invited to contrib. to Anthologica Hibernica (1793); ejected by Austin and made the occasion of a celebrity dinner by Gilbert White, which he then failed to turn up to, being found drunk with others; befriended by the Lady Moira [Elizabeth Hastings], and sent to Rev. Henry Boyd, rector of Killyleigh, Co. Offaly, for two years; published The Rights of Justice, a political pamphlet to which was appended The Reform (1792) lamenting Irelands indifference to French revolutionary fervour and hence alienating his patron - especially Lady Moira, who had instructed the printer Mercier to publish anything he presented to him; received and refused offer of £30 TCD in college fees from Lord Kilwarden; also secured patronage from Henry Gratten, Bishop Percy, et al.;
enlisted in 108th Regt. (British Army), andserving as second lieutenant in a wagon-corps [ODNB]; shipped to France and suffered wounds to face and limb, a bullet passing through his left hand; discharged on half-pay in England; moved to London; supported by Henry Addington (Viscount Sidmouth, Chanc. of Excheq.) and Sir James Burges; secured £10 from literary fund for clothing, later pawned; wrote The Extravaganza, 1802; lost Burgess patronage through drunkenness and insolence; moved from Portland Lane in London to a ruined cottage in Sydenham; carried from there to London by Raymond and Allingham; died, 15 July 1802 [aetat. 27]; bur. Lewiston;
Dermody is sometimes regarded as an Irish Chatterton, on whom he wrote a monody; there is a life by James Grant Raymond (1806) which celebrates the poet but recounts the career of another Savage - born in a lower rank of life, and early let loose from the restraints of discipline and morality; collected poems issued as The Harp of Erin (1807). RR ODNB CAB PI DBIV DIL DIW DIB RAF FDA OCIL WJM
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Miscellaneous, The Rights of Justice ; or, Rational Liberty [pol. pamphl.; with] The Reform [verse] (1793). Reprints, Donald H. Reiman, ed. & intro., The Histrionade; Poems on Various Subjects [rep. of 5 works, 1789-1802] (NY: Garland Publ. 1978).
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See also Micheál Ó hAodha, Plays and Places (Dublin: Progress House 1961), q.pp.
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James Hardiman, Irish Minstrelsy (1831), Introduction: The bards of Ireland were men of a very different character [from the rude and uneducated rhymers of Scotland], but they were a proscribed and persecuted rage, their very very language interdicted, and yet from those outlawed bards, and in that denounced language, do we find specimen of poetic talent, which would do honour to any country. Had the unfortunate DERMODY been born a few years earlier, it is probably his name would appear only in the foregoing enumeration. The English tongue began to spread amongst the people of his native county, Clare, in the middle of the last century; and thus the talents which would have passed unnoticed, if confined to the langauge of his fathers, were universally admired in that of his adoption. (ftn., p.xxiv.)
Russell K. Alspach, Irish Poetry from the English Invasion to 1798 (Phil: Pennsylvania UP 1959), dismisses his euphemistically named The Harp of Erin on the grounds that it is possible to go through it without stumbling on anything that even faintly resembles poetry. (p.54). NOTE, not FDA entry.
Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850, Vol 1 (1980), remarks that Dermody plagiarises Thomas Gray, in Poems, 1789, p.13: Now sober Evening, clad in matle grey / In solemn pomp steals on to shadowy night. / The twinkling stars begin their lucid way / And bashful Cynthia shows her silver light // No noise is heard, save yonder hooting owl / that shrieks his mournful dirge in scream of woe. Dermody was fourteen at this writing. Other poems are Night (p.26f.) and Ode to Terror (pp.29ff.) [Rafroidi, op. cit., p.30]. Also quotes, Rank nurse of nonsense, on whose thankless coast; The base weed thrives, the nobler bloom is lost;/parent of pride and pverty, where dwell. Dulness and brogue and calumny - farewell! Harp of Erin, I. p.246. [Rafroidi, op. cit., 101]. See also Rafroidi, op. cit. (1980), Vol. 2, quoting his self-written epitaph [Unnoticed for the talents he had, and forgot / But most famously noticed for faults he had not.]
Michael Griffin, Infatuated to his Ruin: The Fate of Thomas Dermody, 1775-1802, in History Ireland (May/June 2006), pp.21-25, remarks, Griffin wrote derivative, often dreadful, poems of sensibility; occasionally, very occasionally, he wrote poems of scabrous, honest wit. He found himself buffeted about, politically, by his patrons, to the extent that he had to retract some of his bolder statements, perhaps the most scandalous being his pamphlet on The Rights of Justice, which, in 1793, prooved to be too radical for the tastes of the polite patriot set. For them he was a show-and-tell child prodigy, a volatile young genius, who could be procduced into the public sphere as an ocacsion of self-congratulatory patronage. (p.25.) He quotes Raymonds Life: [A]nother Savage - born in a lower rank of life, and early let loose from the restraints of discipline and morality, and further: The common method has hitherto been, to encourage the immorality by indulgence, to repress the poetry by extravagant and pernicious applauses, and to exasperate the symptoms of poverty by thoughtless and unmeasured profusion, suceeded by desertion and neglect. The case of the unhappy patient before us, appears indeed to have been very desperate; andit is but justive to his patrons to say, that many of them appear to have followed a very rational system of cure: it failed however entirely, partly through the original bad constitution of the subject, and partly through the mismanagement of certain of his romantic admirers. [...] an alcoholic and a dreadful egomaniac, he was capable of writing poetry of shocking turgidity for his drink. (n.p.; here p.21-22.) Griffins recounts his dealings with his patrons and in particular quotes from his exchange of letters with Sir James Burges, ending with advise from the latter suggesting that the bounty ... liberally bestowed by him and others would be withheld from him who, having received a more than ordinary share of it, makes new demands in a manner which may not improperly be termed menacing. (p.25.) Also quotes the epitaph from his poem The Fate of Genius enscribed on his gravestone, calling it unashamedly derived from Thomas Gray [see infra].: Bibl., T. Bourke, Vagabond and Minstrel: The Adventures of Thomas Dermody (London: [Macmillan] 1936); J. G. Raymond, The life of Thomas Dermody, interspersed with pieces of original poetry, many exhibiting unexampled prematurity of genuine poetical talent, and containing a series of correspondence with several eminent characters, 2 vols. (London & Dublin 1806).
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Verses on departing for London: For London now happily bound, / For a while we are free from that damnable ground / Where merit is spurned, where virtue is lost, / And invention chokd up with Hibernian frost. /So bidding farewell to each opulent rogue / Who murderd our hearing with nonsense and brogue, / We go, the pure air of the muses I breathe, / And smile at dull envy and malice beneath. / Like birds, sir, of passage, from dullness we fly, / To warble and wing in a far bright sky: / Where freedom and fancy are sweet combind, / Where the body too feels the fine glow of the mind; / Where bounty, the sun of perfection will blaze, / And ripen at once the full grape and the bays; / Where fortune and genius in amity shine, / And the true spark of poesy beams forth divine; / In short, where no son of St Patrick shall dare, / With a foul-mouthed huff, and a swaggering air, / Meek wisdom so gentle to thrust from the wall; / Then welcome misfortune! We rise from our fall: / At least, we are certain to suffer no curse; / We here were neglected, - they cant use us worse. (Quoted [without title] in Michael Griffin, Infatuated to his Ruin [... &c.], in History Ireland, May/June 2006, p.24.)
Ireland?: Rank nurse of nonsense; on whose thankless coast / The base weed thrives, the nobler bloom is lost: / Parent of pride and poverty, where dwell / Dullness and brogue and calumny - farewell! (Quoted in P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland, 1994, p.210, citing Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature, 1979.)
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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English: The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 2, lists Poems (Dublin: Chambers 1789), 31pp; Poems consisting of Essays, Lyric, Elegiac, &c, by T.D., written between the 13th and 16th year of his age (Dublin: J Jones 1792), 112pp, small; Poems, Moral, and Descriptive, by Thomas Dermondy (London: Vernon & Hood [et al.] 1800), xi, 112pp, ill, ded. to Countess of Moira [inc. the poem Retrospect, 34 pp; the epistolary poem The Pursuit of Patronage, 30pp, and others]; The Histrionade, or Theatric Tribute, poem descriptive of the princ. performers at both houses ... by Marmaduke Myrtle, Esq. (London: ES Kirby [et al.] 1802), 56pp; also unpublished poems in J[ames] G[rant] Raymond, The Life of Thomas Dermody (London W. Miller; Dublin: J. Archer and M. Mahon, 1806), 2 vols; The Harp of Erin, poetical works of the late Thomas Dermody, 2 vols. (London: R Phillips 1807), ed. James Grant Raymond. Bibl., Rafroidi cites titles M. Ó Aodha, The Child Poet from Clare, in Plays and Places (1961); Padraic Colum The Child of Sorrow, in The Dublin Magazine (Autumn 1965); Thomas Burke, Vagabond Minstrel ... (1936) 345p. See also Irish Book Lover, 6.
Booksellers, CATHACH BOOKS (Cat. 12) listed as The Life of T.D. with original poetry and correspondence with several Eminent Characters. by James Grant Raymond, 2 vols. London 1806). ERIC STEVENS (1992) lists The Harp of Erin, containing the poetical works of the late Thomas Dermody, Richard Phillips 1807 [1st ed.; the only collected ed.] 2vols, 8vo, xvi, 287, 310pp. (£95).
Belfast Central Library holds J. G. Raimond [sic], Life of Dermody, 2 vols. (1806).
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Nonsense & brogue: notice that Dermody twice conjoins the ideas of nonsense and brogue with Ireland in poetry quoted above.
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