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LATE P.P. OF WATERGRASSHILL,
IN THE COUNTY OF CORK, IRELAND.
COLLECTED AND ARRANGED BY
OLIVER YORKE, Esq. (Rev. FRANCIS MAHONY).
ALFRED CROQUIS, Esq. (D. MACLISE, R.A.).
BELL & DALDY, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
irisna , 1869.
LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS,
STANFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH, in his green youth, aspired to be the rural pastor of some village Auburn; and in after-life gave embodiment to his earlier fancies in a Vicar of Wakefield. But his Dr. Primrose had immense advantages over Dr. Prout. The olive branches that sprang from the vicar's roof-tree, if they divided, certainly enhanced the interest felt in his character ; while the lone incumbent of Watergrasshill was thrown on his own resources for any chance of enlisting sympathy. The “great defender of monogamy” could buy a wedding gown, send his boy Moses to the fair, set out in pursuit of his lost daughter, get into debt and jail ; exploits which the kindly author felt he could have himself achieved. Prout's misogamy debarred him from these stirring social incidents: he had nothing left for it but to talk and write, and occasionally “intone' a genial song.
From such utterances the mind and feelings of the man have to be distilled. It requires no great palæontological acumen to perceive that he belonged to a class of mortals, now quite gone out of Irish existence, like the elk and wolf-dog; and it has been a main object in this book out of his relics' to restore' him for purposes of comparativə anatomy.
It will be noticed that the Father's rambles are not limited by any barrier of caste, or coat, or côterie ; his soul is multilateral, his talk multifarious, yet free, it is hoped, from garrulity, and decidedly exempt from credulity. He seems to have had a shrewd eye for scanning Humbug, and it is well for him (and for others) that he has vacated his parish in due course of nature. He would have stoutly resisted in Ireland the late attempted process of Italian Cullenization. For though he patronized the effort of Lord Kingston to naturalize in Munster the silkworm from that peninsula (see his version of good Bishop Vida's Bombices, page 523), mere caterpillars, snails, and slimy crawlers, he would have put his foot on.
From Florence the poet Browning has sent for this edi. tion some lines lately found in the Euganeian hills, traced on a marble slab that covered the bones of Pietro di Abano, neld in his old age to be an astrologer.
“Studiando le mie cifre con compasso
Rilevo che sarò presto sottu terra ;
E gli ignoranti mi hanno mosso guerra.”
Of which epitaph the poet has supplied this vernacular, ren. dering verbatim.
“Studying my cyphers with the compass,
I find I shall be soon under the daisy ;
That every dull dog is thereat unaisy."
Browning's attempt suggests a word or two on Prout's own theory of translation, as largely exemplified in this vo