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The rack-the stake the scaffold--what of these ?
Yet not the feign'd eternity of name,
Thus Pride, rapacious of the elect of heaven,
Pass we to happier men, who prize the place
• Perhaps my Friend had in his thoughts a fine passage in Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Lehrjahre_" Look at men how they struggle for happiness and contentment! Their wishes, their toil, their gold, are ever straining restlessly; and after what? After that which the Poet bas received from Nature; the true enjoyment of the world; the feeling of himself in others; the harmonious conjunction of many things, which seldom coexist.
. From his heart-its natal soil, springs wisdom's fairest flower; others waking dream, and are vexed with unreal illusions from every sense; he goes through the dream of life as one awake, and the strangest events become to him a portion alike of the past and the future," &c.Book 11. If I cannot grant the full truth of all this, I can, at least, sympathize with the illusion.
The Life of Beauty blooming thus within,
For me the blest prerogative, to feel,
But to my task! for I have yet been straying
Let me retrace, and by this sounding Sea
The accents of my youth-they float upon mine ear!
I look without me, and I find all cold!
The visionary Sorrow pauses here!
Perhaps the young May beckoned him abroad,
THE FORESTS OF IRELAND.
The present aspect of the surface of western shores, so exposed to the vioIreland, almost everywhere denuded of lence of the Atlantic gales, stately trees, with scarce a relict of a natural pines flourished in situations, where it forest, with very few plantations, whose is now imagined that no tree can reage exceeds a century, exhibits a very getate. unfavourable contrast, with the richly The most authentic evidence of the wooded and ornamented state of Eng- antiquity of our furests, and of the naland. Strange as the fact may appear ture of the trees which composed them to our English readers, it is certain, that may be obtained from an examination at no very remote period Ireland was of their remains wbich have been infar more abundantly furnished with na- humed in the bogs. The great extent tural woods than almost any European of surface covered by bog is wellcountry. Noble forests once existed known to every one, and although it in every province, and even on the would be absurd to assert tuat in every
case it owes its origin to the fall of Vignoles, three layers of trees are to forests, still, in very many instances its be found alternating with as many beds production can be attributed to no of peat, from three to five feet in thickother cause. Bog timber occurs in The trees in each layer appear every county of Ireland, and often in to have arrived at maturity, and could great abundance. In the county of not have been co-existent. These Kilkenny, the remains of the oak, the trees are of enormous size, and many fir, and the birch, are found under the of thein bear the marks of fire. It bogs, and sometimes even at a depth may appear strange to some, how fir of thirty feet from the surface. This trees shoulu be able to support theinfact clearly establishes the great anii- selves on the unstable surface of a bog, quity of such trees, for if we allow so but at present there are many thriving very rapid a rate of growth to the peat, plantations of fir trees in such situaas a foot in a century, the age of the tious, in several parts of the country. timber in the present case, must be What human industry has effected, dated farther back than the commence may also be accomplished without the ment of the present era. The timber interference of man, for fir seeds, if found in the bogs consists chiefly of the committed to the earth, can retain their oak, the fir, and the yew, while the re- vitality for many years, and afterwards mains of the elm or the ash are of very vegetate when called forth by favous. rare occurrence. Some idea of the able circumstances. The following abundance and magnitude of the an statement affords a very curious illuscient timber may be inferred from the tration of this remark. On taking in following observations. Smith, in his a common near Maryborough, trees excellent history of Kerry, informis us were found at a depth of tive or six that there is an immense quantity of feet. On the reclaimed portion, an inbog fir to be found in the morasses; fiuite number of young Scotch fir which inexhaustible magazine of under- sprung up. The common had been a ground timber might be sufficient to sheep walk for several centuries, and repair the loss of the noble forests was formerly part of the ancient manor which formerly covered the mountains, of Dunamaise, and must have been and supply wood cnough for many cleared of trees about the time of the houses. In Clare we are told that fir first arrival of the English.* We see, of very large dimensions is found un- therefore, that nature possesses ample der the bogs, and that most of the far resources for maintaining a succession mers' houses are roofed with it. One of trees, even in the most unlikely sifir tree is mentioned which was thirty- tuations eight inches in diameter, and which, at If the bogs afford us a record of the a length of sixty-eight feet, still re ancieut forests of the country, at a petained a diameter of thirty-three riod antecedent to the commencement inches.
of authentic written traditions, we will The origin of many bogs, from the de- find that in this instance the indications cay of ancient forests, is strikingly illus- of natural and civil history are in strict trated by the fact, that the roots of suc- accordance. We have but small faith cessive generations of trees have been in Celtic etymologies, which, as they found resting upon each other. A have the property of proving everybeautiful instance of a succession of thing and anything, most unfortunately forests on the same spot, occurs near establish nothing ; but it may be adPortmore, in the county of Antrim. mitted that in the present case, the The superficial stratum of bog timber, names of places afford good evidence in this district, consists of oak, often of the former wooded state of the of very great dimensions ; beneath country, especially as this evidence is these we find another stratum of in harmony with what we know froin timber, consisting almost entirely of other sources to have been the case. the trunks of fir trees. In the parlia. Thus, the word daragh, an oak, is an mentary reports concerning the bogs element in the appellatives of many of Ireland, there is an account of a places, as Kildare, Derry, &c. obvibog in which there is a succession of ously indicating thať the places so dethree layers of roots of firs, proviny signated were remarkable either for the that three forests have flourished in abundance or magnitude of their oaks. succession on the same spot. In In like manner, the word Jur, a yew Westmeath, according to Archdeacon tree, has been employed to desiguate
• Anthologia Hibernica.
many places, as Newry Na Jur, or the down to a much later period, Shillela, yew trees, Ballynure, Killynure, &c.* (the fair wood) in the county of Wick.
Before quitting this part of the sub- low, was famed for its beautiful oaks. jeet, we cannot but allude to a very ex • Tradition,” says Mr. Hayes, "gives traordinary passage in the Brehon laws, the Shillela oak the honor of roofing which have been translated by Vale Westminster Hall, and other buildings lancey :
of that age ; the tiinbers which support
the leads of the magnificent chapel of « What are the timber trespasses ?-
King's College, Cambridge, wbich was Cutting down trees, and taking them built in 1444, as also, the roof of away, as airigh timber, athar timber, Henry the Eighth's chapel, in Westfogla timber, and losa timber. Airigh minster Abbey, are said to be of oak timber, are the oak, hazel, holly, yew, brought from these woods. The deIndian pine, and apple ; five cows' penalty struction of our forests did not proceed for cutting down those trees; yearling with rapidity till the commencement of cow calves for cutting down the limbs; the 17th century. Dr. Boate, whose heifers for cutting down the branches. history of Ireland appeared in 1652 Athar wood, are willow, aldar, hawthorn, quick beam, birch, elm ; penalty, a cow
complains of the disappearance of the for each tree, and a heifer for the woods. Such, he says, has been the branches. Fogla timber, are blackthorn, loss of timber, that in some parts of elder, spindle-tree, white hazel, aspen ;
the country, you may travel whole penalty, a heifer for each. Losa wood, days without seeing any woods or fern, furze, briar, heath, ivy, reeds, thorn trees, except a few about gentlemen's bush ; penalty not stated.”
houses, as, namely, from Dublin, and
from some places that are farther to the We can scarcely believe that such south of it, and to Tredagh, Dundalk, absurdities ever passed for legislation, and the Newry, and as far as Dromore, even in the most unlettered ages. It in which whole extent of land being is far more probable, that they were the above three score miles, one doth not fictions of some idle and inventive come near any woods worth the speakmonk. The expression, Indian pine, ing of, and in some parts thereof, you is alone sufficient to detect the true shall not see so much as one tree, even source of such imaginary legislation. in many miles. Still, many extensive The penalty of a heiser for cutting forests remained. According to Boate down a hazel or an elder, is abundantly Wicklow, King's County, and Queen's ridiculous, if it was not outdone by the County, were throughout full of woods, absurdity of imposing any penalty for some whereof are many miles long and cutting down furze, heath, or brier. broad. Al this period, there were also During the twelfth century, and long great forests in Donegal, in Tyrone, before it, extensive forests abounded and along Lough Erne, and in many throughout the country, affording other places in the province of Ulster. shelter for wolves, and all kinds of wild Peter Lombard, a' Roman Catholic animals ; the churches were built of priest, who published an account of timber, and in short, till the com- Ireland, in the year 1632, states that mencement of the 17th century, Ire- wolves were so numerous, that sheep land generally had more reason to give had to be penned up every night, to premiums for the destruction of forests protect them from those ravenous aniihan to enact laws for their perpetu- mals. Wild boars abounded in the ation.
woods, which also swarmed with mar. Forests abounded in Ireland during tins, so that the chief wealth of tbe the reign of Henry the Second, and country consisted in peltries. Such an
• Colgan, and other writers on the early ecclesiastical history of Ireland, have been at some pains to preserve the etymologies of the names of many of the localities in which monastic communities were established.
Kildare, in Irish Kill-dara, was called in Latin cella quereus, or the church of the oak, on account of a lotty tree of that species which grew there.
Derry derives its name from that of a monastery erected by Columbia, at a place covered with oaks, called in Irish Doire Calgaich, which Adamnan renders in Latin by Roboretum, Calgaichi, or the Oak Wood of Calgaich.
Durragh, in King's County, according to Adamnan, was formerly Dair-magh, which he translates by Roboretem, Campus, or the Plain of Oaks.
Cloneneagh, near Maryborough, was called Cluneneduach ; in Latin Latabulum Hederosum, the retired spot with ivy, or the Ivy Hermitage.