At the last Bloomsday we celebrated in Bellingen I read the following selection:
In Inisfail the fair there lies a land, the land of holy Michan. There rises a watchtower beheld of men afar. There sleep the mighty dead as in life they slept, warriors and princes of high renown. A pleasant land it is in sooth of murmuring waters, fishful streams where sport the gurnard, the plaice, the roach, the halibut, the gibbed haddock, the grilse, the dab, the brill, the flounder, the pollock, the mixed coarse fish generally and other denizens of the aqueous kingdom too numerous to be enumerated. In the mild breezes of the west and of the east the lofty trees wave in different directions their firstclass foliage, the wafty sycamore, the Lebanonian cedar, the exalted planetree, the eugenic eucalyptus and other ornaments of the arboreal world with which that region is thoroughly well supplied. Lovely maidens sit in close proximity to the roots of the lovely trees singing the most lovely songs while they play with all kinds of lovely objects as for example golden ingots, silvery fishes, crans of herrings, drafts of eels, codlings, creels of fingerlings, purple seagems and playful insects. And heroes voyage from afar to woo them, from Eblana to Slievemargy, the peerless princes of unfettered Munster and of Connacht the just and of smooth sleek Leinster and of Cruahan's land and of Armagh the splendid and of the noble district of Boyle, princes, the sons of kings.
And there rises a shining palace whose crystal glittering roof is seen by mariners who traverse the extensive sea in barks built expressly for that purpose, and thither come all herds and fatlings and firstfruits of that land for O'Connell Fitzsimon takes toll of them, a chieftain descended from chieftains. Thither the extremely large wains bring foison of the fields, flaskets of cauliflowers, floats of spinach, pineapple chunks, Rangoon beans, strikes of tomatoes, drums of figs, drills of Swedes, spherical potatoes and tallies of iridescent kale, York and Savoy, and trays of onions, pearls of the earth, and punnets of mushrooms and custard marrows and fat vetches and bere and rape and red green yellow brown russet sweet big bitter ripe pomellated apples and chips of strawberries and sieves of gooseberries, pulpy and pelurious, and strawberries fit for princes and raspberries from their canes.
I dare him, says he, and I doubledare him. Come out here, Geraghty, you notorious bloody hill and dale robber!
And by that way wend the herds innumerable of bellwethers and flushed ewes and shearling rams and lambs and stubble geese and medium steers and roaring mares and polled calves and longwoods and storesheep and Cuffe's prime springers and culls and sowpigs and baconhogs and the various different varieties of highly distinguished swine and Angus heifers and polly bullocks of immaculate pedigree together with prime premiated milchcows and beeves: and there is ever heard a trampling, cackling, roaring, lowing, bleating, bellowing, rumbling, grunting,
champing, chewing, of sheep and pigs and heavyhooved kine from pasturelands of Lusk and Rush and Carrickmines and from the streamy vales of Thomond, from the M'Gillicuddy's reeks the inaccessible and lordly Shannon the unfathomable, and from the gentle declivities of the place of the race of Kiar, their udders distended with superabundance of milk and butts of butter and rennets of cheese and farmer's firkins and targets of lamb and crannocks of corn and oblong eggs in great hundreds, various in size, the agate with this dun.
So we turned into Barney Kiernan's and there, sure enough, was the citizen up in the corner having a great confab with himself and that bloody mangy mongrel, Garryowen, and he waiting for what the sky would drop in the way of drink.
--There he is, says I, in his gloryhole, with his cruiskeen lawn and his load of papers, working for the cause.
The bloody mongrel let a grouse out of him would give you the creeps. Be a corporal work of mercy if someone would take the life of that bloody dog. I'm told for a fact he ate a good part of the breeches off a constabulary man in Santry that came round one time with a blue paper about a licence.
--Stand and deliver, says he.
--That's all right, citizen, says Joe. Friends here.
--Pass, friends, says he.
Then he rubs his hand in his eye and says he:
--What's your opinion of the times?
Doing the rapparee and Rory of the hill. But, begob, Joe was equal to the occasion.
--I think the markets are on a rise, says he, sliding his hand down his fork.
So begob the citizen claps his paw on his knee and he says:
--Foreign wars is the cause of it.
And says Joe, sticking his thumb in his pocket:
--It's the Russians wish to tyrannise.
--Arrah, give over your bloody codding, Joe, says I. I've a thirst on me I wouldn't sell for half a crown.
--Give it a name, citizen, says Joe.
--Wine of the country, says he.
--What's yours? says Joe.
--Ditto MacAnaspey, says I.
--Three pints, Terry, says Joe. And how's the old heart, citizen? says he.
--Never better, a chara, says he. What Garry? Are we going to win? Eh?
And with that he took the bloody old towser by the scruff of the neck and, by Jesus, he near throttled him.
Categories: ireland, literature, irish-literature