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THE COMPLAINT OF AMANIEU DES ESGAS,
One of the Troubadours of Catalonia, who flourished about the end of the Thirteenth Century, under James II. King of Aragon. WHEN thou shalt ask why round thee sighing
My mournful friends appear;
They'll tell thee Amanieu is dying,
An Arab maid my only love.
To chain the Desert's fiery child?
Oh! who would scorn his fathers' land?
Nor laughing fields a happy clime ;—
Is where Man feels the most sublime!—
Free as the wave, fleet as the wind,
And leave a world of slaves behind!
*These lines were suggested by a note on "The Bride of Abydos."
IRISH PORTRAITS.NO. I.
THIS young gentleman, who has lately completed his twenty-fifth year, is justly vain of his family and pretensions. His family, even in Ireland, is allowed to be ancient. The O'Flummeries are generally considered to have come in with the creation, and are respected (by themselves) accordingly. It is equally certain that they acted a conspicuous part in former times upon the theatre of Irish history, but for want of historians, their exploits have not heretofore been celebrated beyond the firesides of their descendants. The omission, however, is now pretty well supplied by Master Terry, (as he is still called by the friends of the family,) who never fails, when a third tumbler has stirred up his pride of ancestry, to fill up that important chasm in the annals of his country. His accounts are not perfectly distinct, but they are full of novelty, and in the main extremely creditable to the heroism of his forefathers. The branch of the O'Flummeries, of which our hero is a sprig, are determined Protestants. Their conversion from the errors of Popery was effected about the middle of the last century, by a process of persuasion peculiar to Ireland. Mr. Brian O'Flummery, the grandsire of Terence, was then in possession of the family estate, and, as he was a wealthy man, the state of his soul became a subject of public concern. Accordingly there was despatched to him, not a learned doctor of theology, to allure him to the paths of truth by the gentle methods of argument and remonstrance, but a more authoritative visitor -his Majesty's most gracious writ of subpoena ad respondendum, issuing forth from his Majesty's High Court of Chancery, signed by the then keeper of his Majesty's Irish conscience, and commanding the said Brian to appear on a certain day therein specificd, in the said court, and then and there to declare upon his corporal oath, whether he the said Brian entertained those precise notions of another world, which alone could entitle him, according to the several acts in that case made and provided, to enjoy a landed property in this. The oath was taken, and the estate preserved, as I shall probably more fully and at large detail upon a future occasion.
The family mansion, Mount-Flummery, is situate on the banks of the Shannon.-The rent-roll is precisely a cool thousand a year, and the property considered one of the best-circumstanced in Ireland; for the incumbrances affecting it are somewhat less than its real value; and it is admirably situated for defence against the incursions of white-boys and process-servers. Besides this, Terence in his confidential moods assures his friends, that "upon his faith and honour the finest pothien in all Ireland is made, and may be had for asking, upon the borders of his father's estate." This young gentleman's occupations, when at Mount-Flummery, are miscellaneous. Upon fine days he is fond of taking a run across the country upon his elder brother's mare; for his own horse Darby, who is "out and out the first saddle-horse in the country," can seldom be spared from the plough or the cart. He generally breaks in the family pointers, and has an old hereditary instinct for bringing down a grouse or partridge a few days before the
term of the parliamentary prohibition has expired, just to keep up a due impression in the neighbourhood, that an Irish Protestant gentleman, "born and bred on the banks of the Shannon," may take what liberties he likes with his old friend the law of the land. In general, however, the O'Flummeries are zealous supporters of established order, and some of Terry's domestic employments have immediate reference to the political duties of his house. He keeps the family blunderbusses in order; and upon wet days, makes important additions to the winterstock of slugs and bullets. He has also the credit of having suggested the outline of the present fortifications at Mount-Flummery, which are indeed so excellently contrived, that Captain Rock has hitherto been baffled in his efforts to surprise that loyal citadel. Three times last winter, the attempt was made in broad daylight, and while the family were sitting round the breakfast-table; but with so little success, that on each occasion the assailed had no less than five minutes notice of the captain's approach.
For the last two or three years, young O'Flummery has passed the spring months in Dublin. He puts up at the Hibernian, where he has, upon moderate terms, a snug bed-room at the top of the house, and liberty to lounge in the coffee-room on wet days, or, to speak more correctly, during the wet hours of every day. He seldom breakfasts, and never dines at his hotel; his finances as a younger brother would not allow it; but the O'Flummeries are numerous in Dublin. Many of them hold lucrative offices under the Government, and they all make a point of supporting one another, so that Terence by a little management contrives to secure a daily invitation to dinner-more particularly as he never yet has had the imprudence to ask one of his Dublin relatives to discount a bill.
O'Flummery's appearance is rather striking; and as on the whole he may be said to represent in his person and manners, a pretty numerous class among the rising generation of Irishmen, upon whom, according to some, the salvation of their country will mainly depend, I think it a just tribute to their merits, that a single sample should be delineated in detail.
In stature he approaches the height of Belvedere Apollo; but the contour of his features, and still more their expression, differs in many respects from that model of masculine perfection. In truth, there is much more of the Devil than the God in Terry's looks; for in his moments of anger, he looks "devilish fierce," and in his equally violent paroxysms of politeness "devilish genteel." The character of his countenance in its neutral moods belongs to the purely physical. There is flesh and blood and bone in great profusion. High cheek-bones, a stout common-place nose, with a thriving plantation of whiskers to shelter it from the side-winds; a pair of eyes, each as plump and oleaginous and ogling as a Carlingford oyster; a mouth extremely welladapted to the two great employments of his life, eating and talking; for were it less capacious and pliant, it would be quite impossible for the masses of viands that enter, or the still larger lumps of oaths and exclamations that come out, to force a passage; these, with a head of hair as bristling and bushy as heath upon an uncultivated hill, and an expanse of cheek richly stuccoed with the small-pox, but still arrayed
in the most glowing colours of present health, form a general style of visage that may be not inaptly termed "the florid Gothic."
Of his dress I shall merely say that, when new, it is in the extremity of the Dublin fashion, which is synonymous with the London fashion "in extremes." His cravat, in particular, is greatly to be commended for the amplitude of its folds, and the variety of its congyrations. In the centre appears conspicuously a glistening Irish diamond, like an inquisitive eye peeping out to see what the world thinks of the owner.
O'Flummery's gait and gestures have a considerable dash of the heroical-more especially when he is exhibiting upon his favourite lounge, from "Milliken's to "Nelson's Pillar," and back again. In truth he throws out his limbs with a certain air of defiance, from which you can infer that he has too much punch in his blood to bear the shadow of a slight from any man; and as he has somewhere heard that "none but the brave deserve the fair," whenever he approaches a group of well-dressed females, the roll of his hips becomes peculiarly imposing. The back view of his figure is chiefly remarkable for those involuntary twitchings in the muscles over the blade bones, which his countrymen call "the brogue in the shoulders." But Terry has laboured hard to stifle the brogue in other quarters. His intonations were once rich and aboriginal; but he passed the summer before last at Cheltenham, and ever since he has evinced a most merciless disposition towards his Majesty's English. Some of his acquaintance attribute this to the affect of the waters, and cite many similar instances; but a friend who put up at the same boarding-house asserts, that on the very first day of his appearance there at the dinner-table, (they sat opposite to a rich Manchester cotton-twister's daughter,) he could perceive Terry making a violent effort to catch the English accent, but by one of those accidents attendant upon a hurried exertion, he contrived to lay hold of it by the wrong end. Whatever the cause, therefore, certain it is, that his accent and pronunciation, though they pass at Mount-Flummery for the purest Cheltenham, differ essentially from the rules recommended by Mr. Walker. Of the a's and e's, in particular, he makes strange work. He who before the memorable trip to Cheltenham, did not hesitate to extol Mount-Flummery as a part of Ireland where "bating was chape,” (Anglice, where a man might get kicked and cuffed for the merest trifle,) will now offer to hand a cheer to a leedy; express his utter disteeste to steel bread, and praise an English steege-coach as an admirable conveeance. It is only when he is taken by surprise that pase and banes bolt out in the old way. But besides these improvements upon the pronunciation of his forefathers, he has adopted a notion, not very uncommon among certain classes of his countrymen, that the pure English accent consists of a violent compression of the organs of speech upon the vocal sounds as they pass. Hence some words permitted to escape only through the interstices of his clenched teeth, rush out with a hissing noise like the riotous spirit of ginger-beer effecting a forcible enlargement; while others, half-strangulated about the lower region of the throat, die away in a distant rumbling cadence, like the gurgling of a subterraneous bog-stream.
O'Flummery, though once a student of Trinity College, (his name is still on the books) was never distinguished by his progress in classic lite
rature, and still less in the exact sciences. This is rather anomalous ; for to see him strut over Carlisle Bridge, no one would suspect that he could have ever been stopped by the Pons asinorum. To make amends, however, for his want of academic honours, he has lately graduated in an Orange Lodge, where he pledges the Glorious Memory with such surpassing zeal, that his friends expect to see him shortly rewarded by a comfortable provision under the last police-bill. Being the only gentleman in his lodge, he is treated there with great respect, and his opinions on most subjects are implicitly deferred to. Yet there are two or three of the older members, and, in particular, Brother Brannigan the Common Councilman, whom he has not yet been able to bring over to the doctrine, that William the Conqueror and William the Third were not one and the self-same man. It was under Terry's auspices, that the last attempt to dress "the statue" was conducted. He also makes it a point, whenever the Constitution is more immediately endangered by a rumour of Emancipation, or by a verdict against an Orange magistrate, to take a nocturnal stroll, with a suitable retinue, into College Green, and salute the glorious idol with a round of midnight yells, to the infinite edification of the Orange watchmen and the sore discomfiture of the Catholic slumberers in the neighbourhood. For these exploits our hero is regularly invited to the City feasts. Politics apart, however, the after-dinner thoughts of O'Flummery will often take a more genial turn. In the fine evenings of summer, he is fond of sauntering alone within the railings of Merrion-square, and indulging in those silent rhapsodies of sentiment which youth and health and punch inspire. Upon these occasions his step is more pacific, his eye emits a more tranquil fire. He hums a national air, and though a Protestant and an Orangeman, glories in the name of Irishman. He thinks of the O'Flummeries, of their past achievements, and their present importance. He speculates upon his own prospects in life. The wishes of his country have already assigned him a handsome income on the police-establishment; but should this expectation fail, Ireland has many other resources for the loyal-her custom-houses, her stamp-offices, her post-offices, her penitentiaries, her corporations (which never repent), her collector-ships and deputycollector-ships, and many other ships, exceeding in number the British navy; or should his elder brother fortunately break his neck at a hunt, Mount-Flummery and its fair demesnes may yet be his; or failing all of these, the splendid chances of a matrimonial hit are still in reserve, and then he thinks of Cheltenham, and the Manchester cotton-twister's daughter, and his own soft ways, and of all he might have done, and all he may yet do-until, kindling with "the fervour of youthful emotion," he determines, if he can only raise the wind, to be off again to England in the next day's packet.
VOL. IX. No. 49.-1826.