Thursday, 27 January 2011

A Narrow Sea

How did I miss this... Yet another great production from BBC Radio

A Narrow Sea, is a series of six minute episodes which explores the long history and relationship between Scotland and Ireland.

"The sea between the North East of Ireland and the South West of Scotland is a narrow sea. For centuries men and women have been crossing that narrow sea - known today as the North Channel and in the past as the Waters of Moyle - to settle, to visit, to trade, to raid."

Broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster weekdays at 6.54pm it is also available through BBC iPlayer or you subscribe through iTunes

Some of the recent episodes were:
  • Warrior families from the Hebrides start to settle in Ulster.
  • The MacDonnells of the Glens join forces with the Earls of Tyrone and Tír Conaill.
  • Hugh Montgomery helps Conn O’Neill make a daring escape from Carrickfergus Castle.
  • Sir Hugh Montgomery wastes no time in setting up his new home in Co. Down.
  • Sir Randal MacDonnell invites Scots to settle in the Glens.
  • The Flight of the Earls offers a new opportunity to King James.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Lisburn Writers from The Poets of Ireland, 1912. (part 4)



-- -- -- --
-- -- -- --


-- -- -- --


(Oxford University Press, 1912.)


Twenty-seven names of writers of verse, of local interest, from "The Poets of Ireland," have been selected -- these will be extracted and given here with the relative notes from the volume on each writer. The notes will be given in full and verbatim. Where possible the notes from "The Poets of Ireland" will be supplemented and augmented by additional and new matter gathered from other sources.
-- -- -- -- -- --

Dobbs, Francis. (See notes, Article XIV.). -- On June 7th, 1800, he delivered a long address in the Irish House of Commons in which he predicted the Second Coming of the Messiah. "Memoirs of Francis Dobbs, Esq.," were published in 1800. " Millennium" -- a poem in four books -- was published by him, also "A History of Irish Affairs, 1779 to 1782 " The "History of Irish Affairs" refers to the Ulster Volunteer movement of 1780. From "Poems, by Francis Dobbs, Esq.," Dublin, 1788, the following extracts are taken:--


On the Death of the Rev. JOHN DOBBS,

Who died at Lisburn, in Ireland, at the age of 22 years, the Author being then in England.

Ah me! what means that shriek of woe?
     From yonder oak, why screams the owl?
Why do these tears unbidden flow?
     And whence this anguish of the soul?

Too well this mournful seal declares,
     Some valu'd friend, for ever fled:
Some darling of my earliest years,
     Doth now lie mingl'd with the dead.

Oh! 'tis too much! art thou no more --
     Am I for ever robb'd of thee?
Must I in vain thy loss deplore?
     And ne'er again, my brother see?

My brother! oh too cold the name!
     Poor are the ties bf blood alone:
To join our hearts, sweet friendship came,
     And virtue, my affection won.

How oft, with transport did I view,
     Thy worth, expanding, with thy days:
Thy virtues with thy stature grew,
     And honor nurtur'd, all thy ways.

Benevolence adorn'd thy heart --
     Philanthropy, thy soul inspir'd:
Sincere thou wert, and knew not art,
     For no disguise, you e'er requir'd.

Ah! why! thus distant did I roam,
     When sickness lurk'd within thy frame?
Why absent, from my native home,
     When this, last fatal arrow, came.

Why was I not at hand to pour,
     The balm of friendship round thy head?
To watch by thee, the midnight hour,
     And sooth the pangs disease had bred.

Why was I not at hand to pay,
     The last sad duties of a friend?
To wait upon thy honor'd clay,
     And all its solemn rites attend.

Methinks, that I should less have griev'd,
     Had I, thy dying hand possess'd --
Had I, one last farewell receiv'd,
     And with a fond adieu been bless'd.

For oh! a thousand thoughts arise,
     That in thy life time dormant lay:
My language rude -- my tart replies --
     Now glare, in all the blaze of day.

Hear this, ye living brothers, hear!
     'Tis not enough that we approve.
Each word -- each gesture -- still should bear.
     The stamp of friendship, and of love.

Ah cruel death! could'st thou not find,
     Some hateful object for thy aim?
Some wretch abhorr'd -- whose tainted mind,
     Disgrac'd his kindred, and his name.

Is all that's lovely, most thy choice?
     Do'st thou the vicious longest save?
Do'st thou in human woe rejoice?
     Doth goodness hast'n to the grave.

But whither doth my frenzy stray?
     How dare I chide th' Almighty's deed?
Oh pardon! pardon what I say,
     And to my sorrows lend thy aid?

Reason proclaims, that God is just --
     That virtue's his peculiar care --
I bend submissive in the dust,
     And from my mournful theme forbear.

An ELEGY on the death of Lieutenant WILLIAM DOBBS.

The circumstances attending his loss, were I peculiarly honorable, and melancholy. He happened to be at Belfast, when Paul Jones in the Ranger Privateer appeared off the mouth of the harbour. The Drake sloop of war, was then at anchor in the bay, and her only Lieutenant was buried a few days before. Lieutenant DOBBS, whose ship was at Portsmouth, in this situation, thought it his duty to go on board the Drake, and in the engagement that followed, was mortally wounded, but the Drake being taken, and carried to France, his death was not known for some time after. He had been privately married only three days, when he voluntarily undertook this danger.

At length, thy mournful fate's disclos'd --
     No more can fancy life bestow.
To hope -- is certainty oppos'd --
     And expectation's lost in woe.

Too well thy naval pride was known --
     Thy love of glory, too -- too plain --
To let me think, the day was gone,
     And thou in safety, did'st remain.

Yet still I hop'd -- still fondly thought,
     My much lov'd friend, again to see.
Oft in idea, wert thou brought,
     Again to bless, thy home, and me.

Oft did my fancy, lead thee forth,
     'Midst crowds, whoso breasts with friendship glow'd;
Where ev'ry tongue proclaim'd thy worth --
     And ev'ry heart, with joy o'erflow'd.

Oft have I view'd thy rising days --
     Thy certain prospects of reward.
Blest with a grateful country's praise,
     And honour'd with thy king's regard.

Oft have I painted the dear scene,
     When I, my Will's return should greet --
When after separation's pain,
     I should again my brother meet.

Alas! no thronging crowds shall now,
     With loud applause, declare thee here --
Thy friends with heavy sorrow bow,
     And shed, the unavailing tear.

No more shall flow, the sparkling wine,
     Thy heart-felt welcome to declare
No more the transport shall be mine,
     Thy lov'd society to share.

Why would'st thou risk, a life so dear --
     And court those dangers, thou could'st shun?
No loss of honour thoud'st to fear
     No duty left, by thee undone.

How could'st thou leave a weeping bride --
     The dearest object of thy choice?
Scarce had thy nuptial knot been tied,
     When thou wert caught by glory's voice.

Oh where was then the God of love!
     When thus invaded was his sway?
Why not at hand, his power to prove,
     And banish glory, far away.

But thou art gone -- and all is o'er --
     And all that's of thee's but a name.
No earthly bliss, hath heav'n in store,
     But thou hast sacrifie'd to fame.

Hear this ye lining sons of war,
     Like him, belov'd -- if such there be! --
Oh! let not spirit urge too far,
     But live from needless dangers, free,

Do not, like him, all fear disdain --
     All thoughts but glory thus despise.
Hear not like him, a bride in vain,
     But learn, your safety more to prize.

What tho' no praise mankind bestow,
     You he not in a wat'ry grave:
But live t' enjoy, what's worth below --
     Nor friends, nor wife, to sorrow leave.

Oh thou dear youth! that thou wert here!
     Thus undistinguish'd, living now.
That I could raise thee from thy bier!
     And tear such laurels from thy brow.

Forbear -- forbear -- his shade exclaims!
     To wish that deed thou mourn'st undone.
Rather rejoice, at what proclaims,
     Immortal fame, and bright renown.

It is not life, merely to live --
     For length of time, to breathe unknown
This, to the vilest, fate may give --
     By merit only glory's won.

Short is the life of oldest age --
     Where worthless years unnotic'd fly,
Their days are long, in wisdom's page,
     Who live belov'd -- lamented die.

The inhabitants of Lisburn, where Lieutenant DOBBS was born, have erected a very beautiful Monument to his memory, on which is the following Epitaph, written by counsellor JOHN DUNN.

This marble is sacred to the memory
Of Lieutenant William Dobbs,
A Naval Officer.
Who terminated his career of virtue,
By an illustrious display of valour.
On board one of his Majesty's sloops of war;
Where endeavouring to snatch Victory from Fortune,
In opposition to superior force,
He fell a self-devoted victim to his country.
His body rests in that element,
On which Great-Britain has long rode triumphant,
By the exertions of men like him.
His afflicted townsmen
By strewing laurels over his empty monument,
Derive honour to them-selves,
They can add nothing to his fame.

He was born at Lisburn, on the 22nd day of September, 1746, and died of his wounds on board the Drake, the 26th of April, 1778.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Jones, William Todd. (See notes, Article XIV.) -- In 1803, Dublin, was published the "Case of William Todd Jones, a prisoner in the County Gaol of Cork, upon a charge of High Treason." Dublin, 1792, "Letter to the Societies of United Irishmen of the Town of Belfast." Dublin, 1802, "Authentic Details of an Affair of Honour between William Todd Jones and Sir Richard Musgrave." Jones shot his man through the body.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Hancock, Thomas, M.D. (See notes, Article XIV.) -- In 1844, London, was published by him a lengthy treatise entitled "The Principles of Peace, exemplified in the Conduct of the Society of Friends in Ireland during the Rebellion of 1798, with some preliminary and concluding observations."

-- -- -- -- -- --

Cowan, Samuel Kennedy. -- POEMS. London, 1872; THE MURMUR OF THE SHELLS, etc. (short poems), Belfast, 1879; A BROKEN SILENCE AND SOME STRAY SONGS, Belfast and London, 1883; PLAY, a picture-book, verses by S. K. C, London, 1884; LAUREL LEAVES, Belfast, 1885; JEMIMA JENKINS AND OTHER JINGLES, Newry, 1892; ROSES AND RUE, Newry, 1894; VICTORIA THE GOOD, Newry, 1897.

Born at Lisburn, Co. Antrim, August 13, 1850. B.A., T.C.D., 1871; M.A., 1874. Is represented by two pieces in "Lyra Hibernica Sacra," at the time of whose publication he was living at Glenghana, Bangor, Co. Down. Contributed to "Kottabos," and is included in J. M. Dowry s "Book of Jousts." "Kottabos" was a celebrated literary magazine published, at intervals from Trinity College, Dublin.

-- -- --

Major Cowan's mother was a sister of Mrs. Barbour, wife of William Barbour, Hilden, Lisburn, who died in 1875. He married in 1881 Miss Reilly, a niece of the late John D. Barbour, Hilden. Shortly after his marriage he went to reside at Drenta, Dunmurry. Since 1898 he has been living in Belgium and Holland. In Anahilt Parish Church are some fine brasses to the Cowan family.

In 1872 Major Cowan wrote his first lyric, which was set to music by Alfred Scott Gatty. It was entitled "The Old Sweet Story," and proved a great success. Acting on the composer's advice, he adopted literature as a profession, and has since written many and various works. His poems, set to music, number over a hundred: among the most popular being "Anchored," "Out on the Deep," "The Haven Aloft," "The Sentry," "One Love Alone," "Weather Permitting," and "Quaker Cousins" (set by James L. Molloy), "Just Because (Pinsuti), "Old Love-Letters" (Sir Arthur Sullivan), "Soldier Jack" (Theo. Bonheur), "My Darling's Dream" (Virginia Gabriel),. "Farewell, Dear Erin," specially composed for Madame Titiens, and sung by her at Queenstown on her departure for America; "The Song of the Irish Eight" (written for the winners of the Elcho Shield), and in July last "The Charge of the Ulster Division at Thiepval," He has also written many poems for recitation, which have become popular, notably "Becalmed," "In the Old Canteen," "Round the Bivouac Fire," and "Lame Jim." "On the Battlefield" was specially written for and recited by the late J. F. Warden, Theatre Royal, Belfast. For him he also composed an Ode on the death of Barry Sullivan, which was recited by Mr. Warden at the burial of the great actor in Glasnevin Cemetery and moved many of those present to tears. For a number of years he has been writing largely for several fine art house, including Messrs. Raphael Tuck & Sons, Eyre & Spottiswoode, Birn Brothers, and Hilderheimer & Faulkner, his average output of booklets, Christmas cards, birthday, wedding, and other cards being about 500 annually. He contributed pieces to "The Girl's Own Paper," "The Theatre Magazine," "The Sunday at Home," "The Book of Helen's Tower," "Garry's Elocutionist," "Poets at Play," "What to Read at Entertainments," Padrig Gregory's collection of Irish poems, etc, etc. His volume of parodies on Tennyson, entitled "Laurel Leaves," has been favourably received. His last volume was published in 1913, and is entitled From Ulster's Hills." It was produced by M'Caw, Stevenson & Orr, Limited, Belfast, and has had a wide circulation.

As a specimen of his work three pieces from his pen may be quoted:


There lies, unseen, before us
     A goal of Love and Glory,
          Whereto we journey day by day:
Singing, in solemn chorus,
     Life's never-ending story
          Of Rue and Roses on the way.

Whatever Time be weaving
     Out of the Rue and Roses --
          The bitter Rue, the Roses sweet --
Fare bravely on, believing
     A vien of gold reposes
          In every stone that wounds your feet!

Brook not Regrets, but brave them,
     And cherish Faith more dearly
          For every Hope whose light has fled:
'Tis by the tears that lave them
     Our eyes perceive more clearly
          The glory of the goal ahead!

Guiding -- consoling -- giving --
     Make every man your debtor,
          As you fare onward, day by day:
Life were not worth the living
     If someone were not better
          For having met you, on the way!


Coronation Day, 22nd June, 1911.

What is the Crown of England? Are its gems
Costlier than other Kingly diadems?
More precious stones -- or purer gold -- than they?
What is its wondrous worth, whereof the fame
Hath won, to-day, the whole vast world's acclaim?

What is the Crown of England? It is fraught
With vaster worth than wealth hath ever bought!
The gems, therein, are Loyalty and Love,
And Virtue is the virgin gold thereof!
Its precious stones are Light and Liberty,
And Truth and Justice are its jewelry!

This is its worth that wins the world's renown!
This is the wondrous wealth of England's Crown!
This is the Crown of England, that to-day
Girds our King's head, as with an aureole's ray!
This is the Crown of England, that doth now
Gleam? like a Glory, on our Monarch's brow,

And whispers: "Wake up, England, to the Light!
Lo! thro' mine Empire it is never Night:
Awake! the brave Sun -- somewhere -- never dies
Where the Old Flag of Merrie England flies!
Awake! Where Britain's Banner is unfurled,
Morning is always shining on the World!"


July 1st, 1916.

Was ever a Charge in the world like this?
Shall ever a son of Ulster miss
A fame that is wholly and solely his --
     A fame of sublimest splendour?
The lads who laughed in the face Death!
Above the roar of the cannon's breath
Singing their sacred shibboleth
     Of "The Boyne" and "No Surrender!"

Giant-strong, with the strength of Right --
Fired, by the soul of their sires, to fight --
What cared they for the foeman's might,
     Or how many cannons thundered?
Face to face with a hundred Huns,
Half-a-score of Ulster's sons
Silenced the thunder of the guns --
     Ten -- a match for a hundred!

Nought could stay them: nought them stop:
A thirst for blood to the last red drop,
Charging along on the topmost top
     Of the waves of Fire that bore them!
On, with a thirst that nought could quell,
Thro' a hurricane-shower of shot and shell,
To fight -- or fall, as their Fathers fell,
     In the doughty days before them!

Merrily -- every mother's son --
Laughing, as tho' they fought for fun,
With a song and a cheer they charged the Hun,
     Marring his Maker's image!
Chaffing, as tho' each shell might be
The whistle-call of a Referee!
And the bloodiest tussle in History
     Only -- a Football scrimmage!

Into the Hell of "No Man's Land,"
Thro' poisoned air, at their soul's command,
And a shrapnel-storm that none could stand,
     Charging, in wild derision.
Past Sentry Death, who, wondering, kept
His vigil there -- on, on they swept,
Where never a man could live -- except
     Ulster's Divine Division!

Flinging his fun in the face of Death --
Above the roar of the cannon's breath
Singing his sacred shibboleth
Of "The Boyne" and "No Surrender!"
Wherever a son of Ulster is,
Honour and Glory shall aye be his!
Was ever a fight in the world like this,
Or a charge of sublimer splendour?

-- -- -- -- -- --

Further Extracts from the "Poets of Ireland" next week.

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 26 January 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Digging up Your Roots

Digging up Your Roots, BBC Radio Scotland's genealogy and family history programme has returned.

Now in its fifth series, the programme relates many inspirational stories and gives advice for those delving into their family history.

While focusing on Scottish genealogy and history it by necessity touches on many events and places worldwide referring to a variety of sources and much of the advice translates well to any genealogical search.

Episode 2 looks at myths and stories that have been passed down through generations and in episode 3 a panel of experts: genealogist Dr Bruce Durie from the University of Strathclyde, former Chairman of the Tay Valley Family History Society, John Irvine, and Senior Archivist at Angus Council Archives, Fiona Scharlau, answers questions posed by a live audience.

The programme is broadcast on Sundays at mid-day and is available on the  BBC iPlayer. It can also be downloaded through iTunes where all three of the episodes are still available.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Lisburn Writers from The Poets of Ireland, 1912. (part 3)



-- -- -- --
-- -- -- --


-- -- -- --


(Oxford University Press, 1912.)


Twenty-seven names of writers of verse, of local interest, from "The Poets of Ireland," have been selected -- these will be extracted and given here with the relative notes from the volume on each writer. The notes will be given in full and verbatim. Where possible the notes from "The Poets of Ireland" will be supplemented and augmented by additional and new matter gathered from other sources.
-- -- -- -- -- --

Creany, William. -- A NEW YEAR'S OFFERING, poems, Belfast, 1832. Lived at George's Island, near Ballinderry, and was perhaps a farmer.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Crossley, Thomas Hastings Henry. -- A frequent contributor of poems to "Kottabos," both translated and original, and composer of some hymn tunes. He published a translation of "The Fourth Book of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius," 1882; Sch. T.C.D., 1865; B.A., 1869; M.A., 1871. Son of Major-General F. H. Crossley, and born at Glenburn, near Lisburn, Co. Antrim, on August 1, 1846. Educated at Royal School of Dungannon. Has been senior classical master at Trinity College (Glenalmond), and Professor of Greek at Belfast. Sixteen of his pieces are in "Dublin Translations," 1890. As a musician, he seems to be somewhat distinguished. He was a pupil of Berthold Tours.

-- -- --

T. H. H. Crossley, born 1846, is referred to in "Who's Who" for 1916, where there is a pretty full account of his life given. Probably a relative or descendant of John Crossley jun., referred to by Henry Bayly in his "Historical Account of Lisburn," 1834, as joint founder in 1810, with the Rev. Thomas Cupples, of the Male Free School, Dublin Road, Lisburn. Reference is also made to a legacy of £100 left by George Whitla to this school. Bayly, in verse, thus gives expression to his sentiments regarding the school and its founders --

Lisburn's free school! thy seeds of virtuous lore
Have shed their influence on a foreign shore;
So long as virtue is on earth endeared,
Thy founders' memory shall be revered;
Their patriotic acts shall win renown,
Long as philanthropy shall rule the town.

Crossley, thy worth is yet remembered well
And coming ages more thy praise shall tell.
In many a heart thy memory is enshrined,
Few like thyself on earth thou'st left behind.
When here below, 'twas thine to wipe the tear
Off sorrow's cheek -- the poor man's home to cheer --
Where lank-fac'd Poverty took her abode,
To raise Despair, and point to Zion's God.
Peace to thy shade -- the children thou hast nurst
In Learning's lap, ere thy bright spirit burst
Its bonds of clay, bless'd Crossley's honor'd name,
And live the trophies of thy glorious fame

And thou, too, Cupples, generous friend of youth
Long may you live the advocate of Truth;
Still in that path thy footsteps be inclined,
Guide of the opening and inquiring mind.
'Tis glorious work the voice of youth to raise,
A noble course was thine, to take the field
In Virtue's cause. Philanthropy thy shield
Wherever Vice with all her strain arose,
Thou wert enroll'd among her greatest foes. --
Amid the world's half-worshipp'd worthies thou
Hast won unfading laurels for thy brow.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Dobbs, Francis. -- MODERN MATRIMONY, a poem, to which is added THE DISAPPOINTMENT, an elegy, by the author of "The Irish Chief; or, The Patriot King," Dublin, 1773; THE PATRIOT KING; or, THE IRISH CHIEF, a tragedy in verse, London, 1774; POEMS, Dublin, 1788. Various other works on Irish history and politics. He was the younger son of the Rev. Richard Dobbs, and was born in Ireland, probably at Lisburn, Co. Antrim, on April 27, 1750; died, April 11, 1811. Was first an officer in the army, and finally a member of the Irish Parliament. There is a portrait and biography of him in "Walker's Hibernian Magazine" for June 1980.

-- -- --

Francis Dobbs was a son of the Rev. Richard Dobbs, incumbent of Lisburn Cathedral, 1749-1777. From the "Compendium of Irish Biography" it would appear that Francis represented Charlemont in the Irish Parliament from 1798 to the Union, which measure he consistently opposed and voted against. He represented a Northern Volunteer Corps, Southern Armagh, at the Dungannon Convention in 1782. Published a "Universal History" in several volumes and many tracts. Was obsessed with a belief in and exposition of the prophetical portions of the Scriptures. Frequently predicted the advent of the millennium, and proved to his own satisfaction that a Union between Great Britain and Ireland was specially forbidden by Scripture. He is said to have sunk into "unmerited neglect and difficulties " before his death.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Dubourdieu, Captain Francis. -- WILD FLOWERS FROM GERMANY, Belfast, 1850. Of the Royal Hanoverian Engineers. A native of the North of Ireland. Was a son of Rev. John Dubourdieu, the author of the "Statistical Survey of Antrim and Down."

-- -- -- -- -- --

Flecher, Henry McDonald. -- RHYMES AND RAVINGS BY A CO. ANTRIM LAD, Belfast, 1859; POEMS, SONGS, AND BALLADS, Belfast, 1866; ODIN'S LAST HOUR AND OTHER POEMS, Chicago, 1900. Born in Ballinderry, Co. Antrim, about 1840, and was first a schoolmaster at Moneyrea, Co. Down. Went to Belfast about 1866, and contributed a good deal to "The Northern Whig" and other journals, over the signature of "Coilus." Wrote one of the Burns' Centenary Poems published by Finlay and Anderson in 1859, his name being given as Henry Fletcher (and his address as Dundonald, Co. Down), and won the second prize. He became manager of a mill in Belfast in the sixties, and in the spring of 1871 he emigrated to Texas, U.S.A., where he still lives (1909). In Connolly's "Household Library of Ireland's Poets" he is included as "H. M. Fletcher."

-- -- -- -- -- --

Hancock, Thomas, M.D. -- ELEGY, supposed to be written on the field of battle, 1818; THE LAW OF MERCY, a poetical essay on the punishment of death, with illustrative notes, 1819 (both poems were anonymous.) Born at Lisburn, Co. Antrim, in 1783, of Quaker parentage. He was educated in England, and graduated M'.D. at Edinburgh in 1809. Died at Lisburn on April 6, 1849, aged 66. Wrote several works on the Friends, and medical books.

-- -- --

Dr. Hancock was a member of the Society of Friends, lived at Stannus Place, Lisburn, and was buried in the Friends' Burying-ground Railway Street. It is probable he was related to John Hancock, who was the original founder of the Friends' School, Prospect Hill. This School was opened in 1774 as a Boarding School for the children of Friends. Its first head master was John Gough, who published in four volumes his "History of the People called Quakers." He also compiled an Arithmetic which for many years was a standard work on the subject in Irish schools.

In the "Northern Whig," Saturday, May 19th, 1877, there is to be found an interesting account of the foundation and progress of the Ulster Provincial School to that date. Joseph Radley, the head master, in an address thus refers to Dr. Hancock: "In the year 1765 John Hancock, of Lisburn, an eminent and enlightened Friend, the ancestor of Dr. Hancock, who wrote the famous treatise on the exemplification of the peace principles held by Friends during the Rebellion of 1798. bequeathed the sum of £1,000 for the purpose of purchasing land and founding a school."

-- -- -- -- -- --

Henderson, James. -- A poet of this name, residing at Hillsborough, County Down, contributed numerous poems, signed by his initials, to " Walker's Hibernian Magazine," from 1779 onwards.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Johnston, John Moore. -- HETEROGENEA, OR MEDLEY, etc., in prose and verse, Downpatrick, 1803. A farmer, church-warden, and land-agent to Lord Moira and others, and born at Portmore Park, Co. Antrim, on December 14th, 1747. The book is very curious, and contains a lot of information about parishes and baronies in Co. Down and Co. Antrim, with lists of centenarians. There is also a long biographical account of Lord Moira, father of the eminent soldier who became Marquis of Hastings.

-- -- --

His life and work have already been reviewed in these "Extracts."

-- -- -- -- -- --

Jones, William Todd. -- This well known pamphleteer of the '98 period was also a writer of verse. He is included in the collection of poems (1790), edited by Joshua Elkins. He was born in Lisburn in or about 1759, and died May 10, 1818.

-- -- --

William Todd Jones and Colonel Sharman, in the famous struggle for electoral independence in 1783, were returned to the Irish Parliament as the popular members for Lisburn. Jones had his portrait painted by a Robert Hunter and engraved by Alexander M'Donald, a Dublin engraver.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Keightley, Sir Samuel Robert, LL.D. -- A KING'S DAUGHTER, and other poems, Belfast, 1878; second edition, 1879. Born at Belfast in 1859, and educated at Academy and Queen's College of that city where he graduated. He wrote the above poems while a student, and is since better known by his various historical novels.

-- -- --

Barrister and novelist. He received his Knighthood in 1912. Married -- issue two sons and two daughters. Contested three Parliamentary elections unsuccessfully -- South Antrim in 1903, as Independent Unionist; South Derry twice in the Liberal interest. Resides at The Fort, Lisburn. Has written a large number of interesting and entertaining novels, amongst them may be mentioned -- The Crimson Sign, The Cavaliers, The Last Recruit of Clare's, The Silver Cross, Heronford, The Pikemen. A Beggar on Horseback, A Man of Millions.

-- -- -- -- -- --

McCall, Rev. William. -- Published a volume of poems in Belfast many years ago, but I have been unable to obtain the title or date of the work. He was the son of Robert McCall, of Lisburn, Co. Antrim, and was born there on April 17, 1821, and graduated B.A., T.C.D. He wrote for various Ulster papers over the signature of "Lamh Dhearg." He became finally rector of St. Mary Axe, and of St. George's, Tufnell Park, London, and died on June 80, 1881.

-- -- --

He was the son of Robert McCall, Lisburn, by his second wife, Eliza Sweeny, a descendant of a French refugee named Peter Goyer. Mr. McCall's sister, Eliza, married Redmond Jefferson, of Lisburn, in 1841. Hugh McCall, writer of a number, of valuable books dealing with the North of Ireland, was the Rev. Wm. M'Call's half-brother.

-- -- -- -- -- --

McCall, Hugh. -- Born in Lisburn, 1805, Died in the town of his nativity, 1897. His name does not appear in "The Poets of Ireland," probably because his poems were never collected and published in book form. He is best, known for his prose works, which are a valuable contribution to the history of Ulster, and will be referred to later, in detail in these "Extracts."

The following song was contributed by Mr. McCall to the collection of prose and verse, entitled "The Republic of Letters," published by Blackie and Son in four volumes in 1841. It is given as a specimen of the verse he was contributing to various journals:--


Hurrah! -- my bark -- my ocean bird --
     The Sun's broad rays are flung
Across the cliff's majestic brow,
     Where eagles oft have swung --

Spread thy light pinions to the gale,
     Dash thro' the foaming spray
That sparkles with a thousand hues
     My bark! away, away!

Hurrah! -- the monarch of the wild
     May climb the mountain side,
And gaze upon his forest-home
     With freedom's conscious pride!

But liberty upon the waste
     Of waters seems more free;
Strike, strike the deep-toned harp again
     Thou bright and glorious sea!

Hurrah! -- again with joy I hear
     The dashing of the wave, --
Sound that is welcome to my ear
     As victory to the brave.

Oh! When my life's last pulse is gone,
     I ask no more than this --
My requiem be the light sea-breeze!
     My grave, the blue abyss!

R. A. McCall, K.C., a son of Hugh McCall, is a successful barrister living in London. Valuable articles from his pen have appeared from time to time in the Belfast and local Press dealing with the Huguenot Settlement of Ulster.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Further Notes next week from "The Poets of Ireland."

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 19 January 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Lisburn Writers from The Poets of Ireland, 1912. (part 2)


-- -- -- --
-- -- -- --


-- -- -- --


(Oxford University Press, 1912.)


Twenty-seven names of writers of verse, of local interest, from "The Poets of Ireland," have been selected -- these will be extracted and given here with the relative notes from the volume on each writer. The notes will be given in full and verbatim. Where possible the notes from "The Poets of Ireland" will be supplemented and augmented by additional and new matter gathered from other sources.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Bayly, Henry -- TOPOGRAPHICAL & HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF LISBURN, with a Poem on the same, etc. Belfast, 1834. A Lisburn lawyer.

-- -- --

Henry Bayly published in 1834 A Topographical and Historical Account of Lisburn, also a Poem on same, comprehending The Maze--A Satire, to which is added some miscellaneous pieces, etc. The volume, which runs to 160 pages, is dedicated to the Very Rev. Jas. Stannus, Dean of Ross, and to the Representative, Seneschal, Burgesses, and Citizens of Lisburn.

The volume contains a list of the names of subscribers. Fifty-seven pages are devoted to the Historical Account of Lisburn, and some eighty pages occupied with verse. The author was a clerk in a lawyer's office in Lisburn. The book will be fully reviewed later. Printers -- Thomas Mairs, Joy's Entry, Belfast.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Bultitaft, William Lyon. -- Not included in "The Poets of Ireland." A small volume of his collected poems was published in 1901 -- J. Thompson & Co., Ltd., 99 Donegall Street, Belfast -- entitled "Songs on the March." A note to the volume states -- "These verses are printed as they were left by the author at his his death. If he had lived they would no doubt have received further revision before publication."

-- -- --

Born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, in 1870. Died at Belfast in 1900. Soon after his birth his parents came to reside at Kircassock, near Lurgan; later they went to Laurel Vale, Tandragee, and again removed to Lisnoe, Ravarnette, Lisburn. At Lisnoe W. L. Bultitaft spent the greater part of his short life. He was related to the Sinton family of Ravarnette. The little volume contains twenty-five pieces, many of them showing real evidence of ability and originality. Two may be quoted as fair specimens of his work.


What is the charm that dwells among the roses
     The wild sweet blossoms of the month of June?
What is the spell that this frail flower encloses,
     That binds me late or soon?

The very perfume with its sweet insistence
     Holds some unknown relation to my will --
Some subtle influence of a pre-existence
     That clings about me still.

Some mind-controlling power that's more than mortal --
     Strange impression from the silent Past --
Some hidden hand, outstretched beyond the portal,
     To touch my hand at last.

O, strange bewilderment! O, curious power!
     The wild, weird magic of the wild sweet rose!
The spirit-madness latent in the flower
     Into my spirit flows.

Oh, is it loss or gain, our competence of sorrow?
     Are we fitted any better for the way we have to tread?
From a present day of trouble shall we reap a happy morrow?
     Will the future recompense us when our dreary past is dead?

Though we all may ask the question, there is none of us can answer:
     We must toil beneath the burden till the end shall come at last:
Yet we trust, though sore misdoubting, as the darkness groweth denser,
     That the Only One who knoweth will reward us for the past.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Brown, Rev. W. Wallace. -- CHRIST THE LIFE OF LIVES, with other poems, Belfast, 1887. Preface is addressed from Brookhill, near Lisburn.

-- -- --

William Wallace Brown was born at Brookhill, Lisburn, in 1849, and died unmarried in the same place in 1891. He went out out as a missionary with the Presbyterian Church in 1874, returned home in 1882, and then visited Australia on account of his health, where he remained was a son of the Rev. J. S. Brown, who was Minister of Magheragall Presbyterian Church for almost half a century. Some members of the family still reside at Brookhill. His book of poems, published in 1887, runs to 72 pages. There are 13 pieces, all chiefly of a religious nature. One piece occupies 40 pages of the volume, and is a life of Christ in verse.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Campbell, Thomas. -- LAYS FROM LISNAGARVEY. Belfast, 1884. Was a millworker, born at Lisnagarvey, Lisburn. Wrote to local Press over signature of "Pat M'Blashmole."

-- -- --

Thomas Campbell was born in Sandy Row, Belfast, 15th June, 1855. His family removed to Derriaghy, Lisburn, in 1857, where they remained some five years, thence to the Low Road, Lisburn, in 1862, where he has resided since. His educational training, which was necessarily limited, was given in the first instance by Mr. John Richardson, Tullynacross National School, County Down, and later by Mr. Samuel Hull, Market Square Presbyterian Church School, Lisburn. At the early age of eleven years he entered the employment of William Barbour & Sons, Hilden, and has in this year (1916) completed a half century's honourable work in connection with the Hilden firm. He was one of the founders of the Lisburn Co-operative Society, Limited; was its first treasurer, and was president of the society from 1892 to 1899. He served on the committee for twenty-five years, and was closely identified with the early struggle of the Society, and during the period of its early prosperity. Mr. Campbell was initiated into the mysteries of Free Masonry in St. Patrick's Lodge, No. 602, Derriaghy, in 1877, and has ever since taken the keenest interest in the Masonic Order. He still maintains his connection with his mother lodge, and is in addition in fellowship with numerous other lodges in the neighbourhood. He is also closely associated with the Orange Institution. In 1884 he issued a book of poems entitled "Lays from Lisnagarvey," printed by John Reid & Co., 20 Linenhall Street, Belfast. The volume contains some 66 pieces. In the introductory note to the book he states -- "They were composed by a mill operative in his leisure moments, who from boyhood has been nurtured among the whirl of belts and the din or machinery -- no enviable situation for the cultivation of the Muses." Between 1884 and 1900 a large number of poems from his pen appeared in the "Lisburn Standard," but have never been collected into book form, and it is to be feared are now irretrievably lost. Many of his poems dealt with Masonic subjects. A song, entitled "Derriaghy," published about 1898, may be quoted.


There's a place called Derriaghy,
     And I'd have you all to know,
Whene'er the stated time comes round,
     'Tis there I love to go
Where a lodge of right good fellows meet,
     Who wear the red and lue [sic];
And friendship sits enshrined within
     Hearts that are kind and true.

               Chorus --
          Of all Masonic Lodges,
               'Tis the best one that I know.
          It is there the finer feelings
               Of our natures ebb and flow.
          You may talk of other lodges.
               And may think they're up to Dick;
          But the lodge in Derriaghy.
               Beats the whole rick-ma-tick.

Our Lodge is called St. Patrick's --
     'Tis a highly honoured name,
That on the roll of Masonry
     Is not unknown to fame.
The day-star of our Order there
     Is shining very clear,
And the genius of Masonry
     Is hovering very near.

The mysteries the Masters taught
     In ages long ago.
Which none but proved craftsmen
     Of our Order e'er may know,
Are seen in all their splendour,
     In their wisdom, strength, and might,
While beauty sheds a lustre
     Like a halo of delight.

There you may see the meaning plain
     Of Faith, and Hope, and Love --
Masonic lights that brilliant shine
     Like stars from out above;
Strong Faith in the great Architect,
     And Hope in power to save,
And Love that lives for brothers true
     For aye, beyond the grave.

Now there's a lodge Eternal,
     Far beyond this world of woe,
To which by truest merits' claim
     We hope at last to go:
And there, beneath the Master's eye,
     As in the days of yore,
It shall be a Derriaghy
     And St. Patrick's evermore.

From the "Lays of Lisnagarvey" the following may be given as specimens of his work


Sweet Maghraleave's green hills and vales,
     Bring fondest recollections, O;
Of many whispered tender tales
     That charmed my young affections, O.
There blue-bells grow, white hawthorns blow,
     And Spring's first pale primroses, O.
Calm peace and love, those joys that rove,
     In that sweet spot reposes, O.

'Tis there the snowdrop early rears
     Above the snow its blossom, O;
The tender flower is not more pure
     Than the heart in Bessie's bosom, O.
Her witching smile that charmed the while,
     Her teeth like pearls disclosing, O;
Her every charm did my heart warm
     At many a daylight's closing, O.

Around that place fond memory strays,
     Recalls each bush and bramble, O;
A charm still lingers there always,
     Where Bess and I did ramble, O.
Each sweet retreat and verdant seat.
     Where oft we held our meeting, O;
Each bosky dale, and leafy vale,
     Reminds how time is fleeting, O.

Since then we've wandered side by side,
     With hand in hand together, O;
Contented down life's stream to glide,
     'Mid fair and cloudy weather, O.
But memory still, through good or ill,
     Wherever time shall find us, O;
Of many an eve in Maghraleave,
     Will evermore remind us, O.


Young Kathleen was bonnie, young Kath was fair,
And bright were the braids of her brown silken hair,
That around Paddy's heart wove a magical chain,
Made him sigh when away to be with her again.

Kathleen, though bewitching, inclined Pat to tease,
And Patrick, so loving, tried Katty to please;
The maid was so shifty, enchanting, and coy,
That Pat found much torment mixed up with his joy.

One evening, when seated in a sweet, verdant lane,
O'er head birdies twittered an am'rous refrain;
'Mid sweet hawthorn blossoms that I scented the vale,
Young Pat mustered courage to tell her his tale.

First his face reddened up, then his hair gave a tweak,
Something stuck in his throat e'er a word he could speak;
Then in desperation he whispered, "Ah, Kate,
"Shure I mended the rail where the cow broke the gate."

Her bright eyes were sparkling, she saw something wrong,
Then murmured, "Dear Pat, did the job keep you long?"
"An hour," next he muttered. She said, with a laugh,
"Shure any gossoon could have done it in half."

Pat's confusion increased, his face was a sight,
As over it quickly the red chased the white;
Then, growing quite calm, whispered, "Katty, my dear,
"How happy the birds all around us appear.

"How blythely they're singing this bright summer day!
"Ah, Kate! could not we be as happy as they?"
She knew his heart spoke, so earnest his tone,
And the time had arrived her heart's love to own.

Then timidly, bashfully, she hung down her head,
And "We could be as happy," she murmuring said;
Pat's heart gave a flutter, his arm clasped her waist,
Then her head in submission sank down on his breast.

His emotions, his feelings, what pen could express,
As he asked her a question to which she said "Yes."
The birds sang more sweetly, the sun brighter shone,
As in rapture he pressed to his bosom his own.

The hawthorn still blossoms, the grass is still green,
And down in that loaning fond lovers are seen;
Some hopes are deceived -- others, joy gilds their life,
And live afterwards happy, like Pat and his wife.

More "Extracts" from "The Poets of Ireland" next week.

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 12 January 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Lisburn Writers from The Poets of Ireland, 1912.


-- -- -- --
-- -- -- --


-- -- -- --


(Oxford University Press, 1912.)

This valuable and interesting work contains 504 pages and over 4,000 references to Irish writers of English verse. Generally speaking, those writers who were only partly or remotely of Irish blood are not included. English writers who have made their homes in Ireland, and identified  themselves with it, have been considered admissable. Mr. O'Donoghue is librarian, University College, Dublin, and has also written biographies of several distinguished Irishmen. A much smaller and less perfect edition of this work was published about 1892. Twenty-seven names, of writers of verse, of local interest are selected -- these will be extracted and given here with the relative notes from the volume on each writer. The notes will be given in full and verbatim. Where possible the notes from "The Poets of Ireland" will be supplemented and augmented by additional and new matter gathered from other sources.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Burdy, Rev. Samuel. -- ARDGLASS; or, THE RUINED CASTLES; also THE TRANSFORMATION, with other poems, Dublin, 1802."

Author of a "Life of Rev. Philip Skelton, Derriaghy, Lisburn" (1792), "A Tour of a few Days to Londonderry and the Giant's Causeway " (Dublin, 1807), and a "History of Ireland" (1817). Born at Dromore, Co. Down, probably in 1754; of Huguenot descent. Sch. T.C.D., 1780; B.A., 1781. Died March 7, 1820, and is buried at Kilclief, Co. Down. Was never married.

-- -- --

The Life of Skelton was published in 1792, and reprinted, 225 pages, in 1914 by the Oxford University Press. In the introduction to the 1914 edition there is a short sketch of Burdy's life, by Norman Moore. It is stated that Burdy was descended from a Huguenot soldier who was wounded at the battle of the Boyne. In a poem written by Burdy on the death of a friend, James Agnew, linen-draper, Moss-vale, Lisburn, who died in 1798, he : thus refers to their common ancestor:--

"Our common grandsire left fair Gallia's land,
Forc'd from her plains by Lewis' stern command,
Join'd great Prince William on Batavia's shore,
At Boyne's fam'd waters heard the cannon roar."

Bishop Reeves expressed the opinion that Burdy was probably an altered form of Dubourdieu. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, as a sizar in 1777, won a scholarship in 1780, and took his B.A.  degree in 1781. In 1783 he was appointed Curate at Ardglass. Kilclief, a perpetual curacy in the County Down, was the only further ecclesiastical preferment he attained.

The Life of Skelton deals with daily life and not with political events. It gives an interesting view of the Ulster of that period. One gathers that Burdy was a disappointed man, and dissatisfied with the recognition that his abilities received.

He writes --

"My service treated, and my studious pain,
With cold neglect or insolent disdain,
No friend to assist me, and no patron smile,
No gift to sooth my literary toil."

-- -- -- -- -- --

Skelton, Rev. Philip, D.D. -- An eminent theologian, born at Derriaghy, near Lisburn, Co. Antrim, in February, 1706 (or 1707). Sch. T.C.D., 1726; B.A., 1728, He wrote some excellent hymns, which will be found in his collected works. They are still included in representative collections, two of them being in "Lyra Hibernica Sacra." There are sixteen lengthy poems of a pious nature at the end of volume 6 of his collected works. His life was written by the Rev. Samuel Burdy. He wrote some valuable and learned works, and died in Dublin on May 4, 1787, and was buried in St. Peter's Churchyard in that city.

-- -- --

Richard Skelton, Philip's father, and his family resided in a house in the townland of Aghalislone, Parish of Derriaghy. A short mile from Derriaghy Village, going in the direction of Pond Park, there is a road branches off to the right and connects, barely a mile distant, with the Ivy Hill and Castlerobin Road. About half-way, on this short connecting road, and on the right-hand side of the road, there is a low thatched cottage standing back a short distance from the road. This cottage, it is said, was the home of the Skeltons, and that it was here that Philip Skelton was born. Around this locality his youthful memories centred, and in the long years of his later life to this homely spot his heart ever turned with warm affection. The house has been in the occupation of the M'Comb and Crone families, who intermarried, for over 120 years; it is now known as Crone Cottage, the present occupier being Mr. Marcus M'Comb. The house, from its construction and appearance, is evidently of considerable antiquity, and it is quite possible that it was the original building occupied by the Skelton family. It is, however, beyond doubt that, whether Crone Cottage was the original building or not, it is quite close to the original site. Some authorities say that the old homestead was about twenty yards further on in the direction of Derriaghy, on the same side of the road, where the old foundations of a house are still to be seen.

From the "Compendium of Irish Biography," by Alfred Webb, 1878, it may be gathered that the Rev. Philip Skelton acted as Curate near Newtownbutler in 1729, where he also taught the children of the Rector, Dr. Samuel Madden; Curate in Monaghan, 1732, at a salary of £40 a year; Vicar of Pettigo, 1750. In 1759 he was removed to the Parish of Devenish, near Enniskillen, worth £300 a year, and in 1766 made his last change to Fintona, Co. Tyrone. He was the author of numerous sermons which had a large circulation, and of "Deism Revealed," an important work published in London, 1749. He had previously published "Some Proposals for the Revival of Christianity," which was attributed to Swift. His sermons were warmly commended by Wesley, and were as eagerly listened to by London audiences as by his own simple parishioners. He was bitterly opposed to all dissent, yet was the friend of Wesley. In character he was simple and chivalrously honest. In manners outspoken, if not uncouth and rude, and careless in his dress. He was of large, gigantic size, and an adept at cudgels and the use of his fists, and was not backward in the use of either when he considered the occasion required. His whole life was one of self-devotion. He lived on the sparest diet. Even when his stipend was but £40 a year he devoted a portion to the relief of the suffering poor. He was extremely fond of flowers, and would send twenty miles for a curious specimen. He was never married.

-- -- -- -- -- -- --

The Life of Philip Skelton.


-- -- --


Philip Skelton was born in the Parish of Derriaghy, near Lisburn, in February, 1706-7. His father, Richard Skelton, was a decent honest countryman, who held under Lord Conway a large farm at a cheap rent. The father of Richard was the first of the family that came over from England to reside in Ireland.

Richard had served an apprenticeship to a gunsmith, and was employed at that trade when he went to Kilwarlin, and married there Arabella Cathcart, by whom he got the farm in Derriaghy already mentioned. Having removed, on his marriage, to that parish, he wrought diligently at his trade, until the whole country was put in confusion by the war between William and James. He was then carried off by King James, and compelled to work for his army. His wife, who had two children, and was with child of the third, having obtained a pass from the King, retired with her family to lsland-Magee, a small peninsula near Carrickfergus; where she was delivered of her third child, and experienced, during her illness, tender usage from the poor inhabitants, who sat up with the stranger to-night." Nor was she ungrateful to them for their kindness. She entrusted her house and farm to a Roman Catholic family called Hamill, who, acting with singular honesty on the occasion, sent her, in abundance, butter, flour, and every other necessary of life, the produce of her farm, to her place of retirement. With a large share of what she received she rewarded the people of Island-Magee for their services. On her return she found everything belonging to her carefully preserved by the Catholics, who took as much care of her property as if it had been their own. Such instances of fidelity were but rare in those turbulent times, when bigotry too often destroyed the force of moral obligations. Her children, on that account, had always a regard for those of the Catholic persuasion. I heard Mr. Skelton often say, that the poor original Irish were naturally faithful, humane, and averse to blood.

In the latter part of his life he quitted the gunsmith trade, which could not be profitable in a country place, and kept a little tan-yard. So that Mr. Skelton used to call himself the son of a tanner. At his father's, he said, they always got beef on a Sunday, but not regularly during the rest of the week. The farm he had was indeed sufficient of itself to afford a competent support to himself and family; yet it was necessary he should be frugal and industrious, for he had six sons and four daughters. Three of his sons were educated for clergymen of the established church, of which he was a member; Philip, who was the youngest; John, who was schoolmaster at Dundalk; and Thomas, who had the small living of Newry.

Philip, when he was about, ten years old, was sent to Lisburn. Latin school, which was then kept by the Rev. Mr. Clarke, a man of eminence in his profession; who, having afterwards left that place on account of a dispute with Lord Conway, obtained the school of Drogheda, where he lived to an advanced age. His spirited resistance thus helped to get him promotion in the world, which too frequently is the effect of tame submission to superiors. However, he did not leave Lisburn until after Mr. Skelton had completed the course of his school studies. His father, though he lived within two miles of the town, placed him at lodgings there, that he might enjoy every opportunity of improvement. Sensible of its importance, he did not spare expense to give his children education. On Sunday evening he always went to his father's and returned to Lisburn on Monday morning.

At first he did not relish his grammar, which seemed dry and disagreeable, and therefore he would not confine himself to it. The master complained of this to his father, who used the following method to cure him of his idleness. He raised him one Monday morning early out of his. bed, and having put a pair of coarse brogues on his feet, ordered him to go out immediately to the fields to work with the common labourers. This command he willingly obeyed, supposing it would be less laborious to toil there, than to fatigue his head with hard study. His father made him carry stones on a hand-barrow, and submit to the severest drudgery; not allowing him to come home to his breakfast, but keeping him fasting long beyond the usual time, and then sending it to him of the coarsest food to take in the open fields. When he returned from his day's work, he treated him as he did the lowest servant. He would not suffer him to keep company with the rest of his children, but bade him go  to his companions the servants, and stay with them. Broken down at last by this hard usage he began to relent, and burst into tears. His father then said to him, "Sirrah, I'll make this proposal to you: Whether do you choose to toil and drudge all your life, as you have these few days past, living on coarse food, clad in frize clothes, and with brogues on your feet, or to apply to your books, and eat, and drink, and be dressed like your brothers here?" pointing to his brothers, who, at vacation, had just then come down from the university, decked out in Dublin finery. Poor Philip, whose bones ached with, the hand-barrow, said, "he would readily go to school, and be attentive to his studies." Accordingly he did so, and continued studious ever after.

The success of this project proved the sagacity of his father, who was remarkable for his good sense over the whole Parish of Derriaghy. The gentlemen of fortune in that place had such a high opinion of him, that they used to invite him frequently to their houses, for the sake of his conversation. A Bishop Smyth in particular, who lived there, showed him every mark of attention, and his Lordship's daughters were pleased to make a companion of his oldest daughter, a young woman of sense and accomplishments superior to her opportunities. His father had also some knowledge of architecture, being employed to superintend the building of the present church of Derriaghy. His circumstances, by his care and industry, were daily improving, when death carried him off from his disconsolate family in the fiftieth year of his age; while he was engaged in building a dwelling-house, and making a new tan-yard, neither of which were ever after completed. Such are the hopes of man! A few hours before he died, he called to him his ten children to give them a charge. Philip, who had been then but half a year at the Latin school, he desired to study physic, and learn to cure the disease that was killing his father. He obeyed, as I will shew, his dying command, but fixed on divinity for his profession, to which he believed himself called by a voice more than human. Thus did he lose in his tender years an excellent father, a man of admirable sense, a strict observer of religion, and a careful instructor of his children. He retained ever after a grateful remembrance of his worth. In his "Senilia" he calls him "his wise and good father." He used to say with Horace, that if he were appointed to choose a father out of all the men in the world, he would take the one he had.

His mother was left with ten children. She had indeed the benefit of the family farm, but land at that time wee comparatively of little value, and a great part of hers was rough and mountainous. Of consequence, her means of support for such a family were not over abundant; but she made amends for this by her care and prudence in managing her affairs. Her son Philip, who continued still to go to the Latin school, lived, as it seemed convenient, partly at her house and partly at lodgings in Lisburn. The sharp medicine which his father administered to him, having cured him effectually of his idleness, he was ever after, as I said before, extremely attentive to his studies. He that gains the prize of literature has passed through a previous course of discipline while a boy. His parts, at first, wore not remarkably quick or retentive, but his diligence enabled him to overcome every obstacle. When he was at a loss for candles to read at night, which frequently happened, he made use of furze, which he gathered for the purpose, and then throwing them piece by piece upon the fire, read by the glimmering light. Such was the expedient suggested by an ardent desire for learning. He used to tell us, that when he was at school, he and some of his school-fellows, who were also remarkably studious, often meet together in the fields and examined each other most strictly for halfpence. He that missed the answer of the question proposed was forced to give a halfpenny to the boy who examined him; which made them, as he remarked, prepare themselves with great care, for halfpence were then very scarce.

The following incident of his life, while he was at the Latin school, cannot, I think, be unworthy the attention of the curious. Straying one day through the fields near Lisburn, he happened to shout out on the top of a hill there, and found that the echo repeated the same words successively in a still lower tone. He used afterwards to amuse himself often with speaking loud at this place. One morning he was repeating there the first line of Virgil, when the usher of the school, a Scotchman, of a sour temper, very fat, and remarkable for chewing tobacco, walking near the place, and hearing the echo, imagined he was calling to him in a jeering tone of voice, "fat chops, tobacco box." The Scotchman was so enraged at this supposed insult, that he insisted on Skelton's being turned out of school; if not he would leave it himself. Skelton told the master the story of the echo, and appealed to his school-fellows for the truth of what he said. But the usher would not be pacified, and at last, as a great favour, was content with his being whipped.

This odd sort of echo near Lisburn is mentioned in his Latin treatise on sounds by Dr. Hales, late of Trinity College, one of the most worthy clergymen of Ireland, whose humility can be only equalled by his learning. For he had none of that stiff dignity and supercilious importance that too often distinguish academic authority. The whole account of the echo, conveyed in Mr. Skelton's own words, is inserted in a Latin note at the end of the volume; but, on examination, I find it is of too philosophic a nature to be introduced into a work of this kind. I cannot now recollect, any other incident of his life, white at school, worth relating. It appears indeed that he was not upon that, occasion treated with over indulgence by the master, who, without, any fault of his own, whipped him just to please a peevish Scotch usher. To the sons of poor or middling men it would, I think, be a disadvantage to meet with too gentle usage from their preceptors. It is fit they should, from the beginning, be trained to difficulties, with which they may be forced to struggle all their days.

While he was at college, he went once to Donnybrook fair, and heard it proclaimed there that a hat was set up as a prize for the best cudgel-player. The two cudgels with basket-hilts lying for public inspection, Skelton, like a second Dares, stepped forward, took up one of them, made a bow to the girls, and challenged an antagonist to oppose him. On this a confident young fellow came up and accepted the challenge. Immediately a ring was formed, and the two heroes began. They fought for a while on equal terms, warding off the blows by their skill in the science of defence. But at last his antagonist was off his guard, and Skelton taking the advantage, hit him some smart strokes about the head, and made him throw down the cudgel and own he was conquered. He thus gained the victory, and won the hat. He then took the hat in his hand, showed it to the gaping crowd, made a bow to the girls, and told them, "he fought just to please them, but would not keep the hat, that they might have more amusement"; and then bowed again and retired. A hero in romance could not have been more complaisant to the fair sex.

The following trick of his, which has been since practised by some others, is not unsuitable to the character of a young man in the college. He and twelve more dining at an inn near Dublin, when they reckoning was to be paid, they discovered there was no money in the company. Skelton then invented the scheme of blindfolding the waiter, that the first he might catch should pay the reckoning, and thus they all escaped. However, he took care to have the landlord paid for his dinner.

During the college long-vacations he amused himself with various exercises at Derriaghy, such as throwing the stone, the sledge and the like. But long-bullets was his favourite exercise, in which there was no match for him in the whole parish. Long-bullets is an exercise wherein a metal ball of two or three pound weight is thrown along a public road. He whose ball, in an equal number of throws, goes furthest past a fixed point is victorious

The summer, in which he commenced Bachelor of Arts, he spent, as usual, in the Parish of Derriaghy, where he met with a terrible accident, which he considered ever after as an instance of the divine judgment. He was then, as he informs us, twenty-one years of age, and since he was eight years old had never once omitted, morning and evening prayers to God, until one morning that two or three of his companions broke in on him while he was in bed, and carried him off with them to play long-bullets. While he was engaged in this sport, a three pound ball, thrown by one of his companions, hit a stone, and leaping back struck him above the left eye and flattened the projecting part of his skull. He fell down seemingly quite dead, and was carried to the house of a Mrs. Granger, a woman that knew a little of surgery, who stitched the wound in five different places and kept him for some time at her own house. A small splinter of a bone came out of his skull before he quite recovered. This hurt with extreme abstinence and large evacuations, necessary to prevent a fever, greatly shattered, he says, his excellent constitution.

He usually travelled, when living in Monaghan, all the way to Derriaghy on foot, to save money for his mother and the poor. His two brothers the clergymen, were also liberal to their master. He generally preached two Sundays at Lisburn church, when he paid those visits of filial duty., and always brought thither a crowded audience; for the people flocked from all quarters to hear him. His mother died in 1748.

When he was in London, there was a man from the parish of Derriaghy, he he assured us, that passed there for a wild Irishman, and was exhibited as a public show, dressed up with a false beard, artificial wings, and the like. Hundreds from all quarters flocked to see a strange spectacle, which they had often heard of before; and among others, a Derriaghy man, who happened to be in London, came in the crowd, and saw the wild Irishman, a hideous figure, with a chain about him, cutting his capers before a gaping multitude. Yet notwithstanding his disguise, he soon discovered that this wild Irishman was a neighbour's son, a sober, civilised young man, who had left Derriaghy a little time before him. When the show was finished he went behind the scene, and cried out so as to be heard by his country man, "Derriaghy, Derriaghy." Upon this the seeming wild Irishman, starting up  with surprise, spoke aloud, "I'll go any place for Derriaghy." They had then a private meeting, when he told him, that being scarce of money, he took that method of gulling the English, which succeeded far beyond his expectations.

Once a year he went to Lisburn to see his relations, when he generally took with him sixty guineas, which he divided among them. In Derriaghy there is a handsome rural place called the Big Glen, near Collin Mountain, which has been so often celebrated in poetry, where he used every summer to give his friends a treat on the grass, who spent one day with him in innocent relaxation.

Returning once from Lisburn with his hat tied over his face he met with his tithe-farmer near Enniskillen, and lifting up the brim of his hat, he saw him and said, "Is this you, George Irwin?" "Yes," replied "George. "Can you give me a guinea?" "I can." "Can you give me a shilling?" "I can." "O then," he said, " I'm as rich as a Jew, I'm as rich as a Jew."

Derriaghy, the place of his birth, belongs, it is well known, to the Earl of H. Before that nobleman obtained the government of this kingdom he used frequently to say, as Mr. Skelton told me, that it was a shame for the Lord Lieutenants of Ireland not to make Skelton a Bishop. It was reasonable then to suppose that these sentiments should operate with his Lordship, if an opportunity offered of putting them in practice. Consequently, when he came over to us Lord Lieutenant in the year 1765, Skelton probably expected to be raised by him to that high office, for which, from his virtue's and abilities, he was so eminently qualified. But he was disappointed, we know, in his hopes, if he had any.

Philip Skelton, it has been shown, was of a tall stature and majestic appearance; his countenance was agreeable and placid, displaying evident marks of a mind replete with humanity. His strong athletic frame enabled him in his youth to excel in the manly exercises, of his skill in which and of his bravery sufficient specimens have been produced. But it was the chief business of his life, he considered, to perform the sacred duties of the ministry with conscientious care, wherein he was hardly exceeded by any clergyman of any age. Sincere, strenuous, vehement in his admonitions, he was truly sensible of the importance of the glorious end he had in  view, the eternal happiness of his fellow creatures. He told them of a heaven and a hell where the virtuous shall be rewarded and the wicked punished, exciting them, by the most powerful arguments to seek the felicity of the one, and avoid the misery of the other. He declared open war against vice and impiety in every station, careless of the event, and only influenced by conscience. To instruct the ignorant, rouse the indolent, rebuke the obstinate, rectify the misguided, and turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, was the great object of his labours.

"The Poets of Ireland" to be continued.

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 5 January 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)