Hercules Ellis

Life
?1810-1879 [var. Eyles PI]; b. Dublin, ed. TCD, lawyer; ed., anthologies, second series of Songs of Ireland (Duffy 1849), the first being completed by M. J. Barry; also The Romances and Ballads of Ireland (1850), which contains many poems of Mangan; The Rhyme Book (1851), 800pp., which he sent to the Great Exhibition, where it was only noticed for its striking layout and binding; in the Preface, Ellis speaks of what is characteristic of the ‘Irish imagination’; the pale green pages and decorated margins of this work are artistically adorned with crests of the Prince of Wales (Honi Soi &c.); bur. Mount St. Jerome; as an anthologist of Dermody et al., Ellis occurs very frequently in PI entries. RR PI RAF OCIL

 

Works
Ed., The Songs of Ireland [2nd series] (Dublin: Duffy; London: Simpkin 1849), xviii+288pp.; Romances and Ballads of Ireland [...] (Dublin: Purdon 1850) [var. Duffy], xxxi+432pp.; The Rhyme Book (Dublin: Duffy; London: Longman, Green 1851), 712pp. SEE also Irish Book Lover 8.

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Commentary
M. J. Barry, Songs of Ireland (Dublin: James Duffy 1845) [23 Anglesea St.]; sole appendix contains text of letter from Hercules Ellis [229-38] contesting the authorship of ‘Exile of Erin’, claimed by Mr. Campbell, Barry finding that ‘the facts stated by Mr Ellis, and so solemnly attested, scare have room for any one not doubting their veracity ... to come to any decision creditable to the fame of Mr Campbell. [229] Ellis claims that Gerald Nugent Reynolds compose the song from a letter written by United Irishman John Cormick to his br. Michael; ‘I have at intervals, for many years, endeavoured to disprove the claim of authorship set up by Mr Campbell, and to restore to Ireland the fame of having produced this Queen of Songs’; Campbell counterclaimed in The Times, 17 June 1830; Campbell’s claim that he composed it in 1801 is challenged by the fact that the song was known and taught in the Belfast Sch. of Music in Nov. 1798, and acknowledged as the work of Reynolds.

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References
Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. I; cites Songs of Ireland [1849] as the collection including poems of Mangan, and lists Duffy as publisher (Irish Literature in English, Vol. 2, 1980, p.266). NOTE, McKenna (Irish Literature, 1978), cites Songs of Ireland [2nd series] (1849).

Belfast Public Library holds The Rhyme Book; also [Barry, ed.,] The Songs of Ireland (1849).

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