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The object, however, of the following pages, was to show the moral degradation in which some of the peasantry of Ireland are held, and the unlimited authority which their clergy, in the name of religion, exercise over them in all circumstances of life. And in this country, as well as in that, where the foundation of this story is laid, it is of the highest moment that every unscriptural doctrine, particularly upon the soul's great interest, should be exposed, and if possible, rooted out.
I do not know where I would rather direct my solitary walk, on a quiet serene summer's evening, than to the church-yard of our parish. It lies low in a secluded valley ; a range of copse.covered hills surrounds it on all sides, except where a lake, the parent of a clear sparkling stream, opens its bosom to the setting-sun, and reflects in its mirror the ivied belfry and picturesque walls and windows of a ruined chapelry. An old chesnut-tree, gnarled and shivered by time, but still huge in its compass and luxuriant in its branches, spreads its shade over a great part of the cemetery ; and from thence the cuckoo loves to repeat its constant call, and the ring.dove to murmur forth its complaint. I often seek the solitariness of this place as congenial to my mood; and, when desirous to look back on time or forward to eternity, my seat is the tombstone, and my bower the ivy, beneath which
“The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." There, looking forth on the broad disk of the setting sun, I have often thought that this was the hour and the place in which I might contemplate with deeper and more tranquil devotion the reposing glories of nature--and my soul having gone abroad throughout creation, and traversed the universe, came home fraught with the intensity of silent worship to its great Creator.
Thus abstracted from the world, I have en. quired what were to me the passions, the pur. suits, the turmoils of life? and spurned them as clouds beneath my ascending foot. The cry of bigotry, the shouts of party, the congratulations of successful policy, the joy-bells of gratified ambition,—what were they to me? The hum of the bee-hive, or the busy industry of an emmet's nest, was as interesting, in the abstraction of the moment; perhaps more so, as not being associated with the misery and devastation produced among mankind by the license of unrestrained passion, and the bitter consequences of a fallen nature.
On a lovely evening in June, 182-, I was taking my usual walk to the church-yard ; the balmy air wasted on its scarcely perceptible breeze the odours of the honey-suckle and the meadow-sweet; and the sun was just hanging over the blue and fine peak of Knockmany. What noble breadths of light and shadow diversified the whole scenery--what a resplendent beam of golden light, bursting through the ivy foliage and Gothic tracery of the western window, lit up the interior of the little chapel! And abroad upon the lake!the white mist was rising under the shadow of the impending crag that shaded it from the horizontal rays of the setting sun. The redbreast upon the highest top of the old chesnut was pouring forth its soft and modulated
song -the distant peeweet of the lapwing came to my ear, as ascending from the meadow, it cir. cled in graceful evolutions, or shot angularly from its course, emitting from its wings that peculiar sound from which it has its name ;
and the snipe, rising and falling in the clear blue air, uttered, at measured intervals that strange and quavering hum, which is so much in character with lonely places. As I pursued my walk, I overtook a young man whose appearance was not only respectable but gen. teel. He was dressed in black, his form was tall and slender, his countenance expressive and intelligent, but pale, and shaded as I thought with an air of melancholy: he had a book in his hand into which he occasionally looked, but his pace and his manner appeared to be those of a man whose attention was fixed upon some object the remembrance of which was associated with pain and suffering. He was rather musing than reading. It was when I passed over from a path-way that led from a little triangular field toward the church-yard, that I first perceived him. He was some perches before me when I got under the shade of a double row of spreading elms, which grew on each side of the path, so that without any inclination on my part to gratify an improper curiosity, I had an opportunity of witnessing those involuntary gestures which
unchecked by the gaze of ob•