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Lismore Castle



How calmly, Lismore, do thy battlements rise
O'er the light woods around thee, whose changing leaves quiver,
As the sad wind of Autumn, with fitful gust sighs,
And mingles its voice with the rush of the river.

Though thou art unmoved, like a warrior's crest
By the rustle of leaves, or the dark water's flowing,*
The music of Autumn awakes in my breast
A flutter of thoughts, at once gloomy and glowing!

I see thee, Lismore, if I dream of the past,
And look at thy fame thro' a vista of ages ;
I see thee, when Europe with night was o’ercast,
The chosen retreat of her students and sages.**

Tho' saints and tho' bishops, the holy and pure,
With the mighty of nations,% came here to be schooled
Yet—O may the benefit longer endure,
Here was it that England o'er Ireland first ruled.§

And here did the poet, the bard of old Mole,^
In the magic of converse delightedly wander,
With "the shepherd of ocean," whose chivalrous soul
But dared and but conquered, more bravely to squander. who, if credit to Laud
May be given, God's gifts did most strangely inherit,||
Retaining by force what he pounced on by fraud—
Though I love the romance of young Broghill's bright spirit.$

And here did philosophy welcome a Boyle,
Whose name is by science encircled with glory ;+
And here did the runaway monarch recoil
At a peep of that river, seen from the ground-story.@

When sages, kings, nobles, and soldiers thus crowd,
With the bard, of whose fancy I never shall weary,
Am I wrong, if I feel of these names the most proud,
To be Spenser, the titleless minstrel of Faery ?

C.

* "Swift Awniduff, which of the Englishman
Is called Blackwater." Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. iv. c. xi.

** "Nothing is better established in history, than that Ireland, during part of the sixth, the seventh, eighth,
and ninth centuries, was the chief seat of learning in the west. The authorities upon this head are very
numerous. They are of all nations, and above all suspicion. Students from every part of the christian world
resorted to Ireland for the purposes of study, and crowded the balls of Armagh, Timologue, Lismore, and other
schools and colleges." O’Driscol's History of Ireland,

% "Lismore," says Mr. Ryland in his history of Waterford is, "the school from which it is believed Alfred
derived the knowledge which has since immortalized his name."—Popular tradition asserts that two Greek
princes were educated at Lismore in the seventh century.

§ In 1172, Henry II. first promulgated English law in Ireland, after the conquest, or invasion of the country.
I hope I may be forgiven the pedantry of a quotation from the venerable Matthew Paris "Rex antequam
ab Hibernia redibat, concilium congregavit apud Lismore, ubi leges Angliae ab omnibus gratenter, sunt acceptae et
juratoria cautione praestita confirmatae."

^ Kilcoleman, the residence of Edmund Spenser, is not more than twenty miles distant from Lismore
And as the Castle of Lismore, which was an episcopal residence, had been, as some old letter-writer, whose
quaint phraseology haunts my memory, expresses it, " torne from that See by the power of Sir Walter Raleigh ;"
it is no stretch of imagination to picture the mental intercourse which existed between Raleigh and Spenser,
upon the romantic banks of the Blackwater.—" The poem called 'Colin Clouts came home again,' in which Sir
Walter is described under the name of 'the Shepherd of the Ocean,' " is, remarks Dr. Smith, "a beautiful
memorial of this friendship, which took its rise from a likeness of taste in the polite arts, and is thus agreeably
described by him (Spenser) after the pastoral manner.

" I sat, as was my trade,
Under the fort of Mole, that mountain hore ;
Keeping my sheep amongst the coolly shade
Of the green alders, by the MuIIa's shore.
There a strange shepherd chanced to find me out,
Whether allured with my pipe's delight,
Whose pleasing sound yshrilled far about;
Or thither led by chance, I know not right:
Whom when 1 asked, from what place he came,
And how he hight ? himself he did ycleep
The Shepherd of the Ocean by name,
And said he came far from the main sea deep.”

Of Cork.

|| "Over the gate" of Lismore castle " are the arms of the great Earl of Cork, with this humble motto,
'God's Providence is our Inheritance.' Archbishop Laud thus addresses Lord Cork,—'And whereas your
Lordship writes at the latter end of your letters, that you bestow a great part of your estates and time in charitable
works ; I am heartily glad to hear it : but withal, your Lordship will, I hope, give me leave to deal freely
with you. And then I must tell your Lordship, if you have done as you write, you have suffered strangely
for many years together by the tongues of men, who have often and confidently affirmed that you have not been
a very good friend to the church, in the point of her maintenance.—I hope these reports are not true : but if
they be, I cannot call your works charitable, having no better foundation than the livelihood of the church
taken away to do them." Strafford's State Letters.

$ Lord Broghill, afterwards Earl of Orrery, the third son of the first Earl of Cork defended the Castle
of Lismore for his father in the disturbances of 1641, to whom he thus concludes a letter on the subject:—
" My Lord, fear nothing for Lismore ; for, if it be lost, it shall be with the life of him that begs your Lordship's
blessing, and styles himself your Lordship's most humble, most obliged, and most dutiful son and servant,
Broghill." Orrery's State Letters.

+ Robert Boyle, the philosopher, and one of the founders of the Royal Society, was born in the Castle of
Lismore, on the 25th January, 1026-7. To those who are superstitious, it may be interesting to know that he
was the seventh son, and fourteenth child, of Lord Cork.—Ryland, says Lismore, is also the birth-place of
Congreve.

@ James II. on his retreat to Waterford, after the battle of the Boyne, dined in Lismore Castle, and, going
to look out at the window, started back in surprise—"One does not," says Dr. Smith, "perceive at the
entrance into the Castle that the building is situated on such an eminence, nor can a stranger know it till he looks out of the window, which in respect to the Castle is but a ground-floor." History of Waterford
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on July 13, 2016

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