To Mr. Lloyd, on his Concise Description of North Munster.
My free Parnassian, and my Friend sincere,
Your Short Description of the County Clare
I have perus’d; and think, upon due Pause,
’Twill from the Curious meet with great Applause;
As well as from each knowing, candid, Man
Who fees the extent of your compact Plan,
But, as each Writer, both sublime and poor,
Of busy Critics may be always sure;
You’ll sooner turn Birches into Cedars
Than ’scape th’ censure of those envious Readers:
Such feeble Foes cannot true Merit wound,
Their spleenful Squibs are spent in Smoak and Sound.
To you we own the Laurel’s justly due,
When Arts are low and Antiquarians few,
For your inrolling our once happy Clare,
It’s Soil, it’s Verdure, and it’s healthful Air;
It’s Groves and Lawns, it’s Fruit and fragrant Flow’rs,
(Most pleasing Emblems of th’ Elysian Bow’rs)
It’s fishy Ponds, it’s sportive Woods and Glades,
It’s purling Rills and Chrystaline Cascades;
It’s Beef and Beer, of which all Ranks were free,
The healing produce of the Hive and Tree;
With all that could from Nature’s Bounty flow,
Or what kind Heaven could on Earth bestow.
In fact, North Munster (tho’ now much
Most famous Men has heretofore produc’d;
A Match for any Worthies round the Sun,
At Epic Pen, at Pistol, Sword or Gun;
Illustrious Chiefs whose noble Actions claim
The first, grand, Folio in th’ Rolls of Fame!
Who, Arts and Tongues got learnedly revis’d,
Had Poets paid, and Teachers patroniz’d;
No wonder, then, that Crowds, from Year to Year,
From distant Countries came to Study here.
Such copious Blessings, doubtless, my dear Lloyd,
For ages past our peaceful Land enjoy’d;
’Till Fate adverse, this inauspicious Time,
Has chang’d it’s Luck the Custom and the Clime!
And now, alas! We fee it quite distress’d,
By Taxes weak’ned and it’s Trade repress’d!
The Tenant wreck’d, unable to pay Rent,
The needy Landlord driving for Content;
Some gen’rous Souls, that would Distress assuage,
Of Means bereft, or, in the Debtor’s Cage;
Pure Wit and Parts eclips’d and disrespect’d,
Our native Tongue most shamefully reject’d;
A Tongue primitive,* florid and Sublime,
Of nervous Force in either Prose or Rhime.
’Twould only help to aggravate our Woe
To tell the Fountain whence these Evils flow;
My Muse who knows the doleful Cause aright
Bids us not war with ministerial Might;
Nor raise Shillelee to enervate those
Who’ve been long our cruel, offensive, Foes:
But speedy Aid from gracious God implore,
Who, can relieve us and our Rights restore.
Ennis, May 24, 1779. T[homas]. M[eeha]N.
* See the learned Dr. Keiting’s
Impartial Account of the Rise and Progress of Languages, after the Establishment
of the first School at Esthena, or Shenar (in the year 242 after the Flood)
under the superintendence of the celelebrated Feinius Farsah;
Progenitor to the Milesians, or Royal Irish.