The Aran Islands By John M. Synge





































































































 -  Each old woman, as she took
her turn in the leading recitative, seemed possessed for the moment
with a profound - Page 40
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Each Old Woman, As She Took Her Turn In The Leading Recitative, Seemed Possessed For The Moment With A Profound Ecstasy Of Grief, Swaying To And Fro, And Bending Her Forehead To The Stone Before Her, While She Called Out To The Dead With A Perpetually Recurring Chant Of Sobs.

All round the graveyard other wrinkled women, looking out from under the deep red petticoats that cloaked them, rocked themselves with the same rhythm, and intoned the inarticulate chant that is sustained by all as an accompaniment.

The morning had been beautifully fine, but as they lowered the coffin into the grave, thunder rumbled overhead and hailstones hissed among the bracken.

In Inishmaan one is forced to believe in a sympathy between man and nature, and at this moment when the thunder sounded a death-peal of extraordinary grandeur above the voices of the women, I could see the faces near me stiff and drawn with emotion.

When the coffin was in the grave, and the thunder had rolled away across the hills of Clare, the keen broke out again more passionately than before.

This grief of the keen is no personal complaint for the death of one woman over eighty years, but seems to contain the whole passionate rage that lurks somewhere in every native of the island. In this cry of pain the inner consciousness of the people seems to lay itself bare for an instant, and to reveal the mood of beings who feel their isolation in the face of a universe that wars on them with winds and seas.

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