GALLWEY, Thomas. The Geraldine’s Bride. A metrical tale. With an introduction and historical notes, etc. by Thomas Gallwey. Photograph frontispiece of Desmond’s Castle.
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Dublin: Hodges Foster, 1871. First and only edition. Post octavo. pp. 118. Green cloth, titled in gilt, tower in gilt on upper cover with the legend ‘Shanait Abu’. Newspaper clippings on front pastedown, previous owner’s signature on endpapers. Ticket of Cavenaugh Bookbinder on lower cover. All edges gilt. A near fine copy. Extremely rare.
COPAC locates the BL copy only.
It is related in the histories of the Desmond branch of the great Geraldine family that about the year 1410, Thomas, the sixth Earl of Desmond, was deprived of his title and estates and driven into exile in consequence of his marriage with the lovely Catherine M’Cormac, a daughter of a petty chieftain, one of the dependents on M’Carthy Mor, and that his uncle, Sir James of Desmond, succeeded to his lands and dignities. On this narrative Thomas Moore has founded the beautiful Irish melody, commencing: “By the Feal’s wave benighted, Not a star in the skies, To thy door by love lighted, I first saw those eyes.”
There is reason to suppose that the exiled Earl was a personage of great mental and bodily endowments, who by his sympathy with the native race and attention to the duties of his high position, won the affections of the Irish, roused the envy of his Norman compeers, and excited the jealousy of the distant English monarch. The Statute of Kilkenny, passed in the year 1367, made it treason for a Norman to ally himself in marriage with one of the mere Irish, and Sir James of Desmond, an intriguing and ambitious man, taking advantage of this provision and the hostility of the Norman nobility and of the Crown, supplanted his nephew and caused his banishment to France, where he was rumoured to have died about the year 1420. It should be added that Catherine M Cormac, the companion of his exile, was by her grace of form and mind, and uncommon loveliness, worthy of the passion she inspired and the sacrifice it entailed. It is impossible to read, under the shadow of the Kerry mountains, the annals of Ireland during the 400 years succeeding the advent of the Normans in 1172, without being impressed with the air of wild romance which pervades them as a whole. The picture presented is that of a country parcelled out into innumerable principalities, ruled by chiefs, among whom figured the Norman Barons, whose principal if not sole serious occupation was war. No central authority efficiently controls the petty rulers; the time is occupied in fighting and raiding; castles are built and fortified in all directions; monasteries are founded, and as often plundered and burnt to the ground, acts of the loftiest heroism ... Introduction.
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