Page:The Maclise Portrait-Gallery.djvu/91

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51
CROFTON CROKER.

an elaborate introduction; and in 1828 into French, by P. A, Dufau. The second Enghsh edition was illustrated with etchings by Maclise;[1] and the work,—which was held to constitute its author "the honourable member for Fairyland,"—was afterwards condensed by Murray for his "Family Library," in which form,—the tales diminished in number by one-fifth, and all superfluous annotations left out,—with the exquisite little wood-cuts after W. H. Brooke, we generally see it. Although Croker has somehow managed to get all the credit of the book, it was undoubtedly a composite production, of which it is probably impossible, now that Thomas Keightley is not here to help us,[2] to apportion the shares correctly to their different authors. The son of Mr. Croker, in the memoir of his father, prefixed to the Walk from London to Fulham, gives no hint that others were concerned in the fabrication of the work; but a more immediate contemporary, A. A. Watts, is severe upon the subject:—

"——————See Crofton Croker,
That dull, inveterate, would-be joker ;
I wish he'd take a friendly hint,
And when he next appears in print.
Would tell us how he came to claim,
And to the book prefix his name —
Those Fairy Legends, terse and smart.
Of which he penn'd so small a part ;
Wherefore he owned them all himself.
And gave his friends nor fame, nor pelf?"[3]

My friend, the Rev. Charles Arthur Maginn, M.A., Rector of Killanally, Cork, informs me that he has in his possession a copy of the Fairy Legends, in which he noted down from the direct statement of his brother, the "Doctor," the tales contributed by him to the work. These were four in number,—"The Legend of Knocksheogowna," "The Legend of Bottle Hill," "Fairies or no Fairies," and "Daniel O'Rourke,"— the last named certainly one of the best in the collection. The remaining "Legends" have to be distributed among Croker, Keightley, Humphries, Lynch and others.

Crofton Croker was author also of Researches in the South of Ireland, 1824; Legends of the Lakes, 1829; and numerous contributions to the Gentleman's and Fraser's Magazine,— besides, as Maginn puts it, "various pretty antiquarian papers in a thousand unheard-of vehicles." In 1837, he translated and published (F. and W. Boone, New Bond Street, small 8vo, pp. 139) The Tour of the French Traveller, M. de la Boullaye le Gouz, in Ireland, A.D. 1644, with Notes and Illustrative Extracts contributed by James Roche, Esq., of Cork, the Rev. Francis Mahony, Thomas Wright, Esq., B.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the editor; and in 1839, he collected and edited, with Introduction, the Popular Songs of Ireland, published by Henry Colbourn, small 8vo, pp. 340.

Another, and certainly not the least interesting of his publications, is his [4], 8vo, Tegg, 1860. This is a posthumous republication of a series of papers which had previously appeared \

  1. "The etchings which have been added to this edition are from sketches by Mr. McClise, a young Irish artist of considerable promise, who I trust will receive that patronage which he so justly merits."— Vol. i. 2nd ed. 1826, p. iv.
  2. Thomas Keightley, author of Fairy Mythology, the History of Rome, Greece, and England, and many other books, died Nov. 4, 1872, in the 84th year of his age.
  3. Literary Souvenir, 1832, p. 236.
  4. Walk front London to Fulham