12 AUGUST 1882, Page 15


[To THE EDITOR, OF THE ‘' spEcruaok."1 Sin,—In the Spectator for August 5th, p. 1023, you say :— " And the volume of anti-British poems which was republished from the Nation soon after the revolutionary movement of 1848, obtained quite as lavish an admiration in this country as it ever got in Ireland." Was not this admiration due solely to the literary excellence of these poems, and was not the patriotic spirit, which formed their chief value in the minds of their writers, ignored or blamed ? Let me illustrate my query by a quotation from Miss Keary's "Castle Daly," chapter xxviii. John Thornley, the typical Englishman, had written what he supposed to be a just and generous review of these very poems. Ellen Daly, the heroine of the story, after reading the manuscript of John's essay, thus undeceived him The praise is what I hate ; it is all double-edged, a great deal crueller than the blame. You talk about imaginatiou and magic, and glamour, and the force of eloquent words, as if the poems were all made up out of these, and there were no patriotism, no wrongs, no real country even,—nothing real at the bottom for the enthusiasm to be about. If you had said this out plainly, in words that did not profess to praise, I should have been angry, but I should not have hated it quite so much."—I am, Sir, &c., [For our own part, we admired to a considerable extent the spirit as well as the poetry of the volume; but this is not the point. Mr. Godkin's assertion was that Irishmen get no appreciation as Irishmen. Of course, when we do not agree with their drift, we say so, just as we should if we were criticising Englishmen.—En. Spectator.]