1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Dermody

Peter L. Courtier, in Lyre of Love (1806) 2:140-41.



The fate of Dermody exhibits another melancholy proof of the miseries to which men of poetical talent are inevitably consigned, if, as not unfrequently happens, they have unfortunately to contend with the disadvantages of obscurity, and the pressure of penury.

Deeper than gothic glooms o'er Britain hang,
Where toiling Science wails her ravish'd meed;
And, wounded deep with many a secret pang,
The agonizing Muse is doom'd to bleed!
MAURICE.

Thomas Dermody was born at the village of Ennis, county of Clare, Ireland, in the year 1774. Impelled, by an ardour natural to genius, to emerge into notice, he quitted the place of his nativity, and, moneyless and friendless, endeavoured to find in Dublin the consideration that he felt it impossible to acquire among the villagers of Ennis. To the humanity of a Dublin-bookseller, by whom he was admitted into his shop, Dermody owed the situation in which he first attracted the attention of persons of taste, and, eventually, the protection of the late Countess of Moira; who generously placed him under the tuition of the Rev. Hugh Boyd, where his literary proficiency appeared amply to compensate the benevolence of patronage. This reputation was unequivocally established by the publication of a volume of Poems, before the completion of his fifteenth year.

Here terminates the bright career of poor Dermody! Elated by prematurity of success, and unsuspicious of the vicissitudes from which no situation is wholly exempted, he shortly after abandoned himself to a degree of thoughtlessness and dissipation, that in succession alienated the regard of his principal friends, and too fatally verified the predictions of the envious and the splenetic. He closed a short and chequered existence, on the 15th of July 1802, at a lodging on the borders of Sydenham Common, to which he had been removed, when past recovery, for the renovation of his health!

Unhappy Bard! the conflict past,
At length thy mortal pangs are o'er
But, O! with that untimely blast,
Thy raptur'd Strains are heard no more.
Beside the turf that wraps thy clay,
Shall kindred Memory fondly wake;
And, spite of all that foes can say,
Shall love thee for the Muse's sake
COURTIER'S Elegy on Visiting the Tomb of Dermody.

However neglected during the last years of his life, it is gratifying to reflect, that his dying moments were soothed by the kindest attentions; and, that respect was not withheld from his earthly remains. He was handsomely buried in the Church-yard of Lewisham, where a respectable monument designates the place of his interment. The world ought to know, that it is Sir James Bland Burgess who has conferred this dignity on the death of Dermody.