Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713)


Life
b. 20 Dec., Hannington nr. Crockdale, Wiltshire; ed. BA Magdalen Hall, Oxford, 1658; fellow of Exeter, and DD, 1671; incumbent of Swindon, 1662-63, resigning in anticipation of simoniacal marriage; chaplain to bishop of Exeter and Clarendon; principal of St. Alban’s Hall, Oxford, 1673; appt. provost Trinity College, Dublin [TCD], by the Duke of Ormonde Jan. 1678; built a new hall and chapel and encouraged Irish language and engaged Paul Higgins [Ó hUiginn] to teach the language at TCD; joined in founding Dublin Philosophical Soc. [later RDS], contrib. essay on sound, 1683; required that 30 scholars be of Irish extraction; prepared Bishop Bedell’s Bible [OT] for publication with Robert Boyle; appt. Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin and rector of Killiban, 1683; fled to England, during the Jacobite rule of Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrone, as James II’s viceroy in Ireland, 1689;
 
obtained preferment and returned in 1690; appt. Archb. of Cashel, 1691; gave Swift the prebend of Dunlavin, 1700, and later a seat in the chapter of St Patrick’s Cathedral; translated to the Dublin diocese as Archbishop, 1674; estab. the first public library in Ireland at his Palace while the library at TCD was inoperative due to floods; he augmented the Irish manuscript collection of the episcopal library through purchases from the widow of Dudley Loftus, incl. O’Hussey’s Grammaticae Hibernicae rudimenta (1655), and Richard Plunket’s Irish-Latin Dictionary (1662); he built St Sepulchre’s [aka Marsh’s] Library and garden in St. Patrick’s Close, adjac. to the Cathedral [formerly St. Sepulchre’s Close in the Liberty of St. Sepulchre’s], with Sir Wm. Robinson (Surveyor-Gen.; d.1710) as architect;
 

appointed as first librarian the Hugenot refugee Dr Elias Bouhéreau, who added his own Calvinist library, incl. a valuable collection of French bibles; purchased the library of Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester (d.1699) in 1705; library incorporated as Marsh’s Library by an Act of Parliament, 1707, in face of opposition from some Church of Ireland bishops who objected to supposed elements of simony, sacrilege and purjury in the Act; the library also received the collection of Bishop Stearne of Clogher, and was augmented in modern times by donations from several collectors including from E. R. McClintock Dix and T. P. C. Kirkpatrick;

 
Archbishop Marsh was several times appt. Lord Justice of Ireland; translated to Archbishopric of Armagh, 1703; acted as a benefactor to the Armagh diocese; fnd. almhouses, Drogheda; issued miscellaneous works; he was an accomplished orientalist and suggested lute string as superior to whipcord employed in Molyneux’s Dublin Hygroscope; his Institutiones Logicae in Usum Juventuis Academicae Dubliniensis (1681), called “The Provost’s Logic”, remained in use at TCD up to 1783; d. 2 Nov. 1713, unmarried; Jonathan Swift called him ‘the first of the human race, that with great advantages of learning, piety, and station, ever escaped being a great man’;
 
a “Diary” giving an account of his relations with women, always proper according to his own lights, was published in 2003; notable twentieth-century Librarians at St. Patrick’s Close have included Newport Benjamin White and the Muriel McCarthy, who was a recipient of repeated fellowships on her retirement; the Library underwent large-scale restoration supported by the International Ireland Funds, and was the object of special interest for Mr. Billy Vincent (Pres.), who died in 2012. ODNB DIB

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Works
Philosophy & Religion
  • Institutiones logicae, in usum juventutis Academicae Dubliniensis (1679); Do. [another edn.] (Dublini: apud S. Helsham ad Insignia Collegii, in vico vulgo dicto Castle-Street 1681), [10], 270pp., 4 pls. 8vo.; Do. [trans. as] A Compendium of the Art of Logick As It Is Read in the University of Dublin literally transl. from the Latin edition, trans. Richard Murray (Dublin 1792);
  • with Anthony Dopping, Comitia philologica, SS. & Individuae Trinitatis Collegio, Dublinij, publicè ... celebranda, die Lunae, 14 Julii […] (1684) [TCD copy presented by Mary Pollard];
  • An Introductory Essay to the Doctrine of Sounds, containing some proposals for the improvement of acousticks; in Philosophical Transactions, No. 156 (Feb. 20 1683/4), pp.471-88;
  • The Charge Given by Narcissus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, to His Clergy at His Primary Visitation held in the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, in Dublin, June the 27th 1694; together with his articles of visitation; whereunto are annext three acts of parliament which are to be read in every parish-church yearly (Dublin: Joseph Ray (1694), [6], 47 [1]pp.;
  • The Church-Catechism Explain’d and Prov’d by Apt Texts of Scripture: Divided into XXVI parts. Recommended by his Grace Narcissus, late Lord Arch-Bishop of Dublin, for the Use of That Diocese [10th Edn.] (Dublin: Samuel Fairbrother 1719), [4], 75, [1]pp.;
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Translation
  • An Biobla Naomhtha: iona bhfuil leabhair na Seintiomna / ar na ttarruing as an Eabhra go Goidheilg tré chúram agus dhúthrachd an Doctuir, Uilliam Bedel, Roimhe so Easbug Chille móire a Néirinn: agus na Tiomna Nuaidhe, ar na ttabhairt go fírinneach as Greigis go Goidheilg, re Uilliam O Domhnuill. Noch atá anois chum maitheas coitcheann na nGaóidheail Albanach, áthruighte to haireach as an litir Eíreandha chum na mion-litre shoi-léighidh Romhanta; maille re suim agus brígh na ccaibidleach ós a ccionn, a nTiodaluibh aithghearr; re claraibh fós, ag míniughadh na mfocal budh deacraigh ré na ttuigsin, le R.K. M.A. (A Lunnduin [London]: Ar na chur a gcló re R. Ebheringhtham, ag na seachd réultaibh sa tsráid da ngoirthear, Ave-Maria, abhfochair Luid-gheata, an bhlía. daóis an Tigh. 1690), 1,068, 120pp.;
  • Leabhuir na Seintiomna ar na ttarrúng go gaidlig / tre cúram & dútras an Doctúir Uilliam Bedel, roime so easbug Chille Móire a Neirin, agus anois ar na ccur a ccló cum maitios pv`blidhe na tiresin (1685) [Bedell’s text revised by A. Sall and Narcissus Marsh before publication].
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Musical
  • Narcissus Marsh’s Lyra Viol Book [Marsh’s Library, Z3.5.13] (1978);
  • Ian Graham-Jones, ed., Music for the Lyra-viol: A Selection of Pieces for the Viol in Tablature (1980);
  • The Marsh Lute Book: containing 152 solos and duets for 6-course renaissance lute, four solos for 7-course renaissance lute and nine pieces for 6-course bandora [1695], with an introductory note by Robert Spencer (1981).
Dairies
  • Raymond Gillespie, Scholar Bishop: The Recollections and Diary of Narcissus Marsh, 1638-96 (Cork UP 2002), 106pp.

See also John Grant, Alpheus; or, A Pastoral Elegy on His Royal Highness Prince George of Denmark [...] Dedicated to their Excellency’s the Lords Justices ( Dublin: C. Carter 1708), 8pp. [ded. to Narcissus Marsh, Archb. of Armagh, and Richard Freeman, Lord Chancellor].

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Criticism
  • William Monck Mason, The History and Antiquities of the Collegiate Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, near Dublin (Dublin: for the Author by W. Folds 1820), Chap. II [contains three-page two-column notices on Narcissus Marsh and the acts of parliament governing his public library, pp.11-13.]
  • Newport J. D. White, ed., A Short Catalogue of English Books in Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin, Printed Before MDCXLI (1905), viii, 90pp.;
  • Newport J. Davis White, ed., An Account of Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin […] with a note on autographs by Newport B[enjamin] White (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis & Co., 1926), 43pp.;
  • Muriel McCarthy, All Graduates and Gentlemen: Marsh’s Library (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2003), 256pp. [prev. 1980];
  • Muriel McCarthy & Ann Simmons, eds, The Making of Marsh’s Library: Learning, Politics and Religion in Ireland, 1650-1750 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2004), 288pp. [contribs. incl. Toby Barnard, Stuart Clark, Andrew Carpenter, Raymond Gillespie, Thoma O’Connor, J. G. A. Pocock, Colin Wakefield & Ruth Whelan.]
  • Muriel McCarthy & Ann Simmons, eds., Marsh’s Library: A Mirror on the World: Law, Learning and Libraries, 1650-1750 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2009), 288pp.
 

See also Muriel McCarthy & Caroline Sherwood-Smith, Catalogue: Hibernia Resurgens, Marsh’s Irish Books (Archbishop Marsh’s Library June 1994), 96pp. [ltd. edn. 750]; Mirjam M. Foot, Decorated Bookbindings in Marsh’s Library, Dublin (London: Ashgate 2004), c.154pp. [Feb. 2004].

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Commentary
Muriel McCarthy, All Graduates and Gentlemen: Marsh’s Library (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1980), notes that there is no concrete evidence for the view that Berkeley used Marsh’s Library to study. However he does cite material to be found in Marsh’s but not in Trinity and this suggests that he made the short walk to this resource. (q.p.)

W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), Narcissus Marsh est. a public library near St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1706 [sic]. Besides two fifteen-century and many good sixteen-century editions of classical authors, it contained one series of particular interest - the classical volumes from the library of the notable English collector, Bishop Stillingfleet, with autograph annotations by one of the best Greek scholars of the seventeenth century, Isaac Casaubon.

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References
Dictionary of National Biography
also lists Francis Marsh (1627-1693), Archbishop of Dublin; ed. Cambridge; praelector rhetoricus, 1651-52 and 1654-57; dean of Connor, 1660; dean of Armagh and archdeacon of Dromore, 1661; bishop of Limerick, Ardfert, and Aghadoe, 1667; bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh, 1672; Archb. of Dublin, 1682; opposed Tyrconnell; withdrew to England, 1689; included in act of attainder; returned after the battle of the Boyne, 1690. NOTE that Mary Tighe was the daughter of a librarian of Marsh’s library.

COPAC lists The charge given by Narcissus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, to His Clergy at His Primary Visitation held in the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, in Dublin, June the 27th 1694; together with his articles of visitation; whereunto are annext three acts of parliament which are to be read in every parish-church yearly (Dublin: Joseph Ray (1694), [6], 47 [1]pp.; The Church-Catechism Explain’d and prov’d by apt texts of scripture: Divided into XXVI parts. Recommended by his Grace Narcissus, late Lord Arch-Bishop of Dublin, for the use of that diocese [10th Edn.] (Dublin: Samuel Fairbrother 1719), [4], 75, [1]pp.; with Anthony Dopping, Comitia philologica, SS. & Individuae Trinitatis Collegio, Dublinij, publicè ... celebranda, die Lunae, 14 Julii […] (1684) [TCD copy presented by Mary Pollard]; Institutio logicae, in usum juventutis Academicae Dubliniensis (1679), and Do. [another edn.] (Dublini: apud S. Helsham ad Insignia Collegii, in vico vulgo dicto Castle-Street 1681), [10], 270pp., 4 pls. 8vo. TRANSLATIONS: An Biobla Naomhtha: iona bhfuil leabhair na Seintiomna / ar na ttarruing as an Eabhra go Goidheilg tré chúram agus dhúthrachd an Doctuir, Uilliam Bedel, Roimhe so Easbug Chille móire a Néirinn: agus na Tiomna Nuaidhe, ar na ttabhairt go fírinneach as Greigis go Goidheilg, re Uilliam O Domhnuill. Noch atá anois chum maitheas coitcheann na nGaóidheail Albanach, áthruighte to haireach as an litir Eíreandha chum na mion-litre shoi-léighidh Romhanta; maille re suim agus brígh na ccaibidleach ós a ccionn, a nTiodaluibh aithghearr; re claraibh fós, ag míniughadh na mfocal budh deacraigh ré na ttuigsin, le R.K. M.A. (A Lunnduin [London]: Ar na chur a gcló re R. Ebheringhtham, ag na seachd réultaibh sa tsráid da ngoirthear, Ave-Maria, abhfochair Luid-gheata, an bhlía. daóis an Tigh. 1690), 1,068, 120pp.; Leabhuir na Seintiomna ar na ttarrv`ng go gaidlig / tre cúram & dútras an Doctúir Uilliam Bedel, roime so easbug Chille Móire a Neirin, agus anois ar na ccur a ccló cum maitios pv`blidhe na tiresin (1685) [Bedell’s text revised by A. Sall and Narcissus Marsh before publication]. MUSIC: Richard Murray, trans., A Compendium of the Art of Logick As It Is Read in the University of Dublin literally transl. from the Latin edition (Dublin 1792);Narcissus Marsh’s Lyra Viol Book [Marsh’s Library, Z3.5.13] (1978); Narcissus Marsh’s Lyra Viol Book (1978); Ian Graham-Jones, ed., Music for the Lyra-viol: A Selection of Pieces for the Viol in Tablature (1980); The Marsh Lute Book: c. 1[6]95 containing 152 solos and duets for 6-course renaissance lute, four solos for 7-course renaissance lute and nine pieces for 6-course bandora / with an introductory note by Robert Spencer (1981). BIBLIOGRAPHY: Newport J. D. White, ed., A Short Catalogue of English Books in Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin, Printed Before MDCXLI (1905), viii, 90PP.; Newport J. Davis White, ed., An Account of Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin […] with a note on autographs by Newport B[enjamin] White (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis & Co., 1926), 43pp. See also Alpheus; or, A Pastoral Elegy on His Royal Highness Prince George of Denmark, / writ by John Grant. Dedicated to their Excellency’s the Lords Justices (1708), 8pp., which is ded. to Narcissus Marsh.

Hyland Books (Cat. 214) lists Newport J. D. White, Short Catalogue of Books in English in Archbishop Marsh’s Library Dublin, Printed before MDCXLI (1905).

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Notes
Sir William Robinson
, Surveyor General, designed Marsh’s Library and also built the Royal Hospital, 1680-87.

Swift’s learning: The Institutio logicae of Narcissus Marsh (1679; reiss. 1681) was the particular manual on the topic used by Jonathan Swift as an unergraaduate at Trinity College, Dublin, and show to have been specifically remembered in his letter to Alexander Pope of 29 Sept. 1725 explaining much about his conception of man not as animale rationale but animale rationis capax. (See Claude Rawson, ‘Our Friend is not Well’, in Times Literary Supplement, 29 Nov. 2002, p.26.)

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