Theobald Stapleton

1585-1647; [ODNB fl.1636]; b. Tipperary [var. Kilkenny priest]; ed. on the Continent; he published in Brussels his Cathecismus seu Doctrina Christiana Latin-Hibernica (1639), an early instance of a book in which Irish is printed in Roman typeface and wherein he professes love of the Irish language, and attacks bardic class for obscurity; he wrote in defence of the Catholic papacy against the charge of Anti-Christism and was purportedly read by Archbishop Ussher; he died in the massacre after capture of Cashel. ODNB DIW OCIL

[ top ]

Catechismvs, sev doctrina Christiana, Latino-Hibernica / Catechismvs, adhon, an Teagasc Criostui, iar na fhoillsui a Ladin & a nGaoilaig I explicata per R. D. Theobaldum Stapletonium (Brvxellis [Brussels]: Typis Huberti Anthonii Velpij, sub Aquila aurea iuxta Palatium, 1639), 168pp.; Do., ed. John Francis O’Doherty [Irish Manuscript Commission/Coimisiún Láimhscríbhinní na hEireann] (Dublin: Stationary Office 1945), 168p.; and Do. [rep. of 1639 1st edn. in Downside Abbey Library; with other titles] (Ilkley: Scolar Press 1978) [see details].

[ top ]

Bibliographical details
Catechismus (1639) by Theobald Stapleton [with] A copie of the briefe (1631) [by] Pope Urban VIII; A true report (1624) [by] Sylvester Norris; and Thee first foure bookes of Virgil his Aeneis (1582) [by Virgil - i.e., trans. by Richard Stanyhurst] [English recusant literature, 1558-1640, Vol. 387] (Ilkley: Scolar Press 1978), 168, 63, 11pp. [21cm.]

Note: Catechismus and Briefe - copies in Downside Abbey Library; A True Report - copy in Archbishop Marsh's Library, Dublin; Virgil's Aeneis - a copy in the Henry E. Huntington Library.

[ top ]


Cathechismus, seu doctrina Christina Latino-Hibernica, per modum dialogi inter magistrum et discipulum (Bruxellis 1639) —

miserum est tot videre Hibernos, qui aliam mullam praeter Hibernicam linguam norunt, orationem Dominicam, Synbolum Apostolorum, Praecepta Dei & Ecclasiae, & caetera, quae Christianus scire tenetur, corruptis ac indecoris linguae Lantinae [sic] verbis recitare audentes, nescientes quid dicunt.

[it is a sad sight to see so many Irish ... reciting (prayers) ... in corrupt and unbecoming Latin, not knowing what they are saying]

nulla exstate nation in universo orbe quae suae Patriae linguam nativam scire, legere, aut scribere praeclarum esse, non existimet.

[there exists no nation on earth which does not consider it highly important to know, read, and write the language of the Fatherland]

qua ratione consentaneum est, ut nos Hiberni nostram linguam & idoma retineamus, excolamus & extollamus, quae, quod ita iacet deserta, quasi in oblivionem iret, tribuendum vitio est linguaw Hiberniae Authoribus atque Poetis, qui eam verborum osbcuriorum varietate offuscaverunt; nec culpa vacent plerique nostrae Patriae viri nobiles ac primarii, qui linguam suam (tametsi olim celebrem ac locupletem) respuentes, externas amplectuntur, in iisque addiscendis temporis iacturam faciunt, maternaque lingua (quae ab antiquitate, perfectione, at elegante maxime commendatur, paenitus eradicata, & exterminata est.

[for that reason it is fitting that the Irish hold on to, cultivate and raise up our native language and speech whose present neglect, hearly to the point of oblivion, is to be blamed on the bad style of literary and poetical Irishmen, who have obfuscated it under a welter of overly obscure words; nor are most of the leading and noble men of our Fatherland free from guilt, who scorning its language (so celebrated and thriving of old) embrace foreign ones; in learning these they make a sacrifice of time while their mother tongue (which is commended by its antiquity, perfection and elegance) lies nearly wholly uprooted and exterminated].

(p.xiv-xv; quoted [with trans.] in Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael, Amsterdam: Rodopi 1986, p.300-01.)


[ top ]