Charles Robert Maturin: Commentary & Quotations



Contemporary Writers

James Hardiman

J. C. Mangan

Modern Commentators

Patrick Rafroidi
Seamus Deane
Claude Fierobe
Joseph Spence

Luke Gibbons
Gerry Smyth
Claire Connolly
Jarlath Killeen

James Hardiman, Irish Minstrelsy, or Bardic Remains (2 vols., 1831), writes of Maturin that ‘he died with a broken heart, after having been made made the dupe of a party of religious bigots in Dublin, who, with all the bitterness of sectarian zeal, prevailed on him to preach a series of shallow “Sermons against popery”, for which he was laughed at by many, and pitied by all. This bigoted coterie, from the “mitred prelate” to the bible-reading votaries of the tea-table, afterwards suffered the man of genius to die in comparative want. When Sir Walter Scott, after his arrival in Dublin, visited Maturin’s widow, he burst into tears at her situation. This affecting incident does honor to the feelings of that distinguished man.’ (‘Memoir of Thomas Furlong’, Irish Minstrelsy, IUP Rep. Edn., Vol. 1, 1971, p.lxxvi, ftn.) Hardiman further remarks that Furlong and Maturin had ‘long been on terms of closest intimacy’, citing one from ‘several letters of this talented individual to Mr. Furlong, in which Maturin speaks of the death of Furlong’s father and also of having been prevented from writing by ‘inflammation of the eyes’ necessitating mercury treatment. [lxxv-lxxvi.]

James Clarence Mangan: ‘[He] understood many people; but nobody understood him in any way’. (‘Sketches and Reminiscences of Irish Writers, No. 1, Maturin’, for The Irishman, 24 March 1849, p.187; cited in Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources, Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978, under ‘Maturin’.

Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, Vol. 2 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980): Little is known of the life of Ireland’s most famous romantic novelist’, b. Dublin 1780, where his father was in the Post Office; his family had emigrated from France at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, studied theology; curate of Loughrea and St. Peter’s; d. subsequent to accidental poisoning; sons, Basil and Edward. See also Rafroidi (1980), Vol. 1: Charles R Maturin preached five sermons on the errors of Roman Catholicism, and certain passages in Melmoth (1820), could be taken as a pamphlet against the Inquisition, though tinged here and there with mystic fervour and fascination with Catholic rites [61]; Further, Maturin, in creating Connal (The Milesian), the descendant of the Milesians, spoke of a nation where feudalism was not dead, and the question of legitimacy or illegitimacy of its overlords was still a reality, all the more impassioned since it involved a religious aspect. [64]; ... Anglo-Irish fiction treating of terror, born of a society steeped in anxiety, flourished so well in fact precisely because it found fertile ground in Ireland. How could it have been otherwise? [64]. Rafroidi (Vol 2) lists works as above ['Life' Rx], but adds a note on The Universe (London: Colburn 1821), 108pp, to the effect that ‘it was Rev. J Willis [sic, for Wills] who wrote it, authorising his colleague to publish it in his name [not proved]. (See also under References.)

Seamus Deane, Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea [Field Day Pamphlet, No. 4] (Derry: Field Day 1984): Maturin and Le Fanu took the sting out of Gothicism by allying it with an ethic of aristocratic loneliness. [… &c.]’ (p.8.)

Seamus Deane, ‘Fiction and Politics: Irish Nineteenth-Century National Character 1790-1900’, in The Writer as Witness: Literature as Historical Evidence, ed. Tom Dunne (Cork UP 1987), p.83; Deane comments that the Gothic fervour of Charles Maturin’s novels indicates a ‘sense of political homelessness characteristic of those Protestant writers who did not ally themselves with the new cultural nationalism’ and whose experience of Ireland was marked by ‘alienation and estrangement’.

Claude Fierobe, ‘A Gothic-Historical Sermon, Maturin’s Last Novel, The Albigenses’, in Barbara Hayley and Chris Murray, eds., Ireland and France, A Bountfiul Friendship, Essays in Honour of Patrick Rafroidi (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992): compares Walpolian [novels] with his gothic novels with his religious writings (Sermons, 1[8]19, and Five Sermons on the Errors of the Roman Catholic Church, 1824) in the context of his west of Ireland ministry at Loughrea, Co. Galway, and St. Peter’s, Dublin. Quotes Maturin’s defence of supernatural tales, in Sermons, 1819, ‘The very first sounds almost that attract the ears of childhood are tales of another life - foolishly are they called tales of superstition [&c.’, as infra; here 47.). Further quotes Maturin’s letter to the publishers Hurst & Robinson, ‘I have studiously avoided the faults so justly charged on Melmoth and tried to form myself on the style of my friend Sir Walter Scott. (Brit. Mus., MS Add., 41996.) [48] Fierobe cites four French works studied by Maturin in preparation for his Albigenses. [49] Maturin characterises the Roman Church as ‘the parent of inquisitors, persecutions and a hatred passing the hatred of man.’ (Sermons, p.400.) ... Maturin’s sympathy for the Albigenses originates in his detestation of the Catholic Church, and it is therefore to be expected that the Catharists’ tenets should be more Puritan than Manichean. (p.54.) Maturin accused of blasphemy in Melmoth by J. W. Croker, reviewing it in The Quarterly Review, XXIV, 48 (Jan 1821.) Fierobe quotes Maturin, ‘He who is capable of writing a good novel ought to feel that he was born for a higher purpose than writing novels.’ (Preface, The Wild Irish Boy, London: Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1808, vol. I, p.11; here p.54.) Further, the Bishop, who is confronted with his evil by Genevieve in a characteristic exemplum of the relation between the spiritually bankrupt and the true transcendental, dies consuming a poison host. (~pp.55-56.)

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Joseph Spence, ‘“The Great Angelic Sin”: The Faust legend in Irish Literature, 1820-1900’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 1, 2 (Autumn 1994), pp.47-58: ‘A proud defender of the Anglo-Irish tradition, Maturin was ambivalne about the Act of Union of 1801, by which Ireland had lost her native parliament. He sometimes acknowledged the Union as an economic necessity, but, psychologically, he saw in it the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy’s desertion of its national duty.’ (p.47); ‘What of the Irishness of the Melmoths? The first Melmoth to settle in Ireland was a Cromwellian soldier, who was soon visited by an elder brother, who [48] left him his portrait, dated 1646. Over the next century reports were head that this brother, Melmoth the Wanderer, was still alive. Introduced as an Englishman, the Wanderer was later written of as Irish. This succinctly betrayed Maturin’s conception of Irish nationality as a state which could be assumed by the Englishman, whenever he chose. With the depositing of his portrait in Wicklow, Melmoth donned the mantle of Irish nationality: henceforth he was an Irishman, without qualification, in his creator’s eyes. / However if the Irishness of the Melmoth family is disputable, the Irishness of the novel is not …’ (p.49); […] At the end of his extended lifespan, Melmoth retained the appearance of ascendancy, but he could no longer see where to go: his ‘natural force was not abated’, but his eyes ‘were the eyes of the dead.’ The years allotted to him (1666-1816) had run parallel to those of Protestant Ascendancy, but the last years were years of impotence, in which the Anglo-Irish lived as the Undead. In Maturin’s vision, it was not just the Union that had broken their ascendancy but also the progressive relief of Catholic disabilities. Many of Maturin’s characters confessed to anti-Catholic objections and, in his last sermons, he described the degradation of Catholic Europe as the inevitable consequence of a self-destructive religion which meant to be an assassin, but became a suicide. In fact, Anglo-Ireland was the suicide. When Melmoth plunged from a cliff into a raging sea, Maturin expressed a belief that, in signing the Act of Union, the Anglo-Irish had committed political suicide. Such a reading follows the novel’s chronology, but it is also feasible to read Melmoth as prophecy rather than history: the pre-Union events it details being metaphors for events expected to occur after 1800. The signing of the Act of Union becomes, in this reading, not the end, but the beginning of a story, and as Melmoth sold his soul for extended life, so the Anglo-Irish were seen to sell their nationhood for that English support which could extend (but not indefinitely) the duration of their Ascendancy. In either reading, the story of the fall of Melmoth represented the fall of Anglo-Ireland.’ (p.50.)

Luke Gibbons, “Some Hysterical Hatred”: History, Hysteria and the Literary Revival’, in Irish University Review (Spring/Summer 1997), pp.7-23, contains a riposte to comments on Maturin made in Roy Foster, Protestant Magic’, Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish History and English History (London: Allen Lane, Penguin 1993 pp.220f): ‘Foster cites the exemplary trope in Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) where the memory of a centuries-old corrupt bargain condemns its beneficiary to wander the world, but does not mention that the Faustian pact in question originated in the Melmoth family’s involvement in Cromwellian confiscations. Ftn: ‘The first of the Melmoths’, recounts a ‘witch-like’ Biddy Brannigan, who administers her folk medicine at the death bed of young John Melmoth’s uncle, ‘who settled in Ireland, was an officer in Cromwell’s army, who obtained a grant of lands, the confiscated property of an Irish family attached to the royal cause.’ (Melmoth the Wanderer, Penguin Ed., 1977, p.64; Gibbons, p.18.)

Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (Princeton UP 1997), ‘[...] This myth of survival in destruction is foundational not only for the poetics and vernacular revivals of the late-eighteenth century but also for a long series of novelistic genres, from the sentimental and the Gothic novel to the historical novel. The dying bard in Charles Maturin's Milesian Chief (1812), for example, figures the death of Irish court culture under English occupation, anchoring undying feudal loyalties and memories of a former national glory. One of a staff of “domestic bards” retained by the O'Morven family in their castles across Ireland, he was forced to leave their service during the civil wars and returns now, after “years of wandering, to die under the shelter of our walls. He was blind, but his memory was faithful to the path that led us home.” Resting “among some ruins,” he learns that they are all that remains of [quotes:] “the roof under which he had lived and under which he had hoped to die. But even this hope failed him, and he felt his age more helpless, and his blindness darker than when he sat down among the ruins.... Before he expired on the spot, he poured out his grief to his harp in a strain addressed to the solitary tenant of the ruins - the doves, whose notes the music seems to imitate. The words are beautiful, but I will not be guilty of doing them into English: their untranslatable beauty is like what we are told of the paintings of Herculaneaum, which preserve their rich colours in darkness and concealment, but when exposed to the light and modern eyes, fade and perish.”. / Maturin reenacts this paradox of memory and obliteration. His bard dies with no one to hear his final song, yet the song, somehow, is preserved anyway, so that at the end of the eighteenth century it is still known to the Milesian chief. The chief (and Maturin after him) declines to translate the fragile strains, lest in the exposure to modern, English eyes they “fade and perish.” / Maturin's early-nineteenth-century evocation of bardic nationalism is informed explicitly by the events of the 1790s. His novel ends with the United Irishmen rebellion and with the execution of the Milesian chief; revolutionary unrest is both the logical-extension and the death sentence of cultural nationalism. (p.9.)

Gerry Smyth, The Novel and the Nation: Studies in New Irish Fiction (London: Pluto 1997), includes commentary: ‘Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) is characterised by a combination of narrative complexity, emotional hysteria, and the incursion of supernatural systems on a hopelessly flawed and corrupt “real” world. In the gothic vision, any hope of social change in the present is belief by the persistence of the sins of the past. The message is that we are all victims of history, only most have to recognised it yet. Gothic thus becomes a way of indicting the [52] present, allowing the novelist to offer a perspective on the immediate in terms of the metaphysical and the universal, but without having to invest in any consoling vision or compensatory myth, precisely because there is nothing to be done. (pp.52-53.)

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Claire Connolly, ‘Irish Romanticism, 1800-1839’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. I [Chap. 10] - “Prose fiction”: ‘[...] Maturin’s The Wild Irish Boy balances precariously between heartfelt emotion and camp display. [...] Across this period, Gothic gives way to historical fiction but in the case of the Irish novel the latter form retains within it important elements of the former. The interpenetration of these modes can be witnessed in the novels of the Dublin-born Protestant cleric Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824): Fatal Revenge (1807), The Wild Irish Boy (1808), The Milesian Chief (1812), Women; or Pour et Contre (1818), Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) and The Albigenses (1824). Maturin's family origins lay in the Huguenot flight from religious persecution in seventeenth-century France. The relation between religious and state power concerns him everywhere in his novels, and provides the backdrop for dynamic fictions of persecution and flight. Maturin's novels allow us to see the evolution of Irish Gothic as a fictional idiom in which excessive forms of subjective experience (passion, terror, starvation) compel the invention of new structures of feelings within which political affiliation can be reimagined.’ (pp.418; see also bibliog. note, seq.) [For longer extracts, go to RICORSO Library, “Irish Critical Classics”, via index or direct.)

Cont. [Cambridge History, 2006, “Irish Drama on the London Stage” [sect.]: ‘Irish playwrights made a conscious bid to create a sensation within the genre of tragic drama. But, perhaps more significantly, [Richard Lalor] Sheil and Maturin were also practitioners of a Romantic dramaturgy organised around spectacle and tableaux. [...; 432] First staged in Drury Lane in 1816, Maturin’s Bertram was the controversial ‘hit of the season’ [Cox, op. cit., p.109.] Seeking fresh material as part of a concerted effort to reclaim the stage, the Drury Lane committee had written to Walter Scott soliciting a new drama. He sent them Bertram, a play for which Maturin had sought his assistance as early as 1814. The committee, which included Byron, responded enthusiastically to the play’s poetic language and sensational plot, and committee member George Lamb set about making the play stageable. This involved a series of strategic cuts and replacements, including the near-elimination of a character known in the original version as the Dark Knight. Neither Scott nor Lamb would allow Maturin to bring this satanic figure before an audience, and he survives in the play only as an ominous off-stage threat. Much else in Maturin’s play was judged by [George] Lamb to be ‘too much for an Audience’ (Correspondence of Scott and Maturin, Texas UP 1937, p.44] and even the revised version did not fail to shock.’ [Cont.]

Cont.: ‘Bertram takes from illegitimate forms such as melodrama a sense of evil as ever present and beyond reform. Its hero, the leader of a robber band who has led a failed rebellion against the husband of his lover, is a characteristically Romantic tragic figure, comparable to Joanna Baillie’s De Montfort and Byron’s Manfred. Undoubtedly representative of a rootless spirit of Romantic agony, Bertram is also shadowed by melancholy reflections of past commitment to his country and “the sheeted relics of mine ancestry”. His robber band are rather vaguely realised, but these “desperate followers” help him to launch his attack from a “wild and wooded shore” that lies across a narrow gulf from Sicily, site of Aldobrand’s authority. These references, along with the strongly religious terms in which his transgressions are described (false idol, perjurer, apostate and fallen archangel), help give the play some of the flavour of Irish politics, and make the passionate Bertram legible in terms of such glamorous Irish insurgents as Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Emmet, as well as evoking the military prowess and charismatic public persona of the duke of Wellington. / With Bertram, Maturin brought melodrama and Gothic spectacle – or, in Jane Moody’s words, “the moral cacophony of illegitimate culture” – onto the stage of Drury Lane. [...]’ (p.434; for longer extracts, go to RICORSO Library, “Irish Critical Classics”, via index or direct).

Claire Connolly (‘Irish Romanticism, 1800-1839’, 2006) - Bibliog.: Consecutive in this passage are made to Peter Garside, ‘The English Novel in the Romantic Era’, in Garside & Rainier Shöwerling, ed., The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles, 1800, Vol. II: 1800-1829, OUP 2000, pp.61-62 [incls. details of the Maturin’s correspondence with his publisher Constable]; Siobhán Kilfeather, ‘Terific Register: The Gothicization of Atrocity in Irish Romantic Writing’, in boundary 2, 31, 1, 2004, p.49-71; Ina Ferris, The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland, Cambridge UP 2002, p.133; Garside, Jacqueline Belanger & Sharon Ragaz, British Fiction 1800-1829 [online].

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Jarlath Killeen, ‘Irish Gothic: A Theoretical Introduction’, in The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, 1 (Oct. 2006): ‘[...] Maturin’s Five Sermons on the Errors of Catholicism (1824) released his vitriolic outpourings of hatred on the Catholic Church, and as a nationalist his greatest fear must have been a union between the religion he despised, the people he distrusted (native Irish), and the cause he espoused. Yet, Maturin uses the figure of Melmoth, a symbolic Irishman, to make the most malicious attack on Roman Catholicism in the novel. In Volume III Part XIV, Melmoth explains to Immalee, his island lover, what religion is, and shows her all the religions of the world. His discourse is, of course, not an objective account, and he claims that Judaism, Hinduism and Catholicism are religions typified by their dedication to sadism and masochism, while Protestantism is presented as the religion of benign truth. Thus, violent anti-Catholicism lies at the centre of the novel; yet, as Chris Baldick points out, Protestant truth is proclaimed by the most reviled figure of the narrative, the Wanderer himself [Baldrick, ed., Melmoth the Wanderer, OUP 1989, Introduction, pp.xiv-xv]. It is Maturin’s villain who is the most consistent Protestant in the whole novel (while simultaneously representing all banished and exiled figures, including Irish Catholics), which surely tells against his claims that it is Protestantism which is the means to salvation.’ [online; 21.11.2007].

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The Wild Irish Boy (1808) ‘I wish he would be either an angel or human and I might then have peace. But this mixture of loveliness and depravity, this beauty and brightness of a fallen angel, so rends my feelings [...] Why is vice suffered to look so lovely?’ (London: Longman, 1808, pp.34, 49; quoted in Richard Pine, The Disappointed Bridge: Ireland and the Post-Colonial World, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2014, p.347.) Note that The Wild Irish Boy (1808) bears a title-page epigraph from Edmund Spenser's A View of the Present State of Ireland (1633 & mod. edns.) Note that The Wild Irish Boy bears a quotation from Edmund Spenser’s A Present View of Ireland (1633) - as supra.

The Milesian Chief (London: Colburn 1812, 4 vols.; Do. facs. rep. (NY Garland 1979) - ‘Dedication’: ‘If I possess any talent, it is that of extreme darkening the gloomy, and of deepening the sad; of painting life in extremes, and representing those struggles of passion when the soul trembles on the verge of the unlawful and the unhallowed. In the following pages I have tried to apply these powers to the scenes of actual life: and I have chosen my own country for the scene, because I believe it is the only country on earth, where, from the extremes of refinement and barbarism are united, and the most wild and incredible situations of romantic story are hourly passing before modern eyes.’ (p.iv-v.; quoted [in part] in Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English: The Romantic Period, 1789-1850, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980, Vol. I, p.265; also cited in Kevin Rockett, Luke Gibbons & John Hill, Cinema and Ireland, ed. London: Routledge 1988 [q.p.]; also in Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006 [Intro.],, citing Rafroidi, as supra); also in Jarlath Killeen, ‘Irish Gothic: A Theoretical Introduction’, in The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, 1 (Oct. 2006 - online), citing The Milesian Chief, intro. Robert Lee Wolff, NY/London: Garland Publishing 1979, Vol. 1, p.iv. [Garland p.v). Also quoted inFernando Bezerra Brito, Melmoth the Wanderer: un sermão gótica irlandês [thesis] (USP 2013) - available online [ ... &c.] - accessed 12.12.2108]

Note: The oft-cited n quoted here is addressed ‘To the Quarterly Reviewers’ in facetious thanks for literary notices on Montorio [The Fatal Revenge] (‘They write - good Gods - how do they write!’, p.ii). Available at Google Books - online; accessed 13.12.218]. See copy attached.

Note: the similarity to James Joyce’s account of the “scene” of Dubliners stories in a letter to Grant Richards is hard to overlook [BS Dec. 2018]. Note also that Maturin’s paternal grandfather called Gabriel Maturin was Swift’s successor in the Deanship of St. Patrick’s. See further discussion under Joyce > Notes > Texts > Dubliners - as infra.

The Milesian Chief, 4 vols ( 1812), “Dedication” [Preface]: ‘If I possess any talent, it is of darkening the gloomy and deepening the sad, of painting life in extremes and representing those struggles of passions when the soul trembles on the verge of the unlawful and the unhallowed. In the following pages I have tried to apply these powers to the scenes of actual life: and I have chosen my own country for the scene because I believe it is the only country on earth where, from the strange existing opposition of religion, politics and manners, the extreme of refinement and barbarism are united, and the most wild and incredible situations of romantic story are hourly passing before modern eyes.’

The Milesian Chief (1812) - the dying bard, - one of the ‘domestic bards’ retained by the O'Morven family - learns that the ruins among which he rests are all that remain of ‘the roof under which he had lived and under which he had hoped to die. But even this hope failed him, and he felt his age more helpless, and his blindness darker than when he sat down among the ruins.... Before he expired on the spot, he poured out his grief to his harp in a strain addressed to the solitary tenant of the ruins - the doves, whose notes the music seems to imitate. The words are beautiful, but I will not be guilty of doing them into English: their untranslatable beauty is like what we are told of the paintings of Herculaneaum, which preserve their rich colours in darkness and concealment, but when exposed to the light and modern eyes, fade and perish.’ (Vol. 1, pp.183-85; quoted in Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire, Princeton UP 1997, p.9.)

Defence of supernatural tales: ‘The very first sounds almost that attract the ears of childhood are tales of another life - foolishly are they called tales of superstition; for, however disguised by the vulgarity of the narration, and the distortion of the fiction, they tell him of those whom he is hastening from the threshold of life to join, the inhabitants of the invisible world, with whom he must soon be, and be forever. And what an echo does the narrative find in the sensibility even of infancy! Long before the child has sense to apprehend the distinctions, the distinction of life and death, and dreads the thought of the inmates of a future state, whom imagination paints like their remains—cold, pale, and frightful.’ (Sermons, Edinburgh: Constable; London: Hurst, Rob. & Co., 1819, p.359) [47]

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Melmoth the Wanderer [1820] (1961 Edn., Nebraska UP): ‘The lodge [i.e., Melmoth house in Wicklow] was in ruins, and a bare-footed boy from an adjacent cabin ran to lift on its single hinge what had once been a gate but was now a few planks so villainously put together, that they clattered like a sign in a high wind… As John slowly trod the miry road which had once been the approach, he could discover, by the dim light of an autumnal evening, signs of increasing desolation since he had last visited the spot.’ (pp.6-7.) Further, ‘[W]alls broken down, grass-gown walks whose grass was not even green, dwarfish, doddered leafless trees, and a luxuriant crop of nettles and weeds[…] It was the verdure of the churchyard, the garden of death. He turned for relief to the room but no relief was there, the wainscotting dark with dirt […] the rusty grate […], the crazy chairs, their torn bottom of rush drooping inward […].’ (Ibid., p.19; all cited in Claude Fierobe, ‘The Big House and the Fantastic: From Architecture to Literature’, That Other World: The Supernatural and Fantastic in Irish Literature and its Contexts, ed. Bruce Stewart [Princess Grace Irish Library Series No. 12] 2 vols. (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1998, Vol. 1, p.260.)

‘Anachronism - n’importe.’ (Melmoth the Wanderer, 1820, Chap. XXX, author’s footnote; quoted in Joep Leerssen, Remembrance and Imagination: Patterns in the Historical and Literary Representation of Nineteenth-Century Ireland [Critical Editions: Field Day Monographs] Cork UP 1996), epigraphs [p.xi]

The Wanderer’s final words:

They kept silence till the morning was dawning, and a faint light streamed through the closed shutters. Then the Wanderer raised his heavy eyes, and fixed them on Melmoth. “Your ancestor has come home,” he said; “his wanderings are over!—What has been told or believed of me is now of light avail to me. The secret of my destiny rests with myself. If all that fear has invented, and credulity believed of me be true, to what does it amount? That if my crimes have exceeded those of mortality, so will my punishment. I have been on earth a terror, but not an evil to its inhabitants. None can participate in my destiny but with his own consent—none have consented—none can be involved in its tremendous penalties, but by participation. I alone must sustain the penalty. If I have put forth my hand, and eaten of the fruit of the interdicted tree, am I not driven from the presence of God and the region of paradise, and sent to wander amid worlds of barrenness and curse for ever and ever?

 “It has been reported of me, that I obtained from the enemy of souls a range of existence beyond the period allotted to mortality—a power to pass over space without disturbance or delay, and visit remote regions with the swiftness of thought—to encounter tempests without the hope of their blasting me, and penetrate into dungeons, whose bolts were as flax and tow at my touch. It has been said that this power was accorded to me, that I might be enabled to tempt wretches in their fearful hour of extremity, with the promise of deliverance and immunity, on condition of their exchanging situations with me. If this be true, it bears attestation to a truth uttered by the lips of one I may not name, and echoed by every human heart in the habitable world.

 “No one has ever exchanged destinies with Melmoth the Wanderer. I have traversed the world in the search, and no one, to gain that world, would lose his own soul!—Not Stanton in his cell—nor you, Monçada, in the prison of the Inquisition—nor Walberg, who saw his children perishing with want—nor—another”—

 He paused, and though on the verge of his dark and doubtful voyage, he seemed to cast one look of bitter and retrospective anguish on the receding shore of life, and see, through the mists of memory, one form that stood there to bid him farewell. He rose—“Let me, if possible, obtain an hour’s repose. Aye, repose—sleep!” he repeated, answering the silent astonishment of his hearers” looks, “my existence is still human!”—and a ghastly and derisive smile wandered over his features for the last time, as he spoke. How often had that smile frozen the blood of his victims! Melmoth and Monçada quitted the apartment; and the Wanderer, sinking back in his chair, slept profoundly. He slept, but what were the visions of his last earthly slumber?

Chapter XXXV [1820 Edition [with err. chap. nums.]; Chapter XXXVIII [modern editions] - see full-text version attached.

Leixlip Castle: An Irish Family Legend” (1825): ‘The tranquillity of the Catholics of Ireland during the disturbed periods of 1715 and 1745, was most commendable, and somewhat extraordinary; to enter into an analysis of their probable motives, is not at all the object of the writer of this tale, as it is pleasanter to state the fact of their honour, than at this distance of time to assign dubious and unsatisfactory reasons for it. Many of them, however, showed a kind of secret disgust at the existing state of affairs, by quitting their family residences and wandering about like persons who were uncertain of their homes, or possibly expecting better from some near and fortunate contingency. / Among the rest was a Jacobite Baronet, who, sick of his uncongenial situation in a Whig neighbourhood, in the north - where he heard of nothing but the heroic defence of Londonderry; the barbarities of the French generals; and the resistless exhortations of the godly Mr Walker, a Presbyterian clergyman, to whom the citizens gave the title of ‘Evangelist’; - quitted his paternal residence, and about the year 1720 hired the Castle of Leixlip for three years (it was then the property of the Connollys, who let it to triennial tenants); and removed thither with his family, which consisted of three daughters - their mother having long been dead. [...]’ (For full text, see RICORSO Library, “Irish Classics”, infra.)

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