Imágenes de páginas

Frenchmen made by the Irishman who had objected to the style of the building. Still it is plain that the ecclesiastical edifices of stone were very numerous in the country at that very time; for a few years after St. Gelasius, the Archbishop of Armagh, caused a limekiln of vast dimensions to be constructed, in order, as the annalists say, to make lime for the repairs of the churches of Armagh which had been allowed to fall into decay.

The primitive wooden churches were, at least in some instances, constructed of planed boards, and were thatched with reeds, the walls being also frequently protected by a covering of reeds, for which, in later times, a sheeting of lead was sometimes substituted. This use of lead sheeting became very general in England; but we may presume that it was employed in comparatively few cases in Ireland. Sometimes, instead of boards or hewn timber, wattles were employed, and these were plastered with mud, the wattles being formed of strong twigs interlaced. We shall presently see that the use of wattles for building purposes was in vogue in Ireland up to comparatively modern times. It is stated in the life of St. Patrick, that when that apostle visited Tyrawley, in the county of Sligo, finding that timber was not abundant, he erected a church of mud-so ancient is the custom of employing that material for building in Ireland-a material, however, which never could be rendered as suitable for the purpose in our moist climate, as it is found to be in some of the southern portions of Europe.

From the very introduction of Christianity, we repeat, stone and mortar were frequently employed for the building of churches in Ireland. A building of this description was always called in Irish Damhliag, a word literally signifying "stone church." This term is still preserved in the name of Duleek in the county of Meath, where the old stone church so called, and which is supposed, on good

authority, to have been the very first such edifice erected in Ireland, is still in good preservation; it was built by St. Kienan, a disciple of St. Patrick, who died in 490; and its age is thus established beyond any doubt. The stone building, or Damhliag, as Dr. Petrie has remarked, is always latinized by the old Irish writers templum, ecclesia, or basilica; while the wooden building is simply called oratorium.

The ancient Irish churches are almost invariably small, seldom exceeding 80 feet in length, and not usually being more than 60 feet. The great church or cathedral of Armagh was originally 140 feet long; but this was almost a solitary exception. The smaller churches are simple oblong quadrangles, while in the larger ones there is a second and smaller quadrangle at the east end, which was the chancel or sanctuary, and which is separated from the nave by a large semicircular arch. The entrance door was always originally in the west end, and square-headed, the top lintel being generally formed of a single very large flat stone; but in every instance the square-headed western doorway was in process of time built up, and another doorway, in the pointed style, opened in the south wall, near its western extremity. The windows are extremely small, and very few, generally not more than three, two of which are in the sanctuary, and all being in the south wall; they are fre quently triangular-headed, formed by two flat stones leaning against each other; and it is probable that in many cases they were never glazed. The sides of the doorways and windows are inclined, in the manner of the cyclopean buildings-a style of architec ture with which they have more than one point in common; for enormous stones are frequently used, the single stone being made to form both faces of the wall. Polygonal stones are employed, without any attempt to build in courses; and even flat stones are often placed at angles, when, with the aid of very little skill, they might have

been placed horizontally; while another singular feature often to be observed in the oldest Irish stone churches is, that the side walls and ends are built up independently, and not bound together at the corners by any interlapping stones. All these peculiarities are to be found, in a very marked degree, in the extremely curious specimens of seventh and eighth century buildings in the South Islands of Arran; and, with the exception of some Christian cloghanes, and some stone-roofed oratories like those near Dingle, all these early Christian edifices have been built with lime cement.

From the rudeness of the masonry in the buildings of the early Christian period, a very curious argument has been adduced in favor of the Pagan origin of the Round Towers. Some persons, in fact, do not hesitate to argue that, as the Round Towers frequently exhibit a better style of masonry than the ruined churches in their neighborhood, they must have been erected by some earlier race of builders, thus adopting the very opposite to the correct and natural conclusion which the premises would suggest. Such persons must have a very misty idea of Irish history; they do not appear to be aware that there is no country in Europe, except Greece and Rome, of which the ancient history can boast of such a clear and consecutive series of written and traditional annals as that of Ireland. This is the acknowledged opinion of the most learned investigators. There is, then, no room whatever for any such conjectural race or epoch as that which the theory in question would suppose in Irish history; there is no room for such wild hypotheses as may be framed, for instance, to account for the remains of extinct civilized races in the interior of North America. Any one who has the singularly distinct chain of ancient Irish chronicles present to his mind must be aware of this fact, and must know perfectly well that there was no mysterious unknown

VOL. III. 50

race in Ireland before the introduction of Christianity who could have built the round towers-even if it were probable that such a race would have built these, and left no other fragment of stone and mortar work in the land! As to the disparity sometimes to be observed in the masonry of the towers and the ancient churches beside them, it can be explained without any such absurd hypothesis. It is clear from the mouldings of the windows, and other architectural details, and even from the statements of our annalists, that some of the Round Towers are not older than the eleventh or twelfth century, and consequently their masonry might well be superior to that of churches built some four or five hundred years before them. But, even when the builders were contemporary. they were not such dull craftsmen as not to have understood perfectly well that a more careful style of workmanship was required in an edifice which they should carry to a height of 120 or 130 feet than in one of which the walls would not exceed 10 or 14 feet in elevation. In fact, a little consideration must show any enlightened man that the theory to which we have referred is utterly untenable.


Mr. Parker, a high authority on questions of architectural antiquity, has, in his valuable series of papers on the subject in the "Gentleman's Magazine," thrown considerable light on Irish medieval architecture. point, of which he has been decidedly the first observer, is, that all the details of an ancient building in Ireland seldom or never belong to the period at which the building was, according to record, erected. This is an extremely curious fact; and there can be no doubt of Mr. Parker's accuracy on the point; but it appears to us that he invariably finds his remark verified in castles and abbeys of the Anglo-Norman period in Ireland. To what, then, is the peculiarity to be attributed? Could the architects have been Irish, and could they have adopted their principles from the study of older edifices

in England? On this point we are not aware that he comes to any conclusion; but, in describing the interesting details of Cormac's Chapel, on the Rock of Cashel-one of the most valuable remains of medieval architecture in the empire, and which was built some fifty years before the Anglo-Norman invasion-he says, "It is neither earlier nor later in style than buildings of the same date in England; and with the exception of a few particulars, agrees in detail with them." From this we may conclude, that before the arrival of the Anglo-Normans the Irish architects were fully up to the contemporary state of their art, though subsequently the Anglo-Irish fell into the anachronisms which Mr. Parker so frequently points out.

When Henry II. resolved on spending the Christmas of 1171 in Dublin, there was no building in that old capital of the Ostmen sufficiently spacious to accommodate his court; and a pavilion was accordingly constructed for the purpose of plastered wattles, in the Irish fashion, on a site at the south side of the present Dame street. This mode of constructing houses must have been very convenient in times when the face of a country was liable every other year to be devastated by war, and when it would have been folly to erect a habitation intended to be permanent. The destruction of all the dwellings in a territory at that time, was not quite so ruinous a catastrophe as it might seem to us, especially as it was a very usual thing to have the granaries under ground.

The employment of wattles for one purpose or other, in the construction of buildings, appears to have been very long retained in Ireland; and they seem to have been constantly used by the masons as centering in the building of arches, as may be seen from an examination of any of the ruined abbeys or castles throughout the country, where the impression of the interwoven twigs will always be found in the mortar of the vaulted roofs and arches. Mr. Parker appears to have been particularly struck by this cir

cumstance, which, however, is familiar to every Irish antiquary; but he tells us that he has found the same thing in a few instances in England.

A French gentleman, who travelled through Ireland in 1644, has left us a curious account of the mode of constructing their habitations employed at that time by the rural population. He writes: "The towns are built in the English fashion, but the houses in the country are in this manner: two stakes are fixed in the ground, across which is a transverse pole, to support two rows of rafters on the two sides, which are covered with leaves and straw. The cabins are of another fashion. There are four walls the height of a man, supporting rafters, over which they thatch with straw and leaves; they are without chimneys, and make the fire in the middle of the hut, which greatly incommodes those who are not fond of smoke."

The writer goes on to describe the fortified domiciles of the gentry. He says: "The castles or houses of the nobility consist of four walls extremely high, thatched with straw; but, to tell the truth, they are nothing but square towers without windows, or, at least, having such small apertures as to give no more light than there is in a prison; they have little furniture, and cover their room with rushes, of which they make their beds in summer, and of straw in winter; they put the rushes a foot deep on their floors, and on their windows, and many of them ornament the ceilings with branches." (The Tour of M. De la Boullaye le Gouz.)

This description is applicable to those numerous, solitary, and gloomy buildings called castles, the ruins of which are so conspicuous in every part of the country, and a considerable number of which were erected by the Undertakers, in the reign of James L: while it must be confessed that the mode of constructing the hovels of the peasantry, as described in the pre ceding extract, has not undergone much improvement, up to the present day, in many parts of Ireland.

Translated from the Spanish.



A TEMPESTUOUS night covered the sky with flying clouds, which were rushing further on to discharge their torrents. Sometimes they separated in their flight, and the moon appeared between them, mild and tranquil, like a herald of concord and peace in the midst of the strife.

In the short intervals, during which this placid light illumined earth and heaven, a pale and emaciated man might have been seen making his way along a solitary road. The uncertainty of his manner, his apprehensive eyes, and the agitation of his face, would have shown clearly that he was a fugitive.

A fugitive indeed! for he fled from inhabited places; fled from his fellowmen; fled from human justice; fled from himself and from his own conscience. This man was an assassin, and no one who had seen him fleeing, as the clouds above were fleeing before the invisible force which pursued them, would have recognized the honorable man, the obedient son, the loving husband and devoted father of a few days since, in this miserable being, now fallen under the irremissible sentence of the law of expiation.

Yes, this man was Perico, not seeking a peace now and for ever lost, but fleeing from the present and in dread of the future.

He had passed days of despair and nights of horror in the most solitary places, sustaining himself on acorns and roots; shrinking from the light of day, which accused, and from the eyes of men, that condemned him. But no darkness could hide the images that

were always before him, no silence awe their clamors. His unhappy sister; his disconsolate mother; the bereaved old man, his father's friend, haunted his vision; the reprobation of his honorable race oppressed his soul; and more appalling than all these, the solemn, mournful, and warning note of the passing bell, which he had heard calling to Heaven for mercy upon his victim, sounded continually in his ears. In vain pride insinuated, through its most seductive organ, worldly honor, that he had, and that not to vindicate himself would have been a reproach; that the injuries were greater than the reprisal.

A voice which the cries of passion had silenced, but which became more distinct and more severe in proportion as they, like all that is human, sank and failed-the eternal voice of conscience, said to him, "O that thou hadst never done it!"

There came, borne upon the wind, an extraordinary sound, now hoarser, now failing and fainter, as the gusts were more or less powerful. What could it be? Everything terrifies the guilty soul. Was it the roar of the wind, the pipe of an organ, or a voice of lamentation? The nearer Perico approached it, the more inexplicable it seemed. The road the unhappy man was following led toward the point from whence the sound proceeded. He reaches it, and his ter ror is at his height when, unable to distinguish anything-for a black cloud has covered the moon-he hears directly above his head the portentous wail, so sad, so vague, so awful!

At this moment the clouds are broken, and over all the moonlight falls,

clear and silvery, like a mantle of transparent snow. Every object comes out of the mystery of shadows. He sees reija asleep in its valley like a white bird in its nest. He lifts his eyes to discover the cause of the sound. O horror! Upon five posts he sees five human heads! From these proceed the doleful lamentation, a warning from the dead to the living.

Perico starts back aghast, and perceives, for the first time, that he is not alone. A man is standing near one of the posts. He is tall and vigorous, and his bearing is manly and erect. He is dressed richly after the manner of contrabandists. His bronzed face is hard, bold, and calm. He holds his hat in his hand, inclining uncovered before these posts of ignominy a head which never was uncovered in human respect; for it is that of an outlaw, of a man who has broken all ties with society, and respects nothing in the world. But this man, although impious, believes in God, and although criminal, is a Christian, and is praying

When from an energetic and indomitable nature, emancipated from all restrain, there issue a few drops of adoration, as water oozes from a rock, what do you call it unbelievers? Is it superstitious fear? To this man fear is a word without a meaning. Is it hypocrisy? Only the heads of five dead men witness it. Is it moral weakness? He has strength of soul unknown in society, where all lean upon something; he stands alone. Is it a remembrance of infancy, a tribute to the mother who taught him to pray?

There exists no such memory for the abandoned orphan, who grew up among the savage bulls he guarded.

What is it then that bends his neck and detains him to pray in the presence of the dead?

After some moments the man con

Various witnesses have testified to this frightful

phenomenon, which is naturally explained, the sound being caused by the wind passing through the throat, mouth, and ears of heads placed as located above.

cluded his prayer, replaced his hat, and turning to Perico said,

"Where are you going, sir?'

Perico neither wished nor was able to answer. A vertigo had seized him. "Where are you going, I say?" again asked the unknown.

Perico remained silent.

"Are you dumb?" proceeded the questioner, "or is it because you do not choose to answer? If it is the last," he added, pointing to his gun, "here is a mouth which obtains replies when mine fails."

Perico's situation rendered him too desperate for reflection, and the brand of cowardice which had been stamped upon his forehead, still burned like a recent mark of the ignominious iron. He therefore answered instantly, seizing his firelock.

"And here is another that replies in the tone in which it is questioned."

The intentions of the unknown were not hostile, nor had he any idea of carrying out his threat, though he did not lack the courage to do it. Another so daring as he did not tread the soil of Andalucia. But the arrogance of the poor worn youth pleased instead of offending him.

"Comrade," he said, "I always like to take off my hat before drawing my sword, but it suits me to know with whom I speak and whom I meet on the road. You must have courage to be walking here; for they say that Diego and his band are in this neighborhood, and you know, for all Spain knows, who Diego is; where he puts his eye he puts his ball. The leaves tremble upon the trees at sight of him, and the dead in their graves at the sound of his name."

All this was said without that Andalucian boastfulness, so grotesquely exaggerated in these days, but with the naturalness of conviction, and the serenity of one who states a simple truth.

"What do I care for Diego and his band?" exclaimed Perico, not with bravado, but with the most profound dejection.

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