Whitley Stokes (1830-1909)

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
b. 28 Feb. 1830, in Dublin; ed. St. Columba’s, TCD, BA 1851; Hon. LLD, 1868; Inner Temple, English bar 1855; practised law in England for 6 years; Indian posts in Madras and Calcutta; ed., Liber Hymnorum as Goidelica (?1866); Anglo-Indian law works; CSI, 1877; CIE, 1879; returned to England, 1882; met Petrie, O’Donovan, and O’Curry in the home of his father, author of the Life of Petrie [q.v.]
 
devoted to study of Irish philology from early manhood; issued Irish Glosses from a MS in TCD (1859), a paper in Transactions of the Philological Soc. of London; his first book, A Medieval Tract on Latin Declensions, won the RIA Gold Medal; issued Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (2 vols. 1901-1903), with John Strachan, being 1,200pp. of Old Irish glosses from MSS up to 11th century, collecting the majority of Irish glosses in Ireland and Continent;
 
also ed. Fís Adamnáin; Tógáil Traoi [sic DIB]; Tripartite Life of Patrick (1887); Félire of Aengus; eds. of Cornish, Breton, texts, and papers on grammatical subjects, and critical reviews; unflagging industry of Celtic studies; also edited Calendar of Oengus (1880); Saltair na Rann (1883); Anecdotea Oxoniensis: Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore (1889); The Annals of Tigernach (1895-97); The Eulogy of Columba (1899); Da Derga’s Hostel (1901);
 
d. 13 April, 15 Grenville Place, Kensington, London; his library was presented to University College, London; a festchrift was prepared by Kuno Meyer and Ernst Windisch in 1900; a conference (‘Ireland, India, London: The Tripartite Life of Whitley Stokes’) was conducted in the Facuty of English, University of Cambridge, 18-19 Sept. 2009. PI JMC DIB DIH IF OCIL

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Works
  • Irish Glosses, Medieval Tract of Latin Declensions (Irish Arch. Soc. 1860);
  • Hindu Law Books (Madras: J. Higginbotham 1865), x+735pp;
  • ed. ‘St. Oengus the Culdee’, in Calendar of Oengus, preceded by ‘The Calendar of Oengus’ [lect. delivered in 1871] (RIA 1880), cccl+11pp.;
  • Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus: A Collection of Old Irish Glosses, scholia, prose and verse [in] Goidelica (London & Dublin 1872);
  • ed. Lives of the Saints from Book of Lismore (OUP 1890), 411pp. [sic];
  • Three Middle-Irish Homilies on The Lives of Saints Patrick, Brigit and Columba, edited by Whitley Stokes (priv. Calcutta 1877), xii, 140pp. [see details];
  • ed., Saltair na Rann [attrib. Aengus the Culdee] (being) MS Rawl. B502, Bodleian Library, vi, 155 (Oxford 1883);
  • Old Irish Glosses at Wuerzburg and Carlsruhe, Pt. I: The Glosses and translation, by Whitley Stokes [Phil. Soc. of London & Cambridge] (1887), 352pp.;
  • Professor Atkinson’s Edition of Passions and Homilies of Lebar Brecc (1887), 32pp.;
  • ed. Hui Gorman, The Martyrology of Gorman [Bradshaw Society, Vol. IX] (1895), 411pp.;
  • The Annals of Tigernach, Fragments II, III, IV [Continuation], in Revue Celtique, 16-18 (1895-97);
  • ed., Coir Anmain / The Fitness of Names [with] Tochmarc Ferbe Bearb, ed. E. Von Windisch (Hirzel 1897), 286-596pp.;
  • with Kuno Meyer, ed., Archive für Celtische Lexicographie, 1 vol. (Niemeyer 1900);
  • ‘The Wooing of Luaine and Death of Athirne’, in Revue Celtique, 24 (1903), pp.270-85.
  • A Criticism of Dr. Atkinson’s Glosses to Vols. 1-V of Ancient Laws of Ireland (David Nutt 1903), 49pp., published under direction of the Commissioners for Publishing the Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland;

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Bibliographical details
The Tripartite Life of Patrick
[part of] Rerum Britannicarum medii Aevi Scriptores or Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages, publ. by the Authority of Her Majesty’s Treasury, under the Direction of the Master of the Rolls [proposal of 26 January 1857; No. 89], 2 vols., ed. with trans. Whitley Stokes (Hon. Fellow of Jesus College, &c). introduction, cxcix, 272pp. CONTENTS - Introduction [i-cxcix]; description of the MSS [Rawlinson B 512]; probable date of The Tripartite Life; Other documents now printed; the personal life of St. Patrick; On the social condition of the early Irish [based on system of Herbert Spencer]. The Tripartite Life, Pts. I, II, III [1-267]. [Vol. 2] Other Documents Concerning S. Patrick, I: Documents from the Book of Armagh, notes by Muirchu maccu-Machtheni; Dicta Patricii; Tirechán’s collections; Additions to Tírechán’s Collections; The Book of the Angel; II, The Confession of S. Patrick; III, S. Patrick’s Letter to the Christian Subjects of Coroticus [375-80]; IV, Preface to the Fáed Fíada [381]; V, Secundinus’s Hymn, with preface, from the Franciscan Liber Hymnorum [382-389]; VI, Preface to the Foregoing Hymn, from the Lebar Brecc [390-389]; VII, Fiacc’s Hymn, The Preface [402-04], The Hymn [404-411]. The Notes in the Franciscan Liber Hymnorum [412-27]; VIII, Ninníne’s Prayer [427-28]; IX, Homily on S. Patrick, from the Labar Brecc [429-89]. Appendix includes extracts from Prosper Aquitanensis, Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Cumean’s Letter to Segéne, Luxieul Calendar, Brussel’s Codex of Muirchu’s Life, Adamnan’s mention of Patrick, Nennius Hist. Britonum, Annales Cambriae, Bede’s Hist. Ecc., Carlsruhe, Irish Liturgy, Alcuin’s Poemata, Calendar of Aoengus, Drummond Calendar, Irish Caons, Chronicles of Marinas Scotus, Corpus Missal, Annals of Book of Leinster, Gilla Coemáin’s Chronological Poem, lists of successors, relations of Irish saints, chron. tract in Lebar Brecc, &c.; also Patrick and His Leper, the Michaelmas Sheep, The Martinmas Pig, Patrick and Palladius, Loegaire’s Conversion and Death, and extracts from Cormac’s Glossary, Tigernach’s Annals, and Lists of S. Patrick’s household. Indexes incl. Index rerum; Books and MSS; Persons’ Names; Places and Tribes; Irish words; Hiberno-Latin words. Addenda and Corrigenda. [END; see additional information under St. Patrick.] For longer extract, see under St. Patrick > Commentary, supra.

[Note: A copy of the The Tripartite Life in the John M. Kelly Library of Toronto University, donated by the Redemptorists of Toronto Province, is available at Internet Archive - online.]

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Three Middle-Irish Homilies
on
The Lives of Saints
Patrick, Brigit and Columba


edited by
Whitley Stokes

[ One hundred copies privately printed. ]

Calcutta 1877
Stokes, Homilies
Dedicated to Professor Ernst Windisch
from whom I have already learned much and hope to learn more.
 
See ...

Note: copy at Internet Archive online with library bookplate reading: ‘The presence of this book / in / the J. M. Kelly Library / has been made possible / through the generosity / of / Stephen B. Roman / From the Library of Daniel Binchy.’ [Toronto University.]

 

 
See Bethu Phatraic/Life of Patrick extracts - attached,
or read full-text copy at Internet Archive is online.

 

Criticism
  • Festschrift für Whitley Stokes zum siebzigsten Gebirtstage am 28. Februar 1900, gewidmet von Kuno Meyer, L. Chr. Stern, R. Thurneysen, F. Sommer, W. Foy, A. Leskien, K. Brugmann & E. Windisch (Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz 1900);
  • Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Whitley Stokes (1830-1909): The Lost Celtic Notebooks Rediscovered (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2011), 176pp., ills.;
  • Elizabeth Boyle & Paul Russell, The Tripartite Life of Whitley Stokes, 1830-1909(Dublin: Four Courts Press 2011), 266pp.
 

See also Pádraig Ó Maidín, ‘Pages from an Irishman’s Diary: This Period Then’, in Éire-Ireland, 6, 4 (Winter 1971), pp.23-28, pp.23-24 [discussion of The Book of Lismore];

 

Note: ‘Ireland, India, London: The Tripartite Life of Whitley Stokes’, commemorative conference (English Faculty, University of Cambridge, 18-19 Sept. 2009). Contribs. incl. Sharon Arbuthnot (Cambridge), Elizabeth Boyle (Cambridge), Alderick Blom, Nigel Chancellor (Cambridge), Thomas Charles-Edwards (Oxford), Jacqueline Hill, Maxim Fomin, Ananya Kabir (Leeds), Bernhard Maier (Tübingen), Pádraic Moran (Galway), Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (Galway), Caitriona Ó Dochartaigh (Cork), Pol Ó Dochartaigh (Ulster), Nollaig Ó Muraíle (Galway), Geraldine Parsons (Glasgow), and Paul Russell (Cambridge). organised by Elizabeth Boyle.

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Commentary
Matthew Arnold (“Study of Celtic Literature”): ‘When Mr Whitley Stokes, one of the very ablest scholars formed in Zeuss’s school, a born philologist, - he now occupies, alas! a post under the Government of India, instead of a chair of philology at home, and makes one think mournfully of Montesquieu’ saying, that had be been an Englishman he should have never produced his great work, but have caught the contagion of practical life, and devoted himself to what is called “rising in the world” - when Mr Whitley Stokes, in his edition of Cormac’s Glossary, holds that the Irish word tirath, the sea, and makes us remark that, though the names Triton, Amphitrite, and those of corresponding Indian and Zend divinities, point to the meaning sea, yet it is only Irish which actually supplies the vocable, how delightfully that brings Ireland into the Indo-European concert!’ (Lectures and Essays in Criticism, ed. R. H. Super, p.298; cited in W. J. McCormack, in ‘Varieties of Celticism’, in From Burke to Beckett, CUP, 1985, p.231.)

Ernest Windisch on Stokes
‘Ich habe Whitley Stokes in Jahre 1871 in seines Vaters Hause in Dublin persönlich kennen genlernt. Seit dem hat die Freundschaft mit ihm zum Glücke meines Lehens gehort [I made the acquaintance of Whitley Stokes in the year 1871 at his father’s house in Dublin, since then the friendship with him has been a part of my life’s happiness.)’ Windish, Foreword to Stokes’s Cath Cathardha; quoted in Eleanor Knott, ‘Ernest Windish 1844-1918’, obituary, in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, Dublin June 1919, p.265.)
Note that Knott identifies the Cath Cathardha, with the Acallamh na Senórach, as the fourth and last volume of the Irish sagas the first of which was issued by Windish as Irische Texte - a work without ‘accompanied by a critical apparatus which safeguards the student in case of uncertain lections’ and a glossary which is ‘still indispensable to every student of Middle Irish’ and ‘an amazing monument of industry and genius.’ (Ibid., 266.)

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W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (1976, 1984), Bibl., W. Stokes, In Cath Catharda, the Civil War of the Romans, An Irish Version of Lucan’s Pharsalia (Leipzig 1909); Togail Troi (Calcutta 1881); also texts of Togail Troí, oldest, incomplete in the Book of Leinster, c.1150, Whitely Stokes, Togail Troi (Calcutta 1881); a later MS bringing the narrative to the sack of Troy, Stokes, in Irische Texte 2nd ser. 1 (1884), p.1-141; other versions, Stokes, Togail vi. AND note Stanford, further, the Board of the College placed two Junior Fellows, Thomas Leland and John Stokes, in charge of the press in 1747 to publish a series of classical authors which would reflect credit on the university. Their two volume edition of Demosthenes’s speeches against Philip of Macedon (1754) … &c.

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John Philip Cohane, The Indestructible Irish (NY: Hawthorn Books 1969): ‘Of the Fenian Legends Dr. Whitley Stokes, whose monumental work included over forty published books and treatises on the Irish, wrote: “The tales are generally told with sobriety and directness […] they evince genuine feeling for natural beauty, a passion for music, a moral purity, a noble love for manliness and honour […; they are] admirable for their unstudied pathos.”’ (Cohane, op. cit., p.173.)

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References
Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904); Whitley Stokes, CSI, CIE; m. Mary, dg. of Col. Bazely of Bengal Artillery; remarried Elizabeth (d.1901), dg. W. Temple; ed. TCD; Hon. DCL Oxon.; Hon LLD TCD and Edinburgh; Hon. Fellow Jesus College; Foreign Assoc. Instit. of France; Hon, Member German Oriental Society; bar, Inner Temple, 1855; equity draughtsman and conveyancer; India, 18622; reporter, High court Madras, acting Admin.-Gen. 1863-64; Sec. Gov.-Gen. Legislative Council, then sec. Gov. of India in Legislative Depts., 1865-77; law-member of Council of Gov.-Gen., 1877-82; President of Indian Law Commission, 1879; drafted numerous consolidation acts, and bulk of codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure, dealing resp. with property transfer, trusts, easements, specific relief and limitation; framer of scheme to collect and catalogue Sanskrit MSS; legal publications, Treatise on the Liens of Legal Practitioners; On Powers of Attorney; Hindu Law Books; the Indian Succession Act, with Commentary; Indian Companies Act, with Notes; The Older Statues in Force in India, with Notes; The Anglo-Indian Codes; philological, Irish glosses; Three Irish Glossaries; the Middle-English Play of the Sacrament; The Passion, a Middle Cornish poems; the Creation of the World, a Cornish Mystery; Three Middle-Irish Homilies; Goidelica [Old and Early Middle Irish glosses, prose and verse, being translations of Gaelic prefaces and hymns of 11th c. Liber Hymnorum]; The Life of S. Meriasek, a Cornish Drama; Middle-Breton Hours; The Calendar of Oengus; Togail Troi; Saltair na Rann; The Tripartite Life of St. Patrick; The Old Irish Glosses at Würzburg and Carlsruhe; Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore; Urkeltischer Sprachschatz [with Prof. Bezzenberger]; the Martyrology of Gorman; Rennes Dindsenchas; The Annals of Cigernach [sic, for Tigernach]; The Gaelic Marco Polo, Maundeville, and Fierabras [sic]; The Eulogy of St. Columba; Da Choca’s Hostel; Da Derga’s Hostel; joint ed. Irische Texte Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (2nd vol. 1904), and Archiv für Celtische Lexicographie; considered foremost of Celticists by M. McClean, next to Zeuss in study and research departments; publications in Cornish, Breton, Old Welsh, Irish and Gaelic [sic]; studied with O’Donovan; studied Sanskrit; studied comparative philology with Professor Siegfried in Dublin; laid foundations of Gaelic reputation in Calcutta, where Goidelica was issued. JMC selects ‘The Hymn Called the Breastplate of St. Patrick [from Goidelica], and refers to freer version by Mangan; Stokes’s versions begins, ‘I bind myself to-day to a strong virtue, an invocation of the Trinity; I believe in the Threeness with confession of a Oneness in the Creation of the Universe; I bind myself today to the virtue of Christ’s birth with his baptism, / to the virtue of his crucifixion and his burial … &c.’, and continues in two middle sections with ‘[…] In the light of Sun / In the brightness of Snow / In the splendour of fire / In the sped of Lightning, &c., ending ‘Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me! / Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ at my right … Christ in every eye that sees me,/Christ in every ear that hears me! … I believe in a Threeness with confession of a Oneness in the Creator of the Universe!’ ALSO, Extract from the Life of Brigit [from Book of Lismore, 15th c. MS, but possibly as old as tenth century, note here initialled D[ouglas] H[yde]; pp.3245-60]; ‘Lament for King Ivor’ [mid-9th c.]; ‘King Ailill’s Death’ [Early Middle Irish, ‘… and so / King Ailill won the peace of God’]; ‘Man Octipartite’ [Middle Irish, ‘… then sang the sages of the Gael: / Man’s body first was built of earth / To lodge a soul from birth / And earthward home again to go / When Time and Death have spoken so. / Then of the sea his blood was dight / To bound in love and flow in fight / Next, of the sun, to see the skies / His face was framed with shining eyes … Man’s conscience, so that unafraid / His soul through haunts of night and sin / May pass and keep all clear within … .. So sang the sages of the Gael’ End].

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D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912), lists The Passion (Berlin 1862), poem from Cornish, with notes; and Gureanoan-Bys The Creation of the World, by W. S. (London 1864), Cornish mystery in verse; some poems anthologised in Brooke and Rolleston, eds., Treasury of Irish Poetry (1900). NOTE that O’Donoghue ascribes the same obit day and month - viz. 13 April - to both Whitley Stokes (1763-1845 and 1804-1909).

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), cites Three Irish Glossaries (1862); and edns. of Saltair na Rann and Dinnshenchas; also The Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel (1902, Paris: Bouillon; Harvard Classics 1910).

Henry Boylan, Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1988) ascribes the same obit day and month - viz. 13 April - to both Whitley Stokes (1763-1845 and 1804-1909).

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Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS; Cat. 1996) lists Thesaurus palaeohibernicus: a collection of Old-Irish glosses, scholia, prose, and verse, ed. Whitley Stokes and John Strachan (1975; rep. 1987; orig. publ. Cambridge UP 1901–3); 2 vol. [original supplementary volume now included with vol. II]; Vol. I: Biblical glosses and scholia, xxviii + 727 pp.; Vol. II: Non-biblical glosses and scholia, Old-Irish prose, names of persons and places, inscriptions, verse, indexes, with supplement by Whitley Stokes xl + 508 pp.

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Belfast Public Library holds Irish glosses (1860); Life and Labours in Art and Archaeology of George Petrie (1868); On the Calendar of Oengus (1871); Tourist Guide to Lough Derg and River Shannon (1842); The Edinburgh Dinnshenchas [n.d.].

University of Ulster Library, Morris Collection holds Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore (OUP 1890); The Old Irish Glosses at Wuerhzburg and Carlsruhe (1867); Three Irish Glossaries, Cormac’s Gloss., Codex A, O’Davoren’s Gloss., and a Gloss. to the Calendar of Oingus the Culdee (1862); Tripartite Life of Patrick with other documents relating to the saint, 2 vols. (HMSO 1887); The Life and Labours in Art and Archaeology of George Petrie, 2 vols. (Longmans 1868).

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Hyland Catalogue 219 (1995) lists The Tripartite Life of Patrick with Other Documents Relating to … [the] Saint, 2 vols. (1887); trans. and notes, Gwreans an Bys: The Creation of the World, A Cornish Mystery (1st Edn. 1864), 208pp.

Dictionary of National Biography does not list Stokes.

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Notes
Lady Gregory used Anecdotea Oxoniensis: Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore (1890) [var. 1889 supra] as a source of the story of S. Brigit in the Book of Leinster for her A Book of Saints and Wonders (1906) (see A. N. Jeffares, New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats, 1984, p.117).

Samuel Ferguson’s Congal is dedicated to Whitley and Margaret Stokes, with F. W. Burton, ‘three much prized friends’ [undetermined whether this refers to the older or younger Stokes].

Gombeen: The entry on gombeen in The Oxford English Dictionary cites Whitley Stokes: Ir. gaimbín, repr. a deriv. of OCelt. kmbion, whence med. L. cambium, change; usury; chiefly. attrib. as g.-man, a usurer; hence Gombeenism, borrowing or lending money at usury.

Kith & Kin: Professor George T. Stokes (1843-1898), Ireland and the Celtic Church : a history of Ireland from St. Patrick to the English conquest in 1172 [3rd edn.] (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1892) - is referenced by Whitley Stokes in his introduction to The Tripartite life as demonstrating that there is no improbability in St. Patrick coming to shore in Wicklow.

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