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Talking RevolutionEdward Rushton's Rebellious Poetics, 1782-1814$
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Franca Dellarosa

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381441

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381441.001.0001

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‘Yet still our isle’s enslaved’

‘Yet still our isle’s enslaved’

The Irish Poems

(p.75) 3 ‘Yet still our isle’s enslaved’
Talking Revolution

Franca Dellarosa

Liverpool University Press

This chapter investigates the slender but important body of Edward Rushton’s Irish poems – the poet’s sympathetic concern for the tragedy of Ireland traversed his entire career, from the turbulent late 1790s of the ‘Mary-Le-More’ ballad sequence to ‘Jemmy Armstrong’, one of his latest pieces of writing. The significance of Rushton’s contribution in the making of Irish revolutionary discourse was remarked upon in the anthology by Richard Robert Madden entitled Literary Remains of the United Irishmen of 1798 (1887), which offers useful room for contextual analysis. The chapter locates Rushton’s Irish poetry within the complex cultural interchanges marking Ireland’s undercurrent of seditious politics that turned into general insurrection at the end of the century, and which was to foster the expression and dissemination of a wide patrimony of political songs and ballads. The three-ballad sequence of ‘Mary-Le-More’ is examined in special detail, as it provides the most powerful exemplification of Rushton’s Irish poetry and politics, due to its intricate dissemination history no less than its extraordinary and lasting popularity.

Keywords:   Edward Rushton, Irish poems, Jemmy Armstrong, ballad, Mary Le More, revolutionary discourse

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