Mulvany, Charles Pelham (DNB00)

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MULVANY, CHARLES PELHAM (1835–1885), minor poet and journalist, son of Henry William Mulvany, barrister-at-law, and grandson of a captain in the royal navy who took part in the battle of Bunker Hill (17 June 1775), was born in Dublin on 20 May 1835. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1850, became a scholar in 1854, and graduated B.A. at Dublin University as first-honour man in classics in June 1856. Before this date he had written verse in ‘The Nation’ over the signature ‘C. P. M. Sch.;’ he was editor of the ‘College Magazine’ during 1856 and 1857, and also wrote for the ‘Irish Metropolitan Magazine,’ 1857–8.

After a few years of service as a surgeon in the British navy Mulvany was ordained deacon of the church of England in 1868, migrated to Canada, and was ordained priest by the Bishop of Ontario in 1872. After acting for about two years as assistant professor of classics at Lenoxville, where he conducted the ‘Students' Monthly,’ he served as curate successively at Clarke's Mills, Huntley, Milford, and the Carrying Place, all in the province of Ontario. He became a constant contributor to Canadian newspapers and magazines, devoting the greater part of his later life to literary work. He kept up his connection with Trinity College by his brilliant contributions to the first three volumes of ‘Kottabos,’ issued respectively in 1874, 1877, and 1881. His latest verses, entitled ‘Our Boys in the North-West Away,’ appeared in the daily ‘Globe,’ Toronto, as late as 25 May 1885. He died at 69 Augusta Terrace, Toronto, on 31 May 1885.

Mulvany's clever verses are essentially of the imitative order. His versatility and effective use of pathos frequently suggest Hood, and he has been spoken of as an Hibernian Calverley; but neither his originality nor his rhyming power quite justifies the title. Many of his happiest parodies have not been published. These deal with local academic incidents, and are still σποράδην ἀειδόμενα in Trinity College.

His chief separate works are:

  1. 'Lyrics of History and Life,' 1880.
  2. 'Toronto, Past and Present,' 1884.
  3. 'History of the North- West Rebellion of 1885.'

All these were published at Toronto. At the time of his death he was preparing a 'History of Liberalism in Canada.'

[O'Donoghue's Poets of Ireland, p. 171; Cat. of Dublin Graduates; Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biog. iv. 458; The Globe, Toronto, 1 June 1885; The Dominion Annual Register and Review for 1885, Toronto, 1886.]

T. S.