Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Glories of Ireland by Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox

Part 7 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Over here in England I'm helpin' wi' the hay,
An' I wish I was in Ireland the livelong day;
Weary on the English, an' sorra take the wheat!
Och! Corrymeela an' the blue sky over it.

D'ye mind me now, the song at night is mortial hard to raise,
The girls are heavy-goin' here, the boys are ill to plase;
When ones't I'm out this workin' hive, 'tis I'll be back again--
Aye, Corrymeela in the same soft rain.

Here, too, should be named Jane Barlow, whose poems and stories are
faithful imaginative transcripts of the face of nature and the hearts
of men as she knew them in Connemara. Finally there is William Butler
Yeats, who, on the whole, is the representative man of the Revival.
Except in the translator's sphere, his writings have given him a
place in almost all the activities of this movement. As a lyric poet,
he has expressed the moods of peasant and patriot, of mystic,
symbolist, and quietist, and it is safe to say that in lyric poetry
no one of his generation writing in English is his superior. We
cannot resist the pleasure of quoting here from his "Innisfree",
which won the praise of Robert Louis Stevenson, and which, if not the
high mark of Yeats's achievement, is still a flawless thing in its
way:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnets' wings.

In this place, and for convenience sake, it may be permitted to speak
of aspects of Yeats's work other than that by virtue of which he is
to be classed with the group we have just considered. In his
narrative poem, "The Wanderings of Usheen", as well as in his plays
and lyrics, he is of the best of those--among them we may mention by
the way Dr. John Todhunter, Nora Hopper (Mrs. W.H. Chesson), and
William Larminie--who have revealed to our day the strange beauty of
the ancient creations of the Gaelic imagination. In prose he has
written short stories, a novelette, _John Sherman and Dhoya_, and
essays that reveal a subtle critical insight, and a style of
beautiful finish and grace, suggestive of the style of Shelley's
_Defence of Poetry_. Yeats's plays constitute a considerable and an
important part of his work, but these must be reserved for treatment
elsewhere in this book. In prefaces to anthologies of prose and verse
of his editing, in the pages of reviews, and elsewhere, he appears as
the chief apologist of the aims of the Literary Revival, and in
particular of the methods of the dramatists of the Revival. Whatever
he has touched he has lifted into the realm of poetry, and this is in
large measure true of his prose, which proceeds from the poet's point
of view and breathes the poetic spirit. A man of rare versatility, a
finished artist with a scrupulous artistic conscience, he has done
work of high and sustained quality, and is certain to exert a good
and lasting influence upon the literature of his country.

In a literary movement in the "Isle of Saints", we look naturally for
religious poetry, and we do not look in vain. This poetry, chiefly
Catholic, has a quality of its own as distinctive as that of the
writers of the group we have just left. Now it voices a naive,
devoted simplicity of Christian faith; now it attains to a high and
keen spirituality; now it is mystic and pagan. Among the religious
poets, Lionel Johnson easily stands first--perhaps the Irish poet of
firmest fibre and most resonant voice of his generation. A note of
high courage and of spiritual triumph rings through his verse, even
from the shadow of the wings of the dark angel that gives a title to
one of the saddest of his poems. Often he strikes a note of genuine
religious ecstasy and exaltation rarely heard in English, as in "Te
Martyrum Candidatus":

Ah, see the fair chivalry come, the companions of Christ!
White Horsemen, who ride on white horses, the Knights of God!
They, for their Lord and their Lover who sacrificed
All, save the pleasure of treading where He first trod.

These through the darkness of death, the dominion of night,
Swept, and they woke in white places at morning tide:
They saw with their eyes, and sang for joy of the sight,
They saw with their eyes the Eyes of the Crucified.

Among the men of the Revival, no personality is stronger or more
attractive than that of G.W. Russell--"AE", as he is always
called--who may be regarded as the hero of George Moore's _Hail and
Farewell_, and who alone in that gallery of wonderful pen-portraits
looks forth with complete amiability. He is a pantheist, a mystic,
and a visionary, with what would seem a literal and living faith in
many gods, though strongly prepossessed in favor of the ancient
divinities of the Gael, now long since in exile. Impressive and
striking by a certain spiritual integrity, so to say, "AE" unites
gifts and faculties seldom combined. He is a poet of rare subtlety, a
painter in whose genius so good a judge as George Moore believed, and
a most practical man of affairs, who, as assistant to Sir Horace
Plunkett, held up the latter's hands in his labors on behalf of
co-operative dairies and the like. His poems have their roots in a
pantheism which half reveals the secrets of an indwelling spirit,
speaking alike "from the dumb brown lips of earth" and from the
passions of the heart of man.

Of novelists, both men and women, the Irish Revival can, in the words
of "Father O'Flynn", offer a charming variety, and among their novels
and short stories are some books of high quality and not a few in a
high degree interesting and entertaining. To Standish O'Grady we turn
for tales, with a kind of bardic afflatus about them, of the hero age
of legendary Ireland--tales which drew attention to the romantic
Celtic past of myth and saga, and must have been an inspiration to
more than one writer of the younger generation. In contrast to the
broad epic sweep and remote romantic backgrounds of O'Grady, are the
stories of Jane Barlow, whose _genre_ pictures of peasant life in the
west of Ireland, like her poems mentioned above, show how
sympathetically she understands the ways of thinking, feeling, and
acting of her humble compatriots. A like minute and faithful
knowledge is evident in the work of two story-tellers of the north,
Seumas MacManus and Shan Bullock. The former's outlook is humorous
and pathetic. He tells fairy and folk tales well, and is a past
master of the dialect and idiom that combine to give his old-wives'
yarns an honest smack of the soil. Let him who doubts it read
_Through the Turf Smoke_ or _Donegal Fairy Stories_. If Shan Bullock
walks the same fields as Seumas MacManus, he does so with a different
air and with a more definite purpose. Sometimes he turns to the
squireens, small farmers, or small country gentry, and lays bare the
hardness and narrowness that are a part of their life. Or, again, in
pictures whose sadness and gloom are lightened, to be sure, with
humor or warmed with love, he studies the necessitous life of the
poor. _The Squireen, The Barrys_, and _Irish Pastorals_ are some of
his representative books.

In the novel as in poetry the ladies have worked side by side with
their literary brethren. Miss Hermione Templeton, in her _Darby
O'Gill_, and elsewhere, has written pleasantly and gracefully of the
fairies. In a very different vein are the novels of the
collaborators, Miss Somerville and "Martin Ross" (Miss Violet
Martin), over which English and American readers have laughed as
heartily as their own fellow countrymen. _The Experiences of an Irish
R.M._remains, perhaps, their best book. The work of these ladies, be
it said by the way, is in the line of descent from that group of
older Irish novelists who wrote in the spirit of the devil-may-care
gentry, the novelists from Maxwell to Lover and Lever, who were ever
questing "divilment and divarshion," and who in their moods of
boisterous fun forgot the real Irishman, and presented in his place a
caricature--him of the Celtic screech and the exhilarating whack of
the shillelagh, the famous stage Irishman who has made occasional
appearances in English literature from the time of Shakespeare's
_Henry V._, on through the works of Fielding and the plays of
Sheridan, to the present moment of writing.

Of a very different stripe from the work of the collaborating ladies
just mentioned are the novels of the recently deceased Canon
Sheehan--notable among them _Luke Delmege_ and _My New
Curate_--rambling, diffuse, and a trifle provincial from the artistic
standpoint, but interesting as studies of manners, and for the
pictures they afford of the priesthood of modern Ireland in the
pleasantest light. If the stories of Miss Somerville and "Martin
Ross" are related to the comic stories of the old novelists of the
gentry, those of Canon Sheehan must be associated with the work of
the older novelists who wrote more or less in the spirit of the
peasantry, that is, with Gerald Griffin, the Banim brothers, and
William Carleton, less famous than he deserves to be by his _Traits
and Stories_ and a long line of novels and tales.

No survey of Irish novelists, however brief, can afford to forget the
Rev. James Owen Hannay ("George A. Birmingham"), canon of St.
Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, whose work is as distinctively
Protestant in its point of view as Father Sheehan's is Catholic. His
more substantial novels are a careful transcript of the actualities
of Irish life today, and in them one meets, incognito but easily
recognizable, many Irishmen now prominent in literature or politics
in Ireland. Of his numerous books may be mentioned _The Seething Pot,
Hyacinth_, and _Northern Iron_.

Finally there is George Moore, whose enlistment in the Revival was
responsible for the novel _The Lake_ and the short stories of _The
Unfilled Field_, and for a largely autobiographic and entirely
indiscreet trilogy entitled _Hail and Farewell_, the separate volumes
appearing as _Ave, Salve, Vale_, and the last of them as late as
1914. George Moore's anti-Catholic bias is strong, but his is the pen
of an accomplished artist. He has the story-teller's beguiling gift,
and he bristles with ideas which his books cleverly embody and to
which the dramatic moments of his novels give point and relief.

Not the least important work of the Irish Literary Revival has been
done by translators, who have put into English the old Gaelic
romances and the folklore still current among the little remnant of
Irish-speaking country folk. Dr. Douglas Hyde is in the forefront of
this group. He it was who organized the Gaelic League, a band of
enthusiasts zealous for the revival of the Irish language both as a
spoken tongue and as the medium for a national literature, and eager,
also, to breed up a race of Celtic scholars. The lyrics in his _Love
Songs of Connacht_ are full of grace, tenderness, and fire, and
indicate the kind of gems which he and his fellow laborers have added
to the treasury of poetry in English. But it is Lady Gregory,
especially in her _Cuchulain of Muirthemne_ and _Gods and Fighting
Men_, who more than any other has found a way to stir the blood of
readers of to-day by the romantic hero tales of Ireland. From the
racy idiom of the dwellers on or about her own estate in Galway, she
happily framed a style that gave her narratives freshness, novelty,
and a flavor of the soil. Upon the work of scholars she drew heavily
in making her own renderings, but she has justified all borrowings by
breathing into her books the breath and the warmth of life, and her
adaptation to epic purposes of the dialect of those who still retain
the expiring habit of thinking in Gaelic was a real literary
achievement. She has, indeed, in sins of commission and of omission,
taken liberties with the old legends, but this may render them not
less, and perhaps more, delightful to the general reader, however
just complaints may be from the standpoint of the scholar.

Even so brief a sketch as this may suffice to bring home to those not
already aware of it a realization of the delights to be drawn from
the creations of a living literary movement, which is perhaps the
most notable of its generation, and which has gathered together a
remarkable group of poets, novelists, and dramatists, who, as men and
women, are a most interesting company--a fact to which even George
Moore's _Hail and Farewell_, with its quick eye for defects and
foibles and its ironic wit, bears abundant testimony.

REFERENCES:

Brooke and Rolleston: Treasury of Irish Poetry (New York and London,
1900); Krans: William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Revival
(New York and London, 1904); Yeats: Ideas of Good and Evil (London,
1903); Moore: Hail and Farewell, 3 vols. (London and New York,
1912-1914); Lady Gregory: Our Irish Theatre (New York and London,
1913); Weygandt: Irish Plays and Playwrights (New York, 1913); Yeats:
Introduction to Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (London,
1889), Representative Irish Tales (London, 1890), Book of Irish Verse
(London, 1895). There is much of interest, though chiefly as regards
the drama, in the reviews, Beltaine (London and Dublin, 1899-1900)
and Samhain (London and Dublin, 1901-1903).

IRISH WRITERS OF ENGLISH

By P.J. LENNOX, B.A., Litt.D.

The Gaelic literature of Ireland is not only of wonderful volume and
priceless worth, but is also of great antiquity, whereas the English
literature of Ireland, while also of considerable extent and high
value, is of comparatively modern origin. The explanation of this
fact is that for more than six centuries after the Anglo-Norman
invasion of 1169 the Irish language continued to be both the spoken
and, with Latin, the written organ of the great mass of the Irish
people, and that for nearly the whole of that period those English
settlers who did not become, as the well-known phrase has it, more
Irish than the Irish themselves by adopting the native language,
customs, and sentiments, were kept too busy in holding, defending,
and extending their territory to devote themselves to literary
pursuits. Hence we need not wonder if, leaving out of account merely
technical works like Lionel Power's treatise on music, written in
1395, we find that the English literature of Ireland takes its
comparatively humble origin late in the sixteenth century. For more
than two centuries thereafter, owing to the fact that the native
Irish, because they were Catholics, were debarred by law from an
education, the writing of English remained almost exclusively in the
hands of members or descendants of the Anglo-Irish colony, who, with
scarcely an exception, were Protestants and had as their principal
Irish seat of learning the then essentially Protestant institution,
Trinity College, Dublin. Alien in race and creed though these writers
mainly were, they have nevertheless spread a halo of glory around
their adopted country, and have won the admiration, and often the
affection, of Irishmen of every shade of religious and political
belief. For example, there is no Irishman who is not proud of
Molyneux and Swift, of Goldsmith and Burke, of Grattan and Sheridan.
From the nineteenth century onward Irish Catholics have taken their
full share in the production of English literature. Here, however, it
will be necessary to consider the writers of none but the sixteenth,
seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, as in other pages of this
volume considerable attention has been given to those of later date.

I. SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

Richard Stanyhurst (1547-1618), born in Dublin but educated at
Oxford, is the first representative of the sixteenth century with
whom we are called upon to deal. He belonged to a family long settled
in or near Dublin and of some note in municipal annals. Under the
direction of the Jesuit martyr, Edmund Campion, Stanyhurst wrote a
_Description_, as well as a portion of the _History_, of Ireland for
Holinshed's _Chronicles_, published in 1577. He also translated
(1582) the first four books of _Virgil his Aeneis_ into quantitative
hexameters, on the unsound pedantic principles which Gabriel Harvey
was at that time trying so hard to establish in English prosody; but
the experiment, which turned out so badly in the master's hands,
fared even worse in those of the disciple, and Stanyhurst's lines
will always stand as a noted specimen of inept translation and
ridiculous versification. Equally inartistic was his version of some
of the Psalms in the same metre. In Latin he wrote a profound
commentary on Porphyry, the Neo-Platonic mystic. Stanyhurst, who was
uncle to James Ussher, the celebrated Protestant archbishop of
Armagh, was himself a convert to Catholicity, and on the death of his
second wife became a priest and wrote in Latin some edifying books of
devotion. Two of his sons joined the Jesuit order. He died at
Brussels in 1618. Stanyhurst viewed Ireland entirely from the English
standpoint, and in his _Description_ and _History_ is, consciously or
unconsciously, greatly biased against the native race.

If we may take it as certain that modern investigation is correct in
asserting that Thomas Campion was a native of Dublin, a notable
addition will have been made to the ranks of Irish-born writers of
English at this period. Thomas Campion (1567-1620), wherever born,
spent most of his life in London. He was a versatile genius, for,
after studying law, he took up medicine, and, although practising as
a physician, he yet found time to write four masques and many lyrics
and to compose a goodly quantity of music. Some of his songs appeared
as early as 1591. Among his works is a treatise entitled
_Observations in the Art of English Poesie_ (1602), in which, strange
to say, he, a born lyrist, advocated unrhymed verse and quantitative
measures, but fortunately his practice did not usually square with
his theory. His masques were written for occasions, such as the
marriage of Lord Hayes (1607), the nuptials of the Princess Elizabeth
and the Elector Palatine (1613), and the ill-starred wedding of
Somerset and the quondam Countess of Essex in the same year. In these
masques are embedded some of his best songs; others of his lyrics
appeared in several _Bookes of Ayres_ between 1601 and 1617. Many of
them were written to music, sometimes music of his composing. Such
dainty things as "Now hath Flora robb'd her bowers" and "Harke, all
you ladies that do sleep" possess the charms of freshness and
spontaneity, and his devotional poetry, especially "Awake, awake,
thou heavy Spright" and "Never weather-beaten Saile more willing bent
to shore", makes almost as wide an appeal.

II. SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

Passing by with regret the illustrious seventeenth century names of
Philip O'Sullivan Beare, Sir James Ware, Luke Wadding, Hugh Ward,
John Colgan, and John Lynch, because their bearers wrote in Latin,
and those of "The Four Masters" and Geoffrey Keating, because they
wrote in Irish, we are first brought to a pause in the seventeenth
century by the imposing figure of him, whom, in a later day, Johnson
justly called the "great luminary of the Irish [Protestant] church",
none other than the archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland,
James Ussher himself. James Ussher (1581-1656), born in Dublin and
among the earliest students of the newly-founded Trinity College, was
in intellect and scholarship one of the greatest men that Ireland has
ever produced. Selden describes him as "learned to a miracle" (_ad
miraculum doctus_), and Canon D'Alton in his _History of Ireland_
says of him that "he was not unworthy to rank even with Duns Scotus,
and when he died he left in his own Church neither an equal nor a
second." Declining the high office of provost of Trinity, Ussher was
made bishop of Meath and was afterwards promoted to the primatial
see. His fine intellect was unfortunately marred by narrow religious
views, and in many ways he displayed his animus against those of his
countrymen who did not see eye to eye with him in matters of faith
and doctrine. For example, it was he who in 1626 drew up the Irish
Protestant bishops' protest against toleration for Catholics, therein
showing a bigotry which consorted badly with his reputation as a
scholar. On account of his well-known attitude towards Catholicism,
he was naturally unpopular with those who professed the ancient
creed, and hence, when the rebellion of 1641 broke out, much of his
property was destroyed by the enraged insurgents. His person escaped
violence, for he happened to be in England at the time engaged in the
vain task of trying to effect an accommodation between Charles I. and
the English parliament. He never returned to his see and died in
London.

Ussher's collected works fill seventeen stately volumes. His _magnum
opus_ is undoubtedly the _Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti_. It is
written in Latin, and is a chronological compendium of the history of
the world from the Creation to the dispersion of the Jews under
Vespasian. Published at Leyden, London, Paris, and Oxford, it gained
for its author a European fame. His books written in English deal
mostly with theological or controversial subjects, and while they
display wide reading, great acumen, and keen powers of argumentation,
they yet do not do full justice to his genius. Those which he
published in Dublin are _A Discourse of the Religion anciently
professed by the Irish and British_ (1622), in which he tried to show
that the ritual and discipline of the Church as originally
established in the British Isles were in agreement with the Church of
England and opposed to the Catholic Church on the matters in dispute
between them; _An Answer to a Challenge made by a Jesuite in Ireland_
(1624), in which his aim was to disprove the contention set forth
earlier in the same year by a Jesuit that uniformity of doctrine had
always been maintained by the Catholic Church; and _Immanuel, or the
Mysterie of the Incarnation_. He published in England _The Originall
of Bishops, A Body of Divinitie, The Principles of Christian
Religion_, and other works. So great was Ussher's reputation that
when he died Cromwell relaxed in his favor one of the strictest laws
of the Puritans and allowed him to be buried with the full service of
the Church of England, and with great pomp, in Westminster Abbey.

Among Ussher's other claims to distinction, it should be noted that
it was he who in 1621 discovered the celebrated Book of Kells, which
had long been lost. This marvel of the illuminator's art passed with
the remainder of his collection of books and manuscripts to Trinity
College, Dublin, in 1661, and to this day it remains one of the most
treasured possessions of the noble library of that institution.

Sir John Denham (1615-1669), a Dublin man by birth, took an active
part on the side of Charles I. against the parliament during the
Civil War, and subsequently was conspicuous in the intrigues that led
to the restoration of Charles II. In his own day he had a great
reputation as a poet. His tragedy, _The Sophy_, and his translation
of the Psalms are now forgotten, but he is still remembered for one
piece, _Cooper's Hill_, in which occur the well-known lines addressed
to the River Thames:

O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme!
Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
Strong, without rage; without o'erflowing, full.

Another Dublin-born man was Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon
(1633-1684). He had the good fortune to win encomiums both from
Dryden and from Pope. One of his merits, as pointed out by the
latter, is that

In all Charles's days
Roscommon only boasts unspotted bays.

He translated from Virgil, Lucan, Horace, and Guarini; wrote
prologues, epilogues, and other occasional verses; but is now
principally remembered for his poetical _Essay on Translated Verse_
(1681), in which he develops principles previously laid down by
Cowley and Denham. To his credit be it said, he condemns indecency,
both as want of sense and bad taste. He was honored with a funeral in
Westminster Abbey. Johnson records that, at the moment of his death,
Roscommon uttered with great energy and devotion the following two
lines from his own translation of the _Dies Irae_:

My God, my Father, and my Friend,
Do not forsake me in my end!

Robert Boyle (1627-1691), one of the founders of the Royal Society
(1662), was son of the "great" Earl of Cork and was born at Lismore,
Co. Waterford. He takes rank among the principal experimental
philosophers of his age, and he certainly rendered valuable services
to the advancement of science. Most of his writings, which are very
voluminous, are naturally of a technical character and therefore do
not properly belong to literature; but his _Occasional Reflections on
Several Subjects_ (1665), a strange mixture of triviality and
seriousness, was germinal in this sense that it led to two celebrated
_jeux d'esprit_, namely, Butler's _Occasional Reflection on Dr.
Charlton's feeling a Dog's Pulse at Gresham College_ and Swift's
_Pious Meditation upon a Broomstick, in the Style of the Honourable
Mr. Boyle_. Indeed, one of Boyle's _Reflections_, that "Upon the
Eating of Oysters", is reputed to have rendered a still more signal
service to literature, for in its two concluding paragraphs is
contained the idea which, under the transforming hand of the master
satirist, eventually took the world by storm when it appeared, fully
developed, as _Gulliver's Travels_.

His brother, Roger Boyle (1621-1679), who figures largely as a
soldier and a statesman in Irish and English history under his title
of Lord Broghill, was an alumnus of Trinity College, Dublin. During
the Civil War he was a royalist until the death of Charles I., when
he changed sides and aided Cromwell materially in his Irish campaign.
When the Lord Protector died, Broghill made another right-about-face,
and crossing to his native country worked so energetically and
successfully that he made Ireland solid for the restoration of
Charles II. For this service he was rewarded by being created Earl of
Orrery. He was the author of six tragedies and two comedies, some of
which when produced proved gratifyingly popular. He is noted for
having been the first to write tragedy in rhyme, thereby setting an
example that was followed with avidity for a time by Dryden and
others. He also wrote poems, a romance called _Parthenissa_ (1654),
and a _Treatise on the Art of War_ (1677). From whatever point of
view considered, Lord Orrery was a remarkable member of a remarkable
family. His son, John Boyle, Earl of Cork and Orrery (1707-1762), in
virtue of his translation of Pliny's _Letters_, his _Remarks on the
Life and Writings of Swift_, and his _Letters from Italy_, has some
claims to recognition in the field of literature.

Charles Leslie (1650-1722), a Dubliner by birth, was son of that John
Leslie, bishop of Raphoe and Clogher, who lived through a whole
century, from 1571 to 1671, and who was 79 years of age when Charles,
his sixth son, was born. Educated first at Enniskillen and afterwards
at Trinity College, Dublin, Charles Leslie studied law in London, but
eventually abandoned that profession and entered the ministry. He was
of a disputatious character and in particular went to great lengths
in opposing the pro-Catholic activities of James II. Nevertheless,
when the Revolution of 1688 came, he took the side of the deposed
monarch, and loyally adhered to his Jacobite principles for the
remainder of his life. He even joined the Old Pretender on the
continent, and endeavored to convert him to Protestantism, but,
failing therein, he returned to Ireland, where he died at Glasslough
in county Monaghan. Many years of Leslie's life were devoted to
disputes with Catholics, Quakers, Socinians, and Deists, and the
seven volumes which his writings fill prove that he was an extremely
able controversialist. His best known work is the famous treatise, _A
Short and Easy Method with the Deists_, published in 1698.

The Irish note, tone, or temper is not conspicuous in any of the
writings so far named unless when it is conspicuous by its absence;
but it appears plainly, for the first time, in Molyneux's _Case of
Ireland being bound by Laws [made] in England Stated_ (1698). William
Molyneux (1656-1698) has always ranked as an Irish patriot. His was
one of the spirits invoked by Grattan in his great speech (1782) on
the occasion on which he carried his celebrated Declaration of
Independence in the Irish parliament. When the English Act of 1698,
which was meant to destroy, and did destroy, the Irish woolen
industry, came before the Irish house of commons for ratification,
Molyneux's was the only voice raised against its adoption. His
protest was followed by the publication of his _Case Stated_, which
is a classic on the general relations between Ireland and England,
and contained arguments so irrefutable that it drove the English
parliament to fury and was by that body ordered to be burned by the
common hangman. It is a remarkable coincidence that Molyneux opens
his argument by laying down in almost identical words the principles
which stand at the beginning of the American Declaration of
Independence.

John Toland (1669-1722) was born near Redcastle, in Co. Derry, and
was at first a Catholic but subsequently became a free-thinker. His
_Christianity not Mysterious_ (1696) marks an epoch in religious
disputes, for it started the deistical controversy which was so
distinctive a feature of the first half of the eighteenth century. It
shared a similar fate to that of the _Case Stated_, though on very
different grounds, and was ordered by the Irish parliament to be
burned by the hangman. Toland wrote many other books, among which are
_Amyntor_ (1699); _Nazarenus_ (1702); _Pantheisticon; History of the
Druids_; and _Hypatia_. All his books show versatility and wide
reading and are characterized by a pointed, vigorous, and aggressive
style.

George Farquhar (1678-1707), a Derry man, and Thomas Southerne
(1660-1746), born near Dublin, were distinguished playwrights, who
began their respective careers in the seventeenth century. Farquhar
left Trinity College, Dublin, as an undergraduate and became an
actor, but owing to his accidental killing of another player he left
the stage and secured a commission in the army. He soon turned his
attention to the writing of plays, and was responsible in all for
eight comedies. He has left us some characters that are very humorous
and at the same time true to life, such as Scrub the servant in _The
Beaux' Stratagem_ and Sergeant Kite in _The Recruiting Officer_. His
Boniface, the landlord in the former of these two plays, has become
the type, as well as the ordinary quasi-facetious nickname, of an
innkeeper. He was advancing in his art, for his last comedy, _The
Beaux' Stratagem_ (1707), is undoubtedly his best, and had he lived
longer--he died before he was thirty--he might have bequeathed to
posterity something even more noteworthy. As Leigh Hunt says of him:
"He was becoming gayer and gayer, when death, in the shape of a sore
anxiety, called him away as if from a pleasant party, and left the
house ringing with his jest."

Southerne was also a student of Trinity College, Dublin. At the age
of eighteen, however, he left his _alma mater_, and went to London to
study law. This profession he in turn abandoned for the drama. His
first play, _The Persian Prince, or the Loyal Brother_, had
remarkable success when performed, and secured him an ensign's
commission in the army (1685). Here promotion came to him rapidly and
by 1688 he had risen to captain's rank. The Revolution of that year,
however, cut off all further hope of advancement, and he once more
turned his attention to the writing of plays. His productions number
ten. His tragedies _Isabella, or the Fatal Marriage_ (1694) and
_Oroonoko_ (1696), both founded on tales by Mrs. Aphra Behn, are
powerful presentations of human suffering. His comedies are amusing,
but gross. Southerne had business ability enough to make play-writing
pay, and the amounts he received for his productions fairly staggered
his friend Dryden. It is to this faculty that Pope alludes when he
says that Southerne was one whom

heaven sent down to raise
The price of prologues and of plays.

He was apparently of amiable and estimable character, for he secured
and retained the friendship not only of Dryden--a comparatively easy
matter--but also that of Pope, a much more difficult task. Known as
"the poets' Nestor", Southerne spent his declining years in peaceful
retirement and in the enjoyment of the fortune which he had amassed
by his pen.

Nahum Tate (1652-1715), a Dubliner by birth, and Nicholas Brady
(1659-1726), a Bandon man, have secured a certain sort of twin
immortality by their authorized metrical version of the Psalms
(1696), which gradually took the place of the older rendering by
Sternhold and Hopkins. Tate became poet-laureate in 1690 in
succession to Shadwell and was appointed historiographer-royal in
1702. He wrote the bulk of the second part of _Absalom and
Achitophel_ with a wonderfully close imitation of Dryden's manner,
besides several dramatic pieces and poems. Between Tate, Shadwell,
Eusden, and Pye lies the unenviable distinction of being the worst of
the laureates of England. Brady was a clergyman who, after the
pleasant fashion of that day, was a pluralist on a small scale, for
he had the living of Richmond for thirty years from 1696, and while
holding that held also in succession the livings of Stratford-on-Avon
and Clapham. He added further to his income, and doubtless to his
anxieties, by keeping a school at Richmond. He wrote a tragedy
entitled _The Rape_, a _History of the Goths and Vandals_, a
translation of the _Aeneid_ into blank verse, and an _Ode for St.
Cecilia's Day_; but, unless for his share in the version of the
Psalms, his literary reputation is well nigh as dead as the dodo.

Ireland somewhat doubtfully claims to have given birth to Mrs.
Susannah Centlivre (c. 1667-1723), who, after a rather wild youth,
settled down to literary pursuits and domestic contentment when, in
1706, she married Queen Anne's head-cook, Joseph Centlivre, with whom
she lived happily ever after. Her first play, _The Provoked Husband_,
a tragedy, was produced in 1700, and then she went on the stage as an
actress. She wrote in all nineteen dramatic pieces, some of which had
the honor of being translated into French and German. Her most
original play was _A Bold Stroke for a Wife_ (1717).

III. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

We have now fairly crossed the border of the eighteenth century, and,
as we met Ussher early in the seventeenth, so we are here confronted
with the colossal intellect and impressive personality of Swift, one
of the greatest, most peculiar, and most original geniuses to be
found in the whole domain of English literature. Jonathan Swift
(1667-1745), born in Dublin, was educated at Trinity College, where
he succeeded in graduating only by special favor. After some years
spent in the household of Sir William Temple in England, he entered
the ministry of the Irish Church. During the early years of the
century he spent much time in London, and took an active part in
bringing about that political revolution which seated the Tories
firmly in power during the last four years of the reign of Queen
Anne. His services in that connection on the _Examiner_ newspaper
were so great that it would be difficult to dispute the assertion,
which has been made, that he was one of the mightiest journalists
that ever wielded a pen. He also stood loyally by his party in his
great pamphlets, _The Conduct of the Allies_ (1711), _The Barrier
Treaty_ (1712), and _The Public Spirit of the Whigs_ (1714). When the
time came for his reward, he received not, as he had hoped, an
English bishopric, but the deanery of St. Patrick's in Dublin. On
resuming his residence in Ireland he was at first very unpopular, but
his patriotic spirit as shown in the _Drapier Letters_ (1723-1724),
written in connection with a coinage scheme known as "Wood's
halfpence", not only caused the withdrawal of the obnoxious project
but also made Swift the idol of all classes of his countrymen. In
many others of his writings he showed that pro-Irish leaning which
caused Grattan to invoke his spirit along with that of Molyneux on
the occasion already referred to. Nothing more mordant than the irony
contained in his _Modest Proposal_ has ever been penned. In his plea
for native manufactures he struck a keynote that has vibrated down
the ages when he advised Irishmen to burn everything English except
coal!

Swift's greater works are _The Battle of the Books_, his contribution
to the controversy concerning the relative merits of the ancients and
the moderns; the _Tale of a Tub_, in which he attacked the three
leading forms of Christianity; and, above all, _Gulliver's Travels_.
In this last work he let loose the full flood of his merciless satire
and lashed the folly and vices of mankind in the most unsparing way.
He also wrote verses which are highly characteristic and some of them
not without considerable merit. His life was unhappy and for the last
five years of it he was to all intents and purposes insane. His
relations with Stella (Hester Johnson) and Vanessa (Esther
Vanhomrigh) have never been quite satisfactorily explained. The
weight of evidence would seem to show that he was secretly married to
Stella, but that they never lived together as husband and wife. Many
novels and plays have been written round those entanglements. He lies
buried in his own cathedral, St. Patrick's, Dublin, and beside him
lies Stella. Over his tomb there is an epitaph in Latin, written by
himself, in which, after speaking of the _saeva indignatio_ which
tore his heart, he bids the wayfarer go and imitate, if he can, the
energetic defender of his native land.

Contemporary with the Dean there was another Anglo-Irishman, who
fills a large space in the history of English literature, and of whom
his countrymen are justly proud. Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729), who
was born in Dublin and educated at the Charterhouse in London and
afterwards at Oxford, started the _Tatler_ in 1709, and thereby
popularized, though he did not exactly originate, the periodical
essay. Aided by his friend, Addison, he carried the work to
perfection in the _Spectator_ (1711-1712) and the _Guardian_ (1713).
Since then these essays have enlightened and amused each succeeding
generation. Of the two, Addison's is the greater name, but Steele was
the more innovating spirit, for it is to him, and not to Addison,
that the conception and initiation of the plan of the celebrated
papers is due. Steele had had a predecessor in Defoe, whose _Review_
had been in existence since 1704, but the more airy graces which
characterized the _Tatler_ and the _Spectator_ gave the
"lucubrations" of "Isaac Bickerstaffe" and of "Mr. Spectator" a
greater hold on the public than Defoe's paper was ever able to
establish. Steele was responsible for many more periodicals, such as
the _Englishman_, the _Lover_, the _Reader_, _Town Talk_, the
_Tea-Table, Chit-Chat_, the _Plebeian_, and the _Theatre_, most of
which had a rather ephemeral existence. Among his other services to
literature he helped to purify the stage of some of its grossness,
and he became the founder of that sentimental comedy which in the
days of the early Georges took the place of the immoral comedy of the
Restoration period, when, in Johnson's famous phrase,

Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.

Steele's four comedies are _The Funeral; or Grief a la mode_ (1701);
_The Lying Lover_ (1703); _The Tender Husband_ (1705); and _The
Conscious Lovers_ (1722). Although he held various lucrative offices,
Steele was never really prosperous and was frequently in debt; like
most of the contemporary Englishmen with whom his lot was thrown, he
was rather addicted to the bottle; but, on the whole, it may fairly
be advanced that unnecessary stress has been laid on these aspects of
his life by Macaulay, Thackeray, and others. After a chequered
career, he died near Carmarthen, in Wales, on September 1, 1729.

Member of a family and bearer of a name destined to secure immense
fame in later Irish history, Thomas Parnell (1679-1718) was born in
Dublin and educated at Trinity College. Entering the ministry in
1700, he was rapidly promoted to be archdeacon of Clogher and some
years later was made rector of Finglas. An accomplished scholar and a
delightful companion, he was one of the original members of the
famous Scriblerus Club and wrote or helped to write several of its
papers, he contributed to the _Spectator_ and the _Guardian_, and he
rendered sterling assistance to Pope in the translation of Homer. As
will be inferred, he spent much of his time in England, and on one of
his journeys to Ireland he died in his thirty-ninth year at Chester,
where he was buried. He wrote a great deal of verse--songs, hymns,
epistles, eclogues, translations, tales, and occasional trifles; but
three poems, _A Hymn to Contentment_, which is fanciful and
melodious, _A Night-piece on Death_, in which inquisitorial research
seems to have found the first faint dawn of Romanticism, and _The
Hermit_, which has been not inaptly styled "the apex and _chef
d'oeuvre_ of Augustan poetry in England", constitute his chief claim
to present remembrance.

Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746), the son of a Presbyterian minister,
was born at Armagh, and studied at Glasgow University. He opened in
Dublin a private academy, which succeeded beyond expectation. The
publication of his _Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty
and Virtue_ (1720) and his _Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the
Passions_ (1728) brought him great fame, and in 1729 he was elected
to the professorship of moral philosophy in the University of
Glasgow. Others of his works are a treatise on _Logic_ and _A System
of Moral Philosophy_, the latter not published till 1755, nine years
after his death. Hutcheson fills a large space in the history of
philosophy, both as a metaphysician and as a moralist. He is in some
respects a pioneer of the "Scotch school" and of "common sense"
philosophy. He greatly developed the doctrine of "moral sense", a
term first used by the third Earl of Shaftesbury; indeed, much of his
whole moral system may be traced to Shaftesbury. Hutcheson's
influence was widely felt: it is plainly perceptible in Hume, Adam
Smith, and Reid. He was greater as a speaker even than as a writer,
and his lectures evoked much enthusiasm.

George Berkeley (1685-1753), bishop of Cloyne, was born at Dysert
Castle, near Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, and was educated first at
Kilkenny school and afterwards at Trinity College, Dublin. Having
taken Anglican orders, he visited London, where he wrote nine papers
for the _Guardian_ and was admitted to the companionship and
friendship of the leading literary men of the age--Swift, Pope,
Addison, Steele, and Arbuthnot. This connection proved of great
assistance to him, for Pope not only celebrated him as possessing
"every virtue under heaven", but also recommended him to the Duke of
Grafton, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, who appointed him his chaplain
and subsequently obtained for him the deanery of Derry. In
furtherance of a great scheme for "converting the savage Americans to
Christianity", Berkeley and some friends, armed with a royal charter,
came to this country, landing at Newport in Rhode Island in January,
1729. All went well for a while: Berkeley bought a farm and built a
house; but when the hard-hearted prime minister refused to forward
the L20,000 which had been promised, the project came to an end, and
Berkeley returned to London in February, 1732. In 1734 he was
appointed bishop of Cloyne, and later refused the see of Clogher,
though its income was fully double that of his own diocese. In 1752
he resigned his bishopric and settled at Oxford, where he died in
1753.

Berkeley's works are very numerous. His _Essay towards a New Theory
of Vision_ (1709), which was long regarded in the light of a
philosophical romance, in reality contains speculations which have
been incorporated in modern scientific optics. In his _Three
Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous_ (1713) he sets forth his
famous demonstration of the immateriality of the external world, of
the spiritual nature of the soul, and of the all-ruling and direct
providence of God. His tenets on immateriality have always been
rejected by "common-sense" philosophers; but it should be remembered
that the whole work was written at a time when the English-speaking
world was disturbed by the theories of sceptics and deists, whose
doctrines the pious divine sought as best he could to confute. In
1732 appeared his _Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher_, in which,
dialogue-wise, he presents nature from a religious point of view and
in particular gives many pleasing pictures of American scenery and
life. These dialogues have frequently been compared to the dialogues
of Plato. To Berkeley's credit be it said that while he ruled in
Cloyne he devoted much thought to the amelioration of conditions in
his native land. Many acute suggestions in that direction are found
in the _Querist_ (1735-1737). By some extraordinary ratiocinative
process he convinced himself that tar-water was a panacea for human
ills, and in 1744 he set forth his views on that subject in the tract
called _Siris_, and returned to the charge in 1752 in his _Further
Thoughts on Tar-Water_. Whatever may be thought of the value of
Berkeley's philosophical or practical speculations, there is only one
opinion of his style. It is distinguished by lucidity, ease, and
charm; it has the saving grace of humor; and it is shot through with
imagination. Taken all in all, this eighteenth century bishop is a
notable figure in literary annals.

Charles Macklin (c. 1697-1797), whose real name was MacLaughlin, was
a Westmeath man, who took to the stage in early life and remained on
the boards with considerable and undiminished reputation for some
seventy years, not retiring until 1789 when he was at least 92 years
old. To him we are indebted for what is now the accepted presentation
of the character of Shylock in _The Merchant of Venice_. He wrote a
tragedy and many comedies and farces: those by which he is now best
remembered are the farce, _Love-a-la-Mode_ (1760), and his
masterpiece, the farcical comedy, _The Man of the World_ (1764). In
Sir Pertinax MacSycophant, Macklin has given us one of the
traditional burlesque characters of the English stage.

Thomas Amory (1691?-1788), if not born in Ireland, was at least of
Irish descent and was educated in Dublin. He is known in literature
for two books. The first, with the very mixed title of _Memoirs
containing the Lives of several Ladies of Great Britain; A History of
Antiquities; Observations on the Christian Religion_, was published
in 1755, and the second, _The Life of John Buncle, Esq._, came out in
two volumes in 1756-1766. It appears to have been the author's aim in
both works to give us a hotch-potch in which he discourses _de
omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis_. We have dissertations on the cause
of earthquakes and of muscular motion, on the Athanasian Creed, on
fluxions, on phlogiston, on the physical cause of the Deluge, on
Irish literature, on the origin of language, on the evidences for
Christianity, and on all other sorts of unrelated topics. Hazlitt
thought that the soul of Rabelais had passed into Amory, while a more
recent critic can see in his long-winded discussions naught but the
"light-headed ramblings of delirium." If we try to read _John Buncle_
consecutively, the result is boredom; but if we open the book at
random, we are pretty sure to be interested and even sometimes
agreeably entertained.

The bizarre figure of Laurence Sterne (1713-1768) next claims our
attention. The son of a captain in the British army, he was born at
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Of him almost more than of any of the writers
so far dealt with, it may be said that he was Irish only by the
accident of birth. His parents were English on both sides, and
practically the whole life of their son was spent out of Ireland. He
was sent to school at Halifax, in Yorkshire, and thence went to
Cambridge University, where he graduated in due season. Taking
Anglican orders in 1738, he was immediately appointed to the benefice
of Sutton-in-the-Forest, near York, and on his marriage in 1741 with
Elizabeth Lumley he received the additional living of Stillington. He
was also given sundry prebendal and other appointments in connection
with the chapter of the archdiocese of York. He spent nearly twenty
years in the discharge of his not very onerous duties and in reading,
painting, shooting, and fiddling, without showing the least sign of
any literary leanings. Then suddenly, in 1760, he took the world by
storm with the first two volumes of _Tristram Shandy_. He at once
became the lion of the hour, was feted and dined to his heart's
content, and had his nostrils tickled with the daily incense of
praise from his numerous worshippers. He repeated the experiment with
equal success the following year with two more volumes of _Tristram_,
and so at intervals until 1767, when he published the ninth and last
volume of this most peculiar story. In 1768 he brought out _A
Sentimental Journey_, and within three weeks he died in his lodgings
in London. His other publications include _Sermons_ and _Letters_.
_Tristram Shandy_ is unique in English literature--it stands _sui
generis_ for all time. There is scarcely any consecutive narrative,
and what there is is used merely as a peg on which to hang endless
digressions. But while there are many faults of taste and morals,
there are also genuine humor and pathos, and without Walter Shandy,
Dr. Slop, the Widow Wadman, Yorick, Uncle Toby, and Corporal Trim,
English literature would certainly be very much the poorer.

Hugh Kelly (1739-1777), born in Dublin, was the son of a publican and
himself became a staymaker, a trade from which he developed through
the successive stages of attorney's clerk, newspaper-writer,
theatrical critic, and essayist, into a novelist and playwright. His
novel, _Memoirs of a Magdalen_ (1767), was translated into French.
His first comedy, a sentimental one entitled _False Delicacy_ (1768),
achieved a remarkable success on the stage and was even a greater
success in book form, 10,000 copies being sold in a year, so that its
author was raised from poverty to comparative affluence. In addition,
it gave him a European reputation, for it was translated into German,
French, and Portuguese. Strange to say, his later comedies, _A Word
to the Wise, A School for Wives_, and _The Man of Reason_, were
practically failures, and the same is true of his tragedy,
_Clementina_. Kelly ultimately withdrew from stage work, and for the
last three years of his life practised as a barrister without,
however, achieving much distinction in his new profession.

Charles Coffey (d. 1745), an Irishman, was the author of several
farces, operas, ballad operas, ballad farces, and farcical operas,
the best known of which was _The Devil to Pay, or the Wives
Metamorphosed_ (1731).

Henry Brooke (1703?-1783), a county Cavan man and the son of a
clergyman, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwards
studied law in London. Becoming guardian to his cousin, a girl of
twelve, he put her to school for two years and then secretly married
her. Of his large family of twenty-two children, three of whom were
born before their mother was eighteen years old, but one survived
him. Appointed by Lord Chesterfield barrack-master at Mullingar,
Brooke afterwards settled in Co. Kildare. It was there that he wrote
his celebrated work, _The Fool of Quality, or the History of the Earl
of Moreland_ (5 vols., 1766-1770), which won the commendations of men
so widely different as John Wesley and Charles Kingsley. It is,
indeed, a remarkable book, combining, as it does, many of the
characteristics of Sterne, Mackenzie, Borrow, and George Meredith. It
is not very well known nowadays, but it will always bear, and will
well repay, perusal. Brooke also wrote a poem on _Universal Beauty_
(1735) and the tragedies _Gustavus Vasa_ (1739), the production of
which was forbidden in London but which was afterwards staged in
Dublin as _The Patriot_, and _The Earl of Essex_ (1749), which was
played both in London and in Dublin, and has been made famous by the
parody of one line in it by Samuel Johnson. Another novel, _Juliet
Grenville, or the History of the Human Heart_, published in 1774, was
not nearly up to the standard of _The Fool of Quality_. Brooke was a
busy literary man. He made a translation of part of Tasso, drafted
plans for a History of Ireland, projected a series of old Irish
tales, wrote one fragment in a style very like that subsequently
adopted by Macpherson in his _Ossian_, and for a while was editor of
the _Freeman's Journal_. In the beginning, Brooke was violently
anti-Catholic; but, as time progressed, he became more
liberal-minded, and advocated the relaxation of the penal laws and a
more humane treatment of his Catholic fellow-countrymen. Like Swift
and Steele, he fell into a state of mental debility for some years
before his death. His daughter, Charlotte Brooke (1740-1793),
deserves mention as a pioneer of the Irish literary revival, for she
devoted herself to the saving of the stores of Irish literature which
in her time were rapidly disappearing. One of the fruits of her
labors was _The Reliques of Irish Poetry_, published in 1789. She
also wrote _Emma, or the Foundling of the Wood_, a novel, and
_Belisarius_, a tragedy.

Charles Johnstone (c. 1719-1800), a Co. Limerick man, was educated in
Dublin and called to the English bar, but owing to deafness was more
successful as a chamber counsel than as a pleader. Emigrating to
India in 1782, he became joint proprietor of a newspaper in Calcutta,
and there he died. He wrote several satirical romances, such as
_Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea; The Reverie, or a Flight to
the Paradise of Fools_; and _The History of Arsaces, Prince of
Betlis_. Of these the first was the best. Samuel Johnson, who read it
in manuscript, advised its publication, and his opinion was
vindicated, for it proved a huge success. Sir Walter Scott afterwards
said that the author of _Chrysal_ deserved to rank as a prose
Juvenal. Johnstone also wrote _The Pilgrim, or a Picture of Life_ and
a picaresque novel, _The History of John Juniper, Esquire, alias
Juniper Jack_.

Arthur Murphy (1727-1805), born at Cloonquin, Co. Roscommon, was
educated at St. Omer. At first an actor, he afterwards studied law
and was called to the English bar in 1762. He made a translation of
Tacitus, and wrote several farces and comedies, among which may be
mentioned _The Apprentice; The Spouter; The Upholsterer; The Way to
Keep Him_; and _All in the Wrong_. He also wrote three tragedies,
namely, _The Orphan of China; The Grecian Daughter_; and _Arminius_.
For the last-named, which was produced in 1798, and which had a
strongly political cast, he received a pension of L200 a year. His
plays long held the stage.

Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), essayist, poet, novelist, playwright,
historian, biographer, and editor, was a many-sided genius, who, as
Johnson said in his epitaph, left scarcely any kind of writing
untouched, and touched none that he did not adorn. Born, probably, in
Co. Longford, the son of a poor clergyman, he was educated at various
country schools until, in 1744, he secured a sizarship in Trinity
College, Dublin. There he had a somewhat stormy career, but
eventually took his degree in 1749. He then lounged at home for a
while in his widowed mother's cottage at Ballymahon, until he was
persuaded to take orders, but spoiled his already sufficiently poor
chances of ordination by appearing before the bishop of Elphin in
scarlet breeches. After other adventures in search of a profession,
he went to Edinburgh in 1752 to study medicine, and two years later
transferred himself to Leyden for the same purpose. It was from
Leyden that, with one guinea in his pocket, one shirt on his person,
and a flute in his hand, he started on his celebrated walking tour of
Europe, during which he gained those impressions which he was
afterwards to embody in some of his greater works. In 1756 he arrived
in England, where for three years he had very varied experiences--as
a strolling player, an apothecary's journeyman, a practising
physician, a reader for the press, an usher in an academy, and a
hack-writer. In 1759 he published anonymously his _Enquiry into the
Present State of Polite Learning in Europe_, which was well received
and helped him to other literary work. _The Bee_, a volume of essays
and verses, appeared in the same year. He was made editor of the
_Lady's Magazine_; he published _Memoirs of Voltaire_ (1761), a
_History of Mecklenburgh_ (1762), and a _Life of Richard Nash_
(1762). In 1762 also he brought out his _Citizen of the World_, a
collection of essays, which takes an extremely high rank. In 1764 his
poem, _The Traveller, or a Prospect of Society_, made its appearance;
and in 1766 he gave to the world his famous novel, _The Vicar of
Wakefield_. His reputation as a writer was now established; he was
received into Johnson's circle and was a member of the Literary Club;
Reynolds and Burke were proud to call him friend. In 1768 he had his
comedy, _The Good Natured Man_, produced at Covent Garden Theatre,
where it achieved a fair measure of success and brought him in L400.
In 1770 he repeated his triumph as a poet with _The Deserted
Village_. He wrote a _History of Animated Nature_, a _History of
England_, and a _History of Rome_, all compilations couched in that
easy style of which he was master. He also wrote a _Life of Parnell_
and a _Life of Bolingbroke_. Finally, in 1773, his great comedy, _She
Stoops to Conquer_, was staged at Covent Garden, and met with
wonderful success. A little more than a year later Goldsmith died of
a nervous fever, the result of overwork and anxiety, and was buried
in the burial ground of the Temple Church. His unfinished poem,
_Retaliation_, a series of epigrams in epitaph form on some of his
distinguished literary and artistic friends, was issued a few days
after his death, and added greatly to his reputation as a wit and
humorist, a reputation which was still further enhanced when, in
1776, _The Haunch of Venison_ made its appearance. In the latter year
a monument, with a medallion and Johnson's celebrated Latin epitaph
attached, was erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey.

Goldsmith's renown, great in his own day, has never since diminished.
His essays, his novel, and his poems are still read with avidity and
pleasure; his comedy is still acted. It is his statue that stands
along with Burke's at the entrance gate to Trinity College, Dublin,
the _alma mater_ seeking to commemorate in a striking manner two of
her most distinguished sons by placing their effigies thus in the
forefront of her possessions and in full view of all the world.
Personally, Goldsmith was a very amiable and good-hearted man, dear
to his own circle and dear to that "Mr. Posterity" to whom he once
addressed a humorous dedication. He had his faults, it is true, but
they are hidden amid his many perfections. Everyone will be disposed
to agree with what Johnson wrote of him: "Let not his frailties be
remembered; he was a very great man."

Edmund Burke (1729-1797), born in Dublin, the son of a Protestant
father and a Catholic mother whose name was Nagle, was educated first
at a Quaker school in Ballitore, Co. Kildare, and afterwards at
Trinity College, Dublin. He became a law student in London, but he
did not eventually adopt the law as a profession. He brought out in
1756 a _Vindication of Natural Society_, in which he so skilfully
imitated the style and the paradoxical reasoning of Bolingbroke that
many were deceived into the belief that the _Vindication_ was a
posthumously published production of the viscount's pen. In the
following year Burke published in his own name _A Philosophical
Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful_,
which attracted widespread attention, was translated into German and
French, and brought its author into touch with all the leading
literary men of London. He was instrumental with Dodsley the
publisher in starting the _Annual Register_ in 1759, and for close on
thirty years he continued to supply it with the "Survey of Events."
He entered public life in 1760 by accompanying "Single-Speech"
Hamilton to Dublin when the latter was appointed Chief Secretary for
Ireland. In 1765 he was made private secretary to the prime minister,
the Marquis of Rockingham, and, as member for Wendover, entered
parliament, where he speedily made a name for himself. During Lord
North's long tenure of office (1770-1782) Burke was one of the
minority and opposed the splendid force of his genius to the
corruption, extravagance, and mal-administration of the government.
To this period belong, in addition to lesser works, his great
speeches _On American Taxation_ (1774) and _On Conciliation with
America_ (1775), as well as his spirited _Letter to the Sheriffs of
Bristol_ (1777). He had been elected member of parliament for Bristol
in 1774, but he lost his seat in 1780 because he had advocated the
relaxation of the restrictions on the trade of Ireland with Great
Britain and of the penal laws against Catholics. In the second
administration of Rockingham (1782) and in that of Portland (1783) he
was paymaster of the forces, a position which he lost on the downfall
of the Whigs in the latter year, and he never again held public
office. His speech on the impeachment of Warren Hastings in 1788 is
universally and justly ranked as a masterpiece of eloquence. When the
French Revolution broke out, he opposed it with might and main. His
_Reflections on the French Revolution_ (1790) had an enormous
circulation, reached an eleventh edition inside of a year, was read
all over the continent as well as in the British Isles, and helped
materially not only to keep England steady in the crisis, but also to
incite the other powers to continue their resistance to French
aggression. He continued his campaign in _Thoughts on French Affairs_
and _Letters on a Regicide Peace_. He was given two pensions in 1794,
and would have been raised to the peerage as Lord Beaconsfield, had
not the succession to the title been cut off by the premature death
of his only son. He himself died in 1797 and was buried at
Beaconsfield, where, as far back as 1768, he had purchased a small
estate.

As an orator and a deep political thinker, Burke holds a foremost
place among those of all time who distinguished themselves in the
British parliament. His keen intellect, his powerful imagination, his
sympathy with the fallen, the downtrodden, and the oppressed, and his
matchless power of utterance of the thoughts that were in him have
made an impression that can never be effaced. His wise and
statesman-like views on questions affecting the colonies ought to
endear him to all Americans, although, if his counsels had been
hearkened to, it is probable that the separation from the mother
country would not have occurred as soon as it did. For his native
land he used his best endeavors when and how he could, and although,
as her defender, he was faced by obloquy as well as by the loss of
that parliamentary position which was as dear to him as the breath of
his nostrils, he did not flinch or shrink from supporting her
material and spiritual interests in his own generous, manly,
whole-hearted way. Trinity College, Dublin, has done well in placing
his statue at her outer gates as representing the greatest Irishman
of his generation.

A political associate of Burke's for many years was Richard Brinsley
Sheridan (1751-1816). Of Co. Cavan descent, Sheridan was born in
Dublin, and was educated partly in his native city and partly at
Harrow, and the remainder of his life was spent in England. He was
distinguished first as a playwright and afterwards as a parliamentary
orator. In 1775 his comedy, _The Rivals_, was produced at Covent
Garden Theatre; his farce, _St. Patrick's Day, or the Scheming
Lieutenant_, and his comic opera, _The Duenna_, were staged in the
same year. His greatest comedy, _The School for Scandal_, was acted
at Drury Lane Theatre in 1777, and it was followed in 1779 by _The
Critic_. His last dramatic composition was the tragedy, _Pizarro_,
produced in 1799. Elected to parliament in 1780, Sheridan was made
under-secretary for foreign affairs in the Rockingham administration
of 1782, and in 1783 he was secretary to the treasury in the
Coalition Ministry. He sprang into repute as a brilliant orator
during the impeachment of Warren Hastings, 1787-1794. His speech on
the Begums of Oude was one of the greatest ever delivered within the
walls of the British parliament. In 1806, on the return of the Whigs
to power, he was appointed treasurer in the navy. In 1812 his long
parliamentary career came to a close when he was defeated for the
borough of Westminster. He died in 1816, and was honored with a
magnificent funeral in Westminster Abbey.

To give an idea as to how Sheridan's oratorical powers impressed his
contemporaries, it is perhaps enough to repeat what Burke said of his
second speech against Warren Hastings, namely, that it was "the most
astonishing effort of eloquence, argument, and wit united of which
there is any record or tradition", and to add that when, after three
hours of impassioned pleading, he brought his first speech against
Hastings to an end, the effect produced was so great that it was
agreed to adjourn the house immediately and defer the final decision
until the members should be in a less excited mood. As a dramatist
Sheridan is second in popularity to Shakespeare alone. _The School
for Scandal_ and _The Rivals_ are as fresh and as eagerly welcomed
today as they were a hundred and forty years ago. Like Burke, he was
true to the land of his birth and his oppressed Catholic
fellow-countrymen. Almost his last words in the house of commons were
these: "Be just to Ireland. I will never give my vote to any
administration that opposes the question of Catholic emancipation."

Sheridan belonged to a family that was exceptionally distinguished in
English literature. Among those who preceded him as litterateurs were
his grandfather, the Rev. Thomas Sheridan, D.D.; his father, Thomas
Sheridan; and his mother, Frances Sheridan. Rev. Dr. Sheridan
(1684-1738), the friend and confidant of Dean Swift, kept a
fashionable school in Dublin, edited the _Satires_ of Persius in
1728, wrote a treatise on _The Art of Punning_, and figures largely
in Swift's correspondence. Thomas Sheridan (1721-1788) was at first
an actor of considerable reputation, both in Dublin and in London;
was next a teacher of elocution; and finally came forward with an
improved system of education, in which oratory was to have a
conspicuous part. In this connection he published an elaborate _Plan
of Education_ in 1769, but his ideas, some of which are in accord
with modern practice, were not taken up, He also compiled a
pronouncing _Dictionary of the English Language_, with a prosodic
grammar, and in 1784 published an entertaining _Life of Swift_.
Frances Sheridan (1724-1766), wife of Thomas and mother of Richard
Brinsley, who as Frances Chamberlaine had been known as a poetess,
wrote after her marriage two plays, _The Discovery_ and _The Dupe_,
and two novels, _The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Biddulph_, which was a
great success and was translated by the Abbe Prevost into French, and
_The History of Nourjahad_, an Oriental tale. In 1775 the singular
spectacle was presented of the son's play running at Covent Garden
while the mother's was being acted at Drury Lane.

Among Sheridan's descendants who earned a niche in the temple of
literary fame were his grand-daughters, the Countess of Dufferin
(1807-1867) and the Hon. Mrs. Norton, afterwards Lady Stirling
Maxwell (1808-1877), and his great-grandson, the first Marquis of
Dufferin and Ava (1826-1902). Lady Dufferin's _Lament of the Irish
Emigrant_ ("I'm sittin' on the style, Mary") has moved the hearts and
brought tears to the eyes of countless thousands since it was
published more than fifty years ago.

Sir Philip Francis (1740-1818), born in Dublin, was the son of a
clergyman of like name who attained some literary eminence as the
translator of Horace and as a political writer. After filling various
important government positions, Philip Francis, the son, was in 1773
made a member of the Council of Bengal, where his relations with the
governor-general, Warren Hastings, were of an extremely strained
character, amounting at times almost to a public scandal. He returned
to England in 1781, entered parliament, made a name as a speaker,
took part in the impeachment of Hastings, and composed numerous
political pamphlets. He is generally supposed to have been the writer
of the celebrated _Letters of Junius_, which appeared at intervals in
the _Public Advertiser_ between January 21, 1769, and January 21,
1772. These letters are distinguished for their polished style, their
power of invective, their galling sarcasm, their knowledge of state
secrets, and their unparalleled boldness. Every prominent man
connected with the government was attacked: even the king himself was
not spared. As revised by their pseudonymous writer in a reprint made
in 1772, they number 70; a later edition, in 1812, contained 113
more. Their authorship has been the subject of much controversy, nor
is the question yet finally settled. In his _Essay on Warren
Hastings_, written in 1841, Macaulay went to considerable trouble to
prove, by the cumulative method, that Francis was the writer, and
since then that opinion has been generally, but not universally,
maintained.

Isaac Bickerstaffe (c. 1735-c. 1812) was an Irishman, whose name,
strange to say, had no connection with the _nom de guerre_ of the
same style under which Swift had masqueraded in his outrageously
satirical attacks on Partridge the almanac maker, or with the more
celebrated imaginary Isaac Bickerstaffe under cover of whose
personality Steele conducted the _Tatler_. The real Bickerstaffe was
a prolific playwright. His best known pieces are _The Sultan_, _The
Maid of the Mill_, _Lionel and Clarissa_, and _Love in a Village_. In
the last-mentioned occurs the famous song, beginning "We all love a
pretty girl--under the rose."

William Drennan (1754-1820), who has been called the Tyrtaeus of the
United Irishmen, was the son of a Presbyterian clergyman, was born in
Belfast, and was educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities,
taking a medical degree from the latter. He practised his profession
in the north of Ireland. When the Irish Volunteers were established,
Drennan entered heart and soul into the movement. Removing to Dublin
in 1789, he associated with Tone and other revolutionary spirits, and
became one of the founders of the Society of United Irishmen, the
first statement of whose objects was the product of his pen. His
_Letters of Orellana_ helped materially to enlist the men of Ulster
in the ranks of the Society. He also wrote a series of stirring
lyrics which, voicing as they did the general sentiment in Ireland at
the time, became extremely popular and had a widespread effect. These
were afterwards (1815) collected under the title of _Fugitive
Pieces_. All his political hopes being blasted with the failure of
the rebellion of 1798 and of Emmet's insurrection in 1803, Drennan
returned in 1807 to Belfast and there founded the _Belfast Magazine_.
"The Wake of William Orr", a series of noble and affecting stanzas
commemorating the judicial murder of a young Presbyterian Irish
patriot in 1798, is one of his best known pieces. He also celebrated
the ill-fated brothers Sheares. His song "Erin" was considered by
Moore to be one of the most perfect of modern songs. It was in this
piece that he fixed upon Ireland the title of the Emerald Isle:

When Erin first rose from the dark swelling flood,
God bless'd the green island, and saw it was good;
The em'rald of Europe, it sparkled and shone--
In the ring of the world the most precious stone.

Mary Tighe (1772-1810), whose maiden name was Blachford, was born,
the daughter of a clergyman, in Co. Wicklow. She contracted an
unhappy marriage with her cousin who represented Kilkenny in the
Irish house of commons. By all accounts she was of great beauty and
numerous accomplishments. She wrote many poems: her best, and best
known, is _Psyche, or the Legend of Love_, an adaptation of the story
of Cupid and Psyche from the _Golden Ass_ of Apuleius. The metre she
employed in this piece was the Spenserian stanza, which she handled
with great power, freedom, and melody. _Psyche_, which first appeared
in 1795, had a wonderful vogue, running rapidly through edition after
edition. Among others to whom it appealed and who were influenced by
it was Keats. Mrs. Tighe's talent drew from Moore a delicate
compliment in "Tell me the witching tale again"; and in "The Grave of
a Poetess" and "I stood where the life of song lay low", Mrs. Hemans
bewailed her untimely death.

Edmund Malone (1741-1813), the son of an Irish judge, was born in
Dublin and studied at Trinity College. He was called to the Irish bar
in 1767, but coming into a fortune, he abandoned his profession and
gave himself over to literary work. In 1790 he brought out an edition
of Shakespeare which was deservedly praised for its learning and
research. His critical acumen led him to doubt the genuineness of
Chatterton's _Rowley Poems_, and he was one of the first to expose
Ireland's Shakespearean forgeries in 1796. Among other services to
literature he wrote a _Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds_ and edited
Dryden. He also left a quantity of materials afterwards utilized for
the "Variorum Shakespeare" by James Boswell the younger in 1821.

John O'Keeffe (1747-1833), a Dublin man, was at first an art student,
but soon became an actor, and then developed into a playwright. His
pen was most prolific; he published a collection of over fifty pieces
in 1798. His plays are mostly comic operas or farces, and some of
them had great success. Lingo, the schoolmaster in _The Agreeable
Surprise_, is a very amusing character. _The Positive Man, The
Son-in-Law, Wild Oats, Love in a Camp_, and _The Poor Soldier_ are
among his compositions. His songs are well known, such as "I am a
friar of orders grey", and there are few schoolboys who have not
sooner or later made the acquaintance of his "Amo, amas, I loved a
lass". For the last fifty-two years of his life O'Keeffe was blind,
an affliction which he bore with unfailing cheerfulness. In 1826 he
was given a pension of one hundred guineas a year from the king's
privy purse.

George Canning (1770-1827), prime minister of England, properly
belongs here, for, although born in London, he was a member of an
Irish family long settled at Garvagh in Co. Derry. Entering
parliament on the side of Pitt in 1796, he was made secretary of the
navy in 1804 and in 1812 secretary of State for foreign affairs. He
became prime minister in 1827, but died within six months, leaving a
record for scarcely surpassed eloquence. In addition to his speeches,
he is known in literature for his contributions to the _Anti-Jacobin,
or Weekly Examiner_, which ran its satirical and energetic career for
eight months (November, 1797-July, 1798.) Some of the best things
that appeared in this ultra-conservative organ were from Canning's
pen. Few there are who have not laughed at his _Loves of the
Triangles_, in which he caricatured Erasmus Darwin's _Loves of the
Plants_; at _The Needy Knife-Grinder_; or at the song of Rogero in
_The Rovers_, with its comic refrain of the

U--
niversity of Gottingen.

Like most of the great Anglo-Irishmen of his time, Canning favored
Catholic emancipation. It is interesting to note that it was a letter
of Canning's that led to the formulation of the Monroe Doctrine.

Henry Grattan (1746-1820), the hero of Grattan's parliament, was born
in Dublin and studied at Trinity College. His history belongs to that
of his country. Suffice it here to say that not only did he by great
eloquence and real statesmanship secure a free parliament for Ireland
In 1782, but also that he fought energetically, if unavailingly,
against the abolition of that parliament in 1800, and that
thenceforward he devoted his abilities to promoting the cause of
Catholic emancipation. Dying in London, he was honored by being
buried in Westminster Abbey. In an age of great orators he stands out
among the very foremost. His speeches have become classics, and are
constantly quoted.

Another brilliant Irish orator, as well as an eminent wit, of this
period, was John Philpot Curran (1750-1817), who, born at Newmarket,
Co. Cork, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, achieved a
wonderful success at the Irish bar. He defended with rare insight,
eloquence, and patriotism those who were accused of complicity in the
rebellion of 1798. As a member of Grattan's parliament, he voiced the
most liberal principles, and, though a Protestant himself, he worked
hard in the Catholic cause. He held the great office of Master of the
Rolls in Ireland from 1806 to 1814. The memory of few Irish orators,
wits, or patriots is greener today than that of Curran. His daughter
Sarah, whose fate is so inextricably blended with that of the
ill-starred Robert Emmet, has been rendered immortal by Moore in his
beautiful song, "She is far from the land where her young hero
sleeps".

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1759-1797), the first advocate of the
rights of women, though born in London, was of Irish extraction. Into
the details of her extraordinary and chequered career it is not
possible, or necessary, here to enter. Her published works include
_Thoughts on the Education of Daughters_ (1787); _Answer to Burke's
Reflections on the French Revolution_ (1791); _Vindication of the
Rights of Women_ (1792); and an unfinished _Historical and Moral View
of the French Revolution_ (Vol. I., 1794). Having in August, 1797,
borne to her husband, William Godwin, a daughter who afterwards
became Shelley's second wife, Mary Godwin died in the following
month. Whatever her faults--and they were perhaps not greater than
her misfortunes--she had something of the divine touch of genius,
and, in a different environment, might easily have left some great
literary memento which the world would not willingly let die.

Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849), though born at Blackbourton in England,
belonged to a family which had been settled in different parts of
Ireland and finally at Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, for nearly two
hundred years. She was the daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth
(1744-1817), who was distinguished for his inventions, for his
eccentricity, and for his varied matrimonial experiences, and who
himself figures in literature as the author of _Memoirs_,
posthumously published in 1820, and as the partner with his daughter
in _Practical Education_ (1798) and in an _Essay on Irish Bulls_
(1802). Maria had a busy literary career and was before the public
for fifty-two years from 1795 to 1847. She wrote _Moral Tales;
Popular Tales; Tales from Fashionable Life_; and _Harrington_; but
she is now best remembered for her three masterpieces dealing with
Irish life and conditions, namely, _Castle Rackrent_ (1800); _The
Absentee_ (1812); and _Ormond_ (1817). By these works she inspired
Scott, as he himself tells us, to attempt for his own country
something "of the same kind with that which she had so fortunately
achieved for Ireland", and in a later day she inspired Turgenief to
do similarly for Russia. She excels in wit and pathos and gives a
true and vivid presentation of the times and conditions as she viewed
them.

Andrew Cherry (1763-1821), born in Limerick, became an actor, a
theatrical manager, and a playwright. He wrote nine or ten plays,
several of which were moderately successful. The one that is now
remembered is _The Soldier's Daughter_. Some of his songs, such as
"The Bay of Biscay", "Tom Moody, the Whipper-in", and, especially,
"The Green Little Shamrock of Ireland", bid fair to be immortal.

Other Irish song-writers were Thomas Duffet (fl. 1676), author of
"Come all you pale lovers"; Arthur Dawson (1700?-1775), author of
"Bumpers, Squire Jones"; George Ogle (1742-1814), author of "Molly
Asthore"; Richard Alfred Millikin (1767-1815), author of the
grotesque "Groves of Blarney"; Edward Lysaght (1763-1811), author of
"Our Ireland", "The Gallant Man who led the van Of the Irish
Volunteers", and "Kate of Garnavilla"; George Nugent Reynolds
(1770?-1802), author of "Kathleen O'More"; Thomas Dermody
(1775-1802), author of the collection of poems and songs known as
_The Harp of Erin_; James Orr (1770-1816), author of "The Irishman";
Henry Brereton Code (d. 1830), author of "The Sprig of Shillelah";
Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), author of "If I had thought thou couldst
have died", and of "The Burial of Sir John Moore"; and Charles Dawson
Shanly (1811-1875), author of "Kitty of Coleraine".

Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-1798), born in Dublin, educated at Trinity
College, and called to the Irish bar in 1789, fills a large space in
the history of his country from 1790 to his death in 1798. Intrepid,
daring, and resourceful, he was one of the most dangerous of the
enemies to English domination in Ireland that arose at any time
during the troubled relations between the two countries. Taken
prisoner on board a French ship of the line bound for Ireland on a
mission of freedom, he committed suicide in prison rather than submit
to the ignominy of being hanged to which he had been condemned. He
sleeps his last sleep in Bodenstown churchyard, in that county of
Kildare to which he was connected by many ties. His grave is still
the Mecca of many a pilgrimage, and the corner-stone of a statue to
his memory has been laid for some years on a commanding site in the
city of his birth. He is known in literature for his _Journals_ and
his _Autobiography_, both containing sad, but inspiring, reading for
the Irishman of today.

* * * * *

Here this rapid survey of Irish writers of English must close. To
tell in any sort of appropriate detail the story of the English
literature of Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries would
require a separate volume--a volume which is now under way and will,
it is hoped, be speedily forthcoming. There is all the less need to
attempt the agreeable task here, because in other portions of this
book much more than passing reference is made to the chief Irish
authors who, in the last hundred and fifteen years, have
distinguished themselves and shed lustre on their country. During
that period Irish poets, playwrights, novelists, essayists,
historians, biographers, humorists, critics, and scholars have fully
held their own both in the quantity and the quality of the work
produced, and have left an impression of power and personality, of
graceful style and vivifying imagination, that in itself constitutes,
and must for ever constitute, one of the distinctive Glories of
Ireland.

REFERENCES:

Irish Literature (10 vols., New York, 1904); Chambers's Cyclopaedia
of English Literature (3 vols., Philadelphia and London, 1902-1904);
Dictionary of National Biography; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Cambridge
History of English Literature; D'Alton: History of Ireland (London,
1910); Lennox: Early Printing in Ireland (Washington, 1909), Addison
and the Modern Essay (Washington, 1912), Lessons in English
Literature (21st edition, Baltimore, 1913); Macaulay: Essays, History
of England; Brown: A Reader's Guide to Irish Fiction (London, 1910),
A Guide to Books on Ireland (Dublin, 1912).

Book of the day: