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of the wildest and most melancholy fact is the more gracious to record, becast; and they are admirably calculated cause so many cruel and malignant arfor awakening enthusiasm, quickening rows have been launched against her the imagination, and engendering a con- in reviews and other anonymous protemplative and kindling temperament ductions, by those who disliked her pol. in the mind. From her earliest infan- itics or envied her success; and who, cy, Miss Owenson's memory was stored making a stalking borse of criticism, with the legendary lore of the land, and have chosen the woman for their mark, her ear formed to its minor melodies, when they profes;ed to aim only at the whose abrupt modulations attain to author. In one instance, when a base effects “ beyond the reach of art," and and diabolical attack was made through find a way to the soul unknown, per- the channel of the newspapers, (wuile haps, even to the Mozarts and the Paesi. she was yet alınost a child, and her rep. ellos of a more flourishing period of the utation as an author scarcely commenco science. Often, while yet a child, and ed,) to blast her literary character, and seated upon her parent's knees, her ima- to drive her from society, nearly the gination, it is said, was purposely excited whole literary force of her native city and her feelings roused by these great mustered in her defence, and the pens instruments of emotion; and the gush- of all who best knew her, and could ing tears flowed abundantly in sympa- bear personal testimony to her virtues, thy with the fictitious sufferer, or res. were drawn in her vindication. So ponsive to the pathos of the national air. generally, indeed, was the indignation While the friends of the infant were at these unprincipled calumvies, that thus taking delight in playing with a some peculiar means were songbt for sensibility they helped to nurture, they expresssing public feeling in which all were not aware how far they gave cha- classes might participate ; and it was racter to the genius, and determination in compliance with the public wish (if to the fortune of the future woman. we are rightly informed) that she pro
The influence of the national music duced at the Crow-street theatre, an on Miss Owenson's mind may be in- operatic farce, called “ The First Alferred to have been considerable, from tempt," written many years before its the circumstance that at an early age appearance on the stage. The circumshe noted down and arranged some of stances under which this piece was acted the best Irish airs, which she adapted to ensured its success. The house was English words, and published in Lon- crowded as often as it was played ; and don. These were, perhaps, the first on the author's night, the court, (with published specimens of Irish minstrelsy, the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, the and they suggested to Moore the idea then Lord and Lady Lieutenant of Ire. of his splendid work, (as he has himself land, at their head,) the bar, and the liberally acknowledged,) which, in mak- town vied in their zeal and activity to ing the melodies of his country known grace the representation, and render it to Europe, has added a new and unri. profitable and honourable to the object valled wreath to the garland of English of their protection, poesy.
The sphere of female action is necesThe ardour and perseverance which sarily circumscribed, and it rarely hapare so essentially necessary to literary pens that a woman's virtues are availa. success, are prominently conspicuous in ble beyond the little circle of her dothe character of Lady Morgan in all the mestic relations. The civic crown, relations of life. As her conceptions more especially, is not often within the are clear, so have her volitions been de reach of the softer sex; but an instance cided and her affections warm. In the occurred to the subject of this memoir, struggles of adversity, and in the still in which she was enabled to save a humore arduous trials of literary and social man life, and to restore to society a lost trium ), her devotion to her family have but repentapt offender. A poor fellow, been like exemplary. To see what is a letter carrier, of good general cbaracright and to do it, seems ever to have ter, the father of a large family, was inbeen the same thing with her ; aud the duced, in a moment of extreme distress
VOL. 4.] Memoir of the Life and Writings of Lady Morgan. 197 to break open a letter committed to his saving a youth taken prisoner under Micharge, and to possess himself of a small randa, and condemned to certain death sum of money, in the intention of re- under the horrible form of perpetual storing it in a few days to the owner. slavery on the military works of a SpanFor this offence he was condemned to ish Ainerican fortress. The recollection die. In the court in which he was of such anecdotes is a source of the purtried, a scene of the deepest distress was est satisfaction. They tend to raise the exhibited by the presence and anguish literary character, they do honour to of his aged father, his wife, and her human nature, and they relieve the dark belpless infants ; but the crime was one shade, which almost uniforiniy obscures of those which society never pardons. the political bistory of the species. In such cases cupidity and apprehen. In the year 1811, when on a visit to sion are alike interested in striking ter- the Marquis of Abercorn, in the north ror, and mercy and hope must be silent of Ireland, Miss Owenson became acat their bidding. From the gloom of quainted with Sir Charles Morgan, a the condemned cell this unfortunate physician, and Fellow of the London criminal, like the drowning wretch who College, then in attendance upon Lord grasps at a straw, appealed to the ima- Hamilton. A congeniality of tastes ginary influence of a popular writer ; soon led to a matrimonial connection. and the clain was irresistible to one Since her marriage, Lady Morgan has whose domestic affections were the chiefly resided at Dublin, where her mainsprings of her being.
house is the centre of whatever taste, litOn the receipt of bis letter, Miss erature, and refinement is to be found Owenson addressed herself to the dif- in the Irish metropolis. The cultivaferent barristers of her acquaintance ; tion which peculiarly marks the bigher but the reply she received was upiform, ranks of British society, ensured her an The crime was unpardonable, the man's introduction into the upper circles of fate was sealed, and interference could England and Ireland ; but she owes only expose her to mortification and perhaps the place she holds as much to dcfeat. Unintiinidated by these dis- ber peculiar talent for conversation, and spiriting reports, she applied directly to what the French call, esprit de société, Baron Sinith, the presiding judge on as to her professional eminence. It was the trial ; and that amiable individual, in a great ineasure to these qualities rejoicing to have so good a pretext for that she was indebted for the boundless temperiog the rigour of justice, directed access she obtained to the saloons of her to the foreman of the jury, with the Paris. Speaking French with a facilipromise, that if a recommendation to ty not usual among our countrymen, mercy could be procured from them, he her peculiar powers had full play in would, in consequence of the conviction that capital, where agreeability is the resijug on circumstantial evidence, back most direct passport to social intercourse. it with his sanction. Miss Owenson The family of Lady Morgan is not saw the foreman of the jury, induced new to literature : her father, who was him to assemble the jurymen, and to a near relation to Oliver Goldsmith, was sign the recommendation. She then by him introduced, early in his life, to drew up a memorial to the Duke of the Garricks, the Johnsons, and other Richmond, the head of the Irish gov- eminent men of tbat day." His musical eroneut, and, in one word, procured a talents were of the first order, and notcommutation of the sentence to perpet- withstanding their bigh culture, were ual traosportation. It is pleasurable to strongly tinctured with the peculiar to add, that on arriving at New South character of the national school. He Woles, the reprieved man became an wrote also very many songs for the stage, ingastrious and honest member of socie- distinguished for their breadth of huty, and supports bis family in indepen- mour and brilliant wit: but he is most dence and comfort. A circumstance known to the literary world by his gennoi dissimilar in its event, and even more erous protection of the unfortunately romantic in the details, occurred to the celebraied Dermody. The extraordinimmortal Jenner, who was the means of ary history of this miracle of precocious talent and wayward eccentricity is well and philosophical view of life, than is known. Mr. Owenson found him mix- to be found in her earlier productions. ing colours for the scene painters at the Her reputation consequently has rapidtheatre, in the most abject penury. Only increased ; and public expec*ation discovering his talents, this gentleman, looks forward to further and still more with that prompt, uncalculating warmth successful efforts of her pen. of heart, which forms so briliant a fea. It is a singular fact, that og the Conture in the Irish character, took him at tinent, the works of this Lady rank once into the bosom of his family, still higher than they do at home; and clothed and educated bin, and by mak- it afforús a decided testimony of their ing his case kaown to the public, and intrinsic eloquence of thought and senespecially to the celebrated Dr. Young, timent, that they should have been renBishop of Clonlert, Mr. O's near rela- dered so popular under the disfiguring tion, he was the instrument for procuring gerb of foreign translation. “The him that patronage, which, but for the Wild Irish Girl," “ St. Clair,” and ungovernable and self-willed indepen- “ The Missionary," are, however, well dence of Dermody's capricious dispo- translated, and retain their situation sition, must have led to every temporal among the popular and classical prosuccess. To Lady Morgan's only sis- ductions of the French press. “O'Dogter, Lady Clarke, has descended a full nel," from the Hibernicisms with which portion of hereditary ability, which it abounds, was less likely to succeed would have been more productive, if the abroad, and the French translation is cares of a young and numerous family both coarse and unfaithful. * It was had not occupied too large a portion of however read with great eagerness in ber time and attention. This lady has Paris, and has, as we are informed, obrecently brought out on the Dublin tained likewise the honours of a Dutch stage a comedy, called “ The Irishwo- and Spanish costume, The work howman,” replete with originality of con- ever which has made Lady Morgan ception, and humorous dialogue, and most generally known, is her France;" which met with the most decided suc- having passed through three editions at cess ; so that it will probably soon find home, three in America, and as many its way to the London theatres. in France. An abridgment also has
Lady Morgan commenced her pub- been formed, including those passages lic career very early in life : notwith- which fell under the censure of the standing therefore that she is still the French police, and published, we beyoungest successful candidate for litera- lieve, in Geneva, under the title of ry honors, of her own sex, ber publish- “ L'Esprit de Lady Morgan.” ed works are already numerous. They Lady Morgan is in person petite, are a volume of poetry, written before seinidine, graceful and animated ; unishe was fourteen, and dedicated to that ting in her gay conciliating appearpatroness of Irish talent, the late Coun- ance, the ease of fashionable life, with tess of Moira : “ St. Clair," 2 vols. ; the navieté of strong and original tal“ Novice of St. Dominick," 4 vols. ; ent, and that even flow of spirits which “ Wild Irish Girl," 3 vols. ; “ Patriot- springs from constitutional benevoic Sketches," 2 vols. ; “ Ida," + vols. ; leace and an active and occupied “ The Missionary," 3 vols. ; “O'Don- mind. We have heard the conversanel,” 3 vols ; “ France,” 2 vols. 8vo.; tional abilities of this Lady bighly ex“ The Lay of the Irish Harp," I vol.; tolled, and her succe-s in the great and a volume of twelve Irish Melodies. world attributed to that cause, and to She has now in the press another na- what the French call l'urt de raconter tional novel, to be called “ Florence bien. If we may trust to our own Macarthy," which will appear in the powers of observation, great humour, coming season.
pleasantry, and the absence of all affecIn her later publications she has ta- tation, and pretension, constitute no keo a higher flight, and has exhibited a spall part of its merits. Lady Morgan profounder acquaintance with the hu- is, .bowever, accused of being what is man heart, and perhaps a more caustic called uncertuin, of only coming out in
Varieties : Critical, Literary, and Historical.
particular sets and circles ; and we sion was by a great Law-giver dehave heard that when called on to shew nounced as treason. Though Lady off, she bas, like her own Duchess of Morgan was bred a protestant in the Belmont, quoted the well known par- bosom of the established church, she lez nous la philosophie et puis la theolo- has from conscientious motives streougie, and then remained buried 10 inn- ously advocated the emancipation of penetrable reserve and silence. One the Catholics. This vein of political feature in her character it would be sentiment bas drawn down upon her a wrong to pass by, although we do not heavy measure of critical vituperation. always approve its results, we mean her But those who stem the stream of enthusiastic love of her pative country, opinion, (especially when strengtbened The situation of Ireland naturally be- by authority,) must expect occasionalgets strong party feelings, and to re- ly to be dashed by its current against main neuter in times of civil dissen- rocks and shallows.
From the London Time's Telescope, for Dec. 1818. SAINTS' DAYS, OBSCURE CEREMONIES, REMARKABLE EVENTS, &c.
IN DECEMBER. N OW comes December, which He was of so charitable a disposition,
after January for new-years gists, that he portioned three young women, February for pancakes and valentines, who were reduced in circumatances, by March for leeks for the Welchmen, secretly conveying a sum of money April for fools, May for milkmaids and into their father's house. Milner, in their garlands, June for green pease, his History of Winchester, describes a Inackerel, beans and bacon, and what curious font preserved in the cathedral pot (this is a plentiful time,) July for of Winchester, ind applies the carvings hay in the country, and August for on it to the life and miracles of this corn, September for oysters, October saint. The annual cerein ny of the for brewing good beer, and November boy-bishop, once observed on this day, for drinking it. After all these are past, is described at length in silh. Vol. II. soine for working, but all for eating and p. 141. drinkiog, after all coines Dicember, CONCEPTION OF THE V. MARY, Dec. 8. with the barns full of corn, the larders This sostival was instituted by Anfull of beef and pork, the barrels full of selv, Archbisho) of Canterbury, bebeer, the open full of Christmas pies, cause William the Conqneror's feet, the pocket stored with money, the being in a storin, afterwards came safe masters and mistresses full of charity, to shore. The council of Oxford, and the young men and maids full of however, held in 1992, permitted every play:'-(Poor Robin, for Dec. 1757.) one to use his discretion io keeping it.
December had his due appellation December 10th is a fast observed by given bim in the name of winter-monat, the Jews, on account of the approaches to wit, winter-month; but after the then made by the Romans to besiege Saxons received Christianity, they then, Jerusalem; the coinmencement of of devotion to the birth time of Christ, the national calainities of the Jews. termed it by the name of lelight-monat, December the 12th is, by devout that is to say, holy-month.'. Jews, observed as a fast, on account of December, last of months, but best, who gave the profanatioo of the Holy Writings A Christ to man, a Saviour to the save.
by their translation into Greek : a While, falsely grateful, man at the full feast,
., calamity said to have been succeeded To do God honogr, makes himself'a beast. Churchill.
" by three days' darkness. SAINT NICHOLAS, DECEMBER 6.
SAINT LUCY, DECEMBER 13. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, in This virgin martyr was born at Lycia, and died about the year 392. Syracuse. She refused to marry a young man who paid his addresses to with the greatest absurdity, more parher, because she had determined to ticularly on the continent of Europe. devote herself to religion, and, to pre- The Fete de l'Ane and the Fele de vent his importunities, gave her whole Foux, the Feast of the Ass and of fortune to the poor. The youth, en- Fools, with other religious farces, are raged at this denial, accused her before considered by Mr. Warton to bave Paschasius, the beatben judge, of pro- been first instituted at Constantinople fessing Christianity; and Lucy, after about the year 900, by Theophylact, much cruel treatment, sell a martyr to to wean the minds of the people from his revenge, in the year 305. pagan ceremonies, by the substitution SAINT THOMAS TAE APOSTLE, Dec. 21. of Christian spectacles, partaking of the
Thomas, surnamed Didymus, or the same spirit of licentiousness. Twin, was a Jew, and in all probability, The Ass's Festival was held in a Galilean. There are but few passa- France for many centuries. A curious ges in the gospel concerning him. account of this religious ceremony was Thomas is said to have suffered mar. published in the year 1807, by M. tyrdom in the city of Calamin, in lodia, Millin, a member of the French lostibeing killed by the lances of some tute. It is taken from a manuscript people instigated by the Bramins. missal belonging to the Cathedral of
This is the shortest day, and is at Seps, and details the impious and exLondon 7 h. 44 m. 17 s., allowing 9m. travagant mummeries practised in that 5s, for refraction.
church on Christmas-day. Pierre Shortest of all the varying days,
Corbeil, the author, was Archbishop of * That fill the circling round of Time,' Seos, and died in the vear one thousand Expectance views the Sun's bright rayı, two hundred and twenty-two. Advancing from the southern clime.
On this festival of folly, a bishop, or CHRISTMAS DAY, DECEMBER 25. even a pope, was elected for the occa
The feast of our Saviour's nativity sion; the priests were besmeared with was undoubtedly celebrated in the early lees of wine, and they were masked or ages of Christianity ; for we are told disguised in the most extravagant and that, under the persecution of Maxi- ridiculous manner. On the eve of the minus, that emperor burnt a church at day appointed to celebrate this festival, Nicomedia, which was filled with before the beginning of vespers, the Christians assembled to keep this festi- clergy went in procession to the door val. St. Gregory terms it the festival of the cathedral, where were two of festivals ; and St. Chrysostom, the choristers singing. Two canons were chief of all festivals. It is named now deputed to fetch the Ass, and to Christmas-day, from the Latin Christi conduct him to the table, which was the Missa, the Mass of Christ, and thence place where the Great Chanter sat, to the Roman Catholic Liturgy is termed read the order of the ceremonies, and their Missal or Mass- Book. About the names of those who were to take the year 500, the observation of this any part in them. The modest animal day became general in the Catholic was clad with precious priestly ornachurch.
ments, and, in this array, was solemnly In the primitive church, Christmas- conducted to the middle of the choir, day was always preceded by an Eve during which procession, a hymn was or vigil. When the devotion of the sung in a major key, the first stanza of Eve was completed, our forefathers which is as follows: used to light up candles of an uncom
Adventavit esinus mon size, which were called Christinas
Pulcher et fort issimus candles, and to lay a log of wood upon the fire called the yule-clog or log.
Hez! Sire Ane, hez! Of all the various ceremonies ob- After this, the office began by an served on Christmas day, or during this anthem in the same style, suog purposely geason, those formerly practised in in the most discordant manner possible; Catholic countries are, perhaps, fraught the office itself lasted the whole of the