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PROUT. Setting sail from Minorca, the expedition, after encountering a desperate storm, cleared the Pillars of Hercules, and Landing in the Cove of Cork, deposited their treasure in the greenest spot and the shadiest groves of this beautiful vi. cinity.
How do you account for their being left by the Carthaginians in quiet possession of this invaluable deposit ?
PROUT. They had sufficient tact (derived from their connexion with the stone) to give out, that in the storm it had been thrown overboard to relieve the ship, in latitude 36° 14", longitude 24o. A search was ordered by the senate of Carthage, and the Mediterranean was dragged without effect; but the mariners of that sea, according to Virgil, retained a superstitious reverence for every submarine appearance of a stone :
“Saxa vocant Itali mediis quæ in fluctibus aras !" And Aristotle distinctly says, in his treatise "De Mirandis," quoted by the erudite Justus Lipsius, that a law was enacted against any further intercourse with Ireland. His words
“In mari, extra Herculis Columnas, insulam desertam inventam fuisse sylva nemorosam, in quam crebrò Carthaginienses commeârint, et sedes etiam fixerint: sed veriti ne nimis cresceret, et Carthago laberetur, edicto cavisse ne quis pæna capitis eò deinceps navigaret.
The fact is, Sir Walter, Ireland was always considered a lucky spot, and constantly excited the jealousy of Greeks, Romans, and people of every country. The Athenians thought that the ghosts of departed heroes were transferred to our fortunate island, which they call, in the war-song of Harmodius and Aristogiton, the land of O's and Macs :
Φιλταθ” “Αρμοδι, ουτε που τεθνηκας,
Νησοις δ' εν ΜΑΚ αρ' ΩΝ σε φασιν ειναι. And the" Groves of Blarney” have been commemorated by the Greek poets many centuries before the Christian era.
SCOTT. There is certainly somewhat of Grecian simplicity in the old song itself; and if Pindar had been an Irishman, I think he would bave celebrated this favourite haunt in a style not very different from Millikin’s classic rhapsody.
PROUT. Millikin, the reputed author of that song, was but a simple translator from the Greek original. Indeed, I have discovered, when abroad, in the library of Cardinal Mazarin, an old Greek manuscript, which, after diligent examination, I am convinced must be the oldest and “princeps editio" of the song. I begged to be allowed to copy it, in order that I might compare it with the ancient Latin or Vulgate translation which is preserved in the Brera at Milan; and from a strict and minute comparison with that, and with the Norman French copy which is appended to Doomsday-book, and the Celtic-Irish fragment preserved by Crofton Croker, (rejecting as spurious the Arabic, Armenian, and Chaldaic stanzas on the same subject, to be found in the collection of the Royal Asiatic Society,) I have come to the conclusion that the Greeks were the undoubted original contrivers of that splendid ode; though whether we ascribe it to Tyrtæus or Callimachus will depend on future evidence ; and perhaps, Sir Walter, you would give me your opinion, as I have copies of all the versions I allude to at my dwelling on the hill.
I cannot boast, learned father, of much vous in Hellenistic matters; but should find myself quite at home in the Gaelic and Norman-French, to inspect which I shall with pleasure accompany you: so here I kiss the stone!
The wonders of " the castle,” and “cave," and "lake," were speedily gone over; and now, according to the usage of the dramatist, modo Roma, modò ponit Athenis, we shift the scene to the tabernacle of Father Prout on Watergrasshill, where, round a small table, sat Scott, Knapp, and Prout
à triumvirate of critics never equalled. The papers
fell into my hands when the table was cleared for the subsequent repast; and thus I am able to submit to the world's decision what these three could not de. cide, viz. which is the original version of the “ Groves of Blarney."
P.S. At the moment of going to press with the Doric, the Vulgate, and Gallic texts in juxta-position with the supposed original, (Corcagian) a fifth candidate for priority starts up, the Italic, said to be sung by Garibaldi in bivouac amid the woods over Lake Como, May 25, 1859.
# Boschi di Blarnca.
DI Biarne' i boschi Bei, benchè foschi, In versi Toschi
Fior di beltà !
Quei luoghi dunque
Non cerch' in van,
Fra gatti stran'.
Per qùi pescar
Stan per ombrar.
Si vuol seder;
Vien quà passary.
Di non amar!
Venere ed Amor! Stan, cosa unica, Quì senza tunica ! Mentre comunica
Con altro mar'
Di quel narrar
D' alto valor ;
Riman talor :
Su quest' altar!
Di ricchi ben,
Più cor nel sen.
La breccia fè !