Item #4957 Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C. also Conry IRISH. Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire, Florence, and author, 1560 or.
Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C.
Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C.
Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C.
Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C.
Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C.
Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C.

Emanuel. Leabhar ina bhfuil modh iarrata [agus] fhaghala fhoirbhtheachda na beathadh riaghaltha. [Ar] attugadh drong airighthe Sgáthan an chrábhaidh drong oile Desiderius / ar na chur anosa a ngaoidhilg lé brathair airidhe dórd S. Fpronsias F.C.

a Lobain [Louvain]: [Irish Franciscan Press] Ar na chur a ccló maille ré hughdadhás, 1616.

Price: $18,500.00

Octavo: 14.9 x 10.3 cm. [8], 344. Collation: (*)4 , A—Z4, Aa-Uu4. Signed in Irish characters.

FIRST EDITION of this exceptionally rare book printed in Irish type. I have located only four copies in North America: Harvard, Newberry, Huntington, and Notre Dame (defective.)

Text printed in Irish type (known as “Louvain A” after the Irish Franciscan press at Louvain where this book was printed.) Small woodcut of Christ carrying the Cross on title, another of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus on 2nd leaf verso; text on the final leaf set in the shape of a cross. Small woodcut initials in the text. Bound in 18th c. three-quarter sprinkled blond calf and marbled paper over boards, the spine with attractive floral tools, gilt and a red Morocco label, also gilt. A very good copy with minor cosmetic blemishes. Title page, margin of 2nd leaf, and final leaf soiled, very light damp-staining in scattered gatherings, occ. marginal soiling , text-block a bit tight. Inscription at foot of title. Provenance: Library of the Earls of Macclesfield (19th c. bookplate inside front board, armorial blind-stamp on first three leaves.).

This book was one of only a few printed by the Irish Franciscan recusants of Louvain using Irish type modelled on the handwriting of Bonaventure O'Hussey (1574-1614). It was first used (Antwerp, 1611) to print O'Hussey’s Irish catechism. The type was next used by the Franciscan press at Louvain, where O’Hussey resided. “E.W. Lynam has observed that the type was the first legitimate printed letter designed for Irish scholars from Irish manuscripts, probably by an Antwerp man who may have taken italic type as a guide.”(McGuinne, “The ‘Louvain Irish’ printing type” in De Gulden Passer, Jargang 68 (1990), p. 121) It is probable that the book was intended also for use in Ireland, where no Catholic press using Irish type had been established.

Partly a translation and partly an original composition, “Sgáthán an chrábhaidh” (Mirror of Piety) is the work of the influential Irish Franciscan Florence Conry (Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire). Born into a well-known family of scholars, which supplied poets and chroniclers, to the MacDermots and O'Connors of Connacht”(DIB), around 1592 Conry joined the priesthood and entered the Irish college at Salamanca. He would go on to become archbishop of Tuam and Franciscan minister provincial of the Irish province. It was through Conry’s efforts that the Irish College of Leuven was established. It was at Leuven that he composed “Sgáthán an chrábhaidh” for the Franciscan press.

At its core, the book is a translation of the first three books of an allegorical work known as “El Deseoso [o] Espejo de religiosos”(“Mirror of the Religious Life”), first published anonymously in Catalan as “Spill de la Vida Religiosa” (Barcelona, 1515). An English translation, “The treasure of the soule” appeared in 1596; a second English edition (a clandestine Catholic production), was printed as “Desiderius” in 1604. Conry, working from the Spanish version, titled his Irish rendering “Sgáthán an chrábhaidh” (Mirror of Piety).

Although he only translated part of the original work, Conry added a great deal of his own material. Fiercely committed to the fight for Irish Catholic freedom from English rule, he transformed the book into a work encouraging Irish Catholics to endure oppression and remain true to their faith.

“In the book, Desiderius, the main character, set out on a quest for divine love. In the first part of the book he enters the monastery of humility where he makes the acquaintance of the virtues. In the second book he leaves the monastery and sets out on the heretic-ridden road on his quest for divine love, accompanied by his guide, Simplicity. In the third part he reaches mainistir na désheirce [Monastery of Charity].

“More interesting than the translated text are the interpolations, some of considerable length, which Conry included in the finished work. While a number of these are commentaries or glosses on material in the original, the most significant are designed as a guide to Irish Catholics in their dealings with heretics. It is possible that these are derived from contemporary polemical works, which Conry included in order to flesh out points in the original Desiderius. Whatever their origin, they provide one of the most complete early seventeenth-century accounts of an Irish pastor's advice to his flock. In the longest single interpolation (ll 3411-5050) Conry deals with the problem of remaining faithful to the Catholic faith in the face of threats and enticements from heretics. This section falls into four chapters, which advise the pious Catholic on the role of the clergy, the authority of the king, the frequentation of heretic religious services and the nature and functioning of Catholic tradition.”(O’Connor, “'Perfidious machiavellian friar': Florence Conry's Campaign for a Catholic Restoration in Ireland, 1592-1616” in Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society , 2002, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2002), p. 101)

“Florence Conry’s (Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire) political exploits, ecclesiastical activity and theological achievement articulated a coherent vision for early modern Ireland as it attempted to adapt to exigencies of state building, religious division and socio-economic modernization. While little is known of Conry's early life, it is clear that he was born into a socially and intellectually privileged Gaelic elite…. A decision to become a priest must have inspired him to travel to Spain where, already a mature man in his thirties, he entered the Irish college in Salamanca, founded in 1592 by the Clonmel-born Jesuit, Thomas White (1556-1622).”(Ibid, p. 91)

“Conry was for some time provincial of his order in Ireland. He was nominated by Pope Paul V to the archiepiscopal see of Tuam 30 March 1609, and was consecrated the same year by Cardinal Maffei Barberini, protector of Ireland, afterwards Urban VIII. At Conry's solicitation Philip III founded for the Irish a college at Louvain under the invocation of St. Anthony of Padua, of which the first stone was laid in 1616."(Oxford DNB)

“In translating this work, Conry addressed an audience which included the clergy but also literate Gaelic laity. He explains that the translation was intended for those who have no knowledge of languages other than simple Irish. He appeals to Gaelic literati not to criticize the simplicity of [the language] but rather to understand his pious objective of helping the poorly educated. Interestingly, some of his biblical citations in the work may reveal a reliance on the Gaelic translation of the New Testament published by the Church of Ireland in 1602.”(O’Connor, p. 101).

ESTC S125534 (STC 6778); Allison & Rogers 151; Shaaber 343; Allison & Rogers. Catholic books, 252; Sweeney, Ireland and the printed word, 1311. Further reading: O’Connor, “'Perfidious machiavellian friar': Florence Conry's Campaign for a Catholic Restoration in Ireland, 1592-1616” in Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society , 2002, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2002), pp. 91-105