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The Wind Bloweth   By: (1889-1928)

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First Page:

THE WIND BLOWETH

by

DONN BYRNE

Author of "Messer Marco Polo," etc.

Illustrated by George Bellows

[Illustration]

New York The Century Co. Copyright, 1922, by The Century Co. Printed in U. S. A.

A DEDICATION: A PRAYER

Whilst I was working on the various problems of "The Wind Bloweth" problems of wisdom, of color, of phrasing, and trying to capture the elusive, unbearable ache that is the mainspring of humanity, and doing this through the medium of a race I knew best, a race that affirms the divinity of Jesus and yet believes in the little people of the hills, a race that loves its own land, and yet will wander the wide world over, a race that loves battle, and yet always falls whilst doing this, it seemed to me that I was capturing for an instant a beauty that was dying slowly, imperceptibly, but would soon be gone.

Perhaps it was the lilt of a Gaelic song in these pages that brought a sorrow on me. That very sweet language will be gone soon, if not gone already, and no book learning will revive the suppleness of idiom, that haunting misty loveliness.... It is a very pathetic thing to see a literature and a romance die.

But then, what ever dies? There is only change. For people in the coming times the economist and the expert in politics may have the beauty and wisdom old men have known in poems and strange tales. A mammoth building is as romantic to a new age as were the subtle carvings of Phidias to Greeks of old. For the master of commerce an oil driven steel ship has the beauty old folk have seen in cloudy pyramids of sail. What we have considered beautiful will be quaint. And their tolerant smile will hurt us under the wind swept grass.

To whomever this writing of mine may give a moment's thought, a moment's dreaming, I would ask a privilege, to call out of the romantic sunset the memories of Irish writers whom it is deep in my heart to praise, not masters of verse, but those whom in English we call novelists, being too exact in matters of language to name them poets: the Four Masters of Donegal who dedicated their tradition do chum gloire De agus onora na h Eireann , to the glory of God and the honor of Ireland, so high their motive was. And Thomas Moore, not as author of Irish ballads or of "Lalla Rookh," but as writer of "The Epicurean." And Lever and Lover. And William Carleton from the County of Tyrone. And gentle Gerald Griffin, dead at his desk. And Michael and John Banim, with their "O'Hara Tales." And Sheridan Le Fanu, and Fitz James O'Brien, who fell fighting for America. And Charles Kickham, who wrote "Knocknagow." And I was all but forgetting Oliver Goldsmith, Dr. Johnson's friend.

Old fathers, old masters, I will never believe but that you wrote because it sprang from you as the lark sings in the high air. No little sum of money, no great man's patronage, no doffed caps of the populace, could have moved you to strike out or write in one line. Old fathers, let me say aloud your names; it will give me bravery. And, sirs, take this book kindly to you. It is written caring nothing for money, nothing for light acclaim. Its faults are because I cannot write better yet....

DONN BYRNE

CONTENTS

PART PAGE

I DANCING TOWN 3

II THE WAKE AT ARDEE 57

III THE MOUTH OF HONEY 109

IV THE WRESTLER FROM ALEPPO 169

V THE VALLEY OF THE BLACK PIG 229

VI THE BOLD FENIAN MEN 287

VII THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY 353

PART ONE

DANCING TOWN

§ 1

Because it was his fourteenth birthday they had allowed him a day off from school, his mother doubtfully, his uncles Alan and Robin with their understanding grin. And because there was none else for him to play with at hurling or foot ball, the other children now droning in class over Cæsar's Gallic War, he had gone up the big glen... Continue reading book >>




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