September 1679 - 24 October 1718
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Occupation: Poet, Clergyman, Humorist, Literary Historian, Preacher
Parnell is often considered the father of the Graveyard Poets and many believe his poem, Night-Piece on Death, influenced Thomas Gray's, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Some believe Night-Piece on Death was written while Parnell was in grief over the lose of his much-loved wife,
Ann Minchin in 1711.
Jonathan Swift introduced Parnell to the literary scene in London. He was a member of the Scriblerus Club, a group of elite Tory-inclined wits including Swift, Pope, Gay, John Arbuthnot (the Queen's physician) and Harley, which
met in 1713 and 1714 to exchange satirical ideas about contemporary issues.
Parnell, known for his polish, wit, and politeness, was apparently touched by depression. As Samuel Johnson put it, Parnell
was "too much a lover of the bottle." At his death, in 1718, he had published only nine poems. The greater part of the poetry
by which he was known was published by Pope in a select edition of Poems on Several Occasions (dated 1722, but actually
published 7 December 1721).
Further information on Parnell can be found at the following links:
Biography (Literary Encyclopedia) http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5005
Samuel Johnson's Life of Parnell http://www2.hn.psu.edu/Faculty/KKemmerer/poets/parnell/default.html
The Cambridge History of English and American Literature http://188.8.131.52/219/0615.html
Notable Names Database http://www.nndb.com/people/599/000096311
Old Poetry http://oldpoetry.com/authors/Thomas%20Parnell