No wonder Lord Edward never quite fitted in
- Citizen Lord: Edward Fitzgerald 1763-98 by Stella Tillyard
Chatto, 336 pp, £16.99, May 1997, ISBN 0 7011 6538 3
Swift has sailed into his rest;
Savage indignation there
Cannot lacerate his breast.
So wrote Yeats of Swift’s Latin epitaph for himself in Dublin Cathedral, and it had been an epitaph well earned. The fashionable aspect of social indignation was to come later. To the heroes of the Irish revolution, twenty years after the American, it was nothing of the kind. In his poem ‘September 1913’ Yeats was convinced that Ireland in his own time had ‘come to sense’, and had nothing to do now ‘but fumble in a greasy till’. Was it
Vol. 19 No. 12 · 19 June 1997
John Bayley is a little casual with the chronology and geography of the American Revolution in his entertaining review of Stella Tillyard’s Citizen Lord: Edward Fitzgerald 1763-98 (LRB, 22 May). Bayley says Tillyard begins her book ‘at the last battle of the American War of Independence, Eutaw Springs, not far from Yorktown, where Cornwallis was to surrender to Washington six weeks later’. But Eutaw Springs, in South Carolina, is more than three hundred miles from Yorktown, in Virginia, a distance which even in our oversize country is a bit more than ‘not far from’. And the battle at Eutaw Springs on 8 September 1781 occurred, as Bayley says in a nice contradiction, six weeks before Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown. The siege at Yorktown did not begin until 9 October, a month after Eutaw Springs. Is a siege not a battle?
Tuckahoe, New York