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Irish Women'S Writing, 1878-1922Advancing the Cause of Liberty$

Anna Pilz and Whitney Standlee

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097584

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097584.001.0001

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‘Old wine in new bottles’?: Katharine Tynan, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and George Wyndham

‘Old wine in new bottles’?: Katharine Tynan, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and George Wyndham

Chapter:
(p.156) 9 ‘Old wine in new bottles’?: Katharine Tynan, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and George Wyndham
Source:
Irish Women'S Writing, 1878-1922
Author(s):

Kieron Winterson

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097584.003.0010

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers a reading of Katharine Tynan’s work across its full range, with a close mapping of the texts against the political questions of her day. In doing so, it suggests a conception of Irish liberty that remained fundamentally unchanged throughout her literary career. It is a body of writing that, if it is to be understood, must be read in the context of what may be termed the Irish long nineteenth century – a period that began not in 1789 with the French Revolution but in 1782 with ‘Grattan’s’ Parliament’, and which ended with the sequence of events (including the rise of Sinn Féin and its political corollary, the failure of Redmondite Home Rule) that had their genesis in the Easter Rising. And if Tynan’s political views appear to have leant now this way, now that, it may be that they demand to be understood as an expression not only of her own struggle to come to terms with the violent dynamics of Irish history in the period before (partial) independence, but the struggle of the Irish people to do so, too.

Keywords:   Katharine Tynan, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, 1798 Rebellion, George Wyndham, Charles Stewart Parnell, Migration

IN 1895, Katharine Tynan (1859–1931) published a collection of short stories, An Isle in the Water. It included ‘The Story of Father Anthony O’Toole’, in which the reader learns that O’Toole is a French-born descendant of one of the Wild Geese, those who fled Ireland in the wake of Jacobite failure in the Williamite Wars. Having served as a ‘colonel of French Horse’, O’Toole has travelled to the country of his forebears to become clergyman of ‘the Island Chapel’ and ‘Shepherd of his flock for thirty years’–that is, from 1780 (Tynan is quite clear on O’Toole’s chronology) and, thus, during the period of Grattan’s Parliament and the evolution of the United Irish Society.1

Tynan sets the main action of the story in 1798 when, with Wolfe Tone ‘dead in the Provost Marshall’s prison in Dublin and Lord Edward Fitzgerald … dying of his wounds’, O’Toole sees four ‘yeomen’ approaching.2 They are intent on doing away with O’Toole but, dressed now in his ‘magnificent’ old uniform, where the yeomanry had ‘looked to find an infirm old man, stood a French colonel in his battle array’.3 The yeomen are bloodily dispatched by O’Toole, ‘and the troubles of’98 spent themselves without crossing again from the [Irish] mainland’.4

Modern readers of Tynan’s work have not been kind, and it would be difficult to argue that ‘The Story of Father Anthony O’Toole’ is anything other than slight. Whatever its literary merit, though, it is representative of Tynan’s political thought, for in eliding the complex political realities of one of the most turbulent periods in modern Irish history, what is revealed by ‘The Story of Father Anthony O’Toole’ is the ambivalence at the heart of Tynan’s writing and her life. The first half of the 1890s had been of profound political significance, with the death of Charles Stewart Parnell (1891), the failure of the second Home Rule Bill (1893), and William Ewart Gladstone’s retirement from politics (1894). On a personal level, Tynan had married Henry Hinkson in 1893 and moved to England where the (p.157) couple remained until their return to Ireland in 1911.5 ‘The Story of Father Anthony O’Toole’ thus suggests a pivot around which her life and her contribution to Irish cultural and political life might be seen to turn. Moreover, given the enormity of her literary output–more than 100 novels, eighteen poetry collections, innumerable short stories, plays, and several volumes of memoir and autobiography–and the large readership that this implies, this ambivalence is something that might have been experienced by her readership too.6

She was born in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, to Andrew and Elizabeth Tynan, but for all the voluminousness of her autobiographical work, of her mother and of her siblings she says virtually nothing. It is to her father that the reader must look in order to understand something of the social, political, and literary forces that shaped her views. Andrew Tynan was ‘a [tenant] farmer with three hundred acres’ from which he exported cattle (some to the British Army).7 He can thus be understood as a product of the decades following the Famine, a period which had seen a significant shift away from arable to pasture farming and which gave rise to the type of successful farmer-grazier who ‘could achieve near-gentry status’.8 Whether or not Andrew Tynan achieved that kind of status it is impossible to say, but there is no denying his daughter’s awareness of social class as an element in their lives: although she doubted that her father ‘was ever popular with his own class’, she believed that ‘[w]ith the people and with a higher social class he was very much beloved and admired’.9 Regarding his relationship with the ‘people’, Tynan represents her father as a benevolent employer: ‘He gave a great deal of employment’, she says, ‘and his weekly wages bill was high, much higher than the land could repay. He made nothing from it.’10 His benevolence at times tended towards a stern paternalism: ‘The peasants, servants, tramping people, beggars, and the like, had an appreciation of him as he had of them’, she says, an appreciation so keen, evidently, that ‘[t]hey never resented it when he was violent with them.’11 He cuts a patrician figure in her representation, and there is, too, something Arnoldian about her perception of him. Matthew Arnold had written that the Celt was one who ‘out of affection and admiration [gives] himself body and soul to some leader’.12 She concurred with that view: her father, she wrote, ‘had the feeling for rank and title–the pageantry of life which all imaginative people–at least among the Celts, have’.13 It is an inherited mode of thought, one which unwittingly suggests something of the ideological sympathies that would inform her career, even when the surface details of her work seemed most keenly nationalistic.

That complex of thought and representation can be found in her early reading. She had been ‘brought up on the dreadful churchyard stories of the Irish peasant imagination’, although there was also, in the home of her (p.158) youth, ‘a long row, in dull chocolate covers, of Miss Edgeworth’s books’.14 She read Edgeworth’s ‘society’ novel, Belinda, ‘over and over and many other of Belinda’s sort’–and if, as she says, such books gave her mind ‘a distinct bent towards the eighteenth century’, it may be that they also gave her mind a bent towards that preoccupation with the mores of the upper middle classes and the aristocracy which was to be a feature of her own fiction.15 At the same time, her father directed her reading ‘towards poetry–Irish nationalist poetry for the most part … Davis, Duffy’s Spirit of the Nation, D’Arcy Magee and Meagher of the Sword’.16 These several influences are evident in the early years of her writing career. Her first collection of poetry, Louise de la Vallière and Other Poems, appeared in 1885, when no less a figure than Michael Davitt had written to tell her of the ‘extraordinary pleasure’ he had had in informing John O’Leary that the collection’s author was ‘a friend’.17 In fact, Tynan had known Davitt–founder of the Land League in 1879 and the ‘patron saint of Mayo radicalism’–since 1881, when she met him at the inaugural meeting of the Ladies’ Land League, of which she was a member.18

Evidence of her early radical tendencies is more easily seen in her contribution to Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, published in Dublin in 1888, a collection that has been credited with ‘inaugurating the Irish Literary Revival’ and which ‘attempted to suggest an apostolic literary succession between the original “Young Irelanders” and the new generation of “young Ireland”’: this was, arguably, Tynan’s first telling contribution to Irish cultural nationalism.19 The collection was dedicated to John O’Leary, whose involvement in the 1848 rising and membership of the Irish Republican Brotherhood were Fenian credentials of the highest order–and ‘the Fenians were looked upon as stainless heroes of a lost cause’ in the Tynan household.20 According to John Kelly, Tynan was one of the ‘forces behind the anthology’, whose dozen contributors also included Douglas Hyde and W. B. Yeats.21 Of her three poems in the collection, it is ‘The Grave of Michael Dwyer’ that makes the most obvious appeal to nationalist political sentiment. Having surrendered to the British in the wake of the failed uprisings of 1798 and 1803, Dwyer was transported to Australia where he spent the rest of his life. In Tynan’s poem he is the ‘chief’ who ‘never came home again’, who spent his remaining years ‘with his brave heart broken’.22

However, if ‘The Grave of Michael Dwyer’ celebrated the martyrs of those years, it was not in any sense a call to arms: rather, it is a poem that belongs to what Marianne Elliott has called the ‘martyrology’ that began to develop around ‘the memory of the fallen United Irishmen of 1798 and 1803’ and which was thriving in the late 1880s.23 As for O’Leary’s Fenianism, Tynan found it necessary to ‘differentiate between Fenian and Fenian–for the Clan-na-Gael in America, which was a sort of (p.159) off-shoot of Fenianism, had altogether departed from the ways of legitimate Fenianism’.24 In Tynan’s eyes, O’Leary was the epitome of such legitimacy, for she saw him as being ‘almost fanatically high-minded and clean-handed … he would have abhorred murder: and expediency was to him only another name for lying and dishonesty’.25 Indeed, despite having been arrested in 1865 and sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment for his involvement with the Irish Republican Brotherhood newspaper, Irish People, perhaps O’Leary always had been ‘legitimate’: as Lyons notes, although ‘committed’ to Fenianism, ‘it was characteristic of him that he refused to take the secret oath of allegiance. This was symbolic of his whole attitude towards revolution. For him the spirit of independence was the essence of nationalism, not the deeds through which men might seek to make the spirit manifest.’26 If O’Leary represented for some a particular strain of radical politics, he also came to embody what R. F. Foster calls ‘Literary Fenianism’, while Kelly remarks that O’Leary was ‘the acknowledged doyen of the new literary generation’, a generation to which Tynan belonged at the outset of her career.27

Some of the contributions to Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland had appeared in print before 1888.28 The collection’s gestation thus seems to have been protracted, and it is not unreasonable to infer that Tynan’s views in 1888 were not so different from what they had been two years earlier (not forgetting, either, her involvement with the Ladies’ Land League five years earlier still). It is significant, therefore, that during the period in which she espoused radicalism she had written ‘In Time of Expectation’, published in United Ireland on 29 May 1886. The newspaper was the organ of the Land League and of the Irish Party, so that the appearance of ‘In Time of Expectation’ in its pages serves to contextualise Tynan’s sympathies in a nexus of unambiguously nationalist but nonetheless constitutional political thought.

Over the course of twenty quatrains, the poem celebrates the illustrious Irish dead, among whom are included Hugh O’Neill, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Wolfe Tone, and Robert Emmet. It is thus of a piece with ‘The Grave of Michael Dwyer’ and celebrates some of those who had fought for Irish liberty. But it is equally a poem that demands to be understood as a celebration of the Prime Minister, Gladstone. Its subject is a ‘Grey Atlas of the State bearing all that burden brave,/With your years passing three score and ten’–born in 1809, Gladstone was seventy-six years old when Tynan was writing.29 It anticipates ‘your pictured face [looking] from the smoke-grimed wall[s]’ of emigrants’ cabins–a full-page portrait of Gladstone had appeared in United Ireland of 10 April.30 And it eulogises ‘our Moses …/Leading to the lovely land for which our father prayed’–Gladstone had introduced his Home Rule Bill a month (p.160) previously. Although Gladstone is not referred to by name, the circumstantial evidence is clear.

Dwyer, Davitt, Gladstone, O’Leary: they form a complex mixture of the radical, the constitutional, and the literary, a mixture that, on the surface at least, seems to be constituted from irreconcilable opposites. For one thing, after 1883, at a time when Davitt regarded Tynan as a friend, he had begun to make ‘troublesome noises about land nationalisation’ so that the ‘middle-class leadership [of the Irish Party] quickly moved to discredit his ideas’.31 Davitt’s views must have been utterly antithetical to those of a man like Tynan’s father, a strong farmer unlikely to have been won over to nationalisation of the land and a man–according to his daughter–‘more in sympathy with Isaac Butt’s movement [i.e. the Home Government Association] than with anything agrarian’.32 Yet, despite Davitt’s views, both Tynan and her father visited him in Kilmainham Gaol during his imprisonment in 1882, prior to his release in the wake of the Kilmainham Treaty of that year.33

Looking back from the vantage point of 1913, Tynan viewed her youthful nationalism more clearly: ‘The romantic force that did attract one beyond an agitation which had largely a material aspect’, she wrote, ‘was the personality of the leaders.’34 Evidently, Davitt had been one of those leaders: another was Parnell. Tynan’s recording of her Parnellism is short on detail, for her memoirs do not deal in specifics until the years 1890–91. The first of those years had seen the Irish Parliamentary Party split into pro-and anti-Parnellites as a consequence of Parnell’s affair with Kitty O’Shea. In her diary Tynan finds ‘no mention at all of events before December 2’–that is, the week of ‘intense and tortured debate’ that led to the split.35 In fact, she had entertained Parnellite sympathies for nearly a decade prior to this, beginning with Parnell’s release from Kilmainham in 1882: ‘[w]e had all been rejoicing over the Kilmainham treaty’, she records, and the prospect of ‘the good times that were coming’. Those good times were contingent upon the 1881 Land Act and its famous ‘three Fs’ (fair rent, fixity or security of tenure, and free sale of improvements), from which Andrew Tynan, as a tenant, could hardly have failed to benefit.36

According to T. W. Moody, the Kilmainham Treaty was ‘the vital turning point in Parnell’s career’, when he agreed to ‘damp down the land agitation and co-operate with the liberals in restoring order to Ireland’.37 The Tynans had also reached a turning point at that time, having come to feel ‘the uninspiringness of the Land League’:

Had not Mr Parnell said in one of his public speeches that if it was only the land he would never have taken off his coat for this. I imagine a good many people besides my father and myself looked beyond the Land League to that for which Mr Parnell had taken off his coat.38

(p.161) There were many among the generation who grew up in the ‘poisoned atmosphere’ of Irish political life in the decade following Parnell’s death who did not see ‘beyond the Land League’, a generation for whom, as Lyons says, ‘the Parnell of the land war, or the Parnell of the last great struggle, seemed more fundamental, more real than the Parnell of the Liberal alliance or the Kilmainham “treaty”’.39 The generation who were coming to maturity in the 1890s included Thomas MacDonagh and Patrick Pearse, but Tynan’s membership in the Ladies’ Land League and her other forays into a quasi-radical political life notwithstanding, it was the ‘constitutional’ Parnell to whom Katharine and her father looked, even as they visited Davitt in prison.

Nothing of Tynan’s regard for Parnell seems to find its way into her poetry–at any rate, not explicitly. Nevertheless, it is possible to detect a Jacobite symbolism at play in certain of her poems. ‘The Blackbird’, for example, with whose subject no ‘yellow-haired Saxon or Dane might compare’, draws on the blackbird as a Jacobite symbol.40 Likewise, ‘Comfort’ features a blackbird and a nightingale. The poem’s speaker exhorts the blackbird to sleep and not let the song of the nocturnal bird disturb him:

  • Be not troubled, golden-throat,
  •   He is singing, far away
  • In a country dim, remote,
  •   Singing twixt the dark and day.41

But this is no simple poem of nature and sentiment, for five stanzas later the speaker explains why the bird should not be troubled:

  • You’ve a house, and a house-mate,
  •   Feathered daughters and a son;
  • So your duty to the State,
  •   As bird-citizen you have done.

Aware of the powerful symbolism of the blackbird in Irish poetry and song, Tynan appears to say that–the land agitation largely resolved–Ireland is at peace. Yet the poem’s penultimate stanza poses a question:

  • Therefore shall he keep you waking?–
  •   That brown bird of night, afar,
  • Singing songs, divine, heart-rending,
  •   Of a bird’s love for a star.

The closing couplet supplies an answer, but it is an equivocal one, its equivocation emphasised by Tynan’s italics: ‘ Yet my blackbird may grow pale/Just to hear the nightingale’ (original italics). It is, unusually for Tynan, an enigmatic poem, and it is made more so by the fact that Parnell was ‘described (p.162) in popular song as the “blackbird of Avondale”’–something of which Tynan would, presumably, have been aware.42

Be the meaning of ‘Comfort’ what it may, Parnell was dead, and by the time Cuckoo Songs was published, the second Home Rule Bill (1893) had failed. Nevertheless, there is a sense of a continuing Gladstonian Liberal sentiment in Tynan’s writing. Seemingly undaunted after the defeat of the first Home Rule Bill in 1886, Gladstone had travelled from London to Scotland on 15 June of that year when, during the course of a break in the journey at Skipton in Yorkshire, he concurred with an address presented to him in which it was insisted that ‘a policy of repression [in Ireland] is no longer practicable … real union must be sought in a union of hearts of the Irish and English peoples’.43 Later in the year, Lord Dalhousie was reported as saying, apropos the Liberal split over the matter of Home Rule, that those in the party who supported Home Rule were the ‘real’ Unionists because ‘what they wished was to bring about a union of the hearts and wills of the peoples of England and Ireland’.44

Significantly, A Union of Hearts (1901) was to be the title of one of Tynan’s novels. The chief male protagonist, Aylmer Rivers, is a member of parliament and a resident magistrate. Moreover, he is an Englishman who, in his capacity as an RM, administers the law honourably but as an outsider, and, in ‘laying down the law for the benefit of those who know the country better than he will ever know it’, he incurs the antagonism of the local populace.45 Much of the plot is concerned with the tension between Rivers’ plans for ‘new methods of farming’ on the one hand and a latent agrarian unrest on the other.46 Slowly, Rivers demonstrates his inherent decency and overcomes the prejudices that he meets. Meanwhile, the main female protagonist, Aileen Considine, works tirelessly on behalf of the peasantry while regarding Rivers with some prejudice, for he is generally believed to have made his money rather than having inherited it and to have done so through trade as a Bradford wool-stapler.47

There are many twists and turns in the plot, but, eventually, Rivers overcomes all of the obstacles before him. His final challenge is to retain his parliamentary seat at the impending general election. His opponent, Sylvester Blake, tells Considine that all she needs to do in support of Blake’s electoral campaign is ‘look handsome, and wear a green cockade’: the ‘enemy’–that is, Rivers–‘has the red, white, and blue’.48 But over time she has become increasingly aware of Rivers’ fundamental goodness, and her feelings towards him have changed. Moreover, it has been discovered that his money had been made ‘a generation before he was born’, so that now he can be considered fit to take her hand in marriage.49 The romantic rapprochement between the two protagonists–one Irish, one English–is mirrored in an Anglo-Irish political rapprochement, for Rivers’ integrity (p.163) has become increasingly widely known, and his supporters in the election now sport ‘the green with the red, white, and blue of their favours’.50 He retains his seat, and the hope now is for ‘a Parliament in College Green’.51

Thus, the novel’s title and the colour symbolism of its denouement appear to champion the cause of Home Rule. But, by the time of its publication, Tynan’s political sympathies had shifted yet again, for, following the split in the Irish Parliamentary Party and her move to England, Tynan had ‘lost interest’ in Irish politics.52 However, as the century was drawing to a close, her political interests began to revive and change. ‘The Irish, they say, have need for a King’, she would later write: ‘I used to say after Mr. Parnell’s death that I had emptied myself of all the hero-worship I had to give. So it was that after seven years without a hero I sent a volume of verse I had published in 1898 to Mr. Wyndham.’53 There was more to their relationship than a shared interest in poetry, however, for she regarded Wyndham’s ‘great Land Act’ of 1903 as ‘the manumission of the Irish farmers’.54 Moreover, Wyndham was the great-grandson of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, a fact whose significance for Tynan it would be impossible to exaggerate. ‘Even then’, she wrote of the years 1897–98,

I had a feeling for the Wyndhams that there was no one else like them. Perhaps it was that I had a devotion to Lord Edward Fitzgerald to start with; that I had made a cult of him; that I was saturated in all that could be known concerning him; that he was in a sense my dream-hero; that I was writing about him when I was not writing about Mr. Parnell.55

It would be careless, though, to assume that, in the person of Lord Edward, Tynan had made a cult of a violent revolutionary along the lines of Father Anthony O’Toole. Recalling time spent in the Royal Dublin Society library in Leinster House, she remembered musing on the prospect of seeing a ghost, ‘the radiant beloved ghost of Lord Edward himself, perhaps … up a stair, under a ceiling, by walls, stuccoed and gilt in the manner of the Irish Renaissance of the great years before the Rebellion and the Union’.56 It is a carefully placed ghost, one that cannot be subsumed by what Foster calls ‘the great myth of 1798’, for it walks the corridors of Leinster House before the Rebellion and at a time, Tynan elsewhere insists, of ‘great days for Ireland, days of high achievement and higher hopes’.57

The splendours of the late eighteenth century might have gone but now Tynan had a hero not only in George Wyndham but also in his nephews, Hugo Francis (Lord Elcho) and Ivo Alan Charteris–both of them great-great-grandchildren of Lord Edward, both of them killed in action in the Great War. The death of the former, at Katia in the Sinai Desert, was the occasion for ‘The Vision’ in Tynan’s 1918 collection Herb O’Grace. The poem bears the epigraph ‘Katia: Easter Sunday, 1916’, and (p.164) Tynan’s foregrounding of the date cannot but be understood as a tacit juxtaposition with the events that took place in Ireland on the very next day. Although Hugo Francis ‘must fall’, he is not alone at the hour of his death: ‘St. Andrew and St. Patrick ride/Close by his side; St. George is near’.58 He thus meets his death in the company of the patron saints of the Three Kingdoms. Tynan would later eulogise him in Memories (1924), where she was to write that ‘[h]e was one of the great losses not only to those who loved and knew him, but to the world, to England, particularly, of the War’.59 ‘Happily’, she continued, ‘he left his sons to England.’60 It is a bold expression of an ideological position. Her heroic triumvirate of Lord Edward, Parnell, and Wyndham constitutes a political lineage that links the quasi-autonomy of Grattan’s Parliament with Ireland in the early twentieth century, and, through the loss of Wyndham’s nephews as soldiers in the British Army, Lord Edward–thanks to a remarkable sleight of hand–is enlisted by Tynan in the cause of Empire. That complex set of linkages and associations is the stuff of her creative life and of a body of work that, whatever its literary merits, gave expression to a vision of Ireland. Moreover, her work found a wide readership: to fail to take this into account is to overlook the extent to which Tynan gave voice to a significant body of opinion in Ireland and, indeed, England.

Another of Tynan’s poems of the Great War, ‘The Watchers’, has Ireland protected by Irish saints–Saints Patrick, Brigid, Brendan, Kevin, and Colum–but it is not only they, along with ‘men-at-arms in white and gold’ who ‘Glide swiftly by the outer wall’ and see Ireland safe from ‘the evil beast’: beyond Ireland’s shores the war effort demanded more than these five saints for its successful prosecution.61 It needed the ‘Millions of men’ who were ‘coming up from the edge of the world’ in ‘The Call’: the ‘White men, black men, men of the tawny gold’, who came ‘from the ice-floes … from the jungles’.62 Those men were, of course, the men of the Empire (although Tynan does not use that word), and they inform another of her war poems, ‘The Colonists’. The men of this poem owe their allegiance to England, the ‘Queen of every loyalty’, their ‘secret garden rose’, that ‘little garden place’, that ‘Paradise’, ‘Hedged with the sweet-briar of the sea’.63 The men of ‘The Colonists’ are ‘dwellers’mid the ice and snow’, ‘toilers’mid the sultry plain’, who, even if they ‘never knew’ England at first hand are nonetheless ‘of her blood and race’.64

It is a vision of harmony that was echoed on the Home Front as well as the Western Front, as was made clear by John Redmond’s Woodenbridge speech in September 1914, when he offered the Irish Volunteers to the war effort. During his visit to the Western Front in November of the following year, he told the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles that he was sure that ‘their harmony and unity in the great cause in which they were fighting was (p.165) a happy omen of the relationship which would exist between all Ireland after the war’.65 For her part, Tynan would recall her own perception of those events, and the brief optimism they engendered, in Memories. The Irish Volunteers were at first ‘taken as representing … extremists’, she wrote–referring, presumably, to the period following their formation in November 1913.66 But later, she noted, ‘there was a genuine rapprochement. All classes met in the Volunteers and all creeds.’67 Here, she refers to the period between August and September 1914, when Redmond offered the Volunteers first for the defence of Ireland and then for active service in the British Army, and the consequent split in the Volunteer movement. ‘Rapprochement’, ‘all classes’, ‘all creeds’: these words form a key to Tynan’s thought, implying as they do something of her support for the status quo, socially and politically.

Yet if the rapprochement that Tynan wished for was indeed taking place, it was doing so against a background of continuing turbulence. The complex realities of Irish political life exposed inconsistencies in Tynan’s thinking, for in the year before Redmond made his offer, and in the same year that Wyndham died, James Larkin had taken up the cause of agricultural labourers in Co. Dublin: now unionised, at harvest-time ‘they were able to hold the farmers to ransom’.68 If the immediate consequence was simply that ‘farmers and their wives and daughters … had to turn out to fodder and bed the horses and cattle and milk the cows’, the longer-term consequence was more profound: strong farmers–the class from which Tynan herself had come–‘were as grieved and angry as the families of the good landlords when their social order came tumbling about their heads. It was the beginning of the revolution.’69

Irish farmers might have been manumitted, thanks to Wyndham, but other potential changes in Irish social relationships were not so easily accommodated. Concerned for her own class though she may have been, Tynan was nevertheless aware of the appalling conditions in which the Dublin poor lived–‘They cry to Heaven for vengeance’–and she came to see the Dublin Lockout of 1913 as the ‘genesis of the Easter Week, 1916, Rebellion’.70 Connolly, she thought, had had no choice but to resort to ‘something violent’ in order ‘to win justice for the people, to draw attention to their evil case, to frighten good comfortable folk’.71 The Rising was ‘a counsel of despair’.72

Neither had she been unaware of the material condition of the rural poor, some of them her father’s labourers. She knew about their living conditions well enough to describe them in detail: the puddles on the clay floor of their leaking cottage, the acrid smoke of the fire where they burnt ‘green sticks’, the family of nine sleeping in one room. Of some things, however, she confessed her ignorance: ‘I don’t know what they lived on’, she said, (p.166) but supposed that it was ‘White bread and tea and potatoes and American bacon, with an occasional dole from the house’ (that is, her father’s house). Despite that, she was confident that they ‘never thought of hardship, or that they might have been better treated’.73

They had conducted the revolution differently in France, Tynan observed, ‘where the aristocrats went in tumbrils to the guillotine’: in England ‘after the war, it was only that Mr Selfridge went to Landsdowne House’.74 Before the war, and in 1916, things had been different. It had been ‘ill-paid schoolteachers’ who had ‘largely kept alive’ Irish disaffection towards England, and the Rising ‘had a good many of the ill-paid civil servants in its ranks’, but now the ancien régime was being brought low by commerce.75 In England, she complained, the days of ‘supplicating tradesmen, hat in hand’, competing for the custom of their social superiors, had been superseded by ‘paying on the nail and carrying home your own purchases’.76 She recalled her early experience of ‘post-war manners’, when the ‘indifference, the almost contempt of those who served, were appalling to one accustomed to shopping as a gay and ever-fresh adventure, as it is in Ireland’.77 The manners of Irish shop assistants were better than those of their English counterparts, but in the years following the Great War–specifically, during the Anglo-Irish War–in their out-of-hours activities those ‘softly spoken and anxiously polite shop-assistants who served you yesterday’ had acquired a ‘strange new ruthlessness’, something that had been ‘missing from the old Irish warfare’.78 The ill-paid teachers and civil servants of the Rising had been upstaged by tradespeople and–in the personage of Mr Selfridge–shopkeepers.

Perhaps by the time of the War of Independence, Tynan, now in her sixtieth year, had become weary of the still-unresolved turbulence in Irish political life. Her engagement with political change had seen her allegiance given first to the Ladies’ Land League, Davitt, and O’Leary; then to Gladstone and Parnell; then to Wyndham. Yet still, in 1920, there had been a recurrence of agrarianism in the West. She observed in The Wandering Years, the final instalment of her autobiographical writings, that the Sinn Féin courts had ‘killed’ the outbreak: ‘[t]he ruthlessness of Sinn Féin in its police-work is all to the good’.79 It is difficult to take at face value this apparent support for such ruthlessness: in her early years she had distinguished between legitimate and illegitimate Fenianism in favour of the former, and there is nothing in her work produced in the intervening period to suggest anything remotely other than a constitutional nationalism in support of Home Rule.

A poem published in September 1920 but not included in any of her late collections of verse sheds some light on the position Tynan had reached vis-à-vis Irish liberty. ‘The Prisoner’ was published in the Jesuit-run (p.167) quarterly, Studies.80 The prisoner of the title is visited in his prison yard by the vision of his ‘dear Black Rose’: her ‘beauty and glamour blind his wondering eyes,/For whom so many men made sacrifice/Flinging their lives down with a jest and song’.81 She is the means by which he is able to transcend his circumstances: ‘What matter for the gyves upon his hands!’–and she ‘understands’.82 Moreover, ‘she is worth it all, his Lady who knows/There is no beauty like to hers, Dark Rose’.83 Is this a gesture of support for those Volunteers who had been imprisoned after the Rising or during the ongoing War of Independence? In the same edition of Studies appeared an article by P. J. Gannon, SJ, on ‘The Ethical Aspect of the Hunger Strike’ which considered the morality of the action of Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork City and a member of the Volunteers, then on hunger strike in Brixton prison.84 The problem, Father Gannon explained, was whether or not the hunger strike violated ‘the divine precept of self-preservation, that is to say, whether it invokes the guilt of suicide’.85 His conclusion was predicated on a distinction between political and divine law: ‘on what grounds’, he asked rhetorically, ‘should any moral obloquy attach to the hunger protest of Irish political prisoners?’86

There is no evidence to suggest that Tynan was writing about MacSwiney or any of the hunger-strikers in prison in Cork, nor that she was addressing the ethical problems of the hunger strike: ‘The Prisoner’ is not a theological or political enquiry. Nevertheless, the publication of ‘The Prisoner’ in the same edition of Studies as Father Gannon’s Jesuitical essay points to the nuanced position of Tynan’s poem. It is a nationalist poem, one that invokes Ireland’s ‘fields of honey-grass’, the ‘silver’ rain and ‘grey mist’, and the cattle that feed ‘knee-deep in grass’, and whose ‘liquid eyes give praise’.87 It is also a poem about a man who has been imprisoned for Ireland’s sake. However, despite its invocation of the Black Rose, it does not follow Joseph Plunkett’s apocalyptic ‘The Little Black Rose Shall Be Red At Last’, with its ‘trumpets and the noise of battle’, but instead echoes Aubrey de Vere’s ‘The Little Black Rose’:

  • The Silk of the Kine shall rest at last;
  •   What drove her forth but the dragon-fly?
  • In the golden vale she shall feed full fast,
  •   With her mild gold horn and her slow dark eye.88

Like de Vere’s, Tynan’s poem is a kind of pastoral nationalism, one that eschews direct political comment. In Lord Edward: A Study in Romance, published in 1916, Tynan had made clear her sympathy with the frustrations of certain among her fellow nationalists. There, she quotes from a letter written in 1797 by one Lady Sarah Napier to Lady Sophia Fitzgerald (Lord Edward’s sister): ‘I really do think that to try to promote our shaking (p.168) off the yoke of England by means of the French at this moment of danger, is cruel to poor Ireland … for it is egging on the poor deluded people to dash into certain misery and destruction.’89 Just as Tynan’s rhetorical question, ‘Was not the old wine [of the 1790s] in new bottles in the Dublin rising of 1916?’, avoids passing judgement on her revolutionary contemporaries, so ‘The Prisoner’ makes no judgement.90 Although the man in prison is not legally innocent (the poem does not claim that he has been wrongly convicted), neither is he morally guilty (there is no criticism of him for whatever it is that he has been convicted of): instead, like the Black Rose herself, the poem simply ‘understands’.

The equilibrium of ‘The Prisoner’ would not easily be maintained, and, over the next two years, Tynan’s mood changed with the changing state of Ireland. By the time of her near-completion of The Wandering Years it must have seemed to her as if a resolution to Ireland’s difficulties had been achieved, albeit not the Home Rule that she favoured: ‘On the happy days of the Truce I end my tale’, she wrote at the beginning of what had been intended as the final paragraph.91 Those words were written towards the end of 1921, in the wake of July’s truce between the Irish Republican Army and the British Army. In May 1922, six months after the book was finished–but, evidently, before it went to the press–she added an Afterword: Ireland, she said, was ‘more than ever in the melting-pot, and what is to emerge from it God only knows’.92 By April, the anti-Treaty forces had occupied the Four Courts; in June, the Civil War began.

End dates might be convenient for literary scholars and for historians, but for the lived experience of individuals, as for nations, they are not necessarily neat resolutions. Tynan was sixty-six years old in 1927, the year that saw the publication of her final collection of poetry, Twilight Songs. Its mood is in equal measure elegiac and bitter, personal and political. ‘Ireland Long Ago’ is a lament for the past; the title is also a refrain, occurring no fewer than twelve times in the poem’s thirty-two lines. It celebrates the land, as many of Tynan’s earlier poems had done–its mists and streams, flowers and birds, its mountains and its ‘emerald plain’–but it is no longer the land of agrarianism, Land Acts, the blackbird of Avondale, or the Dark Rose. It is not a political or even a geographical place. It is, rather, a prelapsarian land of childhood. The poet longs ‘to be a child again beside my father’s knees,/And coming home of evening to his fond smile and his kiss,/In darling Ireland long ago’.93 Similarly, ‘The Unemployed’ is a dialogue between past and present:

  • The dead men to the living call:
  •   Brothers of old, how goes the day?
  • Is there ripe fruit on the Southern wall
  •   Rich with our blood that rot in clay?94

(p.169) Whoever these ‘dead men’ were and whenever it was they died, they have been spared the knowledge won by the ‘Victors’, the unemployed who ‘stand in the market place’, where ‘no man gives them wine or bread’: ‘Would that we too had won that race/And earned the clay-cold rest! they said’:

  • But to the dead, who lie alone,
  •   They answered; it is well; go sleep,
  • Never to know what we have known;
  •   With dreams to keep; with dreams to keep!95

What was it that those ironically titled ‘Victors’ had won and what terrible knowledge had they acquired in achieving their victory? If Tynan had specific historical detail in mind when she wrote the poem, she chose not to include it; it is enough that the dead can cling to their dreams.

For the living, dreams had been superseded by bitter knowledge. ‘The Fifes and Drums’ evokes the ‘Days when we dreamt great dreams’, the early days of the Great War, when the public schools and the universities provided the men who would save Ireland, England, and Empire:

  • Sudden in the grey day
  •   Feet of the marching men,
  • Music gallant and gay,
  •   Bring the great days again.96

For as long as the men march past, ‘The old dream’, ‘The old glamour’ can reawaken ‘joy’ and ‘hope’.97 Yet as the marching men pass by and the music fades away, so ‘Hope and faith are as lies’.98 The final stanza is Yeatsian in its cadences and its elegiac yet almost disinterested final judgement:

  • Never, never again great dreams
  •   Shall we dream as of old,
  • Let be! The dreams were in vain,
  •   The days drenched and a-cold.99

It is the final response of one for whom the past is dead and for whom there is no future.

A period of nearly forty-five years had elapsed between the publication of Louise de la Vallière and the appearance of Twilight Songs. Was Tynan, as Foster insists, a ‘high-class hack’, guilty of ‘over-productive drudgery’?100 Was it the case, as Ann Connerton Fallon suggests, that ‘throughout her life’, she was ‘unsophisticated and emotional’ in her political views?101 Certainly she was to look back at her early years in a spirit of reappraisal: joining the Ladies’ Land League, she was to say, made a ‘great change’ to what had hitherto been a dull life, but, although she describes herself as having been taken up with ‘active politics’, she nevertheless ‘had not the cause very much to heart’ and was ‘a most unserious member’.102 If a lack of (p.170) enthusiasm characterises her involvement with the League, mere fickleness seems to have informed her later forays into the political world: ‘I was so busy about [decorating] my room that I think the Home Rule Bill of 1886 must have passed by me without affecting me much.’103 Perhaps Foster’s and Fallon’s views each contain some truth, and one might indeed understand some of her earlier work as expressing the as-yet-unformed, unfixed views of a developing mind.

However, neither value judgements such as those offered by Foster and Fallon nor the suggestion that in her earlier years her political thinking was as yet only partially formed quite do justice to a life and work that embraced so much. The period between the first Home Rule Bill and the Anglo-Irish and Civil Wars, which saw the evolution of physical-force unionism and nationalism, was a time of such drastic transition that it is hard to imagine any individual maintaining an unchanging, unequivocal belief in what the prospect of Irish liberty should entail. Indeed, the post-Civil War reality of a divided Ireland would hardly have been foreseeable. Instead of viewing Tynan’s career through the prism of value judgement or accusations of political dilettantism it is more productive of a reasoned understanding of her work if it is seen as it evolved: namely, as a continuing and changing response to what were the continually, and unpredictably, altering circumstances of Irish political life. If, in the final analysis, Tynan does not always seem to have known exactly what kind of Irish liberty she was striving for, nor from whom it was to be won, that in itself is indicative of her times. Moreover, the popularity of her innumerable novels, poetry collections, short story collections, and the rest suggests that her readership to some degree shared her equivocations and uncertainties. Whatever the value of her contribution to Irish literary culture, her oeuvre is of significance for what it implies about the political tenor of Ireland at the most formative period in the country’s recent history.

Notes

(1) Katharine Tynan, An Isle in the Water (London: A. & C. Black, 1895), pp. 12–27.

(2) In fact, Tynan’s chronology is wrong: Lord Edward died in June 1798, Tone in November of the same year. See Thomas Pakenham, The Year of Liberty (London: Orion Books Limited, 1992), pp. 235, 346.

(3) Tynan, An Isle in the Water, pp. 16, 23.

(4) Tynan, An Isle in the Water, pp. 19, 21, 23, 26.

(5) She generally wrote under the name ‘Katharine Tynan’, except for her journalistic and religious works, which were published under the name ‘Katharine Tynan Hinkson’. I would like to thank Whitney Standlee for reminding me of this.

(6) For Tynan’s output, see Ann Owens Weekes, Unveiling Treasures: The Attic Guide to the Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers (Dublin: Attic Press, 1993), p. 347.

(p.171) (7) Douglas Hyde, quoted in Ann Connerton Fallon, Katharine Tynan (Boston, Mass.: Twayne Publishers, 1979), p. 25. For a brief account of Andrew Tynan’s exports, see Fallon, Katharine Tynan, p. 20.

(8) R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600–1972 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989), pp. 378–9.

(9) Katharine Tynan, Twenty-Five Years: Reminiscences (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1913), p. 16.

(10) Katharine Tynan, The Years of the Shadow (London: Constable, 1919), p. 7.

(11) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 16.

(12) Matthew Arnold, Poetry and Prose (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1954), p. 474.

(13) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 14.

(14) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, pp. 24, 41.

(15) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 41.

(16) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 41.

(17) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 150. Tynan does not give the letter’s date.

(18) Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 404.

(19) John Kelly (ed.), Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland (Otley: Woodstock Books, 2000). There are no page numbers in the Introduction. Kelly suggests that claims for Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland inaugurating the Revival are ‘over-enthusiastic’ but ‘not absurd’. The volume was originally published in Ireland, rather than England.

(20) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 40.

(21) Kelly, Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, n. p. Hyde’s contributions appeared under the pen name An Chraoibhin Aoibhinn (more usually spelt An Craoibhín Aoibhinn), the ‘pleasant little branch’.

(22) Kelly, Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, pp. 9–10.

(23) Marianne Elliott, Robert Emmet: The Making of a Legend (London: Profile, 2003), p. 104.

(24) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 131.

(25) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 131.

(26) F. S. L. Lyons, Ireland Since the Famine (London: Fontana, 1973), p. 129.

(27) Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 393; ‘Introduction’, Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, n. p.

(28) For example, Douglas Hyde’s ‘Marching Song of the Gaelic Athletes’ had been published in the Gael in October 1887.

(29) Quotations from the poem in this paragraph are taken from the fourteenth, nineteenth, and fourth stanzas, respectively.

(30) Katharine Tynan, ‘In Time of Expectation’, United Ireland (29 May 1886), pp. 5–6.

(31) Alan O’Day, Irish Home Rule, 1867–1921 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 86.

(32) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, pp. 72–3.

(33) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, pp. 71–2, 99.

(34) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 72.

(35) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 324.

(36) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 91.

(37) T. W. Moody, Leaders and Workers (Cork: Mercier Press, 1978), p. 50.

(38) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 81.

(39) Lyons, Ireland Since the Famine, p. 201.

(40) Katharine Tynan, Ballads and Lyrics (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1891). ‘ “The Blackbird” is a Jacobite song’, Padraic Colum says in his introduction to ‘Broad Sheet Ballads’ Being a Collection of Irish Popular Songs with an Introduction by Padraic Colum (Dublin and London: Maunsel & Co. n.d. [stamped 1 January 1914 by the British Library]), n.p.

(41) Katharine Tynan, Cuckoo Songs (London: Elkin Matthews, 1894), pp. 96–7.

(42) Michael Davitt, Jottings in Solitary, ed. Carla King (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2003), p. xxvii. Avondale was the name of Parnell’s estate in Co. Wicklow.

(43) The Times (18 June 1886), p. 10.

(44) The Times (29 September 1886), p. 6. Lord Dalhousie, Sir John William Ramsay, was Liberal MP for Liverpool in 1880 and Secretary for Scotland. The quotation is from a speech made at Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

(45) Katharine Tynan, A Union of Hearts (London: James Nisbett & Co., 1901), p. 46.

(p.172) (46) Tynan, A Union of Hearts, p. 272.

(47) Tynan, A Union of Hearts, p. 2.

(48) Tynan, A Union of Hearts, p. 132.

(49) Tynan, A Union of Hearts, p. 84.

(50) Tynan, A Union of Hearts, p. 277.

(51) Tynan, A Union of Hearts, p. 276.

(52) Katharine Tynan, Memories (London: Eveleigh Nash and Grayson, 1924), p. 66.

(53) Katharine Tynan, The Middle Years (London: Constable & Co., 1916), p. 226.

(54) Tynan, The Middle Years, p. 235.

(55) Tynan, The Middle Years, p. 184.

(56) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, pp. 84–5.

(57) R. F. Foster, ‘Ascendancy and Union’, in R. F. Foster (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland (London: Guild Publishing, 1989), pp. 161–212, at p. 183. Katharine Tynan, Katharine Tynan’s Book of Irish History (Dublin and Belfast: The Educational Company of Ireland Limited, n.d. [stamped 25 November 1918 by the British Museum), pp. 153–4. The book’s internal evidence shows that it was written during the First World War.

(58) Tynan, Katharine Tynan’s Book of Irish History, p. 61.

(59) Tynan, Memories, p. 231.

(60) Tynan, Memories, p. 232.

(61) Katharine Tynan, Flower of Youth (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1915), p. 19.

(62) Tynan, Flower of Youth, pp. 12–13.

(63) Katharine Tynan, The Holy War (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1916), pp. 37–8. To those of her readers who knew their Shakespeare, the correspondences with John of Gaunt’s panegyric in Richard the Second (Act II, Scene 1, line 42 ff.).

(64) Tynan, The Holy War, pp. 37–8.

(65) Quoted in Timothy Bowman, The Irish Regiments in the Great War: Discipline and Morale (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), p. 25.

(66) Tynan, Memories, p. 70.

(67) Tynan, Memories, p. 72.

(68) Lyons, Ireland Since the Famine, p. 282.

(69) Tynan, The Years of the Shadow, p. 8. Italics in original.

(70) Tynan, The Years of the Shadow, p. 74.

(71) Tynan, The Years of the Shadow, pp. 78–9.

(72) Tynan, The Years of the Shadow, p. 78.

(73) Tynan, The Years of the Shadow, p. 7.

(74) Katharine Tynan, The Wandering Years (London: Constable, 1922), p. 333. The allusion is to Harry Gordon Selfridge (1858–1947), who had opened London’s first branch of Selfridges in 1909. He lived at Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square, from 1921 to 1929.

(75) Tynan, The Wandering Years, p. 34.

(76) Tynan, The Wandering Years, p. 88.

(77) Tynan, The Wandering Years, p. 88.

(78) Tynan, The Wandering Years, p. 198.

(79) Tynan, The Wandering Years, pp. 206–7. In fact, Memories, published in 1924, post-dates The Wandering Years. However, unlike her four volumes of autobiography, which deal with her life and times in chronological order, Memories ranges freely, its topics including the South African war, the Ladies’ Land League, and Parnell. It is not, therefore, a contemporary record of her response to events as they unfolded in the same way as the other four volumes.

(80) Katharine Tynan, ‘The Prisoner’, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 9:35 (1920), 413.

(81) Tynan, ‘The Prisoner’.

(82) Tynan, ‘The Prisoner’.

(83) Tynan, ‘The Prisoner’.

(84) P. J. Gannon, ‘The Ethical Aspect of the Hunger Strike’, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 9:35 (1920), 448–56.

(p.173) (85) Gannon, ‘The Ethical Aspect of the Hunger Strike’, p. 449.

(86) Gannon, ‘The Ethical Aspect of the Hunger Strike’, p. 449.

(87) Tynan, ‘The Prisoner’.

(88) Joseph Plunkett, ‘The Little Black Rose Shall Be Red At Last’, in Desmond Ryan (ed.), The 1916 Poets (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1995), p. 160; Aubrey de Vere, ‘The Little Black Rose’, in W. B. Yeats (ed.), A Book of Irish Verse (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 78–9.

(89) Katharine Tynan, Lord Edward: A Study in Romance (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1916), p. 218.

(90) Tynan, Lord Edward, p. 243.

(91) Tynan, The Wandering Years, p. 386.

(92) Tynan, The Wandering Years, p. 387.

(93) Katharine Tynan, Twilight Songs (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1927), p. 23.

(94) Tynan, Twilight Songs, p. 41.

(95) Tynan, Twilight Songs, p. 41.

(96) Tynan, Twilight Songs, p. 42.

(97) Tynan, Twilight Songs, p. 42.

(98) Tynan, Twilight Songs, p. 42.

(99) Tynan, Twilight Songs, pp. 42–3.

(100) R. F. Foster, W. B. Yeats: A Life, vol. I: The Apprentice Mage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 72.

(101) Fallon, Katharine Tynan, p. 102.

(102) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, pp. 75, 71, 99.

(103) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 183.

Notes:

(1) Katharine Tynan, An Isle in the Water (London: A. & C. Black, 1895), pp. 12–27.

(2) In fact, Tynan’s chronology is wrong: Lord Edward died in June 1798, Tone in November of the same year. See Thomas Pakenham, The Year of Liberty (London: Orion Books Limited, 1992), pp. 235, 346.

(5) She generally wrote under the name ‘Katharine Tynan’, except for her journalistic and religious works, which were published under the name ‘Katharine Tynan Hinkson’. I would like to thank Whitney Standlee for reminding me of this.

(6) For Tynan’s output, see Ann Owens Weekes, Unveiling Treasures: The Attic Guide to the Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers (Dublin: Attic Press, 1993), p. 347.

(p.171) (7) Douglas Hyde, quoted in Ann Connerton Fallon, Katharine Tynan (Boston, Mass.: Twayne Publishers, 1979), p. 25. For a brief account of Andrew Tynan’s exports, see Fallon, Katharine Tynan, p. 20.

(8) R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600–1972 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989), pp. 378–9.

(9) Katharine Tynan, Twenty-Five Years: Reminiscences (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1913), p. 16.

(10) Katharine Tynan, The Years of the Shadow (London: Constable, 1919), p. 7.

(12) Matthew Arnold, Poetry and Prose (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1954), p. 474.

(17) Tynan, Twenty-Five Years, p. 150. Tynan does not give the letter’s date.

(19) John Kelly (ed.), Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland (Otley: Woodstock Books, 2000). There are no page numbers in the Introduction. Kelly suggests that claims for Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland inaugurating the Revival are ‘over-enthusiastic’ but ‘not absurd’. The volume was originally published in Ireland, rather than England.

(21) Kelly, Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, n. p. Hyde’s contributions appeared under the pen name An Chraoibhin Aoibhinn (more usually spelt An Craoibhín Aoibhinn), the ‘pleasant little branch’.

(23) Marianne Elliott, Robert Emmet: The Making of a Legend (London: Profile, 2003), p. 104.

(26) F. S. L. Lyons, Ireland Since the Famine (London: Fontana, 1973), p. 129.

(28) For example, Douglas Hyde’s ‘Marching Song of the Gaelic Athletes’ had been published in the Gael in October 1887.

(29) Quotations from the poem in this paragraph are taken from the fourteenth, nineteenth, and fourth stanzas, respectively.

(30) Katharine Tynan, ‘In Time of Expectation’, United Ireland (29 May 1886), pp. 5–6.

(31) Alan O’Day, Irish Home Rule, 1867–1921 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 86.

(37) T. W. Moody, Leaders and Workers (Cork: Mercier Press, 1978), p. 50.

(40) Katharine Tynan, Ballads and Lyrics (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1891). ‘ “The Blackbird” is a Jacobite song’, Padraic Colum says in his introduction to ‘Broad Sheet Ballads’ Being a Collection of Irish Popular Songs with an Introduction by Padraic Colum (Dublin and London: Maunsel & Co. n.d. [stamped 1 January 1914 by the British Library]), n.p.

(41) Katharine Tynan, Cuckoo Songs (London: Elkin Matthews, 1894), pp. 96–7.

(42) Michael Davitt, Jottings in Solitary, ed. Carla King (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2003), p. xxvii. Avondale was the name of Parnell’s estate in Co. Wicklow.

(43) The Times (18 June 1886), p. 10.

(44) The Times (29 September 1886), p. 6. Lord Dalhousie, Sir John William Ramsay, was Liberal MP for Liverpool in 1880 and Secretary for Scotland. The quotation is from a speech made at Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

(45) Katharine Tynan, A Union of Hearts (London: James Nisbett & Co., 1901), p. 46.

(52) Katharine Tynan, Memories (London: Eveleigh Nash and Grayson, 1924), p. 66.

(53) Katharine Tynan, The Middle Years (London: Constable & Co., 1916), p. 226.

(57) R. F. Foster, ‘Ascendancy and Union’, in R. F. Foster (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland (London: Guild Publishing, 1989), pp. 161–212, at p. 183. Katharine Tynan, Katharine Tynan’s Book of Irish History (Dublin and Belfast: The Educational Company of Ireland Limited, n.d. [stamped 25 November 1918 by the British Museum), pp. 153–4. The book’s internal evidence shows that it was written during the First World War.

(61) Katharine Tynan, Flower of Youth (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1915), p. 19.

(63) Katharine Tynan, The Holy War (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1916), pp. 37–8. To those of her readers who knew their Shakespeare, the correspondences with John of Gaunt’s panegyric in Richard the Second (Act II, Scene 1, line 42 ff.).

(65) Quoted in Timothy Bowman, The Irish Regiments in the Great War: Discipline and Morale (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), p. 25.

(74) Katharine Tynan, The Wandering Years (London: Constable, 1922), p. 333. The allusion is to Harry Gordon Selfridge (1858–1947), who had opened London’s first branch of Selfridges in 1909. He lived at Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square, from 1921 to 1929.

(79) Tynan, The Wandering Years, pp. 206–7. In fact, Memories, published in 1924, post-dates The Wandering Years. However, unlike her four volumes of autobiography, which deal with her life and times in chronological order, Memories ranges freely, its topics including the South African war, the Ladies’ Land League, and Parnell. It is not, therefore, a contemporary record of her response to events as they unfolded in the same way as the other four volumes.

(80) Katharine Tynan, ‘The Prisoner’, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 9:35 (1920), 413.

(84) P. J. Gannon, ‘The Ethical Aspect of the Hunger Strike’, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 9:35 (1920), 448–56.

(88) Joseph Plunkett, ‘The Little Black Rose Shall Be Red At Last’, in Desmond Ryan (ed.), The 1916 Poets (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1995), p. 160; Aubrey de Vere, ‘The Little Black Rose’, in W. B. Yeats (ed.), A Book of Irish Verse (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 78–9.

(89) Katharine Tynan, Lord Edward: A Study in Romance (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1916), p. 218.

(93) Katharine Tynan, Twilight Songs (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1927), p. 23.

(100) R. F. Foster, W. B. Yeats: A Life, vol. I: The Apprentice Mage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 72.