Thomas Parnell

(1679 - 1718 / Ireland)

Biography of Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell poet

Thomas Parnell is more remembered for the fact that Johnson wrote his biography than for his poetry, which was published by Pope after his death.

Parnell was born in Dublin in 1679 to a man of commonwealth, also by the name of Thomas Parnell. At the age of fourteen, he entered Trinity College of Dublin, and at the age of twenty became deacon in the Episcopal church. Being promoted to archdeacon, in 1706 he married the daughter of Thomas Minchin of Tipperary. Five years later, she died. Around this time, he became more deeply attached to the Scribblerus circle. He wrote the introduction to Pope's Iliad. In 1718, just two years after being presented the vicarage of Finglass, he died on the way to Ireland (presumably of heavy drink).

The only poems published during his lifetime were in periodicals. After his death, his friends published some of his best poems and wrote his elgy. His biography is in the famous Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets.

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A Night-piece on Death

By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er:
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.

[Hata Bildir]