PARNELL, Dr. Thomas. Poems on Several Occasions. Written by Dr. Thomas Parnell, late Arch-Deacon of Clogher: and Publish’d by Mr. Pope. With The Life of Zoilus: And his Remarks on Homer’s Battle of the Frogs and Mice. A new edition. To which is prefixed, the life of Dr. Parnell, written by Dr. Goldsmith.


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London: Printed for T. Davies, in Russel Street, Covent-Garden, 1770. Octavo. pp. [iv], xxxv, [1], 160, 159-238, 241-242 [2 (leaves of plates). Contemporary full calf, title in gilt on red morocco label on gilt decorated spine. Signature of Richard Dickson, T.C.D. on front pastedown. Paper repair to three leaves. All edges green. A very good copy.
ESTC t130081. “Battle of the Frogs and Mice” is not in fact by Homer.
Thomas Parnell (1679-1717), cleric and poet, was born in Dublin and educated Trinity College. Ordained deacon 1700 and in 1705/06 was appointed Archdeacon of Clogher. In 1712 Parnell’s wife died and he is said to have given way to intemperance. He was to find Jonathan Swift, who was at this time a trusted adviser to the ruling Tory government, helpful in getting him the entrée to literary circles, resulting in his contributing verse to Addison’s Spectator as well as to Steele’s Guardian.
Swift procured him the living of Finglas in 1716. He was not to enjoy this plum appointment for long. In July 1718 he took ill at Chester on his way to Ireland and died there aged thirty eight. He is buried in Trinity church, Chester.
Parnell is the great survivor among the Irish poets of the eighteenth century. The literary company he kept during a short life had a spin-off effect in keeping his memory green throughout that century, with a short biography by Goldsmith, inclusion in Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, and the highly prestigious folio edition of his collected works in Glasgow in 1786. In modern times the Cuala Press, Dublin, published a selection of his verse in the 1920s, and the final accolade was Rawson and Lock’s edition of his Collected Poems (1989), where he is accorded the full American treatment. He was a very heavy drinker, especially after his wife’s early death, and drinking undermined his health. He died in Chester in 1718 on his way home to Ireland. His wife and two sons having died, his Laois estate passed to his brother John, a judge and MP in the Irish House of Commons, and the ancestor of Charles Stewart Parnell.
Provenance: From the Library of Rev Richard Dickson (1777-1867). Born in Limerick, son of Samuel Dickson and Mary Norris., he was educated by Mr Carey and entered Trinity College Dublin in 1792, aged 15. Scholar 1795, B.A. 1797, 1803. In 1806 he married Anne Chatterton daughter of Sir James Chatterton of Castlemahon, in Christchurch, Cork. He was Rector of Kilkeedy in the Diocese of Limerick.


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