By Thomas D'Arcy McGee
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Extra info for A Popular History of Ireland: from the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics
Pharamond and the Franks had sway on the Netherlands; Hengist and the Saxons on South Britain; Clovis had led his countrymen across the Rhine into Gaul; the Vandals had established themselves in Spain and North Africa; the Ostrogoths were supreme in Italy. The empire of barbarism had succeeded to the empire of Polytheism; dense darkness covered the semi-Christian countries of the old Roman empire, but happily daylight still lingered in the West. Patrick, in good season, had done his work. And as sometimes, God seems to bring round His ends, contrary to the natural order of things, so the spiritual sun of Europe was now destined to rise in the West, and return on its light-bearing errand towards the East, dispelling La its path, Saxon, Frankish, and German darkness, until at length it reflected back on Rome herself, the light derived from Rome.
794), these signs and wonders were superstitiously supposed to have been the precursors of that far more terrible and more protracted visitation. D. 797) they returned in greater force, and swept rapidly along the coast of Meath; it was reserved for his successors of the following centuries to face the full brunt of this new national danger. But before encountering the fierce nations of the north, and the stormy period they occupy, let us cast back a loving glance over the world-famous schools and scholars of the last two centuries.
The intellectual leadership of western Europe--the glorious ambition of the greatest nations--has been in turn obtained by Italy, Prance, Britain and Germany. From the middle of the sixth to the middle of the eighth century, it will hardly be disputed that that leadership devolved on Ireland. All the circumstances of the sixth century helped to confer it upon the newly converted western isle; the number of her schools, and the wisdom, energy, and zeal of her masters, retained for her the proud distinction for two hundred years.
A Popular History of Ireland: from the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics by Thomas D'Arcy McGee