Denis Florence MacCarthy (1817-82)

[occas. var. Dennis] b. 26 May, 1817, the son of a merchant, at the family home at 24 Sackville St. [now O’Connell St.], Dublin - the site later occupied by the Imperial Hotel, and later again by Clery’s; ed. St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where he learned Spanish from a Catholic priest returned from Spain; contrib. “My Wishes” to Dublin Satirist (12 April 1834) [aetat. 17]; contrib. “Proclamation Songs” (No. 1) to the Nation (14 Oct. 1843); studied law at King’s Inns, and called to the Irish bar, 1846, but did not practice; established himself as a man of letters and contrib. to The Nation [signed “Desmond”, “Vig.”, “Trifolium”, “D F McC”, “D-”, and “Antonio’, and other papers, incl. Duffy’s Catholic Magazine for 1847, as “S.E.Y”;
edited and intro., The Poets and Dramatists of Ireland (1846), the first and only volume of Duffy’s ‘Library of Ireland’, prefaced by an essay on early history and religion of Ireland; ed. The Book of Irish Ballads (1846), with an introductory essay; contrib. “The Bell-Founder” and “The Foray of Con O’Donnell” to Dublin University Magazine (April, 1847) and later “Waiting for the May,” “The Bridal of the Year,” and “The Voyage of Saint Brendan,” (January & May, 1848); issued Ballads, Poems and Lyrics (1850), including original and translated work; appt. first Professor of English at the Catholic University, under Newman; gave a series of Lecures on Poetry, 1855, and a later series on Spanish poets and 16th c. drama;
he lived mainly at Killiney Hill but moved to the continent on prolonged visits by reason of health after 1864, and later settled in London; inspired by by Shelley’s praise of Calderón de Barca in an essay, he publish six translations of the plays of the ‘Spanish Shakespeare’ [Calderón] under the pseudonym “J. H.” (1853), these including Calderón’s St. Patrick’s Purgatory, with further instalments in 1861, 1867, 1870, and 1873; published Shelley’s Early Life (1872) in London, a work which includes an account of the English poet’s visit to Ireland in 1812; his poetry collected as Poems (1882) by his son John McCarthy - of Blackrock - containing a previously unpublished longer poem, “Ferdia[h]”, being an energetic versification of Cuchulain’s fight at the ford of Ardree;
contrib. to The Irish Monthly, ed. Fr. Russell, extensively from 1874, incl. posthumous publications such as “The Paschal Fire of St. Patrick” [ ‘On Tara’s Hill the daylight dies ...’] (Irish Monthly, March 1895); wrote committee-commissioned centenary poems for Thomas Moore and Daniel O’Connell (e.g., “The Dead Tribune”); other celebrated poems incl. “The Bridal of the Year”, “Summer Longings” [otherwise “Waiting for the May” - set to music by Stephen Collins Foster in 1849], and “The Voyage of St. Brendan”, a long narrative poem which contains a paraphrase of “Ave Maria Stella” rendered as the evening song of the sailors; completed his version of Calderón’s Al Aurora en Capacabana/Daybreak in Capacabana [unpub.] a few months before his death; returned to Dublin; d. 7 April [Good Friday] 1882, at Blackrock; he was married to Ethna, with whiom 9 children; a son, John, edited his poems (1882); a dg. became a nun as Sr. Stanislaus, and wrote poetry;
his Spanish translations were highly esteemed by contemporary scholars such as George Ticknor (History of Spanish Literature, num. vols. 1847, 1863, &c.); there is a bust by Thomas Farrell in the City Hall (Dublin); his papers are in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library of the University of Kansas and at the Library of the University of N. Carolina; Rosa Mulholland’s Life of Sir John Gilbert (1905) contains many references to him; Ethna MacCarthy, associated with Con Leventhal and Samual Beckett, was a grand-daughter. CAB ODNB PI DBIV RAF DIW DIL GBI MKA JMC FDA OCIL DIL
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Trans. from Spanish
  • trans., Justina, from Calderón de Barca [signature J.H.] (London: J. Burns 1848).
  • trans., The Dramas of Calderón, Tragic, Comic and Legendary (London: Charles Dolman 1853) [“The Constant Prince/El Principe Constante”; “The Secret in Words/El Secreto a Voces”; “The Physician of His Own Honour/El Medico de Su Honra”; “Love after Death/Amar despues de la Muerte”; “The Purgatory of Saint Patrick/El Purgatorio de San Patricio”; “The Scarf and the Flower/La Banda y la Flor”], and Do. [rebound, with a foreword in for the Memorial Fund Committee, 1886].
  • trans., Love, the Greatest Enchantment; the Sorceries of the Sin; The Devotion of the Cross (London: Green, Longman & Roberts 1861) [bilingual versions of Calderón’s “El Mayor Encanto Amor”, “Los Encantos de la Culpa (an auto sacramental)”, and “La Devocion de la Cruz”].
  • trans., Mysteries of Corpus Christi by Calderón de la Barca (Dublin: James Duffy 1867), viii, 352pp. [Balshazza’s Feast/La Cena de Balthasar; The Divine Philothea/La Divina Filotea, and two Auto Sacramentales) [Do., Readex Microprint 1970].
  • trans., The Two Lovers of Heaven, from Calderón de Barca (Dublin: John J. Fowler; London: John Camden Hotten 1870), 60pp. [Do., Readex Microprint 1970].
  • trans., [Calderón’s Dramas:]The Wonder Working Magician, from Calderón de Barca (London: Henry S. King 1873) [q.p; “Life is a Dream/a Vida es Sueño”; “The Wonder-Working Magician/El Magico Prodigioso”; new edn. of “The Purgatory of St. Patrick/Purgatorio de San Patricio”]; Do. rep. as, Six Plays [by] Calderon de la Barca, translated by Denis Florence Mac-Carthy, with revision by Henry W. Wells (NY: Américas 1961), 464pp. [“Life is a Dream”; “The wonder-working Magician”; “The Constant Prince”; “The Devotion of the Cross”; “Love after Death"; “Belshazzar’s Feast”].
Original poetry
  • Ballads, Poems and Lyrics, Original and Translated (Dublin: James McGlashan 1850).
  • Ode on the Death of the Earl of Belfast (1856) [viz., F. R. Chichester, q.v.].
  • Underglimpses and Other Poems (London: David Bogue 1857) [see note].
  • The Bell-Founder and Other Poems (London: David Bogue 1857).
  • Irish Legends and Lyrics (Dublin: McGlashern & Gill 1858).
  • The Centenary of Moore, May 28th, 1879: An Ode (London: priv. 1880). [with trans. into Latin by Rev. M. J. Blacker].
Collected Poems
  • Poems, edited by his son (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son 1882), xxii+287pp., and Do. [2nd edn.], with life and notes (Dublin: M. H. Gill [Educational Co.] 1884; 3rd edn. 1887). [1882 Edn. available at Gutenberg Project - online.]
Edited anthologies
  • Ed. The Book of Irish Ballads (Dublin: Duffy 1846), and Do. [rev. edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy & Sons 1869), 256pp. [incls. intro. essay on the ballad-form; see contents - attached]; Do. (NY: Felix E. O’Rourke, 9 Barclay St. 1873).
  • The Poets and Dramatists of Ireland; with an introduction on the early religion and literature of the Irish people [Duffy’s Library] (Dublin: James Duffy 1846), 252pp.
  • Shelley’s Early Life from Original Sources (London: John Camden Hotten [1872]), xxiv, 408pp., ill. [2 lvs. pls; ports.].
Bibliographical works
  • Memoires de la cour d’Espagne: sous le regne de Charles II (1678-1682) par le marquis de Villars; being a collation of the various editions and manuscripts of these Memoirs and known to exist, with some inquiry as to their alleged author: a paper read before the Royal Irish Academy, Dec. 8, 1862 (Dublin: Gill 1863), 39pp.

“The Paschal Fire of St. Patrick”: A Poem beginning ‘On Tara’s Hill the daylight dies’, appeared in The Irish Monthly, XXIII (March 1895), p.144 [see NLI Cat. - online - and extract of results - as infra].


See also R. A. Gilbert, ed., Irish Folklore and Mythology in the Nineteenth Century [Irish history and culture, 6 vols] (Tokyo: Edition Synapse; London : Ganesha Pub. 2003- ), Vol. 6: Denis Florence McCarthy, ‘Dermot MacMorrogh, or, the Conquest of Ireland; John Quincy Adams and The Book of Irish Ballads’.

MS papers of D. F. MacCarthy are held at the Univ. of N. Carolina Library [link] and the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas [link] as well as at the National Library of Ireland [as attached].

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Bibliographical details

Denis Florence MacCarthy

M. H. Gill and Son,
50 Upper Sackville Street
Preface [i]
  • Waiting for the May [Summer Longings]
  • Devotion
  • The Seasons of the Heart
  • Kate of Kenmare
  • A Lament
  • The Bridal of the Year
  • The Vale of Shanganah
  • The Pillar Towers of Ireland
  • [...]
See full version of the Table of Contents, &c. - attached.

The Book of Irish Ballads
by Denis Florence MacCarthy
Published in 1869, James Duffy & Sons (Dublin)
Edition: New edn., rev. & corr., with additional poems and a preface.
Pagination: 256pp.
Subject: Ballads, English — Ireland.
English poetry — Irish authors.
Available at Internet Archive


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Freeman’s Journal
(10 April 1882); Nation (15 April 1882); Obituary of Denis Florence MacCarthy, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Science (Appendix 2), Ser. 2, Vol. III (1877-83), p.220;J. S. Crone, ‘A Centenary Sketch’, Irish Book Lover, 8 (1917); Matthew Russell, Irish Monthly 10 (1882), also Irish Monthly, 31 (1903; rep. from Donahoe’s Magazine [Russell defends his literary reputation, quoting correspondence]; Ellen M. Clarke, in Dublin Review, 3rd ser. XL (1883), pp.260-93. See also Joep Leerssen, Remembrance and Imagination: Historical and Literary Representations of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century (Cork UP 1996), p.5; pp.110-11; p.137; 140; 143-45; 163; 177.

See also Sale Catalogue of the Collection of Denis Florence Mac-carthy, [auction held by] Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge on Tuesday (20 June 1865), 19pp., 8o.; copy held by Register of Preservation Surrogates [COPAC].

[See National Library of Ireland Catalogue: sel. journal references, as infra.]

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Mary Cusack, Life of the Liberator (1872 edn), cites McCarthy’s eulogistic poem on the incarceration of O’Connell, “Cease to Do Evil – Learn to Do Well” (being the inscription on Richmond Penitentiary [Gaol], s. Circular Rd., Dublin], pp.727-29; the title-line is used as an ironic refrain to stanzas listing the virtues of the political hero, whom English law has styled a ‘dangerous criminal’, proclaiming his ‘honesty a crime’; an elegy, ‘The Dead Tribune’, commencing with an epigraph from Byron [‘… the forum’s champion and the people’s chief’], is printed at the close (pp.772-74.)

The Irish Book Lover: A writer in the Irish Book Lover describes Denis Florence McCarthy’s library on Sackville St., calls it more sterile than Thomas Davis’s. (See Irish Book Lover, Vol. 27 [q.d.].)

H. Hovelaque, Anthologie de la Littérature irlandaise des Origines au XXe siècle (Paris Libraire Delagrave 1924), calls MacCarthy a ‘poète de valeur qui a publi e sur la jeunesse de Shelley une œuvre très attachante; il fut également undees meilleurs rédacteurs de la Nation (p.364). Hovalque was ‘professeur’ at the Lycée Saint-Louis.

D. J. O’Donoghue, Life of Carleton [1896] (Belfast: White Row Press 1996), writes in a footnote to Carleton’s account of his pilgrimage to Lough Derg: ‘Calderon, the Spanish dramatist, wrote a play on the legends of this place, entitled El Purgatorio de San Patricio, whic has been admirably translated by Denis Florence McCarthy [sic]. The traditions concerning Lough Derge were known all over Europe in medieval times.’ (p.88, n.)

Chris Morash, The Hungry Voice (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1989): b. Dublin, 26 May 1817; d. Blackrock, Co. Dublin, April 7 1882; respected as trans. of Calderón; contrib. to The Nation under name of ‘Desmond’ or ‘DFMC’; ‘A Mystery’ much anthologised, from MacCarthy, Poems (Dublin MH Gill & Son 1882); appeared in The Nation vol. 5, No. 245 (19 June 1847): ‘Is it right, is it fair, / That we perish of despair / In this land, on this soil / Where our destiny is set, / Which we cultured with our toil, / And watered with our sweat? // We have ploughed, we have sown, / But the crop was not our own / We have reaped, but harpy hands, / Swept the harvest from our lands ... reap it for strangers, and turn aside to die.’ (Morash, p.190-92.)

David Lloyd, Anomalous State: Irish Writing and the Post Colonial Moment (Duke UP 1993), quotes Book of Irish Ballads [see infra] and remarks: ‘Beneath this affirmation of MacCarthy’s text persists the disturbance in which it originates, an apprehension of the real state of Ireland, its identifications split between the “real” and the “nursing” mother’ - though the word ‘real’ does not in fact appear. Further quotes: ‘Upon the subject of our Anglo-Irish ballads, there is nothing to add to what Mr Duffy has so ably and so truly written in his Introduction to the Ballad Poetry of Ireland.’ (Lloyd, op. cit., p.25.)

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Internet sources
Poems by Denis Florence MacCarthy (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1882) - html text at Gutenberg Project - online.
Poems by Denis Florence MacCarthy (1882) - arranged alphabetically by title at Read Online - index.

Book of Irish Ballads
[new edn., rev. & corr., with add poems & a preface.; dedicated to S[amuel] Ferguson (Dublin: James Duffy 1846), incls. poems of Mangan, Duffy, MacCarthy, Banim, Callanan, Moore, Ferguson, &c., published in 1846 as a companion to Duffy’s Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1846). Preface, ‘[W]e can be thoroughly Irish in our writings without ceasing to be English, faithful to the land of our birth without being ungrateful to that literature which has been “the nursing mother of our minds”; that we can develop the intellectual resources of our country, and establish for ourselves a distinct and separate existnence in the world of letters wihtout depriving ourselves of the advantages of the widely-diffused and genius -consecrated language of England, are facts that I conceive cannot be too widely disseminated.’ (p.14; quoted in David Lloyd, 1992, as supra.) [See also Table of Contents - attached.]

Further: ‘It has been said, by a well-known authority, that the Ballads of a people are more influential than their laws, and perhaps he might have added, more valuable than their annals ]...] A people of passionate impulses, of throbbing affections, of dauntless heroism, will invariably not only have done things worthy of being recorded, but will also have recorded them. Myriads of human beings cannot be moved about noiselessly, like an army of shadows. The sullen sound of their advancing will be heard afar off; and those who see them not, will listen to the shrill music of their fifes and the merry echoes of their bugles. The great heavings of a people’s heart, and, from time to time, the necessary purifying of the social atmosphere will make themselves felt and heard and seen, to that all men may take cognizance thereof - as the mighty waves of the roused ocean dash against each other with a war-cry, or as the electric spirit proclaimeth its salutary mission in a voice of thunder. / In almost all countries the Ballad has been the instrument by which the triumphs, the joys, or the sorrows of a people have been proclaimed.’ (MacCarthy, ed., Book of Irish Ballads, NY: Felix E. O’Rourke, 9 Barclay St. 1873, pp.11-12 [introduction]; quoted in Jennifer Cooper, ‘Irish Ballads in English Language Teaching’, in Bloomsday: Ensaois 2014, ed. Ann Graça Canan & Marcelo Amorim, Natal, Brasil: UFRN 2015, p.51.)

Written after Reading Gilbert’s History of Dublin” (Printed at head of IUP reprint text of Gilbert’s History, 1854-59; 2nd edn. 1861): ‘Long have I loved the beauty of thy streets, / Fair Dublin; long, with unavailing vows, / Sign’d to all guardian deities who rouse / The spirits of dea nations to new heats / Of life and triumph ... / Look! look, what life is in these quaint old shops - / The loneliest lanes are rattling with the roar / Of coach and chair, fans, deathers, flambeaux, fobs / Flutter and flicker through yon open door, / Where Handel’s hand moves the great organ stops.’ [Note that Rosa Mulholland’s Life of Sir John Gilbert, 1905, contains many references to him.]

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A Selection from Poems of Denis Florence MacCarthy (1882)

“Summer Longings”
“Cease To Do Evil [...]”
“The Pillar Towers of Ireland”

“The Dead Tribune”
“To the Memory of Father Prout”

The Pillar Towers of Ireland

The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand
By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;
In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,
These gray old pillar temples, these conquerors of time!

Beside these gray old pillars, how perishing and weak
The Roman’s arch of triumph, and the temple of the Greek,
And the gold domes of Byzantium, and the pointed Gothic spires,
All are gone, one by one, but the temples of our sires!

The column, with its capital, is level with the dust,
And the proud halls of the mighty and the calm homes of the just;
For the proudest works of man, as certainly, but slower,
Pass like the grass at the sharp scythe of the mower!

But the grass grows again when in majesty and mirth,
On the wing of the spring, comes the Goddess of the Earth;
But for man in this world no springtide e’er returns
To the labours of his hands or the ashes of his urns!

Two favourites hath Time—the pyramids of Nile,
And the old mystic temples of our own dear isle;
As the breeze o’er the seas, where the halcyon has its nest,
Thus Time o’er Egypt’s tombs and the temples of the West!

The names of their founders have vanished in the gloom,
Like the dry branch in the fire or the body in the tomb;
But to-day, in the ray, their shadows still they cast—
These temples of forgotten gods—these relics of the past!

Around these walls have wandered the Briton and the Dane—
The captives of Armorica, the cavaliers of Spain—
Phoenician and Milesian, and the plundering Norman Peers—
And the swordsmen of brave Brian, and the chiefs of later years!

How many different rites have these gray old temples known!
To the mind what dreams are written in these chronicles of stone!
What terror and what error, what gleams of love and truth,
Have flashed from these walls since the world was in its youth?

Here blazed the sacred fire, and, when the sun was gone,
As a star from afar to the traveller it shone;
And the warm blood of the victim have these gray old temples drunk,
And the death-song of the druid and the matin of the monk.

Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine,
And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine,
And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the East,
And the crosier of the pontiff and the vestments of the priest.

Where blazed the sacred fire, rung out the vesper bell,
Where the fugitive found shelter, became the hermit’s cell;
And hope hung out its symbol to the innocent and good,
For the cross o’er the moss of the pointed summit stood.

There may it stand for ever, while that symbol doth impart
To the mind one glorious vision, or one proud throb to the heart;
While the breast needeth rest may these gray old temples last,
Bright prophets of the future, as preachers of the past!

Bibl. note: Originally published in The Nation; Poems (1882); quoted in full in Joep Leerssen, Remembrance and Imagination: Patterns in the Historical and Literary Representation of Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Cork UP 1996), pp.110-11. Leerssen calls ‘the most antologised of it MacCarthy’s poems’ and writes: ‘Small wonder, then, that those of a romantic disposition would want to enhance the symbol and its symbolic value by extending their duration as far into the past as possible; that is what we see happen in MacCarthy’s poem.’ The quotation occurs in the course of his extended discussion of the debate surrounding the origins of the Irish round towers - between those who believed them to be pre-Christian fire-towers or sundials (Charles Vallancy, Sir William Bentham, and Charles O’Conor of Stowe) and those who identified them as ecclesiastical buildings intended as refuges for Irish monks in the Middle Ages between 900 and 1100 ad (George Petrie and followers). [See separate copy - as attached.]

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Summer longings”: ‘Ah! my heart is weary waiting, / Waiting for the May: / Waiting for the pleasant rambles / Where the fragrant hawthorn brambles, / Where the woodbine alternating, / Scent the dewy way; / Ah! my heart is weary, waiting, / Waiting for the May.’ (For full text - attached.)

Note: Richard D’Alton Williams quotes ‘Ah! my heart is weary waiting, / Waiting for the May!’, [by] D. F. MacCarthy, as an epigraph to his own poem “Longing”, in Poems (1894), p.332pp. Beginning: ‘I wish I was in Ireland / For Summer will soon be there, / And the fields of my darling sire-land / To my heart will be fresh and fair" (p.332) - and ending: ‘For, in spite of the Saxon’s scowlings, / The land to my heart is dear, / And to be but one day in Ireland / Were worth a whole lifetime here.’ (p.334)

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Goodbye to the Fairies”: ‘Ah! the pleasant time hath vanished ere our wretched doubtings banished / All the graceful people, children of the ear and sea / Who in days now dim and olden, when the world was fresh and golden, / Every mortal could behold in haunted rath and tower and tree - / They have vanished, they are banished. Ah! How sad the loss for thee. (Quoted in Michael MacMahon, Intro. to Maurice O’Keeffe, Irish Life and Lore CD Archive [online].

Cease To Do Evil - Learn To Do Well

Oh! thou whom sacred duty hither calls,
Some glorious hours in freedom’s cause to dwell,
Read the mute lesson on thy prison walls,
“Cease to do evil - learn to do well.”

If haply thou art one of genius vast,
Of generous heart, of mind sublime and grand,
Who all the spring-time of thy life has pass’d
Battling with tyrants for thy native land,
If thou hast spent thy summer as thy prime,
The serpent brood of bigotry to quell,
Repent, repent thee of thy hideous crime,
“Cease to do evil - learn to do well!”


“Cease to do evil" - ay! ye madmen, cease!”
Cease to love Ireland - cease to serve her well;
Make with her foes a foul and fatal peace,
And quick will ope your darkest, dreariest cell.
“Learn to do well” - ay! learn to betray,
Learn to revile the land in which you dwell
England will bless you on your altered way
“Cease to do evil - learn to do well!”

Note: 1. This inscription [the title and refrain] is on the front of Richmond Penitentiary, Dublin, in which O’Connell and the other political prisoners were confined in the year 1844.

See full text - attached.

"A Shamrock from the Irish Shore" (On receiving a shamrock in a letter from Ireland, March 17th, 1865)

O, postman! speed thy tardy gait —
Go quicker round from door to door;
For thee I watch, for thee I wait,
Like many a weary wanderer more.
Thou bringest news of bale and bliss —
Some life begun, some life well o’er.
He stops — he rings! O, Heaven! what’s this?
A shamrock from the Irish shore!

Dear emblem of my native land,
By fresh fond words kept fresh and green;
The pressure of an unfelt hand —
The kisses of a lip unseen;
A throb from my dead mother’s heart —
My father’s smile revived once more.
Oh, youth! Oh, love! Oh, hope! thou art,
Sweet Shamrock from the Irish shore !



Struggling, and yet for strife unmeet,
True type of trustful love thou art;
Thou liest the whole year at my feet,
To live but one day at my heart.
One day a festal pride to lie
Upon the loved one’s heart — what more?
Upon the loved one’s heart to die,
O, Shamrock of the Irish shore !

And shall I not return thy love?
And shalt thou not, as thou should’st be
Placed on thy son’s proud heart, above
The red rose or the fleur-de-lis?
Yes, from these heights the waters beat,
I vowed to press thy cheek once more,
And lie for ever at thy feet,
O, Shamrock of the Irish shore!

See full text in Gill’s Irish Reciter: A Selection of Gems from Ireland’s Modern Literature, ed. J. J. O’Kelly [Seán Ó Ceallaigh] (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1905), pp.236-38 [available at Internet Archive - online].

[See other poems by MacCarthy at Read Online - as attached]

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Charles Read, ed., A Cabinet of Irish Literature (3 vols., 1876-78) asserts that his Poets and Dramatists of Ireland (1846) claims many writers as Irish for the first time.

The DNB entry on Denis Florence MacCarthy was written by for Stephens by James Ramsay MacDonald - later. British Prime Minister. James Maher of Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary, writing in a letter to the Catholic Herald for 26 April 1957, remarks his surprise and narrates that "[w]hen Mr. MacDonald was addressed in Gaelic in Nova Scotia he thought the language was lriquois". (See online.)


Project Gutenberg holds digitised versions of The Two Lovers of Heaven: Chrysanthus and Daria, and trans. Life Is a Dream, Poems, The Purgatory of St. Patrick, A Drama of Early Christian Rome, The Wonder-Working Magician - e.g., Poems [online].

“Summer Longings” is held at World of Quotes [online]and Giga USA [online], with the associated PD Music - which includes an audio-version of the music in .mid file format [online].

The Denis Florence MacCarthy web page created by by Dennis McCarthy provides a biographical article from the Catholic Encyclopaedia along with bibliography and digitised texts [online].

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Alfred M. Williams, ed., Poets and Poetry of Ireland (1881); biog. notice on Denis Florence McCarthy: ‘distinguished in general literature as well as an Irish national poet’; ‘His father was a tradesman, but of ancient family, and his descent has been traced to the MacCauras, or MacCarthaighs, kings of Desmond or Southwestern Munster’. Further, ‘Mr McCarthy’s national poetry is rather didactic than historical or dialectic, with a few exceptions, such as the very spirited balled “The Foray of Con O’Donnell”, in which the portrait of the ancient Irish wolf-dog is very admirable; and he has also some graphic descriptions of national scenery.’ [403].

D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (1919) notes that MacCarthy contributed the the Dublin University Magazine from 1847, generally anonymously.

Dictionary of National Biography, calls him a descendant of Irish sept of Maccauras; espoused repeal, contrib. to Nation; admirable trans. of Calderón [and works].

Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), gives ‘Cease to Do Evil, Learn to Do Well’, and other pieces.

D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912) notes that his numerous and most of his national pieces were omitted from his collected poems by his son.

John Cooke, The Dublin Book of Irish Verse (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1909), selects ‘The Dead Tribune’ and other poems, and notes, St. Patrick’s Purgatory, trans. Denis Florence McCarthy 1853).

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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English: The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 1:‘D. F. MacCarthy trans. Vigny’, in Dublin University Magazine, XXXII, 192 (Dec. 1848), in ‘sounds and Echoes’, pp.648-58. [46, n.] See also Rafroidi, op. cit., Vol. 2 (1980): Bio-Bibl., Poets and Dramatists of Ireland (Duffy 1846); The Spirit of the Nation; Scenes and Stories from the Spanish Stage, 3 vols. (1848), and other works.

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Robert Hogan, Dictionary of Irish Literature, NJ: Greenwood; Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979): McCarthy calls Luis Ennius, Calderón’s equivalent of Knight Owen in Henry de Saltrey’s Tractatus de Purg. S. Patricii, a ‘heinous hero-villain-convert’ (Poems, Dublin 1884), Preface, p.x. Hogan quotes from the translation: ‘An accountable assemblage / All recumbent in fire: / Through their bodies and their members / Burning spikes and nails were driven’.

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2 selects from Ballads, Poems and Lyrics, Original and Translated, ‘The Pillar Towers of Ireland’ [‘The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand / By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land; / In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime, / These gray old pillars temples, these conquerors of time!’, and ending, ‘Bright prophets of the future, as preachers of the past!’ 59-60]; cited with translators and collectors Hardiman, Petrie, John O’Daly, Edward Walsh and Douglas Hyde [Seamus Deane, ed.], 5, 113 [Biog.]

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National Library of Ireland [Catalogue search results for <Denis Florence MacCarthy> = 46 items.]
  • Obituary, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Science (Appendix 2), Ser. 2, Vol. III (1877-83), p. 220.
  • Late Denis Florence McCarthy, in The Irish builder, Vol. XXIV, No. 536 (15 April 1882), p.126.
  • The Denis Florence MacCarthy, in The Irish Builder, Vol. XXIV, No. 538 (15 May 1882 ), p.143.
  • The Denis Florence MacCarthy memorial, in The Irish ecclesiastical record: a monthly journal under episcopal sanction, Ser. 3, Vol. III (July 1882 ), pp. 419-22.
  • The wedding of the flea and the grub: a translation from the Spanish beginning “Miss flea and Mr. Grub”, by Denis Florence MacCarthy, in The Irish monthly, Vol. X (June 1882), pp. 407-09.
  • The poems of Denis Florence MacCarthy, reviewed, in The Irish monthly, Vol. X (Oct. 1882), p.649.
  • “The Resurrection of Spring”, by Denis Florence MacCarthy, in The Irish Monthly, Vol. XI (April 1883), pp. 216-18.
  • ‘The First Anniversary of Denis Florence MacCarthy’, by Matthew Rev. Russell, in The Irish Monthly, Vol. XI, (April 1883), p.288.
  • “The Paschal Fire of St. Patrick”: a poem beginning ‘On Tara’s hill the daylight dies’, by Denis Florence MacCarthy, in The Irish monthly, Vol. XXIII (March 1895), p.144
  • “A child’s birthday”: a poem beginning ‘A little child, a gentle child’, by Denis Florence MacCarthy, in The Irish monthly, Vol. XXXVI (August 1908 ), pp.448-49.
  • [...]
See complete listing - as attached.
Further on MacCarthy by Rev. Matthew Russell:
  • ‘The first anniversary of Denis Florence MacCarthy’, by Matthew Rev. Russell, in The Irish monthly, Vol. XI (April 1883), p.288.
  • ‘“Waiting for the May”: Denis Florence MacCarthy and his imitators’, by Matthew Rev. Russell, in The Irish monthly, Vol. XIX (May 1891), pp. 237-54.
  • ‘Poets I have known. I: Denis Florence MacCarthy’, Matthew Rev. Russell, in The Irish monthly, Vol. XXXI (January 1903), pp.1-19.
  • ‘An amiable grumble’, by Rev. Matthew Russell, in The Irish monthly, Vol. XXXVI (June 1908), pp.343-44.
See complete listing - as attached.

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Ulster University Library (Morris Collection) holds The Book of Irish Ballads (Duffy 1869) and Poems (1884), 287pp. Belfast Public Library holds Shelley’s Early Life (?1920); Ode on the Death of the Earl of Belfast (1855); Poems (1882, 1887); Underglimpses (1857); Book of Irish Ballads ([1846] 1869, 1881).

Hyland Books (1995 Cat.) lists Poems, 1st edn. (Dublin 1882), xxii+287pp.

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Underglimpses (1) - James Joyce: Denis Florence MacCarthy’s collection Underglimpses is the probable allusion in the phrase referring to ‘Denis Florence MacCarthy’ combies’ [i.e., underclothes] in Finnegans Wake, [200.34-35]. (See Bishop, Joyce’s Book of the Night, 1989, p.350; and see further notes on the Joyce connection, infra.)

James Joyce (1) taught at Clifton School, Dalkey, established ‘at Summerfield Lodge, once the residence of minor poet Denis Florence McCarthy [sic] whose name keeps coming up in Finnegans Wake.’ (Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, [1959], 1965 Edn., p.158.

James Joyce (2): Leopold Bloom’s library in Eccles St. contains Denis Florence MacCarthy’s Poetical Works, with ‘copper beechleaf bookmark at p.5.’ (see Ulysses, Bodley Head Edn., p.832.)

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Underglimpses (2) - Rose Kavanagh: ‘What a wonderful stillness there is among the hills in September! After all, September is a lovely month, too. I wish it had a poet as devoted as Denis Florence MacCarthy was to May. Perhaps you will tell me the meaning of the title “Underglimpses” in Mr. MacCarthy’s book. Does it mean glimpses under the surface of life, or nature, or what? But it must be nature, I think. I like his “Irish Emigrant’s Mother” greatly - it always brought the tears into my mother’s eyes. “The Foray of Con O’Donnell” always rises in my mind as the Foray of Dan O’Connell. Dublin ought to be pretty hot now [...]’ (Quoted, without date, in Rose Kavanagh and Her Verses, [ed.,] Rev. Matthew Russell, S.J., M. H. Gill 1909, pp.7; for for longer extract, see under Kavanagh, q.v., supra.)

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Abbey playwright: The Abbey Theatre considered a production of Calderón’s Purgatory in 1910 (see A. N. Jeffares, W. B. Yeats, A New Biography, London: Macmillan 1988, p.339).

Edward M. Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald translated six plays of Calderón in the same year as Denis Florence MacCarthy.

Davis Coakley, in The Importance of Being Irish (1994), establishes a link between Wilde’s “Ballad of Reading Gaol” and a poem by D. F. McCarthy [q.p.].

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