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Its

was

a branch of the Celtic or Gaelic. It was the language of Ireland for over three thousand years, and today it is the most ancient living language of Europe. history brings us back to the dawn of ages. The Celts were the first of the human family to inhabit Europe, and the Irish language is the purest and best cultivated branch of the Celtic. This language that was polished, beautified and perfected in Ireland, brought from Spain 1,300 years before the Christian era by the sons of Milesius, Heber and Hermon, and their mother, Scota. The sons of Milesius and their descendants reigned over Ireland with undisputed sway for a period of 2,400 years, or to the Anglo-Norman invasion. A long line of pagan monarchs ruled over Ireland for seventeen centuries, with a regard for human rights and intellectual advancement not found in contemporaneous history. Thus literature was fostered and encouraged by benign laws formulated by Ollamh Fodlha nearly one thousand years before the Christian era, and, perfected by Cormac McArt, Irish became a language O rare grace and vigor and the polished medium of every form of literary composition.

The Irish were a lettered people when the neighboring countries were steeped in darkness and ignorance. St. Patrick came to Ireland in 432, and Kings, Princes, bards, druids, and brehous bowed to the cross. Countless institutions of learning were established, and in less than a century after St. Patrick's death Ireland was known as the light of Europe.

For three hundred years-the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries-Ireland contained the leading educational institutions of Europe. Her schools were numerous and celebrated. Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Clonard, Cashel, Lismore, Clonfert, Derry and Bangor were among the best known. The attendance at these institutions ranged from 3,000 to

7,000. Seekers of science and knowledge came from Britain and the continent to study in these great schools and universities of the West.

The golden age of Irish literature terminated with the Danish invasion, about the year 800. A fearful struggle was waged with these barbarians for a period of 200 years, and be it known that the Danes made it a special part of their savage warfare to burn and destroy all books and records that came within their reach. They were demons of destruction. Armagh was burned and ransacked twelve times. Clonfert and Clonmacnoise received five visitations. At Bangor they pillaged the monastery and murdered the abbot and 900 monks. With these dangers to contend with the schools of Ireland dwindled away and the Anglo-Norman invasion soon followed, rendering literary labors difficult. The crowning calamity, however, to Irish literature was the Protestant reformation, which commenced by the confiscation and destruction of over 800 institutions; in fact, all the important institutions of learning and religion on the island, and terminated in the dark penal days that surpassed anything ever inflicted on mankind. Thus, from the Danish invasion to the dark days of the penal laws, a period of nearly 1,000 years, the destruction of books was ar most continual; yet in spite of all thrs destructive process the remains of Irish literature are truly gigantic. The qual ity, the quantity, and the variety astonish the scholars of our age. It is stated on good authority that there are over 1,000 volumes of unpublished manuscripts in Trinity College and the Royal Irish Academy. "In no spot on earth of the same size," says Thebaud, "had so many interesting books been written and treasured up." It is a singular fact not generally known," says Bethan, "tnat the most ancient European manuscrips now existing are in the Irish language, and the most ancient Latin man

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terial for novels, poems, symphonic poems, and operas. We read of such books as "Arthurian Scotland," "The Fiddler of Carne"from which quotations were made. in "The Cambrian" for last May"Lyra Celtica," "The Shadow of Arvor," by J. S. Stuart Glennie, Ernest Rhys, and Edith Wingate Rinder, respectively-books published by Patrick, Geddes & Colleagues, of Edinburg, in their "Celtic Library" series. Also, "Poetry of the Celtic Races," by Ernest Renan, and "Poem in Dramas," a fourfold work entitled "Merlin," "Guenevere," "Gallahad," and "Taliesin," by the late and lamented Richard Hovey-the latest of the Arthurian singers. When we consider the rich material that has enabled Owen Rhoscomyl to write his interesting novels, “The Maid of Ynys Galon," "Battlement and Tower," "For the White Rose of Arno," "The Lady of Castlemarch," and of Allan Raine in the production of "Mifanwy," Torn Sails," "By Berwyn Banks," and in his latest "The Welsh Witch," also Theodore Watts-Dunton's "Aylwin," copies of which will surely find their way into every intelligent Welsh home-it is time we should earnestly begin the history of Welsh history, literature and art. Such practical and illustrated textbooks as has been lately published by Longmans, Green & Co.Ernest Rhys' "Readings in Welsh History," and Dr. P. W. Joyce's "Child's History of Ireland," fur

nish us with the best opportunities for this purpose. It is known that these text-books are selling by the thousands in this country alone.

The most interesting and valuable book on Welsh history for the general reader, young and old, is this text-book by Ernest Rhys, one of the most active and authoritative Welshmen of letters. Not only is it written by an eminent scholar, but it is admirably adapted to the purposes for which it was designed. Beginning with the early forefathers of the Welsh, it sketches the history and traditions of the nation through its alternating periods of flourishing and languor. There are biographical sketches of eminent personages, and some delightful old legends which are extremely fascinating, and give us a most favorable impression of the author's taste and literary talent. Mr. Rhys needs no introduction to American read

ers.

His many works are well and favorably known, more especially his charming "Welsh Ballads." He is also prominent in Eisteddfod affairs, and has been honored with a bardic degree, "Rhys Goch Dyved." There has long been a place for just such a book as Mr. Rhys has given us, one which presents a concise, general sketch of the history and progress of the Welsh people, in simple language. The book concludes with a most interesting chapter on the Universities of Wales, and its other institutions of learning. The illustrations in the volume are numerous, and admirably selected,

being pictures of historical places, antiquities, manuscripts, etc. The volume could with much profit be used as a reading book in our public schools.

Dr. P. W. Joyce, the eminent Irish scholar and historian, has contributed much to Irish history and literature. Among his best known works are "A Short History of Ireland, From the Earliest Times to 1608;" "A Concise History of Ireland, from the Earliest Times to 1837;" "Outlines of the History of Ireland;" "The Origin and History of Irish Names and Places;" "Old Celtic Romances;" "Ancient Irish Music," and his especially popular

and latest "Child's History of Ireland," and "Reading Book in Irish. History."

Dr. Joyce's "Child History of Ireland" was adopted not long since as a supplementary reader in the public schools of Chicago. The "Reading Book in Irish History" contains a mixture of Irish history, biography and romance. A knowledge of the history of the country is conveyed partly in special historical sketches, partly in notes under the illustrations, and partly through the biography of important personages, who flourished at various periods, from St. Bridget down to the great Earl of Kildare.

GOOD WILL MISSION. Sisseton Agency, South Dakota.

In the song of Hiawatha, the poet represents Gitchie Manitou, The Mighty, as calling together all the tribes from the east, the west, the northern lakes and rivers, and from "the land of the Dacotahs," and after telling them he is weary of their "quarrels and bloodshed," of their "wranglings and dissensions," he adds:

"I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the nations,
Who shall guide you and shall

teach you,
Who shall toil and suffer with
you.

If you listen to his counsels
You will multiply and prosper;
If his warnings pass unheeded
You will fade away and perish!"

Neither prophet nor poet ever spoke words more true, for to toil and to suffer has indeed been the lot of those Christian men and women, who, for many years have been striving to teach to these dwellers "in the land of the Dacotahs," that peace and good will which is learned only through a knowledge of the gospel of Christ.

These missionaries of the Cross, while enduring hardships, suffering want, facing dangers, and braving death itself, yet quelled tumults, healed the sick, and preached the gospel, and to them is due far more than to the soldier, the present peaceful and civilized condition of the once warlike Dakotas; and

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TEACHERS AND PUPILS OF GOOD WILL INDIAN INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL, MAY 30, 1901.

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