which I received about this time, as also 
by many expressions in others, that there was no trace of 
indolence or apathy about him, even when his prospects 
were most discouraging, but that he was always eager for 
employment, and desirous to turn himself to any occupation 
however laborious or ill-requited, that would carry him 
over the interval during which his dramatic prospects 
were in abeyance. 

" My employment, I mean that which procured me immediate 
remuneration, has for the present ceased. I have something 
yet on hands, but though the bookseller who suggested the idea 
to me promised to engage in it, he would not speak of terms 
until it is completed. This will not be before six or seven weeks, 
and though certain of disposing of it after that time, mere hope 
will not lend me her wings to lly over the interval. You may 
judge what a mercenary scribbler I am, and how unwilling to 
let a job slip through my finders, whenl tell you that I engaged 



102 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

to translate, and actually translated a volume and a half of one 
of Prevot's works, for two guineas ! My dear Dan, tell this 
not in Gath; publish it not in the streets of Askalon." 

We have seen in one of the letters to his sister, " the 
hope — the bright expectancy, that," as he says, " cheered 
and buoyed up his spirit through the anxieties of suspense." 
When we consider the length of time he had been in Lon- 
don without doing anything ; the utter failure of all his at- 
tempts to get his plays accepted ; the thorough and inti- 
mate sense he had of his own powers, and the hard neces- 
sity that compelled a spirit like his, capable as it was of 
better things, to work at the commonest, almost mechanical 
drudgery, it is astonishing that such feelings should re- 
main to him at all ; and their not having been extinguished 
in these circumstances, showed a depth and devotedness of 
character that was worthy of a better recompense. It may 
have been observed that in most of his letters, though he 
speaks pretty freely of his plans, expectations, and efforts, 
he makes but little allusion, except in very general terms, 
to his circumstances. From a hasty but painfully interest- 
ing sketch of his labours in London, which he gives in a 
letter to his mother, it would appear that this reserve arose 
from his unwillingness to trespass further on his brother 
who had already been very generous to him, and to whom, 
in his early and confident anticipations of success, he thought 
he should only be indebted for his first outfit. Dr. Griffin 
never had the least idea that any circumstances could occur, 
which would tempt him to conceal his real condition. It 
was, however, one of the remarkable features in his cha- 
racter, that while he could be as cheerful, free, and degage 
as possible in his intercourse with those around him, there 
was still an extraordinary and unaccountable reluctance to 
enter minutely, even with intimate friends, upon the sub- 
ject of his own feelings and circumstances, and he was yet 
more unwilling to do this by letter, as he felt that any hints 
about his necessities would be answered from home with 



EMBARRASSMENTS. 103 

the same ready generosity they had ever been, and which 
^ he feared was sometimes preductive of inconvenience. 
There were however occasional revealments of a very start- 
ling nature in some of his letters, (one of which may have 
been noticed already,) which induced Dr. Griffin to forward 
remittances to him without waiting to hear that he stood 
in need of them. In one of them he says •" I have changed 
my lodgings and pay at present about half what I did in 
Regent Street." He then speaks of some French transla- 
tions, and other literary drudgery which enabled him to 
pay for them, and of some papers of his, by which he got 
into considerable favour with the periodicals, and says : 

"Under such circumstances as these, it is rather vexatious 
that I cannot avail myself of my own exertions through such a 
mortifying and apparently trivial obstacle as the state of my 
garde-robe. Banim has been with me twice within the last 
fortnight ; first to tell me that Dr. Maginn, who is the princi- 
pal writer in Blackwood, had very kindly offered, without any 
personal knowledge of me, to introduce me to the Editor of the 
Literary Gazette (his intimate friend), and the second time to 
ask me to dine at his house with some literary gentlemen, 
amongst whom was Dr. Maginn. Both invitations I was obliged 
to decline, (on the score of being closely occupied,) and the 
next morning Banim called again at my lodgings, and not find- 
ing me at home, left a note to say that he was sorry I did not 
come, but whenever I chose he would feel great pleasure in 
introducing me to those gentlemen, who were anxious for my 
acquaintance. With the assistance of heaven, I hope I shall 
after some time be enabled to get over this difficulty." 

Again he says : 

" It will be necessary for me now in order to procure more 
drudgery, to go out among the publishers ; this I cannot do, 
because of the prevention I have mentioned. The fact is I am 
at present almost a complete prisoner ; I wait until dusk every 
evening to creep from my mouse-hole, and snatch a little fresh 
air on the bridge close by. Good heaven ! to think that I am 
here in the centre of mountains of wealth ! almost ' upon 
Change,' and to have no opportunity of laying an honest hand 
upon a stray draught in its flight from one commercial fellow 



104 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

to another, who has no more business with it than I have with 
— any thing that I have too much of already and don't know 
what to do with — say common sense and modesty." 

The remittances I speak of were generally acknowledged 
with thankfulness as " unexpected though not unseason- 
able." It is singular, that in the Litter part of one of the 
very letters in which these announcements are made, I find 
a sentence which looks as if he again shrunk from the 
effect of such disclosures. He says : " at present let me 
distinctly say I am not in want of money, and the furthest, 
inconvenience which I apprehend is the being obliged for 
some time to remain in statu quo." The following written 
to his sister in America, is but one of many passages which 
will show the ardour with which lie clung to his favourite 
pursuit, and the many mortifications it subjected him to. 

1 ' You have no idea what a heart-breaking life that of a young 
scribbler beating about, and endeavouring to make his way in 
London is : going into a bookseller's shop, as I have often 
done, and being obliged to praise up my own manuscript, to 
induce him to look at it at all — for there is so much competi- 
tion, that a person without a name will not even get a trial 
— while he puts on his spectacles, and answers all your sebf- 
commendation with a " hum — urn ;" — a set of hardened vil- 
lains ! and yet at no time whatever could I have been pre- 
vailed upon to quit London altogether. That horrid word 
failure, — Xo ! — death first ! There is a great tragic actress 
here, who offered to present my play, and do all in her power 
to have it acted, but I have been sickened of such matters 
for a little while. I may however set about it some other time. 
Why I have yesterday written a play (in one act) which is to 
be published this week with a most laughable illustration by 
the Hogarth of the day, George Cruikshank. There's dramatic 
fame for you ! Lu blank verse too, mind I don't saj* poetry ' 
I have a conscience as well as another man. 

'•That horrid word failure.— Xo ; death first!" The 
reader will see presently, that tins was not the vehement 
expression of a transitory feeling, nor the vain boast of an 
energy he did not possess, but that the dreadful alternative 



LITERATURE AS A PROFESSION, 105 

lie alludes to "was absolutely not far from its accomplish- 
ment. His mind, indeed, contained the one essential ele- 
ment of all greatness in execution — a deep and unfaltering 
devotion to its subject that nothing but a downright im- 
possibility could discourage or overthrow. It was not, 
therefore, to be thrown aside from its purpose by any light 
or trivial obstacles. This disposition, coupled with his 
natural independence of character, made him determine at 
a very early period, to rely as much as possible on his own 
efforts, and to make it a point, that everything he achieved 
should be owing to the force of his own genius and energy 
alone. He remarks somewhere : " It is odd, but I have 
never been successful except where I depended entirely on 
my own exertions ; where I had set to work anonymously." 
He had always an utter distaste for what is commonly called 
patronage, and depending, as he did, upon the merit of his 
writings alone for eventual success, was unwilling even to 
lend himself to that which in the course of events fell easily 
in his way, except merely for the purpose of bringing them 
under the notice of the public. He viewed with a dislike 
almost amounting to loathing, that cringing to and fawning 
upon great men, by which many gifted individuals of an 
earlier time sacrificed their independence of character, and 
in several instances drew upon themselves the undisguised 
contempt even of those whose assistance they sought. He 
had from time to time been receiving employment in various 
ways, but there is reason to believe that this was in general 
very unremunerating. 

"I have," he says "dashed into print more since my last 
than at any time. The first of the original articles in the Lite- 
rary Gazette of Saturday week is mine. I also sent a long string 
of nonsense to the Literary Chronicle, to which I perceive 
they have given high honour. They call me their ' kind cor- 
respondent,' and wish to see some more o^ my handiwork ; 
but I mention these things because a writer at my acquain- 
tance, who has made some efforts to serve me before, called on 
me yesterday to say that if I would write some similar sketches 



106 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

to that in the Gazette, together with some pieces of ' crambo- 
jingle,' he would get his publisher to present them to the 
Editor of this new weekly publication that is coming out in 
connexion with the ' European Revu w. 1 This would be a good 
thing if I could bring it about, and if I fail will cost nothing 
but the pains. I have also sent something to one of the maga- 
zines, of which I know not the result yet. For some time after 
I received your letter, I was, without exaggeration, perfectly 
miserable. The looking for lodgings, for an engagement, and 
several other matters took up my time so entirely, that I was 
compelled to break an appointment I had made with Banim, 
that I would call on him for a particular purpose — to have my 
criticism, as he did me the honour to say — on a work which he 
is sending to the press, and which so far as I had read, is really 
a delightful performance. The consequence was, when I did 
call, it had been sent off, and though his manner was as friendly 
as ever, I could see that what he considered the neglect had 
somewhat cooled him. I could not explain then, and I per- 
ceived that he thought the apology I did make a very lame 
one indeed. However, I did explain after nearly three 
weeks absence, and received too or three days since a letter 
full of kindness and friendship ; in short everything that 
I could wish. I shoidd almost like to transcribe part of it 
here ; it would so fully show you what manner of man he is." 

In another letter of a later date he says : 

1 ' You ask me of my dramatic prospects. I have done nothing 
— I could do nothing in them while I was prevented from call- 
ing on Banim, my kind, my true friend, which I have not done 
these two months. The restraint in this instance is absolute 
torture to me, when I consider what a cold return I must appear 
to make to his most friendly and pressing invitations, fcince 
I wrote last I have heard or seen nothing of him. " 

Notwithstanding all I have stated, it may appear extra- 
ordinary, that when his affairs began to wear such a gloomy 
aspect, he did not explain the state of them clearly and 
plainly to his brother, who would have been shocked at the 
thought of his allowing matters to run to such an extremity, 
but I believe he would readily have done so, if it were not 
for the unfortunate occurrence of that illness to which be 
alludes in his letters, and which he was sensible would, in 



MR. banim's friendship. 107 

a professional person, have a tendency to lead to embarass- 
ment. All the circumstances I have mentioned ; the depth 
and earnestness with which he felt his vocation ; his obser- 
vation that his partial success had been due to himself alone, 
aud bis delicacy about trespassing further on his brother; 
bis many distressing efforts to obtain employment, together 
with the wasting anxiety which such a state of things na- 
turally engendered in a mind like his — seem to have made 
him adhere only the more strongly to his eai ly determi- 
nation, and when his difficulties thickened, and his necessities 
became more urgent, induced him to push those feelings to 
an extremity; to shrink entirely within himself; and to 
reject even the commonest offices of friendship ; those little 
favours which it delights to bestow ; which are often the 
very tests of its truth, and without the exercise of which on 
proper occasions, its professions would be worthless, and 
itself a mere " shade that follows wealth or fame." It is 
perhaps, one of the characteristics of all minds endowed 
with much sensibility, and with a high feeling of indepen- 
dence, to have this sensibility exalted, and to become quick 
and irritable beyond what is rational, in circumstances such 
as those I am about to mention. We all remember the in- 
dignation with winch Johnson, in his poverty, flung away 
a pair of new shoes which some unknown but kind friend, 
as related by Boswell, had left at his door. The difficulty 
which friendship has to overcome in these instances, is not 
so much to bestow the favour, which it is always willing to 
do cheerfully, but to bestow it in such a manner as not to 
rouse a very universal feeling, which is seldom dormant, 
and is at such times more than usually watchful. The care- 
ful consideration of tins difficulty, during the exercise of 
such favours, is, perhaps, one of the surest trials of its sin- 
cerity and depth. Mr. Banim was at that time in the noon 
of his literary reputation. As the author of Damon and 
Pythias — a tragedy which had met with the most brilliant 
success — he had won the acquaintance of some cf the most 



108 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

distinguished literary characters of the day ; and the ex- 
treme originality, power, and truth displayed in the " Tales 
by the O'Hara Family," had rendered them far more 
popular than any Irish 'work of fiction since the first ap- 
pearance of Miss Edgeworth's writings. To this the com- 
plete revolution effected in works of that class, by this ac- 
complished lady and Sir Walter Scott, and the attention 
then beginning to be bestowed upon Irish affairs, also in 
some degree contributed. Gerald was, as we have seen, at 
the time, a poor straggler against heavy circumstances ; 
unacquainted with any body, and there was a great contrast 
between their positions. It is therefore evident, that in any 
acts of friendship which then suggested themselves to Mr. 
Banim's mind, he could have been influenced by nothing 
but the purest generosity and benevolence. We have also 
seen the deep feeling with which Gerald speaks of his kind- 
ness, the strong terms in which he mentions his many 
friendly offices, and the warrn acknowledgments he makes 
of his goodness of heart. In a letter whicli now lies be- 
fore me, he says, ' ; I cannot tell you here the many, many 
instances in which Banim has shown his friendship since I 
wrote last ; let it suffice to say, that he is the sincerest, 
heartiest, most disinterested being that breathes. His fire- 
side is the only one where I enjoy anything like social life, 
or home. I go out occasionally in an evening, and talk or 
read for some hours ; or have a bed, and leave next day." 
I am the more anxious to iusist on both these points, lest 
on the one hand, the thoughtful and considerate spirit which 
prompted Mr. Banim to watch over his friend in his ne- 
cessities, should, by any chance, not be appreciated as it 
deserves, or should lose any of its advantages by a forget- 
fulness of the circumstances by which it was attended ; and, 
on the other, lest the spirit in which his kindness was re- 
ceived, should be considered anything more than the momen- 
tary flach of a mind writhing under accumulated anxieties 
and evils, weakened, perhaps, for the time, by the pressuro 



MR. bakim's friendship. 109 

of circumstances, and trembling -with the fear that it was 
about to lose its last hold of that feeling, which is at all 
times laudable, a proper sense of independence. Moreover, 
it is not impossible that Mr. Banim himself may have been 
entirely unaware of the reality and depth of Gerald's senti- 
ments regarding him, and if the hasty and inconsiderate 
manner in which his proffered kindness was rejected in this 
instance should have left any trace of soreness in his mind, 
the warm testimony contained in these letters, would, I am 
sure, have removed such a feeling entirely. Gerald had, 
as we have seen by one of the last quoted letters, not gone 
near Mr. Banim's house for the last two months, though 
frequently urged by the most pressing invitations, which he 
seems to have met by various excuses that were not even 
to himself satisfactory, and could not, of course, appear so 
to his friend. This was so unusual an absence, that Mr. 
Banim made various conjectures to account for it, but with- 
out success ; at length a light suddenly broke in upon him, 
and he began to apprehend that the cause was a much more 
serious one than any he had fallen upon. He instantly set 
out in search of him, but had much difficulty in ascertain- 
ing his address, as he had not seen him for some time, and 
Gerald had, as we have seen, changed his lodgings. At 
length he found the place, a small room in some obscure 
court, near St. Paul's. Gerald was not at home. He called 
again next day. He was still out on his mission, perhaps 
for " more drudgery." He then questioned the woman who 
kept his lodgings as to his condition and circumstances. 
These she spoke of in teims of pity ; represented him as in 
great distress ; said she had never spoken to him on the 
subject, but she was afraid he denied himself even the com- 
monest necessaries, that he appeared in bad spirits, dressed 
but indifferently, shut himself up for whole days together 
In his room, without sending her for any provision, and when 
he went out, it was only at night-fall when he was likely 
to meet no one that he knew. This was a very distressing 



110 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFDT. 

picture, particularly when considered in connection with his 
incommunicativeness, and the silent endurance with which 
it was going on. Mr. Banim immediately returned home, 
and wrote him a very kind letter, offering him some pecu- 
niary assistance, until he should be able to get over his 
present difficulties. As I am not in possession either of 
this letter, or the one written in reply to it, and as all that 
is characteristic in such things depends more upon the man- 
ner, almost, than the matter, it would not be quite fair to 
attempt to give a version of them here, especially as the 
account I have had of the transaction was not received from 
Mr. Banim himself. It is sufficient to say that the offer 
s:as rejected with a degree of heat and sharpness which 
showed that he had not succeeded in lulling the dangerous 
feeling to which I have alluded, and that his good-natured 
attempt proved so completely abortive, that there was evi- 
dently no use in pursuing the matter further. The friends 
did not meet again for some time, and the circumstance 
occasioned a degree of estrangement which it was not easy 
to repair. 

It is difficult, after all, to account for a course so extraor- 
dinary. If we suppose it to have arisen from any suspicion 
of Mr. Banim's motives, there does not seem to have been 
any ground whatever for such an opinion, and such a sup- 
position is quite irreconcileabie with the warm terms in 
which Gerald speaks of his friendship and disinterestedness; 
and if we imagine it to have arisen from any objection to 
take the position of a protege' of Mr. Banim, it does not 
appear that he had any disinclination to do this, at least as 
far as regarded the efforts of the latter to bring his plays 
before the public. The probability seems to be, that he 
had not up to this time (for we shall find he had afterwards 
with others, as well as Mr. Banim), any unwillingness to 
accept of his patronage in securing the success of his dearest 
and most cherished pursuits, but that his pride revolted when 
he saw his friendship descend to the petty necessities of 



Ill 

life ; and, pernaps, the irritation of that fiery moment arose 
from the discovery that his friend had, in his absence, (for 
how few friends are admitted to the profoundest depths of 
the heart,) endeavoured to penetrate the veil of secrecy in 
which he chose to envelop himself in his distress. Indeed 
it is vain to conjecture on the subject. It seems to have 
been a mystery even to himself, if we may judge by the 
following introductory sonnet to " Suil Dhuv," one of the 
Tales of the Mnnster Festivals, in which he evidently al- 
ludes to it. There is something affecting in the little plead- 
ing allusion he makes to his struggles and ill success, and in 
the humble confessing spirit in which the sonnet is written. 
It would appear too, from some passages in it, that there 
was nothing in Mr. Banim's manner of conferring the favour 
that in Gerald's opinion could at all justify the mode of its 
rejection. 

i. 
I hold not out my hand in grateful love, 

Because ye were my friend, where friends were few, 
Nor in the pride of conscious truth, to prove 

The heart ye wronged and doubted, yet was true — 
It is that while the close and blinding veil, 
That youth and blissful ignorance had cast 
Around mine inward sight, is clearing fast 
Before its strengthening vision — while the scale 

Falls from mine eye-balls, and the gloomy stream 
Of human motive, whitening in my view, 

Shows clear as dew showers in the gray morn beam, 
While hearts and acts, whose impulse seemed divine, 

Put on the grossness of an earthlier hue, 
I still can gaze and deeply still can honour thine. 

n. 
Judge not your friend by what he seemed, when Fat© 

Had crossed him in his chosen — cherished aim, 
When spirit-broken — baffled — moved to hate 

The very kindness that but made his shame 
More self induced, — he rudely turned aside 

In bitter — hopeless agony from all 

Alike — of those who mocked or mourned his fall, 
And fenced his injured heart in lonely pride. 



112 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Wayward and sullen as suspicion's soul ! 

To his own mind he lived a mystery — 
But now the heavens have changed — the vapours roll 
Far from his heart, and in his solitude, 

While the fell night-mares of his spirit flee, 
He wakes to wave for thee a tale of joy renewed. 

Whatever the feeling may have been that influenced him 
at the moment in this transaction, it is certain that he soon 
regretted the hasty and inconsiderate manner in which he 
had acted. A friend of his, to whom he mentioned the 
circumstance, and whom he was in the habit of consulting 
on various occasions, took some pains to impress more 
strongly upon him this sense of its impropriety. " It was 
wrong," said he, " very wrong — Mr. Banim will now think 
you were unwilling to be under an obligation to him, even 
for so paltry a thing as the loan of a small sum of money. 
You ought to take some steps as soon as possible to divest 
him of this feeling ; the first time you meet him you should 
boiTOw some money from bim, whether you want it or not 
— you can return it again in a few days if you have no 
business of it." Gerald seemed to give his full approval to 
this piece of advice, and the gentleman was under the im- 
pression that he complied with it, but this I think very un- 
likely. 

An incident took place soon after the circumstances I 
have just mentioned, which not only showed how deeply 
this feeling of independence was fixed in his character, but 
proved that with all the knowledge of human nature which 
his writings display, he had, on some points, but a very 
slight acquaintance with the world. The friend to whom 
I have above alluded, and whose name, from motives that 
will be obvious, I am obliged to suppress, Avas one who had 
known him intimately from his childhood, and at whose 
house he had always on that account made himself perfectly 
at home. It was his custom sometimes to call there in the 
afternoon, and remain to dinner, and these visits were 



FEELINGS OF INDEPENDENCE. 113 

latterly so regular, that when a clay passed by without his 
making his appearance, it was a very unusual circumstance. 
This gentleman becoming unfortunate in his affairs was 
arrested for debt, but contrived to get himself placed with 
his family within the Rules of the King's Bench.* Here 
he expected Gerald would renew his customary visits, but 
three or four days passed away and there was no trace of 
him; at length remembering his circumstances, and the 
nature of the conversation they held the last time he saw 
him, and filled with good-natured alarm at the probable 
consequence of leaving him to himself, this kind friend, dis- 
regarding the danger to which he exposed himself by such 
an act, ventured one night to break the " Rules," and make 
for Gerald's quarters ; he found him in a wretched room at 
the top of the house in which he lived. It was past mid- 
night, and he was still at his desk, writing on with his 
accustomed energy. On a little inquiry, he found that he 
had left himself without a single shilling, and he was shocked 
at the discovery that he had spent nearly three days with- 
out tasting food ! " Good God," said he, " why did you 
not come to me ?" " Oh !" said Gerald quietly, " you 
would not have me throw myself upon a man who was him- 
self in prison ?" " Then, why did you not write to 
William ?" " Why," said he, " I have been a trouble to 
William so often, and he has always been so kind and so 
generous to me, that I could not bring myself to be always 
a burden to him." His friend immediately insisted on his 
accompanying him to his house, where he had him paid the 

* For the information of such of my readers as are unacquainted 
with the subject, I may mention that the "Rules of the King's Bench,'* 
consist of a certain area round the King's Bench prison, within the 
limits of which persons arrested for debt are permitted to reside, and 
carry on their usual business, on giving bail and paying a per centage 
to the Marshal ; an arrangement as advantageous to the creditor as 
to the debtor, where the latter happens to be engaged in trade. A 
breach of the " Rules," of course, subjects the party committing it U 
close confinement, and his bail becomes forfeit. 

H 



114 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

attention which his condition required. This midnight visit 
was a fortunate one, and showed him the existence of feel- 
ings, the strength of which he had little suspected, giving 
at the same time ample proof that Gerald's disposition was 
one which required much watching. 

It is painful to dwell on such a picture ; and what even 
he himself could have looked to as the result of such a pro- 
ceeding it is difficult to conjecture. It is singular, too, to 
consider what an extreme innocence it showed of all the 
common affairs of life ; for with regard to his objection to 
trespass on one, who, as he said, was himself in prison, a 
very little knowledge of the world would have enabled him 
to perceive that the very circumstance of his friend's being 
able to get himself placed in the "Rules," and to live there, 
argued a certain moderate competency which placed him 
above immediate want, and his being unwilling even in such 
a fearful necessity to accept of the hospitality of one at 
whose house he was always welcome, and where he was 
almost daily expected, discloses a notion of independence 
so severe, as to be rarely met with. Though his judgment 
may have erred as to the manner in which this feeling was 
evinced, an error which we see made him reject even the 
warmest efforts of friendship, with an unceremonious harsh- 
ness, yet most people will look with sympathy upon the 
principle in which this error originated, and when they have 
considered the many distressing influences by which his 
mind was for a long time depressed, will pardon at least, 
if they do not admire, the strictness with which it was fol- 
lowed out. 

The following letter, written in the latter part of the next 
year gives such a fearful picture of the struggles I have at- 
tempted to describe, and exhibits so characteristically the man- 
ner in which he was relieved from them, that this seems the 
proper place for it. It presents such evidence of energy, 
perseverance, manly endurance, and lofty and honourable 
principle, that it cannot fail to be deeply interesting. I 



HIS OWN ACCOUNT OF HIS STRUGGLES. 115 

cannot conceive anything more dreadful than the sufferings 
it so forcibly pourtrays, if we consider the high sensibility 
of the mind that was subjected to them. Nor can I think, 
of any state of things more directly tending to insanity, if 
his constitution had been at all predisposed to it, than the 
circumstances he speaks of, when he describes himself as 
working on without hope, merely to divert his mind from 
the "horrible gloom," that in spite of himself, he felt grow- 
ing upon him. 

15, Paddington Street, Kegent's Park, London. 
October 12th, 1825. 
My dear, ever dear Father and Mother. — To make sure 
of your hearing from me now, I send a second letter. I have just 

received from the editor of the Gazette, J, W 's letter of 

the 6th of last August. By the merest chance in the world it 
reached me, as its direction was indeed the most uncertain pos- 
sible. Mary Anne's I never got. Under the circumstances, 
as they appear to you, it is matter more of pain than astonish- 
ment to me, that you should have been so entirely at a loss 
in finding excusable motives for my silence, and I have no 
objection whatsoever to offer to J — s's " unwilling suppositions." 
It is one of those misfortunes (and I hope the last of them), 
which the miserable and galling life I have led since I came 
to London (until very lately,) has thrown on my shoulders, 
and which, of course, I must endure as well as I can. But if 
you knew, my dear Mother, what that life has been, it would, 
I believe, have led you to a less injurious conclusion to me. 
Until within a short time back I have not had since I left 
Ireland a single moment's peace of mind — constantly — con- 
stantly running backward and forward, and trying a thousand 
expedients, and only to meet disappointments every where I 
turned. It may perhaps appear strange and unaccountable to 
you, but I could not sit down to tell you only that I was in 
despair of ever being able to do anything in London, as was the 
fact for a long time. I never will think or talk upon the subject 
again. It was a year such as I did not think it possible I could 
have outlived, and the very recollection of it puts me into the 
horrors. William has, I suppose, let you know my movements, 
and I fear I shall be repeating him if I set about telling you 
how I have fared. But I have a long sheet before me, and may as 
well just glance at a few of them. Let me first, however, beg 



116 LIFE OF GEKALD GBIFFIN. 

you to be satisfied that this it was, and no neglect — I was not 
guilty of it for an instant — that prevented my writing ; beside 
that when I do write I must nil up a large sheet, or send none. 
When first I came to London, my own self-conceit, backed by 
the opinion of one of the most original geniuses of the age, in- 
duced me to set about revolutionising the dramatic taste of 
the time by writing for the stage. Indeed the design was 
formed and the first step taken (a couple of pieces written.) 
in Ireland. I cannot with my present experience conceive any- 
thing more comical than my own views and measures at the 
time. A young gentleman totally unknown, even to a single 
family in London, coming into town with a few pounds in one 
pocket, and a brace of tragedies in the other, supposing that 
the one will set him up before the others are exhausted, is not 
a very novel, but a very laughable delusion. 'Twould weary you, 
or I would cany you through a number of curious scenes into 
which it led me. Only imagine the modest young Munsterman 
spouting his tragedy to a room full of literary ladies and gen- 
tlemen ; some of high consideration too. The applause how- 
ever of that circle on that night was sweeter, far sweeter to 
me, than would be the bravos of a whole theatre at present, 
being united at the time to the confident anticipation of it. 
One of the people present immediately got me an introduction 

to (I was offered several for all the actors.) To I went 

— and he let down the pegs that made my music. He was 
Yery polite — talked and chatted about himself and Shiel and 
tay friend — excellent friend Banim. He kept my play four 
months, wrote me some nonsensical apologies about keeping it 
so long, and cut off to Ireland, leaving orders to have it sent 
to my lodgings, without any opinion. I was quite surprised 
at this, and the more so, as Banim, who is one of the most sue 
cessful dramatic writers, told me he was sure he would keep 
it : at the same time saying, what indeed I found every person 
who had the least theatrical knowledge join in, that I acted 
most unwisely in putting a play into an actor's hands. But 
enough of theatricals ! Well, this disappointment sent me into 
the contrary extreme. I before imagined I could do any thing; 
I now thought I could do nothing. One supposition was just 
as foolish as the other. It was then I set about writing for 
those weekly publications ; all of which, except the Literary 
Gazette, cheated me abominably. Then, finding this to be the 
case, I wrote for the great magazines. My articles were gene- 
rally inserted ; but on calling for payment — seeing that I was 
a poor inexperienced devil, there was so much shuffling and 
shabby work that it disgusted me, and I gave up the idea of 



HIS OWN ACCOUNT OF HIS STRUGGLES. 117 

making money that way. I now lost heart for every thing ; 
got into the cheapest lodgings I could make out, and there 
worked on, rather to divert my mind from the horrible gloom 
that I felt growing on me in "spite of myself, than with any 
hope of being remunerated. This, and the recollection of the ex- 
pense I had put William to, and the fears — that every moment 
became conviction — that I should never be enabled to fulfil his 
hopes or my own expectations, all came pressing together upon 
my mind and made me miserable. A thousand, and a thousand 
times I wished that I could He down quietly, and die at once, 
and be forgotten for ever. But that however, was not to be had 
for the asking. I don't think I left anything undone that 
could have changed the course of affairs, or brought me a little 
portion of the good luck that was going on about me ; but good 
lack was too busy elsewhere. I can hardly describe to you the 
state of mind I was in at this time. It was not an indolent 
despondency, for I was working hard, and I am now — and it is 
only now — receiving money for the labour of those dreadful 
hours. I used not to see a face that I knew, and after sitting 
writing all day, when I walked in the streets in the evening, 
it actually seemed to me as if I was of a different species alto- 
gether from the people about me. The fact was, from pure 
anxiety alone, I was more than half dead, and would most cer- 
tainly have given up the ghost, I believe, were it not that by 
the merest accident on earth, the literary friend who had pro- 
cured me the unfortunate introduction a year before, dropped 
in one evening to " have a talk" with me. I had not seen him 
nor anybody else that I knew for some months, and he fright- 
ened me by saying I looked like a ghost. In a few days, how- 
ever, a publisher of his acquaintance had got some things to 
do — works to arrange, regulate, and revise ; so he asked me if 
I would devote a few hours in the middle of every day to the 
purpose for £50 a year. I did so, and among other things 
which I got to revise, was a weekly fashionable journal. After 
I had read this for some weeks, I said to myself, "Why hang 
it, I am sure I can write better than this at any rate." And 
at the same time I knew that the contributors were well paid. 
I wrote some sketches of London life, and sent them anony- 
mously to the Editor, offering to contribute without payment. 
He inserted the little sketches, and sent a very handsome siun, 
to my anonymous address for them ; desiring me to continue, 
and he would be always happy to pay for similar ones. This 

Eut me in great spirits, and by the knowledge I had acquired of 
terary people and transactions altogether, I was enabled to 
manage in this instance so as to secure a good engagement. 



118 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

The Editor made several attempts to find me out. He asked 
my name plainly in one letter, and I told him Joseph (Gerald's 
name in confirmation). This did not satisfy him. He invited 
me to his house in the country (a splendid place he has got) 
and I declined. He repeated the invitation — and at last find- 
ing I could not preserve the incognito any longer, I left the 
publisher, and secured myself with him by making myself 
known. I went to his country house and found him there with 
his wife — a very elegant woman, and family ; surrounded by 
harps, harpsicords, pianos, piazzas, gardens, in fact a perfect 
palace, within and without. He professed the highest admi- 
ration for me, for which I did not care one farthing ; but that at 
first it led me to suspect he had some design of cheating me at 
the end ; such is the way of the wor] ' ; but I do so much for 
him now, that I have in some degree made myself necessary. 
I have the satisfaction to see — and he sees it too — my articles 
quoted and commended in the daily papers ; satisfaction, I say, 
as every thing of that kind gives me a firmer hold of the paper. 
The theatrical department is left altogether to me ; and I mor- 
tify my revengful spirit by invariably giving all the ap- 
plause he could expect, or in justice lay claim to. I assure you 
I feel a philosophical pride and comfort in thus proving to my- 
self that my conduct is not to be influenced by that of another, 
no matter how nearly the latter may affect my interests. 

^Ir. W , the Editor I speak of — has this week given me a new 

engagement on a new weekly publication — and also on one of 
the Quarterly Eeviews, of which he is Editor ; that is, as he 
told me plainly enough, if he liked my articles, that they should 
be inserted and paid for ; and if not, sent back to me. I have 
sent one and he has kept it. This you must know is no slight 
honour, for all the other contributors are the very first men of 
the time. The review appears on the same day in four diffe- 
rent languages, in four countries of Europe. Thus, things begin 
to look m smiles upon me at last. I have within the past fort- 
night cleared away the last of the debts I had incurred here, 
with the good fortune of meeting them in full time to prevent 
even a murmur. "With the assistance of Heaven, I hope my 
actual embarrassments (it is laughable to apply the words to such 
little matters as they are) have passed away for ever. "Will 
you direct a letter for me, my dear mother, to the address I have 
given above, and as soon as you receive this ? I have not seen 
a line from one of you since I came to London. Let it be a 
long one, and contrive to say something about every separate 
indiviual of that dear circle to which my thoughts are constantly 
and affectionately wandering and where I have resolved on 



LETTERS. 119 

wrandering myself as soon as the despotism of circumstances 
will allow it. I sometimes luxuriate in the prospect of being 
able to arrange matters with a publisher here, so that a trip 
might set me down, at least as it foimd me j and such an 
arrangement, it is not improbable, I may accomplish when I 
nave established a better connexion here. My dear Father 
and Mother, 

Your affectionate Son, 

Gerald Gkufht. 



CHAPTER V. 
1823—1826. 

PERFORMANCE OF GISIPPUS AT PRURY LAN'S, IN 1842. — LETTERS 
TO AMERICA — TUE AUTHOR'S ACCOUNT OF HIS LABOURS — FIRST 
SUCCESSES — HIS GclEAT MENTAL ENERGY — HIS WRITING ANONY- 
MOUSLY — SUCCESS OF THESE ATTEMPTS — ACCOUNT OF THE 
DISCOVERY OF HIS INCOGNITO — SATIRICAL VERSES — VERSFS ON 
RECENT TOPICS — FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION — POETRY — ANEC- 
DOTES — INDEPENDENCE OF CHARACTER — MR. CRABBE. 

The play of Gisippus, with the origin of which the reader is 
now familiar, was performed for the first time at Drury Lane 
in the year 1842, and received with the utmost enthusiasm 
both by the press and the public. It was one of the pieces 
selected by Mr. Macready in his efforts at that time to 
restore the classical drama to the stage, and from the num- 
ber of times its performance was repeated to overflowing 
houses, the attempt must be considered, as regards this 
piece, eminently successful. 

I proceed to select from our author's letters a few which, 
give a more particular account of the manner in which 
he gradually surmounted those difficulties of which he 
has given such a distressing picture. It may be interesting 
however, first to lay before the reader a short letter which 
he received from his mother, in answer to the harrowing 



120 LIFE OF GEEALD GEIFFIX. 

one last quoted. Though she was unacquainted with these 
difficulties in detail, it contains many passages that are 
characteristic. 

Fairy Lawn, Susquehana County, Dec. 26th, 1825. 

My ever beloved Gerald. — We were sitting with a little 
party of friends on Christmas eve, when your letter reached me, 
and a more welcome visitor, unless indeed it were the dear 
writer himself, could hardly have appeared amongst us. It was 
unlucky that I could not procure your address since you left 
Ireland. I did all that writing could do to obtain it and yet 
failed. The sympathy of his family would have been some com- 
fort to my poor Gerald under the adverse coiu^se which his pro- 
bation as an author has subjected him to. It is an ordeal how- 
ever, which some of our greatest writers have been obliged to 
pass through. 

I have, dear Gerald, travelled with you through your mortify- 
ing difficulties, and am proud of my son, — proud of his integrity, 
talents, prudence, and above all, his appearing superior to that 
passion of common minds, revenge ; I must own, fully provoked 

to it by 's conduct. I hope however they may soon have to 

seek you, not you them. Perhaps after all, it may have been 
as well that we did not know at the time what you were to 
endure on your first outset. We should in that case have been 
advising you to come out here, which, perhaps, would have 
been turning your back on that fame and fortune, which I hope 
will one day reward your laudable perseverance and industry. 
When the very intention you mention of paying us a visit de- 
lights me so much, what should I feel if Providence should have 
in reserve for me, the blessing of once again embracing my 
Gerald. 

We have had one of the finest summers and most delightful 
autumns you can imagine, the latter I like best here, the wood- 
land scenery is so beautiful, tinged with a thousand dyes at that 
season — the air so still and so serene, that if you come to visit us-, 
your muse will surely be inspired. It is very interesting to 
witness the progress of vegetation here, after the winter is over 
it is so very rapid. Nothing can equal the variety of colours 
the woods exhibit in the latter part of ths year. They look 
very beautiful indeed, though I suppose I shall not admire them 
so much this season as I did the last, they are so associated in 
my mind with the approach of winter, which I do not like, 
notwithstanding it is the season of amusement to all the people 
here, who are continually sleighing about, and go hundreds of 



LETTERS. 121 

miles to visit their friends. The place about us is pretty 
thickly inhabited by the Yankees, as they call the people of 
New England. They are decent and obliging, and seem to take 
an interest in showing us the easiest mode of doing fanning 
business, as theirs is in many things different from ours. They 
have an agreeable accent, and are very intelligent, but their pecu- 
liar application of words is sometimes very diverting. A man 
called here the other day, who was going to Chenango, a town 
about nine miles off. He told me that if I had got any little 
notions to send for, he would bring them for me with great 
pleasure. I have observed some others use the word in the 
same way since. May God bless my dearest Gerald, prays 
his fond mother, 

Ellen Griffin. 

By the next letter, written soon after, we find him in the 
House of Commons as a parliamentary reporter. This is 
the same letter from which I have already made an extract 
relative to Gisippus, and in which he copied the fourth act 
for the purpose of obtaining the opinion of his American 
friends upon it. It was about this time he began to turn 
his attention to novels, tales, and other prose writings, from 
the ill success of his efforts in the drama, and it is interest- 
ing to observe, by the warmth of his expressions on the 
more encouraging prospects now open before him, now little 
his early ardour seems to have been dissipated by that 
ill success. The book with which he states he was occu- 
pied was the first work which established his reputation as 
a powerful and original writer — the volume published under 
the name of " Holland-tide," or Munster Popular Tales. 

To his Mother, 

15, Paddington Street, Regent's Park, London, 

Feb. 1, 1826. 
My beloved Mother, — I received your affectionate letter 
while I was at breakfast this morning. I had been expecting 
it with impatience and anxiety for the last month, and I thought 
from the quick passage your letters generally make, that some 
accident must have prevented mine from reaching you. Since 



122 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

I wrote last I have been continuing my literary engagements 
with increasing encouragement, and might have formed many 
new ones, but that I have been occupied with a book, which 
will be of more permanent and considerable, though not so 
immediate advantage. I have also taken the situation of 
parliamentary reporter for a session ; not that I needed it, but 
it will be of great use to me to know all the usages of the house, 
and the manner of the talking senators of the day. My duties 
in the gallery commence to-morrow, and I do not delay an 
instant writing, as I fear I shall have an immensity to do during 

the session. Mr. "W" and I still get on very well together. 

He has given me the reviewing department of his paper, as 
well as the political and dramatic ; so that here I have been 
made a critic almost before I became an author. I have had one 
severe attack of the chest this winter, but on the whole am 
much better than I have been during that season for many 
years, and this improvement I attribute (after Heaven's mercy) 
to the buoyant excitement of mind and heart into which 1 have 
been thrown by the stirring prospects the last few months have 
laid before me. I feel that, situated as I now am, if no new and 
great misfortune occurs, it is not possible for any person to have 
a fairer course before him, and notwithstanding my disappoint- 
ments in the first instance, I assure you I have enough of my 
eager confidence remaining to enter upon the first trial with 
glorious spirits. All I fear for is my health. Let the great 
God continue that, and if all my exertions should fail and my 
wishes should still remain unaccomplished, I shall have nothing 
— nothing for it but to sit me down quietly and say, ' ' My honest 
friend, Gerald, you deceived yourself, you took a wrong course, 
you never had any claims to the high place you aimed at, you're a 
blockhead — be quiet." A dcnbt often startles me, and that is : 
if I should succeed in all that I am at present labouring to ac- 
complish, whether the joy which will attend that consummation 
may equal the delicious feeling with which I now contemplate 
the probable result of my efforts — the strong, ardent, gloving 
hope, made doubly exquisite by the slightest mingling of uncer- 
tainty which stimulates every movement at present. But what 
have I to do with the future more than to do my part, and 
hope it may prosper ? I have been most delighted, dear mother, 
witn your kind, kind letter. Any remembrance from my old 
and dear friends coming upon me in the midst of arduous, 
though congenial occupations, is a more gratifying relief to 
my heai-t and mind, than I can express to you. 1 hope you 
will write again, without delay, when you receive this, as a 



LETTERS. 123 

person's address in London is so uncertain ; but direct as 
before. 

How I should wish we were all here, provided one can 
have one's friends about one. I can quite enter into Johnson's 
sentiments with respect to London, and those of Madame de 
Stael with regard to Paris. There is no place like a great 
metropolis for a fellow who cannot content himself with the 
quiet ease and security of a still life ; or rather who is naturally 
of a spirit so irregular and so dependent for the proper exercise 
of its energies on the excitation of outward circumstances, 
that he must be continually in the way of that excitation, if 
he would not lead a neutral life. But it may be I treat 
myself too severely in this long sentence. I would not have 
you think but I do. Mary Anne asks me to give her some 
mark by which she may know my papers, but I cannot furnish 
one. I put five hundred different signatures ; often none 
whatever, as I would not have acquaintances here recognise 
all I chose to write. The letter she speaks of was not mine, 
I believe it was Neale's, the American novelist, of whom I spoke 
to you before, and I'll tell you why I think so — because he 
met me after it appeared, and said it was "a capital thing." 
I will not finish or send off any letter until I give you an 
account of my debut in Parliament. To-morrow is expected to 
be what the press folks call a heavy night. You tax me with 
my illegible writing, but 1 fear I cannot amend it, for I must 
not stay to shape my letters, and I have, I believe, got a bad 
habit from the facility with which the printers here make it 
out. I verily believe, if I shut my eyes, or flung the pen at the 
paper so as to make any kind of mark, the London printers 
would know what I intended to say. They always send 
me back my manuscript with my printed proofs for correction, 
and I actually have repeatedly been unable to make out what 
I had written, until I had referred to the same articles in print. 
What a dull, mechanical, imperfect mode of communication this 
is though, of writing, and readings and speaking ? Why cannot 
we invent some more rapid and vivid means of transferring our 
ideas ? Why cannot we commune in spirit, or by intelligence ? 
I suppose I must give myself a lady's reason in reply : It is 
because we can't. Well, we shall do better in Heaven. 

Saturday, Feb. 4. — I have just dragged myself up here, after 
the Lord knows all the work I have dorie since Wednesday. 
I have, on the first night I attended the house, had the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer's speech to report, ("a deuced cramp 
piece of work," as Tony Lumpkin says,) and I understand, my 
report gave high satisfaction. Indeed, the proprietor told m« 



124 LIFE OF GEEALD GEIFFIN. 

I should never again have to give them so much matter as I 
furnished that night, and promised to raise my salary. I shall 
write often, and let you know how my plans get on. You, my 
dear father, would be surprised, I dare say, if you heard some 
jf those folks speak, who enjoy so high a reputation for parlia- 
mentary eloquence. There are many, whom I supposed persons 
of extraordinary ability, and I am astounded, on seeing them 
get up in the house, to find what absolute blockheads they are. 

H for instance — he is the most stupid, tiresome, actual ass 

that ever opened his lips. It is solely to the reporters he is 
indebted for the straightforward, sensible air his speeches as- 
sume. But there are other splendid fellows, whom it is posi- 
tively inspiring to listen to. It will be of the utmost service to 
me, this attending the house, and I find, somehow or other, 
that the more work a man is made to do, the more he is able 
to do, and the more he desires to do. I have had just now a 

scolding letter fromW for preferring the House of Commons 

to him ; and here's the editor of a new monthly publication has 
been (now give me credit for modesty) wishing for an introduction 
to G. G. to give him an engagement, which, however, I can't 
take. I am very, very sorry I filled so much of this sheet with 
my tragedy trash, as I find I have a great deal to say, and 
here's my paper run out, but I will write soon again, and I 
will never more be guilty of this extracting offence. I won't 

quarrel with you for saving it was J. W 's letter renewed 

our correspondence. I assure you I had repeatedly, and even 
the week before, commenced a letter, but could riot bring my 
heart to go through, in the state of mind I was in, to say, 
" My dear friends in America, I came over here to be great all 

at once, and" "but enough of that, an' thou lovest me, 

Hal" — I don't understand what right EichmondHill has to be 
four miles from Fairy Lawn. When a body hears of a number 
of his friends being in a distant place in foriegn parts — I don't 
know how it is — but he gets a confused general idea, that they 
are all cooped up as it were in a band-box, where one cannot 
poke out his elbow without another's ribs groaning for it. But 
give my true and affectionate love to B. W., the great, fat, ma- 
licious thing. I saw an amendment of hers in J 's letter, 

in which she had not so much as a " how do ye do" for poor 
me. Tell her I write by this post to her and him. And now, 
my dear father, mother, and friends, God bless you all, and 
bless America for your sake, 

Prays your affectionate, 

Gerald Gauim 



GREAT MENTAL ENERGY. 125 

The following extracts from some of his letters will 
show how earnestly he toiled, during such times as afibrded 
any occupation for his hand or his pen: 

"During the last two months I have been more occupied 
than you can conceive without my explaining. This situation, 
which was to have taken up six hours of my time per day, 
goes much nearer to the twelve regularly. I never return 
before evening to my lodging, and then, to half complete every 
evening's work keeps me drudging until two or three — some- 
times four and five o'clock every morning — unless when I 
happen to doctor myself, and that is not often. I can't afford 
to lose a certainty, and therefore must submit to this, but the 
consequences to me are very grievous. I have not since I 
wrote last been able to furnish articles for periodicals, although; 
I had made arrangements -with some, and was actually obliged 
to leave a series incomplete in one instance, consequently 
received nothing. The work of which I speak above is dry- 
drudgery — making indexes, cutting down dictionaries, &c, 
not one of which, when I have completed what I have or* 
hands, will I ever undertake again. I was villanously 
deceived about them. I am actually quite stupid, and can 
hardly see to write with pains in the eyes. I have made many 
efforts to get out of thi3 drudgery, but unsuccessfully, for want 
of time. I proposed to a bookseller to translate or adapt ' Les 
Causes Ceiebres' of the French Courts, a good idea, and he 
caught at it, but he could not engage in it so quickly as 
I wished, and. I now find Knight and Lacy are doing it, so 

that spec's gone. I broke my word to E about writing, 

but could not avoid it. I have not been in bed before three 
any night this week past — and it is now after two. I assure 
you nothing is more hateful to me (tell me if I speak for or 
against myself) than to sit down to write a letter, when I am 
as at present wearied with aniexty. You can't conceive the 
utter drudgery of beating your unfortunate brains to write 
articles without receiving remuneration regularly, and I have, 
since tea this evening, written and put into the post a number 
of articles, for which perhaps I must battle for my three 
farthings ; otherwise I could write. All this while, here is my 
Spanish friend — who has just been with me — because he had 
a little capital to work upon, sat down at his ease, and wrote a 
three volume book — a novel — for which he received £200, — 
£100 more to be added if it reaches a second edition, and 
that's likely, for it is highly praised — ' Don Etteban/ I got 



126 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

a letter the other day, from a company of booksellers in the 
Row, to furnish them with some articles for a new magazine, 
which I can't do. I have not seen three acquaintances for as 
many months, and the fact is — here I am, alive and in statu quo. 
One thing that worries me out of my life. is, that I am losing 
too much time ever to be able to retrieve it. It sometimes 
vexes me very much. I am too ready to undertake what I 
can't do, and that insures me a continual round of anxieties. 
With all that I have spoken of above, I agreed to furnish a 
bookseller with matter for a pamphlet of the" Catholic meeting 
here, and did so ; I wonder how. 'Twas about as much as 
would make one of the common size cf novel volumes, and 
furnished in five days ! without even interfering with my 
regular engagements." 

These extracts serve to point out the trials and pains of 
authorship. The following passages are more encouraging : 

" The very day I received your letter I set to work, and 
since that tune nave achieved a multiplicity of engagements 
with publishers and periodicals. In the first place, I procured 
an introduction from Dr. Maginn (an LL.D., whom I believe 
I mentioned to you before as a friend of Banian's) to the editor 
of the Literary Gazette, and got an engagement froni him to 
furnish sketches, &c, at a very liberal remuneration, — a guinea 
a page. Then I sent articles to the European Magazine, which 
I accompanied with the offer of a series, if they would pay for 
them, and requesting that the others might be returned if 
they did not feel disposed to accept them on the usual terms. 
Here also I was successful — there was not a word of objection, 
and they have already inserted several pieces. Then I made 
an essay on one of the lions — the London Magazine— and was 
accepted there too. As this was very lately, I know not what 
the net proceeds will be, but I am told by an old contributor 
that I have made ' a palpable hit. ' I know their usual pay is 
twelve guineas a sheet. Then I got an engagement from the 
proprietor of the new Catholic newspaper, to furnish reports, 
&c, by which I have already made several guineas. Still hav- 
ing time on my hands, I sold six hours per diem — from nine 
to three — to the publisher of several weekly publications for a 
guinea a week, which salary, however, he has assured me that he 
will raise. Then Bauim tells me he can get any reviews which 
I may choose to write, inserted in the Universe! Review, anew 
one, edited by Croly, the author of • Pride shall have a Fall' — 



FIRST SUCCESSES. 127 

and also with the Quarterly he can do something — I mean 
Knight's Quarterly Magazine. So far so good. Then he has 
repeatedly offered to hand any essay or sketch I give him to 
Thomas Campbell, whom he knows intimately. I think I'll 
put out my best leg and make an advance on that gentleman — 
though I don't know how it is, but if I were only now entering 
London with the experience I have, I should take a very dif- 
ferent course from that which I have followed. It is odd — but 
I never have been successful, except where I depended entirely 
on my own exertions ; where I have set to work anonymously. 
I have been so pressed fcr time lately, that I cannot find a few 
spare hours to correct a two act piece I have written for 
the English Opera House, though Banim has repeatedly pro- 
mised to introduce me to the manager the instant I have it 
finished. The same reason has prevented my doing anything 
further with respect to the winter theatres." 

The subjoined passage contains a curious and amusing 
account of the manner in which some of his engagements 
originated : 

" I am in statu quo, with one exception ; that is, that I have 
got an engagement on a paper {The News of Fashion) of which 
you've seen a number. I sent the editor a couple of essays or 
sketches of London life, or some trash of the kind anonymously. 
He begged to know my name. I did not tell, but offered to con- 
tinue them gratuitously. He wrote to say he would be glad to 
pay for them. I had no objection whatever, and he gives me 
a pound per page — fair enough. I am furnishing him now 
with a regular series, of which he has had six in number already. 
I generally get in from thirty shillings to two pounds per week 
in this way, which, if it continues, is pleasant enough, consider- 
ing that it does not interfere with my other occupations. The 
gentleman, however, is confoundedly apt to slip a column or so 
in the reckoning, which is not agreeable. 

" This editor of the News has dealt handsomely enough too. 
He made out several articles which I had published anony- 
mously in his paper, before I dreamed of asking him for an en- 
gagement, and paid me liberally for each of them. This I took 
as an inducement to make me do my lest It is pleasant too, 
inasmuch as the rest of the paper is furnished by the first 
periodical hands of the day. By the way, he don't know me 
as it is. He sends the money to my address every week by a 
livery servant, who never says a word, but slips the note to a 



1*28 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

servant — touches his lips, and, mum ! presto ! off he is. All 
very romantic isn't it ? A good illustration of a remark I made 
to you concerning patronage in the literary world is this. I 
applied openly to this same gentleman about a year since 
through his publisher. He wouldn't have any thing to do with 
me. Lately however he determined, it seems, to rind me out, 
though I gave a wrong najiie. and I was a little surprised one 
day to see here in my room a tall stout fellow, with mustachio'd 

lip and braided coat, announcing himself as Mr. TV , after 

I had three or four times declined invitations to his country 
seat (wishing to keep incog). I went there yesterday, and had 
a long chat with him. He has a perfect palace there, with 
Corinthian piazzas— garden — vines — and the Lord knows what 
besides ; a magnificent apartment with low windows going to 
the garden, &c. On one side, a splendid double-action harp, 
for which he gave, as he says, three hundred guineas. On 
another a grand piano — his wife a pleasing woman — no great 
shakes of a musician after all. We settled that he should give 
me £100 a year — paid weekly according to what I sent. I 
have just been scribbling off now two hundred lines of an epistle 
to Liston on his return to London — poetry of course !" 

This was the instance in which, as the reader will re- 
member, he gave the name of Joseph while he chose to 
preserve his incognito. 

He had been from time to time, as he says, " dashing 
more into print latterly than at first." The pieces he wrote 
consisted both of prose and poetry, and were published, 
some in the Literary Gazette, and some in the News of 
Literature. Speaking of them himself, he says : " They 
are great trash, with, however, a few novelties, and some 
passable writing — free and easy on my part you will say. 
The editor tells me they are admirable, but he's a quiz." 
In another place he says : " By the rhymes I sometimes 
send yon, you may perceive that I am putting myself in 
training for Warren's Jet Blacking." The prose pieces 
seemed intended to delineate the manners, feelings, and 
habits of thinking of the peasantry of the south of Ireland, 
and were usually engrafted on some short tale, sometimes 
of a deep and touching interest. Those in verse, which he 



SATIRICAL VERSES. 129 

designated " crambo jingle," were generally of a light and 
lively character, struck off, in the heat of the moment, on 
any subject or incident that happened to catch the public 
attention at the time. The sprightliness of the following, and 
its freedom from all bitterness, is remarkable, considering 
how severely he had suffered from the false taste he satirises : 



When dullness, friend of peers and kings, 

Sworn enemy (alas !) to me, 
Last shook her nagging, dingy winga 

O'er the first island of the sea, 
She fixed on London as a place 

Where she might find some friends or so, 
And travelling up, at mud-cart pace, 

She hired a cellar in Soho. 

But sad reverse ! since her last visit, 

A novel rage had seized the nation, 
" Sacre !" the goddess cried — " how is it ? 

Genius — my foe — grown into fashion." 
In vain she rail'd — her ancient friends, 

The booksellers, had burst her trammels, 
And in the new league found their ends, 

And left her for the Moores and Campbells. 

An unknown lawyer in the north, 

Shook her Minerva press to splinters ; 
Her favourite children sunk to earth, 

And hateful light profaned her winters. 
If she took up a rhyme, 'twas Byron's ; 

If to the stage she turned her sight, 
Kean scared her from its loved environs, 

And Fanny Kelly kill'd her quite. 

Desparing thus — despis'd, decried — 

Dullness put up her ardent prayer, 
"Grant me, mighty Jove," she sighed, 

*' Some ally in my hour of care ; 
Look on my votaries' sunken jaws, 

My ragged file of thin lampedos, 
Have mercy on their yearning qraw3, 

Send some bad taste on earth to feed $3." 

I 



130 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Her prayer was heard ; the rafters o'er her 

Sundered — and through the fissure came 
A pale white form — he stood before her, 

Lanky and gawky in his frame. 
Over one bony shoulder hung 

A pot of coarse paint, with a brush in't j 
His front was like white parchment strung— 

The devil couldn't have raised a blush in' . 

A brazen trumpet hung beside him, 

On which he blew a thrilling blast ; 
With doubt and hope the goddess eyed him , 

"Fat Madam !" he exclaimed at last, 
" I am your servant — sent by Jove, 

To bid you never be cast down, 
By me your reign shall prosperous prove, 

By me you yet shall sway the town. 

' • My name is Puff, the guardian sprite 

And patron of the dull and shameless, 
Things bom in shade I bring to light, 
And give a high fame to the nameless. 
J Me modest merit shuns to meet, 

His timid footsteps backward tracking ; 
The worthless all my influence greet, 
Frcni 'a books to Turners blacking. 

"Receive me, goddess, in thy train, 

And thou shall see a change ere long, 
The stage shall be thine own again, 

Thine, all the soils of prose and song ; 
shall delight the wenches 

"Where Richard shook the tragic scene cnce, 
Pat Chester shall draw crowded benches, 

And Fanny Kelly play to thin ones." 

The prophecy was registered, 
/ The prophecy has been fulfilled, 

The brazen trumpet's beast is heard 

Where once the voice of Genius thrilled. 
Header, before your hopes are undone, 

This axiom you will bear in mind, 
That puffing has been proved in London 

The only way to raise the wind 



VERSES ON RECENT TOPICS. 131 

The next was written on the occasion of Miss Dawson 
going up with Mr. Graham in a balloon. It appeared in 
the News of Literature and Fashion. 

MR. GRAHAM TO MISS DAWSON IN THE CLOUDS. 

" Mr. Graham now handed Miss Dawson into the car, and in a few 
minutes the aeronaut and his accomplished and beautiful fellow- 
voyager were lost to the gaze of the admiring multitude." 

Kendal Paper, 

11 Here we go up, up, up, 

And now we go down, down, down, 
Now we go backward and forward, 
And heigh for London town !" 

Bean Svfift* 

Who says the moon is made of cheese ? 

The sky a sheet of paper ? 
The little stars so many peas — 

The sun a mere ga3 taper ? 
That all the clouds are chimney smoke 

The Sun's attraction draws on ? 
Tis clear as noon tis all a joke 

To you and me, Miss Dawson. 

The secrets of the sky are ours — 

The heaven is opening o'er us — 
The region of the thunder-showers 

Is spreading wide before us. 
How pleasant from this fleecy cloud 

To look on ancient places, 
And peer upon the pigmy crowd 
»Of upturn'd gaping faces ! 






Oh ! what a place were this for love 1~ 

Nay, never start, I pray — 
Sappose our hearts could jointly move 

And in a lawful way, 
Like Lxion I should scorn the crowds 

Of earthly beauties to know, 
And love a lady in the clouds — 

And you should be my Juno. 



132 LIFE OF GERALD CRIFFIN. 

Speed higher yet— throw out more sand— 

We're not the last who'll rise 
By scattering with lavish hand 

Dust in our neighbours' eyes. 
Away ! away ! the clouds divide — 

Hiah ! what a freezing here ! — 
And now we thread the mist-hill side, 

And now the heavens appear. 

" How blest," (so Tommy Moore might sing,) 

4 'Did worldly love not blind us, 
Could we to yon bright cloud but wing, 

And leave this earth behind us ! 
There, fed on sunshine — safe from woe — 

We'd live and love together !" 
Ah, you and I, Miss Dawson, know, 

'Tis very foggy weather. 

Suppose some future act made void 

And lawless Gretna marriages, 
The snuff-man joiner's trade destroy 'd, 

And nullified post carriages : 
What think you if a Gretna here, 

With post-balloons were given ? 
Such marriages (we all could swear) 

^t least were made in Heaven. 

How small, Miss Dawson, from the sky 

Appears that man below — 
The Triton of the nabbing fry, 

The saddler-king of Bow ? 
A ng for Dogberry, say we ! 

For leathern bench and " watchus !" 
A fig for law ! I'd like to see 

What Bishop* here could catch ua ! 

'Suppose we smash the stars for fun ? 

Have with the larks a lark ? 
Or hang a cloak upon the sun 

And leave the world all dark ? 
Or upwards still pursue our flight, 

Leave that dull world at rest, 
And into Eden peep— and fright 

The banquet of the blest ? 
* The reader will not forget the celebrated Bow-Street officer of 
this aaioe. 



SOLITARY HOURS. 183 

Whiz ! whiz ! the fatal word is spoke — 

The sprites are round our car — 
Our gas is spent — our pinion broke, 

And, like a shooting star, 
Down, down we glide — the clouds divide, 

They close above our head — 
Now safe and sound we touch the ground, 

And now we go to bed. 

These verses will serve to show that the prevailing turn 
of his imagination was lively and cheerful. There were 
times, however, when his mind fell into the opposite mood, 
and when the tone of his writings exhibit a degree of 
painful loneliness. I have heard him say more than once, 
that there was nowhere such a perfect desert as London 
to one without friends; and that a person might spend 
whole years there, with a sense of solitude as great as if 
he actually lived in a wilderness. The following seems to 
have been written in one of those gloomy moments. The 
feeling it displays is extremely natural and tender, and the 
faithfulness and absence of all affectation with which it is 
translated into language is remarkable. It presents, more- 
over, a very true picture of his own disposition — one which 
glowed with affection, yet was reserved in its expression 
— which burned with ambition of the loftiest kind, yet 
was continually beaten from its aim, and while it prized 
the sweets of friendship, and lived upon hope, was doomed 
to be disappointed in both. It was published in the 
Literary Gazette of July the 3rd, 1824, with the signature 
of " Oscar." 

My soul is sick and lone, 

No social ties its love entwine ; 
A heart upon a desert thrown 

Beats not in solitude like mine ; 
For though the pleasant sunlight shine— 

It shows no form that I may own. 
And closed to me is friendship's shrine — 

I am alone ! — I am alone ! 



13-i LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIX. 

It is no joy for me 

To mark the fond and eager meeting 
Of friends whom absence pined — and see 

The love-lit eyes speak out their greeting ; 
For then a stilly voice, repeating 

"What oft hath woke its deepest moan, 
Startles my heart, and stays its beating — 

I am alone ! — I am alone ! 

Why hath my soul been given 

A zeal to soar at higher things 
Than quiet rest — to seek a heaven, 

And fall with scathed heart and wings ? 
Have I been blest ? the sea-wave sings 

'Tween me and all that was mine own } 
I've found the joy ambition brings, 

And walk alone ! — and walk alone ! 

I have a heart : — I'd live 

And die for him whose worth I knew — 
But could not clasp his hand and give 

My full heart forth as talkers do. 
And they who loved nie — the kind few 

Believed me changed in heart and tone, 
And left me, while it burned as true, 

To live alone ! — to live alone ! 

And such shall be my day 

Of life, unfriended, cold, and dead, 
!My hope shall slowly wear away 

As all my young affections fled — 
2so kindred hand shall grace my head 

When life's lost flickering light is gone ; 
But I shall find a silent bed, 

And die alone ! — and die alone ! 

As I shall not have to return to the consideration of his 
difficulties again, I may, before I close this chapter, be 
allowed to .say a few words with regard to his bearing un- 
uer them. The reader, I am sure, must have viewed with 
admiration, the steady energy, perseverance, and industry, 
which so young a person continued to exhibit during the 
progress of a long train of disappointments, and this with 



CHARACTER. 135 

so untiring a constancy, that I do not think he ever let slip 
an occasion that could have given him an additional advan- 
tage. Nor can any one fail to be struck with the warm 
and generous feeling, rectitude of principle, and unshaken 
reliance upon Divine. Providence, with which they were as- 
sociated. On calling to mind the countless instances in 
which the bright treasures of nature and grace hoarded up 
during early youth, the purity of moral feeling, and deep 
religious reverence cherished in that innocent time, are 
squandered, spoiled, and sunk in the corruption of a great 
city, we cannot help turning with an affectionate and ad- 
miring interest to those favoured individuals who never for 
a moment lost the consciousness of their worth, but pre- 
served them with unwasted faith, amid circumstances 
involving the doom of thousands. It is true, there is 
something in the pursuit of literature itself which tends to 
preserve the mind from the contamination of the grosser 
passions ; yet, while it raises a barrier against these, it is 
still open to many dangers, not, perhaps, of a less serious 
character. It may be doubted, indeed, whether the mind 
is more truly darkened by the grovellings of sense, than by 
the blind pride of intellectual ascendency which prompts it, 
while it glories in its freedom from the tyranny of a lower 
nature, to plunge with a bold scrutiny into the mysteries of 
religion, to believe itself omnipotent as it is all-searching, 
and to treat every thing as an absurdity which it is unable 
to explain. Such dangers as these, too, are the greater, 
the higher the intellectual pre-eminence. They too often 
end in scepticism, irreligion, and infidelity ; and it may be 
said that there is seldom a more signal triumph of morality 
and religion over the conniptions of the world, than when a 
young and gifted mind, reared in the simplicity of an un- 
thinking virtue, is suddenly flung into such society as 
besets it in a city like London, and comes out of its gloomy 
atmosphere with the light of its early truth unclouded.' 
Wc shall find, by one of his later letters, that Gerald had 



136 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

reason to see and feel those dangers fully, and to be 
thankful for his deliverance from them. Such results are 
rare in the history of literature. Johnson was a singular 
example of one preserved from these dangers, and not so 
much by the power of the reasoning (faculty — for there is 
often, as I have said, less of safety than of peril in that — 
as by the inborn and enduring strength of his moral feel- 
ings. I know but of one other character to whom, in the 
points I have alluded to, Gerald bore some resemblance, 
and with whom he might well be proud to be compared — 
the ever venerated Crabbe. In him there was the same 
untiring industry, the same warmth of feeling and disposi- 
tion, the same untainted purity of mind ; above all, there 
was in his days of distress and suffering, the same firm re- 
liance upon Divine Providence and submission to its de- 
crees. These qualities, indeed, existed in Mr. Crabbe in 
so remarkable a degree, that no one who has the least sen- 
sibility can fail to be touched by the deep and unaffected 
devotion of the sentences in which they are expressed. In 
observing upon these resemblances, it is impossible not to 
perceive that there is a point in which the parallel is lost, 
and in which Gerald's character has a decided advantage. 
During Mr. Crabbe's early straggles, the days had not yet 
gone by (though they were already numbered) when the 
smiles of great men were the sunshine that ripened the har- 
vest of literature ; and it is painful to think that a man like 
him, who in every other respect claims our keenest sympathy, 
should have been not only willing to bend under the siavery 
of patronage, but should have even courted its commonest 
gifts with a weak and almost servile adulation. If it must 
be confessed that there is something extreme in the decree 
to which Gerald pushed his notions of independence, I still 
think such a severe and unbending feeling would be consi- 
dered preferable to that too yielding and undignified spirit 
in which all sense of this principle is lost. No one, I am 
sure, can read, without a degree of pain proportioned Co 



S£NSE OF INDEPENDENCE. 137 

his respect for Mr. Crabbe's memory, the epistles to Prince 
"William Henry, and to the Earl of Shelbourne, which are 
given in the early part of his life by his son, and which, 
besides that they exhibit him in a point of view extremely 
unpleasant to witness, contain nothing that is at all worthy 
of his later writings ; neither is it easy to reconcile one's self 
to the circumstance of his accepting a gift of a hundred 
pounds from Lord Thurlow, after his lordship's previous un- 
feeling neglect of him, and at a time when, under the kind and 
successful patronage of Mr. Burke, he had become an author 
of considerable note, and his necessities could not have been 
very urgent. Johnson would have either spurned the offer 
with indignation, or declined it with the same manly dig- 
nity with which he rejected Lord Chesterfield's proffered 
patronage in circumstances somewhat similar.* When a 
prince or minister of state, as such, chooses to bestow place 
or pension on men distinguished for their learning or talents, 
he has two objects in view : to encourage literature as a 
great national benefit, and to reward those who have con- 
tributed to its advancement. Though the second of these 
objects may be more gratifying in its exercise, the first is 
certainly by far the most important ; but both are legiti- 
mate, both are undertaken for the public advantage, and 
paid for out of the public purse. But it is not easy to re- 
cognise any principle upon which a private individual, no 
matter how exalted his station, can be called on to pay a 
considerable sum out of his private purse to a person dis- 
tinguished by literary talent or other marks of genius, for 

* It is difficult to account for the apparent insensibility of Mr. 
Crabbe's biographer on this point. So far from perceiving anything 
unpleasant in such a position, or from having a notion that it would 
have been more dignified to have refused such a present, when he had 
on a former application been treated with such apparent contempt, 
he seems only to participate in the surprise and gratification which 
Mr. Crabbe felt, that the present was a hundred pounds instead of 
ten or twenty, as be expected it to be, and says, " It was a supply 
which effectually relieved him from all his present difficulties." 



1 38 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

it would be too heavy a tax upon any individual for the 
national advantage, and it would not be accepted as a cha- 
rity. Happily, for the respectability of authorship, the 
vast extension of literature in modern times has set aside 
such practices for ever. 



CHAPTER VI. 
1823—1826. 

LETTERS FROM LONDON — LITERARY PEOrLE — DR. MAGWN— MB. 

CAMPBELL MISS LASDON — JIE. ALARIC WATTS— DEATH OF MR. 

FOSTER — THE o'HARA TALES — PUBLIC TASTE — LITERARY PUF- 
FING — PABTY TO WESTMINSTER ABBEY — RELIGION IN LONDON 

MR. KEATS— CATHOLIC MEETING— o'CONNELL— SHIEL— AUTHOR'S 
OBSERVATIONS ON LITERARY REPUTATION — SONNET — HE DE- 
VOTES HIMSELF TO WRITINGS IN PROSE — STATE OF HEALTH — 
DRAMA ACCEPTED AT THE ENGLISH OPERA HOUSE— HIS FEEL- 
INGS UPON IT. 

In giving an account of Gerald's trials in London, I 
omitted to notice several of his letters which related prin- 
cipally to literary subjects and literary people. These may 
now be found interesting. They breathe a deep and earnest 
spirit, and contain many passages which illustrate, in a re- 
markable degree, the power of that passion to which I have 
already so often alluded. 

To his Brother. 

London, Nov. 10, 1824. 

My dear William, — Since my last I have visited Mr. J 

several times. The last time, he wished me to dine with him, 
which I happened not to be able to do, and was very sorry for 
it. for his acquaintance is to me a matter of great importance, 
not only from the engine he wields — and a formidable one it 
is, being the most widely circulated journal in Europe — but also 



DR. MAGINN — MR. CAMPBELL. 139 

because he is acquainted with all the principal literary charac- 
ters of the day, and a very pleasant kind of man. He was 
talking of Maginn, who writes a good deal for Blackwood, and 
spoke in high terms of his talents ; nevertheless, though he is his 
friend, he confessed he did not think him a very considerate 
critic, and thought there was something unfeeling in his perse- 
cution of Barry Cornwall, who by the way is an acquaintance 
of my Spanish friend's. You may have seen those letters to 
Bryan Proctor in Blackwood's Magazine. Barry Cornwall is, 
he says, one of the mildest, modestest yoimg fellows he ever 
knew, and does anything but assume. Maginn, however, ima- 
gines that those he attacks think as little of the affair as him- 
self, which is by no means the case. The other day he attacked 
Campbell's Eitter Bann most happily, and at the same time 

cuttingly, and afterwards wanted J to get up a dinner and 

bring Campbell and him together. J begged leave to de- 
cline. He is a singular looking being. Dr. Maginn. A young 
man about twenty-six years of age, with gray hair, and one of 
the most talented eyes, when he lets it speak out, I ever beheld. 
Banim, who is his bosom crony, says, he considers him the most 
extraordinary man he ever knew. He attacked Banim too 
before they were acquainted, but that's all forgot long since. 
Hazlitt praised Banim in the London Magazine, and of course 
rendered it imperative on Blackwood to abuse him. Have you 
seen Campbell's late poems, any of them ? I have been told 
that the volume of his, which is coming out shortly, Theodric, 
&c. , is very poor indeed — lamentably so. Campbell is the most 
finical, exact kind of fellow in the whole world. As an instance, 
I have heard that he was asked to write a little poem some 
time since for the occasion of Burns' monument, which was then 
in agitation, and in which my informant took great interest. 
Campbell consented, but directed that proofs should be sent 
to him to the country, and before the poem appeared had 
actually sent five or six messengers back and forward to and 
from town, with revisions of commas and semicolons ! ! There 
is a young writer here, Miss Landon, the author of the " Im- 
provisatrice," a poem which has made some noise lately, who 

has been brought out by J , and to be sure he does praise 

her. She sent some pieces to the Literary Gazette a few years 
since, and through that journal (without intending any insi- 
nuations as to desert) has made herself popular enough to run 

through a few editions. J has asked me to meet Alario 

Watts at his house, when the latter comes to town, which ha 
intends shortly. Watts is a very sweet writer in his own way, 
and rather a favourite. I have got, a few days since, a not© 



140 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

from my friend Banim to know " what has become of me?" 
;jid he adds as a spur that Dr. Maginn has just been with him, 

and said that Mr. J expressed him s elf highly pleased with 

the series I am at present furnishing him. I dined the other 
day — at least about a month since — with him and a friend of 
his, an artist of the name of Foster (to whom, if you recollect, 
Madame de Genlis dedicated one of her works, and expresses 
her gratitude for his assistance in some of her literary labours). 
He is one of the most delightful, facetious fellows I ever saw. 
My dear William, ever affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

This Mr. Foster had been acquainted with Gerald about 
a year and a half before this meeting, and had then 
procured him some introductions to parties who he thought 
might be useful to him. He was the same friend who, by 
the merest accident, dropped in one evening, in the hour of 
his greatest distress, " to have a talk with him," and of 
whom he says in a letter which I have already given, " I 
had not seen him, nor anybody else that I knew, for some 
months, and he frightened me by saying I looked like a 
ghost." He appears to have been a person of the most 
warm and generous disposition, and highly esteemed by 
those who knew him. In this instance he was the chief 
cause of Gerald's deliverance from his embarrassments, though 
the latter did not know at the time the full extent to which 
he was indebted to him. Immediately after the visit 
alluded to, he went straight to Dr. Maginn and described 
what he saw. Dr. Maginn, with extreme good nature, 
immediately communicated with the editor of the Literary 
Gazette, and this led to the engagement which Gerald alludes 
to above, and to the series of papers he there speaks of. 
How singular it is that one has so often to lament the un- 
timely and disastrous fate of persons gifted with qualities so 
endearing as those I have mentioned ! It was about a year 
or so after these transactions, that this young man, to the 
inexpressible grief of all his acquaintances, put an end 
to his existence by shooting himself through the head with 



DEATH OF MR. FOSTER. 141 

a pistol. For some time before this shocking act, he had 
been observed occasionally to labour under a depression of 
spirits which was quite unnatural to him, but there was 
nothing else either in his circumstances or manner to lead 
his friends at all to anticipate so dreadful a result. Gerald 
was deeply affected by the occurrence, and told me the 
following touching incident in connection with it. A maid 
was engaged in making up a room next to that in which 
the horrid catastrophe took place. Mr. Foster walked up 
to her, took her by the hand, pressed it warmly between 
his, and with tears in his eyes looked silently into her face 
with an expression of the most melancholy earnestness. 
It might have been a recognition of some former kindness 
of her's ; or perhaps it was his last farewell to the world 
in the person of the only human being who was near him 
at the moment. Having repeated this heart-broken gaze, 
he pressed her hand and departed. The maid looked on 
in mute astonishment, and resumed her occupation, when 
presently the report of a pistol was heard in the adjoining 
apartment, and all was at an end. " The stupid girl," 
said Gerald with vehemence in relating it, " to look on with 
her stupid wonderment at such a state of things and say or 
do nothing ! If it had been an Irish girl, she would 
sooner have plucked out one of her eyes, than allow such 
a circumstance to pass before her without instantly finding 
out the meaning of it." 

To his Brother, 

London, June 18th, 1825. 

My dear William, — I do not intend to send this until I 
have more to tell you than I can do at present. Your letter 
was a great prize. I wish you could send me what you intend. 
I know not how to turn it to account, until I see it all ; but I 
apprehend the idea of a journal is not good, for mine must be 
all tales, short and attractive in their appearance. 

I called the other day on a^celebrated American scribbler, 
Mr. N . He is a pleasant fellow, and we had some chat. 



1-42 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

He has been filling half Blaclncood since lie came with American 
topics, and is about novdidng here, as I perceive, by the ad- 
vertisement of " Brother Jonathan." His cool egotism is amus- 
ing. " Tragedy, Mr. Griffin," says he to me, " is your passion, 
1 presume ? I •wrote one myself the other day, and sent it in 
to the players ; they returned, it -without any answer, which 
■was wise on their parts. I was sorry for it, however, for I 
thought it was such a thing as would do them a good deal of 
credit and me too." He is, I believe, a lawyer. You understand 
.my reason for mentioning this precisely in that place. He is, 
I think, clever. Have you seen Banim's O'Hara Tales ? If not, 
read them, and say what you think of them. I think them 
most vigorous and original things ; overflowing with the very 
spirit of poetry, passion, and painting. H you think otherwise, 

don't say so. My friend W sends me word that they are 

udl tcritttn. All our critics here say that they are admirably 
written ; that nothing since Scott's first novels has equalled. 

them. I differ entirely with W in his idea of the fidelity 

of their delineations. He says they argue unacquaintance with 
the country. I think they are astonishing in nothing so much 
as in the power of creating an intense interest without stepping 
out of real life, and in the very easy and natural drama that is 
carried through them, as well as in the excellent tact which he 
shows, in seizing on all the points of national character which 
are capable of effect. Mind, I don*t speak of the fetches now. 
That is a romance. But is it not a splendid one ? 

Plays are now out of fashion completely. Elliston advanced 
Banim one hundred pounds on his tragedy, and yet is not bring- 
ing it out. Stephens is at Drury Lane ; Elliston is done up — 
" peppered for this world, I warrant ;" and the management 
changes. But theatrical affairs are wonderfully altered. No 
person of any respectability goes to a play now. Even the pit 
of the Opera has been blackballed, and the boxes of that house 
are the only places of this kind where people of any fashion are 
to be found.. Xobody knew anything of Banim till he pub- 
lished his O'Hara Tales, which are becoming more and more 
popular every day. I have seen pictures taken from them al- 
feady, by first rate artists, and engravings in the windows. 
Tales, in fact, are the only things the public look for. Miss 
Kelly has been trying to pull Congreve above water, and has 
lieen holding him by the nose for the last month, but it won't 
do ; he must down. When I came to London the play-goer3 
were spectacle mad, then horse mad, then devil mad, now they 
are monkey mad, and the Lord knows, my dear William, when 
they will be G. G. mad. I wish I could get "a vacancy at 



LITERARY PUFFING. 143 

Every day shows me more and more of the 
humbug of literature. It is laughable and sickening. What 
curious ideas I had of fame, &c. , before I left Ireland ! Even 
the Waverly novels -were puffed into notice. Nothing is done, 

can be dene, without it. Herelsee puffed by his^own family. 

A good writer puffing himself. Men of talent writing in one 
periodical, and replying to, criticising, and praising the parti- 
cular article in another — dramatists who don't understand com- 
mon grammar or spelling ! (I see every play that is produced in 
manuscript, with stage criticisms, &c, while in rehearsal.) 
These, however, are generally (always, indeed) minor house 
scribblers — I mean the bad spellers. I found a gem from one 
of them the other day — no, by the way, it was a Drury Lane 
dramatist. A piece was produced a few weeks since at that 
theatre, and subsequently published. A letter from him to the 
publisher ran in this way : "Dear Sir, since I saw you I have 
been thinking it would be better commence Scene n. , Act n. , 
thus : Instead'of 'Rooney discovered drinking,' — say, 'Eooney 
discovered slightly intoxicated, gets up, and staggers forward. ' 
Yours very truly, &c." Honour bars the names. I am idle as 
to dramatic affairs. Our best tragic actress here offered to 
present my play, and do all in her power for it. I should not 
have time for anything of that kind, even if I were not so 
situated with Baniin as to put it out of the question. The pro- 
posal was made without my seeing or even knowing the lady. 
A friend of her's and mine met me after he had just escorted 
her to rehearsal, told me what she had said, and asked me to 
come and see her, or meet her at his house. I will go and see 
her, I believe, when I have time, and perhaps read her some of 
the piece, but no more at present. A curious thing to have 
such an offer without seeking, and declined too ! 

I have undertaken to patronise the little Miss Fortescue in 
the News; interesting little thing. I called at her friend's, 
and her mother made her act the part before ns. I thought 
she would have died with fear and shame, and after a Covent 
Garden rehearsal too ! My Spanish friend's book is nearly, I 
believe, going to a second edition — £100 in his pocket if it 
does. I like him well enough ; he is a mild, unassuming sort 
of body, and we are growing great friends. Here's the pub- 
lisher of the Dublin Magazine sent me four numbers of it, and 
begs contributions, which he promises good pay for. He has 
been asking these four months or more, and I can't find time to 
send him one. 

Dear William, affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 



144 LIFE OF GEnALT? GRIFFIN. 



To his Sister. 

London, June 21st, 1825. 

My deakest Ellen, — I sit down at last to do what I assure 
you the non-performance of has lain heavily upon my conscience 
for a long time, and would have troubled it very much indeed, 
if I did not feel that circumstances justified me— shortly — to 
have a little conversation with you and Lucy. As I have much 
to say, I shall forthwith begin to throw into my sheet all 
manner of news in all manner of ways — and pray, beware of 
charging my abruptness to the account of carelessness or haste, 
for as far as regards this letter, I am resolved to take the world 
easy, let business go as it may. 

I sent you word, I believe, in my last, that the News was 
rather a dull paper. Allow me with all expedition to retract 
that hasty and most injudicious criticism : people's opinions 
will undergo changes, and I confess to you that mine is consid- 
erably altered since I have become one of the parties concerned 
in the judgment. I think now there are some very fair things 
indeed in the News. I assure you I'm quite serious. If you 
mutter anything about inconsistency, I can only say, in the 
words of Touchstone, (a gentleman with whom I w r ould not be 
thought to have too many ideas in common,) " Thus men will 
grow wiser every day." 

I have a great mind, for want of something better to say, and 
having begun to egotise so much, to — but no ; some other op- 
portunity — I must get a long sheet, for 1 must not forget Lucy 
in this. They are queer people here as regards religion. I 
went last Sunday to hear the anthem sung in Westminster 
Abbey ; it had a most imposing effect. But I accompanied two 
young ladies — don't start — 'twas by their mamma's sanction — 
the pews were full, so I led them up to the reading-desk when 
the sermon began. Here we stood, and I supposed I was in for 
a dead bore of an hour at least. One of the damsels, however, 
turned round, and with the greatest nonchalance in the world 
— not taking much pains to lower her voice neither — said to 
me, " Come, we'll go see the monuments now." You must 
consider that we were so situated, that our moving would, in a 
Catholic Irish chapel, be considered (to talk moderately) highly 
scandalous. But the exordium was scarcely commenced, when 
we three got on — brushed by the clergyman — and turned out of 

the choir. I, recollecting Father F and the like, expected 

to hear a reproof thundered after us from the pulpit ; but no 
such thing — 'twas just like a drawing-room— ladies and gentle- 



PROSPECT OF REUNION. 145 

men made way, bo-wed and curtsied, and off we went to Willy 
Skakspeare and Ben Joknson ; and that, to my knowledge, 
was all the ladies thought or knew about church that day — 
pleasant party, that waa all. 

Well, what more have I to tell you about myself ? Nothing, 
so let us change the subject. I heard from William that you 
had lately been rather worse than otherwise. This fine wea- 
ther must, however, have had its usual effect on you, and I do 
hope that you have been able to enjoy it. I would give a great 
deal, Ellen, if I could give you the power of mastering sickness, 
which I feel in myself — or that, in addition to the cheerfulness 
of spirit, (which I believe you would suffer no circumstances 
that merely affected your own happiness to remove at least the 
appearance of,) you had some object in view, sufficiently excit- 
ing and alluring to induce anything like a forge tfulness of pre- 
sent suffering. Look forward, dear Ellen, don't shake your 
head and sigh, but entertain the conviction that I do — that? 
happy days on earth are in store for us all. In all the depres- 
sions and disappointments to which I have been subjected since 
I came here — this hope, this conviction, has never forsaken me. 
We all love one another too well to be contented asunder, and 
there is a just Providence above us. IsTot a day passes that L 
do not see in prospect the reimion, scattered as we are over the i 
world, which I more than trust will one day take place. Per- 
haps it is a merciful dispensation of Heaven that I should be 
dosed so strongly with this stimulating hope, depending so 
much on my own exertions, and all alone as I am here. But 
the presentiment is, I am sure, too forcible to be deceitful, and 
I only wish I could make you join me in it. You have suffered, 
and are suffering a great deal, dear, dear Ellen, and depend 
upon it you must be repaid in some measure. There is more 
evenhanded justice — temporal justice — in the world than a first; 
glance would make us suppose, and I am one of those who- 
believe, that no person ever left the world — taking the mind, of 
course, as a passive object — who had suffered more or less on the 
whole than his fellow. I don't know if I make myself under- 
stood, but, at all events, I wish you would endeavour to admit 
this fervency of hope to as great a degree as I do. Above all 
things, Ellen, let me warn you of those false scruples which, 
would lead you to refrain from any means of raising your spirits, 
which may present themselves. That is not religion, it is crime, 
and serious guilt. It is a cold, suicidal proceeding, which has 
not the least excuse to palliate it either on the score of mental 
sickness or the pressure of circumstances, and, as I am a Ca- 
tholic, and believe in death, and judgment, must, I think, be. 

K 



146 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

answered as the most wanton infliction imaginable. But there 
is enough of this matter. Dearest Ellen, take my counsel ; 
answer this, and believe me, most affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

The incident about the two ladies in church, in this letter, 
-eniinds me of another which Gerald once mentioned, and 
at which he was considerably amused. It related to the 
subject of what are called " voluntaries," in church music. 
One Sunday while at luncheon at the house in which he 
lived, two ladies who had just returned from church were 
discussing the propriety of a 'certain air which had been 
played there that day, one of them affirming that airs of 
that class were perfectly allowable, the other, that they were 
shockingly profane. After listening with much interest to 
an argument which was carried on pretty learnedly on both 
sides for some time, Gerald asked the name of the air, and 
was told it was, " Here's a health to all good lasses." * 

To his Sister. 

London, June 21st, 1825. 

My dearest Ltjct, — Kow what must I say ? I only assure 
you that I took up this sheet in the resolution of devoting half 
of it to you, and here I am with scarce room for a word. I 
think it probable I may some of these days become acquainted 
with the young sister of poor Keats the poet, as she is coming 
to spend some time with a friend of mine. If I do, I will send 
you an account of her. My Spanish friend, Valentine Llanos, 
was intimate with him, and spoke with him three days before 

* On mentioning this anecdote one morning at a friend's house at 
breakfast, a Protestant clergyman vho was present said, that his 
gravity was once in danger of being very seriously disturbed by an 
incident somewhat similar. He had been requested to preach in one 
of the churches of some town in Germany, I do not remember where. 
While walking through the centre of the church towards the pulpit, 
arrayed in his vestments, and with all the solemnity proper to such 
an occasion, the choir suddenly struck up, " See, the conquering 
hero comes I" 



MR. KEATS. 147 

he died. I am greatly interested about that family. Keats 
you must know was in love, and the lady whom he was to have 
married, had he survived Gifford's (the butcher) review, at- 
tended him to the last. She is a beautiful young creature, but 
now wasted away to a skeleton, and will follow him shortly I 
believe. She and his sister say they have oft found him, on 
suddenly entering the room, with that review in his hand, 
reading as if he would devour it — completely absorbed — absent, 
and drinking it in like mortal poison. The instant he observed 
anybody near him, however, he would throw it by, and begin 
to talk of some indifferent matter. The book displays great 
genius, but, unfortunately, it afforded one or two passages 
capable of being twisted to the purpose of a malignant wretch 
of a reviewer, such as Gifford is, with much effect. Dearest 
Lucy, affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

The strong expressions he makes use of in this letter 
with regard to the reviewer, is but one of the many signs 
of the deep sympathy he felt for those who struggled in the 
painful path he had himself chosen. Notwithstanding his 
admiration of Mr. Keats' genius, I have, however, afterwards 
heard him say, that there were very many passages in his 
book fairly open to severe criticism, and that he did not 
think the review altogether so unjust as he had at first 
imagined it. 

To his Brother. 

London, December, 1825. 

My dear William, — I have just got a paper from you, 
which finds me with more to do this day than I can well ac- 
complish, but you wish for a line by return of post, and I will 
rather write a brief letter than put it off. Nothing particular 
has happened, except that I did not get a fraction of money 
for five weeks, which, coupled with the failure of our printer, 
gave me some uneasiness. The paper, however, has changed 
to another establishment, and all goes on well. Most of what 
was due to me I have been paid, with proper apologies for the 
delay, occasioned by the printer's break. 

Well, an' hoo do ye get on wi' the Sawneys ? Hoo do ye like 
auld Reekie ? I was perfectly electrified, then overpowered, 
then transported, when I heard of your being in Edinburgh. 



148 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

It came upon me all in a heap. Is the confounded rheumatism, 
then, gone for ever and ever ? As for my own affairs, I have 
little more news to tell you than what you have got above. I 
have had so much to do lately for this paper, that my anecdotes 
hang fire most confoundedly. I dined with Banim last week, 
and found him far gone in a new novel, now just finished, 
'• The Boyne Water," (good name ?) which is far superior, in my 
humble judgment, to the O'Hara Family. 

This is one of my buoyant days, but do you know that I am 
generally most miserable ? The tormenting anxiety of a literary 
life — such a one as I lead — is beyond all endurance. When 
I send off my bundle of papers for the evening, I sit down here 
sometimes to think on my future prospects, and go to bed at 
last actually feverish with apprehension. There is nothing 
but doubt and uncertainty about it. 2so profession, no hold 
on society, no stanrp, no mark, and time rolling on, and the 
world growing old about one. However, we must only work 
on as we can. 

You mention Banim's brother having been among you. 
Ba nim himself has been all over the north of Ireland since his 
return from France, and brought over the world and all of 
materials for his new novel. He has spent an immense deal 
of labour and study in acquiring a perfect knowledge of all the 
historical records of the period, and procured a great deal of 
original information, and other matter, during his rambles. 
I am exceedingly glad to see him prospering so well, because 
I conceive him to be an excellent and a worthy man, putting 
out of the case my own obligations to him. 

As for the Catholic meeting, I liked O'Connell's uncompro- 
mising spirit, and wondered at the exemplary patience with 
which John Bull sat to hear himself charged with perfidy, &c. , 
so roundly. All these parts of his speech were received in 
dead silence. You ask me about Lawless. My opinion is, that 
he is a very well meaning, very mischievous fellow, not very 
far from blockhead. As to the general opinion here, the whole 
affair is very little talked about at all, and it is a doubt to me 
if one man out of ten (take Englishmen as they are) ever 
heard of Lawless. You have a queer notion on the other side 
•of the water, that your concerns are greatly thought about 
here. It is a doubt to me if the "dear little island" were 
swallowed by a whale, or put in a bag and sent off to the moon, 
if the circumstance would occasion any further observation 
than a "dear me," at one end of the town, and a "my eyes !" at 
the other, unless, indeed, among the Irish mining speculators, 
or some gentlemen equally interested. In all than does not 



CRITICISMS. 149 

concern their interest or feelings, these are the most apathetic 
people breathing. Yet all wish well to the measures when 
spoken of. I did not like the display in the Freemason's HaD. 
O'Connell was too familiar— offensively so — and as for Shiel, 
if you take Blair's position for granted, that nothing deserves 
the name of eloquence which is not suited to the audience, and 
to the circumstances under which one speaks, he was certainly, 
at least on this occasion, no orator.* People have long since 
found out that wordiness to be nothing more than dull humbug. 
Besides, his exordium (to speak in his own way) was most 
ineffably silly. I sent you a paper last week — a new one — 
rather stupid I think, though some of our first rate men write 
for it. My dear "William, yours affectionately, 

Gerald Griffin. 

To his Sister. 

London, July 17th, 1826. 

My pearest Ellen, — I wonder how you had the hardihood 
to find the plot of Banim's bock so bad. I and the Edinburgh 
Review (mark the distinction) find it very interesting. He was 
most anxious when I last saw him to know what I thought of 
the Boyne Water, which I had not then entirely read, and I 
have just been writing to him the comfortable advice to stick 
to the tales. What a passion he will be in ! at least if I judge 
by myself. It is superior to the tales in many respects, but 
not so calculated for general popularity. I spent a very pleasant 
evening the other day with the sister of John Keats, his in- 
tended bride, (as beautiful, elegant, and accomplished a girl as 
any, or more so, than any I have seen here,) and the husband 
Of the former, who is an old friend of mine. 

A play I have not read nor seen for some months. Der 
Frieschutz I saw last summer twelvemonth. It is wretched 
trash — but such music ! I never was so terrified in my life. 
You would suppose the devil himself was the composer. You 
can have no conception of it without hearing it in a full orches- 
tre, and well played, nor indeed can you know anything of the 
power of music until you have heard it. 

Situated as I am at present, with only a couple of friends, 
whose society I can enjoy very seldom, almost without opening 

* By a subsequent letter to Mr. Banim it will be seen that he bad 
not on this occasion an opportunity of fully estimating Mr. ShieTs 
powers. 



150 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

my lips sometimes for a whole day, I am completely on thorns 
until (I will again repeat it) I have got something better in 
the shape of acquaintance than I can at present see about me. 
This is not self-conceit. It is a plain and true speech. I fear 
very much, by the way, that you are over charitable in suppos- 
ling that where there is stupidity and vulgarity there can be 
virtue or active moral worth. A stupid and vulgar man (the 
meaning of the words properly considered) may be innocuous, 
but he cannot be a really estimable character — for he is incapa- 
ble of a motive, even when he happens to act well. The words 
were strong ones, however, and I should not have used them, 
but that I must at the time have been thinking of some book- 
seller. There never was a poor devil who so thirsted for society, 
so utterly barred out from it as I am at present. I can't know 
such people as I want to know, and as I have been accustomed to 
converse with ; and those that would know me, I don't want 
to know. 

I received some time since a letter from containing 

a most original illustration, in a notice which he gave me ox 
Campbell's Theodric. He would be a far, far cleverer and 
more original writer than I am, (free and easy on my part you 
mil say,) if he were in my place. After all, London is the 
only fair field for any fight with fortune, and I can perfectly 
enter into the feeling of the man in the play, who says he had 
•rather be hanged in London than die a natural death in the 
country. It requires, however, a little immediate certainty to 
"brush through at first. Why does he content himself with 
vegetating in an obscure country village ? Why is he not all 
afire, as I — contemptible I — am, until something important — 
something lasting is achieved ? I am now near two years in 
London, and I assure you I have not a moment's peace day or 
night. I am actually miserable — miserable. I could not pos- 
sibly endure this life much longer — this eternal restlessness — 
burning to do something— just to raise myself if it were only 
by the neck and chin— to take breath— to be so far elevated 
above the mass of the stupid and the vulgar, with whom 
I am surrounded, and confounded ; but time — time and pa- 
tience — I must do what many a better man has done before 
me — be patient and persevering. I find in myself considerable 
energy of character, but not sufficiently self-sustained and in- 
dependent of circumstances. These have much less effect on 
me than they had, however, and I may at last be able to do my 
work without them. I live in a state of eternal change, some- 
times in the utmost buoyancy, during which I work like mad, 
and at others, I sit down in an evening, and can't put a 



SUCCESSFUL AUTHORS. 151 

sentence together, nor by any force fix my attention on what 
I am about. On these occasions I take up a book to review, 
and God help the poor author if he gives me "a vacancy at 
him." But that's a joke. If you knew what a mercy writing 
to me is at those times, you would do it oftener. William's 

friend F has been tickling my fancy about the highlands, 

but if I can go anywhere it must be home. What are high 
mountains but high mountains after all ; and unless I had 
some greater object than pleasure in visiting them, I should 
find none in doing so. My dear Ellen, ever affectionately 
yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

Notwithstanding this last remark there were few that 
felt the beauties of mountain scenery more intensely than 
he did, and this faint attempt to depreciate them looks as 
if he felt the temptation a strong one, and feared it might 
draw him from his determination to return home, if that 
were possible. 

To his Brother. 

London, July 31st, 1826. 

My dear William, — I have just got your letter, and write 
to say that there is at present no chance of my being out of 
town any time before winter. I have been as hard at work, 
and to as little purpose as usual, since I wrote last. The News 
of Literature is dead and buried, leaving me unpaid to some 
amount — enough to be disagreeable. I am sorry to perceive 
you write in unpleasant spirits — these things I have forgot a 
long time now, for I have been so seasoned by partial success 
and great disappointment, that I am become quite indifferent 
about either, though I am still pulling on from habit. 

My friend Llanos goes to France next week, which I regret 
as deeply as it is possible for me to say. As to success, or dis- 
appointment, or uncertainty, or apprehension, they are all 
nonsense. The only plan is to persuade yourself that you will 
get on gloriously, and that's the best success going. I have, 
within the last year, seen and talked with some of the most 
successful geniuses of the day, and I perceive those who enjoy 
brilliant reputation to be conceited, impertinent, affected fools, 
"out of their inspiration," and all others are just about as 
happy and as miserable as the rest of the world whom nobody 
knows nor cares about. I don't know whether you are aware 



152 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

of the low ebb at which literature is at present. That accounts 
for my obscurity of course. I write this at such a ZSew- 
market rate to overtake the post, that I scarcely know what 
I have said ; but it is not of much consequence, as we shall 
have the happiness of meeting so soon. I stick by honest 
Cab's motto, "Hang sorrow — care '11 kill a cat — up tails all 
— and a rouse for the hangman." Dear William, yours af- 
fectionately, 

Gerald Griffin. 

In a letter which I received from him the following 
month, he says : 

" I am sick and tired of this gloomy, stupid, lonely, wasting, 
dispiriting, caterpillar kind of existence, which I endure, how- 
ever, in hope of a speedy metamorphosis. It would amaze you 
to know all I have done, and done to no purpose, within the 
last twelve months ; but I am still adhering to my plan of 
working my way unassisted ; not that I have any objection to 
get a lirt when circumstances make the obligation tolerable to 
me. My numerous disappointments here have not at all dis- 
pirited me. They have deadened my anxieties a little, and so 
I work with more vigour, and less fear and trembling (a curious 
consequence of failure). I"m beaten about here, and there, 
and everywhere, and fairly don't know what will become of 
me, but I must only try and make the best of it." 

The following, which is one of those sonnets I have 
before alluded to, appears to have been written on one of 
those occasions. 

FAME. 
Why hast thou lured me on, fond muse, to quit 

The path of plain dull worldly sense, and be 

A wanderer through the realms of thought with thee ? 
While hearts that never knew thy visitings sweet, 

Cold souls that mock thy gentle melancholy, 
Win their bright way up Fortune's glittering wheel, 
And we sit lingering here in darkness still, 

Scorned by the bustling sons of wealth and folly. 
Yet still thouwhisperest in mine ear, "The day, 

The daj- may be at hand when thou and I 

(This reason of expectant pain gone by) 
Shall tread to Joy's bright porch a smiling way, 
And rising, not as once, with hurried wing, 
To purer sides aspire, and hail a lovelier spring. " 



NOVEL WRITING. 153 

The engagement on the News of Literature it was which 
gave him the opportunities he mentions, of " seeing every 
play in manuscript while in rehearsal." It was, however, 
one about which he seldom felt any security, and the paper, 
as we have seen, eventually dropped while still somewhat 
in his debt. The uncertainty of these employments made 
him naturally anxious to achieve something that would give 
him a lasting hold on the public mind, and it was plain 
that this could only be accomplished by some regular work 
of some importance, either in the shape of a drama, or a 
novel. With writings of the latter class there was still 
considerable difficulty. The reader will remember what he 
says in one of his former letters about the heart-breaking life 
of a young writer in London ; going about from bookseller 
to bookseller, and only to find his manuscript rejected every- 
where. It is a fact well known to all who have made any 
attempts in literature, that the circumstance of a writer being 
known or unknown to the public, makes immensely more 
difference as to his chance of acceptance with a publisher 
than the amount of talent he possesses. If he is utterly 
unknown, let his ability be what it may, he will find it 
extremely difficult to get it even looked at, while if he 
has ever been before the public, even in a position only 
moderately favourable, this circumstance will be sufficient 
to procure it the requisite attention. 1 do not speak this 
absolutely as to every case, but it is well known, neverthe- 
less, to be the usual course. This, therefore, was the 
principal advantage he seems to have derived from his 
connection with the News of Literature, that it gave him 
opportunities of making an acquaintance with the public, 
which he found useful afterwards in his dealings with the 
publishers, when he turned his attention to writings in 
prose. To these he now devoted himself with the same 
ardour and eagerness, yet with rather less of the high 
enthusiasm, that characterised his efforts in the drama. 
Independent of any coldness or indifference on the part of 



154 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

the publishers, it was a difficult time for a new author to 
make an essay in novel writing. Though the taste for 
compositions of that class was decided and strong, no one 
but an original and powerful writer could have succeeded. 
Sir Walter Scott had utterly swept away all the sentimen- 
tal stuff with which that species of literature had been so 
long deluged, substituting for it a train of feeling and of 
action more suited to common sense and nature, and the 
public would thenceforth endure nothing but reality. His 
fictions, too, were so splendid, and the tide of his stories 
was poured forth with such a homely and unconscious 
strength, that no one who did not feel confident of consider- 
able power could hope to approach such a model. Gerald, 
besides, was an Irish writer, and his friend Mr. Banim 
had already pre-occupied the field of Irish fiction with a 
series of tales of such deep interest, and vigour, and truth 
of colouring, that they deserved the name of dramas 
rather than stories, and had become universally popular. 
Whether it was that his sense of these difficulties con- 
vinced him that any effort in that direction should possess 
extraordinary merit to be at all successful, and that this 
conviction made him wish to delay them until he could 
enter upon the subject fairly, and with all the consideration 
it deserved, does not appear, but I perceive in his letters 
from this time forward, various signs of preparation for 
devoting himself to this walk almost exclusively. "At 
present," he says, " I am working up my recollections to 
furnish a book which I shall call ' Munster Anecdotes,' 
a good title, with illustrations, &c. I have even had it 
announced in the Literary Gazette — rather too soon, for 
I can do nothing with it just now. My anecdotes are all 
short stories, illustrative of manners and scenery precisely 
as they, stand in the south of Ireland, never daring to 
travel out of perfect and easy probability. Could you not 
send me materials for a few short tales, laying the scene 
about the sea-coast — Kilkee ? novelty at least. Reality yoa 



ILLNESS. 155 

know is all the rage now." The time he was able to 
devote to these new pursuits was, however, as yet but 
small, his engagement with the News of Literature, while 
it lasted, keeping him so constantly occupied, that he 
found it impossible to accomplish all the editor required 
of him, while his employment as parliamentary reporter 
during the session, frequently kept him up until four or 
five o'clock every morning. " Eveiy moment," he says, 
" brings something with it of the most pressing necessity. 
Besides my poor neglected anecdotes, which cry out unto 
me from the depths of a large table drawer, I have a three 
volume novel to correct in manuscript, concerning which I 
am sorely plagued — the author, who by the way gets 
£300 for it, is constantly worrying me to have it done. 

Then, jogging about to the newspapers, and then W , 

from whom I have just now got a parcel of books to review; 

so that, as L would phrase it, I can scarcely allow my 

ogles a blink at snooze time." In these engagements, 
which were occasionally diversified by the production of a 
piece at the English Opera-house, (of which more here- 
after,) he seems to have passed over the remainder of the 
season without accomplishing anything of much importance 
until the publication of " Hollandtide," which took place, 
as I have said, in the latter part of the following year. 

The constant pressure of this anxiety and incessant 
application seems to have gradually preyed upon his 
strength, and produced an effect which exhibited itself in 
a very sudden and startling manner. He had been, before 
this, subject to attacks of rheumatism, of one of which he 
says : " I brazened it out for some time, but it fairly 
knocked me down at last, and I was for a few days 
scarcely able to crawl about with fever and headache." 
Previous to the sudden seizure mentioned in the extracts 
which follow, he had, however, been in pretty good health. 

" Since my last, I have had some bad and some good fortune, 
and let me tell the bad first. It was a return of one of those 



156 LIFE OF GERALD GEIFFEN - . 

palpitations, which fairly shook me to pieces almost, for about 
ten minutes. I never had it to anything like the extent 
before or since, and, leading so very regular and orderly a life 
as I do, it surprised me a little. To be sure, I exercised a 

great deal, and to that Mr. W attributed it ; but though 

that is now more than a fortnight since, I have not yet reco- 
vered the shock it gave me. 'Tisn't a little thing, by the waj^, 
of this kind that can frighten me seriously. I had been in 
excellent health for a long time before. However, be that (I 
say in my very heart of hearts) as God pleases." 

" The news which I have called good, Lord knows whether 
wisely or no, is, that I have had a play accepted, with much 
compliment thereon, at the English Opera-house. I began it last 
Tuesday week, sent it to Banim (at whose pressing suggestion 
I set about it) on the Tuesday following, and this day received 
word from the latter that it was accepted, and that Arnold, 
the proprietor, (who has also himself been a wholesale 
dramatist, ) expressed ' a very high opinion of your humble 
servant's dramatic promise, and that' — pish! what signifies 
what he said ? 1 will write again after I have been introduced 
to him. Banim concludes that it will be played this season, 
though I confess I hardly expect it. Much as I had known of 
Banjul's kindness, I hardly looked for this great promptitude. 
This little bit of success (so far) would have been very delight- 
ful about a year ago, and even now I own I am not indifferent 
to it, though a great deal, if not all, of the delicious illusion 
with which I used to envelop it is lost to me ; but a better 
feeling I believe has come in its place, the hope that, through 
ite means, I may be enabled to do some little good before more 
time goes by, and that I may not have been a useless cipher 
my whole life through, a consciousness which has embittered 
the last few years very considerably. It would be better 
to say nothing of this until it has arrived at a conclusion ; 
although, if ^liss Kelly (on whose shoulders the whole weight 
of the plays mut rest) deceive me not, I have nothing to fear ; 
and that is nothing, for she is a wonderful actress — I mean the 
Kelly. I have said a great deal more than such a trifle merits, 
but 1 speak only because, if successful, it will not be trifling in 
its consequences." 

"I have heard from Banim. Arnold agrees to buy the 
piece beforehand for £50." 

There is something affecting in the calmness with which 
he received Qua piece of good news, which would have 



his brother's arrival. 157 

once been, as he says, so highly prized by him, and in his 
sudden fear, so naturally expressed, of being again misled 
by the hope awakened by Mr. Arnold's favourable opinion. 
The reader cannot mistake the painful feeling which sug- 
gested the expression alluded to. A week or two after this 
was written, or early in the month of September, 1826, his 
brother, Dr. William Griffin, who is now no more, and who 
had not seen him since his departure from home in the 
latter part of 1823, arrived in London from Edinburgh. — 
I obtained from him the following interesting account 
of what he observed during the few months that he re- 
mained with him in town. 



CHAPTER VII. 

1826. 

author's occupation as a reviewer— his state of health 
on his brother's arrival — proposal for a genuine english 

opera correspondence with mr. arnold on the subject 

correspondence with mr. banlm— gerald's distaste for 

patronage — instances of it — his love of originality 

new comedy written and subsequently destroyed— 
frequency of coincidences in literature, and strong 
natural probability of them— completion of " holland- 

TXDE." 

" On my arrival in London from Edinburgh, in the month 
of September, 1826, 1 found him occupying neatly furnished 
apartments in Northumberland-street, Kegent's-park, of 
which he gives a description in one of his minor tales. I 
had not seen him since he left Adare, and was struck with 
the change in his appearance. All colour had left his 
cheek, he had groAvn very thin, and there was a sedate 
expression of countenance, unusual in one so young, and 
which, in after years, became habitual to him. It was far 



15 S LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

from being so, however, at the time I speak of, and readily 
gave place to that light and lively glance of his dark eye, 
that cheerfulness of manner and observant humour, which 
from his very infancy had enlivened our fireside circle at 
home. Although so pale and thin as I have described him, 
his tall figure, expressive features, and his profusion of dark 
hair, thrown back from a fine forehead, gave an impression 
of a person remarkably handsome and interesting. On in- 
quiring about his health, he told me he had never perfectly 
recovered from the severe attack of rheumatism about 
which he had written to me, that he was not so strong as 
formerly, passed uncomfortable nights, and was subject to 
distressing palpitations. 

" On giving me an account of his literary pursuits in the 
course of the day, he pointed with a smile to the locality 
of the workhouse, which was nearly opposite to him, and 
said, ' You see how provident I have been in the selection 
of a residence — if all fails me I have a refuge at hand.' 
He was at the time regularly engaged in writing articles 
for some of the periodicals, and devoted his spare hours 
either to the tales afterwards published, under the title of 
Holland-tide, or to the composition of an opera for Mr. Ar- 
nold's theatre. Occasionally some newly published works 
were sent to him for review, or some manuscript ones for 
his opinion as to the probability of their success if published. 
This occupation of reviewing, and of passing judgment on 
unpublished manuscripts, gave him little trouble, and the 
remuneration was liberal. He was often highly amused at re- 
ceiving from the editor of some periodical, three volumes of a 
newly published novel, accompanied by a request that he 
would not cut the leaves. This, which he at first conceived 
so very ridiculous, and so apparently impossible with any 
justice to the author, he eventually found was almost a 
matter of necessity with many of the publications sent to 
him. They were of so trashy a description, that no one of 
ordinary taste could possibly get through even, the first few 



NATURE OF HIS ILLNESS. 159 

chapters. His usual plan was to glance through the early 
part of a work, so as to obtain some notion of the plot ; a 
peep here and there iu the second volume gave him an idea 
of the skill with which it was developed ; and a slight con- 
sideration of the latter end of the third, or slaughter-house, 
as he used to call the concluding part of a disastrous story, 
or fifth act of a tragedy, satisfied him both as to the genius 
of the author and the merits of the performance. He no 
doubt made a more intimate acquaintance with his subject, 
when his first hasty supervision gave him reason to believe 
it was written by a person of more than ordinary talent, and 
did not appear to feel conscious of having done any injus- 
tice during the short period he was engaged as a profes- 
sional critic. I remember his adverting more than once, 
as if amused at the recollection, to a letter of remonstrance 
he received from a well known authoress, whose poems he 
appears to have dealt rather severely with, in a notice pub- 
lished in the News ofL iterature and Fashion. I do not know 
whether he made any amends in this matter, but, though not 
sensible of having committed a wrong, I am sure, from his 
manner of speaking of her letter, he regretted that any- 
thing he had written should have given pain to the amiable 
writer. 

61 He was indefatigable at his work, arose and breakfasted 
early, sat to his desk at once, and continued writing till two 
or three o'clock in the afternoon — took a turn around the 
park, which was close to his residence, returned and dined — 
usually took another walk after dinner, and returning to 
tea wrote for the remainder of the evening, often remaining 
up to a very late hour. I afterwards discovered his keeping 
these late hours (often extending to two or three o'clock in 
the morning) was rather a matter of necessity than choice. 
Whenever he retired to rest early, he was liable to be 
seized by the palpitation of which he had been complaining, 
and the distressing nature of which I had no conception of 
until I witnessed an attack. It usually came on during 



160 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

sleep, out of which he started, frightened and pale, with an 
apprehension of sudden death. I slept in the same room 
with him, and, as he always kept a light burning at night, 
I could easily, while he was suffering in the paroxysm, count 
the throb of his heart by the motion of his night dress, or 
by the sound of the stroke, as it beat against his chest. 
After some time the symptoms gradually declined, when he 
again laid down and usually obtained some refreshing sleep 
before the hour of rising in the rnorning. As the fit for 
the most part came on at an early hour of the night, he 
learned by experience that he could generally escape it al- 
together by remaining up until the time of its usual visita- 
tion was past. He subsequently ascertained that the warmth 
of the feather bed tended to bring it on, and substituted 
a thin mattress. Sometimes he preferred lying on the sofa 
or on the chairs without any bed, and with merely a coun- 
terpane or cloak thrown over him. Although, in the inter- 
vals of relief, he seldom expressed any alarm about the na- 
ture of these attacks, I discovered, in occasional conversation 
with him on the subject subsequently, that he had been 
studying the articles on palpitation and affections of the 
circulating system in Rees' Cyclopedia, and became impressed 
with the feeling that he was suffering with organic disease 
of the heart, which would terminate in sudden death. This 
impression lowered his spirits very much at times, and, in a 
mind always deeply influenced by religious feeling, perhaps 
first led to that habitual seriousness of thought, and grave 
consideration, which ended in his retirement from the world. 
His natural cheerfulness of manner and elasticity of mind 
were, however, seldom long subdued, even by the depressing 
influence of a complaint which he believed to be incurable. 
He hardly ever seemed to think about it, except when 
suffering with some uneasiness about the heart, or immedi- 
ately after a violent fit of palpitation ; and I have often 
seen him, on awaking in the morning from a short sleep, into 
which he had fallen at the close of a severe attack, fling 



NATURE OF HIS ILLNESS. 161 

himself out of bed, and commence singing some popular 
song from the fashionable opera of the day. Singing wa3 
a constant habit with him on getting out of bed in the 
inorning and while making his toilet, and the same song 
generally lasted him for several days. He called this being 
haunted by a tune, and I can very well remember how often 
I have been startled from sleep in the morning by ' Old 
King Cole,' the jolly air with which he happened to be 
taken when I first arrived in London. 

" * Old King Cole 

Was a merry old soul, 
And a merry old soul was he ; 

He called for his pipe, 

And he called for his bowl, 
And he called for his fiddlers three.' 

" As I have touched on the subject of his illness, I may, 
perhaps, be excused, as a matter of medical interest, for 
pursuing it a little further. After some length of time, a 
singular change took place in the symptoms. The fits of 
palpitation became less frequent and distressing, but he was 
occasionally affected with sudden weaknesses 01 faintings, 
which he had not previously experienced. In walking 
along the streets he was apt to be seized with a kind of 
swooning fit, which obliged him to catch the nearest bars or 
railings for support. He described the sensation as rather 
pleasing or agreeable than otherwise, and I believe would 
have made no effort to resist it, if it did not occur in tho 
street, or make him apprehensive of falling. In Ireland, 
afterwards, the palpitations again became very distressing, 
and the symptoms in a greater or lesser degree, and with 
very variable intervals of relief, continued for several years. 
During three or four years he scarcely ever slept without a 
light burning in his room. When it is recollected that this 
complaint originated in acute rheumatism, occasioned such 
very distressing symptoms, and continued for so long a time, 
few medical men could entertain any doubt of his being 



162 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

afflicted with organic disease of the heart or pericardium, 
jet he finally effected his own cure by a resolute persever- 
ance in a particular diet and regimen, which, after the 
failure of all medical treatment, he planned for himself. 
His meals were rather spare, but nutritious ; he took few 
vegetables, and no stimulants, and he made long pedestrian 
excursions daily through the country, when the business of 
the morning, which included his writing a certain prescribed 
number of pages of whatever work he was engaged in, was 
over. He slept on chairs, or on a hard sofa at night ; un- 
dressed at two or three in the morning, and got to bed ; and 
at five arose again, took a cold shower bath, dressed, and 
commenced the engagements of another day. He was so 
resolute in following out this system, that I have seen him, 
when he has happened to sleep longer than usual on the 
sofa, arise at half-past four, undress, and in a few minutes, 
on hearing the clock strike five, get up again, take his bath, 
and dress for the day. In less than six months his health 
was wonderfully restored, and at a somewhat later period, 
when visiting Killarney, he was able to ascend to the top 
of Mangerton, and even Carman Tual, the loftiest mountain 
in the Reeks, without difficulty. 

" I mentioned that he was at this time engaged in writ- 
ing for the English Opera-house. His first communication 
with Mr. Arnold was occasioned by an effort he made some 
months before, to induce that gentleman to bring out an 
English opera which should be wholly recitative. I had 
received a letter from him early in the previous year, in 
which he gives the following account of the manner in which 
his proposal originated : ' I wrote some time since a lead- 
ing article in the News, proposing a new plan for an 
English Opera, with directions for recitative — everything. 
This attracted some attention from the other periodicai 
less, as being novel, so I followed it up, and' gave a 
regular essay on Italian and English Opera, lightly done, 
nnd merely resulting from my own impressions of the effect 



ENGLISH OPERA. 163 

of both ; wanting to have the English Opera really operatic — 
sung through from first to last, and hinting the species 
of recitative that would be suitable. I then proposed it to 
Arnold, at the same time sending him a little opera of the 
usual kind. He wrote to me to say he should feel very 
great pleasure in paying attention to any operatic piece I 
should send him, and has since brought out a piece called 
" Tarrare," on a partial exercise of my principle, but in very 
bad taste. Instead of making it recitative, as I recom- 
mended, his stupid musician adapted the Italian, which, 
though cleverly done, has no effect ; it is not understood, in 
fact, with English words. Arnold has kept my little opera 
still, and I hope will play it.' The following reply is Mr. 
Arnold's. The correspondence will be interesting, as, if 
there has not been as great an advance made in that direc- 
tion since as might have been expected, it will be seen that 
it was not for want of the subject being proposed and duly 
considered. 

" Theatre Royal, English Opera House, 
"January 12th, 1S25. 
" Sir, — As the opera you did me the favour to send in August 
last, arrived too late in the season for any chance of represen- 
tation, I detained it, with others, for the purpose of consider- 
ation at a period of better leisure, and am sorry to say, that, 
after mature deliberation, I am much afraid you will not mid 
the drama answer your expectations in performance, an opinion 
I the more regret, as the poetry in general appears to be much 
above the ordinary rank, and as I see by your letter which 
accompanied it, that you have given much attention to the sub- 
ject of operatic writing. I am unfortunately compelled to differ 
with you also in your ideas of the nature of the genuine English 
Opera. You are, of course, aware, that such recitative operas have 
been frequently tried, though 'Artaxerxes' is the solitary instance 
of any one keeping possesion of the stage. And in that opera, 
the beauty of the drama, and the fortunate coincidence of its 
exquisitely beautiful music, have certainly held out an alluring 
temptation to future experimentalists ; but I am so absolutely 
certain that the taste of the English public is yet so decidedly 
opposed to recitative, that, with all my admiration for the higher 



164 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

order of the musical drama, I must be strongly tempted indeed 
by the poem, and the composition, before I would venture on 
bo hazardous and losing a speculation. You may have noticed 
last season in the introduction of ' Tarrare,' that I introduced a 
much larger proportion of recitative than has ever before been 
tolerated since the time 1 of ' Artaxerxes,' and I am convinced 
it is by gradual and judicious advances alone that the town 
will be ever brought to sanction it. 

"I beg you to receive my acknowledgments of the trouble you 
have taken in writing your former letter to me on this subject, 
and remain, sir, your very obedient servant, 

" G. Joseph, Esq. " J. Arnold. 

" Gerald makes the following remarks on this letter in 
one which I received from him a few days after he got it : 
* I received the other day a long letter from Arnold, who 
is dramatist to his own theatre, about my proposition for 
a new species of English Opera. He enters with some 
talent into the subject, and gives me an account of the steps 
he has been taking to bring " the town," as he phrases it, 
into a relish for the higher order of the musical drama, but 
he fears they are still too unmusical for my plan. The fact 

is, I believe what "W said to me on the same subject 

is true, that I could not find a composer in England of 
genius enough to accomplish the idea.' In a letter to his 
sister of a later date, he says, l You seem horrified at the 
idea of my endeavouring to introduce recitative operas alto- 
gether on the English stage. You mistake my meaning. 
There is one opera of that description on the boards already 
(Artaxerxes), but I want to have purely English music, 
and cJiaracteristically English recitative, instead of an 
adapted Italian one, which does not express the same sen- 
sations in the same way as an English one would. As to 
singing all through, "why should feeling ever speak ?" Eh ? 
Arnold has entered into the subject at great length with 
me. I have a full sheet from him, in which he says, u The 
town is" (like you, my dear lady.) "not yet impressed with 
a sufficient veneration for so high an order of the musical 



THE N0YADES. 165 

drama as that I mentioned, and runs into a long sermon 
on the matter. 

" It will be observed that this letter of Mr. Arnold is 
directed ' G. Joseph, Esq.' Joseph was one of the many 
assumed names under which he transmitted his contributions 
to the periodicals or theatres. He afterwards, however, 
obtained an introduction to Mr. Arnold through his friend 
Mr. Banim, and an opera, ■ The Noyades,' which was pre- 
sented at the theatre by the latter, met with a ready ac- 
ceptance. He was paid £50 for it, and encouraged to write 
on. As he took no more than a fortnight to write one of 
these operas, and the payment was so liberal, one would 
have imagined, when his other literary labours paid him so 
badly in comparison, that he would have devoted his whole 
time to them, as long as the encouragement continued. But,, 
far from evincing any disposition to take advantage of Mr. 
Arnold's favourable opinion of his abilities, there appeared 
an evident reluctance about him to send in a new one, 
which he finished soon after my arrival in London. 
After much hesitation, and without giving any satisfactory 
reason for what appeared to me a most extraordinary pro- 
ceeding, he sent the piece to the English Opera-house 
anonymously. At the end of a fortnight or three weeks 
he sent another, without awaiting the issue of the first. An 
answer at length arrived by the post, not directed to the 
initials and address sent with the pieces, but to ' Gerald 
Griffin, Esq., 24, Northumberland-street, New Road.' It 
was simply an acknowledgment from Mr. Arnold of the 
receipt of the new operas, and an assurance that he would! 
take the earliest opportunity of giving them the fullest con- 
sideration. Looking upon the reply as gratifying, I was 
not a little surprised to observe that Gerald was extremely- 
disconcerted at having been discovered as the author, and 
showed no feeling of satisfaction in anticipation of the pro- 
bable acceptance and success of these new pieces. It was 
a considerable time before I learned any explanation. It 



166 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

appeared that the coolness which took place between him 
and his friend Baniin on a former occasion, although of a 
very passing nature, left a sensitiveness on both sides, very 
unfavourable to that perfect confidence which is so essen- 
tial to the continuance of a good understanding between 
intimate friends. Gerald, though fully sensible of Mr. 
Banim's kindness and friendly solicitude about him, could 
not by any effort wholly divest himself of the instinctive re- 
luctance he felt to place himself under deep obligations to 
one upon whose good nature he had no other claim than 
his own difficulties ; and his friend, conscious of this feeling, 
was perhaps too observant of the least expression which be- 
trayed it. The consequence was — as soon as an oppor- 
tunity of rendering Gerald a service occurred — some un- 
happy misconception on both sides. After the former 
misunderstanding, Mr. Banim, far from losing interest in 
Gerald's welfare, sought anxiously to render him services 
in the only manner he saw they would be accepted, by pro- 
curing him a market for his labours. Aware of his dra- 
matic talent, he was continually urging him to write for 
the theatres, and especially for the English Opera-house, 
where, from his own intimacy with Mr. Arnold, he was sure 
any recommendation of his would meet with attention. 
He at last obtained a piece from Gerald, to be presented 
at the English Opera-house, out of which, sometime after, 
arose the following correspondence : 

"John Banim to Gerald Griffin. 

" Thursday, August ISth, 1826. 

" My dear Sir, — Yesterday, I handed your piece to Mr. Ar- 
nold. He read it instantly, and agreed with me in thinking it 
one of a high order. Here and there, however, I suspect you 
will have to cut and alter ; and perhaps your songs must be re- 
written, and appear with less poetry, and more se&bleness 
about them. I conclude that your little drama will be produced 
this season, and some day soon I'm to have the pleasure of in* 



CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. BANTM. 1G7 

troducing you to Mr. Arnold, who thinks very highly of your 
dramatic power I assure you, and whom you will find possessed 
of all the technical acquirements calculated to mature it. 
M My dear sir, faithfully yours, 

" John Banim. 

" Gtrald Griffin to John Banim. 

" Thursday Evening, August, 1826. 
" My dear Sir,— I shall be obliged to go into the city to-mor- 
row, so that I must take this opportunity of mentioning that I 
have just seen Mr. Arnold. I gave him the piece, with the 
alterations of which you spoke to me, and he said he would 
read it again, and supposed he should have the pleasure of see- 
ing you in a day or two. Talking of money matters — for he 
spoke of the mode of payment, though he said nothing decisive — 
I'm such a stupid, awkward fool, that I could scarcely under- 
stand the business properly ; but I thought there appeared to 
be some feeling on his part of unwillingness to incur risk, or 
some such thing. If this was at all the case, I certainly should 
not take any remuneration previous to its being produced. My 
feeling on the subject is a great deal that of indifference, but 
if the piece were found profitable to the theatre I should by no 
means be content that it should be otherwise to me, and that 
is all I feel about it. I should be perfectly satisfied to let the 
piece be played, and let Mr. Arnold calculate its worth by its 
success. I trouble you with this, my dear sir, in the hope that 
you may make use of it, as far as you think proper, in case Mr. 
Arnold should speak to you on the matter, as he said he would. 
A far greater object than any payment in specie to me would 
be the being enabled to take my trial soon. How can I apolo- 
gise to you for all this ? I am, my dear sir, yours sincerely, 

"Gerald Grdjfin. 

" It is evident that the feeling of ' indifference' which 
Gerald expresses in this letter, related entirely to the mode 
of payment, as to whether it should be absolute and un- 
conditional or dependent upon the success of the piece. 
Mr. Banim, however, seems unfortunately to have formed 
some misconception of the expression, as appears by the 
following letter ; 



168 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 



"John Banim to Gerald Griffin* 

••Tuesday Morning, August 23rd, 1825. 

"My dear Seei, — Yesterday, after calling another day with* 
Out seeing him, Mr. Arnold spoke to me finally about your 
piece. He is well disposed towards it, and if you permit will 
act it. I could see none of the indecisiveness you mentioned 
in your last, nor did he say a word that could make me believe 
he thought he ran any risk in the matter. Perhaps you mis- 
took him in your interview. He now desires me to inform you 
that you may get paid in proportion to its success and the 
established terms of his theatre, or sell your drama at once 
for fifty pounds, including the publishing copyright. Should 
you prefer the former mode of remuneration it will be neces- 
sary for you to ascertain, by calling on him, what are the usual 
terms of paying authorship in his theatre by nights. I know 
nothing of it. I invariably preferred a certainty beforehand ; 
indeed, he got a piece of mine for less than he offers for yours, 
and I believe I have not been a loser. Mr. Howard Payne 
did not, I am informed, receive more from Covent Garden, 
either for his Clare or Charles H. 

Miss Kelly has been ill, and perhaps but for that your piece 
would now be in progress. Mr. Arnold still thinks he will pro- 
duce it this season. You inform me that your feeling on that 
subject is one of a great deal of indifference. This I must regret, 
particularly as I have been the cause of giving you trouble in a 
matter which does not interest you. I assure you, at the time 
I first wrote for the English Opera-house, and waited month 
after month even for an answer, I would not have been 
indifferent to whatever chance might have got my piece read 
and answered two hours after it had been handed in, and the 
transaction finally brought to a close in a few days. I am, my 
dear sir, truly yours, 

•* John Bandc. 

"However you may decide, Mr. Arnold hopes to close with 
yourself. 

w Gerald Griffin to John Banim, 

" Tuesday Evening, August 23rd, 1826. 
My dear Sir,— I have just received your letter, which I 
hasten to answer. I am exceedingly obliged to you for ail 
the trouble you have taken with the play, and am most gratified 



CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. BANIM. 169 

with the conclusion. I feel the entire extent of the obligation 
which you have conferred upon me ; I always felt it, and I 
thought I said so in my first letter, but a mistake you have 
fallen into with respect to my last, renders it necessary for mo 
to explain. 

"The indifference of which I spoke (as probably you will find 
by referring to the letter) related entirely tojMr. Arnold's 
mode of payment, or indeed payment at all in the first 
instance, as, from the conversation I had with you on the 
subject, and subsequent interview with Mr. Arnold, I con- 
cluded that nothing worth being very anxious about was to be 
done in the way of money, at a summer theatre. It was far 
from an object of indifference to me, however, that a play of 
mine should be produced. When you thought I meant to say 
this, you gave me credit for a greater piece of coxcombry than* 
I was conscious of. It has been the object of my life for maDy 
years ; I could not profess to be indifferent about it, still less 
could I be indifferent to the nature or extent of the obligation 
when conferred. Let me beg of you to take this general 
assurance in preference to any construction which possibly 
may be put on casual words or sentences. I am, my dear sir, 
very truly yours, 

" Gerald Griffin-. 



" To this letter, which certainly seems sufficiently ex- 
planatory, Mr. Banim unfortunately returned no answer, 
believing, as he afterwards mentions, that both parties were 
content and all cause of misunderstanding removed. Gerald, 
however, very naturally expected some acknowledgment of 
the fact, and not receiving it, ceased to urge any renewal 
of an iutimacy, the interruption of which he felt did not 
rest with him. It would seem extraordinary that Mr. Banim, 
after having always evinced such a kind interest in Gerald's 
affairs, and received so ample an explanation of the slight 
misconception which occurred, did not evince some sign of 
returning confidence ; but I believe the fact to be, that be- 
fore an opportunity occurred for declaring it, a new and 
more annoying cause of jealousy arose. At the time that 
Mr. Banim's works were in the very highest estimation, and 
when indeed the assistance of no new author could have 



170 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

added to their repntation, he offered Gerald a place in the 
O'Hara Family, and nrged him to contribute a tale. To a 
person wholly unknown, and whose most successful work 
could not have procured for him a third of the price from 
the booksellers which could be obtained for it as one of the 
O'Hara tales, this was a very generous proposal. It was, 
however, declined by Gerald on the plea that he was un- 
equal to the task. Holland-tide appeared some months 
subsequent to this, and almost immediately after the con- 
clusion of the correspondence respecting the drama accepted 
by Mr. Arnold. It was hardly surprising that, under such 
circumstances, Mr. Banim should feel he was treated dis- 
ingenuously, especially as he was convinced Gerald had Hol- 
fend-tide written at the time he declared his inability to 
write a tale for the O'Hara collection. This, however, was 
really not the case. Most of the tales in Holland- tide were 
written in an inconceivably short space of time (not more 
than two or three months) before their publication, and en- 
tirely at my constant urging, and I can testify, from the 
difficulty I had in inducing him to make the effort at all, 
how very diffident and doubtful he was of success. I do 
not mean that he exactly underrated his own powers, but 
I believe he did not think that his engagements with the 
periodicals, which he could not give up, would allow him 
sufficient time and consideration to attain the success he was 
ambitious of, in a regular work of fiction. In any event, 
indeed, I do not believe he would have joined an author of 
^established fame in his labours, however advantageous it 
might be in a pecuniary point of view. If there was any 
one object dearer to hhn than another in his literary career, 
it was the ambition of attaining rank and fame by his own 
unaided efforts, or at least without placing himself under 
obligations to those on whom he felt he had no claim ; but, 
independent of this, and highly as he must have appreciated 
the kindness of Mr. Banim's proposal, he might not unna- 
turally conclude that the public would consider his own early 



DISLIKE OF PATRONAGE. 171 

efforts as indebted for success, more to the assistance of his 
eminent friend than to any original or independent merit 
they possessed. He had, besides, on all occasions, an almost 
morbid horror of patronage, arising partly from a natural 
independence of mind, but yet more from the depressing 
disappointments of his early literary life. When first he 
came to London, he sought, by a few introductions and the 
friendly exertions of literary acquaintances, to bring his 
productions favourably before the public, but without the 
slightest success^ His powers seemed to be undervalued 
precisely in proportion as he made interest to procure them 
consideration, until at length, disgusted by repeated failure, 
he resolved in future to trust wholly to his own unfriended 
exertions, and if they should not sustain him to abandon 
the struggle* It was soon after forming this resolution that 
success first dawned upon his efforts, and that he was anx- 
iously sought for as an anonymous contributor by the editors 
of periodicals, who when he was previously introduced to 
them would give him nothing to do. In proportion as his 
success increased, the remembrance of the many mortifying 
disappointments he had formerly experienced seemed to 
sink more deeply into his mind, and he gradually acquired 
a degree of sensitiveness with respect to patronage, that 
made him recoil from even the ordinary and necessary 
means of obtaining attention for his pieces. This may have 
influenced him much less with respect to Mr. Banim than 
others, but it was probably the chief reason after he had 
finished Gisippus why he did not succeed in getting it 
played. He at one time sent the first and second acts to 
Miss Kelly, who was struck with the genius they displayed, 
and said if the remainder of the piece was equal to whafe 
she had read, she would present it at Drury Lane for him, 
and that she had little doubt of being able to get it brought 
out. Much gratified with this unexpected kindness, Gerald 
sent her successively the third and fourth acts. With these 
she professed herself equally well pleased, and awaited some 



172 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

time for the fifth, but she never received it. When he had 
attained what he so anxiously sought for — the approval and 
interest of one of the most popular actresses of the day, who 
had full interest to get his drain a attentively considered- 
he showed an unaccountable reluctance to avail himself 
of the kindness, and in fact finally left London without 
doing so. 

11 To return to the subject of the operas. The misunder- 
standing to which I have adverted made him at first re- 
luctant to send them at all to Mr. Arnold, and finally 
induced him to send them anonymously. He felt no doubt 
that if he transmitted them with his real name, he would 
be indebted for their acceptance to the introduction 
he had had from Mr. Banim in presenting a former one. 
Mr. Arnold, however, recognised the writing, and it is amus- 
ing to reflect on the perfect perplexity into which he must 
hare been thrown by such a proceeding. That an author, 
and above all a dramatic author, who had a piece already 
accepted, should in sending a new one fling aside the name 
by which he was known and estimated, and enter the lists 
among a host of anonymous writers, seemed altogether pre- 
posterous. Mr. Banim, to whose judgment all new pieces 
presented at the English Opera-house at the time were 
submitted, happening to call, Mr. Arnold pointed to the 
plays, and, mentioning the circumstance, made some good- 
natured inquiries, which seemed seriously to call in question 
the soundness of Gerald's faculties ; asking him, at the same 
time, what could possess him to send his dramas under an 
assumed name ? Mr. Banim at once saw through the mys- 
tery, and this new sign of Gerald's resolution not to he 
under any possible obligation to him, tended to widen the 
breach which the letter already given must otherwise have 
so happily closed. 

" During the time I remained in town (I believe about 
three months), Gerald, though constantly engaged for the 
periodicals, accomplished a great deal of work of a most 



NEW COMEDY. 173 

important character. Besides Holland-tide, he wrote two 
or three operas, and completed about as many acts of a new 
comedy. It was a delightful piece, written in easy blank 
verse, and reminded me more of the comedies of the olden 
time, than any drama written since the days of Beaumont 
and Fletcher. The plot alone would have almost ensured 
its success. It was suggested by the general rain which 
was overwhelming the most opulent houses in the city at 
that time, by speculations in the mining and other bubble 
companies to an extent little short of frenzy. An old 
merchant, finding himself on the brink of ruin by these rash 
speculations, endeavours to prevail on his daughter to sa- 
crifice her affections for a young and amiable man, to whom 
she is attached, and marry a rich suitor whose wealth might 
redeem his credit. Although in a great measure committed 
to the former by the long encouragement she had given to 
him, her father, by artful appeals to her filial affection, and 
representations as to his decaying health and the certain 
ruin that must otherwise await him, at length obtains her 
consent to become the rich man's wife. The scene in which 
this consent was obtained was intensely powerful, and al- 
though he never completed beyond the third act, one can 
readily conceive the deep interest the succeeding events 
might have commanded. There was a veiy amusing under 
plot. The completion of this play was prevented by an 
ainfortunate observation of mine. On reading the parts 
which he had finished, I was struck with the similitude of the 
scene between the father and daughter, and that between 
Mr. Vere and his daughter in the Black Dwarf. The con- 
trivance, situation, and interest of both were indeed so like, 
that I thoughtfully said, " Why, Gerald, this scene is in the 
Black Drawf." He seemed incredulous, and said it was 
impossible, but on my persevering in my assertion, he sent 
out for the book (which I believe he had never read) to 
the nearest circulating library. When on perusal he came 
to the scene to which I referred, he laid down the tale in 



174: LIFE OF GEEaLD GRIFFIN. 

perfect dismay, acknowledging it was the very same scene, 
and that all his labonr was gone for nothing. As it is so 
usual for dramatists to take their plots from the prose tales 
of other authors, I had not the remotest idea at the time 
that this discovery would influence the progress of the play, 
but all my entreaties could not afterwards induce him to 
add another syllable to it, and I presume he finally destroyed 
what he had written, as it was not found among his 
posthumous papers. A similar incident, though not of the 
same consequence, occurred some nights afterwards, when 
I returned from a walk, with Peter of the Castle, a new 
tale by the O'Hara Family. Gerald was engaged in writing 
one of the tales of Holland-tide, and had at the moment 
just concluded an amusing description of Shrove-tide. 
Anxious to see his friend's new work, he laid down his pen, 
and glancing at the commencement, found the very first 
chapter contained a description of Shrove-tide much more 
ample than his own. He at once tore out the latter from 
his tale, and I am not certain that he ever completed it. 
There appeared to be almost a fatality in the many instances 
in which he had been thus anticipated by contemporary 
writers. We have already seen that on his first arrival in 
London, and after he had sent his tragedy of ' Aguire' to 
the theatre, he found that another play of the same name, 
and founded on the same story, had already been presented ; 
that Mr. Banini had anticipated him in the play of the 
Prodigal Son ; and that in another piece of his, which he 
afterwards showed him, he discovered the counterpart of 
Canabe, a character in an unfinished play of his own. 

"These coincidences he came at 3e-:gth to look upon 
as occurrences rather to be anticipated than wondered at. 
There is, after all, in the human mind very little individuality 
in the power of originating what is new. However 
singularly, and as it were by its own special selection from 
the thousands of incidents passing before it in the world, 
or by its own secre* power of invention, it may endeavour 



KETURN TO IRELAKD. 175 

to construct some new tale or drama, it will be found that 
its selections or inventions have been unconsciously sug- 
gested by some relations they bear to the acquirements, 
or literature, or fashion of the day, which are equally at 
the same time influencing other minds. So far, therefore, 
from its being improbable, in the selection or construction 
of new stories, that other writers should at the same 
moment hit upon the same choice or invention, the pro- 
bability really is always in favour of their doing so. This 
fact was so strongly impressed on Gerald's own miad, that 
I never knew him plan any piece suggested by the circum- 
stances or events of the times, that he was not most 
anxious to bring it out speedily, lest he should be fore- 
stalled by some other writer. 

" On tho completion of Holland-tide, Gerald took the 
manuscript to Messrs. Simpkin and Marshall, who returned 
him a favourable opinion in a few days, and on a second 
interview purchased the copyright for £70. As his 
constitution seemed much shaken by his prolonged and 
exhausting labours, and he looked upon this connection as 
giving him an opportunity of making a character with the 
public, the effect of which he had much reliance on, I was 
able to persuade him to accompany me to Ireland towards 
the close of the year." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

CONTINUATION OF THE CORRESPONDENCE WITH MB. BANEtf — 
EXPLANATIONS — RECONCILIATION — ALLUSION TO RELIGIOUS 
OPINIONS— CLARE ELECTION OF 1828-^CONCLUSION OF COR- 
RESPONDENCE. 

As the correspondence with Mr. Banim, which has been 
just entered upon in the preceding account, gives a very 
clear perception of Gerald's real character and disposition, 



176 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

it will be better to proceed with it in this place. It will be 
found to exhibit both in a point of view highly favourable, 
and I feel the more bound, therefore, to go on with it now, 
as I have already brought before the reader, in a very 
pointed manner, some circumstances which may have given 
a contrary impression, and some acts of his which seemed 
to do violence to their friendship. 

The last letter which he wrote, though sufficiently expla- 
natory, had, as we have seen, been followed by no reply. 
Though he foimd it impossible, from this circumstance, to 
take any further steps towards renewing their former 
intimacy, the cessation of their usual intercourse was deeply 
distressing to him. He could never look upon the loss of 
Mr. Banim's friendship as any other than a deep misfortune, 
and above all, feeling keenly as he did the many valuable 
obligations he owed him, it was peculiarly painful to him 
to have it thought, as it perhaps might be, that he lay 
open to the imputation of being ungrateful to so excellent 
a friend. The letters we have seen do not give any ade- 
quate conception of the depth of this feeling, for whenever 
any painful emotion affected him strongly, it was in general 
very much controlled in its expression. It is only the 
length to which he pushed his efforts to procure a reconci- 
liation, and the overflowing and undisguised delight which 
he manifested on being restored at last to his friend's full 
confidence, that can show us how severely he felt the priva- 
tion of it. The last letter was written, as we have seen, 
in August, 1826. In the month of January following, 
being about to leave town, and not having received any 
reply to it, he wrote the following : 

Gerald Griffin to John Bardm. 

January 19th, 1827. 
Dear Sir, — My brother, who is leaving London with me in 
a few days, has asked me for a manuscript, which you may 
remember having had the kindness to read at my request a 



CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. BANIM. 177 

long time since. If you will leave it out for bis messenger on 
Saturday, and excuse this trouble, you will oblige, 

Yours, &c, Gerald Gunny. 

I have got a book of yours, which I will return on Saturday. 
I don't know what has made you forget me so completely, but 
if it was anything in my last letter, I am catholic enough to 
be sorry for it. I thought you did not treat me fairly. 

To this letter no reply was received. He therefore, on 
the twenty-ninth of the same month, wrote as follows : 

Gerald Griffin to John Banim. 

January 29th, 1827. 
My dear Sir, — I went to Mount-street yesterday and to- 
day, in the hope of seeing you, but in the first instance I had 
taken a wrong number, and in the second did not find you at 
home. I leave London early to-morrow morning, and wish 
to say a few words on your last letter before I go. After 
thinking a good deal on the subject, I am very willing to admit 
the truth of what you say, and to acknowledge that some 
unfortunate circumstance in my temper or disposition has 
prevented my meeting your kind exertions to serve me as they 
deserved. Requesting you to accept my thanks now from my 
heart for all you have done for me, and hoping that I may return 
in a better spirit, I remain, my dear sir, yours very truly, 

Gerajld Griffin. 

I saw Mr. Arnold for the first time last week since I had 
the happiness to see you. He is very kind and cordial, and 
requested that I would present you his remembrances. 

Having sent this letter to the post-office, Gerald left 
town. It appears by the post-mark to have been received 
by Mr. Banim on the day it was written, yet, notwithstand- 
ing the nature of its contents, the greater part of the year 
was allowed to pass away without any acknowledgment of 
its receipt, or anything being sent in the shape of a reply 
to it. In the mean time, Gerald having again spent some 
time in town, and being again about to leave it, wrote in 
the month of October as follows : 

M 



173 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 



Gerald Griffin to John Banim. 

24. Xorthuniberland-street, Regent's Park, 
October 19th, 1S27. 

My dear Sir,— I have been endeavouring to find you, in 
vain, since my return to London. I inquired at Mount-street, 
it! Mr. Colburn's. and from 2\Ir. Arnold, but could only learn 
that you were then at Hasting.?. In case I should not be 
able to see you before I leave London. I -wish to communicate in 
writing what could be done with more satisfaction in person. 

Had I the pleasure of seeing you before I left England 
this letter might be unnecessary, and I am very sorry now that 
I did not. I wish to explain to you more fully the cause of 
the long silence which we both seemed to expect should be 
first broken by the other, and the fault of which, I am ready to 
acknowledge, rested with myself. The fact was, I felt hurt 
by your letter, in which you charged me with wanting a sense 
of the advantage I had derived from your kindness, (which 
. recollecting the temper of my previous letter, I fear 
you were not without grounds for.) and acting on that feeling 
I wrote again, what I at the time thought ought to be a satisfac- 
tory answer. I expected a few words to say whether it had been 
so or not, but they never came, and thence that absence which 
you say astonished you. It was an error, I acknowledge, but 
yet not wholly without excuse. I never entered your house 
without reluctance, even when you were most warm and kind ; 
excuse me if I could not do so when you seemed to wear an 
altered face. That, and that alone, was the cause of my absence. 

For the rest I have only to say, I owe you much, and I thank 
you. If it has seemed otherwise to you, believe my present 
assurance. It must have seemed otherwise, or you would not 
have left my letter unanswered. Be a good Christian — forget 
and forgive. 

1 hope to leave a parcel directed for you at !Mr. Colburn's, of 
Which I request your acceptance, begging at the same time that 
you will keep my secret, as it is not my concern alone. I take 
also this opportunity of assuring you of the sincere delight with 
which I heard of an event in your family, which must have 
been a source of much happiness to you. 

I have another favour to beg of you, which I am sure you 
will not hesitate to grant me. It is, that you will expunge 
from the play which you presented for me, the passage in the 
tcene between the Irishman and the hero, comprising the few 
sentences just before " she talks philosophy." You may laugh 



RECONCILIATION. 179 

at my introducing this matter, but I am unwilling to trouble 
Mr. Arnold myself, and the passage may be objectionable. 
Once more wishing you all the health, happiness, and peace 
which you can desire or deserve, I am, with sincere esteem and 
gratitude, Yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

My words have so often failed to convey what I intended, 
that I am not without apprehension lest by any possibility I 
should again be misconceived. I wish, therefore, to say once 
more distinctly — and to entreat you to understand and believe 
it — that the only feeling at present on my mind is that of 
sincere regret for what has passed, and anxiety that you should 
be satisfied of it. Either in vanity or in folly, or in whatever 
you please, I thought I filled too humble a part in the whole 
transaction, and this made me fretted with myself, and for- 
ward to anticipate a slight, where I am certain, on proper 
reflection, none was intended. It was not what you deserved, 
but it was my mistake ; your not answering my letter confirmed 
me in this bad feeling, which, as I have learned to correct, I 
hope you will no more remember. G. G. 

To this letter Mr. Banim at last seat the following 
reply, which led to the subjoined correspondence, ending 
in a perfect renewal of their former intimacy and good 
understanding : 

John Banim to Gerald Griffin. 

Bath Hotel, Piccadilly, Nov. 1827. 
My dear Sir, — You mistake in thinking that I have ever had 
the most remote notion of a misunderstanding with you. The 
last letter we interchanged on the subject of your drama, a 
year and a half ago, seemed to me quite satisfactory. When 
4 you were leaving town about six months after, your note suggest- 
ing that some peculiarity (or a word to that effect, or perhaps 
stronger) of your own mind must have caused your previous 
doubts, I recognised as a most ample though unnecessary expla- 
nation. I became assured you were content, as I was, with 
our renewed good understanding, and sincerely in this feeling 
I desired in a letter I wrote to Limerick to your cousin last 
April to be kindly remembered to you. I do not know how 
[ shall make further answer to your letter of the 19th October, 
received by me only two days since ; one sentence alone — viz., 



180 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

4 ' I never entered your house without reluctance, even when 
you were most warm and kind," — sounds somewhat strangely 
to my ear, because, during our years of close intimacy, when 
your visits were always welcome to me, I had never supposed 
such to be the case. I have written to Mr. Arnold to the 
effect you wished. 

The parcel you do me the favour to procure me has not 
appeared at Mr. Colburn's. 

I am, my dear sir, yours very truly, 

John Banim. 

Gerald Griffin to John Banim. 

No date. 

My dear Sir, — "When I received your last letter (late on 
November 6th) I hurried off to the Bath Hotel, in the hope of 
being able to see you, but was much disappointed at finding 
you had left it that morning. I am pleased to learn my mis- 
take, but I was led into it by your letter of last January, and 
— allow me to say — your long silence after my former note on 
leaving London. Your remembrance I never received. 

You will oblige me by accepting these volumes, which, 
though faulty enough, may yet answer the purpose for which I 
send them. I leave London to-morrow inoming, and regret 
much that all my efforts should have failed in endeavouring to 
see you, the more especially as I do not purpose returning for 
some considerable time. 

The feeling which renders one reluctant in trespassing on 
the kindness of a good friend, I can scarcely think so new or 
strange as you seem to imagine. I should be very sorry it was 
so ; but I ought to remember a conversation on this subject 
which showed me that your opinions on this matter were 
different from those of, 

My dear sir, yours sincerely, 

Gerald Griffin. 

For "reluctance" read "diffidence," and perhaps we ma^ 
agree. 

John Banim to Gerald Griffin. 

Seven Oaks. Kent, 

April 17th, 1828. 
My dear Slr, — Not till the other day, when I ran up to 
town, did I receive at Mr. Colburn's the " Tales of the Munster 



RECONCILIATION. 181 

Festivals, " with the accompanying note. How long they had 
previously lain there I cannot tell, nor has a reference to your 
note enabled me to decide, as it is without date ; but I feel 
very uneasy under the apprehension that you may have sent 
them about the time of publication, because if you reckoned 
on their speedy transmission to me, your not hearing from me 
in the mean time must have seemed to place me before your 
eyes in a light very different indeed from that in which I sin« 
cerely wish, as 1 ever have done, to be regarded by you. 

My best thanks for the volumes. I have read them with, 
the highest gratification, and warmly congratulate you on the 
talents they display, as well as the success they have met with. 
That you thus at last triumph in a great degree, as I hope, 
over the neglects and annoyances of your first residence in 
London, is to me a matter of some triumph also, to say nothing 
of the pleasure it affords me, because, in common with all who 
were known to you, I claim the foresight of having long 
destined you to no common fortune in the battle for Literary 
fame. Accept my very best wishes for your continued and 
augmented success. 

I am very sorry you did not see me at the Bath Hotel last 
autumn, or that I did not soon after get something like the 
note that accompanied your tales. The simple explanation of 
one simple word given in the postscript of that note, would 
have saved me ever since the exceedingly painful feeling of 
thinking you unkind ; but I now heartily rejoice at being 
undeceived, and the hand that you hold out I take, ay, and 
shake, exploded as is the custom, not only with an unalloyed 
feeling of, believe me, warm esteem and friendship, but with 
a Lightened bosom, and a mind more at rest, than the idea of 
our estrangement would allow me to experience. 

I hope you will drop me a line very soon. I shall be very un- 
easy till I know you have got this. Accept my most grateful 
thanks for the handsome terms in which my tales are men- 
tioned in certain printed pages. Mrs. Banim joins me in 
kindest remembrances and good wishes, while I remain, 
My dear sir, yours truly and affectionately, 

John Bantm. 

However peculiar the frame of mind may be thought 
which influenced Gerald to decline the good offices of those 
who were sometimes disposed to forward his views, these 
letters certainly contain ample evidence of a warm and 
generous heart, and a most amiable and affectionate dispo- 



182 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

sition. They are, indeed, equally creditable to both the 
friends, and exhibit very distinctly the difference of their 
characters ; for thongh Mr. Banim may, perhaps, be blamed 
for keeping his friend so long under a painful anxiety, yet, 
when he does write, his manner is open-hearted, straight- 
forward, and clear ; while Gerald, with an affection evi- 
dently quite as fervent, seems — until the mists which had 
clouded their friendship were dispelled — much more guarded 
in its utterance. As some of those which follow touch 
upon a subject of a very serious character, I feel that I can- 
not introduce them without some remark. The reader will 
remember in the " Lines to a Departed Friend," quoted in 
the early part of this memoir, a few expressions in which 
Gerald seems with a deep and painful sensitiveness to accuse 
himself of a temporary loss of religious feeling. He alludes 
more distinctly to this in a note which will be found in the 
preface to " The Christian Physiologist,"* a very beautiful 

* " We would pray the reader not to consider these few lines as 
an intrusion on his time, but to pardon them, as originating in a 
sense of duty, which the writer owes to his Creator, to some dear 
friends, and to himself. It has happened that in younger days, 
when his character was yet unformed — unsettled — his mind but in- 
differently developed — his heart filled with ambitious and distract- 
ing passions, which rendered self-knowledge and clearness of judg- 
ment not merely difficult but impossible, the opinions (if they then 
deserved the name) of the writer of this book were different frofci 
those which may in a slight degree be found scattered over its pages, 
and more particularly in the portrait above alluded too. It is a 
satisfaction to him, therefore, to leave a record of the real, solid, 
and deeply pondered opinions of his manhood, in the hands of those 
whom the example or conversation of his youth (for a certain period) 
might have had the slightest influence in misleading. He does 
not deem it incumbent on him here to furnish, even to those persons, 
the foundations and support of his present opinions, for the same 
arguments, and still more sacred modes of conviction, which were 
successful with him are open to all. He only wishes that all those 
in whose presence his lips may have ever rashly dropped a sentiment 
of error, may now clearly understand that the opinions here put 
forward, as they were those which education instilled into his mind, 
are also those in which it is his fondest hope to die. The conviction 



RELIGIOUS OPINIONS. 183 

work — the first of a series designed for the amusement and 
instruction of the young. These letters seem to give some 
insight into its real nature, yet, from the note to which 1 
allude, it would seem, even on his own showing, that what 
he felt so painfully scarcely, deserved the name of opinion, 
and my belief is, that neither with Mr. Banim nor him 
(though both in a certain degree confess it) did it ever 
amount to more than that partial forgetfulness of religious 
duty, which should not, under any circumstances, be spoken 
lightly of, but which is, perhaps, not unfrequent with those 
who are left early to their own guardianship. He speaks 
of these opinions as taken up in his younger days, " when 
his character was yet unformed, his mind but indifferently 
developed, and his heart filled with ambitious and distract- 
ing passions, which rendered self-knowledge and clearness 
of judgment," as he says, " not merely difficult, but im- 
possible." Under these circumstances, remembering hiss 
early struggles, and the kind of spirit, as regards religion, 
that prevails in intellectual circles in London — remembering, 
too, the entire absence of all his early associations, it is not 

of their truth, as it is by far the most intimate impression which has 
ever been made upon his soul, is also doubly dear to his heart, from 
his slight and brief experience of the hollowness and insufficiency cf 
others. But this is not the place for him to say all he feels upon 
this subject — all his sorrow for the wanderings of his own mind, and 
all his anxiety fur the safe conduct of those who have the same in- 
experience, and all the same dangers to contend with. Some future 
work, perhaps, may afford him an opportunity of speaking more 
fully upon it, than it would be proper to do even in a note to a book 
intended, in a great measure, for amusing purposes. For what has 
here been said, he entreats the reader's indulgence, for he is sensible 
that there is often an obtrusion in self-blame, as well as in self- 
praise, between which it is difficult to follow the path of discretion 
and simple duty. Nothing, indeed, but duty can render entirely 
blameless the obtrusion of feelings so sacred and intimate upon the at- 
tention of others, but he calculates with confidence on the reader's just 
construction of his words, which leave him at liberty to return with 
a lighter heart and soul to the vigorous employment of time.'' — Preface 
to the Christian Physiologist, pagi xi note. 



184 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

wonderful that the errors he accuses himself of should hare 
arisen. It is, indeed, all things considered, rather to be 
wondered at that they were not more deep and irretriev- 
able. Whatever they amounted to — whether to mere care- 
lessness in religious practice, or to serious questionings of 
important religious truths, its not uncommon consequence, 
or even to an actual loss of faith in some of them for a time 
— it is certain from these letters, as well as other passages 
in his writings, that in calmer moments they brought him 
intense pain, took a deep and enduring hold on his mind, 
and prompted him afterwards to every kind of reparation, 
which his keen sense of their mischievous influence de- 
manded. I have reason to believe, that communications 
were made, and letters written with the same view, to others 
also as well as to Mr. Banim, and I shall give, further on, 
a few addressed to one dear and valued friend of his, now 
no more, which throw additional light on this subject, and 
in which, in an earnest, yet gentle and unobtrusive manner, 
and with the most tender and affectionate solicitude, he en- 
deavours to remove from his mind the evil which he supposes 
liis conversations, and the apparent worldliness even of his 
later religious practice, had occasioned. Those letters came 
into my possession since the former edition of this memoir was 
published, and exhibit in a remarkable degree the depth to 
which the feeling I speak of penetrated. One would have 
thought, that, as the number of persons who were exposed 
to tide influence could not have been large, it would have 
satisfied his ideas of what was necessary, to make his retrac 
tation with each of them privately, as he did with Mr. Banim, 
and not to reveal openly to the whole world what it never 
had the least suspicion of, and otherwise never could have 
known ; that, in fact, as those matters were of a private 
nature, and had given no public scandal or disedification, 
it would be mischievous rather than serviceable to religion, 
voluntarily and without any apparent necessity to make 
such disclosures. But, besides the certainty that no cause 



RELIGIOUS OPINIONS. 185 

whatever is bettered by concealment, it must be remem- 
bered that the course I have spoken of was not in every 
instance possible ; and even if it were, he had no means of 
knowing to what extent the evil might have passed beyond 
those to whom it was originally communicated. He pro- 
bably thought, therefore, that his only remaining alterna- 
tive was, by an open unreserved declaration, to meet it in 
every possible channel into which it might have flowed ; 
to render misconception in future impossible ; and thus, 
in an humble spirit, once for all to unburden his heart, and 
discharge the duty which, as he says, " he owed to his 
Creator, to some dear friends, and to himself." Many will 
think his sensibility on these . points exaggerated, and his 
efforts pushed to an extreme altogether unnecessary ; others, 
on the contrary, will be of opinion, that much too worldly a 
view is often taken of these matters, and that their real in- 
trinsic evil is, for the most part, entirely unappreciated. Vv T ith- 
out entering into any discussion of this question, it is clear, at 
least, that Gerald took by far the safer side, and the fervent 
and charitable endeavours to which his conscientious feeling 
stimulated him, and the gentle mode in which they were 
carried into execution, will, I think, tend greatly to exalt 
his character. 

Gerald Grijjin to John Banim. 

P; lias Kenry, Ireland, 

April 22nd, 1827. 
My dear Sir, — I had the happiness to receive late last 
night your most acceptable and friendly letter, for which I 
return you my warmest thanks. It was a pleasure indeed 
which I had almost despaired of enjoying, but it was not on 
that account the less delightful. It made amends, and ample 
amends to me, for a great deal of bitter reflection— such as I 
shall be careful never to give occasion for while I live ; and it 
afforded me likewise the satisfaction of feeling that I had not 
overrated the generosity of your character. Whatever faults 
had been committed — whatever misconceptions had arisen, I 
was confident that when I had endeavoured to explain the 



186 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

one, and freely acknowledged the other, you would not con- 
tinue to "withhold from me that friendship which was one of 
the most valued consolations of my life, and the loss of which 
I could never have considered in any other light than as a deep 
misfortune. 

The books I sent to Mr. Colburn's when I was leaving 
England, a few days after their publication. Knowing, how- 
ever, that you were not then residing in London, I could not 
be sure that you had received them before I got your letter. 
I do not know whether I mentioned to you in the note that 
accompanied the volumes, that I had immediately on receiving 
your letter (about ten at night) ran down to Piccadilly in the 
hope of seeing you, but, to my great disappointment, I found 
that you had that day left the hotel. I regretted the circum- 
stance extremely, as I was assured that a personal interview 
would have done more to accomplish a clear understanding 
"between us than any written explanation. 

And now, my dear friend, that we do fully understand one 
another — now that you do so kindly and unreservedly admit 
me into your friendship — a happiness of which I am prouder 
than I can easily express — will you permit me to offer one 
suggestion that may prevent a recurrence of those unhappy 
mistakes from which I have suffered so keenly? I am often, I see, 
unfortunate in the choice of my expressions. I seem frequently 
to mean that which is farthest from my intention, and to convey 
subject for offence, in terms that are only designed to express 
esteem and attachment. Let us not therefore, in a world where 
we can hardly afford to throw away any rational enjoyment, 
suffer the sentiments which we may entertain for one another 
to be disturbed by any misconceptions to which a letter may 
give occasion. If a sentence should occur to furnish a subject 
for doubt, let us meet and speak clearly ; and then, if either 
should be found unworthy of the other's confidence, let him be 
punished by losing it. 

I have seen, during the last few weeks, an announcement of a 
new work from the author of. the O'Hara Tales — " The 
Croppy," the action of which is fixed at a period of strong in- 
terest — a period worthy of being celebrated by a waiter who 
is not afraid to encounter a stern and tumultuous subject. I 
am not familiar with the history of these times, but I remem- 
ber hearing (indeed it must be known to you) of the burning 
of a barn — in Wexford I think — which would have supplied 
the subject of a forcible episode. But you felt no want of ma- 
terials for such a work, neither did this circumstance, now I 
remember, reflect much honour on the insurgents. 



RELIGIOUS OPINIONS. 187 

I have to return you my sincere thanks for the kind manner 
in which you speak of my hasty volumes. I have been long 
since made aware of their numerous faults, and am endeavour- 
ing, as all well disposed people ought, to profit by experience. 
But though I am sensible that I should have acted more wisely 
by delaymg their publication and devoting more time to their 
improvement, yet t do not regret having put them forward, 
even if they should procure me no other advantage than that of 
recovering an old and valued friend. I remember your speak- 
ing to me, on one occasion, of a work which is greatly wanted 
at the present moment — a History of Ireland. I should be 
sorry to think that you had wholly relinquished the idea. It 
is a subject, however, which affords a fairer field for the pursuit 
of fame than that of fortune, and on that account is little 
likely to be popular with writers who are able to accomplish 
both. 1 have seen one lately announced — from the pen of 
some Colonel I believe. 

Were we now to meet, you would I dare say find a consider- 
able alteration in many of my opinions. One I do not think 
it right to withhold from you. You may remember some con- 
versations we had at a time when you lent me a little edition 
of " Paley's Evidences ?" The sentiments which you then ex- 
pressed surprised me a little, when I remembered some former 
remarks of yours with which they contrasted very strongly. 
This circumstance, joined with others, led me to a course of 
study and reflection, which, with (I hope) the divine assistance, 
ended in the complete re-establishment of my early convictions. 
The works which I read were (after Paley's) Milner's " End of 
Controversy," and Massillon's Sermons, both very able works. 
I mention my change of opinion on this great subject, because 
it is a slight part of the great reparation that is due from me, 
and I mention the occasion of that change, to show how much 
good or how much evil a person may do by the expression ol 
his opinions in the presence of others, and how very careful he 
ought to be in assuring himself that his opinions are correct, 
before he ventures to communicate them to those with whom 
his talents and his reputation may give him an influence. An 
author, my dear friend, has a fearful card to play in domestic 
society as well as before the public. But why should I take 
the liberty of pursuing such a theme as this so far ? Forgive 
me for it this single time, as I was tempted only by a deep 
anxiety for your happiness. I thought, too, that the circum- 
stance above mentioned would give you a pleasure. 

If your brother should not be at present in England with 
you, will you do me the kindness to present him my best re- 



188 LIFE OF GERALD GEIFFIN. 

membrances when next you write ? One of those " fair occa- 
sions gone for ever by," — yet no, not for ever, I hope — which I 
regret to have lost during my residence in London, is the op- 
portunity I had of becoming better acquainted with him. I 
had something more to say, but my paper fails me. Is our 
correspondence to terminate here ? I anticipate a speedy and 
generous " No," — for though your time be precious, yet you 
would not hesitate to devote a few moments to one secluded 
as I am here, if you knew the happiness that it would afford 
me. Present my best remembrances to Mrs. Banim, whose 
health I hope most sincerely is improved, and, with the warm- 
est esteem and affection, believe me to be, 

My dear sir, yours faithfully, 

Gerald Griffin. 



John Banim to Gerald Griffin. 

Seven Oaks, May 27th, 1828. 

My dear GErFFTN", — You see I lead the way. Be assured 
that your last, of April 22nd, gives me heart-felt pleasure. My 
old harp of a heart has a string restored to it. I accept your 
invitation not to allow anything that may occur in letters be- 
tween us to start a doubt in future of your friendship or cha- 
racter. Let me add my own covenant. When we meet, treat 
me more bluntly, off-handedly, and talkatively than you have 
done. I now am sure that an unlucky diffidence hitherto re- 
gulated (or rather disarranged) your social manner. However, 
I shall be happier with you, if, amongst your other recent 
changes, you have acquired the knack of treating a friend differ- 
ently, and I close this topic by protesting against your supposing 
that I here mean an iota which does not broadly meet your 
eyes. 

Your religious revolutions in opinion I shall not merely con- 
gratulate you upon ; I do more, by sympathising with them. 
Yes, I fear when we first met, and for some time after, that my 
own religious creed was vague and profane, and I sincerely ask 
your pardon for any word of mine which may have tended to 
set you astray. But it is so remarkable that Paley should have 
been the first to call us back to the right path. And perhaps 
more remarkable still, that, although mixing up abuse of Popery 
with proofs of Christianity, he should have helped to make us 
Catholics, as well as believers in revelation. 

I envy you your life in poor Ireland. My health has been 



CLARE ELECTION. 189 

bad since I saw you. I nearly lost the use of my limbs, but 
can now limp about on a stick. 

I write you a short and hasty letter. Till this day, since I 
had the great pleasure of receiving your last, I have been very 
busy, and ill enough into the bargain, and this morning I start 
with Mrs. Banim to make a long-promised visit to the Rev. 
James Dunn (a man I wish you knew, the same whom Shiel 
some time ago speeched praises of) and his lady to Tunbridge 
Wells, but will not go till I answer your letter, and this ac- 
counts, I hope, for the kind of one it is, Pray write soon, and 
believe me your affectionate friend, 

John Banim. 

Gerald Griffin to John Banim. 

Pallas Kenry, Ireland, 

July 4th, 1828. 

My dear Banim. — Just returned from a visit to our glorious 
lakes, and just on the wing for another excursion, I take a few 
moments to thank you for your warm-hearted letter. I ac- 
quiesce in your covenant in all its conditions, and sincerely 
trust that from this time forward there may be an end of all 
explanations or occasion for explanations between us. I was 
glad to hear from the "John Murray" of our city, that " The 
Croppy" was very successful. I have not, however, yet had the 
pleasure of reading it, having been scarcely stationary for a sin- 
gle day since its publication.* 

I returned from Killarney by the county of Clare, which is 
at present the scene of a contest in which you cannot but take 
a strong interest. The people have certainly proved them- 
selves to be a most resolute set of fellows — no drunkenness — 
no riot — patience and coolness beyond anything that could 
have been looked for. They fill the streets more like a set of 
Pythagorean philosophers than a mob of Munstermen. I heard 
your friend Mr. Shiel address them with great effect the other 
day, and think him incomparably the foremost orator among the 
liberators — quite another person from the gentleman whom I 
once heard in the Freemason's hall in London. I should like 
much to know what people say of the struggle in your part of the 
world. I was longing for the honour of an introduction to Mr. 
Shiel, and went once to his lodgings with a friend in hopes to 
see him, but was not fortunate enough to find the great little 
man at home. I consider myself very lucky, nevertheless, 



190 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

in having seen and heard nearly the whole of our agitators un- 
der circumstances so well calculated to call forth the nature of 
the animals, as I once heard you say of the beasts you saw at 
feeding time in Exeter 'Change. The transition, too, was deli- 
cious, from the calm and Eden-like serenity of the lakes to the 
turbulence and uproar of such a scene as this election. There 
is, I believe, little doubt that before now Daniel 0*Connell is 
an M.P. I am most delighted at the idea, although some peo- 
ple think the interests of the country might be placed in the 
hands of a better politician than he is reputed to be. 

As you seem to have fixed your residence in the ruling island, 
some occasion may arise in the course of your literary occupa- 
tions, to make you desire a minute acquaintance with forgotten 
. 3enes in your native country. If so, I am on the spot, and I 
wi]] consider it as an obligation if you will command my oppor- 
tunities, as far as you may find necessary, in bringing them to 
your recollection. I hope you will not hesitate to call on me 
for anything I can do in this way, and I hope, too, that I need 
not tell you what pleasure I shall feel in obeying your sum- 
mons. I had enough to encounter in the way of ill health since 
I saw you, to feel a ready sympathy in your sufferings, though 
I was far from imagining that they were of so serious a nature 
as you describe. I trust that you may before now have got rid 
altogether of the attack, and that you will not provoke a return 
of it by too laborious application. Give your leisure to Eng- 
land, but reserve your health and strength for your country 
and your friends. I am, my dear Banim, yours sincerely 
and affectionately, Gerald Gelffis". 

The reader will not forget the celebrated Clare election 
of 1828, alluded to in this letter. The speech of Mr. Shiel, 
which Gerald congratulates himself on having heard, was 
one of the most brilliant essays in public speaking I ever 
witnessed. I had reason to know that it was quite extem- 
pore, for some friends of ours, who had never seen him 
before, and were anxious to hear him speak, went to some 
of his acquaintances, and requested them to bring him for- 
ward on the plea that the multitude, with whom the streets 
were thronged, might become impatient unless they had 
some subject before them. He presently appeared in the 
balcony. c,nd, notwithstanding some disadvantages in voice 



CLARE ELECTION. 191 

and manner, delivered a speech of greater effect and power 
than any I ever remember. The streets -were thronged to 
suffocation — the occasion was a great one — he seemed to 
feel fully its importance, and his language ascended with it. 
What he said on this occasion was never reported, nor do 
I think that any report could do it complete justice. I 
uever saw anything like Gerald's rapture about it. He 
seemed to listen all through with such an eager attention, 
as if he feared lest a single word or sentiment should escape 
liim. The moment Mr. Shiel had retired from the window, 
he turned to a friend, with his eyes sparkling, and his whole 
countenance kindled with the utmost enthusiasm, and said, 
'•TVell, did vou ever in your life hear anything to equal 
that ?" I subjoin the reply of Mr. Banim to this letter, and an 
additional letter of Gerald's, which brings to a close the only 
portion of their correspondence that has fallen into my hands. 



John Banim to Gerata irnjfiu. 

Seven Oaks, Kent, 

September 22nd, 1828. 

My dear Griffin, — I much envy you your little trip to our 
lakes, and hope I am not going to die before I see them again. 
Thanks for your kind offer of (as I read it) making some 
sketches in your road for me, but after your most liberal ex- 
emptions in favour of the O'Hara Family, ho w can I expect, or 
ask, or receive anything of the kind at your hands ? 

You had a treat indeed in seeing the Clare heroes. They 
have wonderfully raised us in the moral scale, and, as far as my 
feelings go, inspired me with admiration. Indeed the whole 
attitude of our dear country is just now gratifying in the high- 
est degree. I have lately been writing to it " Songs for Irish 
Catholics,' 5 (not yet done,) which I hope may serve to connect 
my name with the present glorious struggle, and (humbly in- 
deed be it spoken) perhaps do some little good to our cause. 
When you see them (if that is ever to be) pray tell me how 
you like them. 

All the Englishmen I know here think well of your goings 
on in Ireland, and wish success. U you proceed as you have 



192 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

begun, you must succeed, bod if one drop of blood ia shed, you 
will be trampled down. Yours, dear Griffin, ever sincerely, 

John Basim. 

Gerald Griffin to John Banim. 

London, January 17th, 1829. 

My Dear BA>~ni, — I am ashamed to offer you the only apo- 
logy I have to make, for so long delaying to thank you for your 
kind visit and note, the latter of -which I received in half an 
hour after you left my lodgings. The card left at old Slaughter's 
was my brother's — he regrets much that he was not at home. 
Sickness both of mind and frame, enough of writing to make 
one hate the pen, and much engrossing occupation, prolonged 
to a more considerable period than I had anticipated, constitute 
the poor apology of which I have spoken, and which I hope 
you will accept. 

Your letter sent by Mr. Shiel found me not at home in Ire- 
land, and has reached me here. It was not idleness or indif- 
ference (that fatal word !) which has prevented my sending 
you the little drama before now. The fact was, I happened 
to overtake it in London, where it was still in my brother's 
hands, and found on a glance or two that it wanted more alter- 
ation and improvement than my time would allow me to 
bestow on it at present, so that I must let it he in my desk for 
a moment of greater leisure. I hope to be done with this 
clumsy, inhospitable, selfish, sensual, and unsocial metropolis 
in a week or two. 

As I draw towards the close of my labours here, I am casting 
an eye about to know where I shall bestow myself during the 
Spring, Summer, and Autumn. I thought of Ireland — but that 
is so old. Of France, but I have no curiosity about their litera- 
ture, and their language is too cheap a thing to induce me to 
go and live among them for that alone. Vienna — I waver be« 
tween that and the sweet south, and am inclined to thinfe 
that I shall fold my wings in Florence for a time. Vienna, 
I understand, is desirable in many respects besides that for 
which I should like it (the opportunity of reading its books and 
learning its language) — it is cheap (a great point for a poor 
fellow like me) — and society is open and un-Londonish — a 
great point also for me since I have begun to find it morally 
impossible to live without it. But I have a leaning towards 
Italy — my brain is sick of horrors, and I should, I think, 
find it fatten and grow merry over the melting prose and 



LETTER TO JOHN BANM. 193 

poetry of the south. Besides, as a Florentine physician here 
informs me, I can live as I should wish to do in London — 
learn to speak the purest Tuscan — and go to the theatre 
three times a week for fifty pounds a year. They seem to 
look on the theatre as a part of their diet. 

Who is the last Irish novelist — the author of the Anglo Irish ? 
He has baffled all inquiry at all events. I have not read it, 
but the greatest number of voices give it to you, and some 
(whom I know to have the highest opinion of the O'Hara Family) 
refuse you that honour, or rather that honour to the Anglo> 
Irish. I must get it, if only to see whether there is a single Hash 
from Shawn-a-Gow's forge to be found in the whole of it to give 
rise to such a rumour. Have you finished the work of which 
you spoke some time since — Songs for Irish Catholics ? Most 
warmly shall I congratulate you if you indeed succeed in giving: 
us a book of real national songs ; you will do what has not yet 
been done for Ireland in the poetical way, as you have done 
already in the prose. 

I am looking anxiously forward to a release from my task 
here, in the hope of being able to see you at Seven Oaks. "Will 
you present my best remembrances to Mrs. Banim, and very 
best wishes for her health as well as for your own ? Believe me, 
dear Banim, yours very sincerely, 

Gerald Griffin. 



CHAPTER IX. 

1827—1828. 

gerald's return to pallas kenry — death of his sister — son- 
net to her memory tales of the munster festivals 

life at pallas kenry — his great power of abstraction 

optnions on literary people campbell — byron — moof.b 

and burns — fondness for nature and reality — the un- 
intelligible school of poetry — coleridge's table talk 
—gerald's love of music and fine taste in it. 

The pleasure which Gerald would have felt on his resto- 
ration to home after such trials as we have been speaking 

N 



U 4 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN 

of, may be easily conceived. It was, however, overclouded 
in the very moment of its enjoyment by an event he was 
little prepared for, — the death of that sister whose sufferings 
he seems to have felt so keenly, which occurred almost at 
the moment of their reunion, with a painful suddenness, and 
under circumstances that rendered the affliction doubly dis- 
tressing to him. 

Her health had been declining for a considerable time, 
but the changes were so gradual that they were scarcely 
perceived by those about her. She was, however, sensible 
of them herself, and this made her look with an anxious 
and almost painful solicitude to his long promised visit. 

" Dear Gerald," she says in a letter a short time previously, 
" a visit from you was a thing that had sometimes occurred in 
my day-dreams, and I now dwell on it with the more pleasure, 
from the idea that you must be pretty certain of it, or you would 
not run the risk of disappointing me. You will find me, I think, 
much changed when you come. Will you tell me why is Spring 
always represented so beautiful, and smiling, and amiable, and 
all that ? If you should ever paint her, pray give her an ugly, 
a very ugly face, or if she must smile, let it be with a counte- 
nance like that of puss, when she plays with her victim before 
giving it the coup de grace : and if they ask you the cause of 
ail this malice, say, that ' she shows no mercy to invalids.' " 

There seemed a kind of presentiment in these expressions. 
Gerald arrived in Limerick early in February, 1827. His 
brother, who accompanied him, proceeded immediately to 
Pallas Kenry, while he remained in town, and this circum- 
stance deprived him of the happiness of ever again seeing 
his sister alive. 

I started for Limerick at a very eariy hour to meet him, 
and I cannot forget how much I was struck by the change 
his London life had made in his appearance. His features 
looked so thin and pale, and his cheeks so flattened, and as 
it were bloodless, that the contrast with what I remem- 
bered was horrid, while his voice was feeble, and slightly 
raised in its pitch, like that of one recovering from a linger- 



DEATH OF HIS SISTER. 195 

tug illness. It was affecting, in these circumstances, to ob- 
serve the sudden and brilliant light that kindled in his eyes 
on first seeing me, and the smile of welcome that played 
over his features and showed the spirit within unchanged. 
About the middle of the day, while crossing tlie street, we 
were met by some friends who had been seeking us, and 
who informed Gerald, with as much gentleness as the cir- 
cumstances would admit of, that shortly after I had left 
home, his sister had been seized with a sudden oppression, 
and, after a few minutes' suffering, had expired in the arms 
of her brother. Whether the sudden excitement of having 
seen that brother the evening before, or the pleasure with 
which she anticipated Gerald's return, had hastened an 
event that was not in any case far distant, could not be 
told. The shock to Gerald was dreadful. He reeled, 
staggered, and wonld, I believe, have fallen, but for those 
who were standing by. His features were violently agi- 
tated, and showed signs of a most painful agony, the expres- 
sion of which he made powerful efforts to control. He 
turned very pale, and drew his breath deeply four or five 
times, but spoke not a word. After some time he became 
calm enough to make some inquiry into the circumstances, 
and we proceeded on our melancholy journey. The even- 
ing which he spent was, as may be judged, very different 
from any he had anticipated. He had not seen his sister 
now for some years. He had always been sincerely and 
deeply attached to her, and one of the brightest pleasures 
he had looked forward to on his return was the renewal 
of that cheerful intercourse, which he had often during his 
absence remembered as a blessing that could not be too 
highly prized. Had he even completed his journey the 
previous evening, as his brother had done, he might have 
enjoyed that blessing once again, but now all was at an end, 
and she who would have welcomed him to his old fireside 
Avith more than a sister's fondness, was insensible to his 
Diesence. and lav before him, pale, mute, and motionless i 



196 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

From what I have said above of the state of his health 
at this time, it would be no wonder if this sudden blow 
affected him with a dangerous degree of force. Indeed it 
was sufficient to have shaken nerves of a much stronger 
character than his, and he did feel it for some time with a 
most painful intensity; but I never knew any one who 
possessed so deep a sensibility as he did, that showed at 
the same time so much energy in overmastering the feeling? 
to which it subjected him. Time, too, that never fails to 
wear down the edge of the acutest suffering, lent its aid, 
and he gradually resumed his usual cheerfulness. The me- 
mory of his sister, however, if it became less painful, became 
also only the more hallowed as time passed on. Associated 
as it was with her virtues, her calmness of mind, and her 
unswerving piety, it seemed as if his contemplations re- 
garding her referred to some being of a superior order. 
Those qualities which gave rise to affection during her life- 
time, produced a species of veneration now that she was 
gone, and, some months after her death, he at last gave 
utterance to his feelings in the following exquisite lines : 

Oh ! not for ever lost, though on our ear 
Those uncomplaining accents fall no more > 
And Earth has won, and never can restore 

That form that well-worn grief made doubly dear. 

Oh ! not for ever lost, though hope may rear 
No more sweet visions in the future now, 
And even the memory of that pallid brow 

Grows unfamiliar with each passing year. 

Though lowly be thy place on earth, and few 
The tongues that name thee on thy native plains, 

Where sorrow first thy gentle presence cross'd, 

And dreary tints o'er all the future threw, 

While life's young zeal yet triumphed in thy veins, 

Oh ! early fall'n thou art — but not for ever lost 

If in that land where hope can cheat no more, 
Lavish in promise — laggard in fulfilling ; 
Where fearless love on'every bosom stealing, 

And boundless knowledge, br.^hten all the shore ; 



TALES OF HOLLAND-TIDE. 197 

If in that land, when life's cold toils are done, 
And my heart lies as motionless as thine, 
I still might hope to press that hand in mine, 

My unoffending — my offended one ! 

I would not mourn the health that flies my cheek, 
I would not mourn my disappointed years, 

My, vain heart mock'd, and worldly hopes o'erthrown, 

But long to meet thee in that land of rest, 
Nor deem it joy to breathe in careless ears 

A tale of blighted hopes as mournful as thine own. 

The volume of tales called Holland-tide had been pub- 
lished immediately on his leaving London, and having now 
determined to turn his attention to this kind of writing, he 
watched with considerable anxiety the manner of its recep- 
tion by the public. It was hailed with a universal welcome 
by the periodicals and daily press, and spoken of as the 
work of a writer not inferior in originality and power to 
the best of those who had heretofore laboured on the same 
soil. He had put forward this first essay with a good deal 
of diffidence, representing it in the preface as the work of an 
almost untried hand, but this was scarcely admitted by the 
reviewers, one of whom says, "From the very unpretend- 
ing preface to these spirited sketches, it would appear that 
the author is quite a new hand ; but judging from internal 
evidence we should say that this cannot be the case. The 
style has all the force and perspicuity of an experienced 
writer." It is probable indeed that his practice in writing 
for the periodicals, during his severe probation in London, 
had imperceptibly given him a facility in the formation of 
his style, which he was not himself quite aware of, and 
perhaps the difficulty he experienced in drawing attention 
to his literary sketches made him unconsciously bestow a 
degree of care upon them that gradually led to improvement. 

The Aylmers of Bally-Aylmer was almost the only tale in 
this series that had any pretensions to a deep-wrought 
interest, and even upon this he did not appear to have spent 
any extraordinary pains. It proved him. however, as J 



198 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

have said, to be a writer of no common order. The bright 
and cheerfnl colouring of every picture in it. the faithfulness 
to nature in delineating the manners of the peasantry, and 
the close adherence to ordinary life in its incidents — never 
daring, as he says himself, " to travel out of perfect and 
easy probability" — rendered it extremely popular. It was 
certainly, however, regarded by himself as a mere initiatory 
step, and an incident occurred about this period that showed 
me what a deep and intimate sense he had of his own 
powers. His great aim in all his efforts was to obtain a 
character for originality. Besides the natural vigour and 
truth of his writings, he wished that they should be distin- 
guished as new. He could not bear to be blended with 
other writers as merely one of a class, still less could he 
tolerate the thought of being considered a copyist of any, 
even the greatest of them. These circumstances made him 
look forward with much anxiety to the remarks of the 
critics on this, the first regular subject of comment with 
which he had supplied them. Two or three of the shorter 
tales in Holland-tide were contributed by a friend, whom he 
had repeatedly urged to assist him in making up the volume. 
This friend, in complying with his desire, had presented him 
with some, which he rejected on the grouud that they 
would be thought to resemble in their manner the writings 
of Mir. Crofton Croker. I brought him a number of the 
Literary Gazette one day, which contained a review of the 
work, that I thought would give him very high satisfaction, 
as its praise was almost unbounded. I was surprised, how- 
ever, to find that it produced quite the contrary effect, and 
threw him into a state of agitation that I little anticipated, 
one expression in it appearing to neutralise all its approba- 
tion. Indeed I had no conception before of the degree to 
which an author could be affected by so simple a thing as a 
review of his work in a periodical, and that review a favour- 
able one. He seemed to read it with much gratification, until 
he came to a part where the reviewer spoke of the shorter 



REVIEW OF HOLLAND-TIDE. 199 

tales, and, giving them also a considerable degree of praise, 
said, that " Little Jack Edy was almost Crofton Crokerish." 
The moment Gerald came to this passage, I never saw any- 
thing like the state it pnt him into. It was not rage so 
much his countenance expressed, as an appearance of the 
most violent agony. He crumpled the paper in his hand, 
raised it high above his head, stamped violently, and almost 
dashed it to the earth in the excess of his feeling. " Oh !" 
he said — "oh!" with a prolonged, and deep, and painful 
emphasis on the word — " this was just what I feared. I 

told these tales were like Crofton Croker's." I was 

perfectly astonished, and said, " Why, what signifies it ?" 
" Oh !" said he again, " you don't know the effect of these 
things. Only think" he repeated, with the utmost vehe- 
mence, " only think of being compared with Crofton 
Croker." 

This feeling, however, soon subsided, and the review, being 
a favourable one, was considered on the whole satisfactory. 
He instantly set about a series of regular tales of the same 
character, and in a very few months completed the three 
volumes which were published under the title of "Tales of 
the Munster Festivals," consisting of " Suil Dhuv the 
Coiner," " Card Drawing," and " the Half Sir." It was 
singular to witness the effect which the publication of this 
single volume of Holland-tide had on his whole fortune and 
circumstances, and the extraordinary contrast which at once 
appeared between his present position and that which he 
occupied in London. While there, he for the most part 
found it difficult to get the publishers even to look at his 
inanuscripts, and the few who took that trouble were un- 
willing to run the hazard of their publication. After his 
return home, the single circumstance of a few favourable 
reviews of a one volume work brought him numberless 
communications from several parties, who sought on various 
subjects the assistance of his pen. He obtained from thn 
time forward a ready sale for any work he had completed, 



200 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

and though the novel trade had already passed its zenith, 
and showed signs of that downward tendency which has 
since become so rapid, he received prices for his works 
which, if they did not promise a rapid fortune, at least took 
away from his mind all anxiety as to the future. He gave 
me more than once the most amusing accounts possible of 
his occasional interviews with booksellers upon the subject 
of his manuscripts. He had a happy method, when per- 
fectly at his ease, of placing before one all the particulars 
of any scene that interested him, and contained anything 
characteristic ; yet it was not so much by any skill in 
mimicry, or attempts at an imitation of the parties engaged 
in it, as by his accurate remembrance of those little natural 
circumstances of manner which are personal and peculiar, 
as well as those other little speaking evidences (not less 
interesting to one holding as it were the place of a petitioner) 
which indicate the course of thought in a mind which it is 
his aim to influence. These descriptions — which are some 
of those things I regret not having noted — reminded me 
in many particulars of scenes somewhat similar in Mr. 
Washington Irving's Tales of a Traveller, but they con- 
tained more variety of incident, and more character, and 
(without in the least wishing to detract) they were blended 
with so many little touches of nature, as supplied the 
strongest internal evidence of their reality. 

The series upon which he was engaged after his return 
home was, as I have said, called " Tales of the Munster 
Festivals." The name was thought a good one, and had 
its origin in the design to include, in every tale, a descrip- 
tion of some one of those festivals which are celebrated 
each by some traditional ceremony in the south of Ireland. 
Though the fever of his ambition had frequently sunk under 
the pressure of his difficulties in London, and though that 
more important end with which it was usually associated — 
I mean the effort to give a high place to religion and morals 
in literary works — may have been from the same cause 



LIFE AT PALLAS KENEY. 201 

occasionally lost sight of, yet, whenever this pressure was at 
all lightened, this last aim took hold of his mind with re- 
doubled strength, and he now at length found himself in 
circumstances to give full scope to his wishes. He had no 
longer the fear that after having spent months iu the 
completion of his manuscript, he would have for months 
again to plead for its place in the public thought. At this 
time he looked upon works of fiction as a most powerful 
engine for giving a healthy tone to public morals, and he 
spoke with deep sensitiveness of the multitudes of young 
creatures who are daily sent to ruin in London, by the 
impassioned feeling and sickly and sentimental garbage 
placed before them in the shape of novels by a certain 
class of publishers. If it was possible to replace these by 
writings of a healthy tone, he thought it would eflFect an 
enormous amount of good, and he seemed to hope that 
those he was now engaged in might be found capable, to 
some small extent, of accomplishing this object. 

I can never turn to that portion of Gerald's life which 
was spent in our quiet home at Pallas Kenry, without a 
deep degree of feeling. After the melancholy event I have 
above alluded to had passed away, there was nothing to 
throw a damp on the enjoyment which we all felt in the 
reunion of our little circle. Most of the members of our 
family who had remained at this side of the Atlantic were 
now again assembled, and there was for many years more pure 
and unmixed happiness within the four small walls of that 
little mansion, than could be found in places where it would 
be looked for with more confidence. The neighbourhood 
we lived in, though thickly inhabited, was not very social. 
The heads of some of the most respectable families residing 
in it had been recently Carried off by illness, and this cir- 
cumstance cast a gloom over its intercourse, and lessened 
that sociability for which it had once been rather remark- 
able. If it had been otherwise, however, neither Gerald's 
occupations nor his tastes would have permitted him to 



202 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

enjoy society to any extent. Though he was paid much 
attention, from time to time, by some of the principal 
families in our district, and though there was no one who 
enjoyed more keenly the pleasures of intercourse than he 
Sid, more especially with those whose tastes resembled his 
own, he had a most unconquerable aversion to go into 
general society, partly from the apprehension of being 
made a " lion" of, an event which his natural timidity 
would have rendered intolerable to him, and partly from 
the circumstance that, never having taken the pains to cul- 
tivate that talent for light and cheerful conversation upon 
pleasant trifles which some people seem to have a natural 
aptitude for, and which is really so essential in mixed com- 
pany, he was obliged, in order to avoid the appearance of 
too much reserve, to take a part in the discussion of sub- 
jects not always of his own choosing, and upon which he 
could hardly speak before strangers without a certain degree 
of constraint. This, however, was only the case with those 
who were entire strangers ; a little acquaintance soon broke 
the ice, and took away all that feeling of formality which 
was so unpleasant to him. For the penance he was com- 
pelled to perform on some of these occasions, he fully in- 
demnified himself when at home. Home was, beyond all 
other places, the one single spot of unchanging enjoyment 
to him. Here he delivered himself up freely and entirely 
to that happy intercourse with his family and near friends, 
for which his disposition seemed to have so fitted him. He 
threw off all restraint in their society, and the wildest 
schoolboy could not be more uncontrolled, or more full of 
unbridled mirth in his recreations, than he was. The fol- 
lowing extract is taken from a letter from his youngest 
sister to some of her friends in America : 

"Would you wish to view at a distance our domestic circle ? 
William and I are generally first at the breakfast table, when 

after a little time walks in Miss H , next Mr. Gerald, and 

last of all Monsieur D . After breakfast our two doctors go 



LIFE AT PALLAS KENRY. 203 

to their patients ; Gerald takes his desk by the fire-place and 
•writes away, except when he chooses to throw a pinch, or a pull 
at the ringlets, cape, or frill of the first lady next him, or gives 
ns a stave of some old ballad. Our doctors then generally come 
in at irregular hours, when the first question, if it is early, is, 
' Lucy, when shall we have dinner ? — I'm dying,' — and if late, 
' Why did you wait; so long V After dinner, books, tea, and 
sometimes a game at cards, — formerly chess, but it is too studious 
for Gerald as a recreation." 

The little passage which follows is written to one of his 
sisters, and gives some further illustration of this playfulness 
of manner, not always over pleasant to his friends. 

" I take up my pen rather to anticipate the letter I intend 
writing, than to make you imagine I look upon this as a proper 
corner to put you into, the more especially as I have not a little 
to say in answer to your last. What ? my smart little lady ! A 
wit indeed ! Wait awhile — if I don't dress you up for it. 
Why, you little forward, presuming — I wish I was near you, I 
would soon let you know, perhaps make you feel, what it i3 to 
humbug a gentleman that writes tragedies — whether bad or 
good, rejected or accepted, is no affair of yours, you know. I 
would not mind all you say if you had not the assurance to make 
me laugh till my sides shook. How dare you make me laugh? 
Wait till I catch you! I fancy I see you now reading this 
with a mischievous smile, just turning up the right corner of your 
mouth ; and I long with my heart and soul to pay you for it by 
one of those electrical applications of the finger and thumb to 
the round and most sensitive part of the arm, which you recol- 
lect was a favourite mode with me, in our school hours, of con- 
veying my sentiments when they happened not to be in perfect 
accordance with those of my fair friends. But now, alas ! I pinch 
an empty vision, and the real delinquent remains far, far away, 
to laugh and jeer as she pleases, beyond the reach of reproof or 
punishment. For once I am induced to relinquish my beautiful 
theory of an ideal correspondence, to have recourse, in the full- 
ness of my wrath, to that ' vulgar and commonly practised ex- 
pedient' of expressing our thoughts by sound or sight. Scolding, 
you say, is abhorrent to your nature. So much the better for 
me. But it is quite congenial to mine. I had rather be scold- 
ing than eating my breakfast ; so I'd advise you to look to it, 
and take care how you give me cause. You will find, that 



204 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

however I may luxuriate in the contemplation of a perfect and 
immediate mode of communicating our ideas, yet, in the absence 
of that great desideratum, I perfectly understand the use of its 
substitute, and if you do not go down on your knees in the shape 
of a long and most penitent letter, you shall find that I have not 
learned to speak and call names for nothing." 

At breakfast or dinner, or such times as he was not 
engaged in writing or reading, he was full of chat, aud 
generally delivered himself over, without the least conceiv- 
able restraint, to every kind of conceit his fancy suggested. 
He applied himself with assiduity to his daily task at such 
hours as were allotted to it, but whenever this was over 
he was delighted to get out of harness, and his imagination 
seemed to cut all kinds of capers in its first enjoyment of 
liberty. In these sallies, the nature of which it is not easy 
to give an idea of, and which were the result of pure spor- 
tiveness of mind, he sought merely the pastime of the mo- 
ment ; aiming neither at wit nor wisdom, both of which he 
seemed just then to hold in very light regard, and paying 
so little respect to appearances, that it was an enjoyment 
he could scarcely have allowed himself anywhere but at 
home. I remember his teazing a young lady, a cousin of 
his, for a dozen mornings in succession, with a close and 
circumstantial detail of the traditionary anecdote of Colum- 
bus and the egg, the latter part of which he illustrated 
practically at the breakfast table, by giving his egg a smart 
stroke on the table, and making it stand. All this was 
very well for a morning or two or three, but when repeated 
day after day, for six or eight turns, it became intolerable. 
When his fan- auditor showed a tendency to rebel, it was 
amusing to observe the sly way in which he introduced his 
story under cover of another subject, something in the man- 
ner of those stealthy puffing paragraphs about Rowland's 
Kalydor. When these contrivances (in which he showed 
ingenuity enough) where exhausted, he was obliged again 
to approach the subject more directly : " Mary Anne, are 



LIFE AT PALLAS KENIiY. 205 

you quite sure you are perfectly aware of all the circum- 
stances relating to the discovery of America?" " Oh, Gerald, 
for mercy's sake !" — " But surely, Mary Anne, geography 
is a very useful study." " Oh, I'm sure I wish there never 
was such a thing as geography." I have thought it worth 
while to notice these little incidents, though they are in 
themselves trifling, as they serve to indicate a great deal of 
innocent playfulness in a mind which was otherwise endowed 
with many gifts of a choice and rare character. 

It was singular to observe the extraordinary power he 
had of observing all that was going forward around him, 
while he was seated at his writing. Immediately after 
breakfast he generally planted himself in a comfortable 
corner near the fire, and though he usually seemed deeply 
absorbed in his work, yet nothiDg of any interest arose, 
either in reading or conversation, (not to speak of the freaks 
alluded to in the extract given above,) that he did not 
turn round and take a part in with as much seeming ease 
as if he had nothing else to attend to. In the latter part of 
the day, when all the family were assembled, and for the 
most part engaged in some recreation, this power of ab- 
straction was the more remarkable, as he continually joined 
in the conversation, and appeared fully to participate in 
whatever amusement was going forward. 

When engaged in composition, he made use of a mani- 
fold writer, with a style and carbonic paper, which gave 
him two and sometimes three copies of his work. One of 
these he sent to the publisher, the others he kept by him 
in case the first should be lost. He had his sheets so cut 
out and arranged, that they were not greater in size than 
the leaf of a moderate sized octavo, and he wrote so minute 
a hand that each page of the manuscript contained enough 
of matter for a page of print. This enabled him very easily 
to tell how much manuscript was necessary to fill three 
volumes. His usual quantity of writing was about ten of 
these pages in the day. It was seldom less than this, and 



206 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFLN. 

I have known it repeatedly as high as fifteen or twenty, 
without interfering with those hours which he chose to de- 
vote to recreation. He never re-wrote his manuscript, and 
one of the most remarkable things I noticed in the progress 
of his work was the extremely small number of erasures 
or interlineations in it, several pages being completed with- 
out the occurrence of a single one. His practice in writing 
in London, no doubt, gave him much facility in this respect. 
His manuscript being of a very convenient size, he gener- 
ally put it in his pocket, and during his rambles took it 
out on the hill-side, or whenever he had a moment's leisure, 
and wrote on. It was a singular proof of the great power 
I have noticed above, to witness the nature of the occupa- 
tions amid which he was sometimes accustomed to follow 
his favourite pursuit. His reputation as a parliamentary re- 
porter during the time he was engaged with the daily press 
in London, induced some parties who were implicated in a 
heavy lawsuit in Limerick to engage his services at a very 
liberal remuneration during a trial which took place there. 
The record was a very important one, and it was thought 
necessary to have such an accurate report of it as would 
admit of its being referred to as evidence, in case of appeal or 
further litigation. Gerald on this occasion furnished a re- 
port so complete and satisfactory, that it must have been 
sufficient for any purpose it could have been intended to 
meet ; yet I watched him repeatedly during its progress — he 
had his manuscript by him, and whenever a break occurred 
in the evidence, or there was otherwise a moment's leisure, 
the manifold writer was sure to be uppermost, his stories 
made headway for the time, and there seemed a constant 
race between fact and fiction. He was much amused by 
an incident which occurred in the course of it. Mr. O'Con- 
nell, who had been specially engaged as counsel for one of the 
parties, happened to take his place in the reporter's box, 
and Gerald was close beside him. They were unacquainted, 
and Mr. O'Connell looked on him merely, I believe, as one 



LIFE AT PALLAS KENRT. 207 

of the young men attending for the press. Seeing, however, 
that what flowed from his pen was more systematic and 
regular than the scratchy and illegible characters of a re- 
porter, his curiosity seemed excited by the circumstance. 
I forget whether the manuscript was that of the Collegians 
or the series which immediately preceded it, but Gerald 
was infinitely diverted at the direct and unceremonious 
manner in which, before any precautionary measures could 
be adopted, the learned gentleman suddenly stooped down , 
read a few lines of the story, and seeing it bore no relation 
to the matter in hand, turned without remark or question 
to the business which interested him more nearly. A miser 
caught in the act of counting his gold could not have 
shrunk with more instinctive horror than Gerald did at the 
moment, from the sudden exposure of these new-born sen- 
tences, but it was too late. It often amused him afterwards, 
however, to think what sort of an impression they could 
have made, even for the moment, on the learned gentleman's 
mind. 

If it was delightful to witness the unrestrained gambols 
of his spirit in recreation, it was no less so to listen to his 
conversation when it turned upon literary topics, upon public 
taste, the partialities and prejudices of critics, or the varieties 
of talent, in degree and kind, of the several authors of the 
day. These conversations he was accustomed to indulge in 
freely when the day's work was over. They were of fre- 
quent occurrence, and as they were usually entered upon 
with the easy familiarity of a fireside story, so they con- 
sisted rather of remarks which flowed from him spon- 
taneously as the subjects passed before his mind, than any 
sententious expression of opinion, which he was too cordial 
a hater of affectation ever to be guilty of. He was an in- 
tense admirer of the genius of Campbell, Scott, and Byron. 
I never heard any one speak in such rapture as he used to 
do of the most celebrated odes and pieces of the first named 
of these poets. " The Pleasures of Hope," " Hohenlinden." 



208 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

and the " Battle of die Baltic," being frequently on his lips ; 
though I have heard hiin say, he thought the last mentioned 
would have been better if it had ended with the second last 
verse : 

*' Let us think of those who sleep, 
Full many a fathom deep, 
By thy wild and stormy steep, 
Elsinore." 

I remember his once having an argument with some friends 
of his who were decrying Campbell's genius. Their preju- 
dices must have run to a pretty height, for when the dispute 
had proceeded some way, they called on him to point out a 
single verse or line of Campbell's that deserved the name of 
poetiy. Gerald said there were many of the very highest 
order, but continued : " If you are satisfied for the present 
with descriptive poetry, a couplet occurs to me that I think 
cannot be surpassed : 

" ' Iberian seemed his boot, his cloak the same, 

And well the Spanish plume his lofty looks became.' 

;i Condensation," said he, "is one of the principal elements 
of poetry. If Scott had this picture to paint in one of his 
novels, he would take a page to describe all that is in 
these two lines. He would have told you of the timid girl 
with her downward glance, standing abashed in the presence 
of one of the other sex, a stranger to her ; how her eye 
first rested on his boot, which she recognised as of a par- 
ticular country — next on his cloak, which seemed the same — 
and finally how, when a little more assured, she ventured 
to raise her eyes to his countenance — and then, how her 
feeling of timidity at once gave way to intense admiration 
at the manly dignity of the figure that stood before her ! 

" ■ And well the Spanish plume his lofty looks became,' " 



ADMIRATION FOR BYRON. 209 

Byron, I have said, he had a great admiration for, though 
I am uncertain which of his poems, on the whole, made tha 
greatest impression on him. One of them, not very gene- 
rally readable, he thought contained as powerful marks of 
the force and compass of his mind as some of the most cele- 
brated among the rest. He was inere indulgent to his 
follies and his vices than people generally are, considering 
them in a great measure the consequences of his education ; 
and I have heard him on more than one occasion repeat, with 
an almost affectionate interest, and with the expression of a 
most charitable hope, the sentence he uttered in his last ill- 
ness, I believe to Fletcher, his servant : " Perhaps I am not 
so unfit to die as people think." I have no idea what the 
nature of the jest was, to which we are indebted for the 
following lines, but they show equally his estimation of Lord 
Byron's genius, and the depth of the feeling I speak of : 



ON REMEMBERING AN INADVERTENT JEST ON LOED 
BYRON'S POETRY. 

Forgive me, Thou who formed that wondrous mind 

Where shone thy works with fairly mirrored gleam, 
If thoughtlessly my lips, with jest unkind, 

Have dared to slight thy handy work in him ; 

For what of pure delight the quickening beam 
Of genius from his potent numbers cast, 

Our grateful praise we owe ; and if its dim 
And wavering Same not heavenward burned at last, 
In truth, we should not judge, but wait in silence fast. 

Oh, blessed Charity ! Religion mild ! 

Thy gentle smiles are never meant to wound, 
No jest hast thou for error's hapless child, 

But holy tears, and love without a bound — 

Thy constant votaries ! they are seldom found 
With barbed censure on their lips, but these 

Who newly enter on thy sacred ground, 
With little heed the thoughts of blame unclose, 
And deem they love thee, when they only wound thy foea. 



•£. i , LIFE OF GERALD GKIFFIX. 

Moore was an old favourite of his. He was fond of com- 
paring hiin as a lyrical writer with Burns, and, notwith- 
standing the exquisite tenderness and beauty of the Melodies, 
thought the Scotch bard iu some things greatly his superior. 
Though veiy few productions could be said to approach the 
Melodies in their harmony — in the musical motion of their 
numbers — in the affecting themes with which they were 
often interwoven — and in the happy expression of touching 
sentiments, they were, he thought, as national songs, want- 
ing in two qualities — the complete absence of all appearance 
of art in their construction, and that extreme simplicity of 
thought and diction, which makes the sentiments of Bums' 
songs equally appropriate upon the lips of all ; neither too 
lofty for the peasant, nor too low for the prince. Indeed 
he said he heard that the illustrious author of the Melodies 
himself had acknowledged this superiority in the productions 
of his great predecessor. In discussing Mr. Moore's claim 
to the title of a great poet I have heard him say, he thought 
that if many even of the most remarkable passages in his 
writings were analysed, they would obtain for him rather 
the character of a great wit than a great poet. He 
meant this, however, considering the matter critically, not 
that he had the slightest wish to disparage them, for he 
shared fully in the universal admiration of his genius. 
Indeed he thought that, in one respect, his countrymen 
were not fully sensible of all the obligations they owed 
him, for it was his settled conviction, that to the spirit of 
earnest patriotism which was fostered in all his poems, 
and to the deep and ardent manner in which national themes 
were treated in them, O'Connell was indebted in no incon- 
siderable degree for his eventual success. I remember his 
comparing two passages somewhat analagous in the writings 
of Moore and Burns — the one remarkable for the tenderness 
and simplicity I have alluded to, the other for its depth, force, 
and elegance : 



MOORE AND BURNS. 211 

" Had we never loved so kindly, 
Had we never loved so blindly, 
Never met, or never parted, 
We had ne'er been broken hearted." 

The second is as follows : 

" Oh had we never, never met, 
Or could this heart even now forget, 
How linked, how blest we might have been, 
Had fate not frowned so dark between." 

He seemed to give a preference to the former. There was 
a similar passage of Lord Byron's also, which he quoted at 
the same time, and which I quite forget. If I remember 
right, the sentiment in it was more condensed, but had less 
tenderness. 

He more than once spoke of the absence of any such 
writings as those of Burns among the peasantry, and the 
extreme desireableness of replacing those songs which 
they are accustomed to sing by some of a better order. 
He appeared to attribute the fact of the Melodies never 
having descended to them, to their being of too refined a> 
character, and to the want of that extreme artlessness for 
which the writings of that poet were remarkable. He 
looked upon the task, however, as an extremely difficult 
one — indeed, quite impossible to any writer of the present 
day, and thought it not likely to be executed, until some 
writer arose, who, like the bard of Ayr, had a special gift- 
There are a few pieces of his, among the rest a little song 
in the Rivals, or Tracy's Ambition, beginning, " Once I had 
a truelove," which were written about the time he ex- 
pressed these opinions, and in which he made an attempt 
to reach the simplicity I speak of, but I believe he did not 
consider himself to have succeeded. 

He had a most passionate fondness for nature in every- 
thing, and whether traces of it were seen in the writings 
of the poet or the novelist, or flowed from the pencil of the 



212 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

painter, or were heard in the voice of music, his sensibility 
was awakened as keenly as by the charms of natural 
scenery, which were always highly delightful to him. In 
works of imagination, no beauty escaped him. He had 
fhe faculty of catching up the sweetest passages in them, 
and though he seemed to glance over them cursorily enough, 
they were frequently on his lips, and never afterwards forgot- 
ten. He was a profound admirer of Johanna Baillie, and 
often spoke of her plays of the passions as a series full of 
extraordinary beauties. I have frequently heard him repeat 
the following couplet, and remark that nothing could be 
more beautifully still than the summer picture it presented : 

** The aged crone 
Keeps house alone, 
The reapers to the field are gone." 

" Have you ever," he said once to me, " read Coleridge's 
Christabel ?" On my answering in the negative, he said, 
" It is the most extraordinary — one of the wildest and most 
fantastic productions that ever came from any man's pen ! 
Yet, in the midst of a kind of matter that surprises by its 
strangeness, one is now and then charmed by an exquisite 
touch of natural painting like the following : 

" ' The thin gray cloud is spread on high, 
It covers, but not hides the sky.' " 

u Let me warn you," he says to a young writer who had 
placed some of his productions before him, "let me warn 
you of one carelessness. You jump over a description by 
saying such a thing was very picturesque. You should not 
say that at all. Describe the picture, landscape, or what- 
ever it is ; tell how it was, and combine the parts, so as 
to leave it to your reader to say, ' That must have been 
very picturesque.' " " You can always," he once said to me, 
" make a tolerable guess at a writer's powers ; yon can 



CHARACTER OF HIS WRITINGS. 213 

easily ' take his measure,' as I may say, by just turning to 
the dialogues in his book. If his characters do not speak 
exactly as people speak in the world — precisely as those 
you know and see around you would speak in like circum- 
stances, you may give him up. If he is not true to nature 
in his dialogues, depend upon it the rest is all stuff." As 
to his own writings, there was an unexaggerated tone of 
colouring in all his sketches, whether of place or character, 
that made them come home to the reader's mind with the 
full authority of truth ; and his thorough mastery of all the 
keys of human nature, in a more obscure and secluded walk 
— that of the affections, and emotions of the heart and spirit 
— has rarely I think been surpassed. A remarkable in- 
stance of this is given in the Collegians, where he is de- 
scribing the effect upon Hardress Cregan's mind of the first 
ball he has ever been at, and mentions a number of little 
circumstances which had a tendency to exalt and strengthen 
every impression upon it : " The perfumed air of the room, 
the loftiness of the ceiling, the festooning of the drapery 
above the windows, the occasional pauses and changes in the 
music, all contributed to raise his mind into a condition of 
peculiar and exquisite enthusiasm, which made it suscep- 
tible of deep, dangerous, and indelible impressions." A 
passage of a remarkably similar character occurs in Dante, 
where he is first ascending the mountain : 

M so that with joyous hope 

All things conspired to fill me, the gay skin 
Of that swift animal, the matin dawn, 
And the sweet season." 

As I have been led to speak on this subject, I may 
mention another remarkable instance of his close adherence 
to nature, which occurs in Gisippus. Gisippus is a beau- 
tiful example of a fine mind acting in every respect under 
the guidance of the philosophy he had been trained in, and 
incident after incident serves to point out its weakness and 
insufficiency. On every occasion of great distress and sof- 



214 LIFE OF GERALD GPJFFIX. 

fering it entirely fails. While to Christianity all things, 
whether in adversity or prosperity, are intelligible, the 
system of the Grecian schools, though it still inculcates 
submission, can give no satisfactory reason for such a 
course, and Gisippus is continually enveloped in difficulties 
and enigmas, which his early principles give him no rational 
account of. The author is sensible of this, and does not 
fail to put it prominently forward. He never forgets the 
school Gisippus was reared in, and where religion would 
have smoothed the ills of adversity, he shows that philo- 
sophy has no comfort to offer ; in fact, that even with the 
fullest acknowledgment of a ruling Providence — the high- 
est truth to which unassisted reason can reach — it is still 
mere pride to its very foundation, and anything which this 
does not explain is necessarily left a helpless mystery : 

"Let it be ever thus ! 
The generous still be poor — the niggard thrive — 
Fortune still pave the ingrate's path with gold — 
Death dog the innocent still — and surely those 
Who now uplift their streaming eyes, and murmur 
Against oppressive fate, will own its justice. 
Invisible Ruler ! should man meet thy trials 
With silent and lethargic sufferance, 
Or lift his hands, and ask Heaven for a reason ? 
Our hearts must speak— the sting, the whip is on them ; 
We rush in madness forth, to tear away 
The veil that blinds us to the cause. In vain ! 
The hand of that Eternal Providence 
Still holds it there, unmoved, impenetrable 5 
We can but pause, and turn away again 
To mourn — to wonder — and endure." 

This is equally evident from an after passage, in which 
he upbraids himself with having allowed his passion to 
get the better of his reason, in a scene with Fulvius : 

"Osin! 
shame ! world ! I'm now a weak poor wretch, 
Smote down to very manhood. Judgment lost, 



THE UNINTELLIGIBLE SCHOOL. 215 

Fve flung the reins loose to my human spirit, 
And that's a wild one ! Rouse it and ye pluck 
The beard of the lion. Gisippus, that was 
The lord of his most fiery impulses, 
Is now a child to trial. High philosophy, 
With its fine influences, has fled his nature, 
And all the mastery of mind is lost !" 

And more distinctly still in a previous one, in which 
Gisippus himself acknowledges the sustaining motive and 
its feebleness : 

" Alas ! you know not, friend, how very quietly, 
And silently, that same tall fabric, pride, 
Is sapped and scattered by adversity, 
Even while we deem it still unmoved, unshaken !" 

This extreme fondness for all that was natural made any 
affectation in others intolerable to him. He often spoke 
of the sickly sensibility of a certain class of writers who 
were given to it, and who were designated in London by 
the term of " The Lakers." ; Even with Coleridge, Words- 
worth, and others of high reputation, whose productions he 
admired, he could not endure the repeated recurrence of a 
certain studied obscurity, adopted, as he believed, through 
a mere affectation of profoundness. These writers belonged 
to what he called, by way of ridicule, the " unintelligible 
school." The first named of them he considered much in- 
jured in his literary reputation by the publication of his 
" Table Talk," a book which he thought showed clearly 
the full amount of his pretensions, and proved him to be 
overflowing with conceit and vanity, miserably shallow in 
his philosophy, and full of incurable bigotry. On one oc- 
casion he was reading a passage in some work of his, which 
he found it almost impossible thoroughly to comprehend, but 
which he denounced as the " purest trash possible — mere 
unintelligible jargon." I asked him, " How do you know 
that, if you cannot thoroughly comprehend it ?" " Oh," 



216 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

said he, " the easiest thing in the world ; because there are 
several other passages of a like character, which, with a 
little consideration, I can fully comprehend, and I find 
them to be the most silly drivelling imaginable." The fol- 
lowing lines, which have been found among his papers in a 
rather incomplete form, will give some idea of his notions 
on these subjects : 

:i Wordsworth, and Coleridge, and Landor, and Southey, 
Are stupid, and prosy, and frothy, and mouthy, 

Like a and a they sit side by side, 

True brotherly emblems of dullness and pride ; 
From morning till night they sit staring and blinking- 
And striving to make people tliink they are thinking- 
Like four Irish parsons oppressed with the dumps, 
Or like my poor grandmother's pig in the mumps ; 
Compared with such garbage the trash of A. Tennyson 
To me is a haunch of poetical venison ; 
Or Bidwer — as deep as the sky in a lake, 
Till the mud at six inches reveals your mistake." 

The subjoined extract is one of the same character. 
It has been taken from the manuscript of an unfinished 
little tale found in similar circumstances : 

"It was this very letter he had open in his hand, with just 
such a countenance as might be occasioned by its contents, 
when Miss O'Kelly entered the room holding a volume of her 
favourite Mr. Tennyson's poems in her fair hand, out of which 
she read some lines, which seemed to have especially caught 
her fancy : 

" • When will the stream be a-weary of flowing 
Under my eye ?' 

when the figure of the Captain, with his mortified look, came 
' under her eye' at the instant. 

" 'Papa,' she said, closing the book, yet leaving one slender 
finger between the leaves, that she might not altogether lose 
a passage that she so much admired, ' what can be the reason 
Mr. Fitzallen does not come near us this time past ?' 

11 ' Hold your tongue, Miss,' said the Captain; ' what affair is 
that of yours V 



THE UNINTELLIGIBLE SCHOOL. 217 

" She held her tongue accordingly, like an obedient daughter, 
and went on with the poem : 

" « When will the wind be a-weary of blowing, 
Over the sky ?' 

" ■ Over the fiddlestick,' said the Captain ; « what trash is 
that you're reading, Miss f 

" ' Trash, papa ! 'tis a book of fashionable poetry. Nobody 
reads Scott or Byron now, nor any poet of the intelligible school. 
As to Moore and Campbell, noboby sees anything in them. 
Shelley, and Keats, and Wordsworth, and Coleridge, and 
Tennyson, have beat them clean out of the field. There is 
something so charming, so irresistible in originality !' 

"'So women think. I suppose it is on this principle ye 1st 
the poets disfigure your minds just as you allow your dress- 
makers to deform your persons. Novelty — and wit, if it may 
be — at all e\ ents, novelty. The fellow who has the hardihood 
to publish the sheerest nonsense, is certain to have the most 
votes amongst readers as empty-pated as himself. The less ye 
comprehend, the better ye are pleased.' 

" 'Ah, papa, how can you say so ? Did you ever read the ode 
to a skylark V 

" ■ Never — nor don't intend it.' 

" ' And like a cloud of fire P 

What do you think of that simile ? Who but a writer of the 
most original genius would dare to compare a poor harmless 
skylark to a cloud of fire ?' 

" • One other sort of person.' 

"'Who?' 

" ' A blockhead.' 

" ' Ah — did you read the sonnet to an owl, No. n. 2 

" ' Not a whit of thy tuwhoo, 

Thee to woo to thy tuwhit, 

Thee to woo to thy tuwhit, 
With a lengthen'd loud halloo, 
Tuwhoo, tuwhit, tuwhit, tuwhoo — o — o !' 

*' ' I have not had the pleasure of seeing it.' 

" ' Or the charming little pastoral, commencing ? 

" ' Be silent, I say ! I have not time to talk about such things 
now. Put by your poetry, and get ready to receive my friend 
Mr. Tightfit, whom I expect to-day or to morrow from London. 
I intend you shall marry him.* 



218 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

'"Me, Sir!' 

" ' You, Miss ! what do you stare at f 

" Even the favourite poet was forgotten in the young lady's 
surprise at this intelligence, and the volume fell on the carpet, 
as unregarded as if it had belonged to the out-going school of 
the Scott and Campbell dynasty." 

" When I read these things," he used to say, " I feel a 
kind of weakness coming over me — a kind of faintishness 
and creeping — to think that any man pretending to be en- 
dowed with reason could bring himself to indite such 
nonsense." Notwithstanding these strictures, which applied 
rather to the extravagancies of those poets than to their 
genius, he had, as I have said, the highest admiration of some 
of their works, especially of Soothe/a; "Roderick, the last 
of the Goths," and the " Curse of Kehama," being in his 
mind the most delightful productions imaginable. 

He was extremely fond of music, and, as I have already 
said, deeply affected by it. The reader will not forget a 
passage in one of his letters, in which he speaks of its power, 
and says of the music of Der Friechutz, " I never was so 
terrified in my life." He had an exceedingly sweet voice, 
very rich in its tone, and tolerably powerful, and his fine 
imagination and correct taste made him throw in ornaments 
rarely, and with a grace and simplicity that never went 
beyond the sentiment. Those who have heard him sing 
"Blue bonnets over the border," or "Bonnie Prince Charlie," 
will not readily forget the effect. He preferred, however, 
power in singing, to sweetness — the might of Braham, to 
the melody of Broadhurst. He admired Mrs. Hemans' song 
of " The Captive Knight" very much, and thought the air 
of it — said to be composed by her sister — showed even more 
genius than the words. Indeed he was so charmed with this 
last, that he took the pains to leam it on the piano, and 
practised it with perseverance for two or three months until 
he could accompany himself satisfactorily. He was so fond 
of this song, that frequently after awaking from his first 



TALES OF THE MUNSTER FESTIVALS. 219 

sleep on the sofa, about two or three o'clock in the morning. 
he would go to the piano and sing it two or three times 
before retiring to his room. Many a time have the inmates 
of our house been roused from their slumber by the plain- 
tive tones of the despairing captive, which were sweetened 
and rendered more touching by the silence of the night 
and the distance. 



CHAPTER X. 

1828—1829. 

PUBLICATION OF TALES OF THE 3IUNSTER FESTIVALS— GERALD 'a 
RETURN TO LONDON — THE COLLEGIANS — CIRCUMSTANCES IN 
WHICH IT WAS WRITTEN — HIS REMARKS ON THE MORAL OF 

THE WORK GEORGE COLMAN AS A DEPUTY LICENSER — GERALD 

ENTERS AS A LAW STCDENT AT THE LONDON UBTVKBSITT — HIS 
MODE OF LIFE IN LONDON — HIS STUDY OF IRISH HISTORY — 
THE INVASION — LETTERS — ANECDOTE. 

The first series of Tales of the Munster Festivals consisted, 
as I have said, of three volumes, containing Card Draw- 
ing, the Half Sir, and Suil Dhuv. These were written in 
the short space of four months, and Gerald proceeded to 
London in August, 1827, to make arrangements for their 
publication. On this occasion he seems to have felt most 
forcibly the contrast between the joyous and unclouded 
life he had been leading at Pallas Kenry, and the dreary 
scene of his former labours. " If I can," he writes, "dis- 
pose of these tales to advantage, I never again, without 
some very urgent motive indeed, will enter London. It is 
grown to me, and I never imagined it till my return, a 
place of the most dismal associations." Though the tales 
were very highly praised, and said by those to whose 
judgment the publishers had submitted them, "to be 
equalled only by the author of Waverley in their national 



220 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

portraitures and sketches of manners," the novel trade had 
declined so much, that he did not receive on the whole 
I believe (for the arrangement was in some degree con- 
ditional) more than £250 for them. Publishers have 
much in their power with regard to the character of litera- 
ture. The decline I speak of was partly owing to the course 
pursued by some of them, who, when the taste for that 
species of writing became decided and strong, with a reck 
less and grasping spirit flung a quantity of mere rubbish 
into the market, in the shape of novels. The consequence 
was, the appetite of the public became palled and dead- 
ened ; they could not easily be brought to seek for delicacies 
amid the mountains of garbage thus presented to them, 
but turned away in disgust. No work, however good, 
would sell to the same extent as formerly, and as far 
as regarded the profit accruing from their labours, good 
authors and bad were placed nearly upon the same level. 
The books were not published until the close of the year — 
until, as the bookseller phrased it, "town began to fill" — 
and Gerald returned to Ireland about the end of October in 
improved health and spirits. 

He looked forward with no small degree of anxiety to 
the feeling of the public with regard to this performance. 
Being a regular work in three volumes, it could not be 
regarded either by them or the author as a trivial effort or 
mere essay, and he naturally considered its fate as settling 
his future destiny. It was therefore with some degree 
of perplexity and annoyance he perceived that the re- 
viewers, while they gave the tales a very high degree of 
praise, noticed several faults, which they ascribed to over 
eagerness and precipitancy, and of which he could not but 
acknowledge the justice. His conviction of their reason- 
ableness was confirmed by a letter he received about the 
same time from one of whose ability and talent he had the 
highest opinion, and who mingled the candour of a just 
critic with the keen interest of a kind friend. These 



SCOTT — SHAKSPEARE. 221 

circumstances made it very difficult for him to satisfy him- 
self in his next story, and, after repeated attempts on 
different subjects, it happened that the work which even- 
tually came before the public was not commenced until the 
close of the summer of 1828. Notwithstanding the remarks 
of the reviewers, the tales were on the whole very success- 
ful. Though his turning himself to this species of writing 
was, as we have seen, in a great degree compulsory and the 
effect of circumstances, he devoted himself to it with an 
ardour that fell little short of his passion for the drama, 
and this feeling grew upon him the more, when he observed 
it attended with a success which all his efforts in the other 
walk could not command. I have heard him say he thought 
the talent required for both kinds of writing was very 
similiar ; that is to say, that to be very successful as a 
novel writer one should have a good deal of dramatic 
talent. He used to point out the best novels as containing 
a large proportion of dialogue, and requiring very little aid 
from narrative, and the most impressive scenes in them as 
highly dramatic in then' character. He spoke this more 
particularly, however, of Sir Walter Scott's novels. He 
thought Scott's talent and that of Shakspeare very similar, 
and he was accustomed to push this idea about the force of 
circumstances so far as to say, he thought Shakspeare 
would have written novels if he had fallen upon a novel 
reading time. A doubt which he expresses in one of his 
letters as to the capabilities " of the great unknown for 
actual dramatic, at least tragic writing," seems inconsistent 
with this idea, but I believe all he meant by these remarks 
regarding Shakspeare was, that a person who really had 
the power to produce good tragedies possessed all the 
requisites for novel writing, though the best novel writer 
might possibly entirely fail in the higher orders of the 
drama. The history of his own efforts may have tended 
in some degree to lead him to this opinion. His enjoyment 
of home this year, with its many welcome associations, 



222 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

■was rendered doubly refreshing to him by his late visit to 
the metropolis. Notwithstanding, however, the great dislike 
he had to London, from all its painful remembrances, he 
found himself obliged to return to it, not only on the publica- 
tion of his works, but often some time before that period, 
in order to make himself familiar with the public feeling 
about literature, and to watch the tendencies of a taste that 
seemed occasionally so capricious and fluctuating. I had 
occasion to go there in the month of October, 1828, and 
he promised to join me early in the month following. I 
went down to Piccadilly the evening I expected him, and 
I never shall forget the scene that presented itself on the 
arrival of the coaches. It was the 12th of November, a 
night of the most intense frost, and the densest fog that 
was remembered for many years, and I find it set down as 
such in the table of remarkable events for that year. The 
entire road was a perfect sheet of ice — the people as they 
passed seemed incased in frost — no one could see a yard 
before him, and I never witnessed such confusion. The 
shouting of linkboys, guards, and coachmen — the screams 
and groans of those who fell on the ice — the angry recri- 
mination of many voices when horses and coaches got 
entangled — the railing and swearing at each other of those 
who ran together awkwardly and fell, made the whole place 
a perfect Babel. While waiting for a peep at the way-bill 
— the only true index of arrivals on such a night as this — 
my attention was directed to a tall, slender looking figure, 
with a Russia leather writing-case at his side, which was 
suspended by a silk handkerchief from the opposite shoulder. 
He was buttoned to the throat, and seemed to address him- 
self to some one who stood before him, but was almost 
invisible in the fog. Like all others, he was perfectly 
white from head to foot with hoar frost and icicles, and it 
required a very close scrutiny, and some boldness, to venture 
to recognise him as an acquaintance. It was, however. 
Gerald, and he seemed astonished at mv having succeeded 



THE C0LLEGIAN3. 223 

in finding him in such a blinding fog. The writing-case 
contained a volume and a half of the manuscript of the 
Collegians. We started for our lodgings immediately, but 
notwithstanding the assistance of a linkboy, were nearly 
two hours in finding them, though the distance was not more 
than twenty minutes' walk by day. 

Having made arrangements with his publishers in a day 
or two, the tale, so far as it had gone, was sent to the 
printers, and he set to work vigorously to complete it. 
He had intended to bestow more pains upon this series, 
and to render it if possible more deserving of public favour 
than the last, but circumstances happened to make very 
much against this determination. 

" The critics," he says, in a letter to his father, " frightened 
me so much when I published my first series of the Festivals, 
that I foimd it very hard to please myself in the second. I 
wrote half a volume of one thing and threw it by, and a volume 
and a half of another and threw it by also ; but the third time 
(as they say in the Arabian Nights) I was more successful in 
satisfying myself. Nevertheless, the delay threw me back 
several months, as it was settled that my second series should 
appear about November, and that month found me with only 
half the work written. Thus, instead of being done with greater 
deliberation than before, as the Aristarchuses advised, my pre- 
sent unfortunate tale has been actually written/or the press, and 
sent sheet after sheet to the printer according as it was done. 
However, I am in nc great uneasiness about it, as I feel that it 
is a great improvement on the former at any rate." 

If he was limited as to time in the previous part of his 
story, he was much more so during the latter portion. 
The printers overtook him about the middle of the third 
volume, and from this time forward it was a constant race 
between him and them. The Collegians has been very 
highly praised in all its parts, but few, perhaps, of those 
who admire it as a work of imagination, will believe that 
some of the finest scenes in it were poured forth with a 
tide as direct and rapid as the commonest essay on the 
most familiar subject. Any one who glances over the 



224 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

last half volume especially, and observes its truth to na- 
ture, its wonderful depth and power, and its extraordinary 
consistency in character and incident with the previous 
part of the work, will be astonished at what I state. 
Every morning almost, just as we were done breakfast, a 
knock came to the door, and a messenger was shown in, 
saying, " Printers want more copy, sir." The manuscript 
of the previous day was handed forth, without revision, 
correction, or farther ceremony, and he went to work 
again to produce a further supply. The most singular 
part of the business was, that he very seldom broke in 
upon his usual rule of not writing after dinner ; but every 
moment of next morning, up to breakfast horn', was occu- 
pied in preparing as much matter as possible before the 
dreaded printer's knock. 

Notwithstanding this headlong speed, he was fall of en- 
thusiasm during the progress of the story. His mind was 
overflowing with its subject, and scattered gems on every 
side as it passed onward. His imagination was so deeply 
impressed with the interest of every scene, that it gave to 
the whole theme the harmony and unity of a recollected 
truth rather than a creation, and the different characters 
were made to act and speak with a consistency and elo- 
quence that showed how intimately he felt the situations 
they were placed in. On these occasions his old passion 
for the drama seemed again to take the lead, and he 
framed every passage that was at all of a dramatic char- 
acter with a view to the effect it would have in perfor- 
mance. "What a great deal I would give," he said to 
me one evening, while his eyes kindled with the thought, 
" to see Edmund Kean in that scene of Hardress Cregan 
at the party, just before his arrest, where he is endea- 
vouring to do politeness to the ladies while the horrid warning 
voice is in his ear. The very movements of Kean's counte- 
nance in such a scene as that would make one's nerves 
creep ; every motion and attitude of his, his ghastly efforts 



AUTHOR'S REMARKS 05T THE COLLEGIANS. 225 

at complaisance, and his subdued sense of impending ruin, 
■would all be sufficient to keep an audience in a thrill of 
horror, and, without almost a word spoken, would indicate 
the whole agony of his mind." As the story drew to a 
close, he said, u I am exceedingly puzzled to think what I 
shall do with Hardress Gregan. If I hang him, the 
public will never forgive me ; and yet," he added, playfully, 
in the Irish phrase, " he deserves hanging as richly as any 
young gentleman from this to himself : then, if I save his 
life by some device, or trick, or mercy of the law, any other 
punishment will seem too light for crimes like his !" He 
eventually compromised the matter by making him die on 
his way into perpetual exile, which seems to have satisfied 
all parties. He took up the subject again in a day or two, 
and said, " Isn't it extraordinary how impossible it seem3 
to write a perfect novel ; one which shall be read with deep 
interest, and yet be perfect as a moral work. One would 
wish to draw a good moral from this tale, yet it seems im- 
possible to keep people's feelings in the line they ought to 
go in. Look at these two characters of Kyrle Daly and 
Hardress Gregan, for example : Kyrle Daly, full of high 
principle, prudent, amiable, and affectionate ; not wanting 
in spirit, nor free from passion ; but keeping his passions 
under control ; thoughtful, kind-hearted, and charitable ; a 
character in every way deserving our esteem. Hardress Cre- 
gan,his mother's spoiled pet, nursed in the very lap of passion, 
and ruined by indulgence — not without good feelings, but 
for ever abusing them, having a full sense of justice and 
honour, but shrinking like a craven from their dictates ; 
following pleasure headlong, and eventually led into crimes 
of the blackest dye, by the total absence of all self-control. 
Take Kyrla Daly's character in what way you will, it is 
infinitely preferable ; yet I will venture to say, nine out of 
ten of those who read the book would prefer Hardress 
Gregan, just because he is a fellow of high mettle, with a 
dash of talent about him." " Isaid, there seems a sympathy 

p 



226 ■ LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

for that kind of character when it is accompanied with 
£Ood and generous feelings, like what people show for the 
recklessness and inexperience of childhood, as if it was 
incapable of its own guidance, and deserving of compassion 
rather than blame." "Perhaps so," he said, "but what 
is the reason that integrity, generosity, honour, and even 
virtue, when free from these defects, is so little appreciated ? 
Kyrle Daly's would be considered a mere milk-and-water 
character compared to Hardress Cregan's." The following 
extract from one of his letters will show the attention he 
always paid to the morality of his pieces, though he was 
sometimes amused by a collision with severer moralists 
than himseli : 

' • My little play at the English Opera-house is in preparation 
against the ensuing season. I saw the manager the other day 
— he had George Coleman's license for its performance. But it 
would, I am sure, make you laugh, to see the passages to which 
the gentleman (in his office of deputy licenser) objected as im- 
moral and improper. For instance, he will have no expressions 
of piety — no appeal to Providence in situations of distress. 
allowed upon the stage ; a hymn that I introduced was ordered 
to the right about — a little prayer put into the mouth of my 
heroine — the word paradise, as applied to a beautiful country, 
and other matters of that kind. So scrupulous a man as that, 
what will you say to ? He thinks he is right, no doubt, and at 
nts errs on the safe side ; but I think he has sometimes 
mistaken good for evil — quere ? whether that is not better thar 
taking evil for good ? The manager, however, took it all for 
evil, and was in a passion ; but we cannot help ourselves — 
Georgy's power is arbitrary— so I told the man to cut out all the 
tmderscored, and perform as much of the piece as was lawful. 
It really, after all, is, I am sure, a moral little piece ; but the 
excisions are trifling. The story was taken from a tale that 
was published here some time since." 

The Collegians was, beyond all others, the most success- 
ful and popular of his works. One of the incidents in it, 
which is very powerfully described — the death of old 
-Dclton. the huntsman. — with the circumstance which led to 



HIS STUDY OF THE LAW, 227 

it, was an event which is said really to have taken place in 
the county of Limerick several years back, with this singular 
difference, that the inhuman message delivered to the dying 
man was sent by the guests, not to an old worn-out hunts- 
man, but to a respectable old gentleman, their host and 
entertainer, who had been in his time an eager follower of 
the chase, and though now on his death-bed, with the true 
ancient sense of Irish hospitality, had no notion of allowing 
his own condition to interfere with the convivialities below 
stairs. Though this tale placed him in the first rank of 
Irish novelists, and though its success was so unequivocal, 
he had seen from time to time such distinct signs of tic 
fickleness of the public taste as tended seriously to shake 
that security he had begun to feel with regard to literature 
as a profession. " I should like, if possible," he says, in a 
letter about this time, " to commence the study of some 
profession that might at one time or another render me 
independent of this scribbling. The uncertainty of the life 
it has been my fortune to adopt is horrible." With this 
feeling he entered as a law student under Professor Amos, 
at the London university, which was then opened with 
great eclat. The first lectures he attended were of a very 
elementary character, treating chiefly of the fundamental 
principles of the law ; and the numerous familiar illustra- 
tions with which the learned professor interspersed the 
subject, for the purpose of explaining what appeared rather 
anomalous and paradoxical and quite wide of equity, 
seemed to excite Gerald's interest in the highest degree. 
He was struck, too, with the manner of the students, which 
was singularly different from anything he had ever before 
observed of pupils under instruction. They were many of 
them grown up young men, some of them already at the 
bar, and, as if they were professors themselves, made no 
more ado about stopping the lecturer to ask him any ques- 
tion that arose to their minds, than if they were at a tea 
ptfi'tv. These questions, however, being generally veiy 



?28 LIFE 0? GERALD GRIPFIN. 

pertinent, the professor seemed rather pleased at tfie atten- 
tion they indicated ; and they often gave rise to conversa- 
tions on the point in debate, which were listened to with 
the utmost interest, and looked upon as no departure from 
the object with which they were assembled. 

Notwithstanding his great desire to bring this tale to a 
speedy close, Gerald endeavoured, as I have said, to 
adhere as much as possible to those rales which he had 
latterly found so useful to his health. He seldom allowed 
anything to break in upon those little recreations to which 
certain hours of the day were devoted, and the kind of life 
he led was very much the same as that he followed at 
Pallas Kenry. There were many things, indeed, connected 
with his Irish home for which London could find no substi- 
tute ; still he was pleasant and cheerful ; our evenings were 
happy enough, and time flew as it always does when it is 
fully occupied, and no moment is left a blank. He pre- 
served for the most part the same retired habits as at home, 
and seldom went out to dinner, but was now and then 
gratified by a sight of some of his old friends, who some- 
times dropped in, and who seemed to have an admiration 
and attachment for him beyond what was ordinary. Our 
evenings were enlivened a good deal, too, by the occasional 
visits of a friend of ours named Zanobi de Pecchioli, whose 
acquaintance we had made a short time previously. He was 
a young Italian of Florence, who having completed his 
medical education, in which he had been somewhat distin- 
guished, and being about to be appointed to one of the 
hospitals in that city, was, with a liberality worthy of imi- 
tation, placed upon pay by the Grand Duke, and directed 
to visit the different medical institutions throughout Europe 
for a year or two, in order to avail himself of any improve- 
ments they might offer previous to entering upon his duties. 
He was of a lively disposition and most cheerful mind, with 
a temperament peculiarly ardent, and abounding in all 
those quick, indescribable little movements of countenance, 



ZANGBI DE PECCHIOLI. 229 

attitude, and limb, which have been called " natural lan- 
guage," and which the continental people seem to have cul- 
tivated or preserved so much more perfectly than the 
inhabitants of these islands. Though pretty intimate with 
us, he knew nothing of Gerald, except that fan was attend- 
ing lectures on law at the London university, from which 
he always addressed and spoke of him as " Monsieur 
L'Avoeat." He did not show the same deep application in 
his study of the English language which foreigners usually 
do, but he made up for this deficiency in other ways. He 
had somehow got the notion into his head, that the true 
method of learning any language was to attempt to speak 
it on every occasion that offered, whether one knew it or 
not. Having once got hold of this idea he started from the 
very post, and it would be impossible to conceive anything 
so ridiculous as the astonishing terminations of English 
words, and the strange combinations of English, French, 
and Italian phrases which this practice gave rise to. He 
seemed to possess tolerable fluency in his own language, 
and his efforts to be fluent in the English rendered these 
attempts still more extraordinary. Neither Gerald nor I 
were able to exhibit those miracles of forbearance which 
the people of the continent — especially the French — display 
in these circumstances, and we laughed immoderately and 
without bounds. He was not in the least offended, how- 
ever, politely excusing us on the ground that our national 
temperament was excitable, that it was the custom of our 
country, and that this made it natural to us, and only re- 
questing we would correct him whenever he went wrong. 
This we took the pains to do from time to time, though it 
was impossible to do so without smiling. He was a great 
lover of society, and I never saw anything like the vehe- 
mence of his gesticulations, or the manner in which his 
dark eyes flashed and kindled as he repeated passages from 
Alfieri, the poet of all others whom he seemed most to 
admire. Gerald was amused once at the answer he received 



230 LIFE OF GERALD GRLTIN. 

on asking him what he thought of Dante. " Oh," said he, 
" Dante has been great poet long ago, but now he is obso- 
lete — no one look at him." This led him to talk of the 
various poets he was familiar with — to descant upon their 
different qualities and compare their writings. He seemed 
jealous at our considering Shakspeare the greatest poet the 
world had ever produced, and said " we could not know that 
— that the question was a good deal a matter of taste," and 
he added, reasonably enough, " that at all events we were 
not sufficient linguists to determine such a point." He 
supported this position also by an illustration which seemed 
very much to the purpose ; I mean the instance in which 
Voltaire, I think, is said to have turned an expression in 
Shakspeare, " The cloud capped towers," which, according 
to our associations, contains nothing but grandeur, into the 
utmost ridicule by a perfectly literal translation into French. 
His conversational powers seemed never to tire ; and whe- 
ther he spoke good Tuscan, or indifferent French, or abo- 
minable English, still he would go on. In the midst of aD 
this he sometimes started up suddenly, bid us good-bye, 
and as I saw him to the door, said, with apparent satisfac- 
tion : " Ha ! good night ! I have made Monsieur L'Avocat 
laugh verra mush to-night." 

The blunt and uncourteous spirit of some English modes 
of address must certainly sound very strange in the ears of 
foreigners. Pecchioli came in to us one day requesting to 
know the meaning of the words, * I say." The qnestion 
was so simple that we did not at first understand him. He 
then said, " There has been person in street going away, 
and when a gentleman near me call out, '/say,' he turn hack 
and speak with him.'" " Oh," said we, laughing, " it means 
' Je dis — Je dis.' " " Oh," said he, " it cannot be — the 
gentleman would not say that." We assured him it was 
a familiar expression in very common use in England to 
attract people's attention. Nothing could exceed his sur- 
prise at the intelligence. " Jp dis !" said he, u Je dis," in 



NOVEL OF TOE IXV.-\SK>N. £ai 

the utmost astonishment — " Oh ! Monsieur L'Avocat," he 
added in adeprecating manner, and with the strongest em- 
pliasis upon the words, " if you were prince — if you were 
emperor — it is too mush." He frequently amused Gerald 
afterwards by his ridicule of the phrase, throwing himself 
into a pompous attitude whenever he wanted us to attend 
to him, clearing his voice with a "hern," and calling out 
"7 say" with the air and manner of a Sir Oracle. 

Gerald had no sooner completed the Collegians than he 
began to turn his attention to the study of ancient Irish. 
history, believing that there were many pecnliarities in the 
usages of early times which would admit of being blended 
with a story, and would keep up that interest in the public 
mind, about the decline of which he was always apprehen- 
sive. He was deeply taken with this study, and says, in 
a letter to his brother, " I am full of my next tale — quite 
enthusiastic — in love with my subject, and up to my ears 
in antiquities at the London Institution. A novel full of 
curious and characteristic traits of ancient Irish life is my 
object, and it is new — it may do something for me at least. 
]t these, my dear William, are delusions, they are pleasing 
ones." The novel called the Invasion, the result of these 
researches, is really a very beautiful one, and the earnest- 
ness with which he pleads in the preface for a just consider- 
ation of its pretensions and design, in which nothing more 
was aimed at than to give as correct a picture as possible 
of the manners and usages of the period, sho-n s what a deep, 
interest he took in it. This is further indicated by hia 
having delayed the publication of the work until the winter 
of 1832, for the purpose of rendering his information on 
the subject as complete as possible, thus allowing another 
series of the Munster Festivals to take precedence of it, 
though the historical researches on which it was founded 
were commenced early in 1829. The absence of all inter- 
est, however, on the part of the public with regard to an- 
cient Irish history, owing, perhaps, to a feeling—not.. 



232 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

always well founded— of the over credulous enthusiasm oi 
those who had devoted themselves to its pursuit, made the 
work less popular than it deserved to be, and it was re- 
ceived but coldly, a consequence attributable also to th€ 
fact, that Gerald had introduced into it many ancient Irish 
terms, familiar enough to his own mind, but to the ears of 
the uninitiated uncouth and unintelligible. To the forbid- 
ding aspect which this gave the work was added a more 
substantial obstacle, arising from the fact, that the pub- 
lishers, to enable them to increase the price, threw what 
was intended for three volumes into four, a circumstance 
■which, in these days of cheap literature, was sure to be 
followed by its proper penalty. 

I subjoin some letters written about this period, con- 
taining several allusions to his works, which will be found 
interesting. The remarks in the first relate to something 
in the conversation of Hardress Cregan's intended bride at 
the race-course, which was said to be rather unfeminine. 

To his Sister. 

London, January 27th, 1829. 
My dearest Lucy, — I have scarcely time to take advantage of 
this crossed sheet to answer your letter. The criticism on the 
lady's conduct at the course I am inclined to think very just, 
though, as you conjecture, it came too late for revision. I did 
not think the conduct out of nature with such a character as I 
wished to make her, but it required more ample explanation, 
and I am afraid the greater number of readers will be of your 
opinion. Not so, I am grieved to think, about the poetry. 
Most of the unmusical rogues, I fear, will think it all the better 
that I have not interspersed the narrative with many interrup- 
tions of that kind. However, in deference to my dear Lucy's 
judgment, and as an especial favour which you must take to 
yourself, and gratitude for your praise of my poetry, in which 
not one of the critics as yet has joined you, I have thrown two 
or three songs into the other volume. Would you believe it, 
I my publishers have had the ill taste to hint that the book 
would be just as well without certain lucubrations of this kind, 



LETTERS. 233 

I suppose because they are unfashionable at present ? Is not 
that enough to make all the swan within me die away in me- 
lancholy prose ? 

Since you sent me Banim's letter I had a visit from him, for 
which, unfortunately, I was not at home. He was in town only 
for a day, and accordingly I have not seen him yet. He left a 
note, however — very cordial — asking me down to Seven Oaks, 
where he resides. I think of taking a trip before I return. 
Dining the other day at my friend Llanos's, I met that Miss 

B of whom I spoke to you some time since — sadly changed 

and worn, I thought, but still most animated — lively and even 
witty in conversation. She quite dazzled me in spite of her 
pale looks. Her sister was there, younger and prettier, but 
not so clever. If I were certain that the whole article were 
equal to the specimen given, how I should wish that my dear 
Lucy had such a friend and companion in her sohtude ! and 
how I should pity poor Keats ! I have also seen Mr. Alarie 
Watts, reposing amid all the glorious litter of a literary lion- 
monger — sofas — silk cushions — paintings — portfolios, &c. He 
is a little fellow, very smart and bustling, with about as much 
of sentiment as you have of bravery — I mean bloody, field of 
battle bravery — for there is another order of this quality in 
which 1 would not have you imagine I think you deficient. 
Believe me, my dearest Lucy, yours affectionately, 

Gerald Griffin. 

The remainder of these letters were written from Dublin, 
for which we set out on the latter part of February ; our 
cheerful dark-eyed friend PecchioU accompanied us and 
made the way pleasant. It was singular to observe how 
little his imperfect knowledge of the English language in- 
terfered with his sprightly observations whenever an occa- 
sion arose for them. Gerald took him to a flower show at 
the Rotundo, at which he was in great delight. As they 
moved among the crowds, a lady said to him, " Dr. Pec- 
chioli, how do you like the flowers ?" " Verra nice indeed," 
he said, " verra pretty ; but," he continued, with a gallant 
bow, and waving his hand towards a group of young ladies 
who were near, " better for me are those flowers, has been 
walking round the room." I started for home in a day or 
two, leaving him and Gerald together, and I cannot forget 



5*^4 LIFE OF GFFr.SLB-Gr.IFFre. 

the warm earnestness of his manner, ^hen w# parted io-*- 
tbe last time. 

To his Sister. 

Dublin, Mirck 3rd, 1629. 
My deap. Mxry Amra, — Ha ! presto — begone ! Here I am, 
at the other side of my sheet and at the other side of the Chan- 
nel, and here I remain to study for some time at the Dublin 
Library, and also for the purpose of making an excursion north- 
wards. I cannot tell you with what gratification I contem- 
plate my return to Pallas Kenry after the toils and bustle of the 
last winter — the trepidation about criticism — bargaining with 
booksellers^avoiding and making acquaintances, &c. I feel 
kke a man about to lie down and enjoy a delicious sleep after a 
troubled and laborious day. Were I to choose wisely, I think 
my line of life should be this : to write in the country ; to read 
a good deal ; to avoid London, and all literary acquaintanceship, 
for the purpose of keeping clear of literary parties ; to remain 
wholly unknown in person, and let my books alone be before 
the public. This I feel to be my best, my safest course — but I 
must become. an humble-minded man before 1 can pursue it, and . 
I am all the contrary. I wish I were a few years younger, that 
I might tell you in language not unbecoming the wisdom of 
manhood, what I feeL whenever, after a long absence, I return 
to that dear corner of Ireland where we all received life, and 
first learned to enjoy it. When I think of our evening walks 
— our rhyme plays — our boating, gardening, and rambles to 
Glin and Shanagolden ; when I remember, too, my own early 
childish dreams of literary ambition, and glance onward from 
my first thoughts of poetry through all the struggles, disap- 
pointments, and partial successes of the interval which has since 
gone by ; when I contemplate the magnitude of my boyish 
dreams, with their limited fulfilment, and the serenity of those 
days of hope, with the feverish agitation of the last six years ; 
these thoughts take such hold of my mind, that I should become 
effeminate if I did not banish them at once, and turn my eyes 
forward. " Be content here, and happy hereafter," is, after all, 
the only reasonable rule of human conduct. And yet, I think, 
my dear Mary Anne, that I should be somewhat more than 
content— that I should be really happy for the time at least, if 
my present hope of seeing you all in Susquehanna, or anywhere, 
could be fulfilled. . But I will not dwell on that subject longer 
at present, lest that* too, might be classed amongst my disap- 



LETTERS. 235 

pomtments. Since my arrival in Dublin I hare seen a first re- 
view of my second series in the Literary Gazette. It is highly 
praised, and the censure very trifling But the Ides of March 
are not over. My dearest Mary Anne's affectionate brother, 

Gekald Griffin. 

To his Brother. 

Monday, March 16th, 1829. 

My dear William, — I have done a great deal here at the 
Dublin Library, which is a tolerable collection, and I am pro- 
mised an introduction to the Dublin Institution — also rather 
extensive. I do not wish to leave Dublin until I have smelted 
all the antiquarian ore in those two mines, which, by the way, 
is much more abundant than I expected. I have already learned 
to think enough for my first purpose, but as in architecture M a 
little stronger than strong enough" is the great maxim, so a 
little more learned than learned enough is a grand requisite for 
a historical work. I want to make an excursion on foot through 
the county of Meath and Westmeath, which will take a few 
days, and then I think the mere drudgery of my work will be 
over. 

One thing that makes me look rather cheerfully towards my 
approaching task is, that my health is much better than it was, 
and I feel a great improvement in that nervous temperament, or 
whatever I am to call it, which formerly interfered so much 
with my pursuits and occupations. I am cautious, nevertheless, 
about letting my naturally sanguine temper lead me astray in 
this particular. How I wish that I had enough of constancy 
and of generous resignation, as well as of innocence, to cherish 
a perfectly quiet mind on this subject — to say, " This project 
that I am forming is at least a harmless one, and may oe a use- 
ful one, if the Almighty suffer me to complete it ; it will add 
to my own enjoyment, and perhaps be of service to many around 
me ; and if, on the contrary, I should be interrupted in the 
course of it, why, it is still well that I should be called away 
while I am harmlessly, and perhaps usefully occupied — as much 
so at least as circumstances will enable me to be." This is a 
state of mind which I often contemplate with a longing eye, but 
my nature is far from being equal to it. I have far too worldly 
a heart to observe the proper distinction, to keep a just equi- 
librium, between a too keen interest in my occupations, and an 
equally mischievous despondency and gloom. What terrifies 
Big often, when I am inclined to let my heart expand a little 



21 F>6 XIFE OF GERALD -GRIFFIX 

on prospects of fortune, reputation, &c., &c., is the remembrance 
of the manner in which my last illness first came on. It was 
at the time when something like success — like hope, at least, 
began to dawn upon me, and when I first began to convince 
myself that there was something like reason in my ambition. 
It then came all on a sudden, and like the shock of an earth- 
quake ; it was, in fact, death in everything but the one circum- 
stance — that I did not die. Now, as my health improves, and 
the world begins to wind itself about my heart again, I am 
sometimes startled by the reflection, that as that sickness came 
then, death will come hereafter just as suddenly and unexpect- 
edly. "When I think of this at intervals, I shake my head, and 
wish I was a better Catholic. 

This letter, I must confess, has too much the air of a religious 
discourse, but you will excuse it in compliment to the season, 
and as I heard no sermon this evening, (although the famous 
Father Maguire preaches near me,) I feel the more disposed to 
become a little evangelical in my own person. However, as it 
might be much more agreeable to me to hear myself preach than 
it would be to you, I shall give you my blessing at once and 
have done. Dear William, affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

The following, written on the same sheet, gives a speci- 
men of some of our friend Zanobi's phraseology after he 
had become a little more advanced in his studies. It 
contains also some remarks of his on what he had observed 
of Dublin since his arrival. 



"Your friend Pecchioli has been constantly assailing me 
Irith a toss of the head, and ' Ha ! your brother write you f 
'No, indeed, not yet,' is my answer, ' but I intend writing to 
him to-day.' We part, and the next day, or soon after, the 
stout little medico operator knocks at the door — ' Aha ! your 
brother write you?' 'Xo.' — 'Have you write him?' 'Not 
yet, indeed, but I intend to do so to-day.' And the same 
scene is enacted I don't know how often, until this very even- 
ing, when he found me with pen in hand filling the first side 
of this sheet — ' You write your brother !' * Yes.' — 'But you 
did not do before ?' ' No, indeed — the fact is. I'm the worst 
letter writer in the world.' He laughed and shook his head— 
1 .Is me, for example, To-morrow — to-morrow, always.' 



LETTERS,- 237 

" He was in very bad' joints for about a areek after you left 
this. He was not at home in Dublin, and did not Like his 
lodgings. The people of the house, he said, were ' Bronswig 
people,' (Brunswickers*) — they did not like to converse, to 
speak, 'nor nothing.' The woman of the house 'greater 
Bronswig woman also,' treated him with ' greater diffidence,' 
till he came to the resolution of going elsewhere — a boarding 
house 'for example' — a resolution, however, which he has 
not kept, and he now says he likes Dublin very much — 
' better than London also. ' He has remarked since his 
arrival that there are many poor, and that the poor children 
are strong and healthy ; that the middle classes of society are 
very highly educated ; that the medical and surgical profes- 
sors are very learned — more so than in London ; thatjthe ladies 
have fine figures, but bad feet, and that the young ladies are 
more reserved than in England. 

" Write to me immediately, and do not be ' as mc, for exam- 
ple — to-morrow, to-morrow, always,' but write as soon as you can. 
I had fifty things to say to you, but it is now between two and 
three o'clock in the morning, and my memory becomes a little 
clouded. I have heard Father Maguire deliver some of his con- 
troversional discourses here, and certainly he is a powerful, a 
convincing, and (to me at least, who am but an ignorant auditor) 
a learned orator. He is manly, uncompromising, and frank in 
his reasoning, and it is delightful to see the confidence with 
which he takes his stand on the principle of plain sense, and 
his contempt for merely logical, or what has been termed 
(whether justly or otherwise, Heaven knows, not I) Jesuitical 
reasoning. You would be astonished at the brevity and 
clearness with which he demonstrated the necessity of believing 
the Catholic faith. Some of his arguments or illustrations, it is 
true, are not original, but the greater part was new to me at 
least." 

The most delightful of Gerald'3 letters are those which 
were written when he was under the excitement of some 
joyous feeling, and when he entirely abandoned himself to it. 
Here, as in those of a more serious cast, he lays bare his 
heart fully, and appeal's as he appeared by his fireside at 
home when enjoying the converse of his nearest and m-jafc 
intimate friends. 

* i. e. Members of the Brunswick Clubs, then' formed in opposition 
to the movement for Catholic emancipation. 



238 LUX OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 



To his Brother. 

Dublin, April 11th, 1829. 

My dear "William, — I thought to have been down with yos 
to-iaorrow, and had begun to pack up, but an accident pre 
vented me. I drank tea tkis evening at Mr. Crampton's the 
iSargeon-General, and a party has been made for an excursion 
to the county of Wicklow, where he has a cottage. The party 
consists of his two sons. Pecchioli. and your servant. "We return 
on Saturday, and dine here at Mr. Crampton's, which will pre- 
vent my seeing you before next week. He is really a splendid 
fellow, and ought to have been bora a prince. He likes my 
works so much that I dote upon him already, as I do upon 
everybody that is not ashamed to praise me. And what affords 
me still greater, more heartfelt, and I hope not unworthy pride 
is, that Maria Edgeworth, who is intimate with the family, 
reads them with pleasure, and speaks of them with approba- 
tion. For the first time in my life I really felt a lofty — a 
sublime sensation of pleasure when the Misses Crampton told 
me this. Crampton promised to introduce me to Miss Edge- 
worth, and read me some letters of hers, one containing a 
criticism on Ban i in, for the warmheartedness of which I love 
her. Just think of the staid and demure authoress of Patron- 
age, writing like a romance-reading girl of sixteen. 

If I were to remain another month in Dublin, I could, without 
any difficulty, on the contrary with a course ready cleared 
before me, spend that month in the first society ; but, ah ! 
money, money, money ! A good friend to whom I lent seventy 
pounds, has delayed payment a little, so down I go. It would, 
after all, be a great advantage that people of rank and influence 
should know and be interested about one, and it is worth 
something to know what fashionable society is. They are the 
people whom one writes to please, and it is well to know what 
pleases amongst them. 

This is my Bober, business-like reason for wishing to know 
them ; but take the honest truth — the pleasure is more than 
half the motive. This, after all, is really the only rank in which 
I could ever feel at home — in which I could fling off the 
s t / onte — talk — laugh — and be happy. But once again — 
that pang ! I must work hard and get the antidote. 

"Why was I not born to a fortune ? 

If you were, says a little voice, you would never have known 
the Irich peasantry — you would never have written the Col- 
legians- -nobody would know, nobody v> ould care a fig for you, 



.ditix; 



239 



Thank heaven, then, that I was born poor— but, oh ! heaven, 
'do not keep me so ! 

Mr. Crampton asked me if I had not a medical brother, and 
where he was, &c. I had very little expectation of meeting a 
professional man interested in, and familiar with my dear books 
The Collegians, I already perceive, are doing a great deal for 
me in Dublin. But enough— as Matthews' invalid says, " This 
fellow will be impertinent by and by." 

Dr. Pecchioli, I believe, was a little surprised to find me well 
known at Crampton's, for the manner of the whole family 
was of the same frank, laughing, friendly stamp. A few days 
before he told me, "I have compliments to present you of 
the secretary of your English Ambassador in Italy" \ Cramp- 
ton*? eldest son). "I told him I was travelling to Wicklow 
with Mr. Griffin. He asked me. ' Is it Mr. Griffin, author of the 
romances ?' I said, ' Yes,'" (for Pecchioli had heard it at another 
house in Dublin,) " and he gave his compliments." 

" My dear Griffin," says John Banim to me once in his own 
energetic waj , " ride rough-shod through society." I believe 
he is right. 1 will take the world as it comes from henceforth, 
and crush cer ;mony to pieces. I long to meet Lady Morgan 
and to know Miss Edgeworth. Miss Crampton tells me the 
former will certainly seek me out if I stay another fortnight in 
town, and she was astonished when I told her I had not 
already seen the lady. But it is growing late, and I must be 
up early. One parting word. I shall succeed — I must ! Dear 
William, affectionately yours, 

Gerald Griffin. 

He spoke much on his return of the pleasure he enjoyed 
in Dublin. " The Surgeon-General," said he, " is so fond 
of literature, and makes good remarks about it ! He gave 
one of the best critiques I ever heard, on the fidelity to 
nature of some of the characters in Banim's tales. Speak- 
ing of that of Paddy Flyn in John Doe : ' That Paddy 
Flyn,' said he, ' is hanged twice a-year regularly in the 
south of Ireland.' " 

Though he seems to have appreciated and enjoyed Sir 

Philip Crampton's kindness so much, it was so totally 

against his nature to press himself upon society, that his 

iuction to him on this occasion was a matter of the 

t accident. There was something amusing in the 



240 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

manner of it. Pecchioli and he had been walking toother,. 
and the former wishing to pay a visit at the Surgeon- Gene- 
ral's, asked Gerald to wait for him. The family wanting 
him to prolong his visit, he excused himself, saying a friend 
of his was outside expecting him, and on his mentioning the 
name of u Mr. Griffin," they immediately asked, " Was 
that the author of the Collegians?" Pecchioli said, "Yes," 
and they kindly requested he would introduce him. Gerald, 
despairing by this time of his friend's return, had marched 
off, and was already a considerable distance, when he heard 
Pecchioli shouting after him. On turning round he saw 
him without his hat, running, and Gerald could not help 
laughing as he said, when they met, " You must come back, 

the Miss C 's want you — they want you verra mush" 

They returned together, and he was received in the same 
frank and cordial manner he describes. This was the se- 
cond time Pecchioli had heard cf Gerald as an author, and 
the latter was much diverted at his immediately upbraiding 
him with his reserve on the subject. " Why, you no tell 
me you write Collegians ?" said he reproachfully. Gerald 
smiled and made some excuse. " Ah ! Monsieur L'Avocat," 
he added, " it is too mush mystery." To make amends, 
Gerald presented him with a copy of the work, at which 
he seemed greatly gratified. 

Sir Philip Crampton once told me an anecdote of Gerald 
which occurred about this time, and may give an idea of 
his feelings on some points. Gerald happened to dine at 
his house one day in company with a party, among whom, 
was Mr. Shiel and two Englishmen. After dinner, as they 
sat at their wine, Mr. Shiel, who was in high spirits, 
indulged in several innocent pleasantries on various sub- 
jects. Among the rest he spoke of his studies at, I think, 
one of the English Catholic Colleges, the societies formed 
for debate among the students, and the questions given 
them for discussion by the professors. The subject of some 
of these debates he represented, ia a half serious manneiy 



DUBLIN. 241 

as consisting often of a number of metaphysical subtleties 
and petty conceits, the nature of which I have no distinct 
recollection of, but which were about as tangible as the pro- 
blem: "How many thousand angels would dance on the 
point of a fine cambric needle ?" and he seemed to insinuate, 
or at least to speak somewhat ambiguously, as to whether 
such questions arose among the students themselves, or 
were given them for exercise by the professors. " I could 
easily perceive," said Sir Philip Crampton, "that your 
brother was on thorns all the while Shiel was going on, at 
the idea that the Englishmen might possibly imagine such 
subjects wort seriously encouraged in a Catholic College 
by the professors." At length Gerald said gravely, "Do 
you mean to say, Mr. Shiel, that such questions as these 
were proposed to the students by the professors themselves ?" 
Mr. Shiel gave an equivocal answer, and still endeavoured 
to carry on the jest, until, after renewed attempts to get 
at the facts, Gerald in the end was obliged to repeat ;as 
inquiry formally and seriously, when Mr. Shiel said some- 
thing to quiet him, and so the matter ended. Mr. Shiel 
must have been somewhat amused at Gerald's sensitiveness 
on the subject, while the latter, who appeared satisfied at 
having at length got at the facts, was, I dare say, far irom 
being pleased at the utterance of sentiments that tended to 
leave on the minds of strangers an unfavourable impression 
of institutions in which he had long learned to take a 
very deep interest. 

I shall close this account of the time he spent in Dublin 
with the following letter, which is of the same character as 
the last, and was written somewhat about the same time: 

To his /Sister. 

Dublin, April 13th, 1829. 
My dear Lucy, — I am most ready to admit your last letter 
as an acquittance for all old debts, and likewise to subscribe, 
with the greatest humility, to the justice of your criticism. 

Q 



242 LIFE OF GERALD GEIFFIN. 

How happy it would be for the world, if all the reviewers had 
your taste and discernment ! they would know what was good 
when they got it, and they would buy the Collegians in cart- 
loads. If you are not content with your way of spending the 
Lent, I don't know what you would say to my dancing quad- 
rilles on Monday evening, at a party in Baggot-street. The 
family is a most agreeable one — living in very elegant style, 
and the most friendly and unaffected that yo.i can imagine. 

I met there iliss , the sister of the hero you might have 

heard me speak of, whom I knew in London. She is a most 
charming girl indeed. I'll tell you how I might give you some 
idea of her : if Eily O'Connor had been a gentlewoman, she 

would have been just such a one, I think, as Miss . The 

same good nature, simplicity, and playfulness of character — 
the same delicious nationality of manner. Isn't this very 
modest talking of my heroine. I have a great mind to put her 
into my next book, and if I do I'll kill her as sure as a gun, for 
it would be such a delightful pity. I exult in the destruction 
of amiable people, particularly in the slaughter of handsome 
young ladies, for it makes one's third volume so interesting. 
I have even had a hankering wish to make a random blow at 
yourself, and I think I'll do it too some day or other ; so look 
to yourself, and insure your life I advise you, for I think, if well 
managed, you'd make a very pretty catastrophe. But until 
1 find occasion for killing you let my dear Lucy continue to 
love her affectionate brother, 

Gerald Griffin. 



CHAPTER XI. 
182&— 1830. 

BET 89 TO PALLAS KENRY — CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. AND 

UB& . — RENEWED VISIT TO LONDON — LETTERS FROM 

THENCE — A DINNER PARTY OF METAPHYSICIANS — BETCR* TO 
IRELAND LETTERS FROM THE SEA-SIDE. 

Thet.e is a portion of Gerald's correspondence which was 
so intimately interwoven with the keenest social pleasures 
he ever experienced, that I am tempted to it lay before the 



PARTIALITY FOR THE QUAKERS. 2-1 3' 

just in the manner in which it originated. It in, 

rer, of so domestic and unreserved a character in 

many respects, that a proper regard to the feelings of the- 

parties concerned makes me wish to decline giving the 

names. 

For some considerable time before the publication of the 
Collegians, he had been favourably known by his writings, 
though not by name, to some families in his native city 
who belonged to the Society of Friends. It had been ob- 
served that the sketches in the London periodicals, which 
first attracted their notice, were evideutly written by some 
person well acquainted with the localities of Limerick, 
Some sweet and fanciful little tales published in the Newb 
of Literature were clearly founded upon traditions well 
known there, and they had therefore evinced a good deal 
of curiosity about the writer. Gerald, on his part, seems 
from an early period to have had a considerable partiality 
for the members of that body. " For my own part," he 
says, in a letter to his mother of 1822, w hich now lies before 
me, " for my own part I am so weaiy of the dull, unpro- 
fitable, good-for-nothing sort of life I have been leading 
for some time back, that I should feel great pleasure were 
I at this veiy instant scrambling out of one of the small 
boats upon Market*street wharf, in the city of Quakers. 
How I love those people for their amiable simplicity of life, 
and the good sense and humility with which they perform 
their duties, and, without blushing, discharge offices, which, 
in these enlightened and more polished countries, would be 
considered degrading. May America never become more 
nearly acquainted than she is with the usages of a refined 
society, if she should adopt them to the exclusion of those 
simple primitive habits which form one of the most beautiful 
features of a republican government." I remember his re- 
marking to me once, that their peculiar principles were 
favourable to the cultivation of letters, and that the circum- 
stance of their recreations being ia some degree restricted^ 



214 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN'. 

from their abjuring the ruder sports of the field, as well as 
the amiable feeling -with which this was associated, tended! 
strongly to lead the mind to pursuits of a refined and intel- 
lectual character. Hence their love of nature and of 
natural scenery, their fondness for botany, floriculture, and 
the fine arts, and their general and often extensive infor- 
mation upon every subject. Holland-tide and the fir^t 
series of the Tales of the Minister Festivals had strengthened 
the favourable impression produced by his earlier writings, 
but the appearance of the Collegians was his crowning 
glory with these kind friends. Immediately after his arri- 
val in 1829, he was invited to the house of one of them, 
then li\ ing near Limerick, and having spent an evening 
there, he returned to Pallas Kenry, delighted beyond ex- 
pression with his new acquaintances. He found the family 
friendly, kind, and hospitable, in the highest degree, with 
a warmth and simplicity of manner that seemed to fling 
ceremony to the winds, and was quite refreshing to him ; 
with tastes highly cultivated, and a familiarity with the 
best writings of the day, that to one living, as he had 
hitherto been when at home, as it were in a desert as re- 
garded literature, was a social gain beyond ail others to be 
prized. He was no less delighted at the discovery that 

Mrs. was the daughter of a lady already well known 

and highly esteemed in the literary world, though now no 
more, and that she possessed (though with an unaccount- 
able timidity as to their exercise) the rich inheritance of 
the mental endowments of that amiable and gifted person. 
The result of a few meetings more was a friendship as pure 
and elevated as it is possible to conceive, yet as ardent and 
enduring as if it had sprung up in infancy and been only con- 
firmed by time. Mrs. was henceforward the secret pa- 
tron of bis minstrelsy — the indulgent judge to whom he sub- 
mitted everything — the favouring spirit, whose keen percep- 
tion of the beautiful no grace could escape — yet the friendly 
critic, who pronounced upoa deflects with a boldness and can- 



BETTERS. . 215 

four that an interest less intense than hers conld never have 
exhibited. Gerald seems to have delivered himself over to 
the pleasure of this new acquaintance with the keen enthu- 
siasm which he felt in everything that deeply interested 
nim. A sort of picnie- excursion was planned to Killarney, 
in which he became a sharer, and of which he often spoke 
in terms of the highest rapture. The following letters to 

Mr. and Mrs. breathe so much of his heart and mind, 

and exhibit him so entirely as he was seen by his most 
familiar acquaintances, that they cannot fail to be interest- 
ing. I will venture to mingle with them, now and then, 
a few written about the same time to other persons upon 
subjects somewhat similar, or displaying similar feelings, 
together with such occasional observations as may be neces 
&qjj to makfi them intelligible. - 

To Mr. » 

Pallas Kenry, June 27th, 1829. 

My pear- J., — Wherever I may turn my steps from this hour 
I am fully determined never to travel without you : whether 
into France, Switzerland, or Italy, you must positively be of 
my party. You; are the prince — the emperor of fellow-travel- 
lers. Two pounds ten shillings for a fortnight at the Irish 
lakes — for ascending mountains---diving into vallies — for ponies, 
guides, boats, dinners, breakfasts, beds, servants, Kenmare, 

Bantry, Glengariff, echoes and all ! J , you are an immortal 

man. What would you think of accompanying me over the 
Simplon ? I had made a calculation last winter in London, 
when I thought of visiting the Eternal City, and found that I 
could go by Paris, Lyons, Turin, Florence, &c, and return foi 
something about forty pounds. But do you come with me, I 
will put my purse in your hands, and I hope to get off under 
five or six. In the mean time, my dear fellow, look over your 
Killarney accounts again, and oblige me, for I am sure you 
have made a mistake greatly in my favour. I am looking with 
impatience to the day of your promised visit. Come early, and 

join your instances to L- in prevailing on your sister to h< 

nne of the party. I was very glad (thank me for this candour) 
that you did not accept n\y invitation to Pallas on Sunday last — 



•24 (^ LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

tnat is to say, I was glad of it when I came home and fomvd 
the house completely deserted — presenting much such a picture 
as we had been painting just before we parted. Imagine, if you 
can, (but you can't, you happy man you !) the feelings of a 
young fellow returning from a pleasure tour to Killarney with 
such companions, and -then entering a house where every foot- 
step sounded as if he were walking in a barrel. Remember 
me to all your amiable family, and believe me. dear J. , youra 
sincerely, Gerald Griffin. 

' To Mrs. . 

Pallas Kenry, June 27th, 1S29. 

My dear L., — How can I thank you for your sweet, dear 
letter ? I had only one fault to find with it, and that was, that 
it was written upon half a sheet instead ot a whole one, and 
that I discovered the unsisterly omission of a little particle 
somewhere about the commencement, which made it look a 
little bare. Look at mine now, and see how much better it 
looks and sounds. If you were to see the face I made when it 
began to rain soon after I left you, you would never again speak 
of the possibility of my forgetting you. If a look could knock 
the sky down, down it would have come that day. How sony 
I was that I coidd not be present when you and my "graceful' 5 
sister Lucy first met, in order that 1 might have made you love 
one another ail at once !— but come out — come out, and if I 
am not able to dove-tail your hearts together in a manner equal 
to any joiner's work in the world, why, then, all I can say 
is, that neither the one nor the other of you is of my 
mind. I send you the Le Diable Boiteux — a ragged old copy, 
and I fear having some pages out, but I promise you that you 
will find as much delight in it as if it -were hot-pressed and in 
Russia. All that is necessary is, to forget when you take up 
the book that it is by the Author of Gil Bias, for otherwise you 
will feel there is a fall, and even the wit will make you melan- 
choly. -Hudibras I will give J ' when he comes out, tor it 

i3 a queer sort of a funny book, and he must read it to you — 
for — for^-I wouldn't be encouraging you, ma'am, in those — those 

studies, ma'am. L , write me longer lettei's when you write 

again, and don't write about Cuming or going anywhere, but 

put the. whole of L 's mind and a pi see of L 's heart 

upon the paper, and it wall be tome as weieonieasthe summer ; 
and don't talk about forgetting, for if that begin on either side 
I promise you it will be on yours. To me such a friendship &a 



LETTERS. 247 

I promise myself yours will be, is a rare blessing, «uch as a poor 
author wante to console him for a great deal of chagrin and 
disappointment ; to keep his heart sweet amid its struggles with 
an ugly world. But what's the use of my saying ali this, for 
you understand it all perfectly well already, and I only spoil 
the matter by expressing it a great deal more weakly than you 
can feel it. I would send you a manuscript drama now for 
your criticism, but my parcel is large enough already for my 
brother's pocket. And now, madam, what have you to say 
after these three close pages filled up with nothing at all ? I 
think I have started pretty well in the commencement of our 

correspondence. The course is clear before us — ah ! L , 

don't bolt ! I am your affectionate friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 

A few days afterwards, while driving his youngest sister 
to the house of a friend, he let the wheel of the gig go over 
a great rock that lay in the way, by which 6he was thrown 
out and had her elbow dislocated. The following letters 
were written a few days subsequently, when all anxiety 
about the effects of the fall was at an end : 

To the same. 

Pallas Kenry, Friday. 
My dear L., — My brother handed me your letter to-day 
when I was about to return here after an absence of several 
days, which, on leaving home I thought would not exceed the 
same number of hours. He tells me he has made you aware of 
the circumstance of our downfall, so that I need not go over 

that ugly ground again. I thank my dear L for her letter, 

for her promised visit, and for her affectionate inquiries for Lucy, 
who is now so well as to be able to go about and run the risk , 
of a repetition of her adventure. I have just turned round in 
my chair to ask her what I should say to you in return for your 
atiectionate message to her, and her answer is, that I should tell 
you she is very, very much obliged for all your inquiries — that 
she is able to see anybody, and will be delighted to see you — (ah, 
never speak of visiting again with an if possible at the end of 
it) — that she would say a great deal more if she were writing 
herself— that she sends her best love, and will have a great 
deal to say when she sees you. 



248 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

And now see the evil of all this ! See tfie consequences oi 
having a bare mare badly mouthed on the left side. A dear 
sister sadly maimed — an appointment broken with a dear 
friend, and what should have been a welcome invitation, look- 
ing blank and idle in my sight with its own " No !" stamped 

upon its face ! For indeed it is a mournful truth, L , that 

I can neither dine with you on Sunday, nor see you before 
then. It almost gave me pain to find myself included in the 
note of invitation, it is so impossible for me to accept it. But 
I must cure Lucy first, and stay with a cousin whom we have on 
a visit, and I have only to devise what entertainment I can for 

the day, and to think of B d, and hope that I am thought of 

at B d. 

And now, when are we to see you ? or am I to sit down 
and be content with that little note of yours until I am able 
to go look for you myself ? Well, even though I should, thank 
you. I ought perhaps to be ashamed of wishing to occupy so 
much of your time, but you spoil people and make them un- 
reasonable, you are so good and kind. 

Thank a certain sweet poetess in your neighbourhood for the 
allusion contained in a certain sweet poem, if my vanity has 
not misapplied the meaning of the stanza. Ah, you are dear 
people all of you — a literary oasis in what I thought a desert 
of utter and 'irreclaimable dullness ! So much for my native 
city. For yourself/ dear friend, what shall I say ? That deli- 
cious as are your assurances of sympathy you are indeed right in 
supposing that to me they are utterly unnecessary. I could 
not meet you with the same pleasure, nor leave with the same 
regret, if' it were otherwise. I am my dear L 's affec- 
tionately, 

Gerald Griffin. 



To Mr. . 

My dear J., — I am very sorry I cannot oe with you on San- 
day, but the fates have so ordered it. I could say something 
very edifying about the uncertainty of human affairs, but 1 
never preach except in print, and even then (Heaven forgive 
me!) only when I think I am going to die> so that, after all, I 
shall add nothing to what has been so magnificently said by 
Seged, emperor of Ethiopia, on this subject — vide Rambler, 

page so-and-so. I am, dear J , yours ever, 

Gerald Griffin. 



LETTERS.. 2-J9 

To Mrs „ 

My 1>karL., — My worthy brother is setting off to Limerick, 
and I take the opportunity of writing a line to ask if you are 
all well, and resolved to fulfil your promise of coming out to 
see us on Sunday next. "We have some fair cousins here, upon 
whom I wish that you should sit in judgment a la Paris, and 
as the scene is to be Pallas Kenry, and not Mount Ida, you shall 
have a fine mealy potato to hand over to the fairest. 

I send you, in the hope that it may afford you some enter- 
tainment, a fresh manuscript— the concluding story of my 
volume on the Senses. As you liked the style of the deaf 
Filea you may like this also. If you ask me why I send you 
so many one after the other, 1 will refer you to the speech of 
what's-his-name in the play : 

44 In my school days, when I had lost one's shaft, 
I shot his fellow off the self-same flight, 
The self-same way, with more advised watch, 
To find the other forth," &c. 

Congratulate me, or shall I congratulate you, on a piece cf 
good news 1 heard yesterday ? The poor forgotten Aylmers 
has been dramatised, and was brought out last week with 
great success at the English Opera. And see my luck ! The 
drama I told you I. lost by the coach office was precisely 
founded on the same story, and here another fellow runs away 
with my poor bantling, dresses him up in his own swaddling 
clouts, and plunders me. 

Adieu ! This is a stupid, rainy, blowing, cloudy morning, and 
I am here endeavouring to outface it by making as much noise 
and doing as much mischief as I can. Ever your affectionate, 

Gerale Griffin. 

To the same. 

If you were to see what a letter I had written to you on Sun- 
day night in answer to your last, I don't know what you would 
say to me. It was furious enough I can tell you. I sat up on pur- 
pose to write it, never recollecting that I should not have an op- 
portunity to send it until Thursday (to-morrow) ^though even 
if I had recollected it I do not think it would have stopped my 
pen, it was so full of indignation. I am looking over the epis- 
tle now, and I find it (be grateful to my mild and affectionate 
huart. for such a judgment) too angry by some degrees for the 



?250 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

latitude of beloved R d. I find it a most entrancing burst 

of indignation and astonishment at the doubt which was so 
forcibly insinuated in the very first sentence of your note. It 
goes on sometimes making a face of this kind, 




and sometimes melting into this cast of countenance — 




sometimes as long as a walking cane, and sometimes as sharp as 
a bodkin — sometimes as biting as Butler, ai id sometimes as ten- 
der as Petrarch. There was a burst of smothered fury about your 
query as to the sincerity of my verses, and a hint about the 
pain a poet feels in singing to a doubting ear ; and there was 
some dramatic harping upon the word ridiculous, which oc- 
curred somewhere in your note ; -and, I think, I said some- 
thing — ay, I find I did say something most loftily grateful 
about your writing, when it seemed to require some exertion, 
•&c, and so I folded the letter, and laid it by for Thursday, 
when Dan might take it in (poor innocent fellow, little con« 
scious what a combustible epistle I was about to put in his 
pocket, where it is odds that, like Bob Acre's note of defiance, 
it might have gone off). 

But yesterday I took it out and read it. My indignation 
had all been expended on the paper, and I had had leisure in 
the mean time to repose upon the recollections of our friendship 
with somewhat of a quieter heart, and I read, and read on, with 
surprise ; and the first question I asked myself was : To whoni 
is all this addressed ? * Is it to my friend — to my own kind 
L. ? — my generous, my best beloved friend and sister ? — and 

where u> the provocation ? and then, L , I went hunting 

over your note for the cause of my indignation, and I don't 
know how it was, but it had got into some corner, or the colour 
«cf a in juaand delicious, recollections was about it like a veil, or 



LETTERS. '251 

t she forgiving pulses in my bosom were awakened — or however 
it was, I could not find it. 

And now, my sweet and bright-eyed lady, why did yon speak 
to me of doubt ? Oh, fie ! fie ! fie ! must 1 say to you, like my 
poor neglected Gisippus : 

" — faith stands 
On unsure ground, where confidence is wanted. 
And her's I lack — " 

Did you thank me for my lines ? Ah, L , L , did you 

not thank me for them ? did not the simple act of your receiv- 

. ing them with the smile, and thinking them worth preserving, 
far overpay their value. Believe me, I never thought other- 

- wise. What could I do that would be worth the least of your 
attention ? — that could repay the joy I feel continually, in the 
simple consciousness that I possess the interest of a friend in 
your affections ? — that would compensate for the gift of your 
society and friendship ? Would I not sing (if the spirit were 
in me) until the swan feathers sprouted from my fingers' ends, 
for a single hour of such a day as the Sunday you speak of. 

I never doubt ; but when I think of the delightful summer 
which has just flown by ; when I think of Adare, of Killarney, 

of Glengariff, of Tralee, of Tarbert, of Askeaton, of E d, and 

of the happiness which I felt in the growth of our friendship 
amid those scenes, I often ask myself : Is it possible the time 
should ever arrive when a friendship like ours — warm — noble 
— elevated — a3 I often thought it, should fade away in cold 

•suspicion and unworthy ^negligence ? On my part I answer, 
never ; on yours — why — a — never — I believe also ; but then to 
talk of you having "the appearance of my friendship !" 

Psha, psha, psha ! here have I been running into a strain of 
sentimentalising, when I should have been telling you some 
news ; but you must bear with your pet. And first, my sum- 
mons has come, and my booksellers want to see my human face 
divine in London. in the course of the next month. Oh, 

L ! oh, my divine, and super-divine, and hyper-super- divine 

friend, what shall I do without you there at all, at all ? Oh, 
the next hotel that I have to sleep in ! Imagine with what 
sensations I shall take my tea and breakfast while I think oi 
our hotels on the Killarney road, and listen for your laugh and 

for J 's jest, and for all the sounds of those enchanting 

days. I have a mind to burn this last note of yours before I 
set out upon that journey. But I hope you will answer my 
letter, and do write affectionately. Did you not call yourseti 



MS LIFE OF GERALD SRI FPUT.. 

my sisteT once — and did not I take you at your word, and 
you as near my heart as ever brother did before ? Ah, fie V. 
that naughty note ! see how my pen runs back to it in spite of 
me. 

Well, whatever you think or do, here is a hand and a warm 
smile, and a heart full of thanks for all the love you showed me, 
and for all the kind interest you have taken in my literary en- 
deavours. Indeed I never was so arrogant as to look for 
thanks for anything — pish, it is ridiculous to speak of it. 

Here is a pretty long letter, is it not? Rather " ridiculous'* 
you may think it, but I do not — not for its length at least. I: 
forgive you ail the disappointment of Wednesday, if you pro- 
mise to show yourself a ready penitent and come out to see us 

with J on Sunday. And tell J , for his encouragement, 

that he shall be king — crowned king in Pallas that day, and 
that his will shall be law for everything — for going or coming 
— for everything short of strangulation. 

I hope your father and sister are returned in good health, 

and that J 's cold is improved. Having no time to read 

the Journal before I start from London, I will send it 

by the next opportunity. J *icy allows me no peace wanting tc 
know when you will come out next. Do come out, and let next 
Sunday be gilded with your presence. I am, ever, L— — s. 
fervent and faithful friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 

To the same. 

My dear L,, — Here comes my answer to your note after a 
week's silence. The cause of that silence I must tell you when 
we meet, for I have other things to speak of here. 

I forgive you for disappointing us on Sunday. I wish I had 
something else to forgive you for ; I.should wish to show that 
I can be as generous as yourself, but I have not ; no, nothing, 
nothing, though I look back in vain to find it. I wish there 
were more people like you in the world ; but there are very 
few, I fear. 

And since I forgive you for our disappointment, do you like- 
wise me for my silence, though I cannot crowd my defence into 
this note. I did not write on Sunday, because I went into 

Limerick and intended to visits at. R d, but I was obliged 

to leave it sooner than I intended. I don't know what the 
cause may be ; whether it be the dreariness of the night, the 
lonely appearance of our little room (for our cousins are gone 
home), the howling of the wind, or *jie beating of the rain, 01 



LETTEttS. 25& 

•the influence of a little cold which has been haunting me this 
week back ; but I feci in a humour to-night for being at peace 
with the whole world. Therefore, if you, in looking back tc 
•our brief but happy acquaintance, see anything that needs to 
be forgiven, bestow a free and full forgiveness on it, and believe 
it deeply repented of. The pictures which it leaves upon my me- 
mory are so delightful, that I would not have them continue 
disfigured by any traits which the India rubber of human kind' 
ness and friendship may remove. 

Well, how do you like my pious story ? Can't I write very 
piously when the fit is on me ? I hope it will make you a 
Koman Catholic, that I may have the benefit of your prayers, 
for I am sure they will be pure and sincere ones. I am too 
great a sinner ever to have wished for a window over my heart, 
as Nebuchadnezzar, or King Pepin, or one of those great philo- 
sophers said formerly, and yet (must you not think this 
strange?) I could agree to have a pane or two inserted in that 
little edifice in which you are lodged, for there you are, un- 
changing and immovable, somewhere, I think, about the left 
auricle, in which they say the blood flows calmest and purest. 

I send you a long string of rhymes on that story of Cathleen, 
which I took up again and finished this week, because I recol- 
lected that you praised the opening stanzas. I send it with a 
pleasure only short of that which I should feel in going myself, 
for I am pleased to think that it is possible I may afford some 
entertainment to so esteemed a friend, even while I am toiling 
away all alone here by the fireside. I wish I had something 
wurth sending you — something that might set my conscience at 
ease about ail the generous praise you lavish on those things. 
Believe me, your true and affectionate friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 

To (he same. 

My two worthy brothers served me prettily to-day. After 1 
had read your note, and while in despite of impossibility itself, 
I began to hanker after the second seat in the gig, although 
every moment from this until I leave Ireland should unflinch- 
ingly be devoted to business (for, alas, my muse visits me some- 
times, not in robes of silk, but with a work-day apron). But 
Master William decided the question, for he stole off in the gig at 
six this morning, without once apprising one of his intention, and 
now Master Dan comes up stairs and tells me * ' he i3 going to 
Limerick, and have I any commands, for he can't wait ?" So 
what am I to do ? and yet, how can I stay ! Truth is, my 



231: LTFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

dear L , I hardly like at present to go everywhere I tt 

wish, for sometimes the uncertain future, the thought of. 
scoundrel critics and reptiles of that description, comes black 
upon my mind, and makes me on a sudden feel dull and spirit- 
less, when I ought to be most happy : and then I feel as if I 
was a bore, and I am vexed with myself and look sullen, and — 
but next summer I shall be as gay as a skylark. 

But I had an adventure yesterday. I was walking on the 
shore, with the tide beautifully and brimmingly in, and the 
water as smooth as peace itself, when on a sudden, ma'am, what 
should I hear but an Aycho ! Oh ! it went through and through 
me like a spear. I thought of the eagle's nest, and kept think- 
ing and thinking of you and Killamey until my thoughts slipped 
out in the shape of a little song to your dear self, which you 
may set to music as soon as you quit the society to which you 
have been so long an ornament and an edification : 

i. 
Hark ! hark ! the soft bugle sounds over the wood, 

And thrills in the silence of even, 
Till faint and more faint, in the far solitude, 

It dies on the portals of heaven. 
But Echo springs up from her home in the rock. 

And seizes the perishing strain, 
And sends the gay challenge, with shadowy mock, 

From mountain to mountain again, 
And again, 

From mountain to mountain again! 



Oh. thus let my love, like a sound of delight, 

Be around thee while shines the glad day, 
And leave thee, unpain'd, in the silence of night r 

And die like sweet music away. 
While Hope with her calm light that glancing eye fills r 

Oh say, " Like that echoing strain, 
" Though the sound of his love has fled o'er the hills, 

u It will waken in heaven again, 

" And again, 

" It will waken in heaven again P 

Adieu., my dear friend ; it is not you that should tk\ o f lons> 
liness to me. A thousand, thousand thanks for your dear, 
though brief note. Your affectionate, 



L2TTERS. 250> 

To the same. 

Friday Night. 

Mr DBAR L , my brother tells me he intends visiting 

J to-morrow, (I having read to him that part of your charm- 
ing letter which speaks of J 's having called on him,) and I 

am unwilling to let bim go without a word or two, although 
it is now past midnight, and I am come home only this evening, 
wearied from steering, the Hip Hall boat from Loughill to 
Pallas right before the wind. I, too, hoped to have had the 
happiness of seeing you in Limerick before now, but I had some 
visits to make in my ancient neighbourhood, which, would not 
bear being put off much longer. 

And so, L , after bundling off my poor play, blank verse 

and all, I am not to get the verses ? I am not to get the sweet 
(for I know they are sweet, or physiognomy is a jest) poetry of 

the gentle S , nor the humorous (for I am sure they are 

humorous, or physiognomy is out again) prose of your cousin 

E ? the continuation of the Tale of a Tub, and the Lower 

Order ? Here have I been flinging open my desk, and scattering 
my papers about as freely (to you) as the sybil's leaves, and now 
I am told, with a grave face and a toss of the head, that I am to 
get nothing in return — that I am too exalted to be dealt with 
honestly and fairly ! "Well, well, I am all gentleness and 
patience until Sunday is over ; but if matters be not otherwise 
arranged next week, expect to find me a terrible man. 

And talking of next week puts me in mind of your promised 
criticism. Ah, the days have fled when every nerve in my 
frame would have thrilled, and every pulse bounded at the 
word. I am growing quite callous, and the sight of it no longer 
makes a coward of me. My delicious tremours are all over, 
and I don't think that I would ever take up a printed review, 
but that I have a hungry vanity, and want a little praise to 
eat when I am in low spirits ; but for liking yours, dear good 

L , I shall have a better motive. Write freely then, even 

though the kindness of the sister should neutralise the acuteness 
of the critic ; and (whisper!) the deepest tinge of rose colour 
which your glasses can give it, will not render it less welcom( 
to the poor vain heart of your true friend, 

Gerald Grlfftn. 

To the same. 

Many thanks for my dear L 's note and her invitation, 

which I wish it was in my power to accept ; bat I am Umost 



556 LIFE €F GERALD GRIFFIN. 

npon the road to Pallas, -where I must be dull and sensible now 
for some days at least. 

Many warm thanks for the song. I intend to keep croaking 
it every evening over the old piano until 1 come into town again. 
That's what I call romance. It is exquisitely beautiful, and a 
tune in itself to repeat. 

It is S 's own gentleness and diffidence that could make 

her like my poem after one so full of thought and feeling as her 

own. As for you, L , I believe if I copied out the Groves 

of Blarney, and sent it you as my own, you would call it good. 

I dote on your little song. And so, 'twas written so long 
♦go ? What a charming little Ariel you must have been ! I do 

not wonder at J 's fate — 

u Xon invidio, miror miPMS." 
And so with my scrap of Latin there I leave you. I'm sorry I 
have no Greek, but that 

"Has all deserted my poor John-trot head, 
And left plain native English in its stead.'' 

Your true, Gerald Griffin. 

To the same. 

London, November, 1829. 
My dear L. , — Although you have not yet recived my an ■ 
8wer to your last most welcome letter ; and although I am en- 
deavouring to do more than I could if I were " like Cerberus — 
three gentlemen" at once ; and although I was vexed at not re- 
ceiving even three lines to say, " How art thou, my dear Gerald ? 
art thou dead or alive ?" in the parcel which brought four pages 

closely written to T (your other brother, who I know did 

not write to you) — I cannot resist your kind and friendly mes- 
sage, or refrain from thanking you for your good wishes towards 
me. It is true, my trip to France will remove me still further 
from all I hold dear in Ireland — a consideration somewhat more 
painful, when I remember the newties of friendship which sprung 
up there within the course of the past year — it throws another 
Pea between me and my home (which is not now less dear to 

me because R d is always associated with it) — it multiplies 

^ some slight degree the chances of my not returning ; but think 
not for that, that I go without often looking back and longing 
for the end of my travelling. I feel., indeed, that it is necessary 
for me to conquer my love of idle enjoyment, and to labour 
vigorously to become useful as well as amusing, (for I take it 



LFTTEKS. 257 

for granted I can be the latter,) and produce a book -which shall 
not only give true pictures of results, but true investigations of 
causes ; never toss your head about it ; it will not be such a 
stupid book as you suppose. I see you again twist your face, 
and gather up your eyes and cry, " agh !" in your own inimi- 
table way ; but I'll do all that. 

How differently am 1 spending this winter from the summer 

just gone by 1 L- , if my book this winter fails to please the 

public the sin lies at your door, and I'll say so much in the pre- 
face to Whiskey Hall, or the Duellists, whichever it is to be 
called. Then, I used in the interval of our correspondence, or 
our writing, sit in my chair and call up with effort those visions 
that came so readily before, but a mischievous enemy had got 
within my magic circle, and my spirits came reluctantly, and 

made themselves but faintly visible. A letter from R d, 

perhaps a visit — then two or three scenes of a tale in which 
poor imagination, absorbed in the contemplation of real en- 
chantments, too often let her pencil fall, and turned in weari- 
ness from the cold and lifeless shadows which she drew ; a walk 
along the river side to breathe the fresh Shannon air, and to 
see the sights that were always familiar and dear to me ; an 
hour spent under the trees, listening to the delicious river 
sounds, and spinning out a song or poem, for I found that Ima- 
gination, child of folly as she is, would often come near and 
obey me when 1 rung the bells of rhyme in her ear, while, if I 
wished to make her sit down to simple prose, she would skip 
off and away over Carrig-o'guniel, heaven knows where. But 
it was a vain — a foolish — too foolish a life to lead. When I 
think of it, I stand up and shake my hands — and say that I 
must be more active for the future. 

Now I think I am doing better ; I rise tolerably early, walk 
out, come home, practise with dumb bells for a while (for I 
intend to become a prodigy of muscular strength, &c. ) — then 
breakfast, read some proofs, and shake my head when I meet 
anything stupid — then I go to the British Museum, where I re- 
main studying until four — then return and take another ' ' drass" 
of the dumb bells — then dine — then read and talk French for 
two hours with M. Sueur — then'write Whiskey Hall — then take 
tea — and then write Whiskey Hall again until bed-time. All 
I should require now to make this mode of life perfectly agree- 
able is a fair companion, and I think I have a chance of getting 
one to my taste. She is a decent woman, not above forty, 
rather cleanly than otherwise, and not squinting very much, 
and at any rate, if she should not please me, there is a Jew's 
meeting in the city, at which T and I sometimes attend 



258 LIFE OF GEEALD GRIFFIN. 

on Saturday nights — I, of course, as you -will suppose, in the 

hope of "bettering myself," and T , as he would have a 

person believe, with the new of hearing a theological discus- 
sion ; but don't suppose I mean to insinuate anything to the 
contrary. 

Yesterday I had three mad people here to dine with me, and 
5 charitably came, as it seemed, in quality of their physi- 
cian. They were metaphysicians, and that is what I mean by 

mad people. One of them was Doctor B , a sane and clever 

man on other subjects, and a great friend of T 's, who, if 

lie has not bitten him already, will bite him before long, and 
who thinks "Wordsworth a greater poet than Shakspeare. This 

would be enough for me, even if T had not told me that he 

Js so very clever a fellow that he says all sects in the world are 
in the wrong, and that he is the only man that ever was right. 
He is of the German school, the maddest of all, in my opinion — 
the greatest camel-swallowers of the whole. A second was a 

Mr. IS (who, by the way, as I discovered, knew something 

of B e and of its stars), a follower, I believe, of the Scotch 

Ronool (rather than any other), and who despises from the bot- 
tom of his heart the Germans, and is as mad in admitting no- 
thing as they are in swallowing everything. A third was a 
comical lad, who held that there was not a man in France — not 
one man ! — meaning by a man, as I could gather out of him, 
what I mean by a madman, that is, a metaphysician, who spends 
his life in diving after principles. He maintained (more modest 
than B ) that Wordsworth in his way was equal to Shak- 
speare. " Thankye, sir," thought I to myself. Well, between 
all three arguing on points which not one of the three could 
tmderstand no more than any living mortal, you may imagine 
what high fun we had the whole night. A set-to between 
Butch Sam and Bill Ne&L was nothing to it As for myself, I 
Was in a fever the whole of the following day from laughter. I 
must reserve to my next an account of an interview I had with 
the manager of the English Opera-house, whom I had not seen 
since the production of my poor Noyades — my first and last 
theatrical attempt— and who made me some paternal reproaches 
for my neglect of the stage. 

In the midst of all these things, think not that I ever can be 
untrue to a friendship which I hope will yet be productive of 
much happiness to us both, or that I can fail often to think of 
you with the affection of a brother. Think of me in the same 
manner, my dear sister • and to prove that you do so, answer 
this letter upon the instant^ tuxG. write often to me upon any- 
thing that concerns you. New, never, indeed can there be 



LETTEfiS. 259 

any loss of confidence between us ; for when one's intentions are 
blameless, where is the occasion for reserve ? Farewell. Your 
friend and brother, 

Gerald Griffin. 

He gives seme further account of these gentlemen, with 
whose enthusiasm he seems so much amused, in a letter to 
his mother, from which I take the following extract : 

" It amuses me sometimes to compare the set of people whom 
I get amongst in London with those whom I have left at home. 
There all is quiet and easy, everybody minding his business 
without any great fever of mind ; watching the weather, and 
talking politics rather as an amusement than from any strong 
personal interest ; letting the world roll by peaceably, and not 
giving themselves much trouble about the moral condition of 
its inhabitants. Here, on the contrary, all is turmoil, all bus- 
tle, all fury. One man with his head full of prophecy and 
Antichrist ; another rushing about and thinking to reform, 
everything by a new system of education ; another laying his 
fingers across, and proving to us that political economy will set 
all to rights, and that he is the man to do it ; another curling 
up his lip in contempt, and tossing out a new system of meta- 
physics, which is to solve all the enigmas in creation ; everbody, 
in short, burning with a desire of accomplisning nothing less 
arduous than a modification of the universe. I asked two or 
three of these heroes to dine with me the other day — a Dr. 
B— — , very well known in Germany and England both by his 

acqairements and his talents ; a Mr. N , one of the writers 

in the New Cabinet Cyclopaedia; a Dr. F , and a Mr. M , 

late editor of the Athenanim. Wishing to have a metaphysical 
set-to, I opened the campaign in the course of the evening by 
an allusion to a letter in some Derbyshire paper on Jacotot's 
new system of education, when one of them called Jacotot a 
quack, and — slap ! they were into the thick of the fight in an. 
instant. Such argumentation, such logic and learning, such 
eloquence, such zeal, such gentle sneers and laughter at each* 
other, and all with the most perfect good humour, everybody* 
paying the most polite attention to what the other said, and at 
the same time privately writing him down an ass in his own 
mind ; each marvelling at the excessive obstinacy and stupidity 
of the rest ; and all, I suppose, pitying me for being absolutely 
a Roman Catholic ' at this time of day,' while I walked up and 
down the room, holding my sides, and giving vent occasionally, 
to ruars of laughter at the whole scene." 



260 LIFE OF GERALD GEIFFIN. 

The next letter, which exhibits so many touching evi- 
dences of earnest sympathy, was written upon the death of 

a sister of his friend, Mrs. , to whom the latter was 

much attached : 

To Mrs. k 

London, Dec. 15th, 1829. 

My dear L., — It is but a short time, scarcely more than a 
week, since I wrote you a letter of congratulation, and I had 
little expectation then that it should so soon be followed by one 
of condolence. I felt, after hearing of the loss of your dear and 
gifted relative, almost as if I had personally known her ; for, 

short as the date of our acquaintance is, it has made B- e 

and all your friends there as interesting and familiar to my 
heart and mind as if they had been known to me in childhood. 
I felt deeply and sincerely, too, my dear friend, for your own af- 
fliction; for my knowledge of the rare amiability of your family, 
and of the keenness of your own affections, convinced me that 
this would not be received by you as a common grief. I wished 
to write to you immediately, and would have done so, (for what 
is friendship if its consolations are all reserved for the holiday 
hours of life, when we stand little in need of additional modes 

of enjoyment ?) but I doubted whether my dear L had yet 

been made aware of her misfortune, and I waited until T 

should hear from home, before I would address you at all upon 
a subject of so painful an interest. I have been calling at Gor- 
don-place for several days, and this morning learned that he 
had received a letter from you, containing a message for me, 
affectionate and kind, like all my friend's remembrances, even 
in the midst of her sorrow. But what can I say to you, my 
clear L , in the way of consolation ? I know nothing per- 
sonally of your dear relative — our acquaintance has been very 
brief, and I am ignorant of all those early recollections which 
older friends might use to soften your affliction. 1 have little 
to offer you, my dear sister, in the way of condolence. For thi* 
you must turn to friends who axe longer, at least, if not better 
known ; who were familiar with all the virtues of your sister, 
and know how to confirm your own assurance of her happiness. 
But I am sure it will be something to you to remember that 
there is none who more perfectly sympathises in your suffering 
than I do. I know, by the great relief which I have always felt 
in receiving your remembrances in moments of depression, that 
mine will not be unwelcome to you ; and when I tell you that 



LETTERS. 261 

the thought of your suffering brings the tears into my eyes 
while I write to you, I feel that your own heart and its know- 
ledge of mine will teach you to believe it. If I were, indeed, 
your brother ; if Nature had really, as once you wished, united 
us in that tie which we have adopted, which has been so dear 
and so consoling to both, and which will, I trust, be lasting as 
it is sweet, I might then, in sharing your affliction, have a 
satisfaction in the power of mitigating it more easily than I can 
do now. But all that I have I give you — the entire sympathy 
of a heart to which, from this time forward, your joys or sor- 
rows must be like its own. 

I remember your showing me at one time some little pieces 
of your sister's poetry, which I thought sweet and beautiful in 
style and sentiment. I have not got them among the manu- 
scripts which I brought from R d, and I long to read them 

again. Little do I wonder that B e should be dear to you, 

and every friend that formed a part of its amiable and talented 
circle. The picture of the village and its inhabitants, such as 
I have heard it described by you, aud found it in the writings 
of your most amiable and benevolent mother, is one of the 
brightest aud the sweetest that arises to my mind among the 
recollections of our unfortunate country. I think, I am sure, 

that if I were to visit B e, as I hope yet to do on my return 

to Ireland, I should do so with the same feelings that 1 have 
jntertained on revisiting my own home, and that the scene of 

L 's childhood would awaken associations no less distinct 

and intimate than those which are connected with my own. 
Trust, therefore, with the securest confidence, that though my 
friendship and sympathy come not recommended by the recol- 
lections of childhood and long habits of early confidence, they 
are fervent, sincere, unchangeable ; that my enjoyment can 
never be complete while you feel any sorrow, and that your 
happiness must always make a part of mine. Be assured that 
you have found a brother who will always be ready with his 
sympathy in whatever way you may require it ; who is proud 
of his sister and devoted to her wishes ; and whose pride and 
happiness it will be to supply, by a pure and earnest devotion 
of spirit, the void which may be left in her affections by the 
severing of earlier and dearer ties, though this should be even 
in the least degree. Why, then, did I, at the commencement 
of this letter, regret the shortness of our acquaintance ? Why 
did I say that I had little consolation to offer you, because I 
was ignorant of those recollections from which you might draw 
the most perfect motives of tranquillity ? Why did I doubt my 



262 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

own claim to intrude npon your grief, as if my sympathy would 
not be welcome because it could avail but little ? I felt dissa- 

tisned, dear L , in the want of that accustomed influence 

which might enable me to comfort you effectively, and to bring 
a somewhat more acceptable relief to your affliction, than 
merely to say that I shared in it. It is the first grief that 
has befallen you since we became acquainted, and I sin- 
cerely hope and fervently pray that it may be long before 
you know another. I hope and trust that your innocenca 
of mind and goodness of heart will continue to make your 
life peaceful and happy ; and you may be assured, that the 
little that a heart anxious for your welfare can do to increase 
it, shall always be at your command. 

It will be a delight to me, when your mind is more at rest, 
to hear from you. and to know that you are well. Lucy called 
to see you ; I thank her for it ; and I wish that you knew 
each other as well as I know you both. I am not yet gone, as 
you see, nor yet going to France, after all my boasting. Would 
you call me a complete and presumptuous fool, after all, if you 

should see my "long, lanky figure" once more at B, d, 

without having set my eyes on a single wtownaear, or learned 
any better pronunciation than porta vows and sil vows plate? 
I am afraid I must run across, if only for the purpose of ena- 
bling me to appear before you with decency. Eemember me to 

J , and believe me, my dear L , your unchanged and 

affectionate friend, 

Gerald Griffes-. 

The following was written from the sea-side at Miltown, 
where Gerald was spending a few weeks in the autumn of 

1S30, with Mr. 's family. I subjoin another, addressed 

on a different occasion to Mrs. — — , in which his little 
playmates mentioned in this are again spoken of. 

To Mr. . 



O'Connor's Lodge, Miltown Malbay, Oct. 1S30. 
My deaf. J., — I take the opportunity of your uncle's return 
to town, to return you thanks for the many kind remembrances 

you have sent me in your letters to L , and to express to 

you the sincere satisfaction which I feel in the continuance of 
the friendly sentiments which I have always experienced from 
you. I wish, my dear friend, that at a time of so much trying 



LETTERS, 263 

suspense and agitation to you, I had the sympathy of an early 
friend to offer you, but mine is not less sincere, because I 
believe you have others whose older and more familiar initmacy 
must make their friendship more efficacious and their sym- 
pathy go nearer to your ha-jt. Indeed, if I had no more 
generous motive to make mo feel with you, my own recollec- 
tions would prevent my remaining unmoved at the idea of 

your losing 11 d. I assure you, dear, J , I have felt, 

and feel, both in the contemplation of this sad parting and 
after it was decided on, as if I were myself about to lose a 
dear and long-loved home, for I can hardly say that I can look 
back to the hours of my childhood with greater fondness than 
I do to the happy days which I have spent in that sweet 
and friendly spot. You were to me, during the time of our 
acquaintance there, the only society in which my habits and 
dispositions allowed me to feel a thorough sympathy and plea- 
sure — generously, and at once, you entered with the affec- 
tionate interests for which one only looks from relatives, and 
them the nearest, into all my pursuits ; and there is scarcely a 
part of that abode on which my eye could rest, which is not 
Blended in my recollection with some friendly sentiment, some 
word or act of kindness. If such are the thoughts which are 

mingled in my mind with the memory of K d, it is not 

hard for me to imagine that yours must be a great deal keener; 
— with the happiest, the most intimate of all earthly associa- 
tions to make it doubly dear to you. But those are feelings 
which it is better to govern than indulge, and though it is not 
easy always to prevent their visits, it would indeed be weak- 
ness to invite or prolong them. 

You thank me, as if I had conferred a favour upon you, 
because I have made myself almost too happy by remaining 
here with your family ; I am glad I did so, nevertheless, for 
every day has justified my first hopes in their acquaintance, 
although I am sensible it has strengthened ties which already 
promised too much pain in the dividing. The mention of your 
possible removal to Wexford startled me, selfish as I was, as* 
if it were to you a prospect of evil and not of advantage. 
Sincerely, most sincerely, do I hope that this and every other 
accident may end in real good to you ; but I cannot help adding • 
a wish that this last may be accomplished without so large a* 
diminution of my own happiness as I feel and know so wide a 
separation would occasion. One effect at least it will have, in 
case you should not leave Limerick, that, instead of contem- 
plating as I have done my return to Pallas Kenry with lone- 



264 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

some feelings, I shall then feel, when there, in the thought 
that you are within ten miles of me, as if I were still in the 
midst of you. Nothing tends, so much to make us value our 
real blessings as a little occasional alarm of this kind, which 
reminds us whst a slippery hold we have of those we deemed 
the surest to continue. Do not think because in this I talk so 
much of my own feelings, that I am not truly desirous of 
your advantage ; for, though my heart says nothing but "No !" 
to your going, my will and my reason desire nothing but your 
good. 

I believe I have become a personage of greater importance 
among your children here than I was at Limerick. They 
have found out that I can carry double after dinner, draw 
pencil sketches (of a very fanciful description indeed), make 
cocks with pockets, and build boats. Nannyo, in particular, 
honours me with her favours, allows me to sit next her at 
dinner, to cut her meat, &c, and said to me the other morn- 
ing, in a whisper, " GellancL I'm fond of oo at dinner." I 
apprehend the distinction meets with a proper return, for, a 
few days ago, Mary found it necessary to tell me more than 
once, with a reproachful smile and glance, that " her name 
was Mary, and not Nan," for which I could not help taking 
her in my aims, and kissing her. Meantime my own drudgery 
has not lain idle, and I have made considerable progress in a 
map of ancient Ireland, for the boundaries and localities ot 
which I think my authorities are pretty correct as far as I 
have gone ; but they are deplorably scanty, and I have so 
much history to wade through to get at the old name of one 
little town or harbour, that I am reminded of Gratiano's two 
grains of wheat in ts bushel of chaff. I shrink from bathing 
in this cold month, though I believe I did take one October 
dip. Once more, dear J , yours, 

GlEALD GrIFIIN. 

To Mrs. . 

My dear L., — Many thanks for your sweet letter, which 

J handed me on F* 'day morning, just as I awoke, and saw 

him standing, a welcome but most unexpected apparition, at 
my bed-side. An apparition*! may truly call him, for he 
vanished upon the instant, nor have I laid eyes upon him 
since. It is so long since I have written to you, that I would 
not make this letter a letter of complaint ; but I warn you not 
to imagine that j T our pranks are unnoticed, or that because I am 
silent since I cams from London and before, my lady, I am 



LETTERS. 2G5 

nnobservant too ; I am laying up your cats and your humoura— 
your sly hits, your messages and no messages, and all your 
other peccadilloes, for a fitting opportunity to pay off the whole 
score at once. Why didn't I write to you ten times, truly ? 
Ten times, quotha? Why, then, because you didn't write to 
me once. Because I, in return for your numberless sweet re- 
membrances and letters since my return from London, was 
not sneaking enough actually to sit down and write a third 
time to you without getting an answer. You tell me, "Such 
is the perverse way of your sex. " The fact is, there is no ho at all 
with you, and I might as well let the matter rest for any chance 
I have of receiving satisfaction about it. The sober assurance of 
your charges beats the world. As to that contained in your 
former letter to Lucy, upon that I will be altogether silent 
• •••••••••••• you may see by what I have scratched 

out, how nearly I had broken my word. 

Gehaid Geiffin. 

To the same. 

My dear L., — I thank you for your invitation, though I 
cannot accept of it. My dancing days are over for the present ; 
and yet I ought not to say so neither, for Nan and I have an 
odd dance on an evening to the piano. She has learned her 
first, second, and third positions (I was afraid she'd break her 
little neck if I taught her any more) ; but she says she'd 
rather be dancing (the rogue) than learning the positions, in 
which nobody doubts her ; so we go capering away in a kind 
of voluntary. Will is very fat and strong, and as cheerful as a 
cricket. Nan desired me to tell you that she is ' ' getting good, and, 
after that, Nan's love. " Don't make any remarks upon the length 
of Nan's partner, or I'll return the compliment upon the short- 
ness of Nan's mamma. We expect J on Thursday. I wish we 

had something besides a welcome to induce him to stay at Pallas. 
I saw the Rock of Dunamase from the top of the Dublin coach 
several times, and I saw it again in Captain Grose's Irish Anti- 
quities, I believe, and faithfully described, of course, ("for 
Matthew was a rare man,") which must answer me for the 
present. When I was last in Dublin, I laid several plans for 

going to B e, but one thing or another always prevented or 

disappointed me. I hope to see it some future time, however, 
although a lonely visit there would give me more of pain than 
pleasure. Adieu, dear It— — : write, if you can and will ; if 
not, at least remember me affectionate^. There may always 



266 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

be an apology for silence, never for unkindness. It is long 
since I have had anj*thing to charge myself "with on that score 
towards you, and yet *******. There's more scratching for 
you. I don't know how you manage to keep what you don't 
like to say (for you have a great deal of that kind, you know, 
you told me yourself) from slipping out upon your paper 
unawares. It is only when I have got a terrible thing half 
written that it hits me in the face. Once more adieu. Your 
affectionate 

Gerald Griffin'. 

These children, to Gerald's infinite delight, were frequently 
left on a visit with us at Pallas Kenry, together with a brother 
of theirs, now no more, a talented child about six years of 
age, of a fine natural capacity, with the most gentle dis- 
position imaginable, and a keen and penetrating mind of 
the highest promise. Gerald undertook the instruction of 
the latter, with the consent of his parents, and continued it 
for some months with a zeal and solicitude as engrossing as 
that of the nearest relative ; but some difficulties arising as 
he grew, on the subject of his religious instruction, he was 
obliged to relinquish his trust, which he did with the utmost 
reluctance, and a degree of pain and anxiety proportioned 
to the gratification it had given him. His affection for this 
child partook of the warmth and intensity Of all his other 
feelings, and I had various opportunities of witnessing the 
depth of it. The acuteness of his little pupil's remarks on 
various subjects while he was with us interested him ex- 
ceedingly, and whether at his lessons, his recreations, or in 
his nightly rest, he seemed never out of his thoughts. " If 

Josey were awake," he says, in a short note to Mrs. , 

" I would send you his love ; but not even the loud singing 
of the thrush has made him stir." After the separation to 
which I have alluded, his interest in his little amusements 
and his progress continued unabated, even up to the time 
or his death, which he felt most keenly. The following to 

Mr. , was written some time after he had relinquished 

the pleasing duties I have mentioned : 



OPINIONS REGARDING LITERATURE. 267 

To Mr. . 

My dear J., — I Lave a favour to ask of ycu, and I hope you 
will not refuse me. After sundry delays and disappointments, 
I have succeeded in completing a little vessel, staunch and 

food, and a capital sailer. She rests now upon the stocks in 
'alias, with canvass spread and keel eager for the deep. A3 
it is a long promised gift for Josey, will you gratify me by let- 
ting him come to Pallas on the car with Lucy, for the purpose 
of seeing her launched upon our lake, and I will bring him in 
myself as soon as you like — the day after if you so desire it. 
You may depend on my taking as much care of him as you 
would yourself, and that, I know, is a bold promise. I am, my 

dear J , your sincere friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 



CHAPTER XII. 
1830—1832. 

ALTERATION IN GER.VLD's OPINIONS REGARDING LITERATURE — 
CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH TENDED TO PRODUCE IT — EARNESTNF?S 
AND DEPTH OF HIS RELIGIOUS FEELINGS — EFFECT OF THIS 
CHANGE UPON HIS PURSUITS, AND THE CHARACTER OF HIS WRI- 
TINGS LETTERS — POEMS OF A RELIGIOUS CHARACTER CON- 
TINUATION OF HIS CORRESPONDENCE. 

The correspondence with Mrs. , though snbject to 

occasional interruptions, lasted a considerable time, and I am 
sure it will not be considered tedious, if I still venture to 
extract pretty freely from it. I must, however, break in 
upon it in this place, for the purpose of noticing a change 
which had been gradually coming over his mind, to whicfc 
I have already more than once alluded, and which it is 
necessary to make a few remarks upon. I mean that silent 
and unwavering tendency to religious habits of thought and 
feeling, which took away by degrees the keen relish he had 



268 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

long felt in his literary speculations, and ended in his em- 
bracing a monastic life. A cousin of ours, who had very 
early observed this tendency, and who had a pretty deep 
and accurate knowledge of his character, said once to me, 
at a time when Gerald had some idea of travelling on the 
continent : " Gerald is now going abroad ; he will, of course, 
visit the monastery of La Trappe ; he will approach it some 
lovely evening, when the air is serene, and the sky a deep 
blue, and a single crimson cloud floats calmly above it in 
the sunset ; and then he will think it a paradise upon earth, 
and come to the conclusion that there could not be a more 
glorious place to end one's days in." It has been also said, 
as I see by various notices of him since his death, that he 
was a poor friendless boy, who having come to London with 
some plays, which, in spite of various efforts to get them 
represented, were treated with the utmost coldness and 
neglect, became disgusted with life, and, returning to Ireland, 
took refuge in a monasteiy, " where he found that peace and 
contentment which was denied him in the world." Neither 
of these solutions is the true one. However unchangingly 
bright and beautiful religion may look to the piously dis- 
posed, it was not its mere poetry, if I may so call it, that 
attracted him. Neither did he fly to it in disgust, as a sort 
of last resource. This, as it is the commonest of all sup- 
positions with superficial observers in such cases, is also 
the most erroneous ; yet it is repeated every day, upon the 
most ordinary occasions of retirement into religion, with the 
utmost confidence ; as if the world was in every respect, 
and at all times, so faithful and true to its votaries ; or as 
if religion could have no possible charms, except to those 
melancholy souls whose worldly speculations have been un- 
successful. To spirits of a worldly mould, the most intole- 
rable of all satires is personal example, and where a man 
of undoubted intellect and genius withdraws himself from 
the giddy whirlpool of human affairs, and puts himself in a 
position to observe calmly the greatness of the danger ho 



RELIGION. 269 

hns passed, if they cannot explain the act upon any prin- 
ciple which flatters their own pursuits, they represent it as 
indicating a weakness of mind, as in the case of Pascal ; 
jet at the same time perhaps wonder how it was that such 
a work as the " Provincial Letters" could have been pro- 
duced after this lamentable setting of so brilliant a star : 
or they dismiss it with a sneer, like Horace Walpole, who, 
with a feeble prostitution of wit, speaks of Charles the Fifth 
as having " gone to doze in a convent." Perhaps it is 
wiser of the silent multitude, who wish well to religion, and 
whose bosoms are teeming with internal testimony against 
such slanders, to let them pass as they do calumnies of a 
darker character ; and perhaps there could not be adduced 
a stronger proof of the insincerity and self-love upon which 
such allegations are founded, than the confidence with which 
their authors rely upon the sympathy of the world in putting 
them forward, and the slighting and contemptuous spirit — 
so seldom an ally to truth — with which they are often 
associated. 

The reader may have observed that after Gerald's first 
return from London, his life was an extremely happy one. 
Indeed, with all his apparent nervousness, there were few 
who enjoyed social pleasures so keenly. The impressions, 
therefore, made upon him by his early literary disappoint- 
ments were not indelible. It is true, his efforts in the drama 
did not reach his first expectatious, and the success of his 
prose writings in general fell short of the lofty line he had 
once marked out for himself. It is true, that besides the 
design of a moral end and tendency in his works, which 
was ever a motive sustaining and animating his zeal, there 
were few persons who felt so acutely, even for its own sake, 
the thrist for literary fame, or to whom its gratification or 
disappointment brought so delicious a pleasure or so deep 
a pang. Still there was not enough in these circumstances 
to make one, then enjoying himself in the bosom of his 
family, amidst every social blessing, grow weary of the 



270 LTFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

vorld ; nor indeed were they caenlated to bring much more 
to the mind than that gradually increasing conviction as to 
the vanity of all earthly projects — those gracious visitings 
of religious truth, sent into the highways of the world in 
mercy, and forming the first incentives to serious reflection 
in the hearts of all who have placed too much faith in things 
temporal. Besides, one of his works, the Collegians, was 
received by the public about this very time with a degree 
of favour, not to say enthusiasm, which gave assurance 
that if he chose to persevere in the same course he had 
nothing to fear. Several circumstances appeared to me to 
have slowly concurred in producing, or rather re-awakening, 
the habits of religious feeling I speak of. The reader will 
remember a remarkable expression he makes nse of in one 
of his early letters, as to his being occasionally haunted by 
'•the terrible idea, that it might possibly be he was mis- 
spending time." I have heard him say, too, that he would 
fed but little pleasure in the greatest triumphs of literary 
ambition, if they were only achieved when all his dearest 
friends and the members of his own immediate family had 
passed away, and when no one lived to witness them but 
strangers. Besides the difficulties I have before spoken of, 
winch he seems to have felt as to the production of what 
he would consider a perfectly moral tale, he appeared to 
lose faith altogether in the possibility of procuring for really 
good works anything like a general circulation; and he 
remarked, as an instance in point, that notwithstanding the 
exultation with which Sir Walter Scott's novels were re- 
ceived by all classes, when the novelty of them began to 
wear away, "the town" became flooded with a profusion of 
works of the sentimental and love-sick school, which he 
had long looked on as a kind of poison to the youthful 
mind. The occasional visitation of reflections such as 
these, led him, perhaps, to feel very sensibly the wasting of 
that passion which had so long animated him. The hollow- 
ness of the feeling he was allured by presented itself in 



RELIGIOUS IMPRESSIONS. 271 

various aspects before him, and the conviction frequently 
flashed across his mind, that the gratification it aimed at, 
■however keen in its enjoyment, was selfish and nnworthy. 
It had long been, as I have already said, his object, whether 
in the drama or his other writings, to give a healthy tone 
to literature, and it was sometimes his fear, that the undistin- 
guishiug passion that urged him onward, made him, in its 
absorbing interest, too much overlook the moral end he 
aimed at. He had as yet accomplished nothing that at all 
satisfied him, and visions of the future came before him, 
now and then, representing the natural changes of time, 
and the probable loss of those friends to whom he was so 
much attached, and whose disinterested delight would be 
far more cheering to him than the highest reward success 
could otherwise bestow. 

It was amid these transitory gleams of saddening light 
that his mind began to be directed more strongly to the 
ultimate tendency of his labours, and eventually raised up 
a feeling, which awakened, with "she freshness of a second 
spring, all the religious impressions of his childhood, and 
settled his future destiny. To the circumstances above 
mentioned might be added a frequent feeling of insecurity 
about his health, and a certain constitutional nervousness 
arising perhaps from it, which, whenever he turned his mind 
to religious reflections, tended to place the truths of futurity 
before him with a peculiar vividness and force ; but by far 
the most powerful of all of them was certainly the gradually 
growing sense of the inutility, or even the mischievous ten- 
dency as regarded the public, of all such works of ima- 
gination as were founded upon deep and absorbing passion. 
This placed such an impediment in his way, that even when 
he had formed the plot of some story of this kind, he found 
it at certain points absolutely impossible to proceed with it. 
At such times he used frequently complain of the irksome, 
nature of his task : " I see you, and William, and every 
one around me, constantly engaged in some useful occupa- 



272 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

tion, and here am I spending my whole life in the compo- 
sition of these trashy tales and novels, that do no good either 
to myself or anybody else." I endeavoured to represent to 
him that an attempt to add to the standard literature of 
the country was surely a useful occupation. " Oh, yes," he 
said, " if one could produce works of a good moral char- 
acter." " But surely," said I, " you do not call the Col- 
legians an immoral work ?" " Why, no," said he, " not per- 
haps exactly an immoral work, but it is very far from 
being perfect as a moral one ;" and he again referred to his 
former observations on the characters of Eyrie Daly and 
Hardress Cregan, and the strong sympathy that nine 
out of ten people, as they are in the world, would feel for 
the latter, notwithstanding Ins guilt. " But," I said, " that 
proves only the corruption of mankind, not the badness of 
the book. If the best teacher the world ever produced were 
to take a hundred boys to instruct, and bestow upon them 
all the pains possible, they would not all turn out well. 
He would possibly have ninety good characters, and nine or 
ten indifferent or wicked, out of whom perhaps one or two 
would be hanged ; should one say, therefore, that he ought 
to give up teaching the moment such a result presented 
itself? Surely not? The wurld will continue to read 
works of imagination, whether men of talent cater for them 
or not, and if all those who have the ability to execute them 
well, and the love of religion and morality that would ren- 
der them harmless, desert entirely such a walk, leaving 
it to the talentless, perhaps the impious, such an event 
would seem an evil and not ft good." I mentioned to him 
also what I was informed a certain clergyman, a man of 
genius and information, and highly esteemed in his diocese, 
had said on the subject: "That he conceited it one of 
the greatest misfortunes to society, that, by a sort of gene- 
ral consent, an engine like the drama, capable of influencing 
so many millions to good or evil, should be left in the hands 
of the vicious and corrupt. That, as it has existed, and 



OPINIONS REGARDING LITERATURE. 273 

will exist to the end of time in all civilised countries, tho 
common sense and benevolence of the thing was to make 
it as available to the purposes of virtue as it is now to vice. 
As to its being at best imperfect, and not without danger 
to some, that was the fate of all human exertions at good. 
Our instruments are always imperfect, let our aims or ob- 
jects be what they may. In the matter of education, for 
instance, you can never select perfect schoolmasters. Yof, 
will have many, that with the best intentions will sow th( 
seeds of great vices, and with mistaken notions will excite 
and cherish passions in children that in time to come must 
prove the bane of their happiness. One can effect no good 
without the possibility of some evil, for which, when one 
does his utmost to avoid it, he cannot be responsible." 
Gerald, though he would not admit the applicability of such 
reasoning, replied to it so slightly as showed what little- 
interest he took in the subject, often dismissing the argu- 
ment with some little pleasantry and a smile, which made 
it clear that the time when it could have affected him was 
gone by. The scruples which had been gradually growing 
in his mind seemed to assail him only the more acutely as 
time advanced, and were felt with peculiar force while he 
was writing the Duke of Monmouth. He complained on 
one occasion of his inability to manage some particular 
scene. I recommended him to pay no attention to those 
scruples, but to follow the bent of his natural feeling, and 
fling himself fully into the subject. " Oh, but," he said, 
" that is the difficulty : I don't think one is justified in 
putting himself into the condition that it requires." I could 
hardly understand his meaning for some time, and began to 
make very light of such a notion, until he lost all patience, 
and said with vehemence, " Oh, but you do not know, you 
cannot know, the state an author puts himself into in work- 
ing out such scenes : how can it be right of him to put him- 
self in the position of each particular character, and endea- 
vour to kindle in his own breast all the passions of that 



274 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

character even for the moment ?" This reminded me of 3 
saying of, I believe, Johnson's, on the occasion of a question 
as to whether theatrical performers ever laboured under an 
illusion as to the reality of their parts : " That if Garrick 
did really believe himself to be Richard the Third during the 
progress of the piece, he -would deserve to be hanged every 
time he performed it." Sometimes, when I contrasted these 
difficulties with the wonderful ease with which he produced 
the Collegians, and the almost magical facility with which 
every scene flowed from his pen, he would say, in a fair and 
easy manner, "Oh, the Collegians was a story that used to 
itself." This expression I heard him make use of 
more than once, but it was one which only proved how light 
a labour to his imagination was any work upon which he 
had entered with the quickening impulse of an earnest 
heart. 

A very singular circumstance, and one which may be 
dismissed in this place, as it seems to have had some rela- 
tion to, perhaps some influence upon, Ins religious feelings, 
was. a kind of presentiment he often had of an early death ; 
sometimes, too, associated with dark and strange forebodings 
that were quite unaccountable. These fancies seem to have 
been^connected with the constitutional nervousness already 
referred to. He never gave expression to them openly 
nor does it appear that he attached much weight to them. 
Such feelings, however, when they depend on constitutional 
- will sometimes affect one with a great degree of 
force, and the manner in which they are alluded to in pieces 
of poetry, such as the following, is very singular : 

SONJTET. 

Here, by the shores of my own sunny bay — 
Here, in the shadow of my native bowers. 
Let me wear out, in sweet content, those hours 
Tint bear nae gently toward my dying day, 
Warring with earth's affections, till the gray 



LINES TO HIS SISTER. 275 

Of age hath touched my hair, and, passion fled, 

Leaves hope and stingless memory by my bed, 
And thoughts of danger quelled and pas3'd away. 
But there's a whispering fear within my breast, 

That fills my mind with many a sad presage, 
That breaks Hope's morning beam of peace and rest ; 
That tells me I must never reach that time 

Of reverend virtue, of victorious age, 
But early die in youth, and stained by sudden crime. 

In speaking of the circumstances that had led to the 
changes I have mentioned, I ought, perhaps, to have no- 
ticed the occasional repititiou of his visits to London, and 
the contrast between the quiet and seculded life he led at Pal- 
las Kenry, and the eternal roar and bustle of the great city. 
" Isn't it curious ? (or is it ?)" he writes to his youngest 
sister on one of those occasions, " that the last was the 
first time I ever cried on leaving home, and I did then 
plentifully, as the paving stones of Pallas Kenry could 
attest. "Write to me soon. I took it as a sign of the 
decline of ambition in my heart, and rejoiced at it. I wish 
it were altogether dead, for it is a passion that has eaten 
up my happiness (and I fear something more too) for many 
years ; and yet, last year made me think I had the elements 
of contentment about me, or at least that my desires in 
life were sufficiently moderate for my prospects." We have 
seen how pointedly he speaks of this contrast in the ex- 
tract already given from a letter to his mother. The 
following verses, addressed to the same sister, will give 
some idea of the manner in which it affected him : 

Seven dreary winters gone and spent, 
Seven blooming summers vanish' d too, 

Since, on an eager mission bent, 
I left my Irish home and you. 

How passed those years I will not say ; 

They cannot be by words renewed — 
God wash their sinful parts away ! 

And blest be he, for all their good ! 



2 76 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

With even mind, and tranquil breast* 

1 left my youthful sister then, 
And now in sweet religious rest 

I see my sister there again. 

Returning from that stormy world, 
How pleasing is a sight like this ! 

To see that bark, with canvass fuii ; d, 
Still riding in that port of peace. 

Oh, darling of a heart that still, 

By earthly joys so deeply trod, 
At moments bids its owner feel 

The warmth of nature and of God. 

Still be his care, in future years, 
To learn of thee truth's simple way, 

And, free from foundless hopes or fears, 
Serenely live, securely pray. 

And when our Christmas days are past, 
And life's fair shadows faint and dim, 

Oh, be my sister heard at last, 
When her pure hands are raised for him ! 

Christmas, 1830. 

Such arguments as I have above spoke of were neitho 
frequent nor on all occasions soaght by him. It was evk 
dent, however, that the feelings they indicated were slowly 
gaining additional influence over his mind. He became 
more systematic than ever in the disposal of his time; 
punctual as the striking of the clock in his hours of rising 
and retiring to rest ; and, singular to say, though his interest 
in his literary labours had nearly lost all its freshness and 
force, he went through them each day with a most exact 
and scrupulous industry, looking on them as his only occu- 
pation, and therefore feeling that, as a matter of duty, they 
ought to be done well. These circumstances were accom- 
panied by a more rigid compliaBGe than ever with all his 



THE CHRISTIAN PHYSIOLOGIST. 277 

religious duties. The occupations of the day were conducted 
with more thoughtfulness than before, and were less inter- 
rupted by amusement, but certain hours were as usual 
devoted to recreation, during which he was as lively and 
as full of frolic as ever. It was about this time that he 
undertook the execution of a very beautiful little work,, 
entitled " The Christian Physiologist ; or, Tales of the Fiv® 
Senses," intended to describe in a popular manner the me- 
chanism and use of each sense, and to illustrate every one 
by the introduction ot some appropriate moral tale. The 
portions of this work which related to the structure and 
functions of the organs of sense, showed such an intimate 
knowledge of anatomy and physiology, that many persons 
imagined the} jould not have been written without the 
assistarce of some medical man, and therefore that Dr. 
Griffin or I must have had some hand in them ; but this 
was so far from being the case, that though we could not 
help wondering what it was that made him every day pull 
down our medical books, and give himself so deeply to the 
study of anatomy, neither of us had the slightest conception 
tvhat he was at until the work was completed. It was 
published in the year 1830. 

The observations I have made on the change of his feel- 
ings with regard to the works of imagination, will explain 
the almost complete absence of any of the darker traits of 
passion in his later writings, and the effort there visible 
to preserve the reader's attention by scenes of a more quiet 
and gentle bearing, and by various little incidents of alight 
and lively character. The tranquil and apparently happy 
kind of life he was now leading made me imagine he was 
satisfied, and that the scruples he had felt with regard to 
the employment of his time on works of fiction would 
gradually wear away, as the utility of his labours began to 
be more fully appreciated ; but to minds such as his, pure, 
earnest, and sensitive, there is in religion no " via media." 
Speaking of matters of faith he often said to me, " There is 



27S LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

no medium between the Catholic religion and mndelity." 
In the same way it might he said, that for a disposition 
like his there was no medium between worldliness and the' 
highest flights of grace. The first additional circumstance 
that struck me as indicating the progress of his religious 
Jeelings was, his bringing together, every Sunday, the pooi 
children of the village, collecting them in a house in our 
garden, teaching them their catechism, and giving them 
instructions in religion. In this he spent several hours, 
and at dinner-time entertained us with may anecdotes that 
showed their intelligence and acuteness. This charitable 
employment he continued without interruption during the 
remainder of our residence at Pallas Kenry. At length he 
surprised me one morning by asking me, seriously, if I 
thought his health was likely to be so restored as to enable 
him at some future time to embrace the life of a clergyman 
I ought to be ashamed to confess that my first unworthy 
thought was, not the gain to religion, but the loss to liter- 
ature. I gave him, however, a sincere opinion, saying, 
that if it continued to improve as it had done for some 
years, I saw nothing under present appearances to render 
it impossible. Yet I was startled at the idea of a person 
of so extremely sensitive and scrupulous a turn of mind 
subjecting himself, without any apparent necessity, to the 
awful responsibility attached to the duties of such an office, 
and I represented this strongly to him. The reasons I 
offered did not appear to have much weight with him at 
the time, and he immediately entered upon, and pursued 
with an industrious zeal, the preparatory course which is 
necessary before admission to the College of Maynooth, a 
very extensive one. 

As the reader, however, may feel interested in hearing 
his own sentiments on this momentous subject, I give the 
following extract from one of his letters to his father, 
written from Taunton in the year 1833 : 



VOCATION TO THE CHUF.CH. 279 

41 1 owe many letters to America, which I wish I had leisure to 
write, but at present I have more to do than my health will suf- 
fer me to discharge with the necessary expedition. There is one 
subject, however, my dear father, which I wish no longer to defer 
speaking of. I mean the desire which I Lave fur a long time en- 
tertained of taking orders in the church. God only knows 
whether I may ever live to carry the wish into execution. I 
have good reason to judge, however, that at least I do not act 
rashly in entering on the preparatory studies. They must take 
some time, and, under the uncertainty in which one must 
always continue of this being truly a merciful vocation from 
God, I have the satisfaction of knowing that at all events there 
is nothing lost by my acting as if it were. My time is divided 
between my college course of study and my usual pursuits, and 
I have no doubt that the Almighty, who sees with a thousand 
faults that I have a sincere desire to execute his will, in his 
own time will not fail to make it known to me. To say nothing 
of the arguments of faith, I do not know any station in life in 
which a man can do so much good, both to others and himself, 
as in that of a Catholic priest, and it gave me great satisfaction 
to find that my dear friends in America were of the same mind 
with me on this point. Mary Anne says, truly, that there 
need be no reserve upon such subjects ; yet, for a long time, the 
idea gave me so much to think of and debate about in my own 
mind, that I felt iinwilling to say anything about it. It could 
not have found a being more unwilling than myself, nor one 
more entirely reluctant to make the trifling sacrifices it re- 
quired ; but, thank God ! I can shake my head at them all now, 
and look upon them as literally nothing. But enough, dear 
father, on that very serious subject, only let all my dear friends 
pray for me that I may not be deceived. I feel a great security 
in the approval of so many friends, and how much indeed in 
the words of my poor mother, (so like herself in their discretion 

and humility,) which E W mentioned to me in his last 

letter. I dread myself so much, that I am unwilling to say all 
that I could wish, while I have yet advanced so short a way 
towards this great object, but I hope, before many months 
have gone by, to be able to talk as freely as dear Mary Anne 
can wish. How well our Saviour knew us, when he advised 
those who were about building a tower to calculate before- 
hand whether they should be able to finish it ! -Such flashes 
of thought as this are enough to startle one, and make him , 
work a little harder than he might be inclined to do, if left to 
himself. My dear father, pray for me that I may not miscal- 



280 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFilT. 

culate — that I may be able to finish the tower which I have 
begun. 

"March 17th, 1S33. — The above was written, my deal 
father, as you perceive, nearly three months ago, and on look- 
ing it over now, it seems to me so lukewarm, so wavering, 
and unworthy of one who had any reason to believe himself 
called to the service of God, that I am ashamed to send it. I 
have, however, no longer any doubt that it is my duty to devote 
myself to religion — to the saving my own soul, and the souls of 
others. This letter alone, my dear father, may show you, ia 
some degree, that this is not a conviction hastily adopted, nor 
can I suppose it necessary to enter into any full explanation 
of all that has passed in my own mind on the subject, in order 
to save myself from any imputation of rashness, for giving up 
the affairs of time and embracing those of eternity. To com- 
pare the two for an instant is enough. To say that Gerald, the 
novel-writer, is, by the grace of God, really satisfied to lay aside 
for ever all hope of that fame for which he was once sacrifi- 
cing health, repose, and pleasure, and to offer himself as a: 
labourer in the vineyard of Jesus Christ ; that literary reputa- 
tion has become a worthless trifle to him, to whom it once was 
almost all ; and that he feels a happiness in the thought of giv- 
ing all to God — is such a merciful favour, that all the fame and 
riches in the world dwindle into nothing at the thought of it. 
But this is talking of myself and my own happiness alone. I 
am not to forget that there were other duties connected with 
my hopes in literature, which cannot equally be answered in 
this new vocation. It is true, my dear father, scarcely any 
circumstance connected with my success in those pursuits could 
have given me greater satisfaction than the reflection that I 
was, at the same time, an instrument in the hands of God of 
adding anything to the temporal happiness of even a few, but, 
generally speaking, I fear the world is at the bottom of too 
great precaution on this point. If I serve God well, have I not 
his own promise that he will not forsake my friends nor me. 
I feel great pain in speaking on this subject, for I fear it may 
look as if I wanted sympathy for friends whom God is pleased 
to by with worldly visitations. God knows such is not my 
feeling, and I trust I shall always be ready to do my duty when 
it is made clear to me ; but I would wrong their affection, and 
their faith, if I supposed they did not well know how far the 
claim of God was before all others, and that it would be to 
wrong his goodness and mercy to delay entering on his service 
through an apprehension of worldly evils which he may never 



THE SISTER OF CHARITY. 281 

mean to send, and which he has it in his power to send in spite 
of all our worldly precautions. But, surely, all this is obvious, 
aud it is trifling to dwell upon it. My dear sisters will forgive 
me for concluding this spiritless letter without writing to 
them. When I get home, I hope to say something more than 
asking them to pray for me ; and that, I hope, will be within 
the next fortnight, for the book, though ready for press, is not 
to be published till next season. 

Ever my dear father's affectionate, 

Gerald Griffd*. 

I have thrown together, for the purpose of completing 
this part of the subject, changes which were effected step 
by step, and took some time in their accomplishment. 
Among the little pieces of poetry which from time to time 
indicated the prevailing turn of his mind, were the follow- 
ing. The first of them was, I believe, written about the 
close of the year 1830, and appears to have been suggested 
by the circumstance of a near relative of his, an accom- 
plished young person of the most sparkling and playful 
disposition, having retired to a convent. 

THE SISTER OF CHARITY. 

She once was a lady of honour and wealth, 
Bright glowed on her features the roses of health ; 
Her vesture was blended of silk and of gold, 
And her motion shook perfume from every fold. 
Joy revelled around her — love shone at her side, 
And gay was her smile a3 the glance of a bride, 
And light was her step in the mirth-sounding hall, 
When she heard of the daughters of Vincent de PauL 

She felt in her spirit the summons of grace 
That called her to live for her suffering race, 
And, heedless of pleasure, of comfort, of home, 
Ptose quickly, like Mary, and answered "I come." 
She put from her person the trappings of pride, 
And passed from her home with the joy of a bride, 
Nor wept at the threshold as onward she moved, 
For her heart was on fire in the cause it approved. 



LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Lost ever to fashion— to vanity lost 
That beauty that once was the song and the toast. 
Iso more in the ball-room that figure we meet, 
But gliding at dusk to the wretch's retreat. 
Forgot in the halls is that high-sounding name, 
For the Sister of Charity blushes at fame ; 
Forgot are the claims of her riches and birth, 
For she barters for heaven the glory of earth. 

Those feet that to music could gracefully move, 

Now bear her alone on her mission of love ; 

Those hands that once dangled the perfume and geca 

Are tending the helpless, or lifted for them ; 

That voice that once echoed the song of the vain 

Kow whispers relief to the bosom of pain ; 

And the hair that was shining with diamond and pearl 

Is wet with the tears of the penitent girl. 

Her down-bed a pallet — her trinkets a bead, 
Her lustre — one taper, that serves her to read, 
Her sculpture — the crucifix nailed by her bed, 
Her painting — one print of the thorn-crowned head, 
Her cushion — the pavement that wearies her knees, 
Her music — the psalm or the sigh of disease. 
The delicate lady lives mortified there, 
And the feast is forsaken for fasting and prayer. 

Yet not to the service of heart and of mind 

Are the cares of that heaven-minded virgin confined; 

Like him whom she loves, to the mansions of grief. 

She hastes with the tidings of joy and relief; 

She strengthens the weary, she comforts the weak, 

And soft is her voice in the ear of the sick ; 

Where want and affliction on mortals attend 

The Sister of Charity there is a friend. 

Unshrinking, where pestilence scatters his breath, 
Like an angel she moves 'midst the vapours of death ; 
Where rings the loud musket, and flashes the sword, 
Unfearing she walks, for she follows her Lord. 
How sweetly she bends o'er each plague-tainted face, 
With looks that are lighted with holiest -grace ! 
How kindly she dresses each suffering limb, 
For she sees in the wounded the image of him i 



o'brazil. 283 

Behold her, ye worldly !— behold her, ye vain ! 
Who shrink from the pathway of virtue and pain, 
Who yield up to pleasure your nights and your days, 
Forgetful of service — forgetful of praise. 
Ye lazy philosophers, self-seeking men — 
Ye fire -side philanthropists, great at the pen — 
How stands in the balance, your eloquence, weighed 
With title life and the deeds of that high-born maid ! 



to our friends in miltown, august 11, 1s30. 

o'brazil, 

A spectre island saia to be sometimes visible on the verge of the 
western horizon, from the Isles of Arran. 

On the ocean that hollows the rocks where ye dwell, 
A shadowy land has appeared, as they tell ; 
Men thought it a region of sunshine and rest, 
And they called it 'Brazil, the isle of the blest. 
From year unto year, on the ocean's blue rim, 
The beautiful spectre show'd lovely and dim, 
The golden clouds curtain'd the deep where it lay, 
And it looked like an Eden, away, far away. 

A peasant who heard of the wonderful tale, 
In the breeze of the Orient loosened his sail, 
From Ara the holy, he turn'd to the west, 
For though Ara was holy, O'Brazil was blest. 
He heard not the voices that called from the shore, 
He heard not the rising winds' menacing roar, 
Home, kindred, and safety he left on that day, 
And he sped to O'Brazil, away, far away ! 

Morn rose on the deep, and that shadowy isle 
On the faint rim of distance reflected its smile ; 
Noon burned on the wave, and that shadowy shore 
Seemed lovelily distant and faint as before ; 
Lone evening came down on the wanderer's track, 
And to Ara again he look'd timidly back, 
Oh ! far on the verge of the ocean it lay, 
Yet the isle of the blest was away, far away. 



234 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Hash dreamer, return ! 0, ye winds of the main, 
Bear him back to his own peaceful Ara again ; 
Rash fool ! for a vision of fanciful bliss, 
To barter thy calm life of labour and peace. 
The warning of reason was spoken in vain, 
He never revisited Ara again ; 
Night fell on the deep amid tempest and spray, 
And he died in the waters, away, far away ! 

To yon, gentle friends, need I pause to reveal 
The lesson of prudence my verses conceal ? 
How the phantom of pleasure, seen distant in youth, 
Oft lures a weak heart from the circle of truth. 
All lovely it seems, like that shadowy isle, 
And the eye of the wisest is caught by its smile ; 
But ah ! for the heart it has tempted to stray 
From the sweet home of duty, away, far away ! 

Poor friendless adventurer ! vainly might he 
Look back to green Ara along the wild sea ; 
But the wandering heart has a guardian above, 
Who, though erring, remembers the child of his love. 
Oh ! who at the proffer of safety would spurn, 
When all that he asks is the will to return, 
To follow a phantom from day unto day, 
And die in the tempest, away, far away ! 

' But it was not in compositions such as these, the great 
revolution that had taken place was perceptible. From 
the moment it became at all decisive, he showed the 
greatest anxiety to make amends for anything in the least 
degree disedifying that could have occurred duriDg his 
previous intercourse with his friends. The reader will 
remember the admission, made in the note to the preface 
of the Christian Physiologist already given, as well as in 
one of his letters to Mr. Banim. I have already alluded 
to others, which I now subjoin, which are of the same 
character, and, with the exception of the first, have not 
been published before. These interesting letters were 
kindly placed in my hands, since the publication of the 
first edition of this memoir, by a sister of the friend to 



LETTERS. 285 

whom they were addressed, a lady whom Gerald once had 
had the pleasure of meeting in society in Dublin, and 
of whom he gives such a lively and animated description 
in a letter to his sister Lucy, to be found in a previous 
part of this volume. There is something highly charac- 
teristic and touching in these letters. The affectionate 
attachment that moved him to hold so strongly in view 
his friend's eternal interests beyond all others — the duty of 
reparation he felt he owed him — his exaggerated expres- 
sions regarding his own share in the errors he condemns — 
the tenderness with which he enters on the subject, un- 
certain how his approaches would be received — and his un- 
bounded transport and happiness on finding he had given no 
offence — all indicate a friendship as pure and unstained by 
earthly feeling as it is rare. It would appear by the date 
of the first of them, as well as by that of the one to Mr. 
Banim, that they were written long before the publication 
of the Collegians, another proof, if any such were want- 
ing, that his renewed devotion to religion was not the 
result of disappointment, but had gained considerable 
strength while his reputation as a writer of fiction was 
still rapidly on the increase. 

Pallas Kenry, February, IS 28. 

My dear , — I have to thank you for your friendly letter, 

which I received on Friday. From the intention which I knew 
you entertained of coming to Ireland, I supposed that you 
were amongst us (though I saw you not) in the interval 
between it and my last. You do not mention all that 1 should 
wish to hear of your present occupation. Are you still in the 
house ? and do you yet represent the Ledger in that awful 
assembly? In all the wonderful changes which have lately 
agitated the public mind, I have heard nothing of the ins and 
outs in the gallery. Let an old reporter, who has his agree- 
able as well as troublesome recollections associated with that 
Bpot, know something of its revolutions. 

Your letter found me much improved in health, and looking 
forward to a pleasant summer. I am taking matters easy — 
that is to say, I curb my inclination to work, and restrict 



286 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

myself to a certain space of time in the day. never taking a 
pen in hand after dinner, though that was formerly the time 
when I wrote with most pleasure to myself. Never did mortal, 
I think, profit so much by the scourge of criticism. For some 
time it would have amused you to see the difficulty which I 
felt in putting a sentence together. I trembled at the idea of 
stretching a period beyond the compass even of abruptness, 
and became as lucid and as short-spoken as an auctioneer ; so 
that my story promised to resemble a string of beads, given 
in clear separate small bits, with the coarse thread of a narra- 
tion running through the middle. But, as I proceed, this feel- 
ing wears away, and a more moderate caution remains. One 
thing, however, is wholly departed from my soul, and never 
may it return — my hurry — my disposition to jump to a con- 
clusion — I am well cured of that — so I ought. 

I forgot to mention to you that I had seen a Life of Raleigh 
here some years since in a very old edition. I don't know the 
name of the biographer, but I suppose you must be acquainted 
with the author who treated the subject. There is a history 
which the world wants — a history winch would do service to a 
people, and confer immortality on a historian (if properly exe- 
cuted). If I had even a moderate degree of taleut — and with 
the talent the opportunity, the industry, [that I should com- 
mand, however, I think,) the wisdom requisite for a good his- 
torian, I would undertake it in preference to any work what- 
soever — I mean, as you may conjecture, a history of Ireland. 
I grant you that there is nothing, at first sight, alluring in the 
subject. The poor wretched country has but a miserable and 
shocking succession of follies, excesses, and tyrannies to offer. 
There is no brilliant drama in her history — no gradual progres- 
sion from obscurity to an extensive influence among the nations 
of the world — dazzling the mind by the contemplation of pro- 
digious power, and saddening it by the solemn grandeur and 
magnificence of her decay. But is there not something to excite 
the interest and arouse the energy of an historian in the detail 
of centuries consumed in suffering, in vain remonstrance, and 
jdle though desperate struggles for a change ? Are there not 
men who would feel a pleasure in painting the convulsions of 
a powerful people, labouring under a nightmare for ten cen- 
turies ? I have not space to say half what I would argue upon 
the subject, that I should like to see the task performed — per- 
formed faithfully and truly — to hear the truth told — the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth. 

I agree with you entirely in your opinion of the Boswellian 
mode of biography — it is very dishonest —very base, and full of 



LETTERS. 287 

evil consequences. But I am a believer, my dear , and I 

confess to you, I cannot avoid seeing the hand of a Providence 
in the circumstances which have thus enabled the world (which 
might have been deluded by the fineness of his genius, and the 
external attractions of his character) to contemplate with open 
eyes that most edifying spectacle, a philosopher unveiled. 
Look into (an author you cannot but admire) Massillon'3 
Bennons on infidelity, and you will find there a portrait (by 
anticipation) of Leigh Hunt's Lord Byron — at least some of 
those apparently irreconcileable features which I have seen ; for 
I have, not had an opportunity of reading more than a few lines 
from Hunt's book — such, for instance, as the strange mixture 
of superstition and infidelity. Byron, then, it appears (I hope 
I may canvass freely that character, which is now become 
public) — Byron, the grand and daring soul (I speak it not in 
mockery, for you know I admire his genius) — Byron, who cou- 
rageously broke asunder the bonds, the unworthy restrictions 
that religion imposed upon the human mind, and went in quest 
of knowledge for himself — whose speculations, borrowed specu- 
lations too, dazzled one part of his countrymen and shocked 
and disgusted the other — that Byron, that lofty towering 
spirit, whose "pride not a world coidd bow," into what a figure 
have the confessions and revealments of later days occasioned 
him to shrink ! A timid, cowardly, selfish, vain, and — what 
else ? You have seen the picture — I speak not of the man, 
but of the picture, which is placed before us by his friend ? I 
believe Byron's opinion changed — I hope so ; and his last words 
Jiave a meaning : " Perhaps I am not as unfit to die as people 
think." 

At all events, my dear , (forgive the freedom of an old 

friend, whose confidence you have drawn upon yourself,) let 
not you or I encourage ourselves in any peculiarities of opinion 
by the example of a person who is said to be capable of follies 
that we would more naturally look for in an old woman. Sup- 
posing Byron's opinions were wrong, is it not an unfortunate 
circumstance that he should at once give up any portion of his 
belief on the authority of another person, who told him (if he 
did tell him, very erroneously) that there was nothing said of a 
future state In the Old Testament ? He takes the assertion for 
granted — never refers to the book in question, but makes that 
an argument for his infidelity — re-asserts and exaggerates what 
he had heard. On so momentous a point, to use your own ex- 
pression, did not this show at least some indolence ? One word 
more on this expose. Is this, then, that constellation ox geniuses 



28S LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

who seemed to be bound by so amicable a league for the im- 
provement and edification of mankind ? Is that brilliant circle 
indeed fallen so low, and dispersed so widely in affection ? Is 
it they, indeed, whom we thus hear reviling each other living, 
and spitting on each other's graves when dead ? Look on the 
tide of religion, and say whether such blasting exposure takes 
place among her votaries — whether her friendships are as false 
and hollow, and her judgments so unsparing and so unchari- 
table ? I know you to be capable of appreciating the contrast. 
On the question of Warburton — (since we have fallen into the 
disquisition, by whatever accident, we may as well pursue it a 
moment) — I do not mean to say (for I am not informed on the 
subject) that there could have been no doubt among the Jews 
of the resurrection, for one sect, the Sadducees, disbelieved it 
(against the sense of their brethren), and our Saviour found it 
necessary, with that sect only, to combat the doctrine of non- 
existence after death, by that which He has said, that "God is 
the God of Abraham, of Isaac," &c, and that he was not "the 
God of the dead, but of the living." I know that our Saviour 
was the first who preached the doctrine of the spirit in prefer* 
ence to the law ; but, even with my limited knowledge of the 
Scriptures, I can point out many instances in the Old Testa- 
ment where the doctrine of a future state is distinctly asserted ; 
and in the Pentateuch (the principal subject, I suspect, of 
"Warburtons book) there are plain indications, at least, of the 
same belief ; for instance, in addition to that which you ques- 
tion, in the canticle of Moses — Deuteronomy, chap, zxxii., 2S, 
29 — this passage occurs : " They are a nation without counsel, 
and without wisdom. Oh, that they would be wise and would 
understand, and v:ould provide for their last end /" Why for 
their last end ? Is not this an indication at least ! I have not 
read the books, and light on these passages by accident. Before 
I disbelieved, I would think it my duty to read the whole 
with attention, after solemn preparation, fervent prayer, an 
humble resignation of my own worldly interest and my own 
unassisted judgment into the hands of the Divine Author of the 
book, and a determination to give up all for the truth, when I 
would have found it- I'm so strongly reminded here of a pas- 
sage in ^lassillon on the certainty of a future state, that I hope 
you will forgive my quoting it. Far be it from me, my 

Sear , to obtrude any ostentatious sermonising upon you ; 

but, as you admit me to your friendship, and as I have given 
you the benefit of sentiments, and an example, the memory of 
•which has since filled me with sorrow, I trust you will now 



letters: 289 

Rear vitn your old friend, and hear nis altered opinions, even 
although thuy should i>e wearisome to you. The passage is 
this — it is an answer to the preacher's own question, "How 
has the uncertainty of a future state been formed in the mind 
of the unbeliever?" "At his birth," he says, "the impious 
man bore the principles of natural religion, common to all men. 
He found written on his heart a law, which forbade violence, 
injustice, treachery, and every action to another which he would 
not have done to himself. Education fortified these sentiments 
of nature, which taught to know a God, to love and to fear 
him — virtue was shown to him in the rules, it was rendered 
amiable to him in the example ; and, though within himself he 
felt inclinations in opposition to duty, yet, when he yielded to 
their seductions, his heart secretly espoused the cause of virtue 
against his own weakness. Thus did the impious man first live 
on earth ; with the rest of mankind, he adored a Supreme 
Being, respected his laws, dreaded his chastisements, and ex- 
pected his promises. Whence comes it then that he no longer 
acknowledges a God ? that crimes appear to him as human poli- 
cies — hell a vulgar prejudice — a future state, a chimera — and 
the soul, a spark, which is extinguished with the body ? By 
what exertion has- he attained to the knowledge of things so 
new and so surprising ? By what means has he succeeded in 
ridding himself of those ancient prejudices, so rooted amongst 
men — so consistent with the feelings of his heart and the lights 
of reason ? Has he searched into, and maturely examined 
them ? Has he adopted every solid precaution which an affair, 
the most important of life, requires 1 Has he withdrawn him- 
self from the commerce of men, in solitude, to allow time for 
reflection and duty ? Has he purified his heart, lest the pas- 
sions may have misled him ? What anxious attention and soli- 
citude to investigate the truth are required to reject the first 
feelings which the soul has imbibed ! Listen, my brethren, and 
adore the justice of God on these corrupted hearts whom ne 
delivered up to the vanity of their own judgment. In prop r- 
•sion as his manners became dissolute, the rides have appeared 
auspicious ; in proportion as he became debased, he has endea- 
voured to persuade himself that man is as the beast. He is be- 
come impious only by shutting up every aver.ua that might 
lead him to the truth, by no longer regarding religion as an 
important concern, by searching into it only for the purpose of 
dishonouring it by blasphemous and sacrilegious witticisms. It 
is by that path he has attained to the wonderful and sublime 
science of unbelief ; it is to those grand, efforts- thai he owes the 
sLLScovery of a truth, of winch, thciest of men before Idm had 

T 



290 LIFE OF GERALD GRirFIN. 

either been ignorant, or had detested." Yon need go to to 
s.rrmon next Sunday, after reading this letter. Forgive me. 

ar , I have not talents for argument, but I wisi; 

5 u well. 

Gerald Gf.iffin. 



7, Glouce.-ter-place, Camden Town, 
January 13th, 1S30. 

My dear , — I went to the Museum on Monday, expecting 

to find you there, but was disappointed. I wished to have 
seen you for more than one reason, but, so far as I am myself 
concerned, it is perhaps better I did not, as I can better say 
what I wished in the form of a letter. It is only for once I 
wish ever again to mention the subject, and for once therefore I 
request you to hear me. 

You may remember a long letter which I wrote you two 
years since. Since our acquaintance has re- commenced this 
winter, I have observed, -with frequent pain, that not much (if 
the slightest) change has taken place in your opinions on the 
only important subject on earth. Within the last few weeks 
I have been thinking a great deal upon this subject, and my 
conscience reproaches me, that you may have found in the 
world lin ess of my own conduct and conversation, reason to 
suppose that my religious convictions had not taken that deep 
hold of my heart and mind which they really have. I will 
tell you what convinced me of this. I have compared our 
interviews this winter with the conversations we used to hold 
together when my opinions were unsettled, and my principles 
■ (if they deserved the name) detestable, and though there may 
be somewhat more decency at present, I am uneasy at the 
thought, that the whole tenor of my conduct, such as it has 
appeared to you, was far from that of one who lived purely 
^fcd truly for Heaven and for religion. The fact was this : 
Last summer I took up an idea, acquired in moments of negli- 
gence, that I should act wisely by indulging somewhat more 
freely in the spirit of society, by assumingthe gaiety of innocence, 
enjoying to a considerable extent the pleasure which nature 
and society afford me, and substituting a religious practice of 
greater external cheerfulness for the laborious and penitential 
one which my conscience told me I ought to pursue. Expe- 
rience has shown me that I was wholly in error, that I was 
Jbrmir.g to myself a false conscience, which was rapidly and 
.secretly conducting me back to all the horrors of my fonne/ 



LETTSBS. 291 

life, and that whatever may be true of those who have always 
lived in the practice of the true faith, nothing remains for me 
but labour, penitence, and retirement. In this conviction, and 
the resolutions which it suggests, I find peace and hope, and 
only in them. Do not suppose that it is solitude or lonely 
habits of thinking which bring these serious thoughts into my 
mind. The more I see of society and of life, the more they 
become stamped upon my reason. Whether the Almighty will 
enable me to act up to them or no, I am most grateful to Him 
for having opened my eyes to my danger, and it is my grati- 
tude to Him, as well as my friendship, my real, sincere, 
unalterable goodwill towards you, that urges me to this perfect 
unbosoming of my thoughts ; for the thoughts of eternity, 
in the greater number of instances, ought not to be made the 
iubject of any light correspondence or discourse. How can I, 
m common reason, judge otherwise than I do of my myself? 
When I look back to our conversations, what do I find 
them but a tissue of self-conceited and self-complacent senti- 
ments — of mutual self-deceptions — of sneers at our fellow- 
creatures — of everything that is the reverse of humility and 
religious charity ? while the very best part of our discourse 
consists of disquisitions on a subject on which I have learned 
to consider wilful doubt a crime. All these things together 
convince me that I can hardly live in the world with safety, 
and I am endeavouring, with an aching heart, to make up my 
mind to resign every object here, except that of pursuing my 

literary habits in the bosom of my family. Believe me, , 

that my personal regard for you is in no degree lessened by 
these thoughts, and you shall always find me ready to do for 
you the duty of a friend. I do not ask you, nor even wish 
you, to answer this, because I fear you could not now retimi 
any answer that woidd give me real satisfaction. I only wish 
that you should fully understand my feelings on the subject, as 
it is probable that in our future correspondence or conversation 
you will hear little or nothing of it. I entreat you to pardon 
the length of this letter, and to reflect upon these subjects, 
after the necessary preparation of thought, and feeling, and 
Intention. I return you the Camera Lucida which you lent 
me, with many thanks, and am your sincere friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 

I intended to send the Camera with this, but am obliged 
to send it off by post, so that I will give you the former when 
we meet. 

If there be anything in the above which strikes you as 



29*2 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

showing too free an interference in a question which concerns 
you in so intimate a manner, let me request your forgiveness, 

my dear , and believe that it is a real interest in youi 

welfare — an esteem for many fe ood qualities which you possess, 
and not any presumptuous desire of intruding on the secrets of 
your heart, that dictates it. Believe me, there is no one at this 
moment that wishes you better, or that is more ready to show 
his friendship for you in any way whatever that his duty will 
allow ham. Your friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 



Pallas Kenry, August 17th, 1S30. 

My dear , — Now on the very day that you have named 

for your departure from Kells, I have received your kind and 
friendly invitation to meet you for the first time upon Irish soil. 
I wish, sincerely wish, that it were in my power to see you be- 
fore your return to London, even though it were but for the 
hour's conversation, but were you not faithless in not letting 
me know your intention of coming to Ireland ? in not finding 
some way of securing to me what would be a pleasure to enjoy 
and to remember until my next trip to London at least ? I 
wrote to you about a week since, but I suppose you had left 
London before my letter reached it. 

To account for my not receiving yours earber than to-day, I 
must tell you that I only returned to Limerick yesterday even- 
ing after an absence of some days. I will not spend any time 
in asking myself or you why it was that your letter gave me so 
much pleasure; I will not "do a bit of Werter," as you ex- 
press it, neither ; I will only tell you plainly, my dear friend, 
that your letter gave me great, great pleasure. It was a happy 
letter, and I felt more gratified than I can easily express to you 

at your renienibering me at such a time. Ah, , I do not 

want to prose nor to sentimentalise any more than you do your- 
self ; but you must not prevent me from telling you that the 
sentiments, the feeling, of that letter were delicious. It was 
like a burst of sunshine upon our friendship, and I took it with 
something of the feeling with which one might receive a gift 
from Heaven. I wish you were not to return to London— not 
again to lead the life of uncertain labour, which for so long a 
time was injurious to us both ; and I feel at hearing you say 
you are to start again on Tuesday, after the delightful account 
you give of your week at ho ne, almost as I would if I saw a 
raluc*! friend returning to a pi 'gue city, after hav.ng escaped 



LBTXESB. 2J3 

£cr a time into a pure and healthy air. But though we cannot 
meet, can you not write your thoughts ? can you not write 
freely to me ? and can I not answer you as freely ? I have 
often wished for some such intercourse, but was unwilling to 
propose it first, lest you might have thought, from the inequality 
of our education, and our attainments in useful knowledge, that 
I was at all presumptuous ; but, after all, the sincere feelings of 
every mind, except ill-intentioned ones, are worth communi- 
cating. 

"What am I doing?" I am studying Irish history very 
closely, and hope to have it in my power to turn it to somt 
useful account. My brother desires to be remembered to you. 
Your letter brought to my recollection a little rhyme of his, 
which, as you liked the last so much, 1 will send you in my 
next letter, if you do not forbid me in the mean time. 

Ever, my dear , 

Your friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 



Dear , — I am sorry I was not at home to your call on 

Sunday. I must apologise to Mr. W when I see him for 

not visiting him sooner. I was about to do so, when I was 
prevented by a letter from home bearing unpleasant intelli- 
gence. It informed me oi the death of my mother, whose 
affection, unwearying in absence, whose high principle and 
strength of mind, remain (although I have not seen her for near 
twelve years) as fresh in my recollection as if it were only 
yesterday I beheld her sailing for America. It well might, 
for, far as we were asunder, I was never without the proofs cf 
it. Never, never indeed, will her loss be replaced tome, nor to 
any friend in whom she ever took an interest. 

I perceive by the papers that your friend C is no more. 

You see, my dear , we must take care of ourselves. 

Ever, your friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 

There is something affecting and beautiful in the tender- 
ness of Ills retrospections about this period. " Nothing is 
more commonplace, either in prose or poetry," he says in a 
letter to his mother, " than for those who live in the bustle 
of the world to wisli for some quiet little retreat in a lonely 
wild, where, free from cares, &c. — at the same time that. 



294 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

if the truth was known, they had rather die than give np 
their darling turmoil, so that I shall not burden my mother 
with this sentiment at present ; but I will tell her, that I 
often long to see her, that I often think of her with grati- 
tude and affection, and that the longer I live the deeper do 
I value her early love and care. How can I live so near 
Fairy Lawn without thinking of those evenings in whicii I 
sat reading to her a chapter in a useful book, while she 
went on with her knitting by the fireside ? Indeed I hope, 
whether those scenes are to be repeated or not, that I may 
never think of them with coldness." 

The following extract is from one written to a nephew of 
his, who lived in New York : 

" My year's work is done, my third series ready for the press, 
and I start this week or next for London. I detest the voyage 
heartily, and would subscribe a tale with great pleasure to a 
presentment for building a bridge across to Bristol ; for, with- 
out any figure of speech at all, I am always sick of the steam- 
boat. I like those pieces which were transcribed in some of 
your letters very much ; but I have got such a cobbling feeling 
about literature since I began to make my regular winter bar- 
gains, that I am hardly a fit jndge of such things, and do not 
enjoy them half so much as those who do not make a trade of 
it. Anything but literature for me in the way of amusement. 
Ah, my dear fellow ! times were different when I used to pull 
out my pocket full of manuscripts with you on a sunshiny day, 
on the banks of the Adare river, and read through a tragedy 
or farce, with the parts ready cast for Kean or Liston, and no 
delay but to get them acted and printed as fast as possible. 
Tlien I would have thought it profanation to talk of Mammon 
and Melpomone together, and I sauntered by the silent river — 
my bosom tilled with a gentle enthusiasm, and my imagination 
giddy with the prospect of future triumphs in the career of 
dramatic renown. There they all he now — the productions of 
those lofty hours, a heap of tragedies, comedies, and farces, all 
innocent of the sight of a stranger's eye, a monument of the 
egregious folly of young men who start off for London in the 
hope of accomplishing, by the mere force of natural ability, 
what neither acquirement, nor genius, nor learning itself can 
effect, without the aid of time and experience, and what, in the 
greatest number of instances, all these united cannot bring to 

9 *" 



LZTTLP.5. 295 

lv another tetter, addressed to the ^ame refative in the 

wring year, he says : 

" As for the laborious part of the profession you are adopt- 
ing," (the law,) "there is none that has not its drudgery, and, 
perhaps, it is as well they should. Rien sans peine is as senoui 
a maxim as if it was not a French one, and I doubt whether 
much less of mere labour went to the composition of Lallab. 
Rookh than to the compiling of Phillips's book on evidence. 

Yes, my dear J , the dust of the reading-desk and the gloom 

of the library corner are necessary to a poet, ay, and even to 
a novel writer, no less than to a lawyer ; and I know somebody 
whose burnt fingers could bear witness to this, if he did not 
think it better to hold his tongue and try to improve. Not- 
that I think the gentleman would admit that this, or any other 
circumstance of the kind, would occasion him much uneasiness ; 
but there is an old English maxim, not a whit less true than tiiu 
French one, that if a thing be worth doing at all it is worth 
doing well. I am working away like a hero at a new book, an<i 
in better spirits than I have been in for years, because I have 
at last discovered a clue to contentment, which I sadly wanted 
before, — that a man need not fear disappointment in this world, 
provided he does not care too much whether he is disappointed 
or not." 

I proceed with the correspondence which has been inter- 
rupted by these observations. Though his subsequent let- 
ters occasionally indicate a greater seriousness than former 
ones, as well as habits of life still more retired, it will be per- 
ceived that there was no diminution of the warmth of that 
affection which he always felt for his friends, nor of that 
lively, playful, abandon manner, which makes some of them 
so interesting. Most of these letters are without a date, 
but I give them, I believe, pretty much in the order in 
which they were written. 

To Mr. . 

My dear J. , — I am obliged to you for your kind and friendly 
letter, and for the high value which you set upon a very slight 
mark of my remembrance of the many kindnesses which I hav a 
seceived from you and from your family. 



203 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

The last part oi your letter gave me pain, for yon h 
tirely misapprehended what I wrote. Be assured, my dear 
friend, that I did not intend you should infer that because I 
hoped to see you often when you were alone I should not be 
glad to see your family also, or that my friendship for them was 

less than for yourself. I am aware that both to you and L 

my conduct for some time past has appeared wrong, and, per- 
ingrateful. Although I do not think it my duty to speak 
freely with you (without your express desire) of the principles 
or. which I have acted, yet the intimacy which subsisted be- 
tween us last year, and the sincere friendship which I retain for 
.1 for every member of your family, render it, I believe, 
n oessary that I should offer some explanation. Above all. you 
v, .11 not consider what I say obtrusive, when you remember that 
it was your own misapprehension that drew it from me. It 
is true that my time is not, nor cannot be, allotted as formerly, 
but it is equally true, that, whatever may appear, there is no 
k ss of friendship nor of gratitude on my part towards you all. 
and that nothing in this world would give me greater happiness 
tr an the having it in my power to spend as much time in your 
society as formerly ; but I felt, strongly felt, that I could not 
d- so consistently with my other obligations ; and have I not 
before told you, that they and you are not the only friends from 
whom I felt myself obliged to withdraw a large portion of my 

time ? Did I not tell you that I visited at R d oftener than 

amongst my near relations ? I do not wonder you should think 
me cold; but. believe me. that you deeply err in thinking so. 
I know well that I must appear so ; but I know well also, that 
it was my duty to act as I have done ; and I hope the time may 
cc me when you will all see this as plainly as it appears to my 
own mind. No. my dear friend, there has not been the slightest 
diminution of the regard which I felt for you and for all -who 
are dear to you ; but my education and my reason both teach 
me, that, in living as I have done in retirement, I have acted on 
the wisest principles for the regulation of my own mind ; and, 
h< wever we may differ on other points, I am sure you will allow 
that to be our first duty here. I have nothing more to say in 
explanation; that I have acted right I feel. I feel also, that 
tl ere is not a member of your family whom I do not love with 
the affection of a relative ; and all I ask on your part is, how- 
ever you may think my conduct excessive or censurable, th; . 
you will feel confidence in my having a right intention. I 
me that confidence without any reserve, and you will secure i 
Bincere and most grateful friend. Yours aft 

Gerald G&lkfin. 



■LETTERS. 297 



To Mrs. 



My beajr L., — T have written so long a letter to J , that 

I cannot detain the car to write a long one to you. I return 
your " Remains" with many and kind thanks. I have not read 
it, however, nor have I time to do so. Ah ! how I wish you 
were living here near us ; here — where, with all our marsh and 
rubl >ish of falling walls and dirty streets, we have peace and 
uietness, at any rate ; where you will find no well-read gen- 
ieman defending the morality of Don Juan ; nor any married 
a ties blue enough to be suprised when they hear Milton 
censured for coarseness, when they hear an admirer of hif 
^/mvtts lament that he should ever, in his detail of the Eden lift* 
of Adam and Eve, have lost sight of that 

'• Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure," 

with which, as with a. -celestial glory, he surrounds him in hi 
first description of their appearance in the garden. I am sure, 

L , if ever you take the trouble to read "Paradise Lost" 

again, you will, you cannot but agree with me in feeling, that 
there are pa -sages in it which had better, much better, not have 
been writte , and that his pictures of terrestrial happiness are 
often as reprehensible as his images 01 celestial intercourse are 
flat and shocking and familiar. 

As for the poem on the Siamese Twins, though you or I might 
read it perhaps without injury, yet I decidedly and severely 
condemn it, as, in parts at least, calculated in the highest 
degree to fan and excite a passion which needs no stimulus 
whatever amongst the mass of mankind — a passion which, in my 
poor thought, has done more to sow misery on earth than tbe 
scourge of war has ever done to amend it. Don't, my friend, don't 
give the meed of your applause (and you know your praise or cen- 
Biire has extensive influence in your circle) to t those love poems, 
love stories, and love plays ; and make it a point to condemn 
any book which tends to inflame what is already but too ready 
to tike fire. 

Do not be hurt at any time by my telling you the truth. It 
•is the part of a friend to do so, and the friendship which the 
touch of truth dissolves can only have been linked by false- 
hood. Such is not ours, I hope. I feel that we both have some 
love of virtue ; and it is on that, and that alone, I ever desire 
any attachment of mine should be founded. 

Well, and now moralising apart, was I not very good while 

I was at C ? Did I not eat anything and everything I was 

offered, gooseberries and all, except on the fast-day ? and then 
you know I couldn't do it. Mrs. Primrose, L , made the 



22 3 LIFE . 

>?eberry fool, or wine, I believe, in the world. "P 
I hear you say, "Mrs. Primrose !" Dou't be so mighty grand — 
because you have a bit of an imagination, and write (I do con- 
fess) delicious poetry — don't sneer at Mrs. Primrose. I assura 

you, L , I prefer Mrs. Primrose, any day, to old Aunt 

Western, though it must be allowed Aunt Western had a very 
great taste for politics. 

Josey and I made a great omission to-day. "We forgot his 
"Animated Xature" and Spelling Book in the drawer of a 
dressing-table, in what you were pleased to call my room. You 
can send them by the messenger who is to bring his box. 

Believe me, dear L , affectionately yours, 

Geeald Geieeix. 

The following accompanied a cup made out of a cocoa- 
nat, neatly carved and bound in silver : 

Tu the same. 

Monday night. 
My dear L., — I thank you for your handsome present ; but 
you must not make me such handsome ones in future. It is 
being too generous ; and surely I might remind you of your 
own sentiment in saying that such tokens of friendship are not 
necessary. I have given Little, and have some claim, then, 
to request your acceptance of a cup, which you must not fail 
to find some use for on every first of May at least. With th& 
warmest wishes for the health and happiness of all to whom 

you wish well, I am, my dear L , your affectionate friend, 

Gerald Grifeik. 

To the so. me. 

DearL., — Did you ever, in all your born days, see such 
a scrap of paper to write upon ? But there is no letter-paper 
in the house, and this will do as well as any to say how is 

L ? and I, great and mighty I, am well. Thanks, thanks, 

for the sweet puein ; but why did you delay it ? and why, 
when yuu sent it, did it come ■ ' curtailed of its fair proportions, 

deformed, unfinished, sent before its ;" no, no, not sent 

before its time, but still with several of the verses wanting ? 
Did I not read many more in the little book ? Send me the 
others with all the expedition hi life, or I'll fill you with lead. 
*" " nasty, dirty, rainy morning, isn't it? Why didn"t y u 



LETTERS, 299 

write to me for a whole fortnight? Did yon read 8lanley'a 
speech, eh ? There's what I call liberality : it's really very 
fine. Erin go bragh — she's getting on gloriously. In three 
years, Catholic Emancipation, Reform, and the Kildare-street 
scpiad knocked on the head. Hoop-whishk ! that'll do. What 
makes O'Connell say she's driving to sea like a vessel under 
bare poles ? She isn't, but spanking along like a steamer. 
Talking of bare poles, I see the Russians are almost beat. How 
are all the little doves ? I'm glad poor Joe is getting on so 
well. Here has Matt been launching out in elegant praise of 
poetry and poets, till I have almost longed to be one myself. 
Well, Sergeant Lefroy, if you don't beat cockfighting, it's no 
matter. Only think of that hero to get up and declare, that 
it was his sincere opinion the great body of the Irish people 
approved of the Kildare squad. What won't a man say after 

tiiat ? Did you hear from T lately ? What do you say 

to the Whigs now? Shy enough, in truth, but surely that 
speech is something. Did you read Shiel on Stanley ? I don't 
like such talk. A boy hot from school would hardly talk such 
vapid stuff. He shouldn't go on so like a play-actor showman. 
The Catholic clergy are not heroes of romance ; Stanley is not 
Barbarossa ; nor are the Whig Ministry a divan of playhouse 
senators, wearing their " properties" for a pound a- week. But 
let me do him justice. Where the subject suits his style, he 
is a fine, rattling, tearing little fellow, full of fire and effect ; 
and I have no doubt but some occasion will yet arise, even in 
the house, in which he will distinguish himself. Wha,t folly 
it is of those who oppose the yeomanry, to be urging their bar- 
barity as a ground for disarming them ? Surely the ministry 
like the bit of terror that's about them. They should stick to 
the better argument, their inefficiency and cowardice, shouldn't 

they 1 Dear L , farewell ; ever thy 

Gerald Grlfpdt. 

To the same. 

Pallas Kenry, Wednesday. 
My dear L., — I return your Examiner, with many thanks 

How are you ? How is S ? How is J ? How is Joe 

and all the little pets ? I think I could almost pet them myself 
for the sake of having them again. 

Dear Madam Fidelity — dear, dear Madam Fidelity, with the 
running hound, what makes you so cross and silent ? Ah ! but 
poor L is ill. Well, I'm too lonesome to scold you, and, 



$00 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

besides, I'm determined not to scold a human being for two 
months, until I have my three volumes complete ; and oh ! 

L , it requires a power of gaiety of heart to keep a story 

arloat down three long volumes. Oh ! L , rejoice that your 

stars have not made you a novel-writer. Whenever I feel my- 
self getting cross, thinking 01 everything, instead of scolding 
people, wouldn 't it be a good plan to keep a big stick near me, 
and begin walloping the wall or something of the kind, till 
I'm tired ? Talking of walls, we move to-day. 

Limerick, 7 o'clock. 

There's a jump ! The above was written in Pallas, when 
William came into my room, and packed me off to town to take 
care of Lucy. I wish to my heart you would make your friends 
on the continent have done with their kick-ujis for one winter. 
My publishers write me word that las* year was a very bad 
season for novels, and that they are glad I put off my book till 
autumn next. I have a mind to wait till this business is over 
between the Poles and Russians. If the contest lasts anothei 
year I'm done for. "Wasn't it the cranky Dean Swift said his 
bookseller advised him to publish in case turnips shoidd be plen- 
tiful ? If there's to be any more liberty next year, I might as 
well throw my cap at it. 

Adieu. When am I to get your long promised letter ? When 

you like, dear L , only remember always your friend, 

Gerald Griffey. 



To the same. 

Dear L.. — In the first place, how are yon to-d.°v ? The next 
tjne you come to Pallas, I intend not only t g t "L but not to 
r.sk you to see me before you go. However, 1 forgive you in 
consideration of yesterday's visit. 

Will you accept the enclosed pictures, some of which are a 
long time threatened, and the others have been added to while 
away the first lonesome days of Josey's absence ? All I stipulate 
about them is, that since I have had the executing of them al- 
ready, I have to have the hanging of them also in whatever 
comer it may please your highness to dispose of them. I should 
recommend a shady one, as it will harmonise better with the 
colouring ; for you may see 

**ily fields are very, very cr 
My skies are very blue." 



l*-^^. 301 

I>":7 mo6?es£Ty gives it as his opinion, that "wlrrt they are 
principally defective in is the colounn c . ' Detective! thicks 
I in my own mind. "Will yon show me a place I could put 
paint upon, that I didn't do it, and plenty too ? Lucy ;in bed) 
"had the politeness to say, that it was very well I brought them 
in by candlelight, and Will likes Pallas Kenry best. But what 
proves the criticism unjust is, that it has been principally di- 
rected against the colouring — the very thing, of all others, that 
I was most liberal of, I assure you. Good-bye ; God bless 
you ! Mind what I tell you : the next time you come to Pallas 
I'll get sick, and I won't ask you to see me. Yours, dear L , 

Gerald Gbtoht. 

I send seme Looks for the childher. 

To the same. 

London, November, 1831. 

Mv DSAB L., — I intended to have denied myself the indul- 
gence of writing to you until I had got rid of the hurry of re- 
vising and correcting, which at present presses so much up< n. 
my hands that double the time at my disposal would net be 
sufficient to satisfy my worthy friends in Conduit-street. Some 

days since, however, I had a visit from T , who gave me a 

piece of intelligence that will not allow me to remain silent. 
even though I were obliged to express in two lines the delight 
which I received in hearing it. I congratulate you and J— — . 
and all your family, most sincerely, my dear friend, on the 
happy addition which it has pleased Providence to make to 
your sweet circle ; and it is one of my warmest wishes, that 
the addition of number may be followed by an addition of hap- 
piness. 

I received your two notes, for which, though I was obliged 
by many reasons to defer answering them, I thank you mo^t 
sincerely. You need not have told me, dear L , to be mind- 
ful of you. I coukl not avoid obeying the injunction, even if I 
were inclined to do so. I should be ungrateful, indeed, if I 
ever forgot the long kindness of yourself and all your friends to 
one who, first or last, had so little claim to it. I will not be 
bo unreasonable as to prescribe to you any course of penance 
with respect to the cup, since all my wishes were satisfied when 
you accepted it. 

I enjoyed exceedingly my journey both by land and water, 
particularly the sail up the canal and up the river to Dublin, 
and the moonlight journey from Liverpool to London. It was 



3 '2 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

delightful to see tlie sun go down, and the full moon rise and 
go through all her course, and set, and then to see the gloriou? 
sim again assume her place. Not hashing seen it since childhood, 
I had no idea how exquisite a picture is the first view of the Killalo >> 
scenery, until it broke full upon me as I passed from under tho 
bridge, and beheld on the left bank of the river the quays, the 
boats, and figures — a beautiful demesne sloping to the water's 
edge, and Bally Valley mountain rising rocky ata distance ; on the 
right, a chain of wooded hills, and, stretching from the left into 
the very centre of the stream, a lofty grass-green promontory, 
with a dark fugrove oxfoH upon the summit, and all the asso- 
ciations of Brian Borhoime to recommend it. London, too, I 
enjoyed more than during either of my two last visits. My 
long absence suffered me to enter it with something of the 
freshness of a first visit, and without the anxiety, the turbu- 
lence, the doubt, the solicitude of that little helpmate ambition, 
whom you used once to recommend so warmly to my affections. 
Yet you must not suppose that my patriotism cools for all this, 
or that because London has improved, looks new, grows splen- 
did, and because I condescend to be contented with it for the 
present, I can ever make it my country. 

I have met, since my arrival, two young fellow-countrymen, 
who have interested me much. One, a Mr. Noblet, of Cork, 
a landscape painter, whose water colours I admire very much 
particularly one beautiful little picture which he calls the Hokj 
WelL The other is a Mr. AlacDowal, a sculptor, who evinces, 
I think, sterling genius in his art, not only in busts from Me, 
which he makes roll of character, but in historical groups, par- 
ticularly in subjects which require delicacy, tenderness, and 
pathos of expression. Poor fellows ! both have every difficulty 
to contend with that want of friends, want of money, want of 
patronage, want of everything but merit in their art, can sub- 
.em to. Both have their works accepted in the public 
[mired by those who happen to see them, exhibited 
for the season, praised and — unbought. And why ? For want, 
;. :as ! of a name ; for Want of some critic honest and bold enough 
to do them generous justice, or some patron munificent enough 
te take their nameless muses by the hand, and introduce them 
to the world of taste. MacDowal I bike very much ; indeed, 
he is a really modest, unaffected, and most industrious little 
fallow, with a delicate feeling of his art, and not the slightest 
assumption. Noblet is a good musician as well as painter, sings 
and plays agreeably, and has given me a charming little soni, 
of Kennedy's, which I hope to have the pleasure of ainging to 



LETTERS. 303 

you at some future time. I have met, amongst others, a bro- 
ther of Kennedy's, a surgeon, who has favoured the horror 
struck English with the best book that has appeared on cholera, 
a subject tit present far more interesting than the state of Ire- 
land in the eighth century. I am, my dear L , with kind 

remembrances to all your family, 3"our affectionate friend, 

Gerald Griffin. 

The date of the following shows the sportive mood in 
which some of these letters were written: 

To the same. 

Thursday, July 5 or 6, or something of the kind. 
My dear L. , — On Monday morning, early, we started from 
Pallas, and, after a broiling drive, lunched at Corgrigg, where 
we listened to some sweet piano music, plucked rosas, and eat 
fruit in the garden, talked of the cholera, and started again to 
the west ; arrived in Glin before dinner, again talked of the 
cholera, walked out after dinner, slept ; had the horse to the 
jaunting-car in the morning, picked up our cousins, and away 
with us again tantivy for the west ; arrived in Listowel about 
three, fed the horse, and away again like troopers, and arrived 
in Castle Island to tea ; slept like convicts ; up again in the 
morning, and away like so many heroes. About two, on a 
beautiful day, the majestic Toomies, with the vast semicircular 
range extending on either side, greeted for the first time the 
eyes of Tote,* and of our two fair cousins ; drove into Kil- 
larney about three, got our old lodgings at the post-office, 

found Mrs. C fat and pleasant, and asking for you and 

your Killarney companions ; walked after dinner through 
Lord Kenmare's demesne; discovered a charming well, with 
water invisibly pellucid, where we slaked our thirst, and sat 
on the margin of the Lower Lake, to admire the blue and 
solemn panorama by which we were half surrounded ; returned ; 
up in the morning, and away for Ross Castle, charmingly 
metamorphosed since our last visit, the barrack turned into an 
old ruin, span-new, the barrack yard into a pleasure ground, 
and the roof knocked off the house, to make it, as the guide 
said, look handsomer ; recognised O'Sullivan, who gave a start 
and a caper when he saw me, and out of his great delight 

* His sister Lucy. 



804 LIFE OF GERALD GRTFFTN. 

wanted me to treat him to a shilling, as it was fair day in 
Killarney (this I should have tola you before, as it took 
in the streets); nodded to Begley, who " re-re-memb'd me 
we- well, master," Fleming, the coxswain, 'Sullivan, junior, 
and others ; embarked for Boss Island, woke the aychoes with 
a bugle, and away for Innisfallen, where they are going to build 
a sweet cottage for visitors ; stepped into St. Finian's oratory ; 
showed the whole island to the girls, who were oh-ing and 
ah-ing in the most gratifying manner at every step ; plucked 
some sprigs of forget-me-not at the tomb of the last of the 
Desmonds ; embarked again, and away for Glena — a new 
cottage erected here for visitors, the whole place greatly im- 
proved, a rustic table and seats erected on the summit of the 
rock to which we walked three years ago, after dining at the 
cottage, where we drank wine in our ale, and where you 
wanted me to call you L , in taking it with you ; peram- 
bulated the grounds, ascended part of a new walk which Lord 
Kenmare has ordered to be continued to the summit (if possi- 
ble) of Glena mountain, re-embarked, and away for the Upper 
Lake, shook the mountains all round with our music and gun- 
powder, entered the Upper Lake, landed at Eoman's Island, 
rambled about, cut juniper and arbutus switches, admired the 
stupendous rocks, Doyle's cottage and his ponies, and the 
Purple Mountain, with his ever-moving veil of mist and 
mizzle ; returned bugling, laughing, and talking ; dined at 
Glena, al fresco ; wheeled into Turk Lake, at Brickeen-bridge, 
and into Glena Bay. where we landed to see a haul of fish, and 
found our old coxswain Cole pulling away the net ; bought a 
salmon, and away for Boss Castle, where we arrived about 
eight o'clock, and concluded our day's amusement by rummag- 
ing arbutus toy baskets and taking a noisy cup of tea. I for- 
got to mention to you that, while resting on our oars in the 
Upper Lake, and gazing upward at the mountain peaks, we 
saw three eagles soaring majestically in the air above us. and 
hovering round and round, as if to watch our motions. 

Friday. July 6. — Up again, and away for Mucruss — the 
ibbey little altered, except that all the skulls and bones are 
removed — walked all round the walls, away for Turk Cascade ; 
iter than heretofore ; ascended the mountain ; magnifi- 
cent view of the middle and lower lakes and distant country, 
with the cascade foaming far beneath through the g'en upon 
our left ; away for the Kenmare road ; dined on cold salmon 
near that lovely lake on the road side where we three parted 
from B and E : rain and mist, which filled the chasms 



Li.TTLRS. 305 

of the mountain scenery, and gave additional mystery and 
magnitude to the whole ; back again to Killarney about seven. 
Forgot to mention, as a set-off to the eagles on the Upper Lake, 
that we saw a bat wheeling about amid the gloom of the lowei 
dormitories at Mucruss. Tote's face as red as a raw beefsteak 
and so stout as to talk of ascending a mountain before sh« 
returns. But there's no use in talking ; we have no business 
going back at all. Oh, 'we are playing away at a fine rate 
keeping B 's horse beyond the time, and scratching his var- 
nish and bran-new harness to tatters ! but we can nave oui 
sport out of Killarney, at all events ; so away to-morrow for the 

Gap. Adk-u, dear L . Kindest remembrances to all with 

you, who, 1 hope, are well. Yours ever, 

Gekall- G'uiffii*. 

To the same. 

Pallas Kenry, Sept. 14th, 1832. 

My ^ear L.,— So you thought I sent you but a "skimpy*' 
answer (to pick a word out of your own expressive vocabulary) 
to your long and affectionate letter. Indeed it was so, and 
unworthy of such a letter as yours* as the subject of that letter 
was of the enthusiastic spirit which filled it. I do not know 

how it is, my dear L , but I am no longer a match (as if 

I ever were so) for a correspondent like L . My blood ia 

drying up, or something is the matter with me which I cannot 
fathom ; only there is one thing unchanged, and that is my 
affection and gratitude towards you, which will never leave me, 
whatever you may think is become of the disposition to express 
them. I was delighted at the accident, if it were accident, 
which prolonged your absence from home until the second out- 
break of the cholera in Limerick had begun to abate. 1 hope 
it is the parting stroke, and that friends may once again begin 
to meet without the Bight of the gravestone for ever at their 
feet. We had a letter the other day from America. Many 
are dead and dying in Philadelphia, where our brothers are ; 
but they and all our friends are well. 

And so yon have been in Dublin, and had your picture 
finished ? I shall be longing to see you on canvass. Bid he 
make you impudent enough ? Was there " bouldness" enough 

for a likeness ? But I suppose the shadow stays at S ; so 

I must be content with the original until fortune leads me 
nearer to the province of Shears. Poor Nan looks awful these 

U 



30f> LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFFN. 

days, with the backboard, marching about with sober face, 
Viid arms trussed up like wings of fowl. 

I thank you and B, for your kind and pressing invita- 
tion, which, however, it is not in my power to accept, although 
few things would give me greater pleasure than a trip to a part 
of the country of which I have heard you speak so often and 
so warmly. I was delighted to hear that you were all so well 

at S . I saw S to-day, and she looked, I thought, 

better than usual. Poor Limerick, indeed, seems dreary 
enough — the roads about it so lonesome, and the streets so 
thin, even on market days. The disease, however, is better 
to-day and yesterday. It has spared us here as yet, though we 
have not been without our false alarms, and I am in hopes that 
it may pass us by. Y\'e have a lad from Limerick here — 
a hopeful cousin— fled, without being ashamed to own it, from 
the cholera, who maintains that the doctors never committed a 
greater blunder than in announcing fear as a predisposing 
cause ; it has frightened more, he says, than any one attendant 
on the complaint beside. They are now not only afraid of the 
disease, but afraid of being afraid of it, so that, between the 
two fears, a person is almost frightened to death, a catastrophe 
as bad, says the proverb, as killing a man at once. I suppose 

•J has told you of his valiant walks between Limerick and 

Pallas Kenry ; and what said you thereupon ? A bachelor 
might try such tricks, but I don't tbin^ a married man has a 

right to be so venturesome. "What an alteration, dear L , 

is time making in our } respects within the last two years ! 
Two years ago, I thought no worldly change could produce such 
nn effect on my own hopes and views as the removal of your 
family from Limerick, and yet I feel it more and more as the 
time approaches, and I know too that not until it has taken 
place can I feel all the loneliness that it will cause me. It 
would be ungrateful of me if I did not feel it ; if I could forget 

re tenderness and affection that I met at Jl and at 

Miltown. It is years after you are gone, if I should live so 
l«ng, that the sight of either place will give me the heartache 
that I have often begun to feel already since your departure was 
decided on. But I will say no more of this at present ; it is 
foolish and useless to talk of what cannot be helped, and I fear 
lest what I write may have the appearance of such disgusting 
maudlin as hypocrites vent about religion and brawlers about 

honour. I am, my dear L , with love to all with you, 

your affectionate friend, 

Gerald Geiife?. 



VISIT TO MK. Moor.E. 307 

CHAPTER XIII. 
1832—1835,. 

VISIT TO VK. MOORK AT SLOPERTON ANECDOTES MR MOOP.E ASJ> 

GRATTAN — LETTER TO MRS. DESCRIBING THIS VJ3IT — GKR- 

AU>'8 REMARKS ON HIS ALTERATION OF FEELING — CONTINUA- 
TION OF CORRESPONDENCE VERSES ADDRESSED TO MOS. 

— SONNET. 

In the latter part of the year 1832, Mr. Moore having been 
invited by some of the most influential of the electors of 
Limerick to stand for the representation of that city, an 
address to him, embodying their wishes on the subject, was 
numerously and respectably signed. As Gerald was then 
; bout to depart for London, on one of his customary winter 
visits, he was requested to be the bearer of it. He asked 
me to accompany him, and, as such a trip promised too 
much pleasure to be declined, I was very glad to do so. 
The object of this visit failed, Mr. Mcore's engagements 
not permitting him to take advantage of the kind offer made 
to him ; but it gave us an opportunity of enjoying, in the 
most favourable circumstances possible, the society of one 
of whom his country has such just reason to be proud. 

It was early in the month of November when we arrived 
at Sloperton Cottage, Mr. Moore's residence.. We had the 
good fortune to find him at home, and were immediately 
shown up stairs, where we were received with such warm 
cordiality, such earnest and unaffected kindness, such a 
truly Irish welcome, as it would be impossible to forget. 
The object of our visit being explained, he immediately 
entered upon it ; said he feared he should be obliged to de- 
cline, but would not give a positive answer until next day ; 
requested us to remain to dinner, a proposition to which we 
gladly assen ed, and beting to be excused for return; \g 



308 LIFE OF GERALD GRTFFIN. 

to «ome matters of importance which our entrance had in- 
irrupted, left us Tor an hour or so to onr musings. 

Mr. Moore has been often spoken of as one whose wit 
an I liveliness in conversation shed a lustre on any society 
he enters ; but he must be seen in his own house, and 
among his own immediate friends, to have the charm of his 
manner thoroughly felt and appreciated. The only person 
we met at dinner besides Mr. and Mrs. Moore, was a Mr. 

. who seemed very intimate with the family, and who, 

■v\ e afterwards understood, was gay and sprightly beyond 
all previous custom. Mr. Moore was fond of anecdote, and 
full of it, especially of Irish anecdote. He seemed anxious 
to make every one about him happy, and poured forth all 
kinds of jests with inimitable point ; not apparently so much 
for the sake of being agreeable, nor because he told his 
stories with a natural raciness and humour that I have 
seldom seer equalled, as because he seemed to take the 
heartiest possible delight in them himself. He spoke with 
the enthusiasm of a youth of nineteen of the ever-memo- 
rable debates in the Irish parliament in the times of 
(•attan. Corrie. and Flood; and. remarking upon the 
number of men of extraordinary talent who flourished about 
tkot period, and their extreme rarity since, seemed to be of 
opinion that one of the most lamentable effects of the Union 
was the manner in which it appeared to operate to the 
destruction and annihilation of all Irish genius. He had 
the most intense admiration of Grattan, and told seve- 
ral amusing stories of him which I had not heard before. 
One of them I cannot omit noticing, as it related to Mr. 
Moore himself, and was one he took a very justifiable pride 
in. In his younger days, though after he had been already 
favourably known to the world, he happened one day to be 
in Mr. Grattau's company at the house of a mutual friend. 
QraAtan was holding forth, with some sharpness, on the 
servility of literary men, and the manner in which thev 
ateiost uniyersal'y prostituted their talents to the great and 



powcrfvt He appeared at first to exclude no one fr< 111 

l eepiug censure ; but, suddenly recollecting himself, 
he continued : '* But I'm wrong ; there are some excep- 
tions ;" and turning to Mr. Moore, who stood near him, and 
patting him kindly on the shoulder, he said to those he had 
been addressing, " I'm wrong ; my young friend here is one 
who" — he paused a moment, and then added emphatically* * 
M who wears his hat before the king" 

He mentioned another incident which I may just speak 
of, as it serves to show the feeling with which Irish inter- 
ests are frequently regarded in England, even by those who 
profess liberal opinions. At a reform diuner, given, I 
believe, in Bath, to the Marquis of Lansdowne, Mr. Moore's 
health having been drank, he rose to return thanks, and 
was received with a good deal of enthusiasm. On such 
occasions as these his country was never forgotten, and he 
ventured in the progress of his speech, though cautiously, 
to make some allusion to it. " England," said he, in one 
of his happy illustrations, " will not permit so large a seg- 
ment of her orb as Ireland to remain for ever shrouded in" 
darkness." He expected this sentiment to awaken a i'aw 
cheers of sympathy ; but there was immediately a dead 
silence, as if he had said something very disagreeable. It 
was evident he had entered upon forbidden ground, and that 
he could not venture further in that direction with safety. 
He therefore sounded a retreat as quickly as possible, and 
slip] ting gently into some other subject, restored harmony :o 
the hearts of his hearers. He could not, however, avoid feel- 
ing some degree of surprise at such a result ; and after he 
had sat down, he asked of some person who sat next him, a 
stranger, what could be the reason that sentiment about 
Ireland was rece ved with so much coldness ? " Ah, sir !" 
said the other, '* Irishmen and pigs are very unpopular all 
along this line." 

It was singular, though I could perceive that Gerald en- 
joyed himself very much during the evening, and though. 



310 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

the gaiety and freedom of Mr. Moore's manner were calcu- 
lated to put all kinds of formality to flight, he could not 
shake off that constitutional timidity and reserve which was 
so apt to assail him before strangers. He did. it is true, 
take a part in what was going forward, yet he did not. as 
he would have done on a little further acquaintance, fling 
himself into it with all his heart. It is evident that nothing 
could tend more effectually to less m the interest of his con- 
versation than the existence of auysuch feeling, yet I think 
Mr. Moore, though he could not, perhaps, distinguish all 
the light th it was hidden, had too much penetration not to 
see pretty fully into his character ; for. on our visit next 
day. when we chatted over the proceedings of the evening. 

and Mrs. Moore said, " But did you observe last 

night, what wild spirits he was in, and how he did talk ? 
Why, I thought he was mad ! I never saw anything like 
him." ki Oh !" said Mr. Moore, " don't you know the 
meaning of that ? That was," he continued, turning play- 
fully to Gerald, and darting his finger towards him with a 
good-natured smile, " that was in order to get you to talk."' 
Gerald seemed rather taken aback by the suddenness of 
this gentle little reproach, but made no reply. 

We slept in a double-bedded room in the Castle Inn at 
Devizes, and, before finally closing our eyes, spoke of the 
adventures of the day. Gerald, as he laid Ids head upon 
the pillow, said, M Well, nothing astonishes me more than 
the grtatness of the change that has come over me. I re- 
member the time when the bare idea — the very thought of 
spending such a day as this with Moore would have thrown 
m^ into such a fever, that there would not be the least 
chance Oi my sleeping a wink all night; yet, now I have 
s;^n him, and have spent an enchanting day with him, and 
yet I can lie down, not only with the most perfect certainty 
o; 1 -Vicious rest, but with a degree of calmness and qnfot 
that I am myself astonished at." Notwithstanding this 
declaration, it is curious to observe with what a glowing 



VISIT TO MOORE. 3 1 1 

and rapturous feeling he describes this visit to Mr. Moore, 

in a letter written some time after to his friend Mrs. . 

This I have too long kept out of the reader's view ; but it 
contains such remarkable proofs of his keen enjoyment of 
this day, that I dare say Mr. Moore himself, if these pages 
should ever meet his eye, will be surprised at the contrast 
between the appnrent coldness of his manner and the deep 
enthusiasm it exhibits. The letter was written from Taun- 
ton, where he spent some months after having left London. 

To Mrs. . 



Monday morning, March 31, 1833. 
Pitman's, senior, Taunton. 
My dear L., — Procrastination — it is all the fruit of procrasti- 
nation. When Dan and I returned to the inn at Devizes, after 
our first sight and speech of the Irish melodist, I opened my wri- 
ting case to give L an account of our day's work ; then I 

put it off, I believe, till morning ; then, as Dan was returning, 
I put it off till some hour when I could tell you about it at foil 
leisure ; then Saunders and Otley set me to work, and I put it 
off until my authorship should be concluded for the season, at 
least ; and now it is concluded, for I am not to publish this 
year ; and here I come before you with my news, my golden 

bit of news, stale, flat, and unprofitable. Oh, dear L , I 

saw the poet ! and I spoke to him, and he spoke to me, and it 
was not to bid me "get out of his way," as the King of France 
did to the man who boasted that his majesty had spoken to 
him ; but it was to shake hands with me, and to ask me " How 
I did, Mr. Griffin," and to speak of "my fame." My fame ! 
Tom Moore talk of my fame ! Ah, the rogue ! he was hum- 
bugging, L , I'm afraid. He knew the soft side of an 

author's heart, and perhaps he had pity on my long, melancholy- 
looking figure, and said to himself, " I will make this poor 
fellow feel pleasant, if I can," for which, with all his roguery, 
who could help liking him and being grateful to him ? But you 
want to know all about it step by step, if not for the sake of 
your poor, dreamy looking Beltard, at least for that of fancy, 
wit, and patriotism I will tell you, then, although Dan has 
told you before, for the subject cannot be tiresome to an Irish- 
woman — I will tell you how we hired a great, grand cabriolet, 



312 LlfE OF GERALD GMFFiN. 

and set off— no, pull in a little. I should first tell you how 
we arrived at tue mn at Devizes late in tne evening, 1 forget 

»ue exact time, and ordered tea, (tor wnich, by the bye, w e 
had a prodigious appetite, not having stopped to dine in B.;cu 
or Bristol,) when the waiter (a most solid-looking fellow, wuo 
won Dan's heart by his precision and the mathematical exact- 
ness of all his movements) brought us up, amongst other good 
things, fresh butter, prepared in a very curious way. 1 could 
not for a long time imagine how they did it. It was in strin s, 
j ust like vermicelli, and as if tied in some way at the bottom. 
King George, not poor real King George, but Peter Pindar's 
King George, was never more puzzled to know how the apple 
got into the dumpling ; but at last, an applying to the waiter, 
he told us that it was done by squeezing it through a lmen clotu , 
an excellent plan, particularly in frosty weather, wnen it is 
actually impossible to make the butter adhere to the bread on 
account of its working up with a coat of crumbs on the under 
side ; but that's true— Tom Moore — and besides, 'tis unfashion- 
able now to spread the butter, isn't it ? I'm afraid I txpostd 
myself, as they say. Well, w T e asked the waiter ; out came 
the important question, ''How far is Sloperton Cottage 
from Devizes?" "Sloperton. sir? that's Mr. Moore's piaee, 
sir; he's a poet, sir. We do all Mr. Moore's work." What 

ought I to have done, L ? To have hung my arms about 

his neck for knowing so much about Moore, or to have knocked 
him down for knowing so little ? Well, we learned all we 
wanted to know ; and, after making our arrangements for the 
following day, went to bed and slept soundly. And in the 
morning it was that we hired the grand cabriolet, and set off 
to Sloperton ; drizzling rain, but a delightful country ; such a 
gentle shower as that through which Kk looked at Inmsfallen — 
Ins farewell look. And we drove away untd we came to a 
cottage, a cottage of gentility, with two gateways and pretty 
^rounds about it, and we alighted and knocked at the hail 
door ; and there was dead sdence, and we whispered cue 
another; and my nerves thrilled as the wind rustled in rue 

creeping shrubs that graced the retreat of — Moore. Oh ! L , 

there s no use in talking, but 1 must be hue. I wonder I ever 
stood it at all, and 1 an Irishman, too, and singing his songs 
since 1 was the height of my knee — The Veded Propnet , 
Azim ; She is far from, the Land ; Those Evening Bells. Bat 
tae djor opened, and a young woman appeared. "Is Mr. 
Moore at home ?" " I'll see, sir. What name shad I say, sir f 
Well, not to be too particular, we were shown up stairs, where 



"LETTERS. 3 1 "3 

we found the nightingale ui his ca e ; in honester Ian_u : e, 
and more Ifi the purpose, we found our hero in his stauy, .t, 
table before aim covered with books aud papers, a drawer half 
open and stuffed with letters, ' piano also open at a little 
distance ; and the thief himself a little man, but full of spirit, 
with eyes, hands, feet, and frame for ever in motion, looking 
as if it would be a feat for him to sit for three minutes quiet in 
his chiir. I am no great observer of proportions ; but he 
seemed to me to be a neat-made little fullow, tidily buttoned 
up, young as lifteen at heart, though with hair that reminded 
me of the " Alps in the sunset ;" not handsome, perhaps, but 
something in the whole cut of him that pleased me ; finished 
as an actor, but without an actor's affectation ; easy as a 
gentleman, but without some gentlemen's formality ; in a word, 
as people say when they find their brains begin to run aground 
at the fag end of a magnificent period, we found him a hospi- 
table, warm-hearted Irishman, as pleasant as could be himself, 
and disposed to make others so. And is this is enough '( And 
need I tell you that the day was spent delightfully, chiefly in 
listening to his innumerable jests, and admirable stones, and 
beautiful similes— beautiful and original as those he throws into 
his songs and anecdotes, that would make the Danes laugh ? 
and how we did all we could, I believe, to get him to stand 
for Limerick ; and how we called again the day after, and 
walked with him about his little garden; and how he told us 
that he always wrote walking ; and how we came in again and 
took luncheon ; and how I was near forgetting that it was 
Friday (which you know I am rather apt to do in pleasant 
company) ; and how he walked with us through the fields, and 
wished us a " good-bye," and left us to do as well as we could 
without him ? 

And now, after sending this well-graced off the stage, am I 
to keep up my tedious prattle to the end of the aneet 3 I 
believe so. W ell, then, 1 parted from Dan shocking lonesome, 
and came away to London, where Saunders and Otiey set me 
to work for the whole winter, and after bringing three volumes 
to something like a conclusion it has been agreed on all sides 
to postpone its publication to another season. I am still here 
at Taunton, where 1 have spent the greater part oi the tune 
since before Christmas m tne midst of a delightful country. 
Dan writes to me (but I am sorry and ashamed to say too late) 
to hope that I called on Moore's son in London, as Mrs. Moore 
was so good as to propose ; but, procrastination again — the same 
enemy to performance in thk as in some affairs of far greater 



S14 LIKE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

moment. Can yon draw any moral, dear L , from all this 

proci-astination ? 

And now, dear L , am I to conclude this letter, as I 

began, with an excuse for long silence ? Surely not, until I 
have more reason to be dissatisfied with its cause. It is 
pleasanter to tell you how often during the winter my thoughts 
travelled towards your dear circle, though not on paper — how 
often, in recollection. I sat by your fireside, and exchanged my 
own lonesome room for your noisy parlour and drawing-room. 
I will say nothing of former accounts of the health of all 
friends there, as the last are pleasanter. I am glad to hear 

Josey is improving. I heard from T that J arrived in 

London a week after 1 had left it for this place. I left T 

well. He was kind enough to give me a letter of introduc- 
tion to a Mr. Young here ; but I have not had time to 
make use of it. I thought to have left England before now. 
but shall not until after Easter. As to news from Taunton, 
except to give you the dimensions of my room, and to tell j-ou 
at what hours I rise, walk, study, dine, and go to bed, what 
can I have to say in a place where I know nobody except 
an old French priest, who I believe from pure compassion 
sometimes pays me a visit as he takes his noonday walk ! Oh. 

dear L , why didn't you make the Whitefeet behave 

themselves? They have almost made me ashamed of my 
country ; and. general as the outcry is through England at this 
dreadful law* they are making, I am almost tempted to 
wonder that we have any friends at all. when I hear of one 
murder after another committed by these unhappy wretches. 
But I must not touch on politics ; and don't you be offended 
at my calling you to an account about the "Whitefeet. Re- 
member me to S J , and all the young ones that know 

anything ah: ait me. Farewell, and believe me your sincere 
end affection 

Gerald Griffin. 



I proceed with the remainder of his letters to Mrs. 



They are but few in number, and. with the exception of 
one or two to be noticed afterwards, will bring this part 
of his correrpouclence to a clo^e. 



LETTERS. 31-5 

To the samp. 

Pailas Kemy, Saturday. 
My dearest L., — Your last letter found me pleasantly oc- 
cupied, chatting with J and T , and diving into the 

•contents of an American parcel, which we had just received 
from Cork, containing a mail-bag full of letters for Lucy ; out- 
landish-looking capes, mocassins, arrowheads, &c, for her and 
other friends ; and for Gerald — what ? — a pen- wiper ! so, what 

with L 's pen-knife, needle-case, and seal, and the American 

-wiper, I think I am well provided, either as bookmaker or cor- 
respondent. 

1 could not, of course, dear L , leave such a letter as your 

last, l'»ng without an answer. The interest which it shows in 
poor Gerald's fame and prospects is so warm and so generous 
that it would be the height of ingratitude in me to receive it 
silently, although it needed not this to let me know your heart 
towards that luckless author. I would be ashamed, however, 
geriously to set about disclaiming any title to the high place 
which you give me, for I do not think, with all fervour and 
willing blindness of affection, that you cculd long continue in 
the same opinion of poor Gerald's pretensions as an author 
which you express in that letter. I would be ashamed of 

myself, dear L , if I could seriously set about disclaiming 

the praise you give your poor friend ; but your friendship and 
affection are not the less dear to me that they have led you 
into an error of judgment in my favour. Some other time I 
may be able to say more upon this subject ; but at present I 
will only answer my dear friend by saying that, if there were 
no other obstacles, my infirm health and scanty education are • 
impediments that would be sufficient, I believe, to prevent my 
ever reaching any considerable place in literature ; ndr should 
I much regret this now, if heaven in its mercy would still open 
to me some channel, however humble, in which 1 might yet 
turn its gifts to lasting good. But of this enough for the 
present ; nor must dear L— — be angry witn me for not being 
able to say much in answer to her warm-nearted letter. And 

now, why does clear L talk oi reluctance to send her free 

thoughts to her affectionate friend, ana aouot of the spirit in 

which her letter might be received ? How could L doubt 

of the spirit in wnicn such affectionate and generous counsel 
would betaken? rlow could it be taken, except with grati- 
tude, warm gratitude, to the writer, and happiness in the 
thought of possessing a tnend so kind and so interested ? 
I do not agree with you, that no friendship is to be even 



v. 



31f> LITE OF GERALD GRIFF?"*. 

compared to those which are associated with the days of infancy 
and childhood. [t is true that such remembrances must; 
strengthen even the strongest ; but there are occasions when 
our strongest attachments (I retain the word attachments, 
although we are not dogs) are formed late in life, and it some- 
times happens that no previous friendships are comparable to 
those. I believe ' ' even the mother that looked on his child- 
hood" would n^t feel hurt with Campbell for calling the "bosom 
friend dearer than all." Such friendships, it is true, are very, 
very rare ; but they are precious in proportion to their rarity. 
I once thought that I possessed such a treasure, and should be 
sorry to think I had deservedly forfeited it ; I should grieve to 
think I had lost it even undeservedly. Whether I was right 
or wrong in imagining I ever possessed it, time only must de- 
termine. At all events, my opinion of friendship itself shall 
continue unchanged, whatever I may be forced to think of a 

particular case. And now farewell, Madam L . Ever yours, 

Gerald Grlfein. 

It will be observed that several of the most interesting 
and cheerful of these letters occasionally breathe a spirit 
of seriousness quite in unison with the deep religious feeling 
I have described. The lines at the conclusion of the fol- 
lowing, were, I believe, suggested by the circumstance of 

his friends having parted with their residence at Pw d, 

to which they had become much attached. 

To the same. 

Pallas Kenry, August 3, 1S35. 
My dear L., — Since they are all writing from Pallas, I will 
throw in my share ; although, after so long a silence, you may 
think a reason for writing as necessary as with more steady cor- 
respondents a reason for not doing so. I might say a great deal 
bj r way of accounting for that silence, but it is just as well perhaps 
to let it alone ; for if it were excusable, your good nature will 
help me to the apology without any assistance ; and if it be 
entirely faulty, the less that is said in its defence the better. 

I was glad to hear that your residence at S had agreed so 

well with the dear children, and hope to have the happiness 
of seeing their dear faces before winter as blooming as when 
we were together in old times. I hope, too, that you, my dear 
frieud, are amongst the number of those whose health has been 



LETTERS. 317 

improved by the Queen's County air, and that the fit of illness, 

'which we heard if from J , was but of short continuance. 

My own health, jiank God, is pretty good— as good as a poor 
broken-down author of my kind has any right to expect. 

I made two flights from home this summer, of which, for 
want of something better worth your reading in this letter, I 
may give you some account. The first was a delightful trip 

to dear Killarney, in company with Anna, Lucy, M , and 

A G . It is enough to say of this that we found those 

delicious scenes as enchanting as ever. This time we walked 
to the top of Mangerton (girls and all) ; the rest came down as, 
they went up ; but I descended the Horse's Glen with one of 
the guides, and was well repaid for my fatigue by the delightful 
couple of hours I spent in threading my way among rocks and 
heath, through that most wild and lonely of all the lonelj 
glens about Killarney. The view from Mangerton was verj 
fine, and the girls were as proud as need be of their feat. We 
spent the twilight hours on our way home in Mucruss. On the 
lakes, and in the gap, we had the advantage of Spillane's ex- 
quisite bugle. In the gap particularly, on a calm and sun- 
bright evening, his performance was beyond any thing I think I 
ever heard in the way of music. He and the echoes seemed to 
understand one another perfectly, and the reflection of his deli- 
cious notes coming back from all the mountain peaks around 
was beyond description beautiful. He played ever so many 
Irish airs, such as the Meeting of the Waters, Last Hose of 
Summer, &c, and did his part with first-rate feeling and 
genius. This treat was doubly delightful to us, as it was quite 
unexpected. Probably if we had taken him with us on set 
purpose, like any other preconcerted pleasures of this fleeting 
world, it might have ended in total disappointment. Mrs. 

C was at her old station, and hearty and comfortable as 

ever. She made many inquiries for you. I was glad to see 
the smiling old lady alive and well, when I called to mind that 
the cholera had broken out in Killarney the week after my 
last visit. The only victim to it amongst our acquaintances 
there was poor O'Sullivan, the boatman. We had delicious 
weather the whole time. 

After returning to Pallas, M and I got up on an old tax- 
cart, and away with us for Galway. After stopping a night 
or two in the town visiting the skull and cross-bones in Lom- 
bard-street (Anna Blake to wit), and driving some fourteen or 
fifteen mdes along the shores of Lough Corrib, we returned 
through the wilds of Burren and along the northern coast of 
Clare. We visited at evening the lonely abbey of Corcomroe, 



318 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

ft magnificent ruin, gjanding in an almost deserted valley, and" 
surrounded by lofty hills of old gray stone, with scarce even 
a spot of heath or grass of any kind to be seen along their 
barren sides. We came about sunset to a little lonely inlet, 
which we took at first for a lake, until we perceived that it 
was filled with sea water, and stood a long time watching the 
herons and sea birds that were fishing on its banks. This sweet 
spot they told us was the far-famed Pouldoody, " where they 
get the oysthers." To add to the romance of our excursion, 
the wheel of our tax-cart here broke down, and we had to 
accompany it on foot as far as Ballyvaughan, a village on the 
shores of Blackhead Bay, where we had to spend the night. Next 
day we came through Kilfeuora to Enrdstymon, where we left 
our cart to be repaired, and rode double to Miltown. It added 

to my own enjoyment to know that it was the first time M 

had seen the broad Atlantic, or indeed had, as he said him- 
self, properly seen the sea at all. I had not seen Miltown for 
five years before, and now got the first glimpse of the twink- 
ling lights of the lodges on the shore after nightfall. I need 
not tell you how I looked out for all the places which I re- 
membered so well ; for the turn down to the puffing-hole, for 
Glenville, for Pavingstone Bay ; for everything that reminded 
me of friends who were to me as my own ; for scenes that 
were as dear to me as those of my childhood, and for a home 
which was as much my own as ever was parent's or brother's. 
1 had a pang to meet since my return, in seeing in the papers 

the death of my poor friend X , the companion of my early 

literary struggles in London, and next to yourself, dear L , 

though at a long interval, one of those who took the warmest 
interest in my career of authorship. My walk through the 
sand hills reminded me of some lines I had written there when 
we were all at Miltown (though I never gave them to you, for 
some reason or other, perhaps because I did not like them), 
and which I found some time since amongst my papers. I 
send them now, because they were written then, though 
never fmis\ed. I leave you to guess the occasion that sug- 
gested them. 

Because the veil for me is rent f 
An 1 youth's illusive fervour .-,,eut, 
And thoughts of deep ete aity 
Have paled the glow of eirth for me, 
Weaken'd the ties of time and place 
\nd stolen from life its worldly grae 



LITTERS. 310 

Becanse my heart is lightly shaken, 
By haunts of early joy forsake. i; 
Because the sigh that Nature heaves 
F r all that Nature loved and leaves, 
Now to my ripening soul appears 
All sweetly weak, like childhood's teara. 
Is friendship, too, like fancy, vain ? 
Can I not feel my sister's pain ? 
Av, it is past ! where first we met, 
Where Hope reviving thirsted yet, 
Long draughts of blameless joy to drain, 
We never now may meet again. 
At Sabbath noon, or evening late, 
I ne'er shall ope that latched gate. 
And forward glancing catch the whilo 

The ready door and L 's smile; 

I ne'er shall mark that sunset now, 

Gilding dark Cratloe's heathy brow, 

Blushing in Shannon's distant bowers, 

And lighting Carrig's broken towers ; 

No more along that hedgy walk, 

Our hours shall pass in lingering talk ; 

For vanished is the poet-queen, 

Who decked and graced that fairy scene. 

And stranger hands shall tend her flowers, 

And city faces own her bowers. 

" How good Gerald was," I hear you say, "when he wrote 

those lines." I believe I was better then, dear L , than 

for a long time before, and you see I do not now consider my- 
self (jood enough to add anything to them, unfinished as they 
are. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe that your best happi- 
ness and the happiness of all you love is amongst the warnust 
wiaiies of your poor friend, 

Geeald. 

To the same. 

I enclose a ballad* for your perusal and criticism (so get your 
spectacles ready), which I hope may amuse you. Do not risk 
extending my disgrace by showing it to any one else, always, 

of course (in this as in everything beside), excepting J k 

Since I had first the happiness of becoming acquainted with, 
your circle, I uever wrote anything that the thought did not 

* Matt Hyland. 



i 2 ) LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

occur to me, "what you would think of it?' and far, far 
oftener did I ask myself that question than " what would the 
public think of it ?" which many sensible folks might say would 
be a query somewhat more to the author's purpose. In these 
days of what Washington Irving calls " hot hearts and burning 
brains," a man who writes quiet' y is considered to write feebly. 
Be it so. If fame cannot be acquired without putting one's self 
in a passion to get at it, why then, without meaning any dis- 
respect to you, ma'am, fame may go and be hanged ; ay, although 
money were to go and swing along with her. You may per- 
ceive that I have cut out a great deal, and you will say. perhaps, 
that the scissors, after all, were used too sparingly by a fourth, 
or it may be a third ; yet, if there be anything in what remains 
to afford you entertainment, it will — this is growing so like the 
concluding sentence of an old dedication, that I leave you to 
fm.sh it yourself. 

Besides the verses given above, there are one or two 

other pieces of poetry, addressed to Mrs. at different 

times, one of which I will insert here. It is particularly 
interesting, as. besides the tender and earnest friendship to 
which it gives such an eloquent expression, it exhibits 
clrarly those changes of opinion I have been speaking of. 
This is evident in the contrast between the sentiments dis- 
played in the earlier part of the poem and those in the last 
few verses, which were written at a much later period. In 
the first ins.ance, the poem was brought to a conclusion, 
after the fifth stanza, by the exquisite little one which now 
Johns the tenth. I give it just as it appears with these 
fcnaru 8. 



Faded now, and slowly chilling, 

Summer leaves the weeping dell, 
"While, forlorn and all unwilling, 

Here I come to say farewell. 
Spring was green when first I met thee, 

Autumn sees our parting pain ; 
Ni -r, if my heart forget thee, 

Summer shine for me aga n. 



STANZAS.. 321 



Fame invitG3 ! her summons only 

Is a magic spell to me, 
For, when I was sad and lonely, 

Fame it was that gave me thee. 
False she is, her slanderers sing me, 

Wreathing flowers that soonest fade ; 
But such gifts if Fame can bring me, 

Who will call the nymph a shade ? 



Hearts that feel not— hearts half broken, 

Deem her reign no more divine ; 
Vain to them are praises spoken, 

Vain the light that fills her shrine. 
But in mine those joys elysian 

Deeply sink and warmly breathe ; 
Fame to me has been no vision, 

Friendship's smile embalms her wreath. 

IV. 

Sunny lakes and spired mountains, 

Where that friendship sweetly grew— 
Huins hoar, and glancing fountains, 

Scenes of vanish' d joys, adieu ! 
Oh, where'er my steps may wander, 

While my home-sick bosom heaves, 
On those scenes my heart will ponder;. 

Silent, oft, in summer eves. 

v. 

Still, when calm, the sun, down-shining 

Turns to gold that winding tide, 
Lonely on that couch reclining, 

Bid those scenes before thee glide 5 
Fair Killarney's sunset splendor, 

Broken crag and mountain gray, 
And GlengarifF's moonlight tender,. 

Bosomed on the heaving bay.. 

VI. 
3et, all pleasing rise the measura- 
Stemory scon shall hymn- to tht&r 



322 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

' Dull for me no coming pleasure, 

"Waste no joy for thought of me. 
Oh, I would not leave thee weeping, 

But, when falls our parting day, 
See thee hushed, on roses sleeping, 
Sigh unheard, and steal away. 



Additional stanzas, written some time later: 

vn. 
Oh, farewell ! those joys are ended — 

Oh. farewell ! that day is done ; 
Palled in clouds, and darkly blended* 

Slowly sinks our wasted sun. 
When shall we, with souls united, 

See these rosy times return, 
And, in blameless love united, 

View the past, yet never mourn ? 

vm. 
Hues of darker fate assuming, 

Faster change life's summer skiea^ 
In the future, dimly glooming, 

Forms of deadly promise rise. 
See a loved home forsaken, 

Sundered ties and tears for thee.; 
And, by thoughts of terror shaken^ 

See an altered soul in me. 



Sung in pride and young illusion, 

Then forgive the idle strain ; 
Is ow my heart, in low confusion, 

Owns its sanguine promise vain. 
Fool of Fame ! that earthly vision 

Charms no more thy cheated youth» 
And those boasted dreams elysian 

Fly the searching dawn of truth. 

x. 

!Never in those tended bowers — 
Usirer by that reedy stream— 



HIS LATEST PUBLICATIONS. 321 

Lull'd on beds of tinted flowers, 

Young Romance again shall dream. 
Now his rainbow pinions shaking, 

Oh ! he hates the lonesome shore, 
Where a funeral voice awaking, 

Bids us rest to joy no more ! 

XI. 

Yet, all pleasing rise the measure 

Memory soon shall hymn to thee, 
Dull for me no coming pleasure, 

Lose no joy for thought of me. 
Oh, I would not leave thee weeping. 

But, when falls our parting day, 
See thee hush'd, on roses sleeping, 

Sigh unheard, and steal away. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

1838. 
gerald's latest publications— the barber of bantry — 

THE DUXE OF MONMOUTH A TRIP TO SCOTLAND — LETTER TO 

MRS. . — SHORTHAND NOTES OF OUR TOUR — SCENERY ON 

THE CLYDE — HIS ENTHUSIASM ABOUT IT. 

The works which Gerald had published up to this period, 
besides those already mentioned, were the Rivals, th& 
Duke of Monmouth, and Tales of my Neighbourhood. 
The last appeared in 1835, and consisted, for the most part, 
of short pieces, containing, however, one rather long story 
of intense interest, the Barber of Bantry ; the individual 
who thus gave a name to the tale being a somnambulist, 
and a character of a very peculiar turn of mind and great 
originality. There is a scene in this story, which, from its 
nature as well as the mystery attending it, possesses an 
absorbing interest, in which the character I speak of is 
represented as Holding communion with an evil spiiit. In 



324 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

the original manuscript, when he first showed it to me, the 
dialogue between them was prolonged, and the suggestions 
of the evil one pushed to a greater length than in the work 
as it came before the public. Whether he thought the 
parts he cut out were unnatural to the character, or that 
there was something too shocking in the sentiments ex- 
pressed by the demon, I do not know ; but it appeared to me 
that to one like the barber, of a highly sensitive imagination, 
feeding all his life upon metaphysical speculations, and 
driven by the strange and unaccountable results of sleep- 
walking into a superstitious belief in supernatural visita- 
tions, such a vision was very much in character ; parti- 
cularly when we reflect that in all probability those sug- 
gestions, which became more tangible and vivid during his 
sleeping hours, were but the consequences of similar prompt- 
ings arising in his waking hours also from his destitute 
condition. The whole scene has, therefore, been engrafted 
into the present edition, as it stood in the original manu- 
script, the latter having been lately found among the 
author's papers. The Duke of Monmouth was almost the 
only one of his later writings into the subject of which he 
made some effort, as in the Collegians, though after much 
persuasion, to fling himself with all the devotion of a deep 
interest. A considerable degree of restraint was, however, 
still manifest ; but, though his success was not so great as 
in that work, the story abounds with scenes of a most 
affecting description, and the characters are drawn with 
great originality and force. He was a long time at a loss 
how to manage the plot of this tale, the historical fact as 
regarded the heroine, and the infamous cruelty of Colonel 
Kirk in the most harrowing incident in it, being of too 
revolting a nature to be made use of in a work of fiction ; 
the difficulty being, that any alteration made to lessen the 
horror of the transaction would, besides being historically 
incorrect, tend to diminish the infamy of that fiendish 
character^ and therefore weaken the interest of the whole 



LATEST PUBLICATIONS. 325 

scene by placing the heroine in a more honourable posi- 
tion. He, however, eventually contrived to manage the 
matter without lessening the reader's sympathy for the 
sufferer, preserving her reputation by a marriage, which to 
her persecutor was only one of convenience. The sceae of 
the lady's madness is a thrilling and powerful one. 

The last visit Gerald paid to London for the purpose of 
arranging about his works was at this period. While 
there, he lived with the family of a gentleman named 

K , who speaks of him almost with the affection of a 

relative. 

On his return to Ireland, he was unremitting in his atten- 
tion to those studies to which he had lately begun to apply 
himself. In the latter part of the following year (1836) 
he suddenly took a start which gave no small uneasiness 
to his friends. He was missing one day when the family 
were assembled at dinner; nobody could tell what had 
become of him. At length it was discovered that he was 
seen in the early part of the day with a travelling-bag in 
his hand, going towards the rear of the house, where a 
little boy (not one of the domestics) was in attendance, 
apparently by his desire. This was all that was known of 
him. As he had been frequently in the habit of making 
short excursions from home without any previous notice, 
nothing further was thought of it just then ; but when a fort- 
night had passed away without anything being heard of 
him, every one began to be very uneasy. A few days 
more passed away, and their uneasiness was redoubled. 
At length a letter was received from him, addressed to 
Dr. Griffin, and bearing the Calais post-mark, but contain- 
ing no clue by which to discover where he was, or where 
one could address him in return. The letter related to 
some arrangements about his works, which he was anxious 
should not be interrupted by his absence from home ; and 
from something in the manner of it, we were led to suspect 
he was about to take some step which would prolong his 



326 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN 

stay for some considerable time. In fact, from the secrecy 
with which he set out, and his incommunicativeness about it, 
together with the locality from which his letter appeared 
to have come, as well as his having once or twice let fall 
some expressions on the subject, we thought it likely that 
he had visited St. Omers, with some view of taking np his 
residence and prosecuting his studies there. He returned, 
however, in two or three weeks, having visited Paris in the 
mean time. As it seemed his wish to keep the object of 
this trip a secret, no one chose to trouble him further about 
it, and he never alluded to it himself. 

There was so little diversity in his life when at home 
from what I have last described it, that it is not necessary 
to carry the reader into any further detail on the subject. 
There was the same regularity as to time, the same un- 
swerving piety, the same exalted devotion, the same atten- 
tion to what he now considered his literary duties, and the 
same hours of charitable instruction to the poor. There 
was also the same cheerful contentment, the same hours 
given to recreation, and often the same boisterous gaiety 
of heart that I have spoken of before ; such, indeed, as 
would have convinced me, if I had not obtained some 
knowledge of his real desires, that he was satisfied in his pre ■ 
sent condition, and wished for nothing beyond it. 

In the year 1838 I persuaded him to accompany me to 
Scotland. We made a trip to the lakes ; the weather was 
beautiful, and he was in the greatest rapture during the 
whole journey. The following letter, written to his friend 

Mrs. , breathes such an enthusiastic love of poetry, in 

the intense interest it displays for scenes that have now 
long become classic ground, that I am sure it will be accept- 
able. 

To Mrs. . 

Glasgow, May 6th, 1&3S. 
Mr dear L.. — I had intended before leaving home not to 
write to you until I got to the Trosachs, and, secondly to write 



LETTERS. 327* 

c*> you -when I had got there. Of these two praiseworthy inten- 
tions of mine you perceive that the first only has been kept : as 
to the second, when we reached the little inn at the Trosachs, 
where we spent the night, we were so tired with walking, and 
so merry and so talkative, and the sitting-room was so small, 
and our party so numerous (having fallen in with three other 
scenery hunters on our way), and it was so impossible to do 
anything besides sitting by the fire, and talking and laughing, 
and eating eggs and what they called scone, and drinking tea, 
and thinking of where we were, that writing a line was a thing 
out of the question, and not to be accomplished. And now, to 
give some little snatches of our proceedings. We had a hor- 
rible drive from Stirling (by the way, Stirling — oh ! if I could 
but give you the remotest idea of the enchanting prospect from 
the battlements of the old castle and the walk round the hill ; 
- every peep from the embrazures where the artillery ought to 
be, or was, but is not, — a perfect gem, an exquisitely finished 
picture) ; but we had, as I say, a horrible drive from Stirling 
(and what adds to the charm of the view I speak of is, that it 
is not only an exquisite landscape, but it is Bannockburn be- 
eides) ; we had, as I say, a horrible drive from Stirling (can I 
ever tear myself away from the recollection of it ?) in an atro- 
cious vehicle called a droshy, as far as the romantic, lonely, 
mountain-girt village of Callander, where we got rid of our 
abominable drosky, and had a most delightful evening walk of 
About ten miles along the margin of Loch Venacher and Loch 
.Achray, at the western extremity of which the far-famed pass 
of the Trosachs commences. The sight of Loch Venacher was 
most welcome, as the first though not the loveliest of these 
lakes ; yet it has beautiful scenery ; but the mountains — the 
first glimpse of them was delicious, they reminded one so of 
other mountains nearer home, and dearer for many associa- 
tions ; not that they at all equal the Killarney mountains, 
either in elevation or in outline, but they were the same hind 
of scenery, and something of the same feeling was awakened at 
the sight of them. On the Brig of Turk — 

(And when the Brig of Turk was won, 
The headmost horseman rode alone) — 

on the Brig of Turk I caught a water -lizard, which I have yet 
living in a bottle ; but what is the use of following our route 
step by step, when all this scenery must be known to you al- 
ready, from a thousand descriptions ? On reaching the inn, I 
.vas so impatient to see the Trosachs, that I proposed a walk to S» 



^28 LIFE OF GERALD GRTFFHT. 

■Loch Katrine while the room was being prepared for ua. The 
evening was favourable, but I had not advanced far into the 
pass when I could observe the immense difference which the 
season must make to such scenery. It is so thickly furnished 
with trees that (unlike the passage between the upper and lower 
1 :kes of Killarney) more than half the charm is lost when these 
•ire bare of foliage, and there 4s not boldness of outline any- 
where sufficient to compensate for the absence of verdure. 
However, it was the Trosachs, and we were happy to be there. 
We did but wait to catch a glimpse of the little land-locked 
basin which forms the eastern extremity of Loch Katrine, and 
from which, enclosed as it seems on all sides by steep and al- 
most overhanging heights, one could form no idea of the real 
extent of the whole — a peculiarity which you may remember 
is very beautifully and skilfully described in the Lady. We 
returned" to our inn, -reserving the full feast of the eyes till the 
following morning. And what a feast it was ! And what a 
morning it wa3 ! And what a never-to-be-forgotten-but-always- 
vath-eqiial-feelings-of-o.elight ; to-be-remembered-day it was al- 
together ! On Iboking out of our bedroom window, before six 
o'clock in the morning, we were both astonished to see no 
Loch Achray before us, on the margin of which our caravcmsera 
stood, and of which, as we believed, the said window com- 
manded an extensive view. After gazing long, and coming to 
the conclusion that the lake was not there, we observed a bluish 
tinge on what seemed the base of the opposite mountain, ex- 
tending across the intervening valley towards where we were ; 
and it was after much discussion we decided more correctly 
than befure that this faint bluish haze was the lake itself, and 
that nearly half the landscape we beheld was but a reflection 
of the rest ! You may judge from this of the clearness of the 
water, and the perfect stillness of the morning, and you may 
then carry your imagination farther, and think what a morning 
it was- to take boat upon Loch Katrine. What aided the illu- 
sion above spoken of (and a perfect illusion it was) was, that 
that the height of the mountain shut out every glimpse of the 
sky, the slightest - gleam of which upon the water would, of 
ci'urse, have betrayed the whole. JLoch Katrine was so calm, 
a:id the reflection of the mountains in its waters so distinct and 
motionless, that it was sometimes literally impossible for us on 
looking at the shore to tell where the reality ended and the 
reflection began. On running up the steps into Ellen's Island 
(which, like the islands in the upper lake of Killarney, is rather 
elevated), a cutluti arose from the spot on which an imitation of 



•LETTERS. S29 

'the "Lady's "bower (a3 described in the poem) had stood until 
within a twelvemonth, when it was burnt down by the care- 
lessness of some cigar-smoking visitor ; so that I was somewhat 
in luck, and watched her with classical interest, as with clas- 
sical taste she directed her flight to Ben Venue. Who will say, 
" What's in a name ?" If it were not for the words cushat and 
Ben Venue, what would there be worth telling in seeing a 
wood-pigeon rise from a little islet and fly towards a barren 
mountain ? — barren, thanks to the Duke of Montrose, who cut 

down and -sold the trees — bad manners to , but I won'/ 

curse. There are some tolerable echoes here, but nothing to 
the dear aychoes of Killarney ; but sorrow an aigle did we see 
at all, except a lazy fellow who was eating carrion on the pier 
of a gate at Callander, and one on a sign-post at Stirling. It is 
plain by my waxing facetious that my romance is oozing away ; 
eo I do not consider myself in a worthy humour to dweU on the 
details of our walk from the head of Loch Katrine across the 
mountains to Invernaid, where we breakfasted on tea, eggs, 
and oaten cake, and from whence we embarked in the steamer 
for Dumbarton. The day continued beautiful, and the lofty 
mountain scenery about the head of Loch Lomond, and the 
many wooded isles and cultivated points of land by which it 
is diversified lower down, kept our interest alive throughout 
'the day. It is, of course, from its great extent, of a very dif- 
ferent character from those lakes which we had visited in the 
morning, but has beauty and magnificence of its own, if it has 
not the remote and lonely and romantic character of the fairy 
land about Loch Katrine. What added to our amusement was 
the disappointment of a little red-headed Edinburgh school- 
master, who was going about the deck, and asking us from time 
to time, " Well, arn't you tired of it ? I'm tired of it this long 
time ;" and he proved his sincerity by taking coach and starting 
away home to Auld Reekie, as soon as we reached the Paisley 
railroad, pretesting that he would not go back the same way u 
he were to be paid all the money it had cost him to come. And 
he was a poet, too, and had written songs, which were set to 
music, as he told us, by A. Lee, of London. I forgot to men* 
tion that we were delighted with Edinburgh. I had no idea 
what a place it is. It is far the most beautiful city I have ever 
fieen. Love to all. Ever your affectionate 

Gerald Griffin. 

He had a little book during the journey, in which he 
•made notes in the form of a diary. He had at this time 



330' LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN 

taken up the practice of shorthand writing, which he bad 
never taken the trouble to learn before ; and it seemed 
partly for the purpose of exercising himself in this art that 
he adopted the idea of keeping a journal. With this view 
he put down everything that came before him, a circum- 
stance which makes his diary so ridiculously loquacious and 
minute, that it is on this account alone veiy curious. When 
translated into ordinary language, it covered a considerable 
quantity of paper. It will not be possible, therefore, to 
give more than a certain number of extracts from it. I 
have selected such as I thought would give some idea of its 
random and thoughtless character, together with some others 
which seemed interesting. 



Shorthand Notes of a Trip to ScMland. 

Started for the canal-boat five minutes before six, and arrived 
just in time to be late by about two minutes, which vras quite 
enough. Started again by the car, and overtook her at Clon- 
lara. Found on board a home -missionary man, with a hooked 
nose and quaker-cut coat ; a pleasant looking fellow with spec- 
tacles ; a widow lady, who spent most of her time reading 
Thomas a Kempis and Challoner's Meditations ; a man with a 
Kerry brogue, a mackintosh, and huge gloves, with one bag in 
each to hold the whole four fingers, and another little one for 
the thumb, and who I afterwards found was " governor" of a 
Kerry gaol, and father of a young man who had also a Kerry 
brogue and a mackintosh, but gloves of the ordinary kind. 
They were going to Dublin in charge of convicts. There was 
also a ycung lady, who seemed under the wing of the home- 
missionary man, and a middle-aged one, who talked a great deal 
to him, and, as I perceived, had a temperance paper in her work- 
basket. Nothing worth noticing in the way of adventure till 
we reached Killaloe, where we got on board the Lansdowne 
steamer and breakfasted. Beautiful scenery about Killaloe — 
delicious sweep of the shore — mountains which reminded one 
of the upper lake of Killarney, though on a smaller scale in- 
deed, particularly Ballyvalley — islands — ruins — round tower — 
gentlemen's seats — all enchanting. The day continual sunshine 
and calm since we left home. 



TKIP TO SCOTLAND. Co i< 

"Went into the engine-room, where the engineer-very civii y 
|ave us a most interesting lecture on pistons and cylinders, 
&c, &c. Went into the convicts' cabin — found eight of them 
chained two and two by the legs, able-looking fellows ; soma 
of them, as the pleasant -looking fellow with the spectacles told 
63, for murder, others for robbery, sheep-stealing, &c. They 
were comfortably dressed in the convicts' suit of gray frieze, 
with good shoes and stockings Day freshening — no adven- 
ture. Portumna : changed steamers. It is too soon to be cor- 
recting eirata, but I find the huge gloves without fingers do 
not belong to the "Kerry governor," but to an elderly man 
with an old camlet cloak, whom I forgot to notice. Passing 
Lough Derg, the helmsman pointed out Clown Tine (the hill of 
the fire), on the top of which is a bog and lake, which the peo- 
ple thought had no bottom, until one of the company's engineers 
got a little boat made and carried it up to the top on purpose 
to try it, taking with him five hundred fathoms of line, but 

he found it only twenty feet at the deepest. Seats : Mr. P 's, 

Captain H 's, Lord A — v — 's. The latter used to sail about 

here (they say) in a pleasure-boat, while a servant followed in 
another pleasure-boat behind him, tacking as his master tacked, 
and keeping a proper distance. I must stop writing, the cabin 
is so small in this little steamer, and the people are so silent. I 
fear they are all watching me. The pleasant man in the spec- 
tacles seems particularly to have an eye on me. The middle- 
aged lady has ceased talking to the home -missionary man, and 
is dozing asleep, and the widow lady and the true owner of the 
gloves are following her example. I asked the engineer in the 
Lansdowne whether he did not find the engine-room very 
unwholesome? He said he did, but that a little whiskey or 
porter now and then made it tolerable to him. This seemed 
like, " Very hazy weather, Mr. Noah ;" but as I was not pay- 
master, I pretended not to hear him. The squire of the con- 
victs fears lest an attempt should be made to rescue them in 
Eassing the bog of Allen. A young man in a brown coat with 
gured brass buttons has just given us the pleasing intelligence 
that this boat was attacked there once before. I think he is a 
Tory, though, for he is reading very attentively an article in 
Blackwood, headed " Canada and Ireland ;" and he seems very 
unwilling to hear anything in favour of the convicts, so there 
are hopes we may pass the bog, after all. He and the home- 
missionary man are getting up a kind of side-wind against 
Lord Mulgrave, and the man with the huge gloves is starting 
another side-wind in his favour. The ladies have taken up 
their work, the side- winds are dropned, politics won't take ; 



332 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

the man with the huge gloves gave us an account of the con- 
victs, and says some of them expect to have their sentencea 
commuted. The young fellow with 4:he brass buttons says it 
is a bad system, commuting punishment after sentence, to which 
the man with the huge gloves replies, pertinently enough, that 
they can't be commuted before it, a fact which there is no gain- 
saying. The home -missionary man has got a fashion of laugh- 
ing at almost every sentence he say3 himself, which is a great 
deal oftener than others seem inclined to do. The man with 
the huge gloves has just asked me to lend him the "Lord of the 
Isles," but finding it to be poetry, he has already skipped it all, 
and is trying to divert niniself as well as he can with the notes 
at the end of the volume. 

Tullamore canal-boat, morning. — Hard frost and plenty of 
.'/litics all night. The " governor" seems most anxious to have 
. da prisoners in Dublin without any marks of quarrelling on 
the way, such as black eyes or bloody noses, or torn clothes, 
&c, that he may be able to leave tnein " in proper condition." 
He finds the best way to prevent their quarrelling is to speak 
mildly to them and advise them.; promising to give tnem a 
character, when they arrive, for good and peaceable conduct 
on the way. He says he finds it very easy to persuade them 
this way, when speaking roughly would not be of the least use. 
One town fellow, he says, is harder to manage than a boat-load 
of countrymen ; "one of them is enough to corrupt a whole gaol /" 
His anxiety to have them free from blemish on getting to Dud- 
lin is amusing enough. A dinner in Ireland generally reveals 
people's religion. I perceive that they all eat meat (it was 
Friday) except a lady near us. A disputation arose about wine 
and whiskey, and a gentleman mentioned, that better wine is 
to be got in Dubbin than is to be had anywhere in England. A 
great debate on temperance societies last night, which did not 
lead to much. The home-missionary man of course had lots to 
■ay on the subject, but not much came oi it. What was most 
curious was to hear them all choose the very moment when 
they had ordered whiskey-punch to rail at the peasantry for 
drinking it. There was one of the disputants, in particular, who 

eeemed uncommonly well primed. 1 believe Mr. M (the 

pleasant fellow with the spectacles) is an attorney. In tne 
course of the political discussion, a gentleman near me, with a 
blue top-coat buttoned up to the chm, ana who had not said 
one word during the discussion, suddenly called out to nav« 
politics discontinued, "as we ail had our opinions fixed, and 
u might lead to unpleasant consequences" — "»me people felt 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 33$ 

strangely on these subject's" — and " it was rather hazardous." 
Not one word more did my brave hero speak for the rest of the 
night, so that politics were not the only subjects on which W9 
were not to have the pleasure of hearing his sentiments. The 

youth with the figured brass buttons is named B . He is 

just whistling between his teeth to beguile the time. The 

governor and his son are named M . I find the man who 

is guarding the prisoners, with the blue ceat and red collar, is 
the turnkey. 

The breakfast reminds me of an accident which once happened 
to me in the same boat. We were all at breakfast, when I, 
finding the unevenness of the table inconvenient, endeavoured 
to remedy it by fixing the crank under both leaves together, in 
loing which 1 drew it from under one, upsetting all the teacups, 
fcggs, and plates into the laps of the company. Such a scene of 
confusion I never witnessed, and the best of it was no one could 
tell who did it. * * * * A dissertation on the round towers, but 

no new light thrown upon the subject. Mr. M- said what 

I did not feel inclined to admit, that so early as the first century 
they were mentioned as a matter of speculation in an old Irish 
manuscript ; he is p ">t certain if it was the book of Cashel, but 
I am pretty nearly ure that it was not. We had rather a dis- 
tant view of Mayn >oth College ; wonderful to relate, we passed 
it without a word «aid against the priests or the government j- 
perhaps, because, for a wonder, nothing was said about either. I 

In the night it became cold, and there was]a call for fire. One 
gentleman had lain down upon the floor to sleep. The steward 
entered with a fiery pan full of coals in the dark (for our canclle3 
were put out). Not seeing this gentleman on the floor, he laid 
the pan down, so near nis face, that he was awakened by tha 
heat, and started up in horror and confusion at seing a huge fire 
an inch or two above his head. He was furious enough when. 
he found now it occurred. 

Dublin, Saturday. — About eleven o'clock got a car and drove 
directly to the steamer, the Arab, where we left our things, 
and went out to ramble through the city till six, the hour when 
she was to sail. We visited the Carmelite Friary, in Westland- 
row, a very fine and spacious building in the form of a cross, 
but yet unfinished , the Metropolitan, in Marlborough-street, 
a building more in the style of the Parisian churches, with a 
Handsome marble altar, which cost 1000 guineas. We next 
visited the Jesuit's College, in Gardiner-street, a very pretty, 
what is called, T chapel, with a splendid organ which cost £1300. 

Came on board the Arab again. One of the first things which 



$3 4 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

I heard, which reminded me where I was going, was hearing 
some one ask where was Miss Brace's Lodge. The cabin is 
beautifully fitted up with pictures and sculptures of Arabs and 
their horses, in all directions, and lots of plate and gilding. We 
tossed so much on passing Howth, that I calculated on passing 
a very bad night with sea- sickness, and went at once to my 
berth about seven o'clock, when I soon fell asleep, and, thank 
God, was not sick at all, though the night .was very rough, as 
I afterwards learned. I woke at four, and got up at six ; it was 
rather rainy when I went on deck, but the fresh sea air was 
delightful ; on my right and left a rather low coast, which I 
was told was Ayrshire, and it was only after looking at it 
fondly for some time, and thinking of poor Bums, with tears in 
my eyes, that I found I had been spending my enthusiasm 
upon the coast of Wigton. There is a young Dane on board, 
who is going, as he told me, to travel in Scotland ; he says the 
travelling is pretty good in Prussia ; he spoke a good deal of 
the unfairness of England giving Norway away to Sweden. 
The Norwegians, he says, are much discontented at the change; 
they dislike the Swedes exceedingly. There is a part of Nor- 
way bordering on Sweden, where the accent of the Norwegians 
very nearly resembles that of the Swedes ; and in this district. 
he says, you can hardly offer a greater injury to the feelings of 
a Norwegian than to ask him if he is a Swede. 

We passed Ailsa Crag, a huge conical rock, 1090 feet high, 
with an old castle. On the eastern side there is a point of low- 
land, formed by alluvial deposits from the beating of the sea to 
the west. The north-west side of the crag is much more pre- 
cipitous. There is good feeding for goats on the side. Left 
Ailsa (famous for Burns' simile, u Meg was deaf as Ailsa Crag,") 
behind us. We soon came in sight of the picturesque coasts of 
Arran Island ; the part about Lanilash and Brodick Bay is par- 
ticularly striking. Lamlash Island is a craggy hillock rising 
abruptly out of the sea, like Ailsa, but nothing near so high. 
More to the left lies Brodick Bay, from which Brace started to 
the shore of Carrick on the opposite mainland, where the super- 
natural beacon was lighted for the occasion, as described in the 
" Lord of the Isles." I had been looking for some time at a 
huge mountain to the north, the snowy peaks of which were 
lighted by the sun, before I discovered that it was no other than 
Benghoil, or Goat-field. 

u The sun, ere yet he sunk behind 
Benghoil, the mountain of the wind, 
Gave his grim peaks a greeting kind, 
And bade Lough Ranza smile." 



•TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 6jV 

Jk-nd tbe pretty description of evening that follows. Lougn 
Ranza we did not see, as it lies more to the north. I referred 
to the poem for the passage to which I allude, and showed it to 
the Dane, who made a note of it. I asked him if he was inter- 
ested about Scotland. He said, yes ; he was acquainted " vifc. 
Valtaire Scott's writings, and liked them vary mush." He said' 
he had got an unfavourable idea of them at first, from having 
begun with the " Monastery," in which he found too much) 
about " dat vite gnost," (the white lady of Avenal,) but after- 
wards he read Kenilworth and part of Waverley, which he ad« 
mired very much indeed. 

'• Valtaire Scotfs vork3" (he says) are translated in Denmark 
and Norway. He was at a loss about the provincialisms, until 
a young lady at Leeds, who was herself a "Scot," explained 
the idioms to him, after which he began the volume again. He 
learned the language with very much " pains," he said, in the 
beginning, by translating Addison, and writing it again into 
■English, so that he acquired a very tolerable knowledge of the 
language in five months. I remarked his physiognomy as some- 
what approaching the Laplander : eyes far apart and very taper- 
ing chin, the colour of his eyes very light — " blue- eyed race." 
I quite forgot to call him to account about the conduct of his 
ancestors in Ireland. A young Irishman on board the steamer, 
on hearing he was a Dane, asked him if he knew the Copen- 
hagen waltz. He said yes, there were several ; and, upon my 
whistling that which we knew by the name above mentioned, 
he burst out laughing, and said, " Oh, yes ; he knew that very 
well, and many others likewise ; they were fond of dancing in 
Denmark." We now coasted along the Island of Bute, where 
poor Kean had his cottage, and ran rapidly up the Clyde, the 
scenery of which is far from uninteresting, particularly on the 
northern side. The mountains and locks, or fiords, as they call 
them in Norway, are highly picturesque. 

The hasty notes which he made in passing through these 
scenes, give no idea of the feeling with which he viewed 
them. I never saw anything like his transport when the 
scenery described in the " Lord of the Isles" first greeted 
his eyes. He ran to me as I stood on the deck, tapped 
me two or three times quickly on the shoulder, with that 
subdued eagerness that only made his delight the more evi- 
dent, and pointing to the moimtains, while a gentle enthu- 



333 LIFE OF GEEALD GRIPFItf*- 

siasm kindled in his eyes and lit up his whole countenance, 
he repeated the lines above quoted. 

April 2*2nd. — Greenock. — In this little outport of Glasgow 
I set foot on Scottish soil, for the first time in my life, on Sun- 
day, the above date. What struck me as most characteristic 
were the crowds in the streets- returning from and going to 
church, all of whom maintained such a degree of silence, that 
though the streets were full of people, not a sound was to be 
heard but the incessant march of feet, and the low voices of 
the people, conversing as they passed. No equipages but one 
little "noddy," or one-horse chaise, like the Bristol "fly." 
They have a curious fashion of wearing their crape when in 
mourning, with a great tail behind the hat, which looks 
hideous in the extreme. It is always in bad taste to carry any 
local peculiarity or custom to an extreme which could not be used 
elsewhere. Now one of these heroes, with his long tail of 
crape behind his hat, could no more make his appearance in 
London than he could with a queue to his hair. There are 
several kirks in Greenock, and we thought the people would 
never have done going to or coming from them. We went 
into one after the people had left. It was all divided off into 
pews, with bibles lying in front, or prayer-books. At one end 
was a pulpit and reading-desk, over which was a very beautiful 
stained-glass window. We went up to the top of the hill 
which was close behind Greenock, and I took out a lucifer.- 
match and set fire to a little furze bush, which made a tolerable 
61aze, but did not spread far, owing to the damp. The evening 
was beautifully calm, and the view of the Clyde and the oppu- 
site shore, with the Duke of Argyll's castle in the distance, 
the boats and ships underneath on the quiet, glassy river, a 
steamer now and tnen running down from Glasgow for passen- 
gers, and Greenock close beneath us, with its spires ami 
numerous chimneys of the cotton factories, formed a picture 
well worth seeing and remembering. When we came down to 
the steamer again, most of the passengers had gone up to 
Glasgow in a small steamer. About half-a-dozen remained 
like ourselves, who were not in a hurry, and preferred waiting. 
Among those who remained was an old Scotch officer, who 
had been out of his country, as he told us, for thirty-eight 
years, most part of which he spent in Ireland. He kept st 
perpetually praising Scotland, and boasting of their wealth 
aid industry, and telling us how we woald admire them, that 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. Oo7 

I felt a prejudice rising against everything Scotch before he 
had done, which I have not yet got rid of, It seemed as if 
he praised his country and his countrymen to gratify his own 
feelings, without caring or seeing what effect he produced on 
his hearers. I do abominate these long tails of crape which are 
so fashionable among the crowds here ; it is a combination of 
the lugubrious and ridiculous, which is anything but agreeable. 
I wish I were a good draughtsman, that I might havp taken 
views of Ailsa and Benghoil, as well as other scenery on the 
Clyde, and, among the islands, Lamlash Islands The colour- 
ing of Ailsa struck me as particularly well adapted for the 
pencil. The stratification is perpendicular, chiefly, to all 
appearance, composed of basalt and quprt?. In the morning 
we started again, at half -past eight o'clock, for Grlasgw, where 
we arrived about half-past ten, April 23rd. The scenery, 
as wc came up the river, is still interesting, particularly about 
Dumbarton. The rock and castle of that name, on the north 
side of the stream, form a very picturesque and striking 
object. A crag almost, or altogether, of equal height rose 
within a short distance of the rock, further up the river. We 
breakfasted on board, and had a rather vehement argmnem; 
about the Irish peasantry ; the old Scotch officer and Captain 

<) , of the Arab, running them down, and some Irish doing 

the same ; others taking their part. It is surprising how much 
prejudice prevails with respect to questions of Irish policy. In 
the course of a few minutes, more untruths were uttered by 
persons, apparently having no interest in falsifying the facts 
of the case, than it would be easy to imagine. I observed the 
Scotch steward and other attendants at table were much 
diverted at the vehement manner of the old Scotch captain, 
who let out more of the no-popery-mzxi and Conservative than he 
thought proper to show during the course of the voyage before. 
Our Dane left us at the Paisley railroad station. The number 
of steamers we met going up the river spoke well for the trade 
of Glasgow. During almost the whole way up, tne old captain, 
unmercifully pointed out everything he thought commendable, 
making no difficulty whatever of contrasting it with the state 
of Ireland and Irishmen, in such a manner that it really was 
a relief when he was good enough to hold his tongue. 

This captain resembled the old Scotch officer in the ex- 
cess of his partiality for everything Scotch. It was amus- 
ing to see the degree to which he carried it. As we 
approached Glasgow, Gerald was astonished at the sight 

Y 



5"3S LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

of the dense black cloud with which it is usually covered. 
" Goodness me ! did any one ever see such a cloud ? what 
blackness !" " Industry, sir," said the captain ; " industry 
— all the effects of industry." He was once, however, 
thrown into a little dilemma. Four or five people were at 
work in a field, as we passed. " Now, look at those people, 
sir, how they work! if Irishmen were in their places now, 
they would rest on their spades, and keep gazing at us until 
we were gone." " Which of the parties do you mean ?" 
said Gerald, observing that four or five others, who had 
escaped .the captain's notice, had left their spades, and 
were seated in the sunshine, enjoying a pleasant conver- 
sation ; " do you mean those I see chatting there with 
their backs to the hedge ?" " Ah !" said the captain, look- 
ing a little puzzled, " they're resting themselves, poor fel- 
lows : they do work so hard here !" 



CHAPTER XV. 

1838. 

•t 

. -NTINUATION OF TOUR — GLASGOW — FALKIRK — LrXLTTHGOW — 

EDINBURGH REMARKS OX BURNS ' MONUMENT — HOLYROOD 

HOUSE APARTMENTS PORTRAIT OF DAVID RlZZrO MTXIATURB 

OF QUEEN MARY — REMARKS OX READING CHARACTER — BOTANIC 
GARDENS — SLIGHT ILLNESS — REFLECTIONS. 

I proceed with the extracts from the little book of short- 
hand notes, which now lead us to scenes of a somewhat 
deeper interest. 

The Clyde narrows very much as it approaches Glasgow ; in 
feet, it is said to be completely artificial, and the improvement 
of the banks is still going on. A large floating dock is a great 
desideratum at Glasgow. It was cruel to see a couple of fine 
l'arje steamers lying'aground near the quays. The atmospherr 






I 



rap to Scotland; 339 

*wer Glasgow looks one dense mass of smoke. It seemed much 
worse that way than even the neighbourhood of Wednesbury 
and Wolverhampton, in England. We found the regulation of 
porters very satisfactory in Glasgow ; they are all badged and 
numbered, and are usually made accountable for any attempt at 
imposition. We visited Hob Roy's Tower, at the head of High- 
street, a curious old building, running to a great height, and 
the Saut Market, famous for its association with the name of 
Baillie Nicol Jarvie. Went to the Exchange, a fine building in 
the Corinthian style, where, by a truly liberal arrangement, 
strangers are entitled to all the privileges of subscribers for ons 
month, by entering their names in a book kept at the bar ; an 
arrangement worthy of imitation in other places where stran- 
gers are little accommodated. Amongst other matters which 
the little Dane spoke of before he left the ship, was the bank- 
ruptcy of Walter Scott by building bis house. He thought it 
very right of the nation to have purchased Abbotsford for his 
children, and alluded to Eoscoe, of Liverpool, who was treated 
so differently. He had seen, he said, a little poem of his to his 
books, which " vas varry neat and melancholy. ?> Glasgow is a 
complete city of business ; there are scarcely half-a-dozen pri- 
vate carriages to be seen in the whole town, if so many ; a few 
one-horse noddies are let out for hire. The hewn stone, of 
which all the new houses are built, and which darkens in pro- 
cess of time, and probably by smoke, gives them an appearance 
of neatness and elegance. In the street one meets continually 
the young students of the University, with their black caps and 
loose red cloaks, which are of coarse red cloth, and not over 
clean, so that they have anything rather than a graceful effect. 
Barefoot children not rare in Glasgow, and fine grown young 
women, well enough dressed otherwise, but without shoes or 
stockings. In speaking about Sir Walter Scott's imprudence 
about money matters, the Dane said it was always the case with 
authors : they were always in debt ; that he had seen many 
authors in Denmark also, very clever men, but always in debt. 
We visited the University to-day : it is a venerable old house ; 
the Hunterian Museum, a very interesting collection made by 
Dr. William Hunter. By a curious oversight, or piece of neglect, 
there is a very large collection of anatomical r reparations,- of 
which nothing can be made, as they were left without a list or 
labels, . There were several exceUent pictures of English and 
Italian masters in the upper rooms, and autograph letters of 
Benjamin Franklin and Washington, as well as -the original 
document by which Fothergill and others boumi themselves to 



j40 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

pay £10 and £5 a-year, to enable Priestley to make his experi- 
ments on air, by -which he was to make his celebrated dis- 
coveries. 

Went to the University to-day, Thursday, April 24th, to see 
the medical students " capped," that is to say, gifted with 
medical degrees. The yard of the University was filled with 
red-cloaked and black-dressed medical students. At twelve 
o'clock all were summoned to a great room of the building up one 
flight of stairs, where, at a table, were seated Dr. M'Farland, 
Principal of the College, Drs. Badham, Cumming, Cooper, &c. 
The beadle of the University, with a written list in his hand, 
called over the names of those who were candidates for medical 
degrees, when each, answering to his name, came forward, and 
they ranged themselves in a circle round the room. Then the 
candidates for masters in surgery ranged themselves in a smaller 
circle round the table. Then the Principal read the oath in 
Latin, in which they bound themselves " not to poison anyone, 
but, on the contrary, to give them good and wholesome medi- 
cine : also to keep what secrets should be intrusted to them, in 
confidence and strict silence.*' During the reading of this oath, 
all held up their bar? as, and repeated it sentence for sentence 
after him. All then knelt and offered a short prayer also in 
Latin ; he then went down, and laid a cap on the head of each 
in succession, during which ceremony there was much titter- 
ing amongst the ill-behaved spectators ; but nothing could for 
one moment shake the imperturbable gravity of the Principal. 
After the word? c< et dexteras conjungere," he went round and 
shook hands with them all, one after another, with a somewhat 
more smiling countenance than he had on "capping" them. 
There were eighty-eight doctors and about twenty surgeons 
received degrees that da}''. After the ceremony, all approached 
the table, and entered their names in a book kept for that pur- 
pose. There is a good picture of the martyrdom of Stephen in 
the room, and also a very good entombment of our Saviour. 
Portraits of distinguished people are hung round the room, and 
five or six tolerable busts of distinguished men are placed on a 
table a« the end next the door where the strangers entered. 
i he " capping" was over, we went to see the Botanical 
A, said to contain the finest collection of plants in Europe, 
i this way passed two or three hours most delightfully. 
There is a mosc interesting collection of ferns, of heath, of cacti, 
&c Camelias were in beautiful blow in several places, the 
it's foot from the Cape of Good Hope, &c. On the way 
to the gardens are some handsome streets and rows of new 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 341 

houses in a crescent, which might be compared with that at 
Bath, all built of that freestone which is so abundant here. I 
observe, however, that walls built of freestone are apt to crack, 
but whether this be a serious disadvantage or not I know not. 
In the Hunterian Museum at the University we saw a banner 
of the Covenanters, which was displayed at the battle of Both- 
well Brig, and a hat found the day after the battle, a shining 
oil-cloth affair. 

On the morning of the 26th, we left Glasgow by the canal 
boat. We left Port Dundee at nine o'clock in the mornirg. 
The cabin and steerage were both full. In the latter was a 
fiddler, who kept us alive, and sung a Scotch song to a very 
beautiful air, which I was wishing very much to pick up. He 
came on board on speculation, to see what he could pick up 
amongst the passengers. There were some very pretty girls, 
with Scotch features, blue-eyed and fair. We have seen a great 
many people in mourning since we came. The hideous tails 
do not appear to be so much worn at Glasgow as at Greenock. 
The judges came into town while we were there. I admired 
very much the expression of the Scotch girls' countenances — 
pleasing, mild, and simple, harmonising agreeably with their 
light coloured eyes, and fresh, untroubled features. View cf 
Falkirk — Wallace wight : 

And the sword that was meet for archangel to wield, 
Was light in his terrible hand. 

Falkirk reminds one of the beautiful lines of Miss in the 

poem called the Fate of Falkirk. A red-haired girl opposite 
me has some gold fish in a tin vessel with holes in the cover. 
I thought at first in was a carrot floating about. The number 
of red-haired people here is remarkable. We are now approach- 
ing Linlithgow. 

Of all the palaces so fair, 

Built for the royal dwelling, 
In Scotland, far beyond compare, 
Linlithgow is excelling. 

i 
We continued to see the Frith from time to time ail along. 
Linlithgow is a tolerable-sized town. The castle, in which 
Mary Queen of Scots was born, is situated on an eminence, which 
commands a view of Loch Lithgow. It is still the palace. 
The country around is hilly and well cultivated. As we 
reached the canal boat office a poor woman and her little son 



S^c2 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

welcomed us with a Scotch, ballad, to the air of "Welcome 
here again : ; ' 

Welcome home, my bonnie lassie, 
Welcome home, my bonnie lassie. 

Some one threw her a halfpenny, which I thought she deserved. 
In Loch Lithgow is a little islet, with a single tree in the 
middle. Poor Mary ! What a sweet scene this must be in 
summer. Poor, poor Mary ! Who can look on the quiet old 
ruin and its adjoining graveyard, and think of all that has hap- 
pened, and all that has been written about it in both verse and 
prose, without feeling the tears starting into his eyes ? Poor, 
I dot Mary ! Yes, indeed, 

Of all the palaces so fair, 

Built for the royal dwelling, 
In Scotland, far beyond compare, 

Linlithgow is excelling. 

Wooded valleys and hills abound on either side and in every 
direction. It is so pleasant to perceive the passengers in the 
boat acquainted with its history. 

By the way, talking (as we are not) of Mr. Laing's Residence 
in Norway, which the Dane admires so much, I do not at 
all like the sordid principles he lays down with respect to pro- 
perty and education. One of his maxims is, that a man with 
a property is alread3 T educated. What can be more false? 
Are there not hundreds of ignorant boors, without three ideas 
in their heads, who have abundant fortunes ? But I suspect 
ho is a thorough-going political economist. Symptoms of a 
near approach to Auld Reekie — a dense cloud of smoke, of 
a manufacturing colour, is seen in the distance. We have 
on board a carpet-bag directed Mrs. Fletcher. St. Leon- 
ard's ; she is a sharp-featured lady, nothing like either 
Jeannie or Erne. I can't help still thinking of the beautiful 
cacti flowers which we saw in the botanical gardens yester- 
day. The scenery is improving as we approach Edinburgh 
—craggy hills, and. green and wooded slopes, with extensive 
and well- cultivated valleys, are becoming abundant. At length 
the welcome sounds of " We are landed, gentlemen," met our 
ear, and we found ourselves in Edinburgh. After dining we 
tet out to take a walk through the town ; passed the college, 
a splendid building, of various kinds of Grecian architecture, 
and of a very great size. Went into the register office, and 
passed a kind of bridge across a valley which lay at a consider- 
able distance underneath. ' The singular way in which those 



Till? TO 5CC7L.»Ji'D. 313 

streets cross and overhang each other produces a most extra* 
ordinary and by no means an unpleasing effect to an unaccus- 
tomed eye. The long valley underneath, with its numerous 
Lights, extending to a great length on either hand, formed a 
coup d'ceil which it is not easy to forget. Arrived at the register 
office, we turned off to the right hand and ascended the Calton. 
Hill, where we had, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, 
a very enchanting prospect of the country all around. On one 
side the Frith of Forth, and the scene extended to the east and 
south ; on the other the city, with its thousand lights, glim- 
mering like stars in the increasing darkness. On another arose 
Salisbury Crag and Arthur's Seat. Close around us were the 
monuments of Nelson, Playfair, Stewart, the national monu- 
ment, of which last only some fine Doric columns are built for 
want of funds. There are two observatories, one of the city, 
the other belonging to Miss Short, niece to the celebrated 
James Short, the great optician ; it has a moveable dome. 
There is a large Gregorian reflector there, made by James 
Short, with metal about twelve inches in diameter, and the 
place was shown to us by a little girl, who was very civil, and 
showed us a microscope and view of the Thames Tunnel, as it 
seemed to make amends for the state of the skies, in which 
scarcely anything was to be seen. The city altogether is the 
most beautiful as to situation that 1 have ever yet seen. Bath 
or Dublin is not to be compared to it. I saw the crape tails 
again in Edinburgh. Whatever the cause of it is, whether 
that they were mourning longer here in Scotland than else- 
where, or that people die faster, we see, I think, more people 
in mourning here than anywhere else that I am acquainted 
with. 

On Friday morning, the 27th, we walked to the castle. 
There were some men at exercise in the yard ; when they had 
done we entered the gate and crossed the drawbridge. From 
the battlements we had a most beautiful and extensive view 
of the Forth and opposite shore of Fife, and of the new town 
of Edinburgh immediately underneath. We saw Mons Meg, 
an enormous piece of artillery, with several of the stone shot, 
about a foot in diameter. It was formed of bars of iron, bound 
fast with massive hoops of the same metal. Two or three of these 
hoops appear to have been broken or burst by violence of some 
kind, disclosing the nature of the whole fabric. It is mounted 
on a new carriage. An inscription on it states that it was 
carried to the Tower of London in 1754, and restored in 1S29 
by George the Fourth. Believed to have been made at Mens 



S'A LIFE OF GZRALD GPJFFTN. 

(in Flanders) in 1485. It was at the siege of Norham Castle 
in 149S. 

We descended the hill, and went by West-row (vide Heart 
of Mid-Lothian) to the Cow-gate ; passed along amid old-clothes 
shops — brokers — horrible smells of various kinds — to the south 
back of Canon-gate, and on to Holyrood House ; then to the 
left up the Canon-gate as far as the Talbooth ; here we turned 
down a narrow wynd or close, at the bottom of which we found 
steps leading us to the top of Calton Hill, where we spent a 
little time looking at Burns' monument, the sum laid out on 
which must have been at least as much as would have made a 
gentleman of the poor, decent man all his life ; but so it is with 
the world — 

Seven mighty cities fought for Homer dead, 
Through which the living Homer begged his bread. 

They charge sixpence apiece to see the poet's statue, which I 
think rather shabby. Admired again, by daylight, the beauti- 
ful variety of prospects from Calton Hill. By the way, what 
Vandals are sometimes born and reared in the very temple of 
science. This James Short, whose niece keeps the observatory 
here, is the man of whom it is said (with what truth appears 
not quite certain), that when he was living, having*excelled all 
polishers of reflectors in his time, he determined to provide 
against being equalled after his death, by giving orders to melt 
down all his tools, thus sacrificing the interests of science to those 
of vanity ; he has, however, been since equalled by Herschel, 
I believe. The truth of this story seems to want confirma- 
tion ; I sincerely hope it never may receive it. The little 
girl who keeps the place was very civil, pulling the dome 
about, and dragging the telescope backwards and forwards. 
There was a young man with her when we came in, who did 
not appear particularly conversant in the business, but he took a 
peep of Jupiter when all was adjusted. She told us there was 
a beautiful view of Mercury the evening before. Playfair's 
monument is a great deal higher than Dugald Stewart's, which 
vS hardly fair play of Mr. Playfair's friends. Coming down 
the hill to Waterloo-place, another of the many bridges with- 
out any water beneath, we were tempted by our appetites and 
t ae enticing words, " Confectioner to the Queen," on an oppo- 
site shop, to step in and try her Majesty's taste in that article. 
I walked on to Leith, where I had a whiff of the fresh sea air. 
I rambled for some time, enjoying the roar of the waves, as 
they rolled on and broke about my feet. I can't help thinking 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 345 

of the splendid monument to Burns, with its magnificent 
Corinthian peristyle and harps all around, and richly wrought 
architecture, and to think how poorly the unfortunate fellow 
was provided for in his lifetime. Coming back from Leith, 
which is a well-built, thriving place, I saw Marmion just 
published for lOd. in a bookseller's window — a new edition ; it 
seems the copyright is out — a case in point for Sergeant 
Taifourd. I don't like the spirit of Marmion near so well as 
"the Lady" or "the Lay." The buildings in this city are 
really magnificent, and, on the whole, abundantly sufficient to 
entitle it to ihs appellation of modern Athens. There is, how- 
ever, so much smoke, that I doubt if the more ancient one of 
Auld Keekie be not, at least, quite as appropriate. Got home 
and dined, altogether well satisfied with our day's work, and 
our idea of Edina remains unchanged. I find that what I said 
of Playfair's monument is not correct ; it is Nelson's monument 
which is higher than the rest. 

To-day, Saturday, the 2Sth, I set out by St. Leonard's Hill, 
and by the road which leads by Salisbury Crag, up to Arthur's 
Seat, which commands a fine view of the city and the 
surrounding country ; the city, however, was so smoky, that 
I could not see a great deal of it. The view to Porto-Bello, 
to the sea, and road up to Stirling on the opposite hill, which 
were free from smoke, were very beautiful and sunny. Set off 
for Holyrood House, where we first visited the Chapel Koyal, 
a curious old nun, in the Gothic style. Here we saw at one 
end the identical door by which the murderers of David Eizzio 
entered to take the life of poor Mary's unfortunate favourite. 
Coming out, after seeing all that was worth looking at, in the 
way of peers and king's servants, dukes, and others about the 
old Scottish court, we visited the royal apartments. We first 
entered the long gallery, containing portraits of the kings of 
Scotland from time immemorial, many of which were, how- 
ever, destroyed by Cromwell, and afterwards restored from 
imagination. The old lady who showed us the place, and who, 
from living so much among the kings' and queens' pictures, 
and in their apartments, has a great dignity and majesty of 
demeanour herself, told us that she would not vouch for the 
correctness of the smaller portraits ; but she took the trouble 
to explain to us all those in full length. Amongst others in 
the bust form, appeared Macbeth — of course, grim enough. 
We next went into the room occupied by Charles the Tenth, 
while in this place. There are some pictures here, indifferent 
enough, as it struck me. There was aa old crimson velvet: 



B ' LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIX. 

chair, said to have been used by the ancient kings of Scotland ; 
on it was a label, requesting visitors not to touch or sit upon 
it. I waited until the dignified lady was gone into the next 
room, after which I just sat in it for an instant, to try how a 
person would feel sitting in a chair that had been used by 
kings ; but the only feeling I had was fear, lest the lady might 
return and catch me in it, which was not unfounded, for 
presently I heard her step returning, and bounced up just in 
time to be a few feet from the chair when she came back. I 
asked her, with a great appearance of innocence, who painted 
the picture of Venus rising out of the sea ? She replied, with 
some sternness, that she did not know. "VVe went on into 
Charles the Tenth's bed-room, which, like the last, is tolerably 
pacious ; the furniture is not surprisingly good. In the large 
gallery was a picture of Mary Queen of Scots amongst the rest, 
representing her as a very lovely woman ; but it was much 
damaged, as our good lady told us, by Cromwell. We now 
went op-stairs into a room which had once been Mary's 
audience -chamber, but was afterwards made a bed-room by 
Charles the First, whose bed was still in it. Passing on, we 
entered Mary's bed-room, where was her bed, with very lofty 
slender posts, and red silk hangings and gilt, the head of it 
\ery highly ornamented. Here was the baby basket, in which 
were the first clothes worn by James the First, when he was 
born. There was also her work-box — poor Queen ! — a very 
large one, much more so than those of later date ; but not at 
all so elegant as the rosewood work-boxes of modem ladies. 
There were two or three mirrors in it — the cover was executed 
in embroidery ; there was also a chair, which our stately guide 
told us was the work of the poor Queen's own fingers. On 
the left hand, as one stood with one's back to the bed, was 
poor Mary's dressing-room, in which was a curious shaped 
mirror, placed there by one of the Jameses, on Queen Mary's 
v.'ork-table, with a surprising number of legs. On the opposite 
.-ule of the chamber to these is her boudoir, a very small, 
narrow room, with a window commanding a sweet prospect 
down the Calton Hill. Over the fire-place hangs a picture of 
a youth, handsome, innocent, and with a seriousness almost 
approaching to melancholy in his fine eyes ; it is David Eizzio's 
portrait, brought from Italy by himself. On the table opposite 
are cuirasses, gloves, boots, and various pieces of armour, the 
remains of the armour worn by Darnley. In this little room 
Uizzio received his first wound ; he was then dragged out by 
the murderers, through the bed-chamber, on into the audience- 



" TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 547 

chamber, where he was despatched with "fifty-six wounds, 
The body was left all night in the corner of the room, where 
an oblong dark stain on the boards is pointed out as having 
been caused by the blood which flowed from it while in that 
position ; smaller stains disfigure the floor close to the wall. 
The unfortunate Queen afterwards got a wooden partition 
made, which now separates the audience-chamber from the 
rest. In the bed vooni our guide showed us a portrait of Queen 
Mary, in miniature, which seemed quite of modern execution. 
The features are beautiful — eye-brows finely arched, nose aqui- 
line, and the whole expression of the countenance serene and 
pleased. There were many engravings hanging round the 
room, and near the window — some placed there by Mary, 
others by Charles the Second. The size of this suite of apart- 
ments is so email as to surprise one. Any merchant's wife in 
our own day has a finer suite of rooms than the Queen of Scot- 
land had in Holyrood, particularly the boudoir ; it is so narrow 
that Mary herself could, I think, have touched both sides toge- 
ther with her extended hands. After quitting the scene of this 
dismal tragedy, where so many mementoes made it seem as if 
we had been personally engaged in it, we left, and proceeded 
down Hunter's Square, where we saw the papers in a reading 
room, open for a short time to strangers. On my way back 
from Arthur's Seat to-day, I picked up, in a shop, a bill of a 
Friendly Society. I saw three or four advertisements of such 
societies in the town to-day ; — this speaks well for the prudence 
of the people, and their good management, and must be, I 
think, preventive of a great deal of misery. On getting up 
early, on Sunday, and looking out of my window, about S 
o'clock in the morning, the contrast between it and the 
ordinary week-days seemed very great indeed — everything so 
very still and quiet — scarce a single individual, much less a 
carriage or vehicle of any description, to be seen in the streets. 
My admiration of this piety was, however, considerably dimi- 
nished, on finding that, in fact, the good citizens were all snug 
in bed, it being the custom to sleep longer and later on the 
•' Sabbath" morning than on the ordinary days of the week. 
"Went to mass at 9 o'clock, to the chapel in Broughton-street. 
where there was a most excellent discourse from a young clergy - 
» man ; he mentioned the increase of Catholics. Came back 
and breakfasted ; read something of the " Cottagers of Glen- 
burnie," a most beautiful tale, which I read twice or three 
times before, and could read again with great pleasure. Scott 
eertainly was not a little indebted to Mrs. Hamilton's successes 



348 LIF2 GF GERALD C-P.IFFI>:. 

for his own ; and it is hard to say whether he would ever 
have had the Heart of Mid Lothian, if the Cottagers of Glen- 
burnie had never been written. After breakfast, I went down 
to the strand of Porto-Bello, and along the sandy bank by the 
sea side to Leith, picking up many spiral shells, pebbles, and 
mussel-shells of a very delicate colour. It occurred to me last 
night in bed, that a good story might be made by making 
Fioun MacCumhal enter a city of skeletons, going through 
all the business of life ; it would be only to imagine London 
filled with the same pecple as at present, only divested of their 
flesh. 

It struck me to-day how the difficulty of reading character 
increases as one removes farther from home. Now, in the Irish 
canal boat I could read the characters of the individuals as 
easily as a primer ; all the shades of opinion and of party, 
every influence which was likely to act as a spring to thought 
or action, was well known to me ; and the slightest indication, 
a look, a casual expression, a peculiarity in custom or demean- 
our, almost anything, was sufficient to enable me to know my 
man ; but as one leaves home, these keys to thought and char- 
acter become less easy of interpretation ; we are ignorant of 
the questions, both local and political, which act upon men's 
rnincls, and if we institute comparisons at all, it is no longer 
with each other, but rather with our own recollections of those 
whom we have left behind. Beading character in this respect 
is like the reading of languages in our own country ; a canal 
boat or a mail ccach full of passengers is a small volume in our 
native tongue ; further off, the variation of dialect increases, 
until it becomes as difficult as a scroll of Sanscrit or of Chinese. 

To-day, Monday, April 30th, the hills which I can see from 
our window are all white with snow. We visited Leith Water ; 
the walk up by St. Bernard's Well is, Uke ahnost everything 
in this beautiful city, grand and imposing, from the singul?.:- 
combination of the beauties of Nature and Art which one wit- 
nesses at every step. The view of the lofty arches of the bridge 
which crosses from Queensferry- street and Drumsheugh, and 
also of the handsome Gothic church on the opposite side, is 
worthy of old Athens itself, or of what one imagines of that city 
of the arts. Went on to the Botanical Gardens. Not so satisfac- 
tory as at Glasgow, though there is a great deal more ground, 
twelve acres, laid out in it. The hot-houses are numerous, but 
not so fine nor so well kept as at Glasgow, where there are 
some tolerably lofty ones, though nothing to compare with the 
. I ones at thfl Jardin des Planto;; in Paris. The collection 



TRIP TC SCOTLAND. 3£0 

at Glasgow, however, is said to be the finest in Europe, and of 
course, therefore, in the world. It was delicious both here aud 
at Glasgow, at this bleak season of the year, when snow is fall- 
ing in a3 great abundance as it commonly does in Ireland in the 
depth of winter, to enter these hot-houses, and be feasted both 
with the smell and sight of flowers in full blow. It struck me 
as very doubtful whether the pleasure I felt on entering them 
was ever enjoyed by their proprietors or by the people of for- 
tune who go to all the expense of keeping hot-houses. The de- 
licious surprise which it was to me they can never experience, 
so there is some advantage, even in a sensual and worldly 
sense, in not being born to a fortune. It reminded me of the man 
in London, who used to comfort himself by going about and 
fancying everything, carriages, houses, &c, to be his own, but 
that he merely allowed other people the use of them from pure 
benevolence and good nature. The collection of cainelias, hya- 
cinths, and other flowers in full blow, was delightful. A mid- 
dle-aged lady, with three or four beautiful daughters, was pur- 
chasing a bouquet from the man who was in charge of the flowers. 
At Glasgow all the plants and roots are carefully labelled ; such 
unfortunately, is not the case here, a very unsatisfactory ar- 
rangement for visitors who happen to be indhierent botanists. 

Came home and spent a very feverish night. Took some 
medicine, which diminished the fever. "O Lord, my God, 
whatever time Thou leavest me to remain in this world, I be- 
seech Thee, in Thy great mercy, give me the grace and the 
means to employ it in thy service." I have seen quite enough 
to convince me of the utter hollo wness and nothingness of every 

worldly pur uit. It is enough to name poor dear M .* It 

is enough to think of poor Walter Scott's last words, after all 
his fame : ' ' Lockhart, my dear, be a good man, be virtuous, 
be religious ; nothing else will ever gain you any comfort when 
you come to lie here." What then ! was all his fame nothing ? 
All the honour he received from kings and, princes, from people 
of rank and fortune ; all the wealth he accumulated, as magni- 
ficent as his collection of rarities ; his numerous friendships 
with the great and good of his age ; the certainty he had of 
leaving a name behind which would descend with honour to all 
future generations, his children befriended and respected in the 
world for his sake— was all this nothing ? We have the fact 

• A cousin of his, to whom he was greatly attached, an officer in 
the 9th regiment, who died of cholera in his twenty -sixth year, a few 
days after landing in India, 



350 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

from liis own lips, his own words are our testimony, ottered ra 
that truth-telling moment when we have no longer an interest 
in deceiving either ourselves or others. Nothing, he assures his 
friend who sat by him in that awful moment, nothing but a 
virtuous and religious life can give a man any comfort on the 
bed of death. Since this is so, Lord my God, in Thy great 
mercy, I beseech Thee defend my soul, and the souls of all I 
love, from vanity, from ambition, from every worldly affection. 
While I remain in the world, give me the great grace to keep 
my heart perfectly detached from it, to be quite indifferent to 
worldly success or failure. And oh ! if it be Thy holy will, 
give me, my God, the grace to withdraw from it and its vain 
pursuits, to serve Thee, and Thee only, without fear of returning 
to it. O my God, hear my heart's prayer this day, and grant 
it, through the merits and sufferings of Thy blessed Son. 
Amen. 

This day, May 1st, the snow has disappeared from the hills, 
and the sky looks clear and sunny, though not yet quite set- 
tled. I thought it better to stay at home and nurse my cold. 
How many more Mays shall I ever see in this world ? God 
grant that whenever they cease from me, I may have made my 
peace with Him, and then it is of little consequence how few 
they may be. 

It would be a good plan to keep a journal of one's life in short- 
hand. I find that poor Sir Walter, in the last days of his life, 
was heard repeating some of the "magnificent hymns of the 
Romish Ritual," as Loch hart informs us, "in which," as he 
adds, " he had always delighted, but which probably hung on 
his memory now in connexion with the church service he had 
attended while ia Italy." 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. oC 1 

CHAPTER XVI. 

1S38. 

TOUR JW SCOTLAND CONTINUED STIRLING CALLANDER — LOCH 

ACHRAY — THE TROSACHS — FELLOW-TRAVELLERS — SETTLING A 
WAITER'S BILL — LOCH KATRINE — BEAUTIFUL DAY — PASS OF 

INYERSNAID — AN EDINBURGH SCHOOLMASTER — LOCH LOMOND 

REMARKS ON SMOLLET AND FIELDLNG MISS MARTINEAU's OPI- 
NIONS ON CEMETERIES FAREWELL TO SCOTLAND LOVELY 

WEATHER — DUBLIN — RETURN BY THE CANAL — PASSENGERS 

ANECDOTE CONCLUSION. 

The remaining portion of the notes of our tour brings us 
through some of the most delightful of the Scotch scenery, 
1 hope, therefore, it will not be considered tiresome if I 
venture to continue my extracts. 

Stirling, May 2nd, 1838.— Left Edinburgh at half- past two 
o'clock, for Newhaven, where we embarked on board the Vic- 
toria steamer, for this place. The day was unpleasant and 
rainy, but cleared up pretty well towards evening, and enabled 
me to stay upon deck and look at the scenery. The view of the 
Ochil mountains pleased me very much, the river winding and 
turning interminably within sight of them. Certainly, if 
there be anything majestic in nature, it is the sight of a lofty 
range of mountains (not that the Ochils are the highest in the 
world) looking down upon one from the very horizon, and 
seeming to challenge admiration. Their misty grandeur, their 
mysterious valleys and recesses, their calm and solemn serenity, 
everything about them is enchanting, and produces an excite- 
ment far greater to my mind than that of any other scenery, 
or perhaps any other sight on earth. 

It seems to-morrow is to be a fast day in Edinburgh, and: 
many of the good citizens and their fair friends are taking ad- 
vantage of it, to come up the Forth and see the country round; 
about. The fast is not, however, of a very strict nature, as 1 
was told by an intelligent young person who took tea with ma 



352 LIFE OF GERALD GFJFFIN. 

on the waiter's invitation. They eat their usual number of 
meals, eating as heartily, and perhaps more daintily than on 
ordinary days. The only difference is, that it is kept in every 
respect like Sunday, as a kind of preparation for the sacra- 
ment. Some of the more strict Presbyterians, he says, would 
not leave town for the same purpose. 

In speaking of Edinburgh, he mentioned Lord Jeffrey as one 
of their great guns. He has now, he says, completely given 
up literature, and devoted himself solely to the law. He 
finds the school of Yv T ordsworth and Coleridge, he says, gaming 
ground too fast ; they are both very popular in Scotland just 
now. Professor Wilson, he seems to think, has done much to 
occasion this change, so far as Wordsworth is concerned, and 
his pupils adopt his views. Jeffrey used rather to depreciate 
Wordsworth ; but now, he says, Wordsworth's greatness is 
making its way, and Jeffrey has withdrawn from the field 
which he finds growing too hot for him. I give this youth's ac- 
count of this affair without making a remark as to its value. 
As old Josephus says, when he tells anything particularly 
wonderful, " Every one will judge of this as it seems good to 
him." 

May 2nd. — I got up early ; and, after breakfast, we hired a 
drosky, a kind of Russian four-wheeled vehicle, like a double 
gig. Having made our bargain, we went to see the castle of 
Stirling, in company with a person who had joined us in our 
drosky, being on the same road for a good part of the way. I 
do not know when I saw anything with which I was more de- 
lighted than with the view from Stirling Castle, on every side. 
In one direction, Bannockburn ; in another, the interminable 
windings of the Forth, constituting that part of the river called 
the Links of Forth ; a delicious valley, clifted in the most ex- 
quisite style, stretching away on either hand, and the prospect 
bounded, in the distance, by the blue Ochils ; and the rich 
cultivation of the flat country beautifully contrasted with the 
bold projecting crags which arise almost directly opposite. 
A.s we peeped through the embrasures of the battlements, every 
one of which presented, as if in framework, a picture of the 
most exquisite beauty and richness — compared to such a scene, 
what were the most successful efforts that were ever made on 
canvass with the pencil ? — all that I had ever seen in painting, 
the finished landscapes of Claude Lorraine, or Poussin, or of any 
master whose works I had ever looked at, were miserable 
daubs, not worth even a passing glance. 

We returned to the Eagle (Campbell's). In descending tLe 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 353 

nteoet I happened to ask how the Scotch people pronounced 
the word " wynd,"an open carriage-way, as distinguished from 
' * close," which means a foot passage only. Our new companion, 
at once answered, that in some parts of the country, among the 
poorer class of people, it was pronounced wund ; in ordinary 
conversation in the higher ranks it was pronounced wind ; but 
for solemn recitative or poetry, it was called wind. It was 
only when he had gone through all this elaborate, though some- 
what superfluous dissertation, that I discovered his mistake, 
and rectified it, on which he told me it was pronounced wynd ; 
and some time after he let us know he was a teacher in Edin- 
burgh, which, while it accounted for his learned lecture on or- 
thography, made me respect him for his want of affectation. 
He pointed out to us, from the battlements of the castle, the* 
site of Dunblaine, celebrated in Tinnahil's well-known song, 
" Jessie, the Flower of Dunblaine." The unfortunate poet, he 
told us, had drowned himself in a little burn which ran at the 
foot of his father's ground (that is to say, the father of our in- 
formant, not of the poet). The wretched bard is still compa- 
ratively unknown, though his songs (more numerous than I 
believed) have been lately brought out at Glasgow with appro- 
priate music, and, as the merry teacher says, have made a for- 
tune for the lady who published them. Having got into our 
drosky, we set off on a showery and unpromising day, unless 
promising plenty of rain and fog may redeem it from that epi- 
thet. The road had nothing to interest us excepting the excel- 
lent cultivation of the soil, with its neat shorn hedge-rows, and 
well-kept and extensive fields, reminding me much of England, 
and showing us, by its occasional tracts of redeemed moss (or 
bog, as it is called in Ireland), how much can be done by perse- 
verance and industry even to draw profit from barrenness itself. 
On reaching Doune we saw a small town with a pretty brawling 
river, crossed by a brig, from which one has a view of an old 
ruin, interesting rather from its historical associations than for 
any particular grandeur or magnificence in the remains them* 
3elves, at least so far as one could judge from the exterior. 
Stopping to bait at this place, we had a lecture on the Kirk 
from our fellow-traveller. On leaving here the road became 
more hilly ; Cambus-more and Benledi soon appeared ia view, 
at the very foot of which the romantic village of Callander lay, 
as it were, overshadowed by the magnificent range of moun- 
tains which rose behind. Here, we found, as usual, the walla 
of the inn scribbled over with the names c£ previous tourists, 
some foreign ones amongst the rest ; on. the glass was written 
with a diamond the following s 

z 



354 LIFE OF GEKALC GRIFFIN. 

" Lm noms de fous 
Be irouvent partout." 

A much-worn copy of "The Lady of the Lake," out of which 
some mischievous persons had torn the spirited description of 
the Chase in the commencement. On the pier of a gate oppo- 
site our inn, a tame eagle "was feasting himself upon some gar- 
bage. I could not help admiring the learned marginal note 
which some scribbler had written in the book already spoken 
of, on the lines, 

" Like the tall pile which builders vain 
Presumptuous heaped on Shinar's plain." 

"Babel" was the erudite note written with a pencil on the 
margin opposite the last line. Here our pedagogue had a trout 
and some potatoes, while we solaced ourselves with a biscuit 
and a glass of ale. After we had satisfied our drosky driver 
and prepared to walk to the Trosachs, there was some question 
of having another drosky, but after the specimen we had already 
had I was very happy to have it decided the other way. The 
frequency and, at the same time, the unexpectancy of the 
shocks one received in this vehicle, rendered it to me the 
most unpleasant I had ever travelled in. I had rather, I think, 
have no springs at all, than have ones which did their business 
so very badly. 

Apart from all questions of scenery, I was quite in the hu- 
mour to enjo}- a walk when we got to Callander. The road, 
• inding amongst heath and mountain, brought us, ere long, in 
sight of Loch Venacher, which was welcome to us as the first, 
though not the best, of highland scenery. It is an extensive 
Q heet of water, narrow for its length, stretching nearly east 
arui west between a double range of mountains of moderate 
elevation, Dut winch were now recommenaea to us by their 
novelty, the deep brown colouring of the heath which covered 
their sides, and the calmness of the sober evening, that had 
already begun to give promise of a favourable change in the 
weather. After walking some miles along the side of the 
Loch, and repeating the ever -delightful description of the Chase 
with which the " Lady of the Lake" opens, we reached the end 
of the Loch, from which the view back was rendered more in- 
teresting from the singular appearance of the sky. On our pro- 
gress forward, we had been admiring the sun-set at the 
western extremity of the Loch, and now, on reaching the othes 
end, and looking back, we saw the sky just as bright between 
the hills at the eastern extremity j so much so, that it would 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 355 

have been difficult for one not acquainted with the points of 
the compass, and the hills, to ascertain, by looking at the sky, 
in what place the sun really was going down. What added to 
the effect was, that a dark canopy of clouds covered all the 
intervening space. As we were going up the mountain ride, on 
which numbers of sheep with black legs and coarse wool were 
browsing, a little lamb ran bleating towards us, and came up to 
me on the road, but not recognising us, on closer inspection, 
trotted back as fast as she came, reminding one of those ex- 
quisitely sentimental lines : 

" Svveet sensibility, oh! la ! 
I heard a little lamb cry, bah ! 
Sweet lambkin, have you lost your ma ? 
Ah I 

" The pretty lamb, as I said so, 
Frisking about the field did go, 
And frisking, trod upon my toe — 
Oh!" 

We tore ourselves away from the dear lamb, however, after 
many fear.s for its future fate, which, moat probably, were need- 
less,, as I dare say he knew what he was about as well as any 
one amongst us. Going some distance farther, we told a woman 
with a child in her arms, who stood at a cottage door, about 
the lamb, and she seemed disposed to go back for it by her in- 
quiries. We soon after came in sight of Loch Achray, a sweet 
little sheet of water lying between Loch Venacher and Loch 
Katrine, on the northern side of which is Mrs. Stewart's inn, a 
place fitted up conveniently enough for the accommodation of 
tourists. Close behind this inn a little burn comes brawling 
from the mountain, and on the opposite side a neat farm-house. 
We found the place rather in confusion, as visitors were scarcely 
expected so early in the season. However, we were very com- 
fortably settled, and had tea, with cold beef, eggs, and scone, a 
kind of thin barley-cake, like pan-cake, which is eaten with 
something sweet, such as jam, marmalade, or butter. Two 
gentlemen (English, as it appeared to us), whom we had over- 
taken on the road near Callander, joined us at tea. One of them 
was an agreeable, gentlemanly young fellow, who had a spaniel 
blind of an eye. whom he called Haidee. The other was ap- 
parently delicate, and rather more silent. The name on 
Haidee's collar was T W* , Esq. We had much amuse* 



356 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

ment, after tea, in settling our accounts with the girl who 
attended us, having previously agreed to be included all five in 
one bill. The difficulty lay in dividing the balance of fifteen and 
threepence in equal shares. It was at length done, greatly to the 
satisfaction of the Edinburgh teacher, by our agreeing to give the 
servants four and nine-pence, which, with the bill for tea and lodg- 
ing, amounted to twenty shillings, a sum which happily was an 
exact multiple of five. The satisfaction expressed by the little 
red-haired pedagogue at the prospect of an even division of the 
three-pence, was so hearty and undisguised, that it provoked 
repeated bursts of laughter from the younger of the Engbsh 
travellers, which were only checked, at length, on honest 
Sandy's exhibiting symptoms of having heard enough of it. 
I suppose the servants, who were not privy to our arithmetical 
difficulty, must have been surprised at our liberality stopping 
short of the crown, after coming within three-pence of it. Im- 
mediately on our arrival at Mrs. Stewart's, we set out for the 
Trosachs, and walked through them as far as Loch Katrine. 
The evening was now dry and cdm, and I could easily judge 
what a lovely ramble it would be in summer, when this roman- 
tic pass is filled with verdure and foliage, and the singing of a 
thousand wild birds would prevent the ear from running mad 
with jealousy of the eye. The elevation of the heights is not 
quite so great as I had expected, nor is the pass so narrow nor 
so boldly cut ; but what earthly marvel equalled the expecta- 
tions of him who beheld it for the first time ? The imagination 
is capable of forming dark guesses at infinity itself ; and what 
wonder, then, if it always outstrips reality in its anticipations 
of that which it has not yet seen ? Does not the sober Captain 
Gulliver himself express his disappointment at finding the Ca- 
thedral of Brobdinag only three thousand feet high ? Who is 
ihere that is not disappointed in the first view of St. Paul's ? 
'•I was disappointed in it, people said so much of it," is the 
verse of Mathews's disappointed tourist, in speaking of all the 
sights and wonders which the earth contains. I do not say all 
tins as meaning to insinuate that I was disappointed in the 
Trosachs. It was a delightful walk and a delightful evening, 
and I have nothing to say either against the one or the other. 
I could easily see that it would have been much better if it had 
been summer, but it was very good as it was, and I had no 
fault to find. The thrush and the robin, too, notwithstanding 
the bleakness of the season, lent their melody to the scene. The 
little glimpse which we had of Loch Katrine, so land-locked at 
this, its eastern extremity as to resemble a small artificial pond 



TUIP TO SCOTLAND. 357 

'made in a private demesne, and offering no indication whatever 
of its real extent, was exquisite. We did but wait to look upon 
it, and to cast a glance upwards at the majestic summit of Ben 
Venue, which rose from its margin, and hurried back to our 
inn, reserving the full banquet of delight which we expected 
from the contemplation of its far-famed beauties for the 
morning. 

Having engaged a boat to take us to the western end of the 
lake, we went to bed, and were all stirring before six o'clock 
next day. 

On looking out of my bed-room window, which had a sweet 
view of Loch Achray, I was astonished at not seeing the Loch. 
I looked again and again, but, like the father of the Sultan 
Aladdin, it was only to confirm my astonishment. I could not 
see the water, and thought I must have been mistaken in suppos- 
ing that the window at anytime afforded a view of it. At length 
I observed, that what seemed to me to be the lower part of the 
opposite mountain had a kind of bluish tinge, and, on contem- 
plating this portion of the scene steadily for some moments, I 
became aware that what I took for the base of the mountain 
was, in reality, nothing more than the reflection of the moun- 
tain itself in the perfectly motionless waters of the clear, calm 
lake. I never saw an illusion more complete — it was absolutely 
impossible to see the water, or to distinguish the reflection from 
the reality. Taking leave of our hostess, who had all the dig- 
nity of a Stuart about her, we set off on a delicious morning, 
without a breath of wind, for Loch Katrine. We had, again, 
a most delightful walk through the Trosachs. We had some 
time to ramble about and cut sticks before our boatmen arrived. 
Being at length fairly embarked, we were soon hurried along 
amid such a change and variety of scenery as I shall not readily 
forget. The unbroken stillness of the lake ; the reflections on 
its breast of crag and mountain, shrub and wild flower, with a 
distinctness, and, in many instances, apparently surpassing 
reality ; the soft blue lines which mellowed the outline of the 
distant heights ; altogether presenting such a series of pictures 
S3 one rarely enjoys. Sometimes the reflection was so perfect 
on the water of the lake, so limpidly transparent, that, looking 
uq the adjacent shore, it was absolutely impossible to tell where 
the reality ended or where the reflection began. Turning a 
point, we came in sight of Ellen's Island, where we landed ; 
ascended the hill, which is rather high, by a flight of stono steps, 
near the famous " naked oak," which is said to have stood here 
einco the days of James V. On reaching the summit of the isle, 



T53 LIFE OF GER.MD GRTFFTN. 

a cushat, or wild pigeon, rose from the spot where an imitation 
of Ellen's cottage had stood till the last year, when it was 
burned down by some person using a cigar in the place. Several 
points of interest, both from their historical associations and 
picturesque claim to one's admiration, are visible from this ivle. 
Some wooded points are seen, connected with the mainland by 
slips of land, so narrow that they had all the appearance ot 
distinct islets. I got a root of wild hyacinth and some wood 
anemone from this spot, and came down to the boat, when we 
renewed our little voyage. It added nothing to the charm of 
the scenery to listen to a shocking recitation of Scott's poe~ j 
from our boatswain. There are some echoes on the lake, one 
in particular, between which and the voice there is an interval 
of rather more than six seconds. Something more than one- 
hour's rowing brought us to the head of the lake, where we got 
on shore, and commenced our walks across the mountains to 
Iiiveranaid, passing Loch Achlet, a small sheet of water at a 
little distance from Loch Katrine. In these parts of the moun- 
tains many patches of ground are reclaimed, and held by the 
colliers. I should mention the amusement afforded us by our 
Edinburgh schoolmaster, who was quite a character in his way. 
On hearing the driver of the drosky announce the Callander 
Craigs, he said he liked the sound of the " adjective" there, as 
intimating a speedy termination of our drive. Looking at a 
sign-board in the village, he remarked that there v. as a full 
point at the end of every word ; and when we got to Mrs. 
Stewart's inn. his grammatical ear was still further offended by 
a card which we found on the chimney-piece. On it were writ- 
ten the following lines : 

" Xone but persons of small fame 
Would scribble on these walls tlieir name. 
Who, if they all were hanged to-morrow. 
Who would rejoice or who would sorrow?" 

riie combination " their name''' grated terribly on his ear ; T 
suggested " none but a person," and "his name," as an amend- 
ment, which he adopted, nor did he leave the house until he 
got a pen and ink, and made the alteration. Not far from 
Loch Achlet we passed one of those mountain cottages, near 
which a woman was employed in sowing potatoes, not in drills 
or ridges, as in Ireland, but in the fiat ground. Our school- 
master drew her into conversation. " You have your spot of 
ground cheap, here, I suppose?" " Oh ! we think it is eneuch 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 359 

we pay for it." " Indeed ! and your good man farms it ?" "I 
bae na gat ane y&" (She -was an old woman, apparently be- 
tween forty and fifty, perhaps nearer to the latter.) " Not got 
one ?" " No ; I live wi' my father in yon hoose." " I see 'tis a 
good warm comfortable house you have got there." " Nae, it's 
not warm, nor yit comfortable ; it's coming down, I think." 
"Coming down?" "It looks like it." "I suppose you are 
not without getting a little tea and bread and butter here, now 
and then ?" "On ay whiles, when we buy it. We must buy 
everything here. There's things we want mair than tea.*' 
"You get a bit of braxy ham, I suppose, now and then?" 
"Ay." (A braxy ham means the ham of a sheep which has 
died on the mountain from cold or injury.) "And how cornea 
it you have no good man, as you say ?" "I could nae git ane." 
Leaving this highland vestal to continue her husbandry, we 
proceeded on our way, and, after traversing a wild and dreary 
region, in which nothing was to be seen but black-legged and 
black-faced sheep and cattle, of a small breed, with manes com- 
ing down over their brows, so as to give them a very graceful 
appearance ; going onwards, we passed the round fort of Invers- 
naid, made interesting by one's recollection of Rob Roy, and, 
after a steep descent, during which the road wind3 for nearly 
half a mile, we arrived at the little inn on Loch Lomond, where 
we were to wait for the steamer. Here we made an excellent 
breakfast, on eggs, oaten cake, and tea. We found the inn a 
small one, fitted up with what seemed cupboards on one side, 
but which, on closer inspection, we found to contain beds, thus 
separated from the sitting-room ; they appeared to have been 
newly fitted up, I suppose in expectation of visitors during the 
summer. The woman made a fire of dry sticks, which she ga- 
thered outside the house, and one of our party, the Edinburgh 
schoolmaster, borrowed a rod and line, and went out to fish in 
the turbid pool at the foot of a mountain torrent, which came 
eddying down behind the house ; but, as may be guessed, was 
not very successful. We were yet at breakfast, when some one 
came to tell us the steamer was in sight ; on which we hurried 
out, and saw her approaching from Tarbet, and got on board, ac- 
companied by the boatswain, who had acted as Cicerone to us on 
Loch Katrine, and had followed us across the mountain paths 
from a somewhat too hearty affection for the grog we had given 
him in the little cabin at the head of the lake. When he came 
upon us at breakfast at Loch Lomond, he was much changed in 
manner. On the lake he was somewhat reserved, and looked 
as if he had been called out of bed rather earlier than he liked. 



860 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

Only think of the rogue -wanting to slip by Ellen's Island with* 
out saying a word about landing until I asked him to do so ; 
but now, on making his way into the room where we were at 
breakfast, he was as glorious as any Paddy I had ever seen, and 
in no way deficient in noise or enthusiasm. Going on board, 
and getting rid of our grog-loving friend with much difficulty, 
we proceeded to the head of the Loch, where the steamer dis 
charged some commodities for the use of the few inhabitants in 
these parts, and returned. We stopped at Rob Roy's cave, 
and landed to explore. There is nothing particularly remark 
able about it ; it merely consists of a narrow recess in the crag, 
without spar or any ornament to recommend it. The day con« 
tinued most beautiful as we coasted by Ben Lomond, and among 
the many wooded isles and woodlands by which the lake is 
diversified ; te -.cards its lower and wider extremity our classical 
recollections were gratified by the sight of the braes of Balloch, 
as we approached the Waters of Leven, which connect the 
Loch with the Clyde. A shallow bar which crosses the river 
prevented the steamer from entering it, so we were obliged to 
perform the rest of the little voyage in a boat. 

On landing, we found coaches read} 7 to convey us to Dumbar- 
ton, on the road to which we passed the monument which has 
been raised to Smollett, who was born in the neighbourhood. I 
could not help smiling at the nonchalance with which a nameless 
writer, who has published some lucubrations which he has been 
pleased to call " Reflections on Men and Things," speaks of the 
immoral tendency of modern novels, and praises, in contra- 
distinction, " the mirth-inspiring pickaxes of life which have 
been handed down to us by Smollett and Eiel cling. " How any 
educated person, writing in our own time a serious " Essay on 
Men and Things," can speak with approval of the grossly licen- 
tious works of these writers, in every page of whose writings 
coarseness, and pride, and malignity are recommended by 
precept, or at least by implication and example, is somewhat 
curious. This amusing person announces himself as the author 
of " Lives of Celebrated Travellers" — mirth -inspiring truly ! 

Passing by the bottle-factories, and the bustle of Dumbar- 
ton, we again took steamer for Glasgow, where we arrived on 
Friday, May the 4th. Here we met once more with our 
little Dane, who again held out to us the many pleasures to be 
derived from a trip to Copenhagen in August, whei. a kind of 
national entertainment tases place in the woods a few miles 
distant from the city, at which the king and almost the whole 
of tne population attend. On Monday, May the 7th, we 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. SSI 

visited the old cathedral of Glasgow, of which so impressive a 
description is given in Rob Roy. The fidelity of the picture 
is admirable. I have little doubt that the whole incident, as 
described in the novel, happened to Scott himself, as the 
woman who showed it told us that the vaults underneath 
were used as a place of worship about thirty years ago. The 
nave and choir of the cathedral are fine specimens of Gothic 
architecture. On the ceiling of the aisles were various inscrip- 
tions in black letter, of various colours, red, blue, &c, such as 
" Vive memor leti," " Maria," and similar sentences. "We pre- 
vailed on the man in charge of the gate, with much difficulty, 
to show us the steeple, which is about 240 feet high, half the 
height of the steeple of Lincoln, the highest in England. The 
view from the summit was much impeded by the smoke 
of the factories. The man pointed out to us a green field, 
opposite the Fever Hospital, in which, as he informed us, 
..people were buried six over each other in every foot. It was 
the place where bodies were buried during the prevalence of 
cholera. There were between three and four thousand buried 
in this burying ground alone that year, which, of course, wac 
but a small proportion of all who were interred in Glasgow 
altogether. Going round the building, I found, on the east, 
side, a monument, on which was an inscription. While I was 
transcribing it in shorthand, (which, by the way, I found a 
most advantageous acquisition in our trip,) a man, with a 
woman and some children, came by ; the former said, " This 
is the martyr-stone of the people who were murdered by those 
atrocious papists. I shall take the liberty of reading it to my 
family when you (bowing to me) have done making your 
notes." I wonder who told him the "papists" had anything 
• to do with the murder of these covenanters. * * * Oppo- 
site the cathedral, on a hill, at the other side of the valley, is 
a cemetery, somewhat in the style of Pere-la-chase, in Paris, 
but not so crowded nor so gaudy in the fashion of its tomb- 
stones. * * * I was surprised at a sentiment of Miss 
Harriet Martineau's, in a late work of hers, respecting ceme- 
teries of this kind. She appears to fall into the vulgar French 
taste in these matters, and speaks of the advantage of having 
church-yards made as gay as possible. Now I do not see the 
good of making them gay. We go to a church and church- 
yard to forget this world, and to be reminded of the next as 
much as possible, and I cannot but think a solemn and sombre 
style of architecture more suitable than such decorations as 
mast be more in harmony with a place of public ami^ement 



SC8 LIFE OF GERALD GRTFFLY. 

than of private sorrow ; I cannot but feel that it manifests an 
unworthy desire to forget the dead and death itself, as much 
as may be, of either of which designs I do not see either the 
use or the amiability. 

On Tuesday, May 8th, we embarked on board the Arab 
steamer for Dublin. I should remark the number of women 
otherwise well dressed whom we saw barefoot in the streets of 
Glasgow ; but, on the morning of our departure, we were still 
more surprised to see the young woman who attended, and who 
seemed to be the daughter of the people who rented the "flat. " 
and who on other days was dressed well enough for a lady, and 
always better than servants are in general, came in barefoot, 
and attended us at breakfast. This cannot be from poverty. 
About two o'clock we left Greenock, where the Arab made 
some delay, and renewed our voyage down the Clyde, having 
spent, in a most agreeable manner, a fortnight and two day?, 
from Sunday, the 22nd of April, to the above date, when we 
bid our last 

Farewell to the land where the clouds love to rest. 

Like the shroud of the dead, on the mountain's cold breast ; 

To the cataracts roar, where the eagles reply, 

And the lake her lone bosom expands to the sky. 

Never do I remember a more lovely day and night than we 
had on our voyage home ; the sea was like glass ; the view of 
the Arran Isles, of Benghoil. of Ailsa Crag, of the shipping, 
scattered far and wide over the sunny deep, of the numerous 
sea-fowl, gulls, and divers, by which the surface of the water 
va3 animated, gave an interest to our voyage which I shall not 
easily forget. Our passengers were not numerous. We had a 
young Scotch clergyman, who seemed most anxious to have a 
view of a Catholic priest, and seemed on the look-out for one 
mu?L as one might look for an elephant or tiger on visiting 
some oriental clime ; a tall young man, also, who had a military 
air. and carried about with him an Arabian caboose, or stick, 
with an immense knob at one end. which he told us was the 
or Unary weapon in that country. It was made of the almond 
tree, and seemed a very formidable weapon. He talked very 
fairly of his residence in Egypt, and Spain, and Portugal, which 
made me conjecture him to be one of the legion. He said, when 
in Cairo, they told as a remarkable event their having had a 
shower of rain about ten years before. Besides this young 
gentleman, was a young person who had the appearance of a 
qua Stood, and carried a small crooked cane, like a reed, which 



TRIP TO SCOTLAND. 365 

he explained to us was the reed of a bamboo, but of a species 
which was only to be got in the higher regions of India. 

Landing in Dublin, we proceeded directly for the Porto 
Bello canal. What a contrast the gay, bustling streets of 
Dublin, thronged with carriages of every kind, and crowded 
with fnshionabiy-dressed pedestrians, presented to the business- 
like towns in Scotland, where, as in Glasgow, one will not see, 
perhaps, a single equipage from one end of the day to the 
other. The \iew of Dublin Bay, as we came in, was beautiful. 
We ran close by Howth, and the handsome villas, with the 
sun shining brightly on the roofs, of Kingstown and the 
suburbs, the numerous plantations on the hills of Wicklow 
appearing in the distance, presented a scene of great beauty 
and animation. At two o'clock p.m. we started from Porto- 
Bello, and, as usual, we had a crowded and a talkative cabin. 
Opposite me sat a rich old land agent, who has long acted in 
that capacity for one of the principal noblemen in the south of 
Ireland. He had brought with him his servant, his half-pint 
of sherry, which he put into the empty fire-grate immediately 
on entering the cabin, in what I admired as a great conve- 
nience for travelling, a long leathern strap and buckle. Near 
him sat a fat man, who seemed a decent fanner or shopkeeper, 
and was going to Ballinasloe. He was a quiet -looking man, 
with a heavy, listless eye and countenance, except when both 
were moved to laughter at some jest, generally of his own 
making. He had all the histories, I think, of all the families 
living between his own neighbourhood and Dublin, and was 
by no means stingy of hi3 information respecting them. Our 
fat fellow-traveller knew, I think, every man's property to 
the farthing, and every halfpenny that had been got for any 
estate in his neighbourhood for centuries before. He told us 

some entertaining anecdotes about Lord B, , who he said 

frequently came to and from Dublin in this way, on his 
farming business. The land agent told us an interesting story 

of the same lord. Lord II , it appears, was travelling in 

the canal boat about thirty years ago, when, by the bursting 
of the floodgate in one of the locks, the boat was swampeu, 

and eleven persons were drowned. Lord B was happy 

enough to save one — a young lady, whom he caught by the hair 
of her head, and drew on the bank. In many years after,. he 
happened to betravelHng the same way, and by the same mode of 
conveyance. The cabin, as usual, was crowded ; and his lord- 
ship being an affable man, and sociable withal, began to tell the 
stoiy which I have just related. He had scarcely concluded. 



364 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

when a lady cried out from the end of the cabin, * ' I am that girl, 
my lord, and these are my children," pointing to three or four 
lovely little beings who sat around her. I know not whether 
the incident be true, but I have seldom heard one more beauti- 
ful and affecting. The land agent's eyes were flowing with 
tears as he related it, which made me think, what before seemed 
very problematical, that even land agents can feel. We con- 
tinued our voyage, and arrived in Limerick on Thursday even- 
ing, May 10th, 1S3S, having been three weeks absent, wanting 
-one night. Deo gratias. 



CHAPTER XVIL 

1838—1840. 

&£BALD RETURNS HOME— DETERMINES TO EMBRACE A MONASTIC 

LIFE THE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS — HIS PREVIOUS HABITS AND 

CONVERSATIONS — DESTRUCTION OF HIS MANUSCRIPTS HIS DE- 
PARTURE — LETTER TO MRS. . HIS RELIGIOUS LIFE FEEL- 
ING OF HAPPINESS IN IT STRENGTH OF HIS ATTACHMENTS 

REMOVAL TO CORK — VISIT TO HIS SISTER — HIS ILLNESS AND 
DEATH — CHARACTERISTIC INCIDENTS — LINES ADDRESSED TO 

hus. . 

"We are now about to enterupon the latter and not the 
least interesting portion of our author's life. If the reader 
snould be led to admire its closing scenes, I hope he will 
remember the pious parent who laid the foundation of such 
• a conclusion so deep and so sure. 

On his return from Scotland, he pursued, with undevia- 
' ting strictness, the same regular system in the disposal of 
his time, which a daily adherence to had now made in some 
degree habitual to him. Though he was not accustomed 
' to speak of the vocation which he had once announced to 
me, there was nothing to convey any intimation that he had 
altered his intention, and we took it for granted that his 
•mind was -the same. A great change had, however, taken 



RELIGIOUS VOCATION. 365' 

place. He no longer had any desire, as before, to enter, 
the church, or such a desire, if it existed, was controlled by 
some more powerful feeling. Whether this arose from a 
sense of the deep responsibility attached to the office, 
or from some other cause, we could not tell ; but, in the 
month of August of that year (1838), he informed ns 
of his determination to join the society of the Christian 
Brothers, a society that, besides fulfilling all the pious 
exercises of the monastic state, devotes its best energies to 
the religious and moral instruction of the children of the 
poor. We heard this announcement with the utmost re- 
gret ; in fact, it would not be easy to describe our feelings 
when it was first disclosed to us, Though our unilluminated 
perceptions might have made us lament his desertion of 
literature, there were many things to reconcile us to the 
life of a clergyman if he had adopted it. The vast prac- 
tical good effected in the ministry ; the chance that by his 
talents or his future writings he might shed a lustre upon 
the church, and become one of its standing ornaments (ideas, 
many of them worldly in their origin, and allied to pride 
and vanity, but still not unnatural) ; all these things in- 
fluenced us in favour of that mode of life; but that a 
person with abilities of the highest order should leave the 
world, and set himself down to such a simple task as the 
instruction of the poor — a task which any one, we thought, 
could easily execute — it seemed to us like the degrading of 
most excellent faculties from their sphere, and devoting 
them to very unworthy purposes. Besides this, we were 
informed that many of the members of this society were 
men of humble origin, and that they would be totally inca- 
pable of appreciating Gerald's talents, or his habits of feel- 
ing and of thought. The first of these assertions was true ; 
the second extremely false, as a little further experience 
fully convinced us. I tell all these things plainly and un- 
disgabedly now, because I do not think I can speak with 
too much harshness of the excessive ignorance such notion* 



36G LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

betrayed of the real nature of that exalted calling, and be- 
cause I fear there may be many yet, even among Catholics, 
who, from business, or pleasure, or want of thought, are as 
uninformed as ice were at first of the labours of these pious 
men, who, in silence and in sanctity, are diffusing so much 
good around them ; pouring blessings on the world almost 
without awaking its consciousness. 

It is not easy to estimate all the advantages to society of 
such an institution as the one I speak of. That a body of 
men, renouncing the world and its pleasures, should take 
the education of the whole of the poor into its hands, and, 
undisturbed by the distracting influence of personal or sel- 
fish interests, should bend their minds to its pursuit with 
the zeal that a religious offering only can inspire, is a cir- 
cumstance highly interesting in its consequences ; one which 
the coldest and most apathetic spirit could not consider of 
small moment ; which must tend to call forth and foster all 
the elements of public virtue in a people, and the effects of 
which must surely be extensively felt in the rising genera- 
tion. 

. All the members of this community with whom we be- 
came acciuaiuted were persons of exemplary piety, showed 
tue greatest constancy and devotion to their charitable 
duties, and, contrary to the information we had at first re- 
ceived, exhibited acquirements of such a varied and solid 
character as one would scarcely at first be led to anticipate 
in then- humble sphere. They showed, also, a fondness for 
al| that w r as valuable and praiseworthy in literature, and, in 
many instances (a natural consequence, perhaps, of the con- 
stant exercise of the mind in acts of benevolence and purity) 
a \ ery refined taste in it. The simplicity and courteousness 
of their manners, and their respectful deference to others, 
made them respected in return, and the total absence of any 
approach to tamiliarity in their address, gave a peculiar 
grace and dignity to their carriage, which the world, in 
certain of its circles, and after long training, offers a won- 



THE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS. 3G7 

dorfully accurate imitation of, though springing from a dif- 
ferent principle. 

How iong the change from his vocation to the priesthood, 
to one of religious retirement, was in taking effect, I do not 
know. He speaks of it himself in the following terms, in 
a letter to America : 



" It is possible you may have heard, before this reaches you, of 
my having entered as a postulant in the Institute of the Brothers 
of the Christian Schools. I had long since relinquished the 
idea, which I ought never to have entertained, of assuming the 
duties of the priesthood ; and I assure you it is one of the at- 
tractions of the order into which I have entered, that its sub- 
jects are prohibited (by the brief issued from Rome in approval 
and confirmation of the Institute) from ever aspiring to the 
priesthood. So much, then, dear sister, for the world and the 
prospects in it to which I was once so ardently attached ; so 
much for literature, and for the still more dangerous and slip- 
pery path in which I had the hardihood to think of entering. 
If I now exert myself for God as ardently as I did for so many 
years of my life in pursuits which were dearer to me than 
either health or home ; if I am willing to resign so much for 
Him as I did for them, I may yet hope for greater happiness than 
they could ever bestow upon me. The holy end of the Insti- 
tute I have embraced is the Christian education of the male 
children of the poor, in which charitable work, if the Almighty 
spare me health and life, I shall have an abundant opportunity 
of sending far bet'ter deeds before me than I fear it would ever 
be my lot to perform amid the distractions and temptations of 
the world. The good to be done is, indeed, immense ; the 
only impediment which can come between me and the great 
reward promised to those who 'instruct others unto justice,' 
is a defect in my own disposition or manner of accomplishing 
it. And this, indeed, ought to be a source of fear to me when 
I remember how different my pursuits have been, and how far 
my natural temper is removed from that patience and immove- 
able spirit of mildness and justice, which are most essential to 
such a vocation ; but I have here abundant assistances to ac- 
quire all, both interiorly and exteriorly, that is necessary, and 
it must be my own fault if I do not succeed." 

I have some reason to think the course of life he here 



LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN* 

speaks of was not adopted suddenly ; for even before we- 
had left Pallas Kenry, there were many circumstances in 
his conduct that looked like some preparation for it. Ei3 
rigorous exactitude in the disposal of his time ; his early 
hoars ; his perseverance in his instruction of the poor ; the 
portions of the day set apart for prayer ; his complete ab- 
straction from all lesser concerns while engaged in it ; and 
the calm, religious fervour by which it was attended, all 
seemed as if he was making a trial of the practice of some 
regular rule. Often have I seen him, at the first glimmer- 
ing of dawn, before the light was yet strong enough to 
reveal more than the outline of his figure, already dressed, 
and kneeling by the side of his bed in prayer ; his attitude 
erect, and his hands and eyes • uplifted with an earnest 
expression of supplication. He built a pretty little house 
in our garden, in which he spent a considerable portion of 
the interval between breakfast and dinner. It consisted 
only of one room, and this was so small, that, like Mary 
Queen of Scots' boudoir, he might with the utmost ease 
have touched the opposite walls with his extended hands. 
These were hung with pictures of a religious character ; a 
fine print from an Ecce Homo, by, I believe, Corregio, . 
and another beautiful one, representing the emtombment 
of our Saviour, being the principal. Here he used to carry 
on his writing, and deliver himself freely to his religious 
exercises ; and I have no doubt he felt an advantage in the 
retirement it afforded, by which he was enabled to devote 
himself to them without any restraint, and without their 
attracting a degree of observation which might have been 
otherwise unpleasant to him. The little hermitage, how- 
ever, was not at all ascetic in its aspect. The walls were 
ornamented externally with roses and climbing plants, and 
before it was a neat enclosure divided into flower knots, 
with pretty borders, and planted with evergreens and other 
shrubs and flowers, which he took great pleasure in attend- 
ing to, and which . were thriving under his management* . 



LAST DAYS AT PALLAS KEXLT. 369 

The whole was surrounded by a hedge of beech, which he 
planted with his own hands, and clipped every year until 
it thickened, and shut out the other parts of the garden. 
A small Gothic doorway, cut in the hedge, formed the 
entrance to this sweet retreat, which was in a very flourish- 
ing condition when we left the place, but has, I fear, since 
been allowed to fall into decay. 

It is obvious that changes of opinion so important as 
those I have so frequently brought under the readers notice, 
could not havy occurred without giving a tone and colour- 
ing to his conversations different from what they formerly 
exhibited. That vervour and depth of feeling which was once 
bestowed upon, literature, was now transferred entirely to 
religion, and rnis with so keenly awakened a sensibility, that 
circumstances connected wlih it, even of a comparatively 
trifling character s affected him to a degree almost beyond 
belief. I have seen him suddenly burst into tears, and lose 
all control over himself, on finding that his defence of a 
Catholic clergyman against some charges brought against 
him in his hearing, not of a very grave nature either, was 
ineffectual with those who had introduced them. " Isn't 
it extraordinary," he used to say to me, " the inconsistency 
9f the world in its maxims and opinions ? What can be 
the reason that self-sacrifice, self-denial, and mortification, 
are so much admired in the pursuit of ambition, worldly 
glory, or military renown, and yet that they will not be toler- 
ated when undertaken lor the sake of religion ? Look a* 
any of those generals of ancient or modern times, who have 
made their names great in the conquest of kingdoms, or in 
war ; observe their abstinence from food on various occa- 
sions ; their watchings, their lying on the ground in wet 
and cold, in camp and field ; the manner in which they 
inured their bodies to fatigue, and all other privations, and 
see how the historian praises them precisely in proporti' n 
to the degree of self-sacrifice such practices imply; yet if 
the same things are undertaken through a religious feet- 

2 A 



3T0 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

in.;, they not only do not meet with approval, but are often 
attacked with a bitterness altogether unaccountable, as if 
religion was a mere human weakness, or as if it contained 
some notorious and palpable absurdity." These remarks, 
and a thousand others of the like kind, formed the subject 
of our fire-side colloquies, which were enriched and ren- 
dered exceedingly interesting latterly, by the quantity of 
information he drew from ecclesiastical history, to which 
he devoted many of his leisure hours. He admired greatly 
;he writings of some of the French Divines, especially 
Bourdaloue and Massillon. The sermons of the latter, 
indeed, were a constant study of his. On reading Fleury's 
Ecclesiastical History, the style of which he was quite charmed 
with, I have heard him remark, with some surprise, as a 
character of the doctrinal errors of modern times, the total 
want of all novelty about them. " There is not one of 
them," said he, u that has not been repeatedly broached in 
different ages of the church, and as repeatedly refuted, 
condemned, and forgotten." 

As his intention to pursue a life of religious retirement 
was not disclosed to us until the time had just arrived for 
putting it into execution, the preparations for his departure 
commenced almost immediately. He had already made 
all his arrangements with the community he was about to 
join, and it only remained to make a final disposition of his 
affairs, and to supply himself with such articles (a matter of 
no great difficulty) as the simple mode of life he was about 
to adopt demanded. There was one proceeding, however, 
which I would have gladly prevented, if I had any idea of 
its occurrence, but which the absence of any suspicion of, 
rendered easy of accomplishment. The reader will remem- 
ber his scruples as to the moral tendency of his writings. 
Besides his published works there were several manuscripts, 
consisting of novels, tales, and poems, some in a complete, 
others in an incomplete form, which had been written and 
laid by from time to time, during the progress of his other 



INSTRUCTION- OF ITTS MANL'SCRIFTSi 6i I 

fkootrrsi Most of these were now devoted to the flames 
without mercy. On returning home a few evenings pre- 
vious to his departure, I learned that he had retired to his 
room after breakfast, and had not left it all day long. I 
went upstairs at once, and knocking at the door, which 
was bolted, was immediately admitted. On entering the 
room, I saw him standing on the middle of the floor, his 
trunks and boxes lying open and empty ; a multitude of 
little scraps of paper strewed about, and the whole grate 
and fire-place as full as they could hold of the charred 
and ruined remnants of burned manuscripts. The quantity 
was immense, and the destruction complete, and beyond 
all remedy. I was thunderstruck, and I believe showed it 
in my countenance ; for he said immediately, laughing, 
*' I never saw anything so funny as your face ; what's the 
matter?" iS Can it be possible," I said, " that you have 
burned Matt Hyland ? or what are all those papers I see in 
the grate ?" u Why, yes," said he, smiling, " I have ; 
but what signifies it? Surely I can write it over again." 
I tossed my head in despair, knowing how unlikely this 
was. Among those devoted manuscripts was a very beau- 
tiful little poem, which I had in my possession a short time 
previously, and which I often regret kaving parted with. 
The scene was laid in the west of Ireland, and in the reign 
of Elizabeth, and the story was founded on an interesting 
incident told of Carolan, (the chieftain, not the minstrel.) 
in some of the Irish histories. The little song called 
'• Ailleen a Roon" was introduced in the course of it, and 
associated with the narrative in such a way as made eveiy 
verse intensely interesting. The greater part of Matt Hyland 
was afterwards recovered, being found written in pencil on 
the little scraps in which it first came from his hands; 
many of the verses were, however, illegible,, and many 
others that existed in the copy which was destroyed were 
not found in this version ; so that the subject was often 
broken and unconnected, hthI the force of certain passages 



37.2 -LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

greatly diminished, circumstances which I hope will induce 
the public to receive it with all due indulgence. I believe 
he had no idea of the existence of this manuscript when he 
destroyed the second, which was a fair copy, written out 
with care and completeness. It was singular, and perl&pg 
indicated some lingering remains of his ancient auction 
for the drama, that amid all this havoc he prese 1 ; V ed Gisip- 
pus, which he had then in his possession^ and which he 
handed to his brother, Dr. Griffin, wlie^n. the fate of the 
other manuscripts was sealed. 

He left us on the 7th of September. The following 

letter was addressed to his friend, Mrs. , the previous 

evening. It was the last she ever received from him, and 
brought their correspondence, though not their friendship, 
to a close, 

To Mrs. . 

I wish I could give you an idea, dear L •, of the pleasure 

your note gave me, and yet it ought not to surprise me. There 
are many kind things you do and say, -which are not the less 
noticed by me because one thing or another has prevented my 
ever speaking of them. Your calling at "William's the other 
day, when I was really very uneasy, and your visit to Pallas 
some time since, when we were all out, — many things of this 
kind were not lost upon my mind nor my memory, though I 
never bad the grace to thank you for them. I knew well what 
pain that visit to Pallas must have cost you, and, believe me^ 
I thought more of it, and felt more sincerely grateful for it, than 
for a thousand visits which, would not have been attended with 
the same sacrifice of feeling. But I believe we both give each 
other credit for that strong and lively interest in all that con- 
cerns the happiness of either, -without which friendship is but 
a name. In parting with my old desk, which has accompanied 
me through almost all my labours in the literature of the world, 
for which, perhaps, I have worked at least quite as hard as it 
deserved, it occurred to me that you would attach some value 
to what would be worthless in the eyes of most others — so I 

Leave it for you, dear L , and in it your letters, and my 

own haLwfal share of the correspondence. 01 the latter, I 



HIS CONVENTUAL L!FF: 37T 

opened one or two, and found them sd odious that I was not 
much tempted to proceed. There are passages in your note 
which desex-ve a longer and less hurried answer than I can give 
them to-night, amid all the bustle of packing-up and leave- 
taking. If we do meet again in this life, dear L— - — , as I hope 
we often may, I trust it will be with unaltered feeling3 of con- 
fidence and friendship. Our dear Lucy said she never knew 

any one so like a real sister as you were, and such, dear L , 

I beg of you to continue always to me and mine. I fear you 
will think this letter cold, as my manner has often been, even 
when my feelings were farthest from indifference. And so you 
ask for poor Gerald's prayers, dear L — — ? Indeed you shall 
have them, and, if fervour can procure a hearing for them, you 
shall have them as fervent as I shall ever offer for my own wel- 
fare. Though your letter was written evidently in grief, it 
was, somehow, cheering to me, some of its sentiments particu- 
larly so, and I cannot help thinking you must have felt the 
pleasure they would afford me, when you wrote them. Farewell, 
dear, dear L ; this will not, I trust, be the close of our cor- 
respondence. In the mean time, that every blessing may wait 
on you and yours is the ardent wish and prayer of your affec- 
tionate friend and brother, 

Gerald Griffin. 

On the 8th of September he entered on his new voca- 
tion. His habits of piety were even then found to be of 
so fixed a character, that he was admitted to the religious 
habit on the feast of St. Teresa following (Oct. 15). " The 
earnestness with which he demanded it at the altar," said 
one who was present, " and the fervour with which he- 
offered himself to be henceforward consecrated to the ser- 
vice of God, affected to tears all who had the good fortune 
to be present at the heart-touching ceremony." The early 
period at which his reception took place was an unusual 
favour, as it is more customary for those entering on a 
religious life to go through their duties as postulants for 
six months before the commencement of the noviciate. 
There is, indeed, a considerable time allowed before taking 
the final vows. In a letter, received from him a faw days 
after the ceremony, he says, .pleasantly, " You will oblige* 



3 « 4 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

ine by taking care of any other things of mine which I 3& 
not now recollect, until I make my regular legacy, which 
will not be for about five years, as the brothers do not 
usually make professional vows before that time, so that, 
you see, I shall have a good long while to look about me. 
The noviciate is two years ; then triennial vows are made ; 
after which if the candidate is not black-balled he is admit- 
ted to profession. You perceive, by this, that a man hag 
time enough to know his mind before he makes it up to so 
important a step as that of making perpetual vows." His 
sentiments at this period cannot be better described than 
in his own words, taken from the notes of his first retreat ; 
many of them are of so exalted, so devotional, and so rapt 
a character, that it is possible they may excite only 
a sense of weariness in those who have but little sympathy 
with the feeling from which they emanated. Though a 
very slender degree of respect is due to persons of that class, 
i: is not my intention to trepass on them much ; and if 
there be any among the more thinking portion of the com- 
munity whom the impressions — I will not say prejudices — 
of an early education may incline to consider these institu- 
tions as merely ingenious illusions — clever contrivances of 
human origin, innocent by virtue of their sincerity, but 
-answering no other end than as outlets for a kind of ele- 
vated and harmless enthusiasm — I would beg of them to 
consider the matter more seriously, and if they cannot alto- 
gether suppress these feelings, at least to ask themselves 
if such a conclusion be more edifying, or more practically 
useful to society, than the lives and sentiments of those who 
seek a retreat in them. There is, unfortunately, a disposi- 
tion abroad to sneer at Catholic institutions and Catholic 
practices, and especially to hold up to ridicule (as the point 
that pierces more keenly) the self-sacrificing spirit upon 
which most of them are founded. There is something, 
however, in the earnest expression of human feeling th;tt 
puts all bantering out of countenance, and if this be -the 






HIS CONVENTUAL Lira. 375 

case on the commonest subjects, it ought surely to be so 
with such as are associated with religion. I shall, there- 
fore, not hesitate to leave before the reader a few of those 
pious aspirations which he breathed forth in his religious 
seclusion, and when it is remembered that they were the 
sentiments of one before whose judgment the world had 
been weighed in the balance, and found wanting, I am not 
without a hope that the appeal I have made may be con- 
sidered unnecessary ; some of them, indeed, are so touching 
and beautiful that they require no apology. 

" I have," be says, " entered this house, at the gracious call 
of God, to die to the world, and to live to Him : all is to be 
changed ; all my own pursuits henceforward to be laid aside, 
and those only embraced which He points out to me. Give me 
grace, my God, to close my mind against all that has been, 
or may be, in which Thou hast no part : that it be not like a 
roofless building, where all kinds of birds, clean and unclean, 
fly in and out, without hindrance ; but, like an enclosed taber- 
nacle, devoted solely to Tky use and to Thy love." 

The following is copied from shorthand notes, found 
among his papers after his death, and entitled, 

My favourite Solitude. 

" Let my most cherished solitude be the tomb of my adorable 
Redeemer, as it suggested itself to me during my retreat. Be- 
fore this silent, and wounded, and disfigured body, let me al- 
ways keep myself recollected, in holy love, compunction, and 
detaenment from the world. Into this holy sepulchre let me 
continually retire, so that the mortification of my dear Re- 
deemer's sacred corpse may enter deep into my heart, and pro- 
duce there a lasting effect. Let this sweet and silent retreat be 
my refuge from worldly thoughts and distractions ; and may I 
keep myself so continually in my Saviour's grave, that it may 
be neither a surprise nor an alarm to me when 1 shall be called 
to enter into my own. 

•' O, silent tomb ! torn and wounded corpse ! be you, hence- 
forth, the object oi all my love on earth, of all my happiness in 



376 LIFE OF GERAXD GRIFFIN. 

this dying life, my refuge against everything that would suRy 
the purity of my heart. My dear dead Redeemer, may I ever 
keep Thee present to my mind and heart." 

The manner in which his time was disposed of may be 
interesting. I give it just as I have had it from one of the 
community. " He rose every morning at five, unless when 
prevented by the palpitations of the previous night ; spent 
an hour in prayer, after which he read a short spiritual 
lecture, and heard mass ; breakfasted at eight, and spent 
the intervening time, between breakfast and school, read- 
ing in the garden. At twelve he again occupied himself 
in spiritual exercises, until one, when he ordinarily returned 
to school, where he continued until three. After dinner, 
he conversed until five, and those who enjoyed these con- 
versations will never forget them ; they were principally of 
a religious character, filled with a good deal of anecdote, 
gleaned from the biography of religious persons, — some- 
times, too. from the daily occurrences of the school, which 
he told with uncommon humour. From five to six he 
spent in spiritual reading and prayers ; after which, he 
studied until half-past seven, when he made half an 
hour's meditation. At eight, he joined in recreation, during 
which he seemed a picture of happiness ; he conversed 
freely and lively, and often amused us with a song — ' Those 
evening bells,' and ' The baby lay sleeping,' being great 
fa v-ourites." The description here given, as well as the 
i Ilowing extract from one of his letters, will show that 
ti.ere is not much time squandered in these institutions. 
" I am now a regular novice; not, however, applying the 
word regular in its moral sense, although our rules are not 
quite so strict as to make it impossible to keep them. I 
might, indeed, except one, which restricts the time allotted 
to shaving and dressing, &c, to a quarter of an hour — a 
feat which I (who, even in my most regular times at home, 
was wont to allot a full hour to the same duties) was never 



DEVOTIONAL SPIRIT. 6 i i 

ret able to accomplish on more than one solitary occasion, 
and how I did it then, I cannot, for the life of me, make 
out. I was greatly cheered, however, to learn that one of 
the professed Brothers in the community could never do it 
in less than twenty minutes ; so I hope my constant failure 
is not absolutely a mark of reprobation." " H is piety" — 
I quote again from my informant — " was of the most ab- 
sorbing character ; prayer accompanied him through every 
duty — even whilst he conversed with others, his heart was 
with God ; and in the times set apart for this exercise, he 
was totally lost to everything else ; his look, his posture, 
his whole demeanour were expressive of the most profound 
forgetfulness ot everything earthly ; so absorbed, indeed, 
was he, on some occasions, that he seemed insensible to the 
passing of time, and perfectly unconscious of the presence 
• of others." I find among his notes, that he considered it as 
" the first of all his duties ;" that it was "never to have a 
second place in his affections ;" that " he would never com- 
mence it without calling to mind what he was going to do ; 
its importance and necessity ;" that, on entering the oratory, 
he would " fix his heart, with all the strength of his affec- 
tion, on the Blessed Sacrament, before which he knelt, and 
thus secure recollection, attention, and an ardent spirit of 
devotion." The resolutions, here so earnestly dwelt on, 
be appears to have adhered to with the utmost fidelity. 

The Superior General of the Order told me the following 
circumstance : There is a little oratory near the entrance 
of the school-room, where it is customary for the Brothers, 
on entering the school, to spend a few moments in prayer, 
before proceeding to the duty of instruction. He has seen 
Gerald often, after kneeling there, according to custom, 
become so absorbed in his devotions, that he seemed quite 
to forget himself, and remain so long in this religious 
abstraction, that it was evident he lost all consciousness of 
the duties he came to discharge. The friend before quoted 
further continues : " Nothing could exceed the earnestness 



$73 LIFE OF GERALD GBUSOt. 

with which he discharged every duty ; nothing was done 
by halves ; nothing imperfect ; he seemed as if he had no- 
thing else to do but that which he was doing ; the great 
and the small were equal objects of attention ; his prin- 
ciple being, that when the will of God was concerned, one 
sincerely devoted to him should make no distinction. 
From this principle he never deviated : how much he felt 
its force may be gleaned from the fallowing note : 

" ' If,' he says, addressing himself, * you think that what you 
call trifles, in matters of duty, are beneath your consideration, 
you show that you have not a true notion in what real greatness 
consists. There is this difference to be observed between the 
works of God and the works of man, in the material world. 
In the former, the more minute and microscopic is our examina- 
tion, the more do we find cause to admire the wonders of Al- 
mighty power and wisdom in the organisation, combination, 
virtue, and exquisiteness of the minutest parts of which they 
are composed. In the latter, the test of close examination only 
exposes to us their defects. Can we suppose that God is so 
watchful over material things, and that he does not set an equal 
value on perfection in spiritual affairs ? Can you suppose that 
minute perfection in an act of virtue or religion is not as accep- 
table to God as in the form of an insect or the texture of a leaf ? 
If your good works be the effect of nature, they will hardly 
stand the test more than human works in the material world ; 
but if they be wholly directed by the Spirit of God, they wiD 
be perfect in the detail, as well as in the general plan. ' " 

These beautiful sentiments seem to have been earnestly 
reduced to practice. Not only did he aim at perfection in 
everything, but he also endeavoured to be guided by the 
most pure and exalted feeling in all his actions, and this 
even long before his entrance into religion. He says, in 
one of his letters, " We show great ingratitude to Heaven, 
when we only think seriously of it in moments of affliction : 
love can hardly be the ruling motive, where the child will 
do nothing without tne rod." 

The undeviatmg regularity »\Mch the discharge of bii 



HIS 1££LI(SI0US PEACE. 37^ 

duties in this new sphere required, seemed one of its prin- 
cipal charms for him ; and the constant employment of time 
in a manner calculated to satisfy him of its useful distribu- 
tion, was the very tiling, of all others, which made it most 
attractive. " He would," says my informant, " have no 
exemption in any thing ; not a virtue, to the perfection of 
which he did not aspire : profound humility, strict obedience, 
conformity to the Divine will in the most trifling incidents, 
a habit of prayer and union with God, and an ardent zeal 
to promote his glory, were the striking virtues by which he 
was characterised ; he wished to be the first and most la- 
borious at every duty ; even the very relaxations, which, 
■on account of his previous habits, were deemed necessary, 
seemed to be taken but in accordance with the wish of 
others." It would appear, indeed, from facts which havi 
come to my knowledge, as if he long had a feeliug that 
these were the circumstances that suited his disposition best. 
I find the following sentence in a letter, written six or seven 
years previously, when he certainly had no idea of a con- 
ventual life : " The more I see, and the longer I live, the 
more convinced I am that I can never enjoy quiet of mind 
except in retirement, regularity, and incessant exertion. 
Experience, too, shows me that the more indefatigably one 
applies to the single object of his existence, the happier he 
will feel." These conditions, so much coveted, formed now 
tne daily routine of his life, and, with the motives and ends 
with which they were associated, the whole sum of his hap- 
piness. Nothing, indeed, could equal the degree of content, 
and even felicity, he seems to have enjoyed in his present 
condition. 

"The more, ne says, K I see o. a religious life, the more I feel 
the truth of -what * said by one of the scriptural writers, 
'that if God did not please to keep its happiness secret, the 
whole world would be running into it.' Those miserable year3 
I spent in London! Whatever it may prove for the next 
«a viiJ, it bas been to me, through God's inhnite m.-rcy, a com- 



$P0 LITE OF GERALD GPJFFT^:. 

plete specific for this ; nor — poor, sluggish, and distardly as m^ 
own efforts have been to correspond with His high graces — 
\% ould I exchange the peace of heart they have procured me, 
fur the fame of all the Scotts and Shakspeares that ever strutted 
their hour upon the stage of this little brief play which they call 
.ife ; let people twist and turn their brains about on which side 
they will, and as long as they will, there is, after all, nothing 
&1 wlutely worth thinking upon but saving their souls. 4 One 
thing is necessary ;' all the rest, from beginning to end, is such 
absolute trash, that it seems downright madness to give it a 
moment's care." * * * << Religion is, indeed, the paradise 
on earth: experience alone could teach it. The world will not 
believe us when we tell them so, and they won't come them- 
selves to make the trial." * * * ''Indeed, no one has or 
can have an idea of the happiness of life in a religious com- 
munity, without having actually experienced it. It is a 
frequent subject of conversation with us here, at recreation 
L ura, to gness at the causes which make time fiy by so rapidly, 
that the day (though we make it a pretty long one, by 
rising always at five) is ended almost before we feel that it is 



Hia letters sre full cf such expressions. In another he 
*ays : 

"I wrnld despair of giving you any idea of the perfect 
liberty of mind and happiness one feels in the religious state 
(when it is not one's own fault), and which it is in his power 
to increase every day and every hour. I could write volumes 
alxmt it without being tired, bat it would be of no use attempt- 
ing it ; to be known it must be tried. The worst of it is. thf 
thought that one v,- 1 have to give an account of all those 
graces, and to show that he made good use of them, which, 
alas ! — but I'll stop preaching-" 

The following was addressed to a friend in London some 
man hs later, and was written from the North .Monastery. 
Cork: 

"I was ordered oft 1 here from Dublin last June, and have 
ben since enlightening the craniums of the wondering Paddie9 
in this quarter, who learn from *ne with profjund amazement 



INDIFFERENCE TO LITERARY REPUTATON. 381 

*•** profit, that o, x, spells ox ; that the top of a map is the 
- >f th, and the bottom the south, with various other ' branches ;' 
J \lso that they ought to be good boys, and do aethey are bid, 
vid say their prayers every morning and evening, &c. ; and 
yet it seems curi< >us even to myself, that I feel a great deal 
happier in the practice of this daily routine than I did -while I 
was roving about your great city, absorbed in the modest pro- 
ject of rivalling Shakspeare, and throwing Scott into the shade. " 

These simple extracts require no comment. I throw 
them hastily before the reader for his own reflection. 
Writing to a clergyman, to whom he was tenderly attached, 
he says : " I have not yet known what it is to regret the 
world ; if I regretted anything, it would be that we had not 
parted sooner. If those who enter religion late in life, fail 
not to receive some share of the peace which it confers, 
what must it be to the young, who give it their morning 
and their noon, with all the freshness and vigour of their 
early affections ?" " His indifference to literary reputa- 
tion," says one of the Christian Brothers, " was particularly 
striking. During the whole time he was with us, I never 
heard him even once speak of his writings, except in private 
conversation with myself, and then only when I introduced 
the subject. He was desirous of living unknown ; of 
placing himself on a level in every respect with those im- 
mediately around him, and therefore studiously endeavoured 
to conceal all superiority. On one occasion we were speak- 
ing in community of the county of Wicklow and its scenery, 
when some one present said, ' Yon have been in the county 
Wicklow ?' He merely replied that he had : judge my 
astonishment when, a few days after, I met, for the first time, 
his ' Reflections on Visiting the Seven Churches.' On 
another occasion some allusion was made to Ullah. Some 
one jestingly said to him, * You know something of Ullah' 
(alluding, I believe, to his 'Voluptuary Cured')? He 
blushed h'ke a child. He was sensibly affected by the least 
irord said in his praise 3 and avoided everything that could 



382 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFI3V 

directly or indirectly excite it. In fact, he was above aI2? 
those little methods by which ordinary men seek to attract 
it ; in this, as in everything else, giving constant evidence 
how much his mind was beyond the ordinary level. He 
once told me, that from the moment he got a decidedly 
serious turn, he never could bring himself to the tempera- 
ment necessary for works of fiction ; that he never produced 
anything which satisfied himself ; and that, whilst occupied 
in the composition, he often threw the pen out of his hand, 
from the perfect consciousness that what he was then doing 
would not be successful." 

From the moment he had fairly entered on his new mode 
of life, he manifested the greatest disinclination to take a 
pen in his hand ; he could not bear the idea of it ; it seemed 
as if he shrank, with an avoidance almost amounting to 
loathing, from an employment to which he had long been, 
indebted for much mental suffering. He used to tell a story 
of a painter, of uncommon genius, who had entered a reli- 
gious community, and who had destroyed his palettes and 
brushes, lest they should afterwards prove an occasion of 
temptation, and it seems not improbable that he applied 
this lesson to himself. I could not help admiring the judg- 
ment which the members of the community displayed in 
their management of him in this respect : they did not, 
in the least, urge him upon the subject, but left him alto- 
gether to himself. It was, indeed, their hope, that this 
feeling might gradually wear away ; that a fondness for 
literary exercises might again arise ; and that, on its calmer 
reawakening, it might be directed with renewed vigour to 
the interests of morals or religion. They thought such an 
end would be best attained by leaving his inclinations en- 
tirely free, and showing on their parts no anxiety or leaning 
one way or other. The event proved the wisdom of this 
conclusion, for, as time passed on, the disinclination I speak 
of became, by degrees, less and less, and in the last year 
of his life he had commenced, and made some progress, in 



T?«rr to his srsTE*. 383 

oii^ or two talcs of a deep interest, and quite of the char- 
acter anticipated. 

It may be imagined that such a total abstraction from 
all worldly feeling as ho evinced in his religious life would 
be attended with a diminution of the strong attachments 
he had always shown for the friends whom he had left. 
The contrary was the case ; indeed, his sensibility in this 
respect seemed to be exalted in a degree that was quite 
extraordinary. He could hardly ever speak of them with- 
out being moved almost to tears ; and, though he appeared 
delighted whenever any of them paid him a visit, the re- 
membrances it awasened were so vivid, and the pain of 
parting so keen, that it seemed more than he could well 
endure ; a circumstance that sometimes made him avoid 
such meetings when they depended on himself. Shortly 
after he took up his abode in Dublin, he went, at the in- 
stance of some of his religious friends, to visit his sister, 
who had been for some time a " Sister of Charity." The 
meeting affected him so deeply that, though repeatedly 
urged again to renew his visit, and though he often pro- 
mised, and more than 'once fixed a day for it, he could 
never be got to do so, and he actually left the city without 
being able to bring himself to call even to take leave of her. 
His friend, Mrs. , being in Dublin, called at the monas- 
tery to see him. He was walking in the garden, and, 
being told a person was within who wished to speak to him, 
turned towards the house ; after walking a few steps he 
asked who it was, and, on hearing the name, stopped, turned 
quite pale, grew very much agitated, and, after a long pause, 
requested the messenger, with much emotion, to say u he 
was very much obliged for her visit, that he was very well, 
and exceedingly sorry he could not see her." This was the 
last opportunity that offered for a meeting, and I believo 
the triends never saw each other more. I shall have to give 
another remarkable proof of the strength of these attach- 
ments before I conclude. 



C&4: LIFE OF GEFJLLD GBIFFIN. 

In June, 183y, he was removed to the North Monaster}', 
in Cork. He gives the following account of his new resi- 
dence, in a letter written a few days after : 

u Ycu will see, by the above date, that I am somewhat nearer 
to you than when I wrote last. I have been here a fortnight, 
and am no way dissatisfied with the change of scene. This is 
a very nice house, and delightfully situated on the top of a bill, 
with the city lying in the valley at its foot, and ' Shandon 
Steeple' rising in front about to the level of our feet ; so that, 
in returning from mass or the school, we can look down upon 
the world, in one of its busiest scenes, from a physical if not 
from a moral or religious eminence. Between us and the city, 
at the foot of the lawn sloping down from the house, stands 
our school, a fine large building ; and a nicely gravelled walk, 
winding between a close-shorn hedge and a line of trees that 
completely overshadow it, conducts us to the schooL About 
half-way down, on one side, close by the walk, stands a little 
burying- ground, where the head-stones of a few Brothers invite 
us to a de profundi*, and a thought or two on the end of all 
things, as we are passing. " 

This letter was dated the 20th of June. Before that 
day twelvemonth he was himself lying at rest in that 
little burying-ground, and a de profundi* was recited for 
him. But I am anticipating. 

In the month of September, after his arrival in Cork, I 
again paid him a visit. He was in excellent health and 
spirits, and delighted beyond measure at seeing me. He 
spoke of his occupations, of his recreations, of the disposal 
of his time, and of the different dispositions and abilities 
i.»f the boys that attended the schools. One difference that 
had been noticed pretty generally by the Christian Brothers 
struck him as very singular. It had been observed (if I 
remember rightly) that the boys in and about Dublin showed 
a strong natural facility in acquiring a good hand, though 
they were rather dull as arithmeticians ; but that those in 
Cork, while they seemed to have some peculiar dimcnlty in 
learning to write well, evinced in general a high degree of 



VISIT TO HIS SISY3B. 3£& 

talent for mathematics. He seemed as happy as possible, 
and spoke warmly of the extreme kindness of the Brothers 
to him : " You never saw such people as these are," he 
said, " so kind and attentive ; I cannot give you the least 
idea of it ; and not to me only, but to every member of the 
community. You cannot have the least thing amiss with 
you, that they will not whisk you off somewhere, and get 
you cured almost before you have time to look about you. It 
was but the other day that I made some slight complaint 
of rheumatic pain somewhere, when they suddenly ordered 
a car to the door, hurried me down to the Black Rock, 
insisted on my having some baths there, and only con- 
sented to desist when I assured them that I was for som a 
day3 perfectly well." I proposed to the community that 
he should be given into my charge for one day, for the pur- 
pose of paying a visit to his youngest sister, for whom he 
had always shown a particular attachment, and who, having 
retired from the world about three years before, was now 
living in the presentation convent at Youghal. To this the 
superior kindly consented, and early next morning we set 
off on our journey. The day was beautiful : we took out- 
side seats on the coach, and he was in the highest spirits. 
We had several conversations about literature, and literary 
people , all his old recollections seemed to revive, and he 
spoke on these subjects with an ardour and warmth of 
expression that quite surprised me, yet with a degree of 
calmness that showed that they were now no longer capa- 
ble of disturbing his peace. I remember, particularly, hij 
speaking with great enthusiasm of some of the scenes in 
Woodstock, especially of that beautiful one, Cromwell's 
soliloquy before the picture. This vfcit made him exceed- 
ingly happy. We returned to the monastery early in the 
evening, and he resumed his studies with his usual energy. 
The remaining months of his religious life were spent 
with the same piety, energy, and cheerful unbroken con- 
tent that I have already described. Notwithstanding the 



386* LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

expression be makes use of, in one of his letters, that ho 
did not intend to make his regular legacy for about five 
years, he seems occasionally to have been visited by his old 
presentiment of an early death. " Apply yourself," he says, 
in one of his Meditations, " diligently to prayer ; be exact 
and attentive to meditation. Be generous in giving your 
time to God ; do not fear to fling yourself into his arms ; 
serve him courageously ; it will soon be over. The night 
will soon come, very soon ; a few days, and there will be 
no more talk of you: make friends, then, beforehand, in 
the land to which you are going, and which is much nearer 
than you think." In the same place the following passage 
occurs : " Sweetly abandon your friends and all, my soul, 
into the hands of God. He will take care of you and them 
if you serve him sincerely and faithfully. Do not be soli- 
citous about such and such friends, in whose salvation you 
feel an interest. Is not our Lord Jesus more desirous of 
their salvation than you can possibly be ? These anxieties 
can only serve to withdraw you from the care of your own 
soul, and make you lose the opportunities of salvation 
mercifully afforded you : beware, my soul !" It is singular 
that this presentiment seems to have been fulfilled in the same 
unforeseen, though not quite unexpected manner, that was 
thus shadowed forth- to him. The tales of a religious char- 
acter which I have "spoken of, though willingly and even 
farnestly entered upon, were never completed. The last 
»n which he was engaged was called " The Holy Island," 
and was said to be, so far as it went, of a surpassing in- 
terest. Its last sentence runs thus : 

" Of the things of this world, my son, they are well informed, 
but as for that abyss beyond " 

When he had proceeded thus far, the dinner bell rang. 
He laid by his pen, and, as his fatal illness commenced soon 
afterwards, these were the last words he ever wrote. 



MEDITATIONS. 387 

RFs whole mind, indeed, seemed bent on securing a 
proper preparation for his end. This great object seemed 
now the aim of his whole existence ; not a thought, not an 
act of his, with which it was not constantly mingled ; not 
a single admonitory feeling that was not yielded to with a 
prompt yet reflecting obedience. In a letter which I had 
from him some time after the visit I have spoken of above, 
he makes use of the following expressions respecting him- 
self: u I think, long as I was without embracing the reli- 
gious state, mine was always one of those minds of which 
St. Gregory speaks, when he says,- ' There are some souls 
which cannot be saved except in religion.' Its restraints 
and freedom from temptation, to say nothing of its other 
graces, were necessary to one so easily caught by every 
tiling that favoured inclination and self-love." Those who 
were intimately acquainted with him, and had often occa- 
sion to observe the strength of mind he showed in conquer- 
ing every feeling, under a sense of duty, will admire the 
humility with which he expresses himself in this and other 
passages. In the same and subsequent letters he requests 
me to return to the owners several books he had borrowed, 
" or the value of them ; as," he says, " I am about clearing 
off all scores with my old friend the world before we part for 
ever." He desires me also to give all his clothes away to 
the poor ; and, with a most scrupulous remembrance of. 
justice, directs the payment of several very small sums t« 
some persons to whom he considers himself indebted. Fur- 
ther, that no possible evil might arise from any want of 
thought on his part, he says, speaking of some books he 
had left in my care, M I suppose you will smile, as at a 
stroke of character, when I say that I had as lief yon 
would notlend Fleury's History indi'scrtminatiiy. Though. 
a celebrated and very beautiful work, it is not quite cor- 
rect, or has not the reputation of being so. Indeed, it con- 
tains some misrepresentations, which, if intended, ara 
quite shameful ;. and if not, surprisingly ignorant." Thus 



"388 : LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

did he prepare daily and hourly for that event, of which, 
as yet, he saw no positive sign, but which he had the 
wisdom fully to believe was nearer than he thought. 

In a letter written to the sister whom I have spoken of 
above, which displays a veiy earnest solicitude for her wel 
fare, he expresses himself as follows : " Since you came to 
religion, I am more anxious about your health than I used 
to be. In the world I used to think you were too good to 
die (you remember how mad you were with me once foi 
saying I thought you would live long), and I now am some- 
times afraid you are too good to live ; for the last few years 
have shown us that it is not always those who are best 
calculated to benefit and edify the world, that God is pleased 
to leave longest in it." This last passage had reference to 
some amiable and pious friends of his, who were recently 
earned off in the very prime of life. 

In April, 1840, about a week or ten days before Easter, 
he had a sharp feverish attack, resembling those he had 
been subject to occasionally at home, though more severe, 
and confining him sevea or eight days to his bed. From 
this he recovered, though not perfectly. On the 8th of 
May he wrote to Dr. Griffin, informing him of several dis- 
tressing feelings arising out of this illness, which he wished 
to have his advice upon. He was affected with his old 
palpitations in a severe form, frequent perspirations, and 
a degree of nervousness which made it difficult for him, he 
says, to hold his pen steadily in writing. The physician 
who attended him in the feverish attack had, he says, pre- 
scribed for these symptoms with much advantage ; but 
though his health improved as time passed on, his progress 
was slow, and his strength still far below what was natural 
to him. Dr. Griffin gave him such directions as he thought 
necessary, and we heard nothing farther for some time. 

On the evening of Wednesday, the 10th of June, we 
received a letter from the superior, infonningus that he had 
been indisposed for some day.^ and that latterly his illness 



ILLNESS AND DEATH. , 389 

Had shown a disposition to fever. Rumours reached us also 
the same evening that his complaint had begun to assume 
a serious character. I started for Cork next morning, and 
arriving at the monastery about six in the afternoon, was 
immediately shown upstairs. It was an affecting thing for 
me, who had been a witness of almost every scene in his 
well-spent life, to enter his room upon so short a warning, 
and find him sunk in the last stage of typhus fever ; to see 
that mind and heart, usually so bright and buoyant, strug- 
gling vainly for expression amid the overpowering stupor that 
attends the close of that disease. As I moved towards the 
bed, he appeared to recognise me. A gleam of surprise 
and delight kindled faintly in his eyes as he raised their 
drooping lids, and fixed them on me. I took him by the 
hand, and asked him if he knew me ? He immediately 
said "No," but almost in the same instant called me by my 
name. Presently, when I went out of the room for a few 
minutes, he asked " Where is he ?" and these were almost 
the only articulate sounds he uttered to the close. 

On inquiry as to the origin of his illness, I found that on 
Sunday, the 31st of May, he complained of a slight cold, 
but on the following day was so well as to walk out, and in 
the evening seemed to enjoy all his accustomed cheerfulness. 
On Tuesday he remained in bed, but it was not until that 
day week, the 9 th of June, that his sickness assumed any- 
thing of a serious appearance. The superior then imme- 
diately communicated with us. It was an unfortunate cir- 
cumstance that we had not an earlier intimation of his 
condition. It seemed a strange fatality, that though I was 
no more than fifty miles from him, he should have passed 
through such a disorder as typhus fever without my being 
able to do anything more than just to see him in his lasfc 
moments. For this the community, however, were not in 
the least to blame, as they wrote to us the first moment 
they understood the symptoms had taken on an alarming 
aspect ; and with regard to the medical mei^ I believe the 



S90 LIFE OF GE-RALB GRIFFIN. 

fact was, that the illness in its early part was very moder- 
ate, scarcely differing in appearance from the feverish 
attack he had had sometime before, and that when it had 
declared itself, and taken on a typhoid character, his pre- 
vious debility made him sink with a degree of rapidity 
that no one conld have anticipated. Indeed, considering 
Ms previously weakened state, and the old affection of the 
heart to which he was subject, I do not believe (speaking 
apart from the designs of Providence) that it was in the 
power of any mode of treatment, however skilful, to have 
brought him through such a disease. 

In fever, despair seldom comes but with absolute cer- 
tainty. The physicians whose care he had been under, 
and whose kind attention I could not help feeling grate- 
ful for, paid a visit soon after my arrival ; they were quite 
desponding, and did not disguise their opinions as to the 
event. Desperate as the case was, however, I could not 
give up the idea that it was possible some favourable 
change might yet take place. In uncomplicated fever, 
the contest towards the close is one with debility. The 
indication was plain, to support his strength by every 
means that ingenuity could devise ; therefore I remained 
by his bedside, and saw everything that was suggested 
carried into execution. At one time he seemed to rally a 
little for about two hours ; it was, however, all in vain. 
As one of the Brothers said, " If the Almighty had chosen 
to preserve his life, the means would not have been want- 
ing." He spent the night in constant restlessness, with 
indistinct attempts at articulation, and a frequent loud 
moaning, which it was distressing to listen to, and at 
7 a. jr., on Friday, the 12th of June, was released from 
his suffering. 

It was now we heard of several little incidents which 
showed the excess of his humility, the high degree of per- 
fection to which he wished to aspire, and the extreme 
depth of his attachments. I will just mention a few at 



CHARACTERISTIC INCIDENTS. S91 

tb8m : On his first entering the community, the superior, 
in consideration of the delicacy of his health, made arrange- 
ments to have him sleep in an apartment by himself, sepa- 
rate from the rest of the novices. In a day or two he 
came to the director of novices, complaining of the dis- 
tinction that was made, and requesting particularly to be 
treated exactly like others, and to be allowed to sleep, like 
them, in the common dormitory. The director told him 
the arrangement was entirely for the sake of his health, 
and not at all from any desire to make distinctions. Gerald 
still objected, saying his health was very good ; but, on its 
being represented to him that his superiors ought to be 
the best judges of that, and that it should be his business 
to do exactly as he was desired, and obey without murmur- 
ing, he acquiesced, and retired to his quarters. In a few 
days he came to the director again, and told him he 
really could not feel happy while any distinction seemed to be 
made between himself and others ; that his health wa.s very 
good, and did not, in the least, require any such indulgence. 
The director then told him he should not be pressed 
any further, and that he might do as he pleased. The 
change was accordingly made, but had not lasted above 
three nights, when he came before the director once more, 
and said, "I am afraid there was a little self-will ia my 
wishing to interfere with the directions of the superior the 
other day ; I do not feel easy about it since, and I am now 
anxious you should do whatever you think best, without 
paying any regard to my feelings." " Well, perhaps there 
was," said the director, quietly, "and I think you will 
feel happier by leaving the matter entirely in our hands, 
and giving yourself no further trouble about it." He 
accordingly gave directions to have him reinstated in his 
•Id position, and he heard nothing further. 

On another occasion, the director of novices observed 
him, daring recreation time, leave the apartment in Avhicfe 
he and his companions were amusing themselves, so sud- 



392 LITE OF GERALD GRIFFIN. 

denly, that it immediately attracted his attention : v .s fol- 
lowed him to his room, and found him bathed — ">:ers. 
He sat down, took him kindly by the hand, and bej^'ju to 
know what it was that affected him so deeply. Gerald 
was silent for a long time ; bnt at last, on being earnestly 
entreated not to conceal the canse of his grief, said, "lam 
afraid I have inflicted a wound on my brother William's 
heart, by leaving him ; he was always like a father to me." 
The director tried to console him by such reflections as 
jast then occurred to his mind, and, after a little time, 
succeeded. The same gentleman, to whom he appears to 
have been ranch attached, writes to me as follows : 

" Nothing could exceed the sensibility which he manifested on 
hearing of the death of any of his relatives or friends. Some 
allusion having been made, one day, to the virtues of the late 

Bev. Mr. E , he burst into tears, and was so overpowered 

as to be obliged to leave the room. "We used to say of him 
whilst he lived, that we never saw such a combination of intellect 
and feeling. Among the many instances of his benevolence I 
may mention one, quite indicative of his character. A poor 
man, a native of Limerick, whom he had never before seen, 
called one day, and told him some distressing story. He came 
immediately to me. 'You know, Joseph,'* said I, 'the su- 
perior being from home, I have nothing that I can bestow. 
' He is in distress,' said he, ' and I have a small gold seal ; may 
I not give it to him ?' Not feeling warranted in advising him 
to give it to an utter stranger, I told him I thought it would be 
better not. He acquiesced, with the meekness of a child ; but 
there was an evident struggle between feeling and duty. I 
often, since his death, think how much it must have cost him. 

He was buried on Monday, the 15th of June, in the 
little cemetery of the monastery, which is situated in a 
prove beside the house. A simple headstone and inscrip- 
tion indicates the spot, merely recording the name he had 
adopted in religion, and the date of his death. 

In speaking of several incidents such as these I have 

* The name he had adopted in religion. 



CALMNESF OF II fSSt. 393 

mentioned, the director of novices made a remark, which 
is worthy of being recorded. He said h<3 had often taken 
an interest in observing the impressions with which dif- 
ferent people, during their lifetime, regarded death. Some 
had, constitutionally, a great fear of it ; others exhibited 
no such feeling. He had, in his own time, seen a great 
many persons die, and he had always remarked, that those 
of the first class, who showed the greatest fear of death 
previously, usually died with the greatest calmness. " Your 
brother, I think," he said, " belonged to this class, and in 
him, particularly, this observation was exemplified. He 
always, even in his best health, seemed to have the idea of 
death before his eyes ; it always made the greatest impres- 
sion on him, and yet nothing could exceed the calmness of 
his end. On the morning of the d&y when his illness took 
an unfavourable turn, he called the person in attendance 
on him to his bedside, and quietly told him, ' he thought 
he should die of this sickness, and that he wished to receive 
extreme unction.' His confessor, by a merciful dispensa- 
tion of Providence, was then in the house, and ex- 
pressed his opinion that, as a matter of precaution, it 
was best to administer it. He repaired to his bedside,, 
presented him the holy viaticum, and administered ex- 
treme unction. He received them w T ith the most lively 
sentiments of love and resignation, a3 well as the utmost 
fervour and devotion. During his illness not a murmur 
or sigh of impatience escaped him; not a sentiment but 
breathed love, confidence, and resignation ; not a desire, 
but for the perfect accomplishment of the xn\\ of Him to 
whom his habits of prayer had so long and so closely 
united him.' , 

I have spoken more than once of his distrust and 
scruples, as to the moral tendency of his works. A very 
singular instance of it came to my knowledge after hit 
death. I was informed that he wrote a letter to one of 
his publishers some time previously, requesting him parti* 



SO-i LIFE OP GEEALD GRIFFIN. 

cularly to buy up all such copies of his works as he could 
lav hands upon. It is evident, from this, that he would 
have wished, if possible, to put a complete stop to their 
dissemination ; a very apt commentary, as well on the 
strictness of his later opinions, as the degree to which his 
old love of fame had died away within him. The idea 
was, of course, quite impracticable. 

In personal appearance he was tall and well-formed, 
and, though rather slender, possessed considerable muscular 
strength. The engraving prefixed to this volume is a 
tolerably correct likeness, though more grave and severe in 
its expression than he was wont to be. It gives some- 
thing like the gloom of the daguerreotype, to a counte- 
nance naturally cheerful aud serene. I remember he had 
the greatest admiration of a portrait of Manzoni, which 
was attached to a copy of " I promessi sposi" that we had 
in the house. He frequently took the book in his hand, 
and said, "Now, don't you like that countenance ? I think 
it is a beautiful one. I admire the expression of that 
face more than I can tell you." There seems to have been 
some similarity in the close of their career ; and if the 
reader has an opportunity of comparing both portraits, I 
think he will find in the character and expression of the 
countenances a considerable resemblance. 

I have brought forward so unreservedly, in this memoir, 
everything that could enable the public to form an accurate 
conception of our author's character, that it is unnecessary 
for me to make any further remark upon it. One circum- 
stance, however, I had nearly forgotten, which, in esti- 
mating the control he usually had over lus feelings, will be 
considered of some importance. He was a person of rather 
quick temper — much more so^ indeed, .than one would 
readily be brought to believe from ordinary intercourse 
with him. His usual demeanour, however, was that of 
mildness and gentleness ; and even on those occasions 
when the influence of his .uatural temuerament seemed 



LINES. 595 

about to appear, he showed a degree of self-possession, 
which prevented it from giving him any serious disturb- 
ance. As the following verses contain a slight sketch of 
his feelings and disposition, and are from his own hand, I 
am tempted to close this concluding chapter with them. 

They were addressed to his friend, Mrs. , during the 

progress of their acquaintance. The last three verses werf 
added about three years later than the rest, apparently 
with the view of obviating any misconceptions that might 
possibly arise upon the subject of their friendship. 

To L . 

i. 
In the time of my boyhood I had a strange feeling, 

That I was to die ere the noon of my day ; 
Not quietly into the silent grave stealing, 

But torn, like a blasted oak, sudden away ; 

n. 
That even in the hour when enjoyment was keenest, 

My lamp should quench suddenly, hissing in gloom? 
That even when mine honours were freshest and greenest, 

A blight should rush over and scatter their bloom. 

m. 
It might be a fancy — it might be the glooming 

Of dark visions, taking the semblance of truth ; 
And it might be the shade of the storm that is coming, 

Cast thus in its morn through the sunshine of youth. 

rv. 
But be it a dream, or a mystic revealing, 

The bodement has haunted me year after year ; 
And whenever my bosom with rapture was filling, 

I paused for the footfall of Fate at mine ear. 

v. 

With this feeling upon me, all feverish and glowing, 
I rushed up the rugged way panting to Fame, 

I snatched at my laurels while yet they were growing, 
And won for my guerdon the half of a name. 



826 LIFE OF GERALD GRIFFIN - . 



My triumphs I viewed, from the least to the brightest;. 

As gay flowers plucked from the fingers of death ; 
\nd wherever joy's garments flowed richest and lightest,, 

I looked for the skeleton lurking beneath. 

vn. 

( »h, friend of my heart ! if that doom should fall on me^ 
And thou shouldst live on to remember my love, 

Come oft to my tomb when the turf lies upon me, 
And list to the even wind mourning above. 



Lie down by that bank, where the river is creeping 

All fearfully under the still autumn tree, 
When each leaf in the sunset is silently weeping, 

And sigh for departed days, thinking of me. 

IX. 

By the smiles ye have looked — by the words ye have spok'. 
i Affection's own music, that heal as they fall) — 

he balm ye have poured on a spirit half broken, 
And, oh ! by the pain ye gave — sweeter than all ; 



} Remember me, L , when I am departed, 

Live over those moments when they, too, are gone 

Be still to your min strel the soft and kind-hearted, 
And droop o'er the marble where he lies alone. 



ilemember how freely that heart, that to others 
Waa dark as the tempest-dawn frowning above, 

Surst open to thine with the zeal of a brother's, 
And showed all its hues in the light of thy love. 



And, oh ! in that moment when over him sighing, 
Forgive, if his fadings should flash on thy brain \ 

Remember, the heart that beneath thee is lying, 
Can never awafe^ to offend thee again. 



LINES. 32* 



And say, while >^ pause on each sweet recollection, 
" Let love like mine own on his spirit attend : 

For to me his heart turned with a poet's affection, 
Just less than a lover, and more than a friend." 



Additional stanzas, written three years later : 

XIV. 

" Was he selfish ? — not quite ; hut his bosom was glowing 
With thronging affections, unanswered, unknown ; 

He looked all round the world with a heart overflowing; 
But found not another to love like his own. 



" Yet how ? — did the worthy avoid or forsake him ? 

Ah, no ! for Heaven blessed him with many a friend 
But few were so trusting that might not mistake him, 

Oh, none were so dear that he could not offend ! 



" Yet, peace to his clay in its dreary dominion, 
I know that to me he was good and sincere ; 

And that VLtue ne'er shadowed, with tempering pinioi 
An honest- r friendship than Death covers tcr?. j* 



APPENDIX. 



The following 13 the communication with which Profes- 
sor Curry has kindly furnished me, and to which I have 
alluded in a note in the early part of the volume. For 
all his trouble in preparing it, as well as for the warm and 
friendly interest he has taken in the subject, I am under 
many obligations to him. 

The Family of O 5|t]obcA (O'Griobhtha), pronounced 
O'Greefa, and variously anglicised GrifTy, Griffith, and 
Griffin, is of undoubted Milesian origin in Ireland. 

The Book of Lecan, an ancient Irish MS., preserved in 
the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, contains (folio 
'.31a) a tract on the genealogies of the race of the great 
Ulster Champion, Fergus (the son of Rossa Roigh), as 
descended from hi3 three sons by Meave, the celebrated 
Queen of Connaught at the commencement of the Christian 
Bra. This race is represented in Munster at the present day 
by the O'Conors of Kerry, and others of that country, who 
descend from Ciar, the eldest of the sons of Fergus and 
Meaye; and by the families of O'Oonor, O'Lochlan, O'Griobh- 
tha or Griffin, O'Senaigh or Shanny, O'Nealan, O'Liddan, 
O'Kett, &c, all of Burren and Corcomroe, in the present 
".ounty of Clare, who descend from Core, the second son. 



APPENDIX. 399 

The pedigree of Fergus, who was of the Budrician race, 
descended from B'beAjt (Ebhear), or JLber, son of Ir, sou 
of Milesius, (see Genealogy of Milesius, p. 169 of Appendix 
to the Battle of Magh Leana, published by .the Celtic Society, 
1855,) will appear in the forthcoming publication of Professor 
Curry's Lectures on the Materials of Ancient Irish History, 
iu the Catholic University. The genealogies of his various 
descendants also have been accurately preserved. 

Of the descendants of Core, the second son of Fergus and 
Meave, the pedigrees of the O'Conors and O'Lochlans, only* 
are brought down, in the Book of Lecan, to the beginning of 
the 14th century ; but there is a curious and valuable list of 
all the families descended from Core, with the links connects 
ing them with the parent stock, though not coming down 
farther than the time of Brian Boru, that is, the beginning of 
the 11th century; and in this list the tribe or clan of 
CfGriobhtha, or Griffin, is to be found. 

According to this ancient genealogy, Fergus was twelfth in 
direct descent from the celebrated King Ollamh Fodla, and 
the twentieth from Milesius. The fourteenth from Core, the 
second son of Fergus, was Oscar ; and this Oscar had two 
Sons, Conbroc and Ugran. From Conbroc, the eldest, de- 
scend the O'Conors of Corcomroe (who are traced down to 
Feidlim or Phelim O'Conor, who died A.D. 1365), and the 
O'Lochlans of Burren. From Ugran, the second, descended, 
m the 9th generation, the brothers 3fijobcA (Qriobhtha), 
or Griffin, and Sen ac (Senach), or Shanny, from whom the 
0'Griffy3, or Griffins, and the O'Shannys. The O'Nealans also 
descend from the same stock of the Ultonian race, as appears 
in Andrew MacCurtin's controversy, about the year 1720, 
with Arthur O'Leary and Brian O'Coonar of Kerry, carried 
on, in a well known series of poems, of which a eotemporary 
copy is in the possession of Professor Curry. 



400 APPENDIX, 

O'Sham.y, who was a co -descendant with OHJriffy, waa 
located at Ballyshanny, near Kilfenora, which is within the 
ancient territory of his ancestor of Corcomroe. How or whe- 
ther the O'Griffys, O'Nealans, and others of that race, passed 
into the neighbouring territory of the Dalcassians, it \a diffi- 
cult to say ; but we find them taking an important part iu 
the civil wars of Clare, between the years 1260 and 1320. 
At this time they were situated at Ballygriffy (t)«x^le uj 
0|t|obcA, bdile ui Griobhtha), or O'Gritfy's-tovrn, a place 
called after the name of this clan, which is in the present 
parish of Dysert, barony of Inchiquin, in the ancient territory 
of the Dalcassians. Accordingly it was with the Dalcassians 
that the O'Griffvs were mustered for battle. In the old Irish 
tract known under the name of the " Wars of Thomond" 
(one of the most important pieces of history preserved among 
our ancient MSS.), there is a minute and vivid description of 
a battle fought at the monastery of Corcomroe, about A.D. 
1317, between two rival sections of the O'Briens ; and here, 
in the marshalling of the various clans under their local 
chieftains the O'Griffys appear in the assembly of the O'Dead, 
the O'Quinns, tec. (all Dalcassians), and they are mentioned 
as being from their numbers and respectability one of the 
most important sections of the muster. There were several 
of them killed in this battle (fighting on the side of the legi- 
timate chieftain of the O'Briens, as King of Thomond), aud 
in a poem which accompanies the prose tract, and enumerates 
the principal leaders that fell, the following verse occurs : 

t)&f P]l|p — &o £oi|te8 A1fte, — 
Saoc fie cerjel Y]yr> feftrrj^c ; 
O'OjijbcA ]\) 5^c cjter b\ cue, 
Tic&^v a clef \r) 5A6 corrjfiuc. 



APPENDIX. 401 

Literally — 

Philip's death, — the reliever in danger, — 
Long will the Kind Fermaic mourn ; 
O'Griffy, in whatever contest found, 
Was ever known by the fierceness of his combat. 

The Kind Fermaic were a branch of the O&l C^if 
{Dal Caw), or Dalcassian race. The word O&l, signified 
clan, children, descendants ; and the Dalcassiaus were the 
descendants of Cormac Cas, one of the two sons of the cele- 
brated Oilill Oluim, King of Munster in the 3rd century ; the 
other son, Eoghan Mor, having been the progenitor of the 
Eoganacht or Eugenian clans, the MacCarthys, O'CaL 
laghans, O'Sullivans, &c. The Dalcassians again included 
various tribes ; aud as to the Dalcassians in general was 
appointed a certain territory of Munster (that called Tho- 
mond) to be exclusively theirs, so each tribe of this great 
division of the population had its own peculiar lands accord- 
ing to the laws of the time. Those tribes were called after 
the common ancestor of each when the descendants of any 
one personage of the line of Oilill Oluim were numerous 
enough to form a tribe under his name. Thus the tribe 
name of the O'Briens was the Claim 0&]l (T<ii7), from 
<C><\\ G*f* (Tal Cas), the fourth descendant from Cormac 
Cas ; and several other tribes took their distinctive names 
from the several sons of this Tal ; and to each of them a 
peculiar territory was specially appropriated. In this way 
from CA|t*]r) (Cdisin), one of his sons, came the Ui Caisiiij 
H-hose chief descendants were the Mac Namaras ; and these 
were classed as the ClannCuilen, from a more immediate an- 
cestor. So from another son, Uer^ur Gerw-N^CfiAC 
(Aengus Cenn Nathrach), descend the O'Quins, who were 
oi the Clann Ifernain, called from Jpefiu&rj ^unau\, a 

22 



402 APPENDIX. 

more immediate ancestor. And thus from vter^^Uf CeDD- 
A]Z]V) (Aengus Cenn aitiri), another son, descended the 
powerful family of the O'Deas, and others, who from 
TejiruAC, a more immediate ancestor, took the tribe name of 
Cfi)el 7eftri)Aic (Cinel Fermaic), the word Gjuel, or 
Kinel, also signifying clan, family ; or descendants. And 
these tribe designations (Dal, Kind, &c.) came to signify 
also the territory appropriated by law to the respective tribes j 
and again, as applied to the inhabitants, soon included all the 
other families, though of different race, who by purchase or 
permission came to be settled within the lands of the tribe 
It was in this way that the O'Griffys came to be included in* 
the Kinel Fermaic, and their locality, at the period of the 
battle recorded in the above-mentioned poem (A.D. 1317), 
i- thus fixed, for the boundaries of the Cinel Fermaic are 
known to have extended from Dysert to Glencolumbcille and 
Tullycomain, in the present barony of Inchiquin. (See 
O'Donovan's Annals of the Four Masters, p. 2100.) 

The Philip O'Griffy so honourably mentioned in the poem 
was not, however, the CJiiefof his name at the time, as ap- 
pears in another part of the tract above quoted, where it is 
stated that that high position was filled by Ujt^Aile 
' (Urthaile), or Hurley O'Griffy, who was one of the principal 
advisers of the O'Brien. 

In the Annals of the Four Masters, several references are 
made, under subsequent year^, to the O'GruTys, residing in 
the territory of Kinel Fermaic. At A.D. 1413 is recorded 
the death of Mahon O'Griffy, Bishop of Killaloe, " at the 
monastery of the Canons, in Cojica t)<v[rqi)D (Corca 
Baiscm)." (This was the monastery of Canon Island, in the 
mouth of the Fergus.) Under A.D. 1588, we find recorded 
the death of William O'Nti.ian, at the hands of certain of 
the O'Griffys, by th; cooiway of the monastery of Ennia. 



APPENDIX. 403 

And agaii. we h*re, under A.D. 1599, allusion made tt 
Tully O'Dea, and Bally Griffy, M in the cantred of Kinel Fer- 
maic, in Thomond,' in connection with the memorable inva- 
sion by the great Red Hugh O'Donnell of the territories of 
the renegade Earl of Thomond 

The townland of Bally Griffy still contains the ruins of the 
ancient castle of the O'Griffys in the parish of Dysert. And 
the O'Griffys had possesion of this Bally, or Townland, and 
castle, down to the reign of James the First ; for in a List of 
the Resident Gentlemen of Thomond, taken in the year 15S6, 
appears the name of " O'Griffee, of Ballygriffee." (A copy of 
this List is preserved in the Cottonian MSS. in the British 
Museum, tit. b. 17, folio 399.) 

The final dispossession of the O'Griffys, in 1662, is recorded 
in the following extract from a curious MS. now preserved 
vn the Library of Trinity College, Dublin ; it is an origins* 
MS. Survey, or Statement of the Bishops' Lands, in the 
handwriting of Dr. Edward Worth, the first Protestant 
Bishop of Killaloe after the Restoration, about 1662-3 : 

" Barony of Inchiquin, parish of Killnemona, Ballinoknock, and 
Ilandgare, in the county survey. These lands were possessed in time 
of peace by Flan Neylan and John O'Gryphae, and are now trans- 
ferred on transplanters. It appears by the Civil Survey, page 89, 
that Donogh O'Brien of Newtowne, Esq., -was possessed of Islangar 
\ quarter by virtue of a mortgage from Flan Neylan. The former 
2 quarters, and 3 parts of a quarter, were released to the Bishop of 
Killaloe, 6° Jan., Anno 1617, by John O'Grypha, and Teige O'Grypha, 
and others. This is among the Releases, No. 7. And Bishop Rider 
set the same to Loghlin, mac Mahon, O'Grypha, and John O'Grypha. 
for three score years, from the year aforesaid, 1617, to be completed 
and read in manner following, viz. : to Loghlin O'Greepha the i 
parts of the carrowmire of Gortnenloghen, and Dromdavacke, the 
-uirrowmire of Ballinekille, wanting the Stk part, the carrowmire of 



40-i APPENDIX. 

Raghen, the carrowmire of Cloncar, and the one halfe of three parts 
of the carrowmire of Craggan, and another four (fourth?) in Craggan. 
11 To John O'Greepha the carrowmire of Lackyn, the car. of Drom- 
ban, the car. of Clonkerin, the three parts of the car. of Maharevor- 
nane. the i of the car. of Lisivigin, the £ of the car. of Leid and 
Gortnacloen, f parts of the car. of Dromcur, ^ of the car. of Mocholo- 
cane, ^ of the car. of Knockarahine, another Jour of Kilcurish in the 
parish of Disert, for sixty yeares, commencing the 10th of Jan., 1617 
at £4 17s. 6d. yearly. * * * * * Upca my 
petition to the house of Lords, 20th June 1662, I had an order that 
tue tAjsseasors of the castle and lands of Disert should deliver up the 
possession or appear and shew cause to the contrary. And upon 
the ahidavit of John Credane 8° Julii, that the said order was served 
ou leige U'Gripha and \Vm. Carrig the 26th of June, who obeyed 
nut the same nor appeared, I had an order, 16th of July, to th« 
sheriff to put me into possession, who, (viz. George Purdon, Esq.) 
en the 25th of September, went personally to deliver the possession 
to me. but tne cattle was forcibly detained by Captain William Xea- 
lano. But he quickly delivered the possession of the said castle to 

who was authorised by the sheriff to take it, and wuo 

delivered it U) Lt. CoL Lucas in n iit of the Bushuo." 



OLE END. 



=. 




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PR Griffin, Daniel 

4728 The life of G e rald Griff 1 

G8Z68 
1872 




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