CAVANAGH, Maeve Sheaves of Revolt [poems]. Dedicated to the President (Countess de Markiewicz) and the Boys of Na Fianna Eireann [SPECIAL EDITION BY THE POETESS OF THE REVOLUTION]

345.00

1 in stock

Dublin: City Printing Works, 1914. First edition. Small octavo. pp. 46, (2). Special binding in full calf, covers framed by a gilt roll enclosing on the upper cover the title in gilt, white linen endpapers decorated with Shamrocks. Traces of old stain to cover and traces of removed paper to upper cover. A very good copy.
Among the 1916 rebels there were a significant number of women, who were not executed, including some poets. Maeve Cavanagh, who had been a member and secretary for some years of Cumman na mBan, the Gaelic League, and Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army. She was also involved in the cultural and educational activities held in Liberty Hall. Part of Maeve Cavanagh’s aspiration was to make the ordinary working people of Dublin more politically aware. For example, she spent considerable effort trying to dissuade men from joining the British Army in the first world war. In her 1914 poetry collection ‘Sheaves of Revolt’, she describes the brutality and horror of war and its aftermath:
So hurry up and take the ‘bob’
The Butcher cannot wait,
The German guns are talking,
At a most terrific rate.
And if you should crawl back,
Minus arm or minus leg,
You’ll get leave to roam your city
To sell matches – or to beg.
Maeve’s brother Ernest was a cartoon artist whose anti-war work featured in Irish Worker, Fianna and Irish Freedom. Ernest, who worked at the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU), was shot dead by British troops on the steps of Liberty Hall during the Rising. Maeve was much involved in the preparations for the Rising and was well acquainted with James Connolly. Connolly called her “the poetess of the revolution” and published one of her poems in The Workers’ Republic. She also wrote a play about the Rising, “The Test: a play of 1916” and was active in trying to secure a reprieve for Roger Casement. All these, alongside her eye-witness accounts of the uprising, are now held in the National Library of Ireland.

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