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634
[IRISH LITERATURE
CELT

(1784-1835), whose compositions have been rescued by Hyde (Abhráin an Reachtúire, Dublin, 1903). Torlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), “the last of the bards,” was really a musician. Having become blind he was educated as a harper and won great fame. His poems, which were composed to suit his music, are mostly addressed to patrons or fair ladies. His celebrated “Ode to Whisky” is one of the finest bacchanalian songs in any language. Michael Comyn (b. c. 1688) is well known as the author of a version based upon older matter of “Ossian in the Land of Youth.” This appears to be the only bit of deliberate creation in the later Ossianic literature. Comyn also wrote a prose story called “The Adventures of Torlogh, son of Starn, and the Adventures of his Three Sons.” Brian MacGiolla Meidhre or Merriman (d. 1808) is the author of perhaps the cleverest sustained poem in the Irish language. His work, which is entitled the Midnight Court, contains about 1000 lines with four rhymes in each line. It describes a vision in which Aoibhill, queen of the Munster fairies, is holding a court. A handsome girl defends herself against an old man, and complains to the queen that in spite of all her charms she is in danger of dying unwed. Merriman’s poem, which was written in 1781, has recently been edited with a German translation by L.C. Stern (Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, v. 193-415). Donough MacConmara (Macnamara) (d. c. 1814) is best known as the author of a famous lyric “The Fair Hills of Holy Ireland,” but he also wrote a mock epic describing his voyage to America and how the ship was chased by a French cruiser. He is carried off in a dream by the queen of the Munster fairies to Elysium, where, instead of Charon, he finds Conan, the Thersites among the Fenians, acting as ferryman (Eachtra Ghiolla an Amaráin, or The Adventures of a Luckless Fellow, edited by T. Flannery, Dublin, 1901).

During the first half of the 19th century nothing new was produced of a high order, though the peasants retained their love for poetry and continued to copy the MSS. in their possession. Then came the famine and the consequent drain of population which gave Irish the death-blow as a living literary force. The modern movement has been dealt with above in the section on Irish language.

It remains for us to glance briefly at the later religious literature and the collections of folk-tales. The translation of the New Testament made by William O’Donnell and published in 1603 was first undertaken in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who sent over to Dublin the first fount of Irish type. Bishop Bedell, one of the very few Protestant clergymen who undertook to learn Irish, translated the remainder of the Scriptures with the help of a couple of natives, but the whole Bible was not translated and published until 1686. This version naturally never became popular, but it is a valuable source of information with regard to Modern Irish. It is perhaps of interest to note that the earliest specimen of printing in Irish is a ballad on Doomsday (Dublin, 1571). A version of the English Prayer Book was published in 1716.

The scholars of the various Irish colleges on the continent were particularly active in the production of manuals of devotion mainly translated from Latin. We can mention only a few of the more important. Sgathán an chrábhaidh (The Mirror of the Pious), published in 1626 by Florence Conry; Sgathán sacramente na h-Aithrighe (Mirror of the Sacrament of Penance), by Hugh MacCathmhaoil, published at Louvain, 1618; The Book of Christian Doctrine, by Theobald Stapleton (Brussels, 1639); Párrthas an Anma, or The Paradise of the Soul, by Anthony Gernon (Louvain, 1645); a book on Miracles, by Richard MacGilla Cody (1667); Lochrán na gcreidmheach, or Lucerna Fidelium, by Francis O’Mulloy (Louvain, 1676); O’Donlevy’s Catechism (1742). O’Gallagher, bishop of Raphoe, published a collection of sermons which went through twenty editions and are still known at the present day. He is one of the earliest writers in whom the characteristics of the speech of the north are noticeable. The only Catholic version of any considerable portion of the Scriptures up till quite recently was the translation of the Pentateuch by Archbishop MacHale, who also turned six books of the Iliad into Irish. It is only within recent years that attention has been paid to the collection of folk-songs and tales in Irish, although as long ago as 1825 Crofton Croker published three volumes of folk-lore in the south of Ireland which attracted the attention of Sir Walter Scott. Nor do the classic stories of Carleton fall within our province. We may mention among others Patrick O’Leary’s Sgeuluidheacht Chuige Mumhan (Dublin, 1895); Hyde’s Beside the Fire (London, 1890) and An Sgeuluidhe Gaedhealach, reprinted from vol. x. of the Annales de Bretagne (London, 1901); Daniel O’Fogharta’s Siamsa an Gheimhridh (Dublin, 1892); J. Lloyd’s Sgéalaidhe Óirghiall (Dublin, 1905); and Larminie’s West Irish Folk-Tales (London, 1893). The most important collections of folk-songs are Love-Songs of Connaught (Dublin, 1893) and Religious Songs of Connaught (Dublin, 1906), both published by Hyde. The most extensive collection of proverbs is the one entitled Seanfhocla Uladh by Henry Morris (Dublin, 1907). See also T. O’Donoghue, Sean-fhocail na Mumhan (Dublin, 1902).

Authorities.—In the absence of a comprehensive history, the best manual is Eleanor Hull’s Text Book of Irish Literature (2 parts, London, 1904-1908; vol. 2 contains a bibliographical appendix). D. Hyde’s larger History of Irish Literature (London, 1899) is only trustworthy as regards the more modern period. A full bibliography of all published material is contained in G. Dottin’s article “La littérature gaélique de l’Irlande” (Revue de synthèse historique, vol. iii. pp. 1 ff.). Dottin’s article has been translated into English and supplemented by Joseph Dunn under the title of The Gaelic Literature of Ireland (Washington, 1906, privately printed). The following are important works:—W. Stokes and J. Strachan, Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (2 vols., Cambridge, 1901-1903); J.H. Bernard and R. Atkinson, Liber Hymnorum (London, 1895); E. O’Curry, Lectures on the MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History (Dublin, 1873) and Lectures on the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish (3 vols., Dublin, 1873); P.W. Joyce, A Social History of Ancient Ireland (2 vols., London, 1903); E. O’Reilly, Irish Writers (Dublin, 1820); S.H. O’Grady, Catalogue of Irish MSS. in the British Museum (London, 1901); H. d’Arbois de Jubainville, Introduction à l’étude de la littérature celtique (Paris, 1883), Essai d’un catalogue de la littérature épique de l’Irlande (Paris, 1883), L’Épopée celtique en Irlande (Paris, 1892), La Civilisation des Celtes et celle de l’épopée homérique (Paris, 1899); E. Windisch, Táin Bó Cualnge, ed. with an introd. and German trans. (Leipzig, 1905); L. Winifred Faraday, The Cattle-Raid of Cualnge (London, 1904); the Irish text according to LU. and YBL. has been published as a supplement to Ériu; Eleanor Hull, The Cuchulinn-saga (London, 1899); W. Ridgeway, “The Date of the First Shaping of the Cuchulinn Cycle,” Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. ii. (London, 1907); A. Nutt, Cuchulin, the Irish Achilles (London, 1899); H. Zimmer, “Keltische Beiträge” in Zeitschrift f. deutsches Altertum, vols. 32, 33 and 35, and “Über den compilatorischen Charakter der irischen Sagentexte in sogenannten Lebor na hUidre,” Kuhn’s Zeitschr. xxviii. pp. 417-689. We cannot here enumerate the numerous heroic texts which have been edited. For texts published before 1883 see d’Arbois’s Catalogue, and the same writer gives a complete list in Revue Celtique, vol. xxiv. pp. 237 ff. The series of Irische Texte, vols. i.-iv. (Leipzig, 1880-1901), by E. Windisch (vols. ii.-iv. in conjunction with W. Stokes), contains a number of important texts. Others, more particularly those belonging to the Ossianic cycle, are to be found in S. H. O’Grady’s Silva Gadelica (2 vols. London, 1892). See also R. Thurneysen, Sagen aus dem alten Irland (Berlin, 1901); P. W. Joyce, Old Celtic Romances (London², 1901).

For the Ossianic cycle see H. Zimmer, “Keltische Beiträge III.” in vol. 35 of the Zeitschr. f. deutsches Altertum, also Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1887, pp. 153-199; A. Nutt, Ossian and the Ossianic Literature (London, 1899); L.C. Stern, “Die ossianischen Heldenlieder,” in Zeitschr. f. vergleichende Litteraturgeschichte for 1895, trans. by J.L. Robertson in Transactions of the Inverness Gaelic Society, vol. xxii.; J. MacNeill, Duanaire Finn (London, 1908); Book of the Dean of Lismore, ed. by T. Maclauchlan (Edinburgh, 1862), and in vol. i. of A. Cameron’s Reliquiae Celticae (Edinburgh, 1892); Transactions of the Ossianic Society (6 vols., Dublin, 1854-1861); Miss Brooke, Reliques of Ancient Irish Poetry (Dublin, 1789).

Keating’s History was translated by John O’Mahony (New York, 1866). The first part was edited with Eng. trans. by W. Halliday (Dublin,1811) and the whole work in 3 vols. for the Irish Texts Society by D. Comyn and P. Dinneen (London, 1901-1908). Comparatively few specimens have been published of the older bards. Several from a Copenhagen MS. were printed by Stern in the Zeitschr. f. celt. Phil. vol. ii.; J. Hardiman, Irish Minstrelsy (2 vols., Dublin, 1831); J.C. Mangan, The Poets and Poetry of Munster (Dublin4, no date); G. Sigerson, The Bards of the Gael and Gall (Dublin, 1906). Editions of the poems of Ferriter, Geoffrey O’Donoghue, O’Rahilly, John O’Tuomy, Andrew Magrath, John Claragh MacDonnell, Tadhg Gaolach and Owen Roe O’Sullivan by Dinneen, Gaelic League, Dublin, and Irish Texts Society, London, 1900-1903.

 (E. C. Q.)