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The O'Donoghue Tale Of Ireland Fifty Years Ago   By: (1806-1872)

The O'Donoghue Tale Of Ireland Fifty Years Ago by Charles James Lever

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By Charles Lever


William Curry, Jun. And Company.

William S. Orr And Co. London.

Fraser And Co. Edinburgh.




Professor of Moral Philosophy In the University of Edinburgh, &c.

Dear Sir,

It is but seldom that the few lines of a dedication can give the pleasure I now feel in availing myself of your kind permission to inscribe this volume to you. As a boy, the greatest happiness of my life was in your writings; and among all my faults and failures, I can trace not one to your influence, while, if I have ever been momentarily successful in upholding the right, and denouncing the wrong, I owe more of the spirit that suggested the effort to yourself than to any other man breathing.

With my sincerest respects, and, if I dared, I should say, with my warmest regards,

I am, yours truly,


Carlsruhe, October 18th, 1845.




In that wild and picturesque valley which winds its way between the town of Macroom and Bantry Bay, and goes by the name of Glenflesk, the character of Irish scenery is perhaps more perfectly displayed than in any other tract of the same extent in the island. The mountains, rugged and broken, are singularly fanciful in their outline; their sides a mingled mass of granite and straggling herbage, where the deepest green and the red purple of the heath bell are blended harmoniously together. The valley beneath, alternately widening and narrowing, presents one rich meadow tract, watered by a deep and rapid stream, fed by a thousand rills that come tumbling, and foaming down the mountain sides, and to the traveller are seen like white streaks marking the dark surface of the precipice. Scarcely a hut is to be seen for miles of this lonely glen, and save for the herds of cattle and the flocks of sheep here and there to be descried, it would seem as if the spot had been forgotten by man, and left to sleep in its own gloomy desolation. The river itself has a character of wildness all its own now, brawling over rugged rocks now foaming between high and narrow sides, abrupt as walls, sometimes, flowing over a ledge of granite, without a ripple on the surface then plunging madly into some dark abyss, to emerge again, lower down the valley, in one troubled sea of foam and spray: its dull roar the only voice that echoes in the mountain gorge. Even where the humble roof of a solitary cabin can be seen, the aspect of habitation rather heightens than diminishes the feeling of loneliness and desolation around. The thought of poverty enduring its privations unseen and unknown, without an eye to mark its struggles, or a heart to console its griefs, comes mournfully on the mind, and one wonders what manner of man he can be, who has fixed his dwelling in such solitude.

In vain the eye ranges to catch sight of one human being, save that dark speck be such which crowns the cliff, and stands out from the clear sky behind. Yes, it is a child watching the goats that are browsing along the mountain, and as you look, the swooping mist has hidden him from your view. Life of dreariness and gloom! What sad and melancholy thoughts must be his companions, who spends the live long day on these wild heaths, his eye resting on the trackless waste where no fellow creature moves! how many a mournful dream will pass over his mind! what fearful superstitions will creep in upon his imagination, giving form and shape to the flitting clouds, and making the dark shadows, as they pass, seem things of life and substance.

Poor child of sorrow! How destiny has marked you for misery! For you no childish gambols in the sun no gay playfellow no paddling in the running stream, that steals along bright and glittering, like happy infancy no budding sense of a fair world, opening in gladness; but all, a dreary waste the weariness of age bound up with the terrors of childhood... Continue reading book >>

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