GEORGE W. RUSSELL A STUDY OF A MAN AND A NATION BY DARRELL FIGGIS MAUNSEL CO. LTD. DUBLIN AND LONDON 1916 TO CON AND HELEN CURRAN CONTENTS CHAPTER I PAGE THE MAN IN HIS DAYS . . .1 CHAPTER II DISCOVERIES . . . .22 CHAPTER III PREPARATIONS . . . .61 CHAPTER IV A NATION, A STATE A STATE, A NATION 94 CHAPTER V BYE-PATHS J AND PATHS EMERGING . 185 CHAPTER I THE MAN IN HIS DAYS STANDISH OGiiADY, one fair Sunday in summer, returned home a puzzled and an arrested man. He brought with him the news that he had heard, on the sea-front at Bray, the bearded figure of a young man in a tweed suit addressing the human flood before him, evangelizing if one may use that word the ancient pagan gods of Ireland. It was a lone spectacle. The sight of other young men, lit by a later faith and loud with tunes that made up in clamour what they lacked in music, or others more brightly apparelled, with big drums and brass instru ments twisted into the likeness of the serpents they fought, and slightly indecent in the matter of past reminiscence, would have been appropriate enough to the scene. They would not have arrested the least incuri ous. Besides that, they would have been gregarious they would have fortified them selves with bigness as they fortified them-1 B THE MAN IN HIS DAYS selves with loudness. This other was quite another thing. Spectacularly it was lonely. Lifted into the imagination it was lonelier yet and something tragic withal. Its in appropriateness was its occasion, but that very fact gave it a gesture strange and appealing, gave it a voice that was like a slender rune of music that had wandered out of its place. What did these people, with one half of their devotions over for the day, orwith the height of their weekly holiday come, want to know of Earth, the mother of us all, the Dana of ancient reverence, on whose bosom they trod un heedingly, having first hidden it beneath asphalt, like fleas on some elephants back, thinking nothing of the great life, the deep knowledge, the throb of power beneath them or of the great Shining Ones that are houselled within her or that throng the heavenly places in hierarchy on hierarchy of brightness and beauty and power, dimly perceived and dimly reverenced under many an ancient name in days when reverence had not been withered by tawdry pleasure, a hucksters vulgar gain, or the desperate oath from slumdom Were they not the heirs of civilization Had they not religions cut and suited to their order or the order of their masters Who then was this strange, wild man, whom they would not hear, and w r hom some few of them may 2 THE MAN IN HIS DAYS have recognized as a clerk at Pirns and a mere shop-assistant accordingly What to them was the shining Lugh This man at least was no Lugh, they would have rashly agreed. What of Balor Balor, if they had heard of him, was, like Lugh, a myth and they did not know themselves to be held in his one-eyed spell. As for Manannan, whose lips so lazily caressed the shore, could they not push their skiffs out upon his waters, and make the rowlocks, if need were, strain in contempt of such an one Besides the man, though young, was not shaven. Plainly a peculiar case. Standish OGradys thoughts are not recorded. We do not know if he felt like Oisin, that he would rather be with Finn and Caoilte in hell than with Patricks God who took so queer a delight in burning. Very likely he did. Very likely he felt hisplace was rather beside this lonely figure than with the driftage of which he formed a part. It needs no imagination, however, to conceive that he felt less as if he had seen a strange sight than as if he had looked upon a portent. For the voice of ancient Ireland was speaking through this man and speaking in an Anglicized water ing-place...
AE (George W. Russell): A Study of a Man and a Nation
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