William Pembroke Mulchinock

1820-1864 [William Pembroke Mulchinock; pseuds. ‘WPM’, ‘M’, and ‘Heremon’]; b. March 1820, Tralee, Co. Kerry; author of “The Rose of Tralee”; contrib. Cork Southern Reporter, and represented by 6 poems from its columns in Echoes from Parnassus (1849); contrib. to The Nation (as ‘WPM’, ‘M’, and ‘Heremon’); went to US, 1849, returned 1855; contrib. Literary American; Knickerbocker; Boston Weekly Museum; Model Courier, NY and Philadelphia papers; lit. ed. The Irish Advocate, from 1850; d. Sept. 1864; his Ballads and Songs of W. P. M. (NY 1851), ded. to Longfellow. PI DBIV FDA


M. J. T. Caball, The Rose of Tralee: The Story of a Tradition (Tralee: The Kerryman 1964).

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John Cooke
, ed., Dublin Book of Irish Verse (1909; OUP 1915): bio-dates; ‘Fill High To-night’ [... ‘The toast on our lips shall be/’The sinewy hand, the glittering brand, / Our homes and our altars free’].

D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland: A Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of Irish Writers of English Verse (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co. 1912), notes as ‘curious’ Reilly’s erroneous statement that he died at 25 in Poetry and Song of Ireland; RAF, b. Tralee, Co. Kerry; contrib. Cork Southern Report (cf. Echoes from Parnassus) and The Nation (cf. Spirit of the Nation). 1849-1855, USA, where he ran The Irish Advocate; publ. Ballads and Songs (NY 1851).

Chris Morash, The Hungry Voice (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan 1989), calls him the mainstay of Cork Magazine;wrote for The Nation as WPM and Heremon; emig. NY in 1848, returned Ireland in 1850; list of patrons of his Ballads and Songs of W.P.M. includes Emerson, Irving, and Longfellow; ‘A Lament’ in Cork Magazine Vol. 2 No. 14 (Dec. 1848). In subsequent printings the comparison of Ireland with Sodom and Gomorrah was dropped. (Morash, p.274).

W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (1984), cites him as William Mulchinoeck [sic], author of A Patriot’s Haunts, in which he foresees Erin’s armies advancing ‘With banners flaunting, fair, and free, / Fit for a new Thermopylae / And in the dark and narrow pass / I pace a new Leonidas.’ [Stanford, p.217].

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, selects ballads and Songs, “The Rose of Tralee” [102]; 112, BIOG, b. Tralee, c.1820, of prosperous merchant family; fell in love with catholic governess of his sister’s family, Mary O’Connor; tricked into running away for fear of arrest; war correspondent on Northwest frontier in 1843 during Afghanistan War; learned of Mary’s death on his return in 1849; m. Alicia Keogh, went to America, ed. The Irish Advocate; met American writers inc. Longfellow, to who me dedicated his poems in 1851; his wife became involved in anti-slavery movt.; returned to Ireland after period of estrangement, in 1855; d. in Tralee, after years of drinking, and grieving for Mary O’Connor; Ballads and Songs of William Pembroke Mulchinock (NY: TW Strong 1851).

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William H. A. Williams
of the Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio, writes that Mulchinock fell in love with Mary, a serving girl; his family wanted to break up the romance and shipped him off to the Continent; when he returned, he found she had sickened and died; supposedly, he never married, and wrote the poem in his old age, blind and lonely. Further, in a variant local version, Mulchinock abandoned Mary with a baby and she was forced to emigrate to America. (Based on personal research in Tralee, 1995; email, 11 Oct. 1996.)

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