BETA

Daniel O’Rouke,

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, 1
With streams of dazzling lustre at his feet ; 2
As sinks to death, the generous and the brave, 3
Whose bright career, tho’ glorious, was but fleet ; 4
As when the ship whose sides the billows lave, 5
Parts sorrowing friends in hope again to meet, 6
So Canto first will disappear from view, 7
When merry folks have scanned it thro’ and thro’.8

2.

But this fair sun, to-morrow’s dawn, will rise, 9
In splendour rivalling his setting ray, 10
The warrior, tho’ beneath the turf he lies, 11
Will thro’ his son, still bear the palm away : 12
The ship that now with swelling canvas flies, 13
Soon will return to greet its well-known bay, 14
Thus Canto second on your view will burst, 15
In type more perfect than did Canto first.16

3.

We left, if I mistake not, Paddy Blake17
Waiting most anxiously for Mr Dan, 18
Whose jolly face, expected long, would make19
The milk-white froth again o’ertop the can.20
To say the truth, our Paddy could not take21
His drop alone—but, as the story ran, 22
With jovial friends, he valued not a feather23
To have a pull, long, strong, and all together.24

4.

The cuckoo-clock now pointed half-past ten, 25
And sad forebodings darken’d Paddy’s brow, 26
His very nose grew pale, and paler, when 27
He pictured to himself some ruffian row, 28
Or white boys close concealed in lonely glen, 29
Fellers alike of Christian and of cow, 30
If Dan, thought he, be met by such as these, 31
No ale to-night he’ll taste, nor bread, nor cheese.32

5.

That times are honester must be confess’d, 33
For these marauders prowl about no more, 34
The carder, caravat, and shanavest,* 35
Have lost the knack of bursting in your door. 36
I never could behold (at least with zest) 37
From wretches’ backs the bleeding fibres tore ; 38
Yet such was long the practice of this school, 39
To card up backs as combers card your wool.40

6.

A well-known knock dispell’d his rising fears, 41
And oped the rustic portal—slowly in42
Dan trots, well laden—as if press’d with years, 43
His breast was in close contact with his chin ; 44
His burden in a twinkling disappears, 45
While his whole face is coil’d into a grin, 46
For fear, combined with joy, some writers say, 47
Will often make a face look quite outrée.†48

7

Why what the deuce ! how came you Dan by this ?49
A good full anker”— “ Hush !— I’ll tell you all, 50
But sharks are out—It will not be amiss51
To get a drink first,—we will haye a haul52
From out this chap—’tis mild as milkmaid’s kiss53
The sailors tell me—stop you there, I’ll call54
For pipes and mugs, a little cheese to eat, 55
For we’ll be merry here at any rate.”56

8

Then Mistress Mulshinane, the Daisy Queen, 57
Brought forth a stool to prop the anker on, 58
Placed pipes, tobacco box, and mugs between59
Our worthy pair—the giant cheese upon60
The polished table, frequently was seen61
To bear the knife—while ever and anon, 62
The cups of brandy, unalloyed and pure, 63
Followed each other swift, though very sure.64

* 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, 65
On my way here, (quoth Dan) had cross’d the green, 66
Whistling right merrily to keep me warm, 67
And scarce had got half way down Con’s boreen,* 68
When some one from behind me, quite unseen, 69
Tapp’d on my shoulder ;— Turning in alarm; 70
I Sdind: his business ;— ” do not be faint-hearted, 71
If brave, I’ll make your fortune e’er we’ve parted.’72

10

I now had time to look; ’twas an old dog, 73
A sailor-chap, who told me, if I’d go74
And help his comrades, I should have more grog75
Than I could drink, or bear away in tow ; 76
To make my story short, beneath the Hog, † 77
The smuggler’s liquor I worked hard to stow, 78
And when we settled every thing quite handy, 79
He gave me this—a guinea—this, the brandy.80

11

Then now let’s send this trash of ale away,81
And take to what is purer and much stronger,82
And while that creature there, the moon, will stay, 83
We’ll stick together aye, or even longer.‡ 84
For by my faith, my friend, ’tis many a day, 85
Since such we’ve tasted,—Give us how a song, or86
A proper toast,”— Here goes—I’ll give your daughter87
A flowing cup—Pshaw, never mind the water.”88

12

Ah! Mr Dan, I’m sure you little know, 89
What mischief now you’re doing to your stomach, 90
How many plagues, how many torments flow, 91
From drams—that seem as mild to you as some hock ; 92
Believe me, for this joke your blood will flow, 93
And you’ll toss, turn, and tumble on your hammock, 94
Oh ! think in time ! from this temptation flee ! 95
And shun pill, bolus, draughht, and doctor’s fee.96

13

Brandy’s deceitful liquor, by mine honour, 97
It mounts so quickly to the captious brain, 98
And like a young mare, when you first get on her, 99
It speeds like lightning till you reel again ; 100
’Tis true perhaps that, on occasions, one or101
Two jolly bumpers may be safely ta’en, 102
Such as when damp or frost has made you shiver ; 103
But even then ’tis hurtful to the liver.104

14.

’Tis pity Daniel had not such advice ;— 105
(Hold—I must not anticipate my story), 106
But Cogniac, when smuggled, will entice107
Most sober livers ; from the man that’s hoary108

* 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 ;* 109
Your soldier sometimes will it help to glory, 110
But oftener to black eyes, and foolish quarrels, 111
And thus is foe to body and. to morals.112

15

But there is liquor too, (sound sense must teach) 113
Fit for all f I therefore would not lack114
Such wine, if I had guests, as would suit each ; 115
To lawyers I would give the sharp Bar-sac,— 116
To attorneys rich canary,—and I’d reach117
To doctors vin de Grave, (they like the smack,) 118
To sailors Port,—and Parsons should grow misty119
On good Lac Virginis, or Lachryma Christi.120

16

The kilted Highlander would seek for Mountain,— 121
The soldier—Tent, and noisy Muscatel,— 122
The fancy—Claret, streaming as from fountain,— 123
And dandies—lots of Cape love mighty well ; 124
No schoolmaster would find his fair account in125
Declining Hoc—warriors in sack excel ; 126
Excuse these puns—but if you’d know the truth, 127
I learned them from Jack Curran in my youth.128

17

Thus Daniel and his friend sat face to face, 129
And from the anker drew their mellow store ; 130
The bumpers quickly one another chase, 131
’Mid merry song, and laugh, and boisterous roar ; 132
No wonder that their mirth should thus increase, 133
For Dan ne’er felt such happy hours before ; 134
He thought this night the proudest of his life, 135
And dreamt not once of home, or child, or wife.136

18.

Our worthy Dan at last began to think137
His head was not so steady as it ought ; 138
And now and then his eye-lids gave a blink ; 139
The furniture quite civil, too, he thought, 140
For chair and picture bow’d to every wink ; 141
And the low candle into two was wrought ; 142
But my coy muse won’t tell—although I’d thank her, 143
Whether they finished all was in the anker.144

19 †

*****

*****

20.

All around Daniel was a boggy waste, 145
No spot for human footstep, save one stone146
On which our hero found he had been placed, 147
But how he knew not—from his heart a groan, 148
A piteous groan proceeds— “ I must have faced149
The east instead of west”—another moan ! 150
Ohone ! ohone ! I’ve surely lost my way, 151
Oh ! what will Jude and all the young ones say.152

* 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, 153
He still prolonged his lamentation sad, 154
Oh ! a’nt I to be pitied ?— not a grain155
Of land but this cold stone is to be had, 156
O ! Daniel, Daniel, it is now quite plain157
You drank too much, and stagger’d here, my lad ; 158
That Mountain Daisy, and that Paddy Blake159
Oh, Lord ! Oh, Lord ! my heart will surely break !”160

22.

He look’d again, around him and around, 161
Nothing but bog, like sea of silvery light, 162
Could meet his view. The moon full, bright, and round, 163
Shone the pure mistress of the wild to-night, 164
And all was calm as death ;— no living sound165
Disturbed the deep repose. Poor luckless wight !166
Save when at distance croaking in the bog167
Dan heard (like Leslie) some old bluff bull-frog.168

23.

And now he thought upon the hours he’d spend169
’Till death would end his sorrows ; for no chance170
Had he of ’s caping, and he could not send171
For help or succour ; there was no advance, 172
Retreat, or hope, for him ; no man could bend173
Hither his way ; when as a hasty glance174
He threw above, he saw a body skim, 175
Dimming the light, between the moon and him.176

24.

And wondrous was th’ eclipse, a murky cloud177
Blotted the moon’s fair visage from the sky, 178
And all in motion scem’d the awful shroud, 179
Towards the sad spot where Dan was forced to lie ; 180
And hark ! he hears thick pinions rustling loud, 181
And while he gazed with terror-stricken eye,182
Down swoop’d a bird.  “ I see, quoth Dan, my dear,183
That you’re an eagle come to see me here.”184

25.

And now the thunder-clapping of his wings185
Had ceased, the bird had perch’d close by a stream, 186
The glorious bird of Jove ! the bog still rings187
With the loud echo of his mountain scream ; 188
His glossy feathers, midnight-dark, he flings189
In majesty around him ; a bright gleam190
Of moonshine sparkled on his mighty head ; 191
He spoke—next month I’ll tell you what he said.192