[Rev.] John Graham

Life
1774-1844 [var. 1776]; b. Co. Longford, ed., TCD; BA 1798; MA 1815; ord. 1799, rector of Tamlaght [Tamlacght-Ard] and Magilligan, 1824-44; contrib. to the Warder (1823-28) as ‘Apprentice Boy’; imprisoned for participating in sectarian riots; counted the best Orange poet; issued Poems, Sacred, Didactic and Descriptive (1861); God’s Revenge Against Rebellion, a historical poem on ‘State of Ireland’ (1820); The King’s Vision (1822), Historical Poetry (1823); Harcourt’s Vision (1823); Derriana: A History of the Siege of Londonderry and the Defence of Enniskillen (1823 & edns.); Poems (1828); also Annals of Ireland; his poetry was also included ‘by permission’ in Robert Young’s Orange Minstrel; d. 6 March, Magilligan Glebe, Co. Derry. ODNB PI RAF DUB OCIL

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Works
God’s Revenge Against Rebellion, a historical poem on ‘State of Ireland’ (Dublin 1820); The King’s Vision (1822), Historical Poetry (Londonderry 1823); Harcourt’s Vision (Dublin 1823) Poems (Belfast 1828); The Lays of Ancient Derry (Glasgow: Cameron & Ferguson [n.d]); Derriana, Consisting of A History of the Siege of Londonderry and the Defence of Enniskillen in 1688 and 1689, with historical and biographical notes (Londonderry [for the author] Wm. M’Corkell 1823); ed., John Michelburne and Robert Ashton, Siege of Londonderry and Battle of Aughrim, with biographical notices (1841). Also Annals of Ireland; Poems, Sacred, Didactic and Descriptive (London 1861)

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Commentary
Thomas Furlong wrote in The Plagues of Ireland (1824): ‘Lo! as his second in these troubled times, / Comes crazy GRAHAM, with his ribald rhymes; / View the veil doggrell, slowly dragg’d along, / To mock at grief, and sneer away a wrong; / Mark how he stoops, laboriously to drain, / The last low oozing of his muddy brain, / Until at length, as Champion of the Cause, / He gains his end - promotion, and applause. / It comes! - ’tis his - his object from the first / Tis his - and now let Popery do its worst; / The low born croud may toil to swell his pride, / ’Tis his to take - to triumph and to deride; / ’Tis his of new form’d acts to make the best, / To jeer his slaves, and call their faith a jest; / ’Tis his to grasp what cant or craft hath won, / ’Tis there’s to starve - to struggle, and pay on. / View this, ye dolts, who prate about the poor - / View it, ye scribes, and say shall it endure; / View it, ye race, who reason from the past, / And ask your hearts, if such can always last. Further, in the original note the author states: ‘The Rev. John Graham (now of Derry), is after all his toil and laborious self-puffing but an obscure personage. - This, of course, is his misfortune, but not altogether his fault - for, to do him justice, he has not been backward in putting himself forward; he has not been over shy in shewing forth his foolishness. Many, however, have asked me, “Who is ‘crazy Graham?’ and many who meet the passage hereafter, will probably feel disposed to ask the same question; for the information then of all enquirers, I shall here state all that I have gathered concerning him: He was born in Munster - reared as a plain Papist - recanted, and became a Curate - resided at Ballymahon, and by way of puffing himself into notice, affected a mighty interest about the memory of Goldsmith - removed to the North - wrote doggerel in the Derry Journal - abused Popery, and obtained promotion. Of his latter history I know nothing, only that I find from looking over the files of the Derry Paper, that “The creature’s at his dirty work again.”’ [Cited by Sean Mythen, in his MS edition of The Plagues; 1997.]

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References
D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co.1912), notes that he appears in Croker’s Popular Songs; wrote for Warder (1823-28) over signature ‘Apprentice Boy’; best of Orange poets, he is included in Robert Young’s Orange Melodist [recte The Orange Minstrel or Ulster Melodist, 1832]; said to have written witty parodies of all Moore’s melodies.

Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. I; [dates but no data]; cites The Lays of Ancient Derry (Glasgow: Cameron & Ferguson [n.d]), a compilation; God’s Revenge against Rebellion (1820); The King’s Vision (1822); Sir Harcourt’s Vision (1823), all the foregoing printed in Dublin; also Poems (Belfast 1828)].

Belfast Central Library holds Annals of Ireland, eccles., civil and military (1819); Derriana, a history of the siege and defence of Enniskillen in 1688 and 1689 with hist. poetry and biog. notes (1823); History of the siege of Londonderry and defence of Enniskillen (1829); ed., Ireland Preserved (1841); Lays of ancient Derry [n.d.]; Poems, chiefly historical (1829); also Poems, sacred, didactic, and descriptive (1861), under Sir [err.] John Graham.

University of Ulster Library cites b.-date 1776 and holds A History of the Siege of Londonderry and the Defence of Enniskillen 1688 & 1689 (2nd edn. Curry 1829, another edn. 1839), 290pp; Derriana, consisting of a History of the Siege &c., incl. Sir Harcourt’s Vision, a historical poem by John Graham (Dublin: William M’Corkell 1823); John Graham, Annals of Ireland, eccles. civil, and military (London: G.Sidney 1819) [MAGEE IRI I]; Ireland Preserv’d [Michelburne and Ashton (Hardy & Walker 1841), with lyrical poetry and biog. notes, MORRIS DA945G [missing]. MORRIS COLLECTION holds holds Graham’s Ireland Preserved (1841), being plays by Mitchelbourne and Ashton, with intro.; also History of the Siege of Londonderry (1829).

Emerald Isle Books (Cat. 1995) lists , Derriana, consisting of a A History of the Siege of Londonderry and the Defence of Enniskillen in 1688 and 1689, with historical and biographical notes (Londonderry [for the author] Wm. M’Corkell 1823), 164, 102pp.; Historical Poetry, with Biographical Notes (Londonderry [for the author] Wm. M’Corkell 1823), 102pp.; A History of the Siege of Londonderry and Defence of Enniskillen in 1688 and 1689 (Dublin: Curry 1829), 290pp. [2nd edn.]; A History of Ireland from the Relief of Londonderry in 1689 to the Surrender of Limerick in 1691 (Dublin: Curry 1839), 375pp.

Hyland Books (Cats. 214; 220) list Poems Chiefly Historical (Belfast 1829), x, 359pp.

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