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in that island; in the fourth century it fell down before the preaching of St. Patrick; then the Christian religion was embraced, and cultivated with an uncommon zeal, which displayed itself in the number and consequence of the persons, who in all parts embraced the contemplative life. This mode of life, and the situation of Ireland, removed from the horror of those devastations which shook the rest of Europe, made it a refuge for learning, almost extinguished every where else. Science flourished in Ireland during the seventh and eighth centuries. The same cause which destroyed it in other countries, also destroyed it there. The Danes, then Pagans, made themselves masters of the island after a long and wasteful war, in which they destroyed the sciences along with the monasteries, in which they were cultivated. By as destructive a war they were at length expelled; but neither their ancient science nor repose retured to the Irish; who falling into domestic distractions as soon as they were freed from their foreign enemies, sunk quickly into a state of ignorance, poverty, and barbarism ; which must have been very great, since it exceeded that of the rest of Europe. The disorders in the church were equal to those in the civil economy, and furnished to the Pope a plausible pretext for giving Henry a commission to conquer the kingdom, in order to reform it. The Irish were divided into a number of tribes or clans, each clan forming within itself a separate government. It was ordered by a chief, who was not raised to that dignity either by election, or by the ordinary course of descent, but as the eldest and worthiest of the blood of the deceased lord. This order of succession, called Tanistry, was said to have been invented in the Danish troubles, lest the tribe, during a minority, should have been endangered for want of a sufficient leader. It was probably much more ancient; but it was however, attended with very great and pernicious inconveniences, as it was obviously an affair of difficulty to determine who should be called the worthiest of the blood; and a door being always left open for ambition, this order introduced a greater mischief than it was intended to remedy. Almost every tribe, besides its contention with the neighbouring tribes, nourished faction and discontent within itself. The chiefs we speak of were in general called Tierna, or Lords, and those of more consideration Riagh, or Kings; over these were placed five kings more eminent than the rest, answerable to the five provinces, into which the island was anciently divided. These again were subordinate to one head, who was called Monarch of all Ireland, raised to that power by election, or more properly speaking, by violence. Whilst the dignities of the state were disposed of by a sort of election, the office of judges, who were called Brehons, the trades of mechanics, and even those arts which we are apt to consider as depending principally on natural genius, such as poetry and music, were confined in succession to certain races; the Irish imagining that greater advantages were to be derived from an early institution, and the affection of parents desirous of perpetuating the secrets of their art in their families, than from the casual efforts of particular fancy and application. This is much in the strain of the Eastern policy; but these and many other of the Irish institutions, well enough calculated to preserve good arts and useful discipline when these arts came to degenerate, were equally well calculated to prevent all improvement, and to perpetuate corruption, by infusing an invincible tenaciousness of ancient customs. The people of Ireland were much more addicted to pasturage than agriculture, not more from the quality of their soil, than from a remnant of the Scythian manners. They had but few towns, and those not fortified, each clan living dispersed over its own territory. The few walled towns they had lay on the sea-coast; they were built by the Danes, and held after they had lost their conquests in the inland R

parts; here was carried on the little foreign trade which the island then possessed. The Irish militia was of two kinds; one called Keons, which were foot, slightly armed with a long knife or dagger, and almost naked ; the other Galloglasses, who were horse; poorly mounted, and generally armed only with a battle-axe. Neither horse nor foot made much use of the spear, the sword, or the bow. With indifferent arms, they had still worse discipline. In these circumstances their natural bravery, which, though considerable, was not superior to that of their invaders, stood them in little stead. Such was the situation of things in Ireland, when Dermot, king of Leinster, having violently carried away the wife of one of the neighbouring petty sovereigns. Roderic, king of Connaught, and Monarch of Ireland, joined with the injured husband to punish so flagrant an outrage; and with their united forces spoiled Dermot of his territories, and obliged him to abandon the kingdom. The fugitive prince, not unapprised of Henry's designs upon his country, threw himself at his feet, implored his protection, and promised to hold of him, as his feudatory, the sovereignty he should recover by his assistance. Henry was at this time at Guienne; nothing could be more agreeable to him than such an incident; but as his French dominions actually lay under an interdict on account of his quarrel with Becket, and all his affairs, both at home and abroad, were in a troubled and dubious situation, it was not prudent to remove his person, nor venture any considerable body of his forces, on a distant enterprise. Yet not willing to lose so favourable an opportunity, he warmly recommended the cause of Dermot to his regency in England, permitting and encouraging all persons to arm in his favour : a permission, in this age of enterprise, greedily accepted by many; but the person who brought the most assistance to it, and indeed gave a form and spirit to the whole design, was Richard, Earl of Striaul, commonly known by the name of Strongbow. Dermot, to confirm in his interest this potent and warlike peer, promised him his daughter in marriage with the reversion of his crown. The beginnings of so great an enterprise were formed with a very slender force. Not four hundred men landed near Wexford; they took the town by storm. When reinforced they did not exceed twelve hundred; but, being joined with three thousand men by Dermot, with an incredible rapidity of success they reduced Waterford, Dublin, Limerick, the only considerable cities in Ireland. By the novelty of their arms they had obtained some striking advantages in their first engagements; and by these advantages they attained a superiority of opinion over the Irish, which every success increased. Before the effect of this first impression had time to wear off, Henry, having settled his affairs abroad, entered the harbour of Cork with a fleet of four hundred sail, at once to secure the conquest, and the allegiance of the conquerors. The fame of so great a force arriving under a prince, dreaded by all Europe, very soon disposed all the petty princes, with their King Roderic, to submit and do homage to Henry. They had not been able to resist the arms of his vassals, and they hoped better treatment from submitting to the ambition of a great king, who left them every thing but the honour of their independency, than from the avarice of adventurers, from which nothing was secure. The bishops and the body of the clergy greatly contributed to this submission, from respect to the Pope, and the horror of their late defeats, which they began to regard as judgments. A national council was held at Cashel for bringing the church of Ireland to a perfect conformity, in rites and discipline, to that of England. It is not to be thought, that in this council the temporal interests of England were entirely forgotten. Many of the English were established in their particular conquests under the tenure of knights-service, now first introduced into Ireland; a tenure, which, if it has not proved the best calculated to

secure the obedience of the vassal to the sovereign, has never failed in any instance of preserving a vanquished people in obedience to the conquerors. The English lords built strong castles on their demesnes; they put themselves at the head of the tribes, whose chiefs they had slain ; they assumed the Irish garb and manners; and thus partly by force, partly by policy, the first English families took a firm root in Ireland. It was indeed long before they were able entirely to subdue the island to the laws of England; but the continual efforts of the Irish, for more than four hundred years, proved insufficient to dislodge them.

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[The following poem, by one of our early poets, is founded upon the most commonly received tradition. The real history of Rosamond de Clifford is very obscure: we extract the following brief account from the Pictorial History of England:—

“The history of the ‘Fair Rosamond, has been enveloped in romantic traditions which have scarcely any foundation in truth, but which have taken so firm a hold on the popular mind, and have been identified with so much poetry, that it is neither an easy nor a pleasant task to dissipate the fanciful illusion, and unpeople the “bower' in the sylvan shades of Woodstock. Rosamond de Clifford was the daughter of a baron of Herefordshire, the beautiful site of whose antique castle, in the valley of the Wye, is pointed out to the traveller between the town of the Welsh Hay and the city of Hereford, at a point where the most romantic of rivers, after foaming through its rocky, narrow bed in Wales, sweeps freely and tranquilly through an open English valley of surpassing loveliness. Henry became enamoured of her in his youth, before he was a king, and the connexion continued for many years; but long before his death, and even long before his quarrel with his wife and legitimate sons (with which it appears she had nothing to do), Rosamond retired to lead a religious and penitent life, into the ‘little nunnery' of Godestow, in the “rich meadows of Evenlod, near unto Oxford.”

“As Henry still preserved gentle and generous feelings towards the object of his youthful and ardent passion, he made many donations to the ‘little nunnery,’ on her account; and when she died (some time at least, before the first rebellion) the nuns, in gratitude to one who had been both directly and indirectly their benefactress, buried her in their choir, hung a silken pall over her tomb, and kept tapers constantly burning around it. These few lines, we believe, comprise all that is really known of the fair Rosamond. The legend, so familiar to the childhood of all of us, was of later and gradual growth, not being the product of one imagination. The chronicler Brompton, who wrote in the time of Edward III., or more than a century and a half after the event, gave the first description we possess of the secret bower of Rosamond. He says, that in order that she might not be “easily taken unawares by the queen' (ne forsan a regina facile deprehenderetur) Henry constructed, near “Wodestocke, a bower for this “most sightly maiden,’ (puellae spectatissimae), of wonderful contrivance, and not unlike the Daedalean labyrinth ; but he speaks only of a device against surprise, and intimates in clear terms, that Rosamond died a natural death. The clue of silk, and the poison-bowl forced on her fair and gentle rival, by the jealous and revengeful Eleanor, were additions of a still more modern date.”

Fair Rosamond within her bower of late,
(While these sad storms had shaken Henry's state

And he from England last had absent been)
Retir'd herself: nor had that star been seen
To shine abroad, or with her lustre grace
The woods, or walks adjoining to the place.
About those places, while the times were free,
Oft with a train of her attendants, she
For pleasure walk'd; and like the Huntress Queen,
With her light nymphs, was by the people seen.
Thither the country lads and swains, that near
To Woodstock dwelt, would come to gaze on her.
Their jolly May-games there would they present,
Their harmless sports and rustic merriment,
To give this beauteous paragon delight.
Nor that officious service would she slight !
But their rude pastimes gently entertain,
When oft some forward and ambitious swain,
That durst presume (unhappy lad!) to look
Too near that sparkling beauty, planet-struck
Return'd from thence, and his hard hap did wail.
What now [Alas!] can wake or fair avail
His love-sick mind no whitsun-ale can please,
No jingling morris-dancers give him ease ;
The pipe and tabor have no sound at all,
Nor to the may-pole can his measures call !
Although invited by the merriest lasses,
How little for those former joys he passes 7
But sits at home with folded arms; or goes
To carve on beeches' barks his piercing woes
And too ambitious love. Cupid, they say,
Had stol'n from Venus then : and lurking lay
About the fields and villages, that nigh
To Woodstock were, as once in Arcady
He did before, and taught the rural swains
Love's oratory, and persuasive strains.
But now fair Rosamond had from the sight
Of all withdrawn; as in a cloud, her light
Enveloped long, and she immured close
Within her bower, since these sad stirs arose,
For fear of cruel foes; relying on
The strength and safeguard of the place alone:
If any place of strength enough could be
Against a queen's enraged jealousy.
Now came that fatal day, ordain'd to see
Th’ colipse of beauty, and for ever be
Accurst by woful lovers, all alone
Into her chamber, Rosamond was gone;
Where (as if fates into her soul had sent
A secret notice of their dire intent)
Afflicting thoughts possessed her as she sate,
She sadly weigh’d her own unhappy state,
Her feared dangers, and how far (alas)
From her relief engaged Henry was.

But most of all, while pearly drops distain'd
Her rosy cheeks, she secretly complain'd,
And wail'd her honour's loss, wishing in vain
She could recal her virgin state again;
When that unblemish'd form, so much admir’d,
Was by a thousand noble youths desir'd,
And might have mov’d a monarch's lawful flame.
Sometimes she thought how some more happy dame
By such a beauty, as was hers, had won,
From meanest birth, the honour of a throne;
And what to some could highest glories gain,
To her had purchas'd nothing but a stain.
There, when she found her crime, she check'd again
That high aspiring thought, and 'gan complain,
How much (alas) the too too dazzling light
Of royal lustre had misled her sight;
O ! then she wish'd her beauties ne'er had been
Renown'd that she had ne'er at court been seen :
Nor too much pleas'd enamour'd Henry's eye.
While thus she sadly mus'd, a ruthful cry
Had pierc'd her tender ear, and in the sound
Was nam'd (she thought) unhappy Rosamond.
(The cry was utter'd by her grieved maid,
From whom that clue was taken, that betray'd
Her lady's life), and while she doubting fear'd,
Too soon the fatal certainty appear'd ;
For with her train the wrathful queen was there;
Oh! who can tell what cold and killing fear
Through every part of Rosamond was shook?
The rosy tincture her sweet cheeks forsook,
And like an ivory statue did she show
Of life and motion reft; had she been so
Transform'd indeed, how kind the fates had been,
How pitiful to her 1 nay, to the queen .
Even she herself did seem to entertain
Some ruth, but straight revenge return’d again,
And fill'd her furious breast. “Strumpet (quoth she)
I need not speak at all ; my sight may be
Enough expression of my wrongs, and what
The consequence must prove of such a hate.
Here, take this poison'd cup (for in her hand
A poison'd cup she had), and do not stand
To parley now: but drink it presently,
Or else by tortures be resolv'd to die.
Thy doom is set.” Pale trembling Rosamond
Receives the cup, and kneeling on the ground,
When dull amazement somewhat had forsook
Her breast, thus humbly to the queen she spoke.
“I dare not hope you should so far relent,
Great queen, as to forgive the punishment
That to my foul offence is justly due.
Nor will I vainly plead excuse, to shew

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