William Moffett

Life
?1675-?1737; [also Moffet or Moffat]; a schoolmaster; author of a rhyming ‘History of Ireland’, properly called Hesperi-neso-graphia; or, A Description of the Western Isle (1724), and reprinted as The Irish Hudibras [&c.] (1755; 1791, &c.). PI DIW DIL2

Works
Hesperi-neso-graphia, or A Description of the Western Isle
(London: J. Baker 1716), rep. (Dublin 1724; 1725), rep. as The History of Ireland in Verse, or a description of the Western Isle [over initials ‘J.K.’] (Dublin 1750), rep. as The Irish Hudibras [&c.] (London 1755; Dublin 1791) [a title improperly borrowed from Do., by J. Farewell; Hesperi-Neso-Graphia [&c] [over initials W.M.] (Monaghan 1814); other edns., one signed ‘J. Keenan’;

Commentary
Russell Alspach, Irish Poetry from the Engish Invasion to 1789 [2nd edn.] (Pennsyvlania UP 1959), cites London printing of 1724, and remarks: ‘Why Sir Samuel Ferguson called Moffet’s poem Irish literature is hard to say: it is neither Irish nor literature. Bibl., Ferguson, ‘Curiosities of Irish Literature: The Mere Irish’, Dublin Univ. Magazine, Vol. IX, 1837, 546-58). Alspach further notes that O’Donoghue attributes the poem pseudonymically to Walter Jones (Poets of Ireland, p.311; Alspach, p.78, n.2.).

References
D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912), considers that the real author [of the Irish Hudibras] almost certainly Walter Jones, and writes under Jones: ‘A satirist to whom has been attributed, prob. with justice, the above virulent satires; Walker, in his Irish Bards (1818), vol. 1, p.213, says that [it] was written by him; grad. TCD, BA 1715; eldest son of Theophilus Jones, Headfort, Co. Leitrim, and Dublin, and MP for Sligo, then Leitrim in Irish Parliament; Walter (1693-1756) prob. b. Leitrim, m. Olivia dg. Sir Chidley Coote, 1722; 1735 edn. ‘reprinted by Theophilus Jones for Wm. Smith’ [sic; ?prop. rep. ‘by Wm Smith for Theophilus Jones’] in Dublin 1735; Charles O’Connor in a letter to Walker (Giblert Lib., [Pearse St.] Dublin), refers to Jones as author; ref. to T C Croker, Popular Songs of Ireland; poem usually attrib. to Moffett [q.v.] SEE also under Walter Jones, and J. Farewell. Moffett, the alleged author, was a schoolteacher, his name being given uniquely on 1724 and 1725 eds. [i.e., his initials].

[ top ]