THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS.
|[Jan 30, 1847.
MORTALITY IN SKIBBEREEN.
THE former accounts of the ravages of disease at Skibbereen continue to be but too sadly confirmed. From a drawing made on the spot, we give a sketch of a scene of no unusual occurrence, as appears from the following extract of a letter, received by Mr. Blake, of Cork, from Dr. Crowley, of
Skibbereen, dated Jan. 22:--
The "Keen"* comes wailing on the wind,|
That sweeps o'er Erin's mountains blue;
It chills the heart of Earl and hind--
It lends the land a ghastly hue!
The song of death by Death is chanted!
The dying bear the shroudless dead;
Th' uncoffin'd clay a grave is granted--
The very worm averts his head.
Darkly proceed the famish'd cotters;
To-morrow may behold their grave:
The young man towards the churchyard totters--
The bravest heart no more is brave.
Those gray hairs may have known the wave
Where Nelson's SIGNAL boldly flew;
Perchance they dared the Gallic glaive,
And bear the scars of Waterloo.
Slowly the gaunt procession wends--
The blessed voice of Hope is faint;
Her spotless stole Religion rends
In misery o'er the dying plaint;
While Pestilence, on sable wings,
Aids vulture Famine in the feast,
Which vies well with the offerings
Paid to the Plague-- Scourge of the East.
And yet-- oh! paradox-- oh! shame!--|
Oh! blind improvidence! The land
Is of the best that ever came
Forth from its mighty Maker's hand.
Fertile and fair, it should have been
The glory of the British crown;
And now, behold the shudd'ring scene!--
The seedless fields-- the spectral town.
But Nature vindicates her God;
Teaches a lesson from the soil:
A voice springs from the blighted sod
In mercy for the sons of toil.
Fair Nature's energies expire
When rack'd for one poor porcal root;
And Labour merits better hire
Than the sad fare of Raleigh's fruit.
The "Keen" comes wailing on the blast,
The voice of Winter joins the dirge;
The shadows of Despair are cast
Around the new grave's narrow verge.
Oh! let us hope that day will rise
To dissipate this fearful gloom;
And bring the blessings of the skies
To raise a nation from her tomb.-- L.
"Deaths here are daily increasing. Dr. Donovan and I are just this moment after returning from the village of South Reen, where we had to bury a body ourselves that was eleven days dead; and where do you think? In a kitchen garden. We had to dig the ground, or rather the hole, ourselves; no one would come near us, the smell was so intolerable. We are half dead from the work lately imposed on us."
* The Irish Lament for the Dead.