Jane Emily Herbert (1821 - 1882) was a patriotic Irish Poet who in her time was hailed as the legitimate successor, in the female line, to the laurel vacant since the death of Felicia Hemans who died in 1835.
Her earliest published work Poetical Recollections of Irish History in 1842, which she wrote at age only 22, was hailed by many of which the following are samples:
"Miss Herbert evidently possesses the true heart of an Irish patriot and may compete with Mrs Hemans in the sweetness and beauty of her versification - Every striking character and event is made the subject of a poem, so that with the aid of explanatory notes, the reader is furnished with a really interesting and complete poetical picture of Irish history." - Edinburgh Advertiser
"The merits of some of the poems are unequal; many of them now real gems. The fair authoress has "wedded to immortal verses" some of the most interesting passages and characters in Irish history, and embalmed them in song." - Monitor
"The historical events and scenes described in this volume will render it very attractive to the young in impressing facts on their minds in language which is usually recollected when prior compositions are quite forgotten." - Weekly Warden
Of her work The Bride of Imael; or Irish Love and Saxon Beauty, which can be viewed in the main reading room of the National Library of Ireland as it is a part of its Catalogue of noted Irish writers, the Dublin Evening Mail of 28th January, 1848, quotes Benjamin Disraeli thus,
"A beautiful volume, in which I found grace and fancy, a melodious ear, and the healthy interest of a National subject."
The following are samples of further quotes pertaining to this particular work:
"Her poem is written with spirit and freshness. The lines are musical and flowing-the moralities of the right kind-and the sympathies large." - Athenaeum, 1st May, 1847
"Beyond a doubt Miss Herbert is now the legitimate successor, in the female line, to the laurel vacant by the death of Mrs Hemans. Her lyre resounds with the music of almost every species of English heroical metre and in all shown the facility of a practiced mind." - Dublin Evening Mail
"Miss Herbert's muse has already done her country some service. She has sung many of the leading incidents of ancient Irish history in strains of great sweetness and rare poetic merit. The subject of the present volume is on a kindered topic." - Edinburgh Advertiser
On the 24th of July, 1853, in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette the following article was recorded:
"We are happy to be able to state that Miss Herbert the clever authoress of "The Bride of Imael," &c., and one of whose productions we published a few weeks since, is nearly restored to health. She has been staying a short time on a visit to her brother the Rev. T. W. Herbert, in St. Thomas, where she was taken dangerously ill, and left this (Friday) morning for Bristol."
Perhaps toiling over the midnight oil to create and perfect her following masterpiece took a toll on her health:
"Ione's Dream, and other poems", which can also be viewed in the main reading room of the National Library of Ireland, was published in 1853 and the following quotes from some of the literary critics of the day appeared in the Dublin Evening Mail of 5th August, 1853:
"The same rich vein of of imagery and smooth, abundant, fluency of diction, which characterised Miss Herbert's earlier productions, mark 'Ione's Dream' and the other poems of the present volume. These qualities, as well as the genuine Irish feeling and true womanly tenderness, which we recognised the 'The Bride of Imael', we again gladly welcome as proofs we committed no error in judgement in thinking, when we first made acquaintance with the fair author's muse, that the mantle of Mrs Hemans had not remained unappropriated." - Dublin Evening Mail
"Containing many passages of great poetical beauty. 'A Dirge for Wellington', which concludes the volume, will be gladly welcomed by all lovers of true poetry as as oasis in the desert of our material literature." - Liverpool Standard
"In this highly interesting volume, abundant proofs are given of the fertile, we might say gorgeous, imagination, and the ready corresponding power of language of the fair authoress. If our commendation can afford any gratification, we willingly offer it, especially as regards the very great power both of thought and language, of which she evidently possesses so large a fund." - Sentinal
Jane Emily Herbert was born to parents Henry Monckton Herbert and Elizabeth Jane Barlow. In 1839 her father kept a school in Arklow, county Wicklow, as evidenced by an article that appeared in The Freeman's Journal of 8th November, 1839 (see OTHER ARTICLES), while her mother and some of her siblings attended to the farm of about 50 acres. The article states the family moved in a respectable station in society. Her mother, Elizabeth Jane, was a sister of Arthur Craven Barlow, Esq., of Saunders Court & Mt Anna in Wexford, and Thomas William Barlow, Esq.,(as evidenced by the inscription of one of her works located in Yale University, which she inscribed with the following: “To my widowed mother and her brothers Arthur Craven Barlow and Thomas William Barlow Esq., of Dublin). Both were prominent in society, the latter being for many years the solicitor for the Board of Ordanance in Ireland, and both married into the Jeffares family of Wexford. Following the death of Arthur's first wife, Susannah Jeffares, about one year after their marriage, he married Dorothy Cooper, daughter of John Cooper of Birchgrove, Wexford. Their children immigrated to New Zealand, while most of Thomas William and Ann Jeffare's children immigrated to Australia
JANE EMILY'S SIBLINGS:
Henry Arthur Augustus Herbert (1808 -1848) a Master Mariner who married Matilda Elizabeth Lacy. They had 5 daughters, Jane Emily, Helen Matilda, Matilda Elizabeth, Louisa Anne and Alice. Henry died in Calcutta, India, in 1848 and in 1862 his wife and 4 of their daughters immigrated to Brisbane, Australia, on the ship Baywater. Their 5th daughter Louisa immigrated there in 1864 on the ship Conway with her mother's widowed sister, Mary Ann Kalb (nee Lacy) and her son Ferdinand
Elizabeth (Eliza) Herbert (1809 - 1888) remained unmarried and died at the home of her brother George in Rockingham, Dalkey, Dublin
George Herbert (1814 - 1891) a publisher and a prominent book seller in Grafton Street, Dublin. He was book seller to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant as was evidenced by the article in the Dublin Evening Mail of 28th November, 1866 (see REVIEWS/OTHER ARTICLES). He remained unmarried and died at his home in Rockingham, Dalkey, Dublin
Rev Thomas William Herbert (1819 - 1902) studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He was married firstly to Fanny White and secondly, following her death, to Charlotte Christina Miller. At the time of his death on 14th September, 1902, he was the much revered venerable Vicar of Southend as evidenced by the report of his funeral that appeared in the Essex Newman on 27th September, 1902. It was attended by the Bishop of Barking and numerous clergy, the Mayor and Southend Corporation, as well as by his large and devout congregation. He died without issue
Jane Emily Herbert married surgeon Thomas Mills in the Parish of Monkstown on the 11th November, 1858. According to her Church Marriage Record her address was Kingstown at that time, while the address for Thomas is given as Stafodshire. To date not much is known of Thomas, other than his occupation and that he was a son of a Thomas Mills who was recorded as being a Gentleman. They were without issue
Jane Emily Herbert died of heart failure at home in Moryn Lodge, Sorrento Road, Dalkey, Dublin, on the 26 May 1882 Her death certificate records her as having been a widow a the time of her passing.
And so the gentle hand that penned countless poetical patriotic words so that others may feel and understand the depth of her love for the land of her birth and the home of her heart was stilled.
However there remained unpublished works and in 1886 her brother George along with Simpking, Marshal & Co published "A short history of Ireland from the earliest period to the year 1798". And in 1887 George himself lovingly published A short history of Ireland from the year 400 to the year 1829.
Both of the aforementioned can be viewed in the reading room of the National Library of Ireland
Through the years other notable Irish writers that also have a connection to Dalkey are Maeve Binchy and Hugh Leonard