By Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Borbála Faragó
Animals in Irish Literature and tradition spans the early glossy interval to the current, exploring colonial, post-colonial, and globalized manifestations of eire as kingdom and nation in addition to the human animal and non-human animal migrations that problem quite a few literal and cultural borders.
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Extra resources for Animals in Irish Literature and Culture (Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature)
Spare Us plum’d Inhabitants of Air That hop, and inoffensive rove From Tree to Tree, from Grove to Grove; What Phrensy has possess’d your mind? To be destructive of your Kind? 16 Lucy Collins 17 In describing the act of shooting as a form of madness, Pilkington here appeals to rational thought rather than instinctive action; what is most significant, though, is that she describes human and bird as kindred. The poem goes on to list the attributes that the human draws from the birds: sweetness of temper, courage, power of observation, and so on.
As Thomas Flanagan describes this order: The near-feudal state of rural Ireland as it existed before such distractions as boycotts, Land Leagues, Land Commissions, Fenians, and Parnell was preserved in the hunt, in the affection felt by the entire countryside for horses and for the sounds of the chase. 41 As social ritual, the hunt here binds all members of the human community (and of those animals trained to serve it – horses and dogs) over against the abject category of the wild, undomesticated animal.
Poems on Killarney in the south-west of Ireland begin by invoking the muses to remark the Lucy Collins 19 beauties of the lakes and mountains, often comparing them to classical landscapes. By praising the landowners for their improvements, the poet emphasizes the hierarchical structures underpinning this scene, so that we see its wildness as part of the human design. Typically, these poems would feature a hunting scene that added interest and variety to the text. Joseph Atkinson in ‘Killarny: a Poem’ (1769) presents the pleasures of the chase as an integral part of the timeless landscape of Killarney, but although the excitement of the hunt can be traced in the texture of the poem’s language, at its climax the perspective moves closer to that of the animal, and the terror the stag is experiencing becomes palpable for the reader: See, the Stag trembles – for his conscious fate; – Where is there rest!