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Charlotte Brooke

Write an account and evaluation of the work and publications of an 18th- or 19th- century collector of Irish folklore of your choice. In this essay I will discuss the works and publications of Charlotte Brooke. I will discuss her background, how she became a well-known collector of Irish folklore. I will also discuss some of her most popular works. Some of her works include “Carolan’s Receipt” [pp. 86-88], “Carolan’s Monody on the Death of Mary MacGuire”, [pp. 94-95] and “Tiaghara Mhaighe-ed’ [pp. 103-06], in J. C.

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Walker, Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards (London: Payne 1786), Reliques of Irish Poetry, Consisting of Heroic Poems, Odes, Elegies and Songs, Translated into English Verse: With Notes Explanatory and Historical; and the Originals in the Irish Character: To which is Subjoined an Irish Tale (Dublin: George Bonham 1789) and The School for Christians, in Dialogues, for the Use of Children (Dublin: Bernard Doornin 1791). Charlotte Brooke was born in 1740 in Rantavan House, Mullagh, Co Cavan. She was one of two children of Henry Brooke and Letrice Digby from a family of twenty two who survived childhood.

She was home-schooled by her father and gained an understanding of English, French and Italian literature. There was many Gaelic scholars in the Mullagh area including Feardorcha O’Farrelly and Cathaoir Macabe. Charlotte came to love the Irish language because of them. She studied the Irish language, collected Irish manuscripts and recorded poems that she heard spoken. Her father greatly encourage this. (http://www. cavanlibrary. ie/Default. aspx? StructurelD_str=60) Henry Brooke staged a number of plays in Dublin. This is where Charlotte was introduced to theatrical and literary life.

This is also where she became acquainted with Muiris O’Gormain and Charles O’Connor a friend of her fathers who helped her ith her work in collecting Irish manuscripts. Henry Brooke was the author of the popular Gustavus Vasa, the Fool of Quality, and other valuable works. (http:// www. cavanlibrary. ie/Default. aspx? StructurelD_str=60) (http://www. libraryireland. com/ articles/MissBrooke/) Her mother’s health declined and she died at Rantavan in 1772. Charlotte became an isolated person and took it upon herself to look after her father and work on her manuscripts until Henry Brooke died in 1783.

She had nothing published until 1786 when three of her translations of Irish poems were included in Joseph Cooper Walker’s ‘Historical memoirs of Irish bards’. Her most famous work ‘The Reliques of Irish Poetry’ was published in 1789 which shows her place in the history of Irish literature and portrays her as a forerunner of the literary movement for the revival of Irish in the 19th century and the formation of the Gaelic League. This was the first time that a wide selection of Irish verse appeared in print. Charlotte’s health was never perfect and her financial circumstances were always poor.

Charlotte Brooke Longford. (http://www. cavanlibrary. ie/Default. aspx? StructurelD_str=60) (http:// www. libraryireland. om/articles/MissBrooke/) ‘The Reliques of Irish Poetry’ , published in 1789, got her the applause of all the critics in the periodical reviews of the time, one of which, in the Monthly Review for January, 1793, observes that she was “so perfectly in possession of the language of poetry, that her version has rendered the whole work interesting to English readers. ” (http:// This publication consists of Heroic Poems, Odes, Elegies and Songs.

It contains Charlotte’s translations of 16 poems, with essays and notes, and a long poem by Charlotte herself. Charlotte fully understood the problems of translation, and says he gave up in despair when faced by “many a sweet stanza to which I found myself quite unequal”. She writes: “It scarcely possible that any language can be more adapted to lyric poetry than the Irish. The poetry of many of our songs is indeed already music, without the aid of a tune; so great is the smoothness, and harmony of its cadences. ” Charlotte’s translations were in the poetic style of her time.

The result is over-sentimental to the modern ear, and loses the simplicity of the originals. (http:// www. irishidentity. com/extras/gaels/stories/poetry. htm) For example: Si mo chuisle si mo r??n i agus blath na n-??ll cumhra ( The exact translation of this is as follows: She is my pulse and my love and the flower of the sweet-scented apple. (http://www. irishidentity. com/extras/ gaels/stories/poetry. htm) Charlotte’s version is: “Pulse of my heart! – dear source of care, Ston’n sighs, and love-breatth’d vows! Sweeter than when, through scented air, Gay bloom the apple boughs! ” (http://www. irishidentity. om/extras/gaels/stories/ poetry. htm) (Reliques of Irish Poetry, 1789) In 1791 she published a book on Christian doctrine for children titled ‘The school for Christians in dialogue for the use of children’. In the preface to this work, she informs us, that “her only object in this publication, is the happiness of seeing it become useful to her species, and the pleasure of bestowing the profits of the book, on the enlargement of a little plan she has formed for the charitable education of children whose parents are too poor to afford them the means of instruction. ” (http:// www. libraryireland. om/articles/MissBrooke/) (The School for Christians in Dialogues for the Use of Children, 1791) Then she produced a new edition of her father’s works. This appeared in 1792 after struggles with printers and booksellers. Their negligence was increased, she wrote, extras/gaels/stories/poetry. htm) Despite the importance of her contribution to the study of Irish literature and the influence that she had on poets of the 19th and 20th centuries, Charlotte Brooke is almost forgotten today. Her translations are old-fashioned, written as they are in the style of the 18th century, but some of them can be enjoyed by modern readers.

One of these could be the touching elegy written by a young man for his wife: (http:// eacupsandtyrants. com/2013/03/16/charlotte-brooke-the-woman-who-saved- iris h- poetry’) Sad the bird that sings alone, Flies to wilds, unseen to languish, Pours, unheard, the ceaseless moan, And wastes on desert air its anguish! Mine, o hapless bird! Thy fate! The plunder’d nest, the lonely sorrow! The mate! The wailing night, the cheerless morrow! O thou dear hoard of treasur’d love! Though these fond arms should ne’er possess thee, Still??”still my heart its faith shall prove, And its last sighs shall breathe to bless thee! http://teacupsandtyrants. com/ 013/03/16/charlotte-brooke-the-woman-who-saved-irish-poetry/) In this essay I have discussed the works and publications of Charlotte Brooke. I have discussed her background and how she became a well-known collector of Irish folklore. I discussed a few of her publications including Reliques of Irish Poetry, The school for Christians in dialogue for the use of children’ and one of her most famous elegy’s. Words: 1,202 Bibliography 1 . http://www. cavanlibrary. ie/Default. aspx? StructureID_str=60, Accessed 10th November 2013. 2. http://www. libraryireland. om/articles/MissBrooke/ , Accessed 0th of November 2013. 3. http://www. irishidentity. com/extras/gaels/stories/ poetry. htm , Accessed 10th of November 2013. 4. http://teacupsandtyrants. com/ 2013/03/16/charlotte-brooke-the-woman-who-saved-irish-poetry/ , Accessed 10th of November 2013. 5. Reliques of Irish Poetry, Consisting of Heroic Poems, Odes, Elegies and Songs, Translated into English Verse: With Notes Explanatory and Historical; and the Originals in the Irish Character: To which is Subjoined an Irish Tale (Dublin: George Bonham 1789) 6. The School for Christians, in Dialogues, for the Use of Children (Dublin: Bernard Doornin 1791)

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