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St. Kiven and
the Gentle Kathleen

This picture story illustrates Thomas Moore's "By That Lake, Whose Gloomy Shore", from vol. 4 of his Irish Melodies (melody: "The Brown Irish Girl"). Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was an important literary figure in the first decades of the 19th century, a friend of Byron and Shelley, widely known as the author of the 10-volume Irish Melodies (1808-1834) and Lalla Rookh (1817).

The poem tells an episode in the life of Saint Kevin of Glendalough, famous for his love of animals, even monsters, and his hate for men and, especially, women. This same episode inspired two more early-19th-century poets: Gerald Griffin (1803-40) and Samuel Lover (1797-1868), whose The Glendalough Saint includes a nonsense refrain.

The picture story was first published by Donald Gallup in 1973, "Printed by John Henry's, North Haven, Connecticut / 500 copies", and consisted of nine illustrations for the poems — one of these, no. 5, is lost.

The date of composition is not known, although other illustrations for Moore's poems from the early volumes of Irish Melodies have since been published in Lear in the Original (H.P. Kraus, New York, 1975), dated by the editor, H.W. Liebert, to the late 1830s - early 1840s. The treatment of this song is much more thorough — the whole text was illustrated and carefully copied — but it should belong to the same years.

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