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VER SACRUM.

(FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND.)

BY WILLIAM LANDER, ESQ.

The Latins of Lavinium now no more

Their foeman's furious onset could withstand, And, crowding round the Lance of Mars, implore

The sacred sign with prayerful eye and hand.

Then spake the priest who bore the shaft divine

“ Hear the offended god, who speaks through me. If omen ye expect, or favouring sign,

The SPRING to him must consecrated be!"

A SACRED SPRING I” they shouted, loud and clear,

“ And all the springtime bringeth his shall be !" The fir-grove rustled, clashed the mystic Spear,

And soon the Etruscan host before them flee.

And home they came victorious from the camp;

Beneath them seemed the meadows to wax green, Wild flowers blossomed 'neath the war-steed's tramp,

And, 'stead of lances long, tall trees were seen.

And there the doors and sacred altars round

Were ranged in proud and jubilant array ; The maids and matrons their fair foreheads crowned

With wreathed flowers, the offspring of the day.

And now burst forth the joyous, welcome cry

The priest upon the Mount of Mars low bowed His head, and raised the sacred shaft on high,

And solemn spake before the listening crowd:

“ Hail thou who changed our fears to victory!

Our vows we now fulfil-I stretch my hand O'er field and city, and devote to thee

The sacred SPRING- the first fruits of the land.

“ The firstlings of our flocks to thee we vow,

The lamb and kid shall burn before thy fane, No new-born steer be destined to the plough,

No steed be foaled to bear the bridal rein.

“ All fruit that ripes in every garden fair,

All that grows green in fields of earth-sown seed, No buman hand to pluck or reap shall dare,

All shall be thine alone-thy sacred meed !"

And silent knelt the host on bended knee,

The votive Spring around they silent sawSo lovely never springtime seemed to be

And every breast was filled with fearful awe.

Then spake the priest again—" And do ye pause,

And think your vow fulfilled, your duties o'er ? And have ye then forgot your ancient laws ?

And know ye not what means the oath ye swore ?

- The budding flowers, the corn in sunny fields,

Beasts in whose veins to-day first life-blood ran, Are these the only offerings springtime yields ?

Bethink ye! One thing yet is wanting-Man!'

“ More pleasing to the god than lambs or kine,

Are lovely maidens in their beauty bright ; More pleasing than young foals before his shrine

Are youths in graceful vigour armed for fight.

“ Oh, not in vain, ye youths, ye felt the power

Of the strong War.god in your sore distress ! Oh, not in vain, ye maids, are ye this hour

Gifted with such exceeding loveliness!

“ Thou hast relieved, O Mars ! a nation's fear,

Doomed, but for thee, in slavery to pine ; An offering thou wilt have a single year

Its fruits and offspring-take them! they are thine !”

Prostrate again that mighty host did fall,

But the devoted ones stood still apart, Gloriously fair, though pale their lips were all,

And sacred awe hung heavy on each heart.

Still as the grave that multitude lay hushed,

Trembling they heard their awful helper's name. When, from the blue serene, red lightning rushed

To earth, and wrapped the sacred lance in flame.

Then raised the priest his head, while glory bright

Round his white hair and beard was seen to shine. Flashed his old eyes with more than human light,

While thus he spake to them the will divine :

“ The god will have a perfect sacrifice

But not to bleed beneath the fatal knife. No cold, dead gift finds favour in his eyes.

No! he demands a Spring of lusty life.

“ Forth from these walls, the ramparts of our race,

An offset for the Battle-god shall go;
And from this Spring of youthful strength and grace

A glorious stock for future days shall grow.

“ Let each youth choose him now a blooming bride

See, ready crowned with flowers each lovely head; Each maiden move her new-found mate beside,

And go where stars propitious influence shed.

“Of corn, that now waves green in many a field,

Take seed to sow the land to which you roam ; Of fruits, which those fair flowering branches yield,

Take graft and berry to your distant home.

“ The youthful steer shall break your fallow land,

And in your fields the sportive lamb shall play ; The wild colt, tamed obedient to your hand,

Shall bear you proud through many a battle day. “ For war and battle is your destiny

So wills the god who rules the fearful fight;
And in the midst of you that power shall be,

To guard and guide your princely race aright.
“ His sacred symbol in your fanes shall rest;

Before it shall your conquering leaders pray,
When they, obedient to his high behest,

O'er earth and ocean spread their victor sway.
" Such his commands !-then hushed be doubt and fear-

Go hence while in your hearts my accents ring.
Ye are the precious seed of future years-

Thus will the god accept the SACRED Spring!"

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The waves foam round the northern lands,

And o'er the white rocks leap with glee ;
Upon the deck the Master stands

“My shipmates, out to sea!
“ To beauteous France our bark doth sail-

To wealthy England o'er the brine ;
We'll drink the nut-brown English ale,

The sparkling, cool French wine!”
And as the wind blows loud and wild,

And as the sails swell proudly o'er,
Thus speaks to him his only child

Her farewell from the shore

“Thou couldst into the greenwood go,

Where clear, bright streams refresh the air ;
But now the night winds coldly blow

Thy thin, white, silver hair!
- Thou couldst repose the dark night through

Within that small, warm room of thine;
But now you watch, and none but you,

Beneath the sad moonshine !"
Oh, maiden! peace !-by Helgoland,

By Helgoland, amid the deep,
Thy father and his sailor band

Beneath the blue waves sleep.
VOL. XXXII.-NO. CLXXXVII.

OUR PORTRAIT GALLERY.-NO. XLIX.

DEAN KIRWAN.

"Clarum et venerabile nomen."

WALTER BLAKE KIRWAN-a name identified with some of the proudest, and the holiest, of national recollections. As the numbers are rapidly diminishing, who retain any remembrance of this extraordinary man, let us haste to snatch, while yet we may, such notices of him as survive in cotemporary annals, or the memories of those who were privileged to witness the almost superhuman efforts of this most gifted of Irish preachers.

He was the son of Patrick Kirwan, a gentleman of good extraction in the county of Galway, and was born at Gortha, his father's residence, in the year 1754. His maternal ancestor was a Blake, a descendant of the Menlo family of that name.

Both the Blakes and Kirwans belonged to “ the Galway tribes ;" a designation, Hardiman tells us, “first invented by Cromwell's forces, as a term of reproach against the natives, for their singular attachment to each other during their troubles and persecutions, but which the latter afterwards adopted as an honourable mark of distinction between themselves and their cruel oppressors." They were thirteen in number, “and were made famous," the same authority tells us, “by their trading faithfully, discharging their credit, good education, charity, and hospitality at home and abroad."

“ The Kirwans," Mr. Hardiman tells us, “are genuinely Irish, and may be traced as far back as Hermion, the second son of Milesius." The Blakes are of British origin. Debrett says “they are traditionally descended from Ap-Lake, one of the knights of King Arthur's round table;' and he adds, “ that, in the reign of Henry II., one of this family accompanied Strongbow, and, after many exploits, built himself a castle at Menlo, near Galway, from whom the Blakes of Galway are descended.”

Such was the stock from which the preacher sprung, whose renown was soon to add lustre to his race, while his magic powers entranced his auditories, and won the applauses of an admiring country. Of his earlier years we have but few memorials. In his youth, the state of society in Galway was but little favorable to the cultivation of the higher faculties, and he could not have seen much either to direct or encourage him to the attainment of intellectual objects. Of fun and frolic there was more than enough. To scenes of wild and rollicking intemperance, although he might not participate in them, he could not have been a stranger. And, gifted as he was with such uncommon sensibility, his firmness must have often been put to the test by the extravagancies or eccentricities of those around him. One little anecdote illustrative of this, we give, as it has been furnished to us by a relative, upon whose correctness we implicitly rely, and who relates it, as it was well known and currently reported in the family. “When about nine years old, he was on a visit to an uncle, who, like most Galway gentlemen of that day, considered the use of the pistol a grander essential in the education of youth, than the use of the globes. Standing one morning with this gentleman before the hall-door, the cry of mad dog' reached them, from some persons near the lodge gate, and soon they perceived the rabid animal approaching by the long, straight avenue which led to the spot whereon they stood. His uncle quickly entered the house, and in a moment returned with a loaded pistol, which he placed in his hand, exclaiming, at the same time, 'shoot that dog or he will kill you.' The child, naturally fond of animals, and particularly of dogs, looked doubtingly at his relative, and murmured something about the poor dog and cruelty. His uncle in a few words assured him that the dog was in the greatest torture, that he could not recover, and that it would be a mercy to kill him. Besides,' added he, he is coming up to bite you, and then he will go into the yard and bite the poor women and children there, and you will go mad, and die in agony ;' and saying this, he retreated into the hall, and shut the door, leaving his nephew outside, as he afterwards said, 'to try his nerve.' The child remained motionless, with the pistol in his hand, and his arms hanging by his side, his eyes fixed steadily upon the dog, which was fast

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