The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

IX. Anglo-Irish Literature

§ 12. Lover

Samuel Lover, a protestant Irishman, took a stand against the Irish verse of his day and made a study, if not a deep one, of his catholic compatriots. Lover has always been compared with Lever, by whom, however, as a recent writer in The Quarterly Review justly says,

  • he was overshadowed. Yet, within his limited sphere, he was a true humourist, and the careless whimsical, illogical aspects of Irish character have seldom been more effectively illustrated than by the author of Handy Andy and The Gridiron. Paddy, as drawn by Lever, succeeds in spite of his drawbacks, much as Brer Rabbit does in the tales of Uncle Remus. Lover’s heroes “liked action but they hated work”; the philosophy of thriftlessness is summed up to perfection in Paddy’s Pastoral Rhapsody:
  • Here’s a health to you, my darlin’
  • Though I’m not worth a farthin’;
  • For when I’m drunk I think I’m rich,
  • I’ve a feather-bed in every ditch.
  • Still, it must be conceded that Lover made a strong step forward as a writer of national songs and stories, even though he cannot be held to possess the style and glamour that characterises some latter day Irish novelists and poets.