19 NOVEMBER 1921, Page 14


(To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR.") SIR,—Preci€elyoone hundred years ago the poet Southey wrote these lines:—

"How long, 0 Ireland, from thy guilty ground • Shall innocent blood Arraign the inefficient arm of Power?

How long shall Murder there Leading his banded ruffians through the land Range unrepressed?

How long shall Night Bring to thy harmless dwellers, in the stead Of natural rest, the feverish sleep of fear, Midnight alarms, Horrible dreams and worse realities? "

In the eighth stanza of this remarkable ode the poet declares that " Mercy shall go forth To 'stablish Order, with an arni'd right hand; And firm Authority With its all-present strength control the bad, And with its all-sufficient shield Protect the innocent.

The first great duty this of Lawful Power Which holds its delegated right from Heaven."

But he continues with deep wisdom to Point out that :— " More than conies within the scope Of Power, is needed here; More than to watch insidious discontent Curb, and keep curb'd, the treasonable tongue. .

Labours of love remain; To weed out noxious customs rooted deep In a rank soil. . . .

Pour balm into old wounds, and bind them up; Remove remediable ills, Improve the willing mind, And win the generous heart.

Afflicted Country, from thyself Must this redemption come; And thou hest children able to perform This work of faith and hope."

The closing stanza is too good to omit :— " Shall I then imprecate A curse on them that would divide Our Union? . . . Far be this from me, 0 Lord!

Far be it! What is man That ho should scatter curses? . . . King of kings, Father of all, Almighty, governor Of all things! Urito Thee Humbly I offer up one holier prayer !

I pray Thee, nut in wrath But in Thy mercy, to confound These men's devices, Lord!

Lighten their darkness with Thy Gospel light, And. thus abate their pride, Assuage their malice thus I "

Could a more appropriate prayer be found than these noble lines of Southey's- written lust one century ago: —I am, Sir, &c.,