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VERSES ON THE SUDDEN DRYING-UP OP
NEAR TRINITY-COLLEGE, DUBLIN, 1726.
By holy zeal infpir'd, and led by fame,
To thee, once favourite ifte, with joy I came ;
Hither from Colchos t, with the fleecy ore,
* Italy was not properly the native place of St. Pai trick, but the place of his education, and where he received his mission; and because he had his new birth there, hence, by poetical licence, and by scripture-figure, our author calls that country his native Italy. IRISHED:
+ Orpheus, or the antient author of the Greek poem on the Argonautic expedition, whoever he be, says, that Jason, who manned the ship Argos at Theffaly, failed to Ireland. IRISH ED.
I Tacitus, in the life of Julius Agricola, fays, that the harbours of freland, on account of their commerce, were better known to the world than those of Britain. IRISH ED.
From thee, with pride, the Caledonians trace
A con* The argument here turns on, what the author of course took for granted, the present Scots being the descendants of Irish emigrants. This fact, however true, was not în Dr. Swift's time afcertained with any degree of precision. Ireland even to this day “remains fuperftitiously devoted to her antient history,” and “
"wraps “ herself in the gloom of her own legendary annals." Mr. Whitaker has displayed an uncommon fund of knowledge on this very curious subject, both in his
History of Manchester," and in “ The Genuine “ History of the Britons asserted.” N. * « The Scots (says Dr. Robertson) carry their
pre" tensions to antiquity as high as any of their neigh“.bours. Relying upon uncertain legends, and the tra“ ditions of their bards, still more uncertain, they rec“ kon up a series of kings several ages before the birth “ of Christ; and give a particular detail of occurrences, “ which happened in their reigns. In the beginning of " the sixteenth century, John Major and Hector “ Boëthius published their Histories of Scotland ; the “ former a succin&t and dry writer, the latter a copious
A conquest and a colony from thee.
“ and florid one; and both equally credulous. Not
many years after, Buchanan undertook the same “ work; and if his accuracy and impartiality had been “ in any degree equal to the elegance of his taste, and " to the purity and vigour of his style, his hiftory might “ be placed on a level with the most admired compofi« tions of the ancients. But, instead of rejecting the “ improbable tales of Chronicle-writers, he was at the “ utmost pains to adorn them, and hath cloathed with “ all the beauties and graces of fi&tion those legends “ which formerly had only its wildness and extrava
gance."-On the authority of Buchanan and his predecessors the historical part of this poem seems founded, as well as the notes signed IRISH ED. some of which, I believe, were written by the Dean himself. N.
* In the reign of king Henry II, Dermot M.Morrough, king of Leinster, being deprived of his kingdom by Roderick O'Connor, king of Connaught, he invited the English over as auxiliaries, and promised Richard Strangbow earl of Pembroke his daughter and all his dominions as a portion. By this assistance, M‘Morrough recovered his crown, and Strangbow became poilelled of all Leinster. Irish Ed.
Britain, by thee we fell, ungrateful ifle !
Wretched lerne! with what grief I see
By faith and prayer, this crosier in my hand,
i St. Patrick arrived in Ireland in the year 431, and compleated the conversion of the natives, which had. been begun by Palladius and others. And, as bishop Nicholson observes, Ireland foon became the fountain of learning, to which all the Western Christians, as well as the English, had recourfe, not only for inftructions in the principles of religion, but in all sorts of literature, viz. Legendi et Scholaftice eruditionis gratiâ. Irish Ed.
+ There are no fnakes, vipers, or toads, in Freland; and even frogs were not known here until about the year 1700. The magpyes came a short time before ; and the Norway rats since, IRISH ED.
With omens oft' I ftrove to warn thy swains,
from the British foil, With restless beak thy blooming fruit to spoil';. To din thine ears with unharmonious clack, And haunt thy holy walls in white and black.. What else are those thou feest in bishops' geer, Who crop
the nurseries of learning here ; Aspiring, greedy, full of senfeless prate, Bevour the church, and chatter to the state ?
As you grew more degenerate and base,
Sec, where that newedevouring vermin runs,
Where is the holy well that bore my name ?
* The university of Dublin, called Trinity College, was founded by queen Elizabeth in 159.5. IRISH ED.