[Sir] Aubrey de Vere (1788-1846)


Life
[prop. Vere Hunt, occas. Sir Aubrey de Vere Hunt; afterwards Sir Aubrey de Vere (2nd Baronet); sometimes styled Earl of Oxford on t.p.]; b. 28 Aug. 1788 at Curragh Chase, Co. Limerick; ed. Harrow, with Byron; chiefly spent his life at Chevy Chase, as an ‘improving’ Limerick landlord; m. Mary Spring-Rice in 1807; succeeded as second baronet, 1818; adapted his name to de Vere in 1832; began writing poetry at thirty;
 
contrib. National Magazine, Gem, Dublin Penny Journal, Keepsake, and Dublin Literary Journal; offered Gerald Griffin a room to write in Curragh Chase; issued verse-dramas, Julian the Apostle (1822), The Duke of Mercia (1823), with which the “Lamentation of Ireland” [longer poem]; also Mary Tudor (1847), with which “Lamentation of Ireland”, inter al.;
 
also collections incl. Song of Faith (1842), on patriotism, courage, freedom, and religious awe; d. 28 July 1846 at Curragh Chase; his son Aubrey de Vere edited his works after his death as Sonnets (1847, rep. 1975) and Dramatic Works (1858); de Vere was a life-long admirer and latterly a friend of Wordsworth, who visited Ireland him 1829 and whom he visited at Rydal Mount after. CAB ODNB PI TAY MKA OCIL

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Works
  • Ode to the Duchess of Angouleme (Dublin: J. Cumming; London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Browne 1815), 26pp.;
  • Julian the Apostate: A Dramatic Poem (London: John Warren 1822), v, 203pp.; and Do. [electronic edn.] (Cambridge: ProQuest LLC 1994);
  • The Duke of Mercia: An Historical Drama [with] The Lamentation of Ireland, and Other Poems (London: Hurst &c. 1823), viii, 292pp. [1-218; 219-30pp.; sonnet series, 275-end];
  • A Song of Faith: Devout Exercises and Sonnets (London: W Pickering 1842), xiii, 286pp. [‘Descriptive’ section incl. “Rock of Cashel”, “Gougaune Barra”, “Glengarriff”, and “Killarney”];
  • Julian the Apostate [with] The Duke of Mercia: Historical Dramas (London: B. M. Pickering 1858), xx, 343pp. [verse];
  • Mary Tudor: An Historical Drama [with] The Lamentation of Ireland and Other Poems (London: W. Pickering 1847, rep. 1884), 456pp. [see details]; Do. [as Mary Tudor : an historical drama in two parts, and sonnets, by Sir Aubrey De Vere] (London: Basil Montagu Pickering 1875), li, 434pp. ; and Do. London: George Bell 1884), 330pp. [also on Readex Microprint, 1966 in 4 micro-opaques]; Do. [adapted by Mrs. Athelstan Mellersh; neé Kate Wright] (Torquay: Gregory & Scott 1914), 81pp.;
  • also Aubrey Thomas de Vere [his son], ed., Sonnets [1847], with a Memoir of the Author by A. T. De Vere [new edn.] (London 1875). 8o.

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Bibliographical details
Mary Tudor: An Historical Drama [with] The Lamentation of Ireland and Other Poems by Sir Aubrey de Vere Bart. (London: W. Pickering 1847), vii, 456pp. Ded. ‘To the Lord Monteagle of Brandon / This Volume is dedicated, / According to the intention of the author, / and in memory of a love / truly fraternal and lasting / to the end.’ [Table of Contents, [v]-vii.] CONTENTS. Mary Tudor, Part the First [1; Part the Second [145]; The Lamentation of Ireland [333; ded. to Right Hon. Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry; see extract, infra]; To my beloved Wife on her becoming of Age [345]; Fragment - “See from its ambush yon fair infant peeping “[347]; A Walk by the Shore at Ilfracomb [347]; Lines written after my Inspection of Lundy Island [349]; Fragment written at Southill Park [351]; Sunset on the Lower Shannon [353]; Song, “The light of love can never” [354]; Busaco: A Battle-sketch [354]; Fragment.- “How sweet that little lawn amid the woods” [359]; The Assignation [359]; True Love [361]; The benumbed Butterfly [362]; Epitaph on Sir John Moore [365]; The Widow [366]; The Flight of Napoleon [367]; To a Friend requesting me to write a Poem on a great Victory [368]; Lines on the Death of the Hon. William Cecil Pery, killed at the Storming of St. Sebastian [369]; Ode to the Duchess of Angouleme [371]; On the Death of Sir Thomas Picton, slain at Waterloo [778]; Ode to the Eagle Standard [380]; Epitaph for Colonel Rickard Lloyd (killed at the Passage of the Nive) [585]; The Anniversary of Waterloo [386]; To M- [390]; “In the fulness of time 1 shiall lie in the earth” [391]; The Sorrows of Peace: Fragment [392]; Fragment: Degeneracy of National Character [393]; To my Country [395 - viz., ‘... Britain, the just, the free, the glorious’]; A Poet’s Home [897]; Petrarca: Canzone III [399]; Stanzas from Menzini: By a Lady [403]; Translation of an Inscription from a mural Monument at Rome [404]; From the French of Madame de Murat [404]; Philosophic Love (from Rossi) 405]; From the Italian 405]; Cato in Utica (from Luigi Alamanni) [406]; Repentance: Madrigal of Michelegnolo Buonarotti [406]; The March of Xerxes: Epigram of Luigi Alamanni, 1556 [407]; The Glen of Glangoole [407]; Stanzas on Solitude [410]; Pastoral Song [411]; Ode to April [413]; The Dreams of Youth [417]; A Dream. Fragment [447]; Lines: “Sorrow to him who with a tearless eye” [433]; Verses for Music [435]; Maidenly Sorrow: Canzonet [440]; Lucretia (from the Latin) [437]; The Course of Time [437]; Madrigal [438]; From Meleager [438]; From Antipater [439]; On Anaercon (from Antipater ) [439]; From Theocritus [440]; A Song of Spring: Addressed to a Child [440]; Stanzas [445]; The Lot of All [446]; Fragments 1845-6 [448, of which:] “There is no danger, Friends, unless we fear” [448]; Restrict me not in friendship &c.” [448 ]; Times past [449]; The Bride [450]; A Homestead [450]; Character of Queen Elizabeth [451]; “To live alone” [452]; “Men of large intellects have minds like wells” [452]; “Life hath no conditions” [453 ]; “Life streams down to us, a mysterious river” [453]; “Nor cheat yourself, nor hire a world &c.” [454]; “Oh rather after grief let us rejoice “ [454]; Union in Absence [454]; “Be sure this earthly love which dwells within us” [455]; “Divine love bath its growth within the heart” 455]; “An if I be a worm, mine office is” [456]; “The dove-like spirit of peace &c.” [456].

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Criticism
Anon, ‘The Poems of the De Veres’, Dublin University Magazine, XXI, 122 (Feb. 1843), pp.190-204; Aubrey Thomas de Vere, ed., Sonnets [new edn.] with a memoir of the author [by A. T. De Vere] (London 1875); Aubrey de Vere, Recollections of A. de Vere (London & NY: Edward Arnold 1897), vi, 373pp.

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Commentary
W. B. Yeats (presum. writing on Aubrey de Vere, The Elder): ‘The poetry of Aubrey de Vere has less architecture than the poetry of Ferguson and Allingham, and more meditation. Indeed, his few but ever memorable successes are enchanted islands in gray seas of stately impersonal reverie and description, which drift by and leave no definite recollection. One needs, perhaps, to perfectly enjoy him, a Dominican habit, a cloister, and a breviary.’ (‘Modern Irish Poetry’ [prev. in A Book of Irish Verse, 1895, & rep. in] Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature, 1904, Vol. III, p.pp.vii-xiii; p.xi.)

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Quotations
The Lamentation of Ireland
Calm was the evening and the sky serene,
All Nature smiled upon the golden hour;
The hills of corn were clad in liveliest green,
The meads in all the pomp of vernal flower:
The soft air was so thin, so clear,
Distance was lost in that pure atmosphere;
And brighter from its grove gleam’d the remote church tower.

 

 

Majestic Shannon’s smooth transparent wave,
Scarce heard to ripple scarcely seen to glid,
Those lovely scenes in bright reflection gave,
Sketch’d o’er its breathless mirror far and wide:
As if some hand with skill divine,
Some mighty master traced each glowing line,
And tinged with magic hues the bosom of the tide.
    ...
   
[See full text, attached. ]
 
The Anniversary of Waterloo (celebrated by the Officers of the 30th regt. in Limerick, 1816)

[...]

Breathe not now one tone of sadness -
Here joy should catch a martial madness -
Vain falls the tear for those who die!
Even now some gallant soul may fly;
But, when Glory seals the breath,
Man has nobly conquer’d death.
Weep not, then, for those who fell;
Tears, not of grief, but pride should swell Those for whom you vainly sorrow
Less gloriously had sunk tomorrow.
Fill, then, the wine-cup to the brim,
But, while you quaff, remember him
Who only lives in fame.

[...]

 


But who, amid the countless brave,
Who fill, or are to fill, the grave,
Who more deserve th’acclaiming cheer
Than those brave souls who call’d us here?

[...]

Veterans of many a hard-fought field!
Your fame shall last time time shall yield.
Were’er you wander, think that here
The memory of your worth is dear;
That manly hands shall long to strain
Hands brave and honoured once again -
And female bosoms sigh to claim
Communion with your toils and fame!

 
Fragment: Degeneracy of National Character

We have been too vain of liberty;
Our very morals wax too free:
And thus, corrupted at the source,
Our manners hold a turbid course.
The days of chivalry are fled;
The heart of chivalry is dead!
The daring deed, the lofty thought,
The unearthly hope, the zeal unbought,
The love that seemd too pure for man,
The faith that spurned this mortal span,
The valour glory could not sate,
The patriot fire that rose o’er fate,
The truth, the trust, the soaring spirit,
That heroes from high heaven inherit,
All, all are doomed to fade away;
Their memory sinks in slow decay;
Like dateles armour worn with rust
And cankering in forgotten dust!

 

What though the searching eye may find
Some casual stains, such traits behind;
Are modern men and later times
Gentler of mood, more free of crimes?

’Tis a true tale, though melancholy,
How wisdom grows the nurse of folly;
How knowledge, clutched from pride, will breed
A madness in the heart and hed;
How gifts abused become accurst,
Perverting still the best to worst!
Thus science has her alchemy;
Religion sours to bigotry;
Thus libert becomes a sin
Preached by the savage Jacobin;
Thus erros are made obstinate
Stung by the madness they create.

(1817)

     
To My Country

Soil of my birth! Land of my pride!
The world’s last refuge and sole guide!
Britain, the just, the free, the glorious,
The brave, the generous, the victorious;
O beauteous in each varied dress
Of pomp, or rural happiness;
Whether forth issuing, mailed, to war,
Crown’d like a queen on glory’s car -
Or seated in the peaceful ring
Beneath the hawthorn in the spring -
The bright-eyed muse shall weave for thee
Her songs of immortality.
Not that around they living head
Triumphs are richlier garlanded
Than lavish ages pour’d on his
Of Marathon or Salamis -
But that they grandest deeds were wrought
For justice; with so pure a thought,
It seem’d as if the heavens, allied,
Came down to combat by thy side.

[...]

 

By thee th’enfranchised slave was given
Freedom on earth, and hope in heaven.
Still at they voice, with holy aw,
The wandering asavage stoops to law;
And, kneeling on the tear-wet sod,
Lifts up his hands and heart to God.
’Twas things that blessed word to preaced
Frar as the voice of hope can reach,
In every tongue, in every clime,
Pure from the heart branch out for thee
The living veins of charity;
And education,, hand in hand,
Travels with thee each distant land;
For every thirty lip to bring
A draught of knowledge from the spring;
Down whose broad waters, as they spread,
The riches of the earth are led -
And those sublimer gifts that flow
From God above, to man below.

     
Fragment: Degeneracy of National Character

We have been too vain of liberty;
Our very morals wax too free:
And thus, corrupted at the source,
Our manners hold a turbid course.
The days of chivalry are fled;
The heart of chivalry is dead!
The daring deed, the lofty thought,
The unearthly hope, the zeal unbought,
The love that seemd too pure for man,
The faith that spurned this mortal span,
The valour glory could not sate,
The patriot fire that rose o’er fate,
The truth, the trust, the soaring spirit,
That heroes from high heaven inherit,
All, all are doomed to fade away;
Their memory sinks in slow decay;
Like dateles armour worn with rust
And cankering in forgotten dust!
What though the searching eye may find

 

Some casual stains, such traits behind;
Are modern men and later times
Gentler of mood, more free of crimes?

’Tis a true tale, though melancholy,
How wisdom grows the nurse of folly;
How knowledge, clutched from pride, will breed
A madness in the heart and hed;
How gifts abused become accurst,
Perverting still the best to worst!
Thus science has her alchemy;
Religion sours to bigotry;
Thus libert becomes a sin
Preached by the savage Jacobin;
Thus erros are made obstinate
Stung by the madness they create.

(1817)

     
A Poet’s Home

I ask not stately palaces -
Mine be a cottage closed with trees,
Airy, yet shelter’d, on a slope,
Whence the eye may range with hope -
A poet’s nest, with alleys green,
High terraced walks, and glades of between.
- Let roses, ,and each climbing flower,
Hang round my white walls like a bower - Before my porch a bright parterre,
With blooming shrubs that scent the air;
While trees of every flower and leaf
Group thickly round, in dark relief.
Give to my books a spacious room,
Through green leaves lit (a sunny gloom)
With one deep window in a bow,
To catch the various scene below;
The winding stream, the cultured vale,
The meadows “hedg’d with poplars pale;”
The manor-house, the spire, the town,
With gardens green, and stubbles brown;
The sparkling mill, and shadowy bridge,
And, stern o’er all, yon mountain ridge,
Thrusting from each jutting rock
The giant antlers of the oak,
And bathing in yon sunny lake
The shadow of his purple peak.


 

Such be my home-love’s wedded smile
Making life blest and holy; while,
Sporting their kindred flowers among,
We watch our bright-faced infant throng -
Or, ’mid a group of faithful friends,
(When the licrlit of day descends)
Round the household fire rehearse
Some famous page of ancient verse -
Or, with airy feet advance
To th’ unpremeditated dance -
Or bend o’er music’s witcheries,
With parted lips, and glist’ning eyes.
- And let me gather round my door
A busy, cheerful, virtuous poor;
Homely in speech and pure from art,
Truth and the Bible in their heart.

Thus let me live! and, when I die,
Not fade from good men’s memory!
Leaving to those I love, a name
Loved, and not all unknown to fame.

(1817)

 
Source: Mary Tudor: An Historical Drama [..., &c.] (London: W. Pickering 1847), p.387-89.

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The Foray of Queen Maeve (1882): ‘While all along the circles of their shields, / And all adown their swords, viewless for speed / Ran, mad with rage, the demons of dark moors / And war-sprites of the valleys, Bocanachs / And Banachas whose screem, so keen its edge / Might shear the centuried forest as the scythe / Shear meadow grass.’ (p.178; quoted in A. N. Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats, London: Macmillan 1984, p.472 - annot. on Banachas and Bonachas in “Cuchulain has Killed Kings”.)

               “The Shannon

River of billows, to whose mighty heart
The tide-wave rushes of the Atlantic Sea;
River of quiet depths, by cultured lea,
Romantic wood or city’s crowded mart;
River of old poetic founts, which start
From their lone mountain-cradles, wild and free.
Nursed with the fawns, lulled by the woodlark’s glee,
And cushat’s hymeneal song apart;
River of chieftains, whose baronial halls,
Like veteran warders, watch each wave-worn steep,
Portumna’s towers, Bunratty’s royal walls,
Carrick’s stern rock, the Geraldine’s gray keep -
River of dark mementoes! must I close
My lips with Limerick’s wrong, with Aughrim’s woes?

 

[Given with others in Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic University of America 1904), p.582 - available at Internet Archive online.]

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Roisin Dubh: ‘The Little Black Rose shall be red at last/ What made it black but the March wind dry,/ And the tear of the widow that fell on it fast; / It shall redden the hills when June is nigh.’ (Quoted in Jarleth Killeen, ‘Woman and Nation Revisited: Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose’, in Critical Ireland: New Essays in Literature and Culture, ed. Aaron Kelly & Alan Gillis, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, p.143.)

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Angel of Éire: “The Financial Relations of England and Ireland (with apologies to Wahrer Jacob)”: ‘That angel whose charge is Eire/ sang thus o’er the dark Isle winging - / For ages three without laws ye shall flee as beasts in the forest: / For an age and a half age, Faith shall bring not peace but a sword. / Then laws shall rend you, like eagles, sharp-fanged, of your scourges the sorest: / When these three Woes are past look up, for your hope is restored.’ Aubrey de Vere, verses attached to political cartoon rep. in illustration of Luke Gibbons, ‘The Mirror and the Vamp: Reflections on the Act of Union’, in Bruce Stewart, ed., In Hearts and Minds: Culture and Society under the Act of Union, Gerards Cross: Colin Smyth, 2002, pls.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography, gives bio-data: 1788-1846; 2nd baronet, succeeded 1818; ed. Harrow; historical dramas and ‘The Song of Faith, Devout Exercises and Sonnets’ (1842); notes that three of his sons became Catholics. Irish Book Lover, Vols 2, 4, 5 & 24 contain notes on Aubrey de Vere.

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Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), selects extract from Mary Tudor; ‘Liberty of the Press’, and ‘The Shannon’. b. 28 Aug.; ed. Harrow with Byron and Peel; married Mary, sister of Lord Monteagle; Julian the Apostate, dramatic poem (1822); Duke of Mercia, hist. dram. in verse; A Lamentation for Ireland, and other poems [n.d.]; A Song of Faith, Devout Exercises and Sonnets (1842), ded. to Wordsworth; according to his son, the sonnet was to the last a favourite form of composition with him, while this taste was ‘fostered by the magnificent sonnets of Wordsworth, whose genius he had early hailed, and whose friendship he regarded as one of the chief honours of his later life; Mary Tudor (1847), written at intervals of severe illness; d. Curragh Chase 28, 1846. Mary Tudor appears in A Treasury of Irish Poetry, where Mr W. MacNeile [sic] Dixon calls it worthy of comparison with the histories of the 16th and 17th centuries, ‘a portrait at once human and royal, at once tragic and convincing.’ Further remarks: ‘love for native land breathes in Lamentation, as in sonnets “The Shannon”, “Lismore”, “The Soldiers of Sarsfield”, and others redolent of the same feeling’. Selects speech of Mary Tudor taking farewell of her weeping mother a moment before her execution [‘Farewell, dear, dear mother! / These terrible moments I must pass in prayer - / For the dying - for the death! Farewell! Farewell!’]; also “The Shannon” [‘river of billows, to whose might heart / The tide-wave rushes of the Atlantic Sea’] and “Liberty of the Press” [‘Some laws are too sacred for the hand of man to approach, recorded in the blood / Of patriots, before which, as the Rood / Of faith, devotional we stand ...’].

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D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912), lists under name Sir A. de Vere Hunt: Julian the Apostate, dramatic poem (London 1822); The Duke of Mercia, dram. poem, with The Lamentations of Ireland (London 1823); A Song of Faith, Devout Exercises and Sonnets (1842); Mary Tudor, hist. drama (1847); Sonnets (1875), edited by his son Aubrey Thomas; O’Donoghue also cites, ‘The wine-cup sparkles to the brim’, in Haromonica (Cork 1818), along with further journal-contributions incl. a translation of Horace which Sir S. de Vere ‘has so successfully rendered into English verse’ [acc. O’Donoghue]; notes also an inaugural address to Limerick Philosophical and Literary Society, printed in Dublin (1824).

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Arthur Quiller Couch, ed., Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1918 (new ed. 1939), p.609 [poem].

Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre (Tralee: The Kerryman 1946), cites Sir Aubrey de Vere 1788-1846; Julian the Apostate, dram. poem (1822); The Duke of Mercia (1823); Mary Tudor (1847), which shows Schiller’s influence.

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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English: The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), 1788-1846; b. Curragh Chase, Co. Limerick; properly named Vere Hunt; ed. Harrow, friend of Wordsworth; spent his life on his estate; contrib. National Magazine, Dublin Penny Journal, Keepsake, and Dublin Literary Journal [lists full contributions, incl. poems ‘Sonnet to Liberty’; ‘Sonnet – to France Arming for Liberty’; ‘Lines on Death of J. T. Waller’; ‘Sunset on the Lower Shannon’; ‘There is no remedy for tiime mispent’; ‘A Sonnet on the Liberty of the Press’; ‘On a Visit to Wordsworth after a Mountain Excursion’]; lists also full contents of Song of Faith, Devout Exercises and Sonnets (1842). [See also Geoffrey Taylor, Irish Poets of the Nineteenth Century.)

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Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), cites essay on de Vere in in Dublin University Magazine, 21 (1843); bibl., ‘Sonnets of [...] Aubrey de Vere’, in Irish Monthly 16 (1888); William Macneile Dixon, ‘The Poetry of the de Veres,’ Quarterly Review, 183 (1896); cites works, Ode to the Duchess of Angouleme (1815); Julian the Apostate: a Dramatic poem [with] The Lamentation of Ireland and Other Poems (1823) [check]; Song of Faith ... (1842); Mary Tudor, an hist. drama, the Lamentation of Ireland and other Poems (1847).

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Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1985), styles him son of Sir Vere Hunt of Limerick, succeeded baronetcy 1818, adopted de Vere; m. Mary Spring-Rice in 1807; friend of Wordsworth; long poems and verse tragedies incl. Lamentations [sic] of Ireland (1823); reputation rests on his sonnets, published 1875 [sic].

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Notes
Madden Papers (Pearse St. Library; Gilbert Collection, MS 272), contains 3pp. MS notes [by Madden] and a printed extract from Aubrey de Vere’s [the Elder] Sonnet, ‘Hill of St. Patrick’, in Dublin Literary Gazette (Sept. 1829).

Dedication: William Ledger dedicated The Opening Rosebud (1836) to Sir Aubrey de Vere; vide The opening rosebud: A collection of original poems (Limerick: G.M. Goggin; Z.M. Ledger ... 1836), vii, 100pp.

Kith & Kin: Aubrey de Vere White - who attended St. Gerard’s Prep. School, Bray, and died in 1919 after a rugby accident, and is so listed in the Alumnae - may have been a collateral descendant and was presum. a kinsman (older brother, cousin or uncle - of Terence de Vere White, q.v.)

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