Chapter 13

A noise was heard coming down the town, and a cavalcade accompanying. It was Clonmel the ballad singer followed by the piper, and the blind fidler; the one with his bag-pipes; the other with his violin. Will Watlin was along and had a bottle in his hand; Tom the Tinker, O’Fin the Irishman, the Latin schoolmoster, and a number of others. The song sung was as follows:

Come gather away to the new town,
There’s nothing but lilting here,
And piping and singing and dancing,
Throughout every day of the year.
No maid that comes here but gets married,
Before she is here half an hour;
The brown, the black, or the hair red,
To live single is not in her power.

Come gather away, &c.

We get our provisions for nothing;
Just knock down a wolf or a bear,
The wear and the tear of our clothing,
A dress’d skin, or just in the hair.
No trouble, no bubble, no sweating,
Like people that live in the smoke,
We catch the fresh fish with a netting,
And roast them just under the oak.

Come gather, &c.

Our governor is a fine fellow,
Chief justice as blind as a bat;
The governor sometimes gets mellow,
And blinks himself like a cat.
No lawyers are here but a couple,
Just enough to keep up the breed,
The word of their mouth is a bubble,
And not worth a copper indeed,

Come gather, &c.

We have a fine printer, a devil,
To whack at their fees and the court,
Because that the rascals can give ill
Opinions that do us much hurt.
Good fortune, we have little money,
To quarrel, and law suit about;
So turn up the bottle dear honey,
But see that you dont drink it out.

Come gather, &c.

The air of this country is clearer,
The water is clearer by far,
The words of our wooing are dearer,
Such words as a body can spare;
When we smother the maids with our kisses,
And they smother us in their turn;
I swear by St. Patrick that this is,
The best country that ever was born.

Come gather, &c.

The lads they go out a racooning,
Or take at a squirrel, a shot,
If they knock down a fowl they are soon in,
To show what a fowl they have got.
Great shame to the Paddies below stairs,
That live in the country below,
Lie snoring, and sleeping on bolsters;
And lounging one cannot tell how.

Come gather, &c.

Up to the mountains bog-trotters;
Our shamrocks are fresh, and are green,
Set traps for your beavers and otters,
And muskrats the best ever seen.
Though I am too lazy to rough it,
And go to the waters with you.
Because I have had just enough’f it;
Don’t like to be as rich as a jew.

Come gather, &c.

Oh, what is life but a blister,
Put on we cannot tell where;
And sorrow herself is a sister,
To thinking and much taking care.
So let us be jovial and jolly,
And make out as well as we can!
Who knows whether wisdom or folly,
Makes the better or the happier man.

Come gather, &c.

The drone of the piper; the screeching of the violin, and the voices of the multitude, made such a noise that one would have thought they were in Dublin; and had it not been that Harum Scarum looking out saw what it was, the Governor would have thought of issuing his proclamation to keep the peace; but the cause being understood there was found to be no necessity, and the secretary with the leave of the Governor took a turn with them. The editor of the journal seeing this, came out. The two lawyers filed in, a pedlar, and the bog-trotter. Being all together, a new song was struck up, and the whole joined in the chorus.

Who says we’re not of all trades,
And some they call professions;
Who wear their wigs or bald heads,
Scotch, English, Irish, Hessians?
 
The lawyer and the journal,
Though of different calling,
And long, so like to turn all,
To tails with caterwauling.
 
Yet here they join in melody,
Walk hand in hand before us.
And they may go to hell the day,
They spoil the general chorus.
 
The but has bnt its living,
No more than has the cat.
The carter with his driving,
Tis all he can get at.
 
The tinker lives by blowing,
His bellows in the fire;
The Lawyer lives by throwing,
His snout a little higher.
 
The Pedlar goes the circuit,
And carries his small pack,
The judge has harder work o’t,
Impeachments on his back.
 
So let us all be liberal,
Let one another live.
Dick, Hary, Tom, and Gabriel,
Which ever way they drive.
 
The Fidler and the Piper,
The flute and fife agree.
The boatman or the skipper,
Tis all the same to me.
 
O’Fin come taste the jorum.
And Harum Scarum pledge,
And Horum Harum Horum
Will take it next I ‘ngage.
 
Here’s to the world of worthies,
That love a merry song;
Let all your topsy turvies,
Now drink and hold your tongue.
 

 

Observations

I have spoken of Thomas Paine as an uncommon, but uninformed man. The felicity of his stile, and the magic of his wit, is irresistible. Thinking all and reading little, at least, before the writings he has published, his ideas are unborrowed; but he thinks them sole, whereas the human mind had produced them all before. The same thoughts on religion or government have never been expressed with the like illusion; but they have existed in the doubts of the unbeliever; and the theories of political reformers, before his time. This philantrophist; for his vote on the sentence of Louis XVI. proves him to be such, had not sufficiently considered man’s nature, and the consequence of a deracination of establishments, before he began to write his books. It is easier to destroy than to substitute. The French revolution, I presume, may have shown him the difficulty of arresting the human mind at a proper point.--A book of anecdotes, and remarks illustrative of this, with the opportunities he has had. the discernment he possesses, with the originality of his expression, would have been a valuable work. I could wish him to have done this, and left the priests to themselves, who have trouble enough on their heads with the devil unassisted by Thomas Paine. He had no occasion to tell philosophers, that the discoveries in astronomy were not favourable to some of the dogmata of our theology; for it was the source of melancholy reflections with themselves; and as to the bulk of believers, that have got over it, or never got into, it is of no use; on the contrary, a great injury. For even supposing the representations of our theologists to be an illusion, why dissipate the vision? Does it not constitute a great portion of our happiness? Are those men supposed to have done nothing for the world who have raised fabricks of this kind to the imagination even upon false grounds? Has it not contributed at least to amuse in this life? It is an opiate, under pain, and eases the mind without effecting the nerves. But I know what occurs upon this. It is, that it is not taking away the opiate, but changing it. But is there no difficulty in believing any thing, after you have begun to doubt at all. It is as easy to believe that all things always were, as that they began to be. So that if you lay aside revelations, there is an end of the chapter.--When Plato read his dialogue on the immortality of the soul, all his school rose up, save Aristottle. I presume the logical mind of the youth thought the reasoning unsatisfactory.

On the subject of economies, I have touched on the administration of the general government, with what might seem a fling at the executive in the case of the reduction of the navy, &c. It was currente calamo, and more in a vein of pleasantry than certain, and correct stricture. For I am aware of the incapacity and consequent presumption, of an individual not master of reasons and circumstances, to undertake to judge of public measures, on a great scale. It is not from between decks in a vessel, that we expect to hear directions to take in sail, to give more sail, or to steer upon a wind; but from an officer on deck who has an opportunity of judging of the way which the vessel has, and what sail she carries. Carping at public measures which we do not understand is not the part of a good citizen; at the same time, unless there is a perfect freedom of thought in a government founded on opinion, those that direct the helm, will be at a loss to know the impressions which public measures give, and mistake silence for approbation. Hence oftentimes, a deceitful calm, which is succeeded by a squall, as sudden as it is destructive. I confess I was one of those who instead of diminishing our navy, was for augmenting it. But this was but the idea of an individual, far from the seat of government, and still farther from an opportunity of forming a just estimate of the policy of public measures.