Irish Poetry, from the English Invasion to 1798

By Rusell K. Alspach | Go to book overview

3
Molyneux, Swift, and MacCurtin

THE last part of the seventeenth century and the first two decades of the eighteenth century are marked by no specific works pertinent to our study. But the activities of two men-- William Molyneux and Jonathan Swift--during these years should be noted. Both had a profound and direct influence on Irish nationalism, and when a land is swept by a wave of nationalism its people instinctively turn to a study and idealization of their country's past.

Molyneux ( 1656-98) was born in Dublin and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1675. He was of the gentleman class and had enough money to gratify his varied interests. In 1680 he published in London an English translation of Descartes' Meditations. Of direct concern here, he "was instrumental in forming [in 1683] a Society in Dublin similar to the Royal Society in London, of which he was an illustrious member . . but . . . the distracted state of the kingdom dispersed [the society] as soon as 1688."53 The society formed by Molyneux was known as the Dublin Philosophical Society and had as its purpose inquiries into the antiquities of Ireland. Molyneux' contributions were mainly scientific;54 other members, however, read papers from time to time dealing with certain aspects of ancient Ireland. The society renewed its activity in 170755 for a

____________________
53
Ronert Burrowes, preface, Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, ( 1787), p. xiii.
54
Samuel Ayscough, op. cit., I, 473, MS 4811: Minutes and Register of the Philosophical Society of Dublin, from 1683, to 1687, with copies of the papers read before them." Molyneux' contributions are listed on pp. 473-74 and are as follows: 1) Concerning Lough-Neagh, and its petrifying quality; 2) A way of viewing pictures in miniature; 3) Queries relating to Lough Neagh.
55
Ibid., p. 476, MS 4812: "Register of the Philosophical Society of Dublin, from August 14, 1707, with copies of some of the papers."

-75-

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Irish Poetry, from the English Invasion to 1798
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Part I - The Poetry 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 2 - Gaelic or English? 4
  • 3 - From the Invasion to 1400 12
  • 4 - The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries 26
  • 5 - The Seventeenth Century: Fingal, Forth, and Bargy 37
  • 6 - From 1700 to 1798 49
  • Part II - The Matter of Ireland 57
  • I - Introduction 59
  • 2 - The Beginnings: Campion to Walsh 61
  • 3 - Molyneux, Swift, and Maccurtin 75
  • 4 - Keating and Dermod O'Connor 81
  • 5 - After Keating 95
  • 6 - Some Early Translators of Gaelic Poetry 103
  • 7 - Charlotte Brooke 110
  • 8 - To the Nineteenth Century 122
  • Bibliography 133
  • Index 141
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