Thomas Stanley Tracey, Scholar, Poet and Editor
Flan is an unusual name and as such his father was probably Flan (Flanagan) Tracy, a gauger [revenue officer] of Athlone East Walk, Westmeath, who died 17 December 1825. Also there is also the follow record:
Flan Tracy, Siz. (Mr. O’Connor), June 13, 1797, aged 22; R.C., s. of Flan, Agricola; b. Co. Roscommon. Sch. 1800. B.A. Vern. 1801.
Scholar of Trinity College...1800 Flan Tracy
In 1871, in a letter to ‘Notes and Queries’, he states that he received a poem/bagatelle “having been extemporised [performed] by my father, a naval brother Medico and friend of the Doctor's”. There appears to be only one naval surgeon at that time, Henry Tracey, who started his service in 1831 and who succumbed to dysentery in September 1840, in China.
There are the following references:
Thomas Tracey, Scholar of Trinity College Dublin, letter to Rev P Bliss 1841 (British Library 34,574 F 322)
James Tracy, letter to Rev P Bliss 1829 (British Library 34,570 F 246)
In 1850 and 1860’s he was engaged in the editorial department and wrote poetry for the “Limerick century Reporter” newspaper.
6 April 1855 Cork Examiner
... Stanley Tracy, A.D., Ex-scholar, T.C.D., uniformly a First Honor Man, (formerly Sizsr) recommended by Noblemen, Dignitaries, &c., and others of the Highest Literary ...
31 December 1855 Cork Examiner
...Thomas Stanley Tracey, Ex-Scholar, formerly Sizar, A.M., and uniformly First Honor man of T.C.D., whose Pupils have been successful Candidates for University and Military ...
In 1866 Maurice Lenihan published ‘Limerick, its history and antiquities’.
“I have enjoyed the constant, efficient, and friendly aid of Thomas Stanley Tracey, Esq., A.B., ex-Schol. T.C.D., who was conveniently near me.”
Finegan states that: “It is sometimes said that a great portion of Lenihan's History of Limerick is that of another writer, and the name of Thomas Stanley Tracey is mentioned as being that of the real author. This objection against Lenihan's authorship need not be taken seriously. There is no mystery about the name of Thomas Tracey. He graduated a B.A. of Trinity College in 1841 and became a journalist. For many years he occupied the post of sub-editor to the Limerick Reporter. Lenihan quite openly admits his obligations to Tracey. In the Preface he states: ‘In translation, research, revision and, generally, literary assistance I have enjoyed the constant, efficient and friendly aid of Thomas S. Tracey, B.A., who was conveniently near me.’ Two explanations can be assigned for the propagation of this legend of dual authorship. In the first place, the fact that Tracey was a university graduate impressed people at a time when few Catholics possessed a university degree. To this it may be answered that Lenihan, though prevented from receiving the benefit of a university training because of his faith, had probably had quite asgood an education as Tracey. There is the added consideration that, if Tracev wrote a considerable part of the book, it is matter for wonder that he did not protest when his name did not appear on the title-page as that of co-author.
In 28 July 1869 (NG) at the Limerick Petty Sessions, in a report from the Nenagh Guardian “...we learn from the Munster News, Mr. Maurice Lenihan, proprietor of the Limerick Reporter, was charged by Mr. Thomas J. Cassidy, formerly a Reporter on the that paper, but now a Limerick correspondent of the Cork Herald, with "using violent, offensive and abusive language to him in a public street, in Limerick, calculated to induce him to commit a breach of the peace", and Mr. Tracey, Editor of the same paper, was charged with inciting the principal aggressor to the conduct stated....the majority of them were for dismissing the case.”
Thomas Stanley Tracey, Henry Street, Inhabitant Householder, house and small garden, Dock Ward
Obituary: Thomas Stanley Tracey, 35 Henry Street 05/09/1889 death notice, late sub editor of the Limerick Reporter and Tipperary Vindicator
Tracey - At 35 Henry street, aged 77 years, Thomas Stanley Tracey, Esq., A.B., ex-Sch. T.C.D., who was for the period of thirty-one years was the learned, faithful, and truely honourable Sub-Editor of The Limerick Reporter and Tipperary Vindicator; a gentleman of rare abilities and scholarly acquirements, truely esteemed by the proprietor and editor of that journal, and all who knew him. R.I.P. American papers please copy.
The following are listed in the Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery Register:
Thomas S. Tracey, 78, 35 Henry St., 5 sep 1889, ref 14264 83 DA
Margaret Tracey, 44, Henry St, 23rd Feb 1873, ref 4710 48 Q
Francis Finegan: Maurice Lenihan History of Limerick. Part Two.Reprinted from Studies, Vol. XXXV. No. 143, September 1947. http://www.limerick.ie/media/Media,3969,en.pdf
Kemmy, Jim ed (1997) The Limerick Compendium. Gill & Macmillan.
Lenihan, Maurice (1866) Limerick, its history and antiquities, Dublin.
Souvenir of modern minstrelsy: a collection of original and select poetry by Living Writers. Third Series. Trubner & Co., London 1862
Thomas Stanley Tracy “Provincial Characteristics”. Notes and Queries 1871 s4-VII: 319; doi:10.1093/nq/s4-VII.172.319-a
Thomas Stanley Tracey A.B. Sch. T.C.D.
The Dublin university magazine (1876) p.37
Lenihan, Maurice (1866) Limerick, its history and antiquities, Dublin.
* Thomas Tracey…graduated a B.A. of Trinity College in 1841 and became a journalist. For many years he occupied the post of sub-editor to the Limerick Reporter.
Francis Finegan: Maurice Lenihan History of Limerick. Part Two.Reprinted from Studies, Vol. XXXV. No. 143, September 1947
June 3, 1834 (BL) Trinity College...successful candidates...Thomas Tracey...
February 24, 1835 (BL) Trinity College Junior Freshmen. Honours in Classics. First rank...Thomas Tracey...
13 May 1835 (FJ) Trinity College: Honours in Classics - First rank...Thomas Tracy.
May 19, 1835 (FJ) Trinty College Dublin Junior Freshman...Honours in Classics, First Rank...Thomas Tracy...
February 19, 1836 (BL) Trinity College. Senior Freshmen. Honors in Classics. First rank...Thomas Tracey...
12 June 1838 (FJ) Examination for Fellowships. Yesterday (being Trinity Monday) the following gentlemen were announced the successful candidates...as Scholars...Tracy...
June 15, 1838 (FJ) Trinty College...successful candidates for the Scholarships...Tracy (Thos).
In 1871, he signed a letter with ‘Thomas Stanley Tracey A.B. Ex-Scholar Trin. Coll., Dublin.’
“Sarsfield’s Defence of Limerick”
in Lenihan, Maurice (1866) Limerick, its history and antiquities, Dublin.
"The Siege of Clampbetts Bow"
in Jim Kemmy's Limerick Compendium. Also on Larry de Cléir's debut solo album The Dog that heard the Bell.
“A Death Study”
“Folk-Lore. The Fairy-Stricken”
“The Changling’s Recollections”
“The Night Watch”
“The Better Land”
“Fountain of Youth”
“The Crusader’s Death”
in Souvenir of modern minstrelsy: a collection of original and select poetry by Living Writers. Third Series. Trubner & Co., London 1862
“Provincial Characteristics”. “Characteres Provinciarum.”
in Notes and Queries 1871 s4-VII: 319; doi:10.1093/nq/s4-VII.172.319-a
Sarsfield’s Defence of Limerick by Thomas Stanley Tracey A.B. Sch. T.C.D. (Lenihan)
There’s a deathless tree on the ancient lines
here the old Black Battery stood;
With leaves still bright as the flame of the fight
That dyed them once in blood.
The heroes are dead, but the tree still lives;
And still, as the night-wind grieves,
Immortal memories wake again,
That slept beneath its leaves.
And warriors’ ghosts from the battered walls
Cry forth in Fancy’s ear-
For ever curs’d be these foreign dogs,
What demon brought them here?
But we drove them out in olden times,
And we’ll drive them out again;
Listen to how your father’s fought
When Sarsfield led our men.
The blood rushed back to many a heart
On that eventful day;
When Sarsfield from the hill returned,-
The lion from his prey;
Little the slumbering foe had dreamed
The Shannon’s fords were passed,-
But bloodhounds staunch were Sarsfield’s dogs,
And dragged them down at last.
Quick as the lightening flash revels
The ravage of the storm,
His eye had scanned the patriot band,
And seen their ranks reform;-
“Now pay them back, my boys,” he cried,
“In honest Irish coin,
The long-due debt that Ireland owes
These braggarts of the Boyne!
“Sword, shot, and shell are best to tell
The wrongs of injured men-
No craven King, no traitor friends,
Shall spoil our sport again;-
Up with your strong and bloody hands,
O’Brien and O’Neill,
And dig the graves of these foreign slaves
With a shower of Irish hail.”
A thousand iron mouths of death
Their fierce replies combined,-
And the stormers reeled from the fiery breach
Like chaff before the wind;
To the trenches driven, with ranks all riven,
In the sweep of that deadly shower,-
Sarsfield hath wished on a foreign field,
He had died in that glorious hour.
The green flag streamed, the death-shower teemed,-
The fatal bridge was passed;
There was hardly one in that fierce sortie
But had crossed it for the last:
Red ran the flood with women’s blood,
Who fought with Limerick’s sons,
Their glorious names shall never die,
While ever that river runs.
Three times the furious foe came on,-
But met and beaten still,
Their souls went down to their last parade,
With their friends of Keeper Hill,
The sun set on two bleeding hosts,
And red with a soldier’s shame,
King William with two thousand ghosts,
Left Limerick to its fame!
The Siege of Clampbetts Bow by Thomas Tracey, 1856
Oh roll the drum and
You may talk of all the
Now we're told
The Siege of Clampbetts Bow by Jim Kenny [online] [background article]
Souvenir of modern minstrelsy: a collection of original and select poetry by Living Writers. Third Series. Trubner & Co., London 1862
Thomas Stanley Tracey.
The author of the following original compositions is a graduate Ex-Scholar of Trinity College, Dublin, and was uniformly a first honour man of the same University. Mr. Tracey has for some years past been engaged in the editorial department of the "Limerick Reporter" newspaper.
A DEATH STUDY.
Oh that when Death had set its seal
Upon an earthly sufferer's brow,
It left some traces to reveal
His state of being now!
Not for the philosophic fool
To supplement his creedless school,
But to convince the sons of pride
That God is still a friend, when there is none beside.
A son of Greece, whose country nursed
Unnumbered sophists, sages
Said God created man, at first,
To move the mirth of Heaven;
But more in man's short life appears,
Could angels weep, to move their tears:
Sorrows that weigh the senses down,
And seem to mark the loss of a once hoped-for crown.
The misery of this wasted
Is that of one who died forlorn—
A sufferer on a chequered
With more of grief than scorn.
Those oft-repeated lines of care
Seem furrowed by an iron share :
Let me approach with bated
To spell the lore of life and mystery of death.
He seems not one that ever dreamed
Where shades of lasting
No sensual Sadducee who deemed
The God-like soul can die,—
Nor Stoic cold, whose deadening lore
Freezes the human feelings o'er,
Binding the soul in fatal chain
Whose primal links on earth the dreamers sought in vain.
One ray alone akin to mirth
Remains of all the laughing
If hope of Heaven or scorn of earth ?
We ask, and ask in vain.
Perhaps the dead was doomed to keep
Sad vigils, ere his churchyard sleep,
And turned him to death's welcome rest,
Like a poor sullen child back to his mother's breast.
Nor is that smile a cynic's sneer,
Whose soul repelled his
For softer traits are blended here
That challenge love again.
Perhaps he died unwept, unweeping,
Casting his soul on Heaven's keeping,
And knowing Death the gate of Life,
Received the conqueror's crown victorious in the strife !
AN INCIDENT OF LOUGH REE.
The mist is on the haunted lake, the sun is in the west,
His glory smiles like a dying saint as he gently sinks to rest—
But there's a speck on heaven's verge that tells of coming winds,
Like the bodings of approaching ill in sad and lonely minds.
Who loiters on the lone Lough Ree?—the shades of night are nigh—
A soldier and his only child, and one that saw them die.
Death has no terrors for the brave whose ties are not of earth,
But a father's heart is yielding stuff tho' a soldier from his birth.
That soldier's voice had cheered his men on the bloodiest fields of Spain,
When Europe from the Eagle's grasp had struggled forth in vain,
Till the awful calm of British might to the storm of battle grew,
And the War-god and his lion-guard went down at Waterloo.
0 ! golden-haired and blue-eyed child, too thoughtful for thy years,
The roses from thy cheek are fled, thy eyes are dim with tears—
Why seem those eyes like angel-souls that weep for sins of men,
And having stayed too long from God would fain go back again ?
His face was like the sunny lake in summer's calmest hours,
As he wove a strange mysterious wreath of fancy's funeral flowers,
Speaking of death and the spirit-land where the soul of his mother dwelt—
Oh! ever doomed are the early wise who have thus untimely felt.
But tho' the spark of childish minds was a living fire in him,
The same had been his father's love, altho' that light were dim :
He challenged the waves like a soldier's son, and mocked the threatening wind—
But a lightning flash has struck the boy—the soldier's son is blind !
Ah ! thro' their light boat's shivered mast the fire of heaven has gone,
The herald of the dreadful peal that now comes thundering on !—
They cannot sail, they cannot row; the waters o'er them sweep—
Their boat is cradled in the surf—the doomed are in the deep.
" Hold fast, hold fast!" the father cried, " and bear a soldier's heart,
In life we'll both together live—or in death we'll never part."
And his child he caught, and the wave he fought with the giant arm of love,
But the father's strength has failed at length, and another soul's above :
One shriek he gave of wild despair, and yielded to the deep—
His son was gone, his labour done, he slept the lasting sleep!
FOLK-LORE, THE FAIRY-STRICKEN.
0 Time, thou robber of our joys,
Where are our young friends gone—
The guileless world of girls and boys
That faded one by one ?
A fairy band rejoices—
That dances on their graves;—
I hear their tiny voices,
Where the long grass waves.
And the music of these fairy lays
Is lovely, sweet and wild,
Like a Celtic song of other days,
That lullabies a child;
And human joy and sorrow,
And fancied ills and wrongs,
Are the favourite themes they borrow
For the subjects of their songs.
"O the fairies of these Danish raths
Will never go away ;
You see us in our ancient paths,
In summer dreams by day—
When the lady lily's bosom
Hath a lover of its own,
And the gorse's golden blossom
Is the elfin monarch's throne.
"They are not dead—these youthful friends-
We took them all away,
To meet the fallen angels' ends,
'Till the light of Judgment
For every changeling's duty
A fallen one's forgiven,—
For every stolen beauty,
A fairy enters heaven.
"O, weep not then when youth departs
That long hath pined away;—
Leaving a home of breaking hearts
For their little gods of
They're changed in expiation
Of childhood's lesser sins,
And whoever joins our nation
Eternal glory wins."
THE CHANGELING'S RECOLLECTIONS.
My life-lamp pales: but memory's parting beam
Flashes full brightly with its dying glare
O'er the long past, when, in a childish dream,
I saw that fairy with the golden hair,
Whose rainbow promises, now lost in air,
My heaven of hope so long and brightly bound ;
Oh, that a form so soft and angel-fair
Should mask a soul so witch-like and profound;
All jubilant 'midst ruin and despair—
My spirit faints—my eyes, in sorrow drown'd,
Wane like the moon, and my enchanted heart
Heaves with the pressure of unearthly care,
And yet she dooms me in her fairy song,
As if not she, but I, had done the wrong.
THE NIGHT WATCH.
A REMINISCENCE OF WAR.
The star-bannered host had enshrouded its glory,
And silence was reigning around and above,
When a watcher repeated his
A vision of war, in the vigils of love;—
The moon like a beautiful spirit arose
From its vapoury sepulchre pale and serene,—
And memory stole upon nature's repose
Like summer's sweet breath from the blossoming bean.
"0 ! friend of my childhood, those halcyon days,"
Was friendship's lament in its sorrowful hour—
"When the spirit at large o'er the wilderness strays,
Extracting a sweet from each transient flower :
My heart is still with thee! its early devotion
No distance can sever, no time can efface;
For in fancy I bound o'er the desert of ocean
And fold thee once more in a parting embrace.
"Young travellers, we recked not the changes of weather—
No damp o'er the fire of our spirits could steal—
But we'd rambled too long and too kindly together
To part without feeling as brothers might feel:—
And now thou art dead, but uninjured by time—
Thy incense of life not ingloriously shed—
Like the idols we worshipped in youth's happy prime,
When books were our world—when we lived with the dead.
"Unschooled in the lore of the valley of tears,
What pictures of life and adventure we drew,
While the rainbow of genius, the brightener of years,
Its beautiful hues o'er reality threw!
Alas ! what a world of mourners shall weep
That soldier's romance that hath lured thee so far—
When the Demon of Discord awakens from sleep,
And saddens the earth with the horrors of war.
"Posterity's curse and a
And laurels that wither in history's breath,
To the tyrants that reign by
the blood of the brave ;
Their glory shall wane to the darkness of death.
But thou shalt repose with the noble of heart,
And the kind and the true in the peace of the blest;
While thy presence will gladden, wherever thou art,
The visions of those that have loved thee the best.
"Farewell, my beloved, 'tis the hour for repose
For hearts that are free from the presure of care—
O'er the ramparts afar as the sentinel goes
His night-call resounds on the stillness of air.
A presage of promise that night-call shall be
For thee who hast fought for a deathless reward—
'All's well' with the bondsmen of nature set free,—
'All's well' with the dead that have died in the Lord!"
We laugh at poetry, yet still we cherish
Some dreamy superstition of our own—
Some fond delusion which we
love alone :
We would not have our childish pleasures perish,
Or burn the wild romances of our youth,
For all the
lectures of pretentious truth.
But it is impious to abuse our powers,
For loftier studies, holier
On worthless books: a serious life is ours—
probation state for hell or heaven.
And sinful fictions are funereal flowers,
Speaking of death through all their ghastly beauty;
Exaggerated thought's unrest devours
The dreamy, changeful derelicts of duty.
I knew a youth whom oft I chanced to see
Conning the mysteries of a Gothic rhyme,
Or wild love-legend of the olden time;
And much I feared his life would hapless be,
Deeming the young idealist would prove
Another victim of romance and love.
Time passed,—I met him in the
A lone and restless wanderer dreaming still;
Yet pride had not seduced his
heart from God,
Nor world-idolatry usurped his will—
Though drifting carelessly 'twixt good and ill—
A reckless soldier of the hope forlorn
fierce battle,—still averse to strife,
But wild in creed, and politics, and life.
To reconstruct society anew,
Humbling the proud ones, was
his favourite craze,
Like the mad giants of the ancient days ;
Yet he was frank and earnest,
bold and true,
And this is one of his rhapsodic lays:—
" Adam, our sire, is represented well
In the fallen natures of this sinful world,
Where Selfishness its banners has unfurled,
And Ignorance and Spurious Virtue dwell.
If kindest hearts and noblest
minds would tell
Their world experience, it would make us weep
To see in what death-vaults their memories sleep,
Hoping for aye of that much-longed-for waking,
The only cure of broken hearts and breaking."
THE BETTER LAND.
[Suggested on hearing that song sung, on visiting the infant school of the Limerick Union, of which O'Connor, the Irish Harper, is at present a pauper inmate.]
The flowers are dead on Summer's grave—
Like Beauty turned to clay;
And the sere trees sigh, as the branches wave,
With their skeleton leaves that dance and rave
At the close of the autumn day.
Like a glimpse of heaven is yonder wild
By the golden sunset spann'd ;—
And the deep dark clouds have a radiance mild,
Like the bright young eyes of that pauper child,
That sings of the Better
The Better Land!—ah ! many a time,
That simple strain has
(Like the heavenward call of a Sabbath chime,
That summons our hearts from this sunless clime)
The grace of a holy thought.
For it visits the pauper proud of old
With dreams of lowly love,
And giveth the spendthrift lands and gold,
And the saintly poor a firmer hold
Whose hopes were ever above.
And angel forms seem whispering oft
In that pauper harper's ear—
As his sightless eyes are turned aloft
And their lids are dimmed with a moisture soft,
hopes that death is near.
Yet his patriot love is still as deep
As when, once in the happy
He strove a minstrel's fame to keep—
Nor deem'd O'Connor's race could sleep
In a pauper's bed at last!
But the fierce old songs of his fiery youth,
That told of his country's
And her chieftain's might and her daughters' truth,
Are hushed by Faith's remorseful ruth,
To the tone of a Christian's songs :
And they all look out with a Christian's ken
From Hope's consoling breast,
To the Better Land of landless men,
Where the wicked will never trouble again,
And the weary shall be at rest.
THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH.
Fountain of Youth ! where hopes and fears,
In fancy's mystic forms united,
Reveal the fate of coming years,—
Delusions vain, affections blighted,—
How fondly still our hearts recall
The phantom forms that childhood cherished,
Weaving the Future's funeral pall
With threads of gold that long have perished !
Thou dreamer, with the poet's eyes,
Know'st thou the fate of poets' feelings ?
Thy dreams shall turn to waking lies,
And make thee weep the world's revealings.
The sinner's fate is dreaming still—
Delirious in life's fitful
When Time the stern hath worked his will,
Present and past will prove deceivers.
We antedate our smiles and tears,
The future claims our joy or sadness—
The hopes and fears of worldly years,
What are they still but summer madness ?
The good, the great, the wise, the free,
See darkly—yet, 'midst grief and blindness,
Fountain of Youth, still turn to thee
For faith in God and human kindness.
THE CRUSADER'S DEATH.
The sunset is glorious on Lago
Crimson and gold are the hues of the skies,
But brighter the lustre, more
lasting the glory,
That kindles in heaven when the Paladin dies.
The angels look forth from their heavenly portals
To welcome the wanderer back to his home,
And music too grand for the senses of mortals
Proclaims the return of the Pilgrim of Rome.
No tear is required o'er the warrior's ashes,
Whose spirit has passed to the regions of light;
The wind as it murmurs, the wave as it dashes,
Will serve as a dirge for the champion of Right.
No mourning shall trouble-the rest of the sleeper,
Yet tears are not wanting from those he loved best;—
For love-lit in sorrow the eyes of the weeper
Are watching like stars in the beantiful West.
While a prayer for the Pilgrim his mother is breathing
To guard him from death in the perilous strife,
A crown of immortelles the stranger is wreathing
To place on his grave as the symbol of life.
Yet memory lingers, and watches, and listens,
And loves him in heaven as it loved him on earth;
O ! life's but the dream of a higher existence,—
Pilgrim, thy death was a happier birth !
1871 Notes and Queries “...the pungent bagatelle in question having been extemporised by my father, a naval brother Medico and friend of the Doctor's, who, many years ago, gave me the original, from which 1 made the accompanying Latin translation, such as it is.”
"A Connaught man
Gets all that he can,
His impudence never has missed all;
He'll seldom flatter,
But bully and batter,
And his talk's of his kin and his pistol.
"A Munster man
Is civil by plan,
Again and again he'll entreat you;
Though you ten times refuse,
He his object pursues,
Which is, nine out of ten times, to cheat you.
"An Ulster man
Ever means to trepan,
He watches your eye and opinion;
He'll ne'er disagree,
Till his interest it be,
And insolence marks his dominion.
"A Leinster man
Is with all cup and can;
He calls t'other provinces knaves;
Yet each of them see,
When he starts with the three.
That his distance he frequently saves."
"Connaciae natus quae possit cuncta lucratur;
Nee semper, audax, fallitur omne petens;
Rarus adulator, bncchans plerumque ferocit;
Armaque magniloqnens prosapiamque crepat.
"Mononia; natus civilis compositoque
Urbanus rogitat, saepe subinde rogat;
Si decies negitas, quod vult prosequithr ardens ;
Ex decies novies fallere quemqne parat.
"Ultoniae natus deceptor semper ocellis
Inbiat et menti, callidus advigilans ;
Ni sua res agitur nunquam dissentit amico ;
Spiritus insultans imperiumque notat.
"Lageniae natus calices et pocnla partit,
Atque alios nequam furciferosque vocat;
Ast ubi contendit triplex provincia cursu,—
Quaeque sibi videat,—occupat ilia locum."
Last update: 26 April 2013