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Poems   By: (1817-1882)

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Memorial to Denis Florence MacCarthy.

A Committee of friends and admirers of the late Denis Florence MacCarthy has been formed for the purpose of perpetuating in a fitting manner the memory of this distinguished Irish poet. Among the contributors to the Memorial Fund are Cardinal Newman, Cardinal MacCabe, Cardinal MacClosky; Most Rev. Dr. M'Gettigan, Most Rev. Dr. Croke, Most Rev. Dr. Butler, and many of the Irish Clergy; Lord O'Hagan, the Marquis of Ripon, Archbishop Trench, Judge O'Hagan, Sir. C. G. Duffy, Aubrey de Vere, Sir Samuel Ferguson, and Dr. J. K. Ingram.

Subscriptions will be received by the Lord Mayor, Mansion House, Dublin; by Dr. James Brady, 38 Harcourt st; Mr. W. L. Joynt, D. L., 43 Merrion square; Rev. C. P. Meehan, SS. Michael and John's; or by any Member of the Committee.


This volume contains, besides the poems published in 1850 and 1857,[1] the odes written for the centenary celebrations in honour of O'Connell in 1875, and of Moore in 1879. To these are added several sonnets and miscellaneous poems now first collected, and the episode of "Ferdiah" translated from the 'Tain Bo Chuailgne.'

Born in Dublin,[2] May 26th, 1817, my father, while still very young, showed a decided taste for literature. The course of his boyish reading is indicated in his "Lament." Some verses from his pen, headed "My Wishes," appeared in the "Dublin Satirist," April 12th, 1834. This was, as far as I can discover, the earliest of his writings published. To the journal just mentioned he frequently contributed, both in prose and verse, during the next two years. The following are some of the titles: "The Greenwood Hill;" "Songs of other Days" (Belshazzar's Feast Thoughts in the Holy Land Thoughts of the Past); "Life," "Death," "Fables" (The Zephyr and the Sensitive Plant The Tulip and the Rose The Bee and the Rose); "Songs of Birds" (Nightingale Eagle Phoenix Fire fly); "Songs of the Winds," &c.

On October 14th, 1843, his first contribution ("Proclamation Songs," No. 1) appeared in the Dublin "Nation." "Here is a song by a new recruit," wrote Mr., now Sir, Charles Gavan Duffy, "which we should give in our leading columns if they were not preoccupied." In the next number I find "The Battle of Clontarf," with this editorial note: "'Desmond' is entitled to be enrolled in our national brigade." "A Dream" soon follows; and at intervals, between this date and 1849 besides many other poems all the National songs and most of the Ballads included in this volume. In April, 1847, "The Bell Founder" and "The Foray of Con O'Donnell" appeared in the "University Magazine," in which "Waiting for the May," "The Bridal of the Year," and "The Voyage of Saint Brendan," were subsequently published (in January and May, 1848). Meanwhile, in 1846, the year in which he was called to the bar, he edited the "Poets and Dramatists of Ireland," with an introduction, which evinced considerable reading, on the early religion and literature of the Irish people. In the same year he also edited the "Book of Irish Ballads," to which he prefixed an introduction on ballad poetry. This volume was republished with additions and a preface in 1869. In 1853, the poems afterwards published under the title of "Underglimpses" were chiefly written.[3]

The plays of Calderon thoroughly national in form and matter have met with but scant appreciation from foreigners. Yet we find his genius recognized in unexpected quarters, Goethe and Shelley uniting with Augustus Schlegel and Archbishop Trench to pay him homage. My father was, I think, first led to the study of Calderon by Shelley's glowing eulogy of the poet ("Essays," vol. ii., p. 274, and elsewhere). The first of his translations was published in 1853, the last twenty years later. They consist[4] of fifteen complete plays, which I believe to be the largest amount of translated verse by any one author, that has ever appeared in English... Continue reading book >>

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