I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Deirdre Serjeantson

The King’s Man

As with the Easter Rising, there was in the early modern period more than one vision in play of Ireland’s destiny. Walter Quin, born in Dublin about 1575, was to die in 1640 “an ancient servant to the Royal family” – but in his case the royal family meant the Stuarts rather than the Habsburgs or Borghese, with whom O’Neill had lodged Ireland’s hopes.

Talking Heads

As recently as 1996, an English editor of an edition of a seventeenth century play wrote in a footnote to explain to students a puzzling reference that “the Irish were notoriously cruel and bloodthirsty”. This of course is very much a matter of perspective. Both sides in the sixteenth and seventeenth century conflict in Ireland used extreme violence. The Elizabethan English tended to see Irish beheadings as savagery; their own decapitations were simply an expression of due process.

Love and Other Questions

Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher. (This essay from the drb archive was originally published in April 2016.)

Love and Other Matters

Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher.

The King’s Man

Walter Quin was a Dubliner who became attached to the Scottish and later English court of King James VI and I. He devoted his considerable learning and poetic talent to writing ingenious verse in support of his master’s claim to unite the kingdoms of both countries.

A Single Volume Bound by Love

Clive James’s new Dante is the highly effective work of a poet who has absorbed tradition, who is aware of the demands of form, whose translations are imaginative and whose scholarship is immaculate.