BETA

DANIEL O’ROURKE, AN EPIC POEM.

Letter from Captain Symonds.

(Private.)

DEAR SIR,
I here transmit you the Second Canto of Daniel O’Rourke. You see my
friend is not pleased at the incorrectness of your typography in his first Canto.
Entre nous, he is particularly displeased at your calling him Fagarty. All the
blood of his family is up about it. He says you might as well call your pub-
lisher Blockwood. So be more careful.
Your’s &c.
R. T. Symonds.
H. P. 52d.
P. S.—You ought not to have published my private letter, but if you do so
again, you may as well put my name at full length. I hate initials. Your
capitals bring up sad recollections of A B C, and other curst school remem-brances.

Letter from Mr Fogarty.

Blarney, Aug. 31st, 1820.
MR EDITOR,
Having had occasion to go to Cork on Wednesday evening last, I was
delighted to find, that my attempt of embodying the story of Daniel
O’Rourke in ottava rima had met with your approbation. Without looking
over the poem, I immediately invited a party of my friends to the Crown
Tavern, to enjoy with them a tumbler of punch and a laugh over your inimi-
table Magazine. I invited my old companions, Jackson the flying quaker,
Tommy Holt, George C. Beale, Bob Olden, and one or two other men of litera-
ture.  “ After discussing a few oysters, (the first of the season,) some mutton
kidneys, a couple of lobsters, and a few pots of porter, we ordered in our jo-
rums of punch, and placed the flying quaker in the chair, to read aloud my
epic stanzas. What was my astonishment, when at the very second verse we
discovered a most appalling error. How was it possible Mr Editor that you
made me rhyme “ crew” to Juan,” and that you could alter the succeeding
line so much from what I sent you, making nonsense thereof ?  I cannot di-
vine the reason. My memory being rather faulty, I could not at the moment
recollect the words of the original, so it was determined as soon as Tommy had
finished the plate of crisped potatoes and butter, that he had ordered for him-
self to finish his supper with, he should set off to the top of Sunday’s well,
(about a mile distant,) where I had left the manuscript for the perusal of an
old maiden lady, and fetch it to us. To this Tommy objected, but was ulti-
mately overruled, and despatched on his errand.  We discussed divers matters,
and had a song or two in his absence, (I shall send them to you if you would
wish it : they are original.) Master Tommy returned, puffing and blowing
with the manuscript in one hand, and the straw hat in the other, and we pro-
ceeded. The lines that you have taken the liberty to alter, ran thus : —
Heavens ! how unlike the riff-raff cockney crew, one1
Finds praised in Scotch review the blue and yellow.”2
All exclaimed, this was too bad, that it could be no error of the press—Beale
actually gloated with astonishment—Tommy sarcastically supposed that the
fault must have been my own, as I write rather a pot-hook hand ; Olden re-
marked he could throw no light on the mistake, it was beyond his comprehen-
sion ; the flying quaker said it was quite inumportant ; at last, it was agreed to
go on with the poem. When we came to the twelfth verse it was worse and
worse ; the poor author is made to commit what, if the article was not an Irish
one, would be considered a good blunder ; he says, “ darkness reigned here ; ”
and in the same line that, “ the brilliant moon threw lovely lustre o’er the
scene”—and all this blundering from carelessness in omitting the word not,
I could scarcely contain myself at this mistake, and I saw the boys were

laughing in their sleeves at me, but they were silent. We met other errors,
such as “ arms” for “ arm,” “ pig” for “ jug,” “ ways” for wags,” but we
let these pass without much comment. It was resolved however, to state to you
our sentiments on the occasion, and I have thus done so. I now pulled from
out my pocket the manuscript of the second canto, and read it to the com-
pany. They approved of it highly, but begged that I would make an altera-
tion in the two last lines of the second verse. According to the advice of my
friends, I have employed Ballydehob, a printer’s devil, to copy my manu-
script in a fair round hand, so that I hope we will have no more blunders.
Our business being now over, we tackled to the punch, and after two or three
more songs and a speech from Bob Olden, we adjourned ; promising to meet
each other when the September Number of the Magazine makes its appearance
in Cork, and sit in judgment on the second canto of Daniel.
I remain Sir,
Your humble Servant,
Fogarty o’Fogarty.
P. S.—My Christian name is Fogarty, not Fagarty, as you have facetiously
imagined. Have the goodness to pay especial attention to the correction of
this, as it is by much the most important error you have committed.

DANIEL O’ROURKE,

An Epic Poem, in Six Cantos.

CANTO II.

THE MOUNTAIN DAISY.

Isaiah, xxviii. 7.
They also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way.”
Now my own delights I make,
My thirst at every rill can slake,
And gladly brandy can partake,
At thee, sweet Daisy !
—Wordsworth.

1.

As the sun moves to rest below the wave, 3
With streams of dazzling lustre at his feet ; 4
As sinks to death, the generous and the brave, 5
Whose bright career, tho’ glorious, was but fleet ; 6
As when the ship whose sides the billows lave, 7
Parts sorrowing friends in hope again to meet, 8
So Canto first will disappear from view, 9
When merry folks have scanned it thro’ and thro’.10

2.

But this fair sun, to-morrow’s dawn, will rise, 11
In splendour rivalling his setting ray, 12
The warrior, tho’ beneath the turf he lies, 13
Will thro’ his son, still bear the palm away : 14
The ship that now with swelling canvas flies, 15
Soon will return to greet its well-known bay, 16
Thus Canto second on your view will burst, 17
In type more perfect than did Canto first.18

3.

We left, if I mistake not, Paddy Blake19
Waiting most anxiously for Mr Dan, 20
Whose jolly face, expected long, would make21
The milk-white froth again o’ertop the can.22
To say the truth, our Paddy could not take23
His drop alone—but, as the story ran, 24
With jovial friends, he valued not a feather25
To have a pull, long, strong, and all together.26

4.

The cuckoo-clock now pointed half-past ten, 27
And sad forebodings darken’d Paddy’s brow, 28
His very nose grew pale, and paler, when 29
He pictured to himself some ruffian row, 30
Or white boys close concealed in lonely glen, 31
Fellers alike of Christian and of cow, 32
If Dan, thought he, be met by such as these, 33
No ale to-night he’ll taste, nor bread, nor cheese.34

5.

That times are honester must be confess’d, 35
For these marauders prowl about no more, 36
The carder, caravat, and shanavest,* 37
Have lost the knack of bursting in your door. 38
I never could behold (at least with zest) 39
From wretches’ backs the bleeding fibres tore ; 40
Yet such was long the practice of this school, 41
To card up backs as combers card your wool.42

6.

A well-known knock dispell’d his rising fears, 43
And oped the rustic portal—slowly in44
Dan trots, well laden—as if press’d with years, 45
His breast was in close contact with his chin ; 46
His burden in a twinkling disappears, 47
While his whole face is coil’d into a grin, 48
For fear, combined with joy, some writers say, 49
Will often make a face look quite outrée.†50

7

Why what the deuce ! how came you Dan by this ?51
A good full anker”— “ Hush ! —I’ll tell you all, 52
But sharks are out—It will not be amiss53
To get a drink first,—we will haye a haul54
From out this chap—’tis mild as milkmaid’s kiss55
The sailors tell me—stop you there, I’ll call56
For pipes and mugs, a little cheese to eat, 57
For we’ll be merry here at any rate.”58

8

Then Mistress Mulshinane, the Daisy Queen, 59
Brought forth a stool to prop the anker on, 60
Placed pipes, tobacco box, and mugs between61
Our worthy pair—the giant cheese upon62
The polished table, frequently was seen63
To bear the knife—while ever and anon, 64
The cups of brandy, unalloyed and pure, 65
Followed each other swift, though very sure.66

* Carder, shanavest, caravat, as well as white-boys, in the last verse, are all names of
parties in Ireland. I have not time to write notes to describe what were their principles,
Vide Musgrave or Plowden, or any other of the heavy historians of Ireland. I can only
say, that they had, in general, a tendency to Whiggism.
† See Darwin’s Zoonomia, Layater’s Physiognomy, and Bell’s Anatomy of Painting—
mighty pretty books, by the bye.

9

“I just had passed by Darby Murphy’s farm, 67
On my way here, (quoth Dan) had cross’d the green, 68
Whistling right merrily to keep me warm, 69
And scarce had got half way down Con’s boreen,* 70
When some one from behind me, quite unseen, 71
Tapp’d on my shoulder ; —Turning in alarm; 72
I Sdind: his business ; —” do not be faint-hearted, 73
If brave, I’ll make your fortune e’er we’ve parted.’74

10

I now had time to look; ’ twas an old dog, 75
A sailor-chap, who told me, if I’d go76
And help his comrades, I should have more grog77
Than I could drink, or bear away in tow ; 78
To make my story short, beneath the Hog, † 79
The smuggler’s liquor I worked hard to stow, 80
And when we settled every thing quite handy, 81
He gave me this—a guinea—this, the brandy.82

11

Then now let’s send this trash of ale away,83
And take to what is purer and much stronger,84
And while that creature there, the moon, will stay, 85
We’ll stick together aye, or even longer.‡ 86
For by my faith, my friend, ’ tis many a day, 87
Since such we’ve tasted,—Give us how a song, or88
A proper toast,”— Here goes—I’ll give your daughter89
A flowing cup—Pshaw, never mind the water.”90

12

Ah! Mr Dan, I’m sure you little know, 91
What mischief now you’re doing to your stomach, 92
How many plagues, how many torments flow, 93
From drams—that seem as mild to you as some hock ; 94
Believe me, for this joke your blood will flow, 95
And you’ll toss, turn, and tumble on your hammock, 96
Oh ! think in time ! from this temptation flee ! 97
And shun pill, bolus, draughht, and doctor’s fee.98

13

Brandy’s deceitful liquor, by mine honour, 99
It mounts so quickly to the captious brain, 100
And like a young mare, when you first get on her, 101
It speeds like lightning till you reel again ; 102
’Tis true perhaps that, on occasions, one or103
Two jolly bumpers may be safely ta’en, 104
Such as when damp or frost has made you shiver ; 105
But even then ’ tis hurtful to the liver.106

14.

’Tis pity Daniel had not such advice ; — 107
(Hold—I must not anticipate my story), 108
But Cogniac, when smuggled, will entice109
Most sober livers ; from the man that’s hoary110

* A lane, Hibernice. A rustical sort of wynd.
† A rock so called from its shape, below it are caves, said to be the haunt of mermaids.
On this point I shall not dwell, but I am pretty positive they are the haunt of smugglers.
‡ Burn’s says something to the same effect :
It is the moon, I ken her horn,
She’s blinkin’ o’er the lift sae hie,
She shines sae bright to wile us hame,
But by my sooth she’ll wait a wee.
To the young babe, such poisonous stuff is nice ; * 111
Your soldier sometimes will it help to glory, 112
But oftener to black eyes, and foolish quarrels, 113
And thus is foe to body and. to morals.114

15

But there is liquor too, (sound sense must teach) 115
Fit for all f I therefore would not lack116
Such wine, if I had guests, as would suit each ; 117
To lawyers I would give the sharp Bar-sac,— 118
To attorneys rich canary,—and I’d reach119
To doctors vin de Grave, (they like the smack,) 120
To sailors Port,—and Parsons should grow misty121
On good Lac Virginis, or Lachryma Christi.122

16

The kilted Highlander would seek for Mountain,— 123
The soldier—Tent, and noisy Muscatel,— 124
The fancy—Claret, streaming as from fountain,— 125
And dandies—lots of Cape love mighty well ; 126
No schoolmaster would find his fair account in127
Declining Hoc—warriors in sack excel ; 128
Excuse these puns—but if you’d know the truth, 129
I learned them from Jack Curran in my youth.130

17

Thus Daniel and his friend sat face to face, 131
And from the anker drew their mellow store ; 132
The bumpers quickly one another chase, 133
’Mid merry song, and laugh, and boisterous roar ; 134
No wonder that their mirth should thus increase, 135
For Dan ne’er felt such happy hours before ; 136
He thought this night the proudest of his life, 137
And dreamt not once of home, or child, or wife.138

18.

Our worthy Dan at last began to think139
His head was not so steady as it ought ; 140
And now and then his eye-lids gave a blink ; 141
The furniture quite civil, too, he thought, 142
For chair and picture bow’d to every wink ; 143
And the low candle into two was wrought ; 144
But my coy muse won’t tell—although I’d thank her, 145
Whether they finished all was in the anker.146

19 †

*****

*****

20.

All around Daniel was a boggy waste, 147
No spot for human footstep, save one stone148
On which our hero found he had been placed, 149
But how he knew not—from his heart a groan, 150
A piteous groan proceeds— “ I must have faced151
The east instead of west”—another moan ! 152
Ohone ! ohone ! I’ve surely lost my way, 153
Oh ! what will Jude and all the young ones say.154

* The female part of the lower orders of the population of Ireland, do actually hold
(like Count Fathom’s mother) that it is good to suckle babes with alcohol—vulgarly called
whisky.
†† In the lost verse, (we have not time at present to explain how it was lost) Daniel ap-
pears to have left the Mountain Daisy. Editor.

21.

Tho’ Daniel gaz’d ’ till gazing was in vain, 155
He still prolonged his lamentation sad, 156
Oh ! a’nt I to be pitied ? —not a grain157
Of land but this cold stone is to be had, 158
O ! Daniel, Daniel, it is now quite plain159
You drank too much, and stagger’d here, my lad ; 160
That Mountain Daisy, and that Paddy Blake161
Oh, Lord ! Oh, Lord ! my heart will surely break ! ”162

22.

He look’d again, around him and around, 163
Nothing but bog, like sea of silvery light, 164
Could meet his view. The moon full, bright, and round, 165
Shone the pure mistress of the wild to-night, 166
And all was calm as death ; —no living sound167
Disturbed the deep repose. Poor luckless wight !168
Save when at distance croaking in the bog169
Dan heard (like Leslie) some old bluff bull-frog.170

23.

And now he thought upon the hours he’d spend171
’Till death would end his sorrows ; for no chance172
Had he of ’ scaping, and he could not send173
For help or succour ; there was no advance, 174
Retreat, or hope, for him ; no man could bend175
Hither his way ; when as a hasty glance176
He threw above, he saw a body skim, 177
Dimming the light, between the moon and him.178

24.

And wondrous was th’ eclipse, a murky cloud179
Blotted the moon’s fair visage from the sky, 180
And all in motion scem’d the awful shroud, 181
Towards the sad spot where Dan was forced to lie ; 182
And hark ! he hears thick pinions rustling loud, 183
And while he gazed with terror-stricken eye,184
Down swoop’d a bird.  “ I see, quoth Dan, my dear,185
That you’re an eagle come to see me here.”186

25.

And now the thunder-clapping of his wings187
Had ceased, the bird had perch’d close by a stream, 188
The glorious bird of Jove ! the bog still rings189
With the loud echo of his mountain scream ; 190
His glossy feathers, midnight-dark, he flings191
In majesty around him ; a bright gleam192
Of moonshine sparkled on his mighty head ; 193
He spoke—next month I’ll tell you what he said.194