This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
S E BY DESMOND RYAN
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE .
BY THE SAME AUTHOR THE STORY OF A SUCCESS BEING A RECORD OF ST. Dublin . ENDA's COLLEGE SEPTEMBER 1908 TO EASTER 1916. Printed by George Roberti. 50 Lower Baggot Street.
LTD. 1919 . DUBLIN AND LONDON.HE MAN CALLED BY DESMOND RYAN MAUNSEL AND COMPANY.
TO MRS. PEARSE .
Page THE MAN CALLED PEARSE THE THREE WISHES OF AS P. H. WE KNEW HIM 42 IV. VI. H. THE WRITINGS OF PEARSE P.CONTENTS Chap. I II. PEARSE 26 III. H. I. 90 1 THE SOCIAL IDEALS OF PEARSE 06 . EANNA AND ITS INSIDE LIFE P. VII. THE BROTHERS PEARSE SGOIL 60 JJ V.
"but angels meet the . Circum- stances and a too literal interpretation of his writings have already lent considerable colour to the legend which depicts Pearse as the sombre Napoleon of some lost cause. ledgment and gratitude Mahaffy for the happy phrase which has been borrowed for the title of this book. with due acknowto Dr. he and a few in their hearse. he was a man. intends to deal in what follows with some ideals of the Man aspects of the life and called Pearse.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE CHAPTER I And Pearse never was a legend." ran a popular tribute as early as September 1916. one of his students. " Kings with plumes may adorn die. as a relentless idealist haunted by the necessity for a blood sacrifice to save the Irish nation. " break his as one who would strength and bloody protest for a glorious thing." as something or anything more legendary than the actual Pearse many of us knew.
a spinner of fine phrases without a have a different practical spark in him. however. On the contrary. tender. drum of ordinary a sanity in the most hazardous enterprise. and Pearse belongs to history already. for Pearse was a rare and noble counsellor if ever there was one." Innumerable ballads have followed. as intimate an account as possible is left of those important years from Sgoil Eanna's foundation in 1908 until the end. a personality will have vanished the in a legend. proud. at the best. humorous. purposeful. Since Pearse died his pupils have felt a veritable blank in their lives. To know him was details inspired and see a him. Some critics have found him outwardly cold. parsonical. . in We would prefer to describe him Provost of Trinity's words. even the Pearse we knew in Sgoil Eanna. to be glamour in the most humto love life. said. Unless. at the worst. to tell. It is doubtful whether anyone living to-day can call up again the complete Pearse. essential details will be absent. Pearse meant story the most subtle and beautiful thing he ever We was the most human of human beings. a poseur.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE soul of Patrick Pearse. critical.
He hoped for the best and dared the worst. His biography may be summed up as the accomplishment of the three wishes he often expressed before even Sir Edward Carson dreamed of arms : To edit a bilingual paper. a captain. Pearse's case was the resolute and enthusiastic pursuit of a conviction. to write the literal truth as write who saw him in his own home. cumstances. charitable. He believed that no nation could win freedom He also believed that cirexcept in arms. to start a revolution. Remarkably few acter. faults marred his char- one may Indeed. in every mood and vicissitude. a writer. as a teacher. . There is the whole and simple truth on that aspect of the matter. as those for instance which faced Ireland in 1848. H. honourable. a propagandist. whose faults were the mere defects of his straight and rigid virtues.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE scrupulous. to found a bilingual I school. recking every sacrifice slight for his dear ideals of God and Ireland. he was a perfect man. made insurrection inevitable and indeed a matter of honour for those who had preached and prepared for insurrection. secondary have written elsewhere that the only tragedy in P.
but never deviate from the primal truth by a hair's breadth. but assuredly this was the first final instance. whether political or otherwise. one finds not only the Evangelists he deemed to have enunciated one finds the men thema national gospel above all. or Davis. Irish nation- alism was a body of teaching derived from apostles who knew both the end and the of to-day might expound. Pearse has left a personality . Few men so have ever thrown completely into words. whether propagandist or not. Mitchel. means the men and women do generation what should be done and how to it. when he exultantly that Emmet's two-hour insurrection was nothing to this.. Emmet. Tone's AUTOBIOGRAPHY. . one finds the man those selves men and teachings made. for all his writings. in his political pamphlets the convictions which so greatly swayed him. "knew better than the present .P.O. improve in application. Davis. doubts may have crossed his mind as to the strict truth cried and of his dogma.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE In his writings. In his descriptions of Tone. he lives still." he told his brother. are unconscious autobiography. ." Perhaps in the G. "Tone. Mitchel.
his own. ancient and modern Irish literature. '48. ourselves . and do our duty to Emmet's memory we discharge by according It is the faith annually our pity?" which flames up in the ardent and coherent rhetoric of the oration by O'Donovan Rossa's him grave-side. he studied and assimilated just in the same manner as he had formerly made the Cuchulainn and Fionn cycles. it is Rossa's definition. And Irishmen of one allegiance only. in some ministers would appear and knew it to carry as literally. and the vast historical library which has grown up around '98. . the cause that the dead generablaspheme tions of Ireland served by giving it any other : . the essays of Davis and Lalor. it is Mitchel's definiLet no man tion. a nobler way of salvation philosophy than the way of 1803 ? Is Wolfe Tone's aTone commemoration definition superseded." he asks their Bibles. He carried Tone's AUTOBIOGRAPHY around with the unfailing care " Has Ireland learned a truer philosophy.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Mitchel's JAIL JOURNAL. "than the of '98. '67. we know only one definition of freedom it is Tone's definition. " Deliberately here we avow . address.
definition than their . . with the same fulness and clearness. patriotism of a Michael O'Clery. name and their are served by men who Splendid and holy causes are themselves O'Donovan Rossa was splendid and holy. splendid splendid in the heroic grace of him. phrase and apologia. in the proud manhood of him. Besides an apologia he has written an 6 . in his last four pamphlets he . he wrote it again in defines the same faith the Republican Proclamation. an Eoghan O'Growney.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE name and definition. or of of him. thought be any guide. splendid in the Gaelic strength and clarity and truth And all that splendour and pride and strength was compatible with a humility and simplicity of devotion to Ireland. . The clear true eyes of this man. visioned Ireland as we to-day would surely have her not free merely but Gaelic as : well not Gaelic merely but free as well. and now. to all that was older and beautiful and Gaelic in the holiness and simplicity of Ireland. if ever. almost alone in his day. should he write his If similarity of word. writing as he did in complete consciousness that his pen must soon be laid aside." Again.
can ever mistake Pearse's personality. He used to remember those days with enthusiasm. Sgoil Eanna. his sadder. . The singleness of his purpose. No careful reader of How upon DOES SHE STAND. conclude. half in Irish and half in English. what an ideal and vision the Language Movement him. had brought won become Scholarship. or character. those three addresses Tone and Emmet. the beauty of his personality shine through his or words.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE autobiography. " Bhiomar og an uair sin" he would cry with eagerness and proceed to relate with intense pride and satisfaction all the dash and energy of his co-workers in the Gaelic League. the strength of his character. delivered in places so far apart as Bodenstown and New York. His portrait of Emmet is a portrait of his own youth. From this came losagdn^ his Gaelic League activities. that at the age of twenty-three he had edited An Claidheamh to Soluis. purpose. recalling that at the age of eighteen he had issued his THREE ESSAYS ON GAELIC TOPICS as a book. a schoolmaster and Secretary of the ! a Modern Language Gaelic League's Publication Committee in " Ah " he would the one and same year. his more gentle side.
a vision of truth and duty perhaps no child of Adam dare hope to see and follow hundred years. spiritual. Connacht roads. That is the message of the stern and subtle "Master." Pearse reveals himself as he was "Nach leisgeamhail an " dream sibh! ! awaiting that fateful Eastertide. we one who knew its ending. We find in An Mhdthair that other Pearse who could have found his way blindfolded among the can read in An Uaimh." or the more direct and joyous An Ri. in "The Singer" find the life-story and philosophy of education. We or the "Wandering Hawk meant for boys that has that great love so much for Irish " Finally. that he has sounded the depths of hints. living Christianity.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE You have no go His portrait of Tone is a portrait of Pearsc from the time he scoffed at his " harmless " and passed into the literary Nationalism " the Irish Volunteers." In "The Rebel" and "The Fool. that message reaches a mature 8 . and what it profits man to struggle for upon this earth. inspiration from the in a He Irish more than once drew his flaming hero-tales and a He simple. disillusion. thing I have waited for all my life. too.
The offer expressed the conviction which never deserted him. in very fact. and repeated in a hundred ways his beliefs and teachings.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE expression in "The Singer" to convince us that Pearse. statements of his are singularly opposed illuminating in this connection. when his advocacy of the Irish Councils 1912 Bill had exposed him to Republican and Sinn Fein criticism. and belief spelled accom- . by as some Repeatedly he has compressed his gospel in an article. allowance being made for the self-deprecation men of In his temperament indulge in sometimes. engaging in public to free Ireland if he had a hundred men to follow him. incarnated the soul of Irish Ireland which laboured steadfastly rose before men's eyes in the lurid Easter flames and a city's devastation. his was one of the most comTwo very plex personalities of his day. that to desire was to hope. a poem. he has been dismissed His message was simple. he said in private he was the most sincere and dangerous man of them all. to hope was to believe. a phrase. indeed simple and direct to his generation. In justice one must protest. until it Because Pearse knew so well what he wanted.
a Republican. Development may be traced in his writings. political ideals is a useful study when we wish to avoid confusion of aims and methods. He more truly when he told a literary spoke society at eighteen that he was an enthusiast and gloried in being one. Pearse was always a Separatist. Essentially it was the same Pearse who stood in Kilmainham jail yard as he who had upon the study of Canon Seadna twenty years before in a O'Leary's started back room in Dame Street.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE He devoted his life to the plishment. and an advocate of physical force. A lover of paradox might say with some show of reason that Pearse was consistently a 10 . attainment of his three objects. what he said beside Rossa's grave had been his inmost faith since childhood. Again. or in the just expression of his brother. but no essential change. No more characteristic and frequent note was struck by Pearse than the uncomproThe growth of his mising Separatist note. when the Volunteer movement had absorbed him he used to declare that before he had taken to the noble trade of arms he was a mere harmless literary Nationalist as his enemies well knew.
In 1912. Therefore as editor of An Claidheamh Soluis he had urged the acceptance of the Irish Councils Bill. believed in He always appeal to arms. An Barr Buadh^ a political and literary weekly in Irish. He has been quoted as saying. which he edited about the a For same time. not a hundred yards away from the General Post Office in O'Connell Street. but not stop there. Joseph Devlin. claiming that no subject nation had won freedom otherwise. Redmond in his agitation In as far as he went. and contended that Nationalists of all shades of opinion should follow Mr.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE moderate and a revolutionist. " If they trick us again I will lead an insurrection 1 1 . and use it as a step towards complete independence. saying he stood in the event of British politicians proving as procrastinating and as elusive as usual. he spoke from the same platform as Mr. with the solitary exception of Norway. he sets forth this programme for militant action plainly. where the threat of force an ultimate had been implied. held the Irish long while he people should accept any measure of Home Rule which guaranteed the national integrity.
Pearse was no ghoulish monomaniac it who sacrificed his students without a thought. nor would he have had *' said of him that he " dragged his boys into an insurrection. Sanctity of conscience and individual freedom were as sacred watchto words as him the as love of country. no more or no less than he wished the people Ireland. concerned for a moment by the martial of some dozen of them during activities He showed as much by his Easter 1916.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE In An myself. to be promptly reassured. forward national issue out with those same politicians if he had to march and fight with only his students to back him. He detested little he " said. for manner. Thou shalt not tyrannies which make. he was rather students. Barr Buadh he preaches the doctrine that all government rests on force. " half the law 12 . Towards the end I once heard him declare with passion he would try the potential. P. one may note he had few doubts as regards his To tell the trjuth. In passing. H. He of would have wished them rebels." and that was his mood. actual or a note which appears hencemore and more in his speeches and essays.
" it has not been easy for us who knew Pearse to For we knew conscientiousness and remembered him refrain from smiling. Enda boys into rebellion some fine schoolmaster with the politician error. they little ! '3 . was always willing to discuss insurrections with anyone. that's consistent. the subject being very near to his heart. "Thou must. trained up neither little tin soldiers nor As for the cowards. Shane Leslie in an article where poetry rather than truth predominates." Certain London newspapers have wept over the fate of forty little boys marching out to meet the British army at full strength. but to confuse the St. education was his steadfast dogma. Pearse." was right when a past pupil of both had departed for the Pearse did not indoctrinate his boys Freedom in with revolutionary doctrines. little jingos nor have not been born yet forty little boys. is a grievous When irate British critics have asked whether Pearse had the right " to train the sons of others to be mad martyrs. and he wars. informs us that Pearse told him he meant to lead the day.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE of Ireland. Mr. indeed. his sor- rowfully admitting Thomas MacDonagh's " Begad. and the other half.
For he was prepared and strove to face himself. in history than the way of the sword. He could understand the case for these. contented and loyal. language and Irish Ireland movements imbued with a fighting spirit and waiting He saw no other teaching their chance. compromise. Despite all this he was alive and very candid as regards difficulties and possibilities. at least. it. As discussing the now much mooted question of Colonial Home Rule. he prophesied revolution. or ability and readiness. that an insurrectionary programme presented formidable and depressing difficulties. to use the sword when necessary or where opportunity Ten years of this programme and offered. he was of the opinion that the younger generation should concentrate on industrial.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE When I first came in contact with Pearse. I have known him to admit in argument that a Home Rule Bill might conceivably make Ireland (to quote his own adjectives) smug. but personally rejected an instance. that his opponents could advance powerful arguments for the nation's remaining within the British Empire. he averred that had he ever a voice in rejecting when .
and the phrase is singularly felicitous. not considering. no ill self-question- ings.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE or accepting such proposals. " Charity in all on his lips. however. We 22nd May. the strength and peace of mind of those who never compromise. 1915.' We called upon the names of the great confessors of our national Whatever faith. at ease. at peace we have been serenely with our consciences. and all was well with us. we go certitude of having done have the clear. Afterwards he summed up his mental attitude as that peaceful frame of mind common to men who never compromise. We saw our path with absolute clearness . timorous. the action of those who championed such a scheme as in any wise dishonourable." IRISH VOLUNTEER. The recent time of soul-searching had no terrors for us. sheer thing. While others have been doubting. soul-searchings there may be among Irish political parties on in the calm now or hereafter. he would cast his vote with the noes. we took it with absolute deliberateness. He " was no platitude things has spoken with severe and 15 . "We have no misgivings. clean. <We could no other.
proclaims that the men who have led Ireland for twenty-five years are bankrupt in policy. Pearse wrote his real indictment of the Parliamentarians with an eloquent and bitter dignity. even in words. Redmond's reasons for his attitude towards the war. Implacable as regards principles he scorned to In impute motives to persons as such. and In GHOSTS refused to judge the man. believed in "courtesy upon all occasions. America when asked an opinion of Mr. but adding unfailingly. Nil cuid aca ro-dhona mar dhaoinibh. thing sentence in one of his speeches beginning : them of regarding 16 . But the main count in the indictment is that which accuses nationality as a negotiable The rather than a spiritual thing. he replied that he did not know." He would speak with restraint of the Irish Parliamentary Party. in credit.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE passionate of his political opponents. and wonders whether the ghost of Parnell is haunting them to damnation. preferring to deal with principles Even here he rather than with men. but invariably excludes personal condemnation invective. admitting the indictment of some of the members current in Sinn Fein circles.
Joseph Chamberlain on the same subject. of expressing his admiration for the strong man armed. His fierce advocacy of armed force came from its his philosophy of life. To quote his nice figure "A c own summary of the case we cut during the Boer war 17 : ! . Pearse awaiting it the greater part of his If to the rank and file of that movement teers he was its spirit incarnate. at least. to him the Volunwere his ideas which had taken arms. but there the noise ended. but an Ireland of talkers and its effect in disgusting him had share in his manner. but they have sat so long English feasts. and bore indeed a startling similarity to the views of the late Mr. nor was there courage enough a riot. Some of his more caustic expressions were evoked by Ireland's attitude during the South African war. The Volunteer movement arrived to find life. among them all to raise even Which would Pearse as have appealed to a very sapient and true remark. The great Imperialist had said that the Irish were very good as far as sympathy for the Boers and hurling insults at England went." is a fair example of his views and methods.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE "I believe at them honest.
the despair and militancy of the dispossessed Gael as voiced in his poetry. In Sgoil Eanna. make him turn in his grave. We us chasing the British garrison. for instance. His life-work will never be understood so long as it is ignored that the sources of his inspiration lay in the traditions handed down from the Sagas. his second great enthusiasm and inspiration. several critics in His exploitation by well-meaning but badly-informed Great Britain and America as an Anglo-Irish celebrity is an amusing but Indeed it should grave misrepresentation. he did his best to make 18 a younger Ireland . Turn to his ideals for the Irish language. the simple and religious outlook of those selfcontained communities remote from the manners and customs of the Pale upon the Connacht sea-board. in the Irish language. out of the country ? But Pearse was interested in other things beside the noble trade of arms. For his ideal was Ireland not free merely but Gaelic as well.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Assuming our warlike declarations were seriously intended. and first and always in the whole men and women of Ireland. what prevented talked. small boys " and militia men.
Upon English upon a certain occasion he did not recognize the His method of making Irish the voice speaking ! to a visitor in language was the simple expedient of speaking it until sheer force of repetition made the new language familiar. " Cearde?" official he would ask with bewilderment the new- comer who addressed him in English. one gets another Rightly or wrongly view in Thomas MacDonagh's LITERATURE Pearse's whole mental attitude IN IRELAND 19 . few months later.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE *' Gaelic as well. that dumb new-comer flourish- ing with great self-assurance the vocabulary and favourite phrases of his instructor. to a enjoy with huge secret amusement." and made Irish as much a living language as is possible when the home language of the majority happened to an average he gave his students a good working knowledge of the Irish was the language within a year. be English. and to such an extent did Pearse speak in Irish only to the staff as well as to the pupils that I can count upon my fingers the number of times I held long conversations with him in When he heard one of his masters English. official school language.
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE
was antagonistic to Anglo-Irish literature. The very words Anglo-Irish he detested and
denied their validity, although, unlike certain perfervid propagandists, his knowledge of the work of Irish men and women was as appreciative and as exact as his knowledge of Next to the Tain English literature itself.
Bo Chuailgne^ which he read with the care and attention most of us read newspapers, his favourite author was Shakespeare, innumerable editions of whom had an honoured His admiration place on his book-shelves. In for Yeats was profound and cordial. J. M. Synge he recognized a genius who had made Ireland's name considerable in the Nor was he slow to eyes of the world. defend Synge in circles where the latter's works were disparaged for miserable propaBut speaking generally, gandist reasons.
Pearse practised bilingualism to the detriment of the English language in Ireland,
working and striving for the final battle Nor would between the two languages.
his side in such a
have ever been
Your Anglo-Irish doubt for a moment. he contended, brought only fame writers, to English literature and could never be
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE
true representatives of Irish literature. special niche might be set apart for them
true, but at the
best they only retarded the rise of a literature in Irish ; at the worst they forwarded
the most subtle of English conquests the mental conquest. Pearse no more questioned that the language of the Irish nation should
be Irish than he would have questioned the existence of God. As a Gaelic League propagandist, Pearse was a great and effective exemplar. Like
the Gaelic League had also been as from heaven, Pearse envisaged all the
any enterprise he undertook. Neither of them ever indulged in flamboyant " in five prophecies that years we shall allPearse said with pride that speak Irish." the regeneration of the Ireland we know began when the Gaelic League began, added
he realized superhuman efforts were needed to prevent a further decay. In his own caustic and characteristic phrase he was singularly moderate in his aspirations and methods. He would merely have the
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE
Irish people, and not the human race, learn Irish and speak it. So fine an example did
he set them that Thomas MacDonagh exclaimed Pearse was killing himself by inches, but such men made movements. Those whose patriotic enthusiasm prompted them to master and apply Irish, Pearse believed, would count more in the language's
ultimate preservation than the native speaker. Eventually he grew convinced that only an
could save the Irish language. The salvation of the Irish language he would have regarded as the first duty of an Irish Government. Perhaps he would
have said that any actual Irish Government might very well thank the Language movement that it ever came to be. For all subsequent movements of his day he claimed had received their baptism of grace in the
Gaelic League. The growth of English the children in the parts of the among he had cycled Gaeltacht he knew best
and tramped through every Irish-speaking district in his time he regarded as the beginning of the end unless a miracle intervened. In one particular sense, he came to believe the Gaelic League had failed
democratic. 23 . Pearse would argue that had the the Irish-speaking districts the home of living ideas. had there been more rebels in the best sense and less grammarians in the worst. among a non-native speaker whose pseudonym once possibility. led an ardent critic to declare that here a veritable was native speaker and Gaelic mind expressing itself in literature beyond a shadow of doubt. He His own Irish works stand the classics of modern Irish literature. however.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE understood that the best non-native speaker rarely mastered Irish as he conceivably might have mastered French or German. Hyde in An Barr letter open Buadh. that the cause of this comparative failure was to be sought in the lines the language movement had started. Pearse might have been grimly sceptical as a schoolmaster of the latter in its purpose. to Dr. religious or political. to make the Gaeltacht the home of living ideas instead of making the cities centres of linguistic enthusiasm. Pearse meant. not in any deficiency of the learner or the The idea occurs once in an language. to spread a propaganda from the revivalists made Gaeltacht outwards.
no vox clamantis : it was a prophet But it was and more than a prophet. when an inevitable development drove him to other activities. "I have come to the conclusion that the Gaelic League. is a spent force. and there the matter ended." November 8. 1913. remains for the Gaelic League. Certainly. nor had he 24 . An Claidheamh Soluis^ not the Messiah. or have received from the Gaelic League a new The Gaelic baptism or a new lease of life. he wrote. and I am I do not mean that no work glad of it. League was no mere weed shaken by the wind.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE progress would have been results more permanent. as the Gaelic League. more rapid and Not that Pearse ever faltered in his allegiance to the Ireland Gaelic as well as free. I mean that the vital work to be done in the new Ireland will not be done so itself as much by the Gaelic League by men or movements that have sprung from the Gaelic League. Irish was our own language. or that the Gaelic League is no longer equal to work. Yet he added that he had spent the best part of his life teaching and working for the idea that the language is an essential part of the nation. might well sum up his attitude.
fling them from me For this 1 have heard in my heart. or was it a jest of Christ's And is this my sin before men. new vision came to him. not folk-lore A nor literature alone. do the deed of to-day. I have staked the of my kin Do not the truth of Thy dreadful word. but the Irish nation. remember my failures. to have taken Shall Him I at His word ? Lord. not hoard. Shall not bargain or huxter with God . if 1 had the years I would squander them over again.ever modified that attitude. is The except. nor take thought of to-morrow's teen. Aye. But remember this my faith. that a man : ! shall scatter. for who can call up again the complete Pearse. the Man called Pearse. lives On have staked my soul. preceding sketch of Pearse's ideals but an outline. perhaps. his words alone I ? have squandered the splendid years Lord. Henceforward his mind and deeds were given to a militant national movement. 25 . In the to movement which he had given the life best years of his he had found not philology.
Repeatedly from the In a sentence this : the . H. PEARSE is biography of P. A noble ambition moved him. An Claidheamh Soluis^ Sgoil Eanna. the three monuments he left behind him. emblazoned around a fresco in Cullenswood House. to found a bilingual secondary school. Pearse he accomplished what he wished to accomplish. found an echo in the 26 . these were the three works. That great saying of Cuchulainn. H. moment I heard him first came to know him well I say that he had resolved three things should be placed to his credit before he died.CHAPTER II THE THREE WISHES OF P. the Irish Volunteers. He wished to edit a bilingual newspaper. and can find no more pithy summary than the declaration he often made to his relatives and friends. to start a revolution. In the preceding chapter we have written of Pearse's ideals we propose now to tell briefly the main facts of his career.
I were to : though if live but one day and one night only my fame and loth my deeds live after me. literature." Patrick Henry Pearse was born November. he did not exclude Ireland. English and Irish. adding in his raibh se ro-dhona mar James Pearse was. Dublin. at 27 Great Brunswick Street. one of those Englishmen whose love of liberty A Radical. 1879. James Pearse had a profound love of art. indeed. and an even more profound love of freedom.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE three wishes of Pearse Bee a brig Horn sin sa gen go rabar acht oenld ocus oenadaig ar bith acht go mardt niairscela ocus niimthechta dimm " I care not esi. freedom amongst his closest personal friends. numbered many fighters for 27 . ENGLAND'S DUTY TO IRELAND. and his work. for long had his place of business as a sculptor. where his father. instinct with high imagination and beauty is scattered in many pieces of ecclesiastical architecture Of his father Pearse throughout Ireland. He wrote a pamphlet. was wont to speak with humorous way: " Ni Shasanach!" great affection and reverence. AS IT APPEARS TO AN ENGLISHMAN. As a sculptor he was judged to wield a distinctive chisel. James Pearse. an Englishman.
Pearse never allowed his hatred of British government in Ireland to extend to personal animosity against individual Englishmen as such. In general. whose people came from 28 . Dr. When he met those rare Englishmen who were such friends of freedom as his father had been. pseudoCatholic. he watched Englishmen closely and greeted them politely. Pearse's a reply was James was quoted triumpamphlet phantly from platform and pulpit throughout So effective that it the country. Unfortunately those writings would seem to be so many be the motive-force of Irish blank pages to them. who had chosen to revive some ancient catchcries and political legends to defame the Parnellite movement. and every struggling cause. H. His writings are the last word common-sense upon that singularly barren controversy as to whether love or hate should in patriotism. literature. for certain of Pearse's critics. From their father the Brothers Pearse undoubtedly inherited that deep sympathy for art. P.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE flaming with bitter scorn and contempt in reply to a certain pseudo-Irish. Maguire of Trinity. From their mother. he appreciated them cordially.
From her he heard many an old Irish tale. rarely playing games. and lost in his books. He commenced his their love education in a private school at Wentworth Place. youth above all a student. of Tone. since he himself has left it in a In his pathetic and imperishable record. he informs us in An Macaomh. Limerick. perhaps the most telling influence in his life. her her august and sorrowful past.. Of history. Pearse is said to have been a dreamer. The truest of his teachers. ballad and legend. Dublin. From her he heard 29 . Emmet. those heroes of his boyhood. and he assiduously commenced its study. her traditions. they received of Ireland. Napoleon.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE and County Meath with memories of struggle sacrifice from '98 onward. Pearse's affection for his mother it is unnecessary to write." who told him tales by the fireside when he was a boy. subsequently teaching there. was "a kindly grey-haired seanchaidhe. kept by a Mrs. a woman of my mother's people. Murphy. Westland Row. Rossa. many a tale of Wexford. He afterwards became a brilliant Intermediate student in the Christian Brothers' Schools. From the age of twelve the Irish language appealed to him.
J. degrees. Later he procured the grammar and texts issued by the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language. steeped his mind in the heroic literature He of the Fionn and Cuchulainn cycles..L. the New presidential the society were book form in 1898 as THREE published ESSAYS ON GAELIC TOPICS. and B. been addresses to in appointed Irish lecturer in the Catholic University College under the Reverend Dr.A. prose and poetry. in due course he found his way into a backroom in Dame Street. Irish first that mastery over it which later was to make him one of He the great Irish writers of to-day. and started to study Canon O'Leary's Seadna under the supervision of its reverend His close study of Irish gave him author. Delaney. S. and became editor of the Gaelic League official organ An Claidheamh Soluis.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE spoken in the recitation of an Ossianic lay. 3 . Before he was twenty-four he had graduated in the Royal University. gained his B. acquired a wide and first-hand knowledge of Irish folk-lore. founding Ireland Literary Society when he was just seventeen to spread the glad tidings His of his discoveries to the barbarians.
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE For several years after his father's death he was the chief support of his family. appeared in the columns of the paper while he was editor. Enda's. It is remark that he never flourished proper his barrister's wig and gown. and added the superintendence of the Brunswick Street business to to these other tasks. As of An Claidheamh So/uis^ his first ambition was fulfilled." his contempt for foolish wig and gown. indeed he had always a dislike for " the it as the legal profession. His Modh Direach lessons have been since republished as An Sgoi/^ and were the basis of the system and amplified in St. and drank of his first great inspiration. where he studied that country's language problem and educational system closely. Valuable series of on education. all dubbing most wicked of pro- fessions." and admiring Tone for his "glorious " the failure at the bar. supplied him with abundant material and observation which has left ere now a 3 1 of language teaching he afterwards applied . especially in its articles deeply editor bilingual aspects. A tour in Belgium." Into the Gaelic League he threw himself with a whole-hearted enthusiasm.
he held 32 . quite applicable to Irish. or work. editions of the old Fenian tales Eodach An Chota Lachtna and Eruidheann Chaorthainn be forgotten. He set in this. Poll an He A loathed slovenliness in speech bad or careless edition of a Gaelic text would move him to wrath. in an efficient and unhampered educational system. he saw. as in all else. He did not believe that Belgian methods were Irish conditions. English from the Gaeltacht he characterized The problem confronting the as fatuous. and the stories afterwards reprinted as losagdn.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE An Uaimh as he renamed it). lasting mark Phiobaire (or on Irish schools. and never wavered in his workers in the field conviction that bilingualism in language teaching in Ireland was the real path to the salvation of the Irish language in the Irish- The utter exclusion of speaking districts. an adventure story for boys. Gaelic League was. belong to Nor must his carefully-edited these years. to restore Irish as a living medium of daily intercourse to the six-seventh English-speaking parts of the country. a noble headline to of Irish literature. He worked out his educational theories during his editorship.
unlike English in the Gaeltacht. Enda's edit the Gaelic League organ. During the first six months of the school he continued to St. He has left on record its realization in THE STORY OF A SUCCESS." In Sgoil Eanna his dream became a reality. In of instruction from the details of programmes. Where English was by the first language. he advocated necessity a compulsory second language.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE should be used as the language of instruction in districts where it was the home language. In the MURDER MACHINE he sketches an organization scheme for any future Irish Ministry of Education. and English as a second language taught as a second language. based more or less upon his observations in Belgium. he desiderated the fullest autonomy for schools. D 33 . He determined to put into practice the old Gaelic ideals in a school " should be an Irish school in a sense that not dreamed or known in Ireland since the Flight of the Earls. as a medium all first. used too. which in the vast majority of cases would be inevitably Irish. In An Claidheamh Soluis he conducted a persistent " agitation for Irish as a teaching language" in primary schools.
and for boys not Irish-speaking whom it is desired to educate on bilingual lines. took off his hat to the ancient Gael as being a better democrat in his school system than any modern community. high type for Irish-speaking boys. proclaimed a determination to create a revolution in Irish secondary education upon bilingual lines. distinguished by literary charm the author impressed upon the simplest thing he ever wrote." he said. The purpose and scope of the school was announced as " the providing of an elementary and secondary education of a Oakley Road. Sgoil Eanna was a success. giving his pupils that hardening and his 34 . and moral instructions to his students ranked snobbery as a vice slightly below the Seven Deadly Sins." Pearse's real purpose was to revive the education He system not of a class but of a people. secondary and university crystallize a snobbishness partly intellectual in and partly social. He revived an ancient system and permeated the school with a Gaelic atmosphere.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE College opened first in Cullenswood House. "Our very divisions into primary. Its Dublin. the wonderful prospectus. Ranelagh.
Wide devoted sons of their motherland. such were years Two was transferred to the HerAnd Pearse had mitage. the training up of those entrusted to its care to be in the first place. The central purpose of the school. Enda pupil anywhere." and generous culture. modern methods. strong and noble and useful men.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE inspiration he desired. a word. . was the formation of character. to quote Pearse in his prospectus. Visitors to remarked an indefinable something in the air of the place. some of HeadSgoil Eanna announc- ing what he afterwards did with incredible success. based upon a national and heroic tradition such were Sgoil Eanna's aims its subsequent achievements. later the school . "the eliciting traits and development of the individual and bents of each the kindling of the giving them an aim their imaginations and interest in life the placing before them in of a high standard of conduct and duty . a particular reference to the needs of to-day. and said they would ever afterwards recognize a St. . two of the three things he accomplished 35 . although them did not perceive this until their master had died. . and in the second. Rathfarnham.
and and was elected He strongly Organization. as a To Edward Carson. and left the matter there. Dublin. But he rejoiced that the North had began. Redmond's untiring Director of opposed the nominees to the Provisional Committee. " whose rifles give dignity even to their folly.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE had planned and resolved to He now worked teers accomplish. becoming more and more a leading spirit in the counsels and activities of the Irish Volunteers after the 36 . He had long regarded the prevalent indifference to sign Sir what passed for politics of decadence. on until the Irish Volun- and a European war arrived to find that he had long awaited their coming. " A lawyer with a price" he called him. Pearse paid the compliment of crediting the bellicose knight with not believing everything he said. In November 1913 he made a powerful and remarkable speech at the inception of the Irish Volunteers in the Rotunda Rink." original became a member of the Provisional Committee of the Irish an enthusiastic He Volunteers organizer. and held that the rest of Ireland had no right to sneer at the Orange- men. however excusable. entrance of Mr.
every generation appointed deed he said in 1913. In FROM A a reprint of a series of articles HERMITAGE. In a later chapter I shall describe at more length the too little-known experiment of Pearse had long contemplated an 1913. Pearse would have gone ahead with its Edward Carson never taken movement. He interests grew more absorbing than ever. An Barr Saoirse in 1912. had been an attempt before the time was ripe. was no real change." but did not forsee the precise Sir Euadh and Cumann na form it would take.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE spoke on innumerable platforms throughout the country and surpassed himself in his great O'Donovan Rossa oration at the historic and imposing funeral of the dead Fenian. and his political split. " armed Republican movement. Definitely he had turned now to the last work of his life. which ran in IRISH FREEDOM from June 1913 to January 1914. and prophesied that the multitudinous activity of his militant To 37 . Pearse tells us a how he had initiate determined upon again attempting to militant political movement. to Had arms in Ulster. More and more to the public he appeared the as there But even here Republican leader.
labour and language. if that moment reveals itself. that 38 . I other men in alone of all the generations of Ireland." he told us. to-day. How DOES SHE STAND ? belongs to this American visit. He went there on a lecturing He funds for his college. August 1 9 1 4. and his own growing militant determination. we shall have the sight to see and the courage to do. Pearse had a deep admiration and affection have heard him speak of few terms of such unstinted praise. encountered the flotsam and jetsam of two tour to raise For John generations' Irish movements. to the pamphlet he writes: "A European war has brought about a crisis which may contain as yet hidden within it the moment for which the generations have been waiting. or whether it shall be written of this generation. Devoy. and records Pearse's admiration for Devoy. . In an addendum. It remains to be seen whether.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE organizations. political. Pearse's visit to America in the early months of 1914 made a profound impression upon him. would meet yet in an Irish revolution. His admiration for the survivors of the Fenian movement he met in the States was as "There are no such men in Ireland lively.
Ireland dreaded to but alas to find them never. The in Ireland during the early developments first stages of the war profoundly depressed. even as he had sighed for at times. During the Rising. earnestly believed the national spirit insurrection. seemed known them of Ireland was in danger of death. horrified him. The service of his country had become the one passion of and he cared nothing for honours. and intensified his conviction that the national consciousness of Ireland was on the point of extinction. nor. fame. the of comrades who also were of as company the temper to back words with deeds. it war and and he because she had not Pearse. as generous. it perhaps is certain that few men have passed from thought to action with so deadly a thoroughFate brought him into ness and sincerity. tranquillity among as his books. his life. as kindly. human.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE it had none among it who ultimate sacrifice. 39 . Pearse acted as Commander-in-Chief to the Republican forces." in his find the dared to make the Pearse has told us how hill youth he had walked Fenians drilling in ! and glen to the moonlight. Many men have been superb rhetoricians as Pearse. for years.
and was quarters the last to leave defenders. He was satisfied that Ireland's honour had been vindicated by a protest in arms. 1916. Pearse tiations for surrender with General Lowe. "what a fine are what is. know well how he felt A soldier's death for Ireland and freedom. his brother. O'Rahilly was to him the most heroic of men." although entered into nego1 6 Moore Street. and he desired to save the lives of Dublin citizens. Tried by courtmartial. in the General Post Office. his decision. It is when fire drove out the impossible to give an idea of Pearse's bearing in that last scene. political impelled by humanitarian and man O'Rahilly motives. his calmness. coming in here to us From he is against this thing.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE He was elected President of the Provisional He established his headGovernment. Chivalrous. he Neither was executed on May 3. "Ah !" he said to me. he would have chosen that death of all deaths had God offered him the choice. charitable. noble 40 . his bravery. but we in those last hours. his care for the wounded. his humanity and regard for termed the courtesies of war. mother or sister saw him before his execution.
The most bitter personal controversy aroused by Easter Week he dismissed in one phrase in his message to the outside world when the bombardment of the Post Office was in full progress." Shortly afterwards the Three Wishes of P. Pearse belonged : to history. 41 . and the "Both Rising's duration a matter of hours Eoin MacNeill and we have acted in the best interests of Ireland. H.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE was the spirit of this man when he realized the end had come.
a new " Davis' character." he wrote cleansing. unto a new regeneration.CHAPTER III AS . is said to be in the in his physical order men stood more erect." " was such as the Apollo Belvedere again. so pure. For the moment we prefer not to leave Pearse entirely to angels. whatever else they may have done. We might add the adjective of an English- man who spent an evening's argument in 42 . and certainly not picture postcard artists who. has written of Tone. a flame so ardent." In our presence experience these words had a literal and personal application to him who wrote them. that to munion with is to come into comcome unto a new baptism.WE The ballads KNEW HIM left have wisely Pearse to the angels and to the hearts of his countrymen. that " this man's soul was a burning flame. have not captured a glimpse of the magnetic and human to He presence still vivid in our memories. so it generous.
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Pearse's company " : Ah ! that is the most persuasive man I have ever met. learned early what he would persuade his fellow-mortals to do. he persuaded by example. In this chapter we propose to recall some pictures of the man as we knew him. and certainly in his power of He had convincing and moving others. primarily. To have since known him We never saw a really such a contrast. different man. but watched the development of the one and same individuality. unto a new baptism. coming." The of Pearse was to be found in his greatness sincerity. his absorbing enthusiasms. let us hope. an amazing personal development have left then an enigmatical personality for The present-day Ireland to understand. his humanity. "schoolmasters' schoolmaster (all talk about " insurrections notwithstanding) has been contrasted with the revolutionary. In 1909. standing 43 in Sgoil Eanna is to question . the headmaster of Sgoil Eanna was more in evidence than the writer and the revolutionary who appeared more and more in the public view in the years Unforeseen circumstances and 1913-1916.
last years of his life he perhaps spoke and acted with a deeper intensity and a more Nor splendid coherence. He himself with great glee and quiet satisfaction certainly more would inform us been that in his youth he to had that "a bit of a prig. said me He always same things. especially the latter. observer. evident to Sgoil Eanna's golden days were the first saw Pearse then more as two years. energy. Although. is that final splendour in word and deed surprising.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE erect in his presence. detesting both these vices. but the strong wine of his enthusiasms kindled in him a very spiritual even a casual intoxication. when one remembers how a Gaelic League or political gathering would carry him out of himself. worked for the same things. how eagerly his eyes would flash and his whole figure be lighted up with the animation. He neither drank nor smoked. but that was all." there was no essential change. We a schoolmaster than we ever saw him after- wards. believed the same In the things." and subsequently "a But it seems dangerous man. thanks to his abnormal he could carry through several 44 .
From 1908 to 1913 he concentrated upon Sgoil Eanna and saved Irish education. carefully belong to calls losagdn^ all his plays. he wrote some of his most profound and most delicate stories and poems. when the upon most men. concentrate upon one thing one thing to him included every conceivable In 1914-1916 he aspect of that thing. and ended by proclaiming the Irish Republic. he was accustomed upon one thing He brought Sgoil Eanna through at a time. " name in the heart of a child " He has declared a memory. a resolve in the hearts of one of the least of his pupils were My ! a sufficient his " recompense and " adventure gallant justification for in Cullenswood 45 .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE large undertakings simultaneously. An Uaimh (as he renamed Poll to concentrate In the spare moments which and the Volunteer movement an Phiobaire). But would have staggered was characteristic of . to him concentrated upon the Irish Volunteers. periods his time of his it life. Sgoil Eanna combined allowed him. its most serious financial crisis and edited An Earr Euadh all at the height of one school session. his edited versions of Irish texts.
Pearse had a great love and as recognized in them a tremendous loyalty and affection for Four of his ex-students stopped himself." " do " Do best. He clothed earth and sea. him upon the Rathfarnham road one evening to inform him that they had heard a rumour he was to be arrested that evening on his pride for his students. . He made Irish a living language. he said and lived them." and these things. and Ireland He kindled new pura noble land for us. the story was the same. your nothing you would not do before the whole " Faith without works is world. for a thousand years with a new light for us." dead. It would be possible to exhaust all the tricks of rhetoric or the flourishes of eloquence and not express what first this headmaster came almost from the He won day to mean to his pupils. and gave new meanings to our lives. above all Irish earth and sea.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE House and the Hermitage. and insisted on guarding him to the Hermitage. He way home. poses In the fire of his personality he could make platitudes live again." he would tell us. set us aflame. In times of peace. "Never be mediocre. produced lethal weapons. our sympathies and affections.
" Pearsc invariably accepted a boy's word as true. severe financial crisis it has lasted four years. clear. concentrated and energetic. but if it closed to-morrow I believe my pupils have learned what I wished to teach them. His exposition Pearse was a born teacher." he told his earlier pupils during the when it was doubtful whether the school would re-open. when he had accepted pupils' statements. In several cases. "I was told my school would not last four months. and opening up new vistas to the There was naturally his personal note in moral and intellectual pronounced It was a teaching.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE "You were the best band of comrades I ever had. His very presence was the discipline of the school. he was gratified to find subsequently that his trust had not been misplaced. He did not wish to turn out so many 47 replicas of himself. listeners. of any subject was always vivid. while I am sure few schoolmasters have ever received so many confidences from their students. arousing new interests. . in spite of strong circumstantial evidence to the contrary. to come under stimulus a the influence of such a master. If he accused a boy wrongly he apologized to him.
And I here nowise contradict another position of mine. should be. every child not merely a unit in a school attendance. . It is significant that none of his pupils came to have an outlook upon life to his own. but rather so infectious an enthusiasm as " THE MURDER shall kindle new enthusiasm. then. that the main object of education is to help the child to be his true and best self. or. As identical a dwell upon the importance of the personal element in I would have education. one and all. something of a philosophy in common. but an inspiration and an example and his main qualification .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE his opinions and prejudices. the disciple of a master. let him method and achievement. " describe his some intimate personal way the pupil of a teacher. but in I headmaster. What the teacher should bring to his pupil is not a set of ready-made opinions. to use more expressive words. 12. not such an overmastering will as shall impose itself at all hazards upon all weaker wills that come under its influence. although they have had. p. MACHINE. together with a great reverence for their master. or a stock of cut-and-dried information.
his black gown flying in the wind. political and religious. . spoke. Again. he adopted ful will. Deputations of his pupils to demand a holiday for some special occasion well remember his affable and laughing surrenders to them. to encourage the Sgoil Eanna team and end players to beat some hostile with the traditional Sgoil Eanna three shouts of welcome. as he strode down the hurling field.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE certainly a very powerand that will was invariably made up. Pearse had a very decided attitude. feel rather " foolish with his emphatic No. it's not so. H. held them as dogmas. P. Upon certain subjects. and made those who were rash enough to argue the matter out. or past efforts to gain independence with hope and prophecy of similar efforts to come. it's not so. A hundred pictures of him persist as the Now as he headmaster of Sgoil Eanna. but he remained very open to argument and persuasion. he entered from the first day he knew them. a slow and deliberate figure from the rostrum to tell us the story of Fionn or Cuchulainn." Within the charmed circle of his pupils' confidence and friendship.
County Galway." the words fit the scene. and here. in the midst of the hills of lar-Connacht. the rest are scattered and wide over the bog-land and heather " Conslopes beneath the changeful skies. It lies ten miles westward of the nearest railway station. Before evening shades into nightfall. dominated by the Twelve Pins in the distance. The first hush of creation travellers has fallen come over the place. Behind the Atlantic roars. the part of the Gaeltacht that he knew best. Pearse had his cottage.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE In July 1915 I spent a month's holiday with P. nacht of the bogs and lakes. Across the fiftyacre expanse of water which is his lake. along the winding it. connected with the outer world by a telephone only. H. Pearse and his brother in Ros- muck. near a wayside lake. the orange and reds of marvellous sunsets 5 glimmer upon the . the white thatched oblong building with its green door in a porchway and two windows in front looms from its elevation at far the two outposts of civilization beyond. Few roads which lead towards A schoolhouse and a police barracks represent its largest collection of dwellings.
Yonder rock peeps suggestively above the level. a peninsula. its eyes. a gleam in those crevices. These empyrean phantasies are reflected with bluish hills afar sink to a Curious patterns in startling clearness in the waters below. the sombre purple. 5 1 . it clambers up to gate below the cottage. A frog or stray lizard leaps from beneath one's A heron feet out of the ferns or bilberries. daytime shape themselves across the skies. as if in very truth it were swimming and about to spring. The lake is plants and vegetation. across which sweeps the vigorous breeze from sea and mountain. descend and roll up again. clouds hover above the hilltops. numerous small rocks break the pellucid smoothness of its surface. Behind stretch bog and hillside.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE lime-white walls of the small dwelling. Half a mile away the main road has sent out an intricate sinuous bypath. rich in tudinous lakes. springy with its peat-sod surface and forever windswept . a frown upon its forehead. As twilight falls on the small rocks one understands the Waterhorse tradition claims to inhabit these wafers. the typical of Connacht's multiTwo large islands.
society. here. and his reading of them gave us losagdn and An Mhdthair. the peculiar local dress. my stories deal with turf. cuts its It builds its its own houses. but squalidness and are sordidness obstacles is absent. were as ." he once remarked whimsia serious cally. as if he had discovered tinctive dialect. at. and leads an isolated life own. farming upon a rocky soil and not too much of that. own fuel. natural beauty. speaks own its of language. Superficial externals.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE hovers over the water. Later he regretted that he had not dealt more with the social " None of life of the people. a low personal income a desperate battle with the soil is here. Despite all the hinted here. Poverty is . kelp-making are the main industries. rich in not rich in natural wealth. is The district. underfeeding. the lives and souls of the people. Fishing. A miniature civilization is evident. the slow melodious Irish greet- ing to the veriest stranger at once confirms the impression of a new and unaccustomed The topography of the district. the dis- an open book to Pearse. a self-contained com- munity grows its own food. A rabbit scuttles away behind one.
Heavy mists. gave us a characteristic glimpse. he a poor spiritual life with riches. of Connemara. inner very of her people. . Pearse smiling at warning notices and using Irish 53 We by side. the hard fight of her people against big material odds. or maam whose name and history he did not know. In his last hours his mind called up the barefooted children. in a castled demense. a rich spiritual life with poverty. where he had often wandered. lost in some imaginative reverie. Here. he continued.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE But there was not a hill or lake grievance. the days of hovels at the doors of Seigneurs lingered on. lar-Connacht's roads and soaring peaks. side walked through the demesne. were all one to him. card players clad in frieze. lar-Connacht's mind and soul he wrote for life wide humanity. the quiet green hills. and how profound a spiritual appeal I the Gaeltacht held for him. We small stone walls and houses. the little western towns. went on many journeys with him through Connacht. in a village some miles up Lough particular. visited. the glamour and terror of the sea that eats her shores. and soon learned his love for the district. the rich. Corrib. said.
with the air of a retired who remarked the scenery was After a moment's hesitation he delightful. and raising controversial points innumerable until his daughter arrived to check Pearse's attempted conversion. He told us of soupers' colonies he had heard of in lar-Connacht. In the course of our rambles we once came across a venerable and amiable gentleman. adding he always brought down a trunkfull for the "peasantry" there around. It would be difficult to over-estimate . John upon us. and once. and gloated all the eight miles homeward over the simplicity of a man who used the word " "peasantry in 1915. flew open and guns fell before the ringing Gaelic salutations. indeed. Pearse longed for a seditious leaflet to return as a gift in exchange. had been compelled to colonel. pressed two copies of the Gospel according to St. Obviously only very churlish folk could object to an explorer locks blessed them in God's name with an air of decided authority.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE to melt the hearts of gate and gamekeepers. The latter insisted upon reading aloud the Bible in Irish. who argue for several hours in a remote cottage with an elderly gentleman who had belonged to one.
he re-visited Rosmuck. His rhetoric was never a superb orator. a flushed humorous look. cold. They did not know how 55 Pearse revelled in . culminating in some terrific revelation of the gospel of sacrifice for an ideal. meaningless. " " Well. as upon the eve of O'Donovan this holiday Rossa's funeral. Pearse for this. had heard a action he could not ignore. and people misunderstood felt amused or uncomfortable in his presence. The years. but precise. Every year. For he knew he had reached the threshold last last of his adventure. poke fun at his earlier flights. kindling. I thought then I was an orator It has been observed. call to We returned to the city from atmosphere. war-clouds broke over Europe. that his conversation gave one the impression of Some clear-cut sentences from an essay. and was accustomed to bid a farewell to the bogs and lakes. Pearse was anxious to do dissatisfied Fenian. truly enough. often in the last five was electric.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Pearse's love after the for Cormacht. being very with an article he had written He was about Rossa some time previously. justice to the dead He used to confessing ! with a caustic smile.
Pearse. I heard him say that he felt every man present would have followed him into any enterprise It was the same that very night. was a striking figure in his commandant's dress." was the comment passed on his speech to commemorate the Mitchel centenary in 1915. Thomas MacDonagh had used to say jestingly that Pearse be able to make as liked. but the recitation of " Seamus O'Brien. beside Rossa's grave.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE the Nor study of Dublin or American slang. surrounded by men who agreed with this man who certainly He had never been so deadly in earnest. centenary address which made Emmet exclaim. Once. his deliberate and impassioned delivery. after an exceptionally powerful and moving address. started a school to many speeches as he some important holiday or school excursion (generally to some Wicklow glen or among the Dublin hills). stuff in " I Tom Clarke never thought there was such Pearse!" "Pearse means business. we would After upon. fully realized his power to sway crowds with his words. not a speech." which after long and insist 56 . certainly did they understand that he meant every word he said.
looking intently 57 . Easter All was dark within on the Wed1916." and startle us with the passion he threw into the lines : Your sabres may clatter. nesday evening that I had my last conversation with him. around volleys lay men sleeping on the floor. peering through the sandbags at the strangest spectacle that men I stood beside have ever seen in Dublin.coercive applause we succeeded in getting. But if you want hanging it's yourselves you must hang ! have described before his farewell speech to the school. your carbines go bang. to our delight. Towards the end he grew more reserved and gentle in his manner than usual. outwardly at peace with all men and things. distant could be heard in the night. would lay immense " the emphasis upon judge was a crabbed old chap.. him as he sat upon a barrel. and going on with his ordinary routine.O. Then came April I 24th 1916. Pearse was an active and dominant figure on the ground-floor of the G.P. others stood guard at the windows. The fires glared in. Pearse. revising his writings.
very silent." He rose. the war would have ended and nothing would have been done. "Men will speak of her as one of the splendid cities.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE at the flames. all ?" "I suppose so." I curiously. fire and death and the beginPearse did not falter in ning of the end." he said with deep feeling and passion. " When we are all wiped out. After a few years his turned-up hat. it means the end of everything. glorious for ever." was. He gazed back at replied in astonishment. crowned by denly he turned to : me they will see the meaning of what we tried to do. He spoke again. Ireland. his slightly-flushed face Sudwith the very last question that I ever expected to hear from him " It was the right thing to do. indeed. It 58 . condemn us. us. and we walked a few " Dublin's name will be paces ahead. Volunteers. was it not?" he asked "Yes. " And if we fail. people will blame us for everything. as they speak now of Down along the Paris. the leaping and fantastic blaze and turned towards me more intently. But for this protest." I replied. Dublin Paris there are hundreds of women helping quays ! ! carrying gelignite in spite of every danger.
who would have answered with a quick smile and eager gesture. honour was saved. nor. facing serenely a hundred dangers. do. for his part. a remembrance of that head- master. impossible !" The answer. first. and firing ever anew the devotion of his comrades within that furnace. He was one of the most occupied men in that dangerous front room. His last letter to his mother expresses for all time his mood when he dared the worst.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE that last adventure. "Ah. superintending a hundred details. But two pictures rise that Ireland's before us as that gallant captain in green. 59 . I dare say. cheering wounded. His manifesto from headquarters on the eve of surrender was a salute to the courage and He was satisfied gaiety of his followers. was he "afraid to face the judgment of God nor the judgment of posterity. we The The second." And that is the answer to the mood wherein we are tempted to grudge Pearse's immolation to his political ideals. and walking as serenely to his death. to all such moods.
my brother. that Willie is perhaps his only really intimate friend. Pearse. and a few deep joys. Yet William Pearse has 60 . furthermore. "Willie and I have shared many sorrows together. far from men same spirit homage to the and friend who helped that leader of more than will be ever adequately recognized to accomplish his amazing thirtysix years work." beginning: am I." adding. me in gallant Paris. He says there. indeed. but the expression of a great fact. : Here And you breathe the artist in Ireland. has said all there remains to be said right instinct link William Pearse and ! A on the matter in a tribute to his brother to be published in years to come.CHAPTER IV THE BROTHERS PEARSE The Brothers Pearse guides us when we his brother in that affectionate phrase which is no mere sentimental mode of speech. The lines in "On the Strand of Howth.
well represent the " I should not noble temper of the man : care.Brothers Pearse worshipped at and were -consumed . Future historians. probable death in an insurrection.life. . but there the matter ends. I should die for what I I believed. and most urgent refutation of the strongest view just observed is the record of William His own words about his Pcarse's life. nda's have no in the the . and 'twas sad and noble enough in all conscience. The matter neither ends nor begins there." in St. will assuredly apply the spirit of this injunction The to the Brothers Pearse themselves. Thomas Russell. Beyond . that whereever Tone's memory is commemorated Russell's memory should be honoured also.interest my work in . which I have quoted elsewhere. Pearse has demanded in a eulogy of Tone's intimate friend. possessed of the full facts of the case.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE been sometimes pronounced a victim of circumstances rather than a victim of destiny or a victim of conviction. It has been taken for granted too readily that he followed his brother.Yes. adding that he ever afterwards loved the very name of Russell for hearing of Tone's affection for the man.
clear-visioned. Brothers' Schools. 27 Great Brunswick Street. 62 . William Pearse once told me the story of that vow in the presence of his brother to the latter's great amusement. scattered over churches and public buildings throughout the country. Westland Row. he entered his father's studio he became a student at the Metropolitan School of Art. in the opinion of competent judges. was the passion of their in The vow made childhood to live and die for Ireland can be traced to its fulfilment in the lives of both. but never slapped. same flame. considered by his teachers to be a not very brilliant He early showed pupil. He was educated at the Christian Dublin. profound artistic imagiAbout the same time as nation and skill. poets and artists to whom beauty of word and form were a veritable passion. 88 1. shows. and studied under Oliver Sheppard.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Lovers of freedom by instinct everywhere. and singularly disillusioned. William James Pearse was born ber 1 1 Novem- 5th. at a great natural ability to profession of sculptor his make own. Dublin. his father's It is note- worthy that his father's work. for them the desire of Ireland's service lives.
H. In Paris. at a later stage. the diversity. wearing Gaelic costume to Gaelic League festivals. mastering the Irish language.A. white palaces and surging hosts. he purIn that city of " limesued his art studies. During his although his natural modesty somewhat obscured the fact. From the first he was an ardent Irish-Irelander. and following the political movements of the day intently and critically. and at one time as his ordinary dress. Throughout the country 63 . His first exhimostly studies of children." he reserved a special affection for the quaintness of costume. while at the Hibernian Academy and elsewhere he exhibited numerous works.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE R. a nude study " Eire" a entitled symbol of young Ireland : arising cleansed through the waters of the new Gaelic inspiration. bited piece of sculpture was shown at the Oireachtas Art Exhibition. being a fluent speaker of Irish. studentship at the Dublin School of Art he conducted an Irish class there. His career as a sculptor may be described as brief but successful. the eccentricity and vividness of the student quarters. At the Dublin and Kensington Schools of Art he gained several distinctions.
Letterkenny." "Memories" reveal. Eunan's. earned high approval from the judges. accomplished valuable and lasting work in his short day. appears a the St. Limerick Cathedral.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE he also executed a considerable quantity of ecclesiastical sculpture. and several Dublin churches. as his intimate fellow-students bear witness. one who. when all is said. A kinder fate might have spared us a sculptor of no small genius. St. His childstudies "Youth. may be named as places where specimens of his work remain." the "Skipping Rope. Amongst other places. Andrew's. including Terenure. The O'Mulrennan Memorial in Glasnevin and a Father Murphy Memorial in County Wexford may be also mentioned as his. would have . A design he submitted for the Wolfe Tone Memorial. one who. indeed. remote country districts one may find figures of the Dead Christ and the Immaculate Conception shaped by his chisel. the work in which he was a pre-eminent master. however. Westland Row. His well-known figure of "The Mater Dolorosa" in Mortuary Chapel. tragic and pro- In some phetic masterpiece to us to-day. although not accepted.
his sister. in several performances visited Cork city. H. and by name. F whom he greatly 65 . Hardwicke Street. and once in Dr. perforce. he. he was an actor and stage-manager in many dramatic undertakings at the Dublin School of Art. gave Dublin. the Abbey Theatre. a play dealing with the battle of Clontarf. At the age of eleven he comto menced acting in interest himself in the stage. and others founded the Leinster Stage Society. was another histrionic haunt of his. Six or seven years ago. was not the only art to whicn William Pearse devoted serious attention. Pearse author was aged twelve. a work of some merit. Miss M. and once which Under Thomas Mac- Donagh's management.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE gained inevitably a considerable place among Irish sculptors. indeed. B. the Irish Theatre. Douglas Hyde's Casadh an tSugdin at an Oireachtas. But the tragic and poignant that he carved upon Ireland's brain memory and heart has now. where he acted mostly in plays by the Russian. Pearse. Thenceforward. Tchekoff. to vie with all the figures his brain planned or his chisel carved. whose P. Sculpture. written in verse.
the life of a man devoted mainly to the arts. and eventually conducted the commercial side as well. where the pair discussed men. Upon his father's death. no subject arose more frequently during those nightly conferences. than the play or pageant in hand or mooted. Whatever credit is due to Sgoil Eanna plays or pageants. 66 . At St. had led him into the exacting life of a business now they were to lead him to forsake the congenial life of the studio. William Pearse took over the general management of the business. H. to enter upon man . nations and their college to a late hour.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE admired for their deep spirit of sincerity and compassion towards all the weak and brokenIn spirited men and women of the world. books. as regards grouping and costumes. Pearse sympathized with his brother. holding sculpture to be the noblest of the arts. is due largely to William Pearse. and employing the drama to an unprecedented extent in his educational schemes. combined with his unselfishness of character. His life down to the last years in Rathfarnham was a busy and eventful one. these tastes and occupations P. Enda's. The vicissitudes of his career.
The actual headmaster's importance in Sgoil Eanna's scheme we need not the direction of But when an irresistible again emphasize.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE the devoted schoolmaster. in 1913 he became a regular member of the school staff. the life of a storm and fire of an yard. St. heart none better. and Kilmainham barrack in With his brother and Thomas MacDonagh. Until 1911 he for the most part. Master. William Pearse stepped forward to uphold the college in his brother's way. Enda's College. he was early associated. conviction compelled that headmaster to devote his time and energy more and more to the Irish Volunteers. He knew. and with his brother's ideals and methods. what had a sacrifice his brother's course of action meant deeply to him. Art and Drawing was. eventually into the ranks of the Irish Volunteers. Sgoil Eanna. He knew The debt full well how upon Pearse's was centred St. and gradually assumed an importance and position there that few outsiders have understood. insurrection. from 1914 onwards one might have aptly named him the assistant headmaster. Enda's owes William Pearse can scarcely be over-estimated. .
them through a many little tin Elsewhere I have written of William Pearse's part in Sgoil Eanna. His concentrated personality did. taking. and 68 . to bring to fruition whatever glimmer- ings of ideals and goodness they possessed rather than to indoctrinate them with their master's prejudices or drive course of studies like so soldiers. with his quiet. to guide them rather than to repress them. H.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE how largely writ upon it. nervous manner. I remember well the first appearance he made in Sgoil Eanna as a drawing master. brother's As a teacher he was most pains- He to acted maxim consistently upon that the office of any teacher is foster the characters of his pupils. Pearse's more aggressive and to recognition. the impression of an artist first and last. from his flowing tie. Not unnaturally his brother's fame has obscured his claim It cannot be too often repeated his hand is retiring disposition did not impress the casual observer to the extent that P. He gave us. that expression excellently conveyed of the full-length portraits of in several him now his common. his long hair brushed back his forehead in an abundant curve.
In his trust in or his lifetime in a wag amongst his students wrote was from a school journal (of which there always a flourishing crop in the school. nor have they adequate words to express what his life and death meant to them. Enda's. But now his fondest hopes have His dearest wish's departed. Pope Pius the Tenth. His trousers short and lanky. hearts of St. An : down sheets) quoted in An Macaomh^ to twenty less ambitious but vigorous Sgoldire. them and their respect for him.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE it is not necessary to repeat the story of his unwearied attention to the athletic. Enda students was deep indeed. fled. Is his greatest ! work. literary. or his knowledge of his pupils. social. William Pearse's locks are long. what he came to mean more and more His place in the in the life of St. going to be bartered This was in reference to a raffle in connection with a school fete of a piece of . When in He does the study hall he stands look very cranky. the dramatic side of the school. and above all.
The only will not find is melodrama or thing you sensationalism.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE sculpture gratuitously attributed to William With this reference to his work as Pearse. in the shapeliness or variety of animals. discover and " know William In such passages you will " The Pearse. I fear I cannot convey a picture In his brother's writings of the man." and he had gone too upon his way Wayfarer for sorrowful. passages frequently occur breathing a tenderness and compassion towards all the outcasts and oppressed of mankind. When A Dickens. beauty of the world had made him sad. villain in a blood and thunder play he both devout student of smiled and hissed. But you must remember that the sadness of the world neither soured him nor robbed him of a keen sense of humour. an austere joy in simple things. he told me 7 once that nothing . a love of beauty and the suggestion of a great sadness. a teacher the record of the facts of his life may end. might have been written by " the him. Nor did it indispose him for action as his enthusiastic participation in the Irish Volunhe saw a teers goes far to prove. in the shade vivid or subdued of any plant or flower.
public a was in But undemonstrative man. of English literature. It to is said that Pearse once lost his temper was reprimanded by violent protests great effect in his schooldays when Willie a teacher. with pride he had never lost his temper since the school had and this was he informed us that strictly true. or even the tone of his voice when he spoke about him this started. he was student. was appreciative and wide . Pearse used to tell us again. it is worthy knowledge of note. Enda's.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE delighted him so much in all the volumes of that writer than David Copperfield His slapping Uriah Heep in the face. and Willie was never molested In St. Pearse's soon changed matters for the better. . were very evident even from his affectionate mode of addressing him. very as Pearse 71 . was the more remarkable. The community of thought and affection which existed between the brothers Pearse was very apparent. although when he was younger his temper had been His feelings towards Willie a fiery one. an especially keen Shakespearian Amongst modern writers he devoted especial attention to the works of Ibsen and the Russian novelists.
you " In conversation William Pearse people had an interesting and confidential manner. He had a great reverence for women. and I remember : Willie once saying bluntly about a speech you were terrible. more human.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE where his brother or his pupils were con- cerned. 72 . H. no one could be kindly. he never blatantly expressed as . His national faith He and ardent. Pearse. The two brothers at times conversed the effect on the in a first baby dialect of their own hearing it was weird in all extreme. his beliefs indeed preferred to listen a good while before he argued. Like quite P. more . convictions were very deep and earnest. was the same intense and as his brother's. to spend hours arguing over a pupil's behaviour or character. I have and often the critic of his brother. very often of politics. more genial. and His religious trusted them more than men. or scheme. you repeated yourwere too slow and bored the self. a new school known them programme " Pat. ! spoke generally of books. In important matters William Pearse was the confidant. while his criticisms of bumptious and snobbish persons were a joy to hear. counsellor.
in thought an insurrection the circumstances worth a trial. When it started development in 1913 he joined the ranks. His attitude towards the last adventure was substantially his brother's. but. from frequent practice. he doubtlessly believed circumstances had arisen to make a fight against overwhelming odds a point of honour. William Pearse was attached as a captain to the the When 73 . where his sincerity and enthusiasm for the work won The him rapid promotion. He attended manoeuvres. What I have written on the same question as regards P. Pearse is true also of Willie: the simple explanation is that they both hoped for the best. Rising broke out. A considerable portion of his spare time was devoted to the study of military science. but dared the worst. route marches and parades religiously. He was no pacifist. in Easter 1916 or similar contingencies. H. He did not gloat over forlorn hopes. He He believed implicitly in a successful issue to the national struggle.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Volunteer movement brought a new He purpose and enthusiasm into his life. felt his brother would a large part in its play and counsels. and became. an accurate marksman.
where he remained an active but stoical figure until fire forced the Volunteers to evacuate the doomed and collapsing building. and were proceeding towards a yard entrance. Perhaps from a personal point of view it was not a hard fate that neither of the .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Easter Week found him headquarters staff. Brothers Pearse survived the other. An officer and guard arrived to bring Willie to pay a farewell visit. . . The works to which thev had devoted their lives j seemed to Possibly the breaking of that great personal tie would The have left the survivor a broken man. the report of a volley was heard. and another officer rushed forward hastily to tell the party that they had arrived too late. He bore himself with dignity before his court-martial. and sister of a terrible incident which happened the morning the latter was executed. On May 4th. He was separated from his brother after the surrender from 1 6 Moore Street. lie in ruins around them. in the General Post Office. From the surrender he never He told his mother again saw his brother. exactly twenty-four hours after his brother. When they had entered the prison. 74 . he was executed.
at least. or brings tenement dwellers and underpaid workers from tions out the depths of misery with flaming hearts. men who prepare the soil. sacrificing life. 75 . peace or fortune for whatever ideal has set them afire.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE speculation is a rather useless one as to whether the shock would not have killed William Pearse in any case. silent heroes of the Irish revolu- whether that revolution bursts into warfare in the streets of the capital. saves an ancient language from death. In one sense. the noble. He will stand out as one of the men who are essential figures in the struggles of this country. ennobling the heritage of Ireland with Such are their genius and disinterestedness. In the coming his years he will gain a deeper place in the heart of Ireland. His death will not be only claim to remembrance. love of motherland and unselfishness of character are held in reverence. He will be remembered as who went down will righting for his hopes one and while the story of the Brothers Pearse move men and women wherever human affection. beliefs. the firing squad conferred uncon: sciously a service been upon him he would have unknown otherwise to the succeeding generations.
And no words more dear to his heart could Pearse. It better preserve him in immortality than that The Brothers noble and affectionate phrase : Pearse. Such a man was William was good to have known him. some glimmer of freedom may well shine from their graves to nerve us and save us from despair. should the causes of their hearts be tried in the ordeal of defeat and disaster. .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE In future hours.
class-rooms and the wonderful school life he created for his first band of pupils has been told already in into THE STORY OF A SUCCESS.CHAPTER V SGOIL EANNA AND ITS INSIDE LIFE In so far as Sgoil Eanna was a most vital expression of its headmaster. and its pupils. had three distinct features. Without his burning enthusiasm. mortar. Enda's College. the actual translation of that "noble house of his thought" bricks. and Irish education would present a more mournful aspect that it does. his "two globes and a map. Sgoil Eanna might well have remained the delightful fantasy of an idealist's brain. In "The Wandering Hawk. life. Pearse." his great love for boys. however. St. its inside To a certain extent Pearse has dwelt upon the lighter side and the internal organization of the school elsewhere than in THE STORY OF A SUCCESS." 77 .
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE a story professedly dealing with school life in a certain Western College fifty years ago several instalments of which appeared in Pearse wrote with a 1915-16 detachment and humour truly remarkable He showed he knew his for a headmaster. in In being the fosterlings of so great a man Eanna and miscellaneous notes Anndla Sgoil ! scattered through An Macaomh. at times. will ever see the light. a hundred. a complete account. in this particular case it would be. Sgoil Eanna's story has been told in So much was it an expression of essentials. and the pride and reflected glory they were conscious of. But all kindly stories have two sides. perhaps. After the in fashion of veterans. the same and observant note appears. at least. the nick- FIANNA names with which they honoured him as well as themselves. Pearse's pupils are already the possessors of an oral tradition to which the curious may still listen in fifty parts of It is improbable that Ireland and beyond. true to say have. their fifty 78 . they will remain groups relating their doings and adventures in Sgoil Eanna. which would satisfy those past students. pupils better than they suspected.
I table limitations which the widespread use of English imposes. declared its allegiance to Ireland in unmistakeable terms. its methods modern administration kindly and have shown already it was the most practicable attempt to spread Irish as a spoken language among the younger Pearse overcame the obvious generation. and shaping its own internal organization. He overcame his the financial difficulties by expending own considerable private fortune. and took Ireland cheerfully for 79 . Enda's of every penny of debt. claimed and exercised the widest possible liberty in shaping its own programmes. its and human. ones. Had the war not intervened. and when that had gone he supported the enterprise with indomitable tenacity and persuasiveness. to make its inspiration a national one. but was hampered by the inevidifficulties. It ignored West British ideals altogether.THE iMAN CALLED PEARSE its founder's personality that we are some- times inclined to disregard its significance as the soundest and most determined attempt to reform Irish education. he would have cleared St. Sgoil tion Eanna was the it first and most striking application of Sinn Fein principles to educa.
when sometimes raised as to whether Sgoil Eanna departed from its There is original ideals and programme. also an impression abroad that in the school all instruction was through the medium of Irish. every subject was taught bi- lingually as far as practicable. while Irish glasses. second year in Rathfarnham the school held vigorously to the big and bold pro- the gramme announced issued. where technical terms and com- petent instructors were wanting. Subjects like Science and Higher MatheExperimental matics. its Irish. apart from language teaching. atmosphere was wholly Irish. Eanna was based upon the assumption Sgoil that its pupils would live in Ireland and for granted. and as far as possible the medium of communication between staff and pupils. games In short. were of 80 . The question requires an answer and question is The Until the impression a correction. in the first Irish was the official prospectus language of the school. Its official its those pupils looked to the ends of the earth they should look through Ireland.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE school language was were exclusively Irish. Until Easter 1916.
He practical trusted himself. however. but it is a true and literal narrative. The accusation that Pearse future. he 81 the . When Pearse laid aside felt his gown and G grasped a sword. the gross unfairness should hardly this time of day. Pearse as a pioneer with all the difficulties of the pioneer. It and smug ignorance which a charge. was an unpractical man has been based to Sgoil to a large extent on his difficulties with regard Eanna financially. betrayed Pearse sacrificed his own advancement and are by such resources to reality. more militant sphere come to Let there be no mistake about the matter. was true to his ideals and applied them with a success that will be better recognized in the course His own account of the enterprise reads like a romance. many eloquent critics of who never lent assistance. it attaches Pearse. and him any have outgrown the pioneer stage altogether had not a stern call undoubtedly would to action in a distract him. at be necessary to point out. wise.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Otherexceptions to this rule. make the his educational ideals a to If to blame attaches anyone. lack of adequate support and serious financial worry.
was a very representative school. For his heart was Eanna. its It among schools by three distinct and original features. truth size when he said that in He spoke the no school of its of which was there present so much of the stuff men and nations were made. Youth was predomias the headmaster declared with nant. and he hoped to gratify staunch supporters in the venture with a in Sgoil his few monument to their common efforts that would survive them. thanking heaven for blessing him with an unbroken succession of clean-shaven professors. A Child Republic well describes the freedom the boys were allowed in shaping the internal government of the school. It was one of the dreams Pearse realized. Sgoil Eanna will stand for ever as a great inspiration and model in the history of education and not Irish stands out education alone. As I first saw it. too. it appeared to me as an Ireland in miniature. officers. that 82 . pride. The event would have vied with any general election. even.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE sacrifice keenly. and committee were annually elected amidst tremendous excitement. A captain. on the staff. Sgoil Eanna.
and men in Irish history during the hours devoted to Sgealaidheacht. movements. or political service to Ireland. Over Cullenswood House loomed the heroic figure of Cuchulainn. vivid and stimulating.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE hardly one of his seventy pupils did not come from homes with traditions of literary. He believed strongly in story-telling as an essential part of education. invincible hurling team was fostered. were A pride in Sgoil Eanna's encouraged. scholarly. plants. Sgealaidheacht had always a He recognized place on the programme. The school was a very reflection of the Ireland without. but settled down and became an staff. a love for "birds. told his pupils the entire Cuchulainn and Fionn cycles and the main periods. Cuchulainn moved with Sgoil Eanna to the Hermitage. animals. Pearse turned to Emmet for an inspiration. invisible member of the school In the Hermitage. The inside life was always varied. By every possible means Irish was spread as a . and its atmosphere was a Gaelic one. Pageants and open-air plays accustomed the boys to the old world and very costumes of the Nature-study and antiquity of the sagas.
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE spoken language among the students. athletics and the more modern methods of language teaching. Pearse and MacDonagh kindled a love and appreciation of literature in their classes. while Thomas MacDonagh. Above all. The inspiration and humanitv of these teachers With men like could not be overstated. It is But the story only begins there. success was assured. or the subsequent development of St. had unlocked the doors to Anglo-Irish and French literatures as only Thomas MacDonagh could have done. them. . in pupils. Pearse had intro- duced them for to the classics of English and Irish literature. It was a dogma with Pearse that a language should be used nobly or not at all. Long before his students had reached the higher classes. and the unique use of pageant. not necessary to speak of the part William Pearse. Enda That has been told elsewhere. or the wonderful environment in the Hermitage. He flung to the winds the idea that so many texts should be digested in a school year by so many different classes with an eye upon examinations. play. his part. his mother and sister played in the inner arrangements of the school.
But Sgoil Eanna to its students was a home and a revelation." although some aspects of that have seen the ' light already in the pages of . his voice could be heard rousing the different dormitories as he rapidly descended the three floors.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Nor is it quite time to outline. and humorous enough reading in all conscience that history is. very busy and exacting one. " deal with the Secret History of St. Pearse sat smilingly his a small 85 . He had rarely to resort to corporal punishment. how of was founded and the ideals and hopes founder. from the headmaster's point of view. and after the first bell grew with at times to a staff at terrific din. was a discipline in itself. Enda's. In the refectory talking was allowed. Morning prayers were recited. The most noisy dormitory or study-hall became hushed and silent as he entered with his peremptory Ceard e seo ? Ceard e seo ? A silence due to His routine was a respect and not fear.An Sgoldire. table. at least. I rang at 7. the narrative in outline of St.30. the Rosary followed by an old Irish Litany. Pearse has told in THE STORY OF A SUCCESS. Pearse's very presence. Every morning. Enda's. it its have said before.
He supervized the minutest details of internal insurrections. the to financial affairs of the school. The influence of such a headmaster cannot be over-rated. at times a distant and austere look stealing across his face. and sometimes with remain up until a late hour. the very picture of eagerness and animation. in the same careful and personal manner. 86 .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE observing the boys. Until study. He conducted the preparations During his absence in America upon weekly and detailed bulletins for catechetical examinations. wrapped in his black gown. There was hardly a day he did not teach throughout the entire school day. the rehearsals for a play or pageant. a new play. He would organization. the revision before the yearly examinations. which lasted from 5. and discussing with his masters the most diverse subjects. he insisted with accounts of the boys' progress and conduct being forwarded to him those thousands of miles away. Class followed with intervals until 3.30. Pearse occupied his many leisure projects. perhaps a new journal. writing or arguing with his brother. even when occupied with outside meetings.30 himself with 10. for he was interested in everything.
Sinn Fein.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Aided by men like Thomas MacDonagh. The Irish games versus foreign ones. and the brilliant procession of teachers who passed through the school. The controversy was decided by a vote of the entire school who rejected 87 . etc. the school-committee meetings and fortnightly ceilidhe. Dr. the majority of the boys being strongly opposed to it. Padraic Colum. besides the artistic and cultured environment. while debates were held from time to time upon questions of public interest. the aid of the outside world was called in. question of the introduction of cricket as a summer game once split the school into two camps. Douglas Hyde. Besides the staff's influence upon the formation of character and awakening of latent imagination and purpose. Very candid and In animated discussions always followed. A series of half-holiday lectures were arranged. Temperance. besides a contact with nature. only very unsusceptible and unpromising material indeed would not have yielded highly successful results. Women's Suffrage. and Major MacBride were among the lecturers. practice was acquired in speaking.
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE
campaign preceded the result. Irish games was always a charthe
For all the rare freedom triumphs proved. and unique internal arrangements, which were such salient features of the institution,
sphere, nine scholarships to its credit in the placing National University of Ireland.
In conclusion, let Pearse's words, which can never be quoted too often on this subject, stand as a summary of the dream that came
Hermitage and Cullenswood
school, in fact, according
to the conception of our wise ancestors, was less a place than a little group of persons, a
teacher and his pupils. poor, nay,
might have no local habitation all, might be peripatetic where the One master went the disciples followed. may think of Our Lord and His friends as a was He not the master, and sort of school were they not His disciples? That gracious conception was not only the conception of
the old Gael, pagan and Christian, but it was the conception of Europe all through the Middle Ages. Philosophy was not
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE
crammed out of
text-books, but was learned the knee of some great philosopher, art at was learned in the studio of some master-
workshop of some master craftsman. Always it was the personality of the master that made the school, never
artist, a craft in
the State that built
of brick and mortar,
a code of rules to govern it and sent hirelings into it to carry out its decrees."
high ideal Pearse carried through the eight years of his great work and gallant
THE WRITINGS OF
of this chapter is rather descriptive and bibliographical than critical. Pearse, as a writer, has been so variously and admirably treated by such able and appreciative critics as the Rev. Dr. Browne, Professor Arthur Clery, An tAthair Cathal O Braonain, to mention but a few, that there is little necessity to travel over that
writings, says the
very truly, to find literature certainly, but something more than literature, a veritable
" Itinerarium mentis ad Dettm^ a journey to the realization of Ireland, past, present, and to come, a learning of all the love and enthusiasm and resolve which that realization implies." As an appreciation of Pearse's literary merits and purpose nothing could be more final than that. But the extent of
his works, his rare gifts
which brought him
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE
pre-eminence in two languages, the autobiography contained in every uttered and written word, raise fresh considerations and
extent of his writings in Irish and At the age of twelve English is amazing.
he began with an English play in verse, At the dealing with the Battle ofClontarf. he ended with " The Wayage of thirty-six
farer," a valediction to the sorrowful beauty
Between that poem and play His first puba very library intervenes. was THREE ESSAYS ON GAELIC lished book TOPICS, a remarkable and interesting volume, which shows his thorough grasp of ancient and modern Irish literature before he was
of the world.
twenty, a profound knowledge of Irish epic, Irish poetry, Irish folklore, an early revelation of how the ideals of the Gaelic League had fired his imagination and hardened his Poll an Phiobaire came next, a purpose. boys' story unique of its kind in modern
during his editorship (1903-1909) contain many articles from his pen of historical and
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE
corner in well enshrines
living dialect of that lar-Connacht the writer loved so
the winning and pathetic Seanfigures that live and pass before us. Bairbre and her doll, wistful Mhaitias, Eoinin na nEan, these are friends we love
recently In these stories the author desired to raise
Mr. Joseph Campbell has taught them all to speak English.
" the standard of definite art form as opposed to the folk form." He portrayed the eternal miracle and quaintness of childhood. In An Mhdthair had the same Connacht 1915, background but a deeper and more tragic theme, the mighty joys and sorrows which are the lot of women. Love, the target of Emerson's reproach, " Behold, she was very beautiful and he fell in love," is absent, but maternal love, the fidelity of children, the restraint and peace of men and women with whom life has dealt harshly, the terror and vicissitudes of life itself, its grandeur and its sweetness, these were the themes. Every one of the tales is charged with sadness, not the sadness of the morbid emotionalist, but the ancient sorrowfulness of tragedy, exhiIn the story which lirating and purifying.
his poems intense spiritual outlook. unknown in Irish until Pearse rather admitted the charge of sentimentality urged against some of the tales in losagdn. depth and style greatest joys." marked the then.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE gives the book its title the key-note of the " collection is heard. his own coming fate and longing for tranthese twelve short 93 . Suantraidhe agus Goltraidhe^ his songs of sleep and sorrow. are a brief and remarkable proof of his poetic power and vision. In he sings of those inner struggles. An Mhdthair was his answer. It is an undoubted fact that Pearse is one of the rary Irish. best storytellers in contempo- He was an unaccustomed. the seeker for all. He has said somewhere that personalities struggled in him as in us the man. of God's ancient herald death. perhaps the truest poet among the Easter Week leaders. conflict and adventure. the quility woman and rest. written and published in 1913. for He sends them the greatest sorrows and bestows on them the A restraint. the dreamer beside two the fireside. stories. God loves women better than men. all a poet sounded clear and natural note in who Irish poetry. the warrior.
His warning that there is more poetry than truth in some of his more intimate writings should not be For some have been lightly disregarded.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE renunciation. Ciaran in THE MASTER. the An Rt." to quote a Willie's jocose description of his own. Eanna brought out the playwright His plays. written with an eye upon particular indiTHE SINGER. Life to Pearse in some moods appeared Sgoil in Pearse. line. to forget the man in the poet and tempted but the man was construct weird legends . not excepting losagdn^ his to were written for " my masterpieces brother and pupils. ordeal philosophy. his attitude destiny rings and towards men. the nearest shall ever get to his last approach we the adventure. an opinion the author himself rather deprecated. view upon test. through every Joseph Plunkett said after reading THE SINGER that were Pearse dead it would cause a sensation. beyond all doubt. so personal and tremendous a revelation was therein contained. order. His letters. voice he heard in every line MacDara speaks in THE Abbot in SINGER. while the boys' parts were viduals. a terrible thing. 94 . is the finest and best of his plays.
The pamphlets 95 . contrary to the prevalent impression. manners. GHOSTS. Irish than in English. THE SEPARATIST IDEA. THE SPIRITUAL NATION. The conflict MacDara tells of between every good teacher and every good mother shows us how intensely Pearse had experienced the " priestjoys and disillusions of the teacher's " THE SINGER has a prophetic like office. EIGN PEOPLE Coming ." For the simple reading of this play any reader will grasp Pearse's outlook. How DOES SHE STAND.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE poet. " MacDara's proud question Do you want us Pearse's political writings. setting of Connacht are there. Pearse's reverence for women great phrase. and perhaps an answer to the Easter critics of his part in : Week ? in "So it is to be wise a foolish thing. Pre-Easter and Post-Easter atmosphere. THE SOVES" The three articles." a reverence noble women that keep all the we find also in the and moving "Song to Mary Mag"'Tis delene. FROM A HERMITAGE. are more extensive in in English. and the truth is In a stranger and nobler than the legends. the language. Ireland atmospheres are there. greater than the flashes out: great vigils.
But Mitchel stands next to Tone and these two shall teach you and lead you. the O'Donovan comprise practically the entire bulk of his English The final four pamphlets political writings. For him Tone. Davis. and not otherwise . 1915). more convincing wise. Mitchel. of those greatest literary figure who have written in English. " I agree with one who holds that John Mitchel is Ireland's that is.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE (Claidheamh So/uis. Lalor were the Fathers of the Irish Nation. But I place Tone above him both as a man and leader Tone's was a broader humanity of men. and Rossa oration. if you hearken unto them. 8th. " Tracts for the Times " were the execuin tion of a long contemplated exposition of whatPearse deemed to be the national gospel. Christmas 1915). to some of us at all events. November " Peace and the Gael" (SPARK. 22nd May. O Ireland. 1913). "Why we want Recruits" Revolution " (IRISH VOLUNTEER. with as intense a nationality Tone's was a sunnier nature with as stubborn a soul. One True Church of the Pearse uses an array of theoterms in GHOSTS to prove this logical case. but he has stated it elsewhere in a more simple and. : .
For this I will answer on the Judgment Day. An Earr Euadh was a small political and in Roman type." Or again. 1912. : popular. which Pearse and edited March i6th. started Eamonn Ceannt. we get a In his political writings in Irish far better view of his political evolution. A political society. was associated with the 97 . national and finds a theory of nationality to " the instinct of the be no very great gain Fenian artisan was a finer thing than the soundest theory of the Gaelic League professor. the unerring. the too little And this brings me to consider known and much neglected An Earr Euadh ("The Trumpet of Victory"). Peadar Macken and The O'Rahilly were among the journal's most constant contributors." Pearse's own political evolution is more significant than even the Republican and Separatist body of doctrine he came to apply and hold as rigidly as so human a personality could ever hold a political creed rigidly.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE than as they teach and lead shall you come unto the path of national salvation. and literary weekly. when he reads Irish history to vindicate instinct. Cumann H na Saoirse. printed written wholly in Irish.
a too peaceful spirit. were the great dissolvents of were in Nationalism as an effective factor the brief. His criticisms of all political groups. contributor. read curiously He thought that the Sinn Feiners to-day. that anglicization. and in essay. Sinn Fein no less than Redmondite.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE paper. Labour no less than either. To Irish Nationalists An Barr Buadh preached a similar gospel of action. love of quiet living. Con Colbert was one of its The Cumann dissolved when members. Besides the above-mentioned con- tributors. a lack of union and mutual charity amongst Nationalists. " Less was philosophizing and more righting advice to Irish Labour about Connolly's this very time. actual or potential. journal's main points emphasized in the An Barr Buadh was propaganda. that Labour was too Internationalist. . poem and fable enunciated the political methods he then publication after Pearse was the chief advocated. talked too much. ' That all government rests ^upon force. that the Redmondites cared too little for Ireland. but had redeem- ing features not always acknowledged. An Barr Buadh eleven ceased numbers.
graces. Above all it had thought. that our demands must be attended to. to-day.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE a political paper. A delightful humour animated its pages. The politics of the paper were Separatist and physical force. that our 99 . 1912. but a remarkable political For one thing it had the literary paper. a union of all Irishmen in a proIt preached gressive national movement. style. An extract from his speech of 3ist.) only say. as witness a famous open letter to himself. of course. well illustrates Pearse's attitude at March (An Barr Euadh^ April 5th. Joseph Devlin's platform in O'Connell Street. avoided formulas and barren controversy. a caustic wit which did not even spare the editor. "We Gaedhil shall be heard henceforward. the original was. It is impossible to understand how Pearse's views upon methods developed until these Irish writings of 1912 are fully considered. that the voice of the the time. delivered from Mr. that a people's liberty could be guaranteed only by a readiness and ability to vindicate that liberty in arms. fanaticism. Its aim was that fulfilled later in the Irish Volunteers. in Irish. 1912. and tolerance that only an editor like Pearse could give it.
I believe we can obtain a good measure of Home Rule if only we gather sufficient But if we are deceived courage together.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE So the Gaedhil proclaim. two hundred thousand of them crying here to-day." there shall be a Ireland. final. " in agony of depression and horror of selfA light had broken upon questioning. fiery. A illumination broke upon them in greater the Volunteer movement. who will advise Irishmen to have no council or friend- whom ship with England ever again. lamented that he and many in Ireland had been for long like Fionn after his battles. : red war throughout all have shown in Chapter I the Pearse had culmination of these ideals. and mean to achieve Let us unite freedom. Let England if she again clearly understand betrays us. this time there is a band of men in again patience is spent. coherent splendour except the 100 ." I them in the Gaelic League. with one man's voice. and they had felt like men emerging from dark forests into sunNo one can do justice to Pearse's light. I Ireland to belong myself. that they demand freedom. with God's will. and win a good Act from the English.
to It was characteristic of the man In his do everything thoroughly. that any man or woman who had a message to deliver should be given an attentive hearing whatever language he or But personally for long he she employed. if the phrase be admissible. time increased as Easter 1916 drew nearer. 101 . public speaking he was constrained to use The calls on his English more and more. It was his intention to give his plays and THE WANDERING HAWK an Irish dress. Pearse disdained to use a language unless it he used splendidly. suppressed his command of English and to speak to his pupils save in flatly refused With us he invariably used Irish. of course. indeed. I have often wondered why he came to use English to so large an extent as he did in When I knew him first he his later years.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE glimpses he has I left himself of it and there leave this aspect of him. Until the day he died he never recanted his belief that Irish was an essential part of an Irish nation. adaptation of Behind all the Rosmuck dialect of Irish. is a literal and beautiful. Irish. held. THE SINGER. That is why his English works rank so highly as literature.
jesting Genie English inspirations. 102 . Yeats. tion I can ever That as the only explanaimagine that solves the is mystery. Ireland Pearse a Censor in a free would have been implacable and righteous enough to have suppressed his own works in English were that necessary to save the Irish language. Wordsworth. who loves the Anglo-Irish tribe of writers may have hurried Pearse into English as a Some playful revenge. Milton. any justification He denied the of Anglo-Irish literature. works stands a full and flaming He would never admit. And strangest irony of all critics have agreed after reading his poems and plays that an independent Irish ! literature in English is possible as ! Pearse was nearly views on literature as in his orthodox in his views on religion. Inevitably the Irishmen and women who wrote in English would adopt English ideas. of the continued existence very possibility of such a literature. Francis Thompson. English models. he read and re-read. have explained before. Fate's hurry compelled him to build those noble niches in the temple of English literature. Shakespeare.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE his literary as I Gaelic inspiration.
it is unnecessary to say much. Chesterton has said that he die for England but not for the British might Empire so few things being worth the trouble of dying for. and the circumstances amongst which the bulk of that Among work was done. but not the sentiment. This did not prevent Pearse from quoting Chesterton with effect at an anti-conscription meeting. Of his method of work. Pearse changed the nation. we gather As one dimly that Pearse is great indeed. Suffice to point out that it was as concentrated as the man himself. to-day is not the time to do justice to P. his genius. As a writer.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE living English writers he had a admiration for Gilbert Chesterton and high Henry W. whom he admired for their love of freedom. H. a poet. Nevinson. and was written for the greater part amidst the arduous and exacting tasks of a schoolmaster and political leader combined. As 103 . but the views of the former upon the European war were not his. any more than to discuss his final adventure. his deeds. a preacher. Pearse. a stylist. In both cases we are too near him in time and too much under the spell of his personality.
the who own noble. whether fairy hosts Pearse. or writing Hill cell a farewell to all in his Arbour the simple and what a series of what complexity of character. and men. rhetorical for lit hill. and he was a man with men. or telling his followers in the Post Office that Dublin's name would him be splendid forever. he must stand out more and more as an beautiful things he loved ! 104 .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE made vocal a new political and movement he is greater yet. He never fell between the twin stools of literature and politics as so many knights of the pen in Eirinn have He was never melodramatic. Pearse firing the soul of his generation to stake all their mortal and immortal hopes to share with a last great battle for the Gaelic tradition. fallen. bitter. mere rhetoric's sake. Pearse reading the souls of children. aye. what stark and sheer sincerity were there For he was " a child with children. and human personality into words he is grandest of all. But popular has assuredly as one who who minds. lives has interpreted of the Gaeltacht." As the years pass. souls. has thrown so completely his austere. wondering still dance around mushrooms on some moonbarren.
not only for fact and manner. but even for his vivid Irish writer. am am lonelier than the Old Woman of Beare. 105 . All beautiful and works might be forgotten. but his greatest eminences were based. Irish and speech. Great my shame Ireland : My I I own children that sold their mother. but did one Irish poem survive he would be still immortal as one of the authentic voices of his life the Irish tradition. upon the impulse which came from sources and places where spoken Irish is a reality. I I am am Ireland older than the : Old Woman of Beare. Great I my glory : that bore Cuchulainn the : valiant. In English he soared to great heights. a mirror of the life of a people unspoiled and unbroken.tradition inspired him.
I understand the people. because 1 am of the people. am sorrowful with their sorrow. would find the latter implicit in losagan. Mhdthair. But some An misguided persons delight in drawing comparisons between the alleged materialism of James Connolly and the incontestable spirituality of Pearse. H. I am hungry The Rebel. with the noble ring Fool of Whitman in the verse. it is a gospel startlingly similar to 1 06 . with their desire.CHAPTER VII THE SOCIAL IDEALS OF PEARSE And I P. his social Moreover. Perhaps the quotation should be the last word on this question. To pass from Pearse's poems and stories to his social A wise reader ideals is an easy transition. in "The Rebel" and "The " in particular. Pearse gospel almost as specifically as he has defined his nationalist has defined gospel.
a fact of which these very misguided persons are most likely to remain ignorant. Connolly's life or writings.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE James Connolly's own. The two great causes of his heart were the ideals he In worshipped him with a religious fervour. love of freedom burned with the intensity of fanaticism. however. no poorer tribute could of ideals. be paid to Pearse in so far as this comparison betrays a remarkable misunderstanding of A student of his social ideals and outlook. devoted to the memories of both men. Were the comparison made by those anxious to strain any point against Labour in Ireland. will know of course exactly how much attention need be paid to the It would be easy charge of materialism. have fallen into this error of confusing a difference between philosophies of history into a clash In reality. one who knows the tendencies of the modern labour movement. and were lip-service 107 . indeed to prove that however firmly Connolly planted his feet upon the earth. it would be hardly worth notice. one who grasps adequately the Marxian philosophy upon which Connolly took his stand. Men and women. his gaze was ever turned towards the stars.
THE MAN CALLED PEARSE to the things of the spirit all that is needed to constitute a man an idealist many a page from his writings would demonstrate his claim beyond yea or nay. his Marxian philosophy. will be to recognize that a great idealist and a true poet considered the physical welfare of a people ranked equally with the firing of their minds or the care of their souls. so instead of submitting the shade of Connolly to the ordeal by quotation. Nor will it remain longer in doubt whether Pearse's views on social matters shall remain as obscure as were James Fintan Lalor's until Connolly rescued them from newspaper files. I prefer to consider what Pearse's views were concerning the bread nations no less than men To do so require if they are to live at all. He one summed Pearse up 1 as could have of those real 08 . or entering on a discussion of the valuable emphasis. his character as a Socialist propagandist. his realist outlook led him to place upon the hitherto neglected economic aspect of Irish history. Connolly's influence upon Pearse was profound and marked. and deliberate neglect. Only a mental snobbery goes in search of such a proof. libraries.
while those of us who knew both men are aware of the great affection which existed between them. Emphatically there was no essential clash between their respective ideals although each had travelled different paths to discover that the sole authentic nationalism is one which seeks to enthrone the Sovereign People. Pearse himself esteemed Connolly as one or the greatest and most forceful men that he had known.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE prophets who carve out the future they announce. James Connolly's views upon the social question are too well known to fall into 109 . and he might have felt some pardonable pride that upon national and social fundamentals the accents of the prophet were not at all dissimilar to his own. sentence in the Republican Proclamation reveals a declare the of common faith " by A right the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish : We destinies to be sovereign and indefeasible." Partisans may choose to stress either part of that declaration but in a hundred other equally unmistakable and unequivocal utterances Pearse and Connolly will rise to confute them.
THE SOVEREIGN And this is unquestionably true despite no . Like the Italian patriot. clear Pearse's social creed is equally and unambigious. that in a free nation the men and women of the nation must rule in fact as well as in name and. Pearse was one who loved the people. will be responsible. In poetic " The Rebel " accents that is the message of " The and Fool. that without vigilant care for the bodies of those men and women all rhetorical flourishes about the soul of Ireland are so much futile and beautiful cant. but circumstances very well tend to obscure its similarity in essentials with Connolly's teachings.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE obscurity. Should it so happen only a deliberate ignorance of Pearse's last published pamphlet. There he voices his belief with a fiery and noble eloquence that the true nationalist must be a deep humanist. not for nothing did he salute James Fintan Lalor as one of the Nation's Four Evangelists. above all. plays and poems to emerge in the clear and burning definition of PEOPLE." in more delicate and subtle ways that spirit of deep humanity may moves through his stories. THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE.
" he said during 1913. have The word Socialism had no terrors for him. his ideas on the social question became more pronounced and assumed the coherence of a system. for while his social sympathies were deep and instructive. "I agree that their strikes should be thorough and terrible. would be confusing and a crowning insult to dismiss him as a social reformer .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE the difficulty of attaching a label to Pearse's It would be inaccurate to call social ideals. The works of Lalor together with close observation of conditions of life in Cormacht to me 1 1 1 . his national work and sympathies had been more absorbing. Syndicalist or a Bolshevik. however. him a Socialist. Pearse was no sentimentalist and believed the axe should be laid to the root of social iniquity. but he was no Socialist in the sense of adhering to It any system of Socialist philosophy. " If the workers must have strikes." He would himself have promptly disclaimed any pretence to speak with a dogmatic authority upon these matters. Towards the end of his life. State His views upon Co-operation or GuildSocialism or the Distributive never been placed upon record.
Undoubtedly the Dublin Strike of whatever glimpses he caught (by no 1913. not even appreciating their chief as an artist. means few) of the great Labour upheavals which shook these countries from 1911 onward. " He has done more iin six months than the politicians and ourselves with all our talk. not to mention the A.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE and Dublin development considerably. Pacificism which seems to many inseparable from a Labour movement never appealed to him. he insisted on keeping the latter's son and name-sake at Sgoil Eanna." he used to say. " Larkin is a man who does things. Internationalism was to as ill him a word of omen as it is still to many Sinn Feiners and Republicans. From the first Jim Larkin attracted him and in spite of much adverse criticism. and Connolly's personal influence urged him more and more insistently to consider the issue. Misgivings troubled him. and to the last he found no use for Tolstoy or other apostles of peace. Connolly's militancy was more I 12 .'* As he wrote during 1913 his heart was with the men during that long and bitter struggle whence sprang the modern Labour moveassisted this ment in Ireland.O.H. no doubt.
and in such an obliteration he feared another imperialist triumph. writes somewhere." Pearse " who want universal peace. He protested that he was concerned with the nation as a whole and with no one class in the nation. since " From a Hermitage. " and so far they are sensible! The pre-war solidarity of the workers seemed to him to threaten to obliterate the lines of national demarcation. Pearse at peace with all the men of Ireland. " Even the Socialists. Unlike others who uttered similar sentiments he literally meant what he said. While Connolly cried scornfully that his quarrel was with the British Government in Ireland and that nationalist critics had confounded politics with geography in their attacks upon the assistance British trade unions had given the Irish Transport Workers. propose to reach it by universal war .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE to his liking." he republished in i 113 . Indeed he condemned with bitterness the inconsistency of those wished to be upon national grounds to financial assistance from British trade unions and accepted the British armed forces to preserve law and order. objected who In an outspoken article at the time.
since his instinct with the against landless man and the breadless man the lords of lands or the masters of millions. In the light of his experience as a schoolmaster. Larkin. the condition of city tenements. who has attempted to set a wrong thing right. traced even Labour troubles to foreign domination. but was responsive to battles for freedom beyond the shores of Ireland. inasmuch as the women feared neither hunger nor death. ! Anti-pacifist. the Women's Suffrage movement. He admired the spirit of heart went out more forward sections of the Labour movement in Great Britain. yet feels here is a matter in which he cannot is rest neutral. the underfed third of Dublin's population. which he pronounced the unconquerable. Nationalist of Nationalists. absorbed in Ireland as he was. and while . Pearse's not merely to the Dublin toilers or the landless of the West. when he recollects the ill-nourished children in the primary schools. is a good man and a brave man it all.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE stated the views he then held. he does not wonder that a great popular movement is astir beneath and crude and bloody as this protest may be in ways.
as so saying things always come with it be in Ireland some fine day. marvelled the victories at of the democracies. literary. and may enlighten some of his critics. Particularly he rejoiced in the the democratic forces spirit and progress of everywhere from 1911-1914. spending his life in we do bold and manifold the nation's service in Let ways. he saw through the canting hypocrisy which relies for its criticism of Socialism entirely upon the exploitation of religious and moral prejudices. countries so to achieve a similar fate for Lovers of freedom may detect a provincialism in this. daily "5 . Well would it be for Ireland tasks. a rush. educational. political.MAIN UA-bJLUJJ never avowedly a Socialist. well to repeat that he cared for the Irish nation as a whole. characteristic of Pearse. there be no mistake about Pearse's sincerity when he declared that he stood for the He transformed that faith into his Nation. that he could never would It was describe the fall of the Bastille without in other hoping piously Dublin Castle. In private conversation he would pronounce his passionate and considered convictions on the struggles of the women and the workers for freedom.
even an alien class. Pearse and Connolly. much as they may have differed upon questions of philosophy. their writings bear witness. he hailed his death as the death of all deaths he would have chosen had God offered him his choice. that the root of all evil lay in the conquest by a class. of the nation's lands and wealth and factors of wealth production ? Some. Marx. he killed himself by inches to reform Irish education and restore the Irish language to its place in the natural culture. they knew how amusingly superficial such a comparison is. contradiction a philosophy In this was offeree there a allied fatal to Connolly's teaching. whether swearing by St. Connolly worshipped at different shrines of 1*6 . His philosophy was with idealism. The thought and lies behind the foolish unreflecting comparison before noted. were not given to cant about the one's spiriAs tuality and the other's materialism. Mitchel or St.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE if his faith were less a platitude ! with others than it was with him Ultimately for Pearse the root of Irish evil lay in foreign domination. have certainly imagined there is obvious and flagrant contradiction.
than to Connolly's influence on Pearse as before mentioned was considerable. Pearse served freedom in Ireland but had fate brought him elsewhere. I dare believe his story would have been much the same. Years before a speech delivered by Connolly before debating society in defence of woman's suffrage had left an indelible impresSince then both sion on Pearse's memory. alone.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE the goddess freedom in two continents. a students' 117 . Connolly was. of these two men had known the other intimately. the most terrific spent his life at last as expression in a personality of the these revolutionary spirit that modern islands Pearse undoubtedly was the grandest incarnation in men of Irish blood of the ancient tradition of Irish nationhood. The ideal of both had different manifestations. and he would have wished in Ireland. historic. have known. The meeting of characters so diverse in many ways during the early months of 1914 Until then neither was. unlike many of the disciples of either. indeed. knew better stick fast in a morass of phrases. but these two men. indeed. but in the end it was one and the same.
to descend." and find again the precious things modern communities have lost whereve"r He insists factory chimneys rise. to quicken with his idealist faith the dying national consciousness and bring an ancient In chivalry and a new vision into the land. one striving Socialist ideas in Ireland and the general apathy as regards social issues. into the hell of Irish poverty America. to build up an army of labour. Robert Lynd has well said.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE had worked to spread in fields far apart. and Wonders often whether it could not have been avoided. prophet to foresee events must move henceforward in unwonted ways. In one of the first lectures he ever delivered. the other squandering without regret the glorious years of his youth to re-create an Irish literature. as Mr. due course the war in Europe threw them It would have required no bold together. decidedly 118 . His mind went back a to with the past to forget " the Christless cities of to-day. Modern civilization was no lovely growth in Pearse's opinion. to shake burning heart. repeatedly that civilization has taken a queer turn for the worse. he declared war upon it.
In An Barr Euadh he addressed an open letter of sarcastic advice to himself. inquiring why he inspires his friends with silent awe. Pearse to laugh at himself from time to time. and whether he would not do better to shun politics and stick to his schoolIn the following passage from mastering.MAJN (CALLED " The Intellectual Future In of the Gael. he stated with vehemence the case against at the moderns." read to the New Ireland Literary Society before he was twenty. uninteland it seems that one Do the millions that make up 119 the population . H. to dictate laws : Revising his writings a later stage he a bit of a prig. countries. the lecture just mentioned we find a very early expression of his consistent attitude towards the world of to-day " It is no doubt a glorious thing to rule over many subject peoples. accused himself of being " until he became a man of wrath. but if to do these we must become Godless race the natural and necessary consequence of is the other then let us have none of them." to far-off cargoes clime beneath the sun things lectual. to receive every day of rich merchandise from every . a soulless. It was like P.
the United States. intellect 1 20 . Let us cherish them. live the life intended for man ? .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE of modern nations the millions that toil and sweat from year's end to year's end in the factories and mines of England. in commerce. capacity for loving the beautiful things of nature." The mission of the Gael he contends. . the Continent. . a capacity for Intellect worshipping what is grand and noble in man. but to those two precious and soul. the bequest of and when we are a power on earth again. What are the hero- memories of the past to them ? Are they one whit the better because great men have Were the lived and wrought and died ? destiny of the Gael no higher than theirs. The whole essay is an indictment of modern literature inheritances. had he disappeared from the earth centuries ago ! and soul. let us cling to them they have come down to us through : : the storms of the centuries our hero-sires of old . we shall owe our power not to fame in war. will be an intellectual one. better for him would it have been. let us not cast these things we have yet them from us in the mad rush of modern life. in statesmanship.
the Gael in his turn must fire the minds of men with new beauty. old Irish. Pearse in tea ideals as did the Greek in But the world did not weary his library only. too. to salute He with Connolly the risen people. Sagas swayed Europe to the extent in .THE MAN CALLED PEARSE and decadent. announced his brotherly union with 121 . ancient Irish literature must bring new blood into the intellectual system of the world. that had the algebras. new with Readers of An Macaomh will remember Six his scathing description of the ideals Commandments of dissatisfaction Respectable Society. or when he took it. By an easy transition Pearse passed from this mood to proclaim the thing that was coming. Some new source of inspiration must be opened up for the moderns. the Renaissance has that inspiration would have saved many a righteous and noble cause. new as senile chivalry. An heroic tale was more essentially a factor education than all the propositions of the story of Joan of Arc more Euclid with meaning than a thousand charged He claimed. This with current to seek a and institutions drove him new educa- tional inspiration in a return to the Sagas. his day.
This pamphlet P. Davis. beyond a shadow of doubt. Mitchel and Lalor. and in a smaller degree THE RE-CONQUEST OF IRELAND. and that the national freedom both strove for extended to a people's wealth and lands as well as to their liberties and Governmental systems." faith. the concluding one of a series where he re-states the gospel of Nationalism as defined by Tone. he recorded these convictions in written words before the storm broke and he knew now or never was the as opportune moment to proclaim his social Thereafter ne had " no more to say. His argument might have been expressed in " Connolly's words Slavery is a thing of : the soul before it embodies 122 itself in the . H. upon the necessity of physical freedom to preserve the spiritual fact and vindicate the tradition. upon the separatist tradition in history. have left their mark upon The is Sovereign People.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE Connolly was a union of thought as well deeds. Therein he examines the lives and teachings of the two last. Once and for all. LABOUR IN IRISH HISTORY. In the previous booklets he had insisted upon the spiritual fact of nationality. an explicit statement of Pearse's social ideals.
taking on the whining colour of promise. 19. I assert that before a nation can be reduced to slavery its soul must have been cowed. When the soul com- conquered the articulate expression of the voice of the nation loses its defiant accent and. The unconquered its soul asserts itself and declares more important than the of the body the conquered soul ever pleads first that the body may be saved even if the soul be damned.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE material things of the world. foe of is its national existence. O'Donovan Rossa becoming possessed of it. does the soul of a nation cease to urge forward its to resist the shackles of slavery only when the soul so surrenders does any part of the body consent to make truce with the body . In fitful moments of spirisanctity to be interests . intimidated or corrupted. intimidated or corrupted by the oppressor..'* and such as men Rossa Souvenir. . p. For generations this conflict between the sanctity of the soul and the interests of the body has been waged in Ireland. Only when so cowed.. tual exaltation Ireland accepted that idea. 123 . became thenceforth the living embodiment of that gospel. begins to plead for the body.
and wealthinstruments to secure to all strictly producing qual rights and liberties. Pearse boldly faces the terrible phrase. its resources. *' the material basis of freedom. Davitt." as Lalor. is as essential to a community's continued existence as food is essential to the continued existence of the individual. but are as necessary to secure a sane and vigorous life Furtherto a nation as food is to the man. and Connolly had faced it before him. while the nation is under as strong a moral obligation to pursue and guarantee the personal welfare of each man and woman within the nation. more. This basis. he argues. as it is to respect the sovereign rights of other nations. as the nation deems fit.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE necessity of the complete control of the nation's material resources by the nation and for the nation. he claims. It must exercise its right of control over all its soil. the nation's sovereignty extends to those material resources to be used. j no more or no less in the physical order to insist He proceeds upon the than the whole men and women of Ireland. 124 . The national material resources. its wealth. are no more the nation than a man's food is the man.
who held separation valueless unless it placed. not certain rich men merely. large He salutes " the more virile labour organiza- tions of to-day " as heirs to Lalor's teaching. this short sketch of Here may conclude the social ideals of P. nor do vague accusations of anarchism or materialism prevent him from announcing himself as one who is heart to heart with them. he agrees with Lalor.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE What is Pearse's definition of a nation ? A Sovereign People also ! His ideal mere political demanded this sovereignty. as the unpurchasable and unfaltering guardians of national liberties may say with truth of their nation that it is the family in knit together by ties human and kindly. In effect. in the fullest degree. H. Pearse. the common people whom he hails with enthusiasm and pride. but a sovereignty which extends to the soil was no although he and factories of Ireland that the stubborn and unterrified working class. but this of little use to those who do not recognize the democratic instinct behind every line Pearse wrote. but the actual people of Ireland in effectual possession of the soil and resources of their country. Connolly mere formal outline is 125 .
lying 126 . His views were he could not bear to see a He was known child or an animal suffer. Many people in Ireland dread war because Ireland has not known they do not know it. refused to eat a certain kind of shell-fish when he had learned that was boiled He was a strong opponent of capital punishment. Nevertheless. to weep over a dead kitten. he was always a warrior and never expressed his mind so well as in the words he wrote of the present war. It is the things that make war necessary that are evil. and once stopped gardening for a whole day because he had that killed a humane worm it by accident. the that policy formulae that wars overthrow. He alive.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE recognized it and confessed to his friends that he had always been attracted towards Pearse. The tyrannies that wars break. Those of us who knew Pearse well know how profound was instinct is his belief that the popular so ever right. terrible thin. in whom he felt some quality above the average of Nationalist politicians. but " War is a patriotism moved the peoples. crying moved the governments. the hypocrisies that wars strip naked are evil. but war is not an evil thing.
And she will. . the blessings of peace ? When war comes to Ireland she must welcome it as she would welcome the Angel of God. the common ownership of the 127 . even sought to establish whether Pearse was If Socialism be. hear often. the Socialist spent a life-time in preaching system that James Connolly and applying in with equal success the Ireland disillusioned by the Parnell split. seramessengers and cherubim blow trumpets before phim heralded by terrific Assuredly this is near to Connolly's view that just wars should be fought in and unjust wars fought against. But . as we a Socialist or not. Christ's peace its feet is beautiful are it is lovely in its coming." eye to eye with James Connolly upon the question of Socialism. . inasmuch as Pearse did not adhere to. in the cities of Britain or from end to It is not end of the American continent. . the Ireland hostile to Larkin's methods and propaganda. It is not claimed here that Pearse saw it. nor had he indeed studied. on the mountains. the Ireland swept off her feet by the European War.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE the exhilaration of war for over a hundred Yet who will say she has known years.
unlike Connolly. refuses Pearse himself several places dreaded certain his writings. throughout aspects of modern Socialist teachings. then it should be difficult to refuse the designation to the man who wrote The Sovereign People. Many Socialists will be no doubt equally prompt to find evasions and unorthodoxies in his statement of his social creed. They will. and deem Irish destines unfettered and uncontrolled a mere rhetorical phrase until another Pearse rises to confuse them. Certainly they would never convert the idiots who babble about Connolly's materialism and Pearse's idealism without tremendous In Pearse they will find emphasis indeed. They will prefer to misunderstand the idealistic and nationalist inspiration which swayed him. distribution and exchange by and in the interest of the whole community. Perhaps the war will avert the need for another Pearse to confute them. and the designation in He would no doubt have damned them with the rest of modern evil. 128 . continue to emphasise the phrases in the Republican Proclamation anent the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE means of wealth-production.
whether we shall all dismiss to see this day " ! K 129 . Pearse. " Thank God. For even when we have returned to the Sagas and burned our rent-books as Pearse advised problematical Karl Marx as quite so finished an instrument of the devil as Pearse dismissed Adam Smith. in short. let us have no more foolish comparisons or sickly idealisms which have been greater cloaks for evil than all the materialisms in history. is. us. when a manly figure in green grasped the other's hand beneath the Post Office porch. Two men in Dublin knew that once before.THE MAN CALLED PEARSE that breath of freedom's eternal spirit which has moulded all their systems and creeds. misunderstand his greatness. But. Pearse's social ideals were. In any case. it at least. we have lived crying. remember what or we shall Let us. we shall have travelled far beyond assuredly enduring social unrighteousness because men and nations do not live by bread alone.
Rfquitscat. the humanity. MahafFy condensed in writings. in of shaking the gentle dreamer hope legend and the sombre. have amplified into a book. I the I I am satisfied. a phrase. he was man. And a it : will suffice to end as began upon the note Pearse never was a legend. In the foregoing pages I have endeavoured to deal with some aspects of his life and So ends this ideals as I knew them from daily intimacy. the real greatness of Pearse. brought a hint of the sincerity. implacable fanatic If to one reader I have nonsense alike. the genius. but not the Man Called Pearse. for such men do not end.CONCLUSION book. from a study of his What Dr. from conversations. 130 .
R8 Ryan.DA 965 P4. Desmond The man called Pearse PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE FROM THIS CARDS OR SLIPS POCKET UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY .
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.