By William O'Brien
THE IRISH NATIONAL IDEA
forms, and he can't understand for the life of him what more we can desire in life than to be fed at regular hours by England, who is, of course, to be always matron of the establishment.
An English country yokel, who was once asked what was his idea of eternal happiness, is said to have replied ' Swinging on a gate munching bread and cheese.' Well, there is no accounting for tastes. It may be our misfortune that we cannot rise to the ambition of keeping the English gentleman on the gate company for all eternity, but what are we to think of the statesmanship that can see no difference between Hodge's way of looking at life and Lord Edward Fitzgerald's or Thomas Davis's? How are you to argue with a man who thinks that Irishmen can stand upon the battlefield of Benburb and ask their hearts no other question than how the land is rented about there, or, on the slopes of Vinegar Hill, experience as little emotion as if they were cockney vestrymen agitating for a new street or a main sewer through Ludgate Hill? There are five hundred bells in London which chime just as melodiously, and tell the hour with, perhaps, rather more accuracy than the Bells of Shandon. According to Mr. Chamberlain a bell is a bell, whether it tolls through the fogs of the Thames or floats over the pleasant waters of the river Lee. It is simply so many hundredweight of bell-metal hammered together for the purpose of telling all nations impartially what o'clock it is, and the only reason why a utilitarian philosopher should think more of one than of another is that it is a better timekeeper. But what Corkman has ever wandered about that seething, heartless, mighty London city, and heard the crash and jangle of bells through the murky air all around him, without feeling that in all that brazen opera ...continue reading »
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