Lover was born at number 60 Grafton Street, Dublin and went to school at Samuel Whyte's at 79 Grafton Street, now home to Bewley's cafe. By 1830 he was secretary of the Royal Hibernian Academy and lived at number 9 D'Olier Street. He eventually moved to London and made his main residence there.
Lover produced a number of Irish songs, of which several – including The Angel's Whisper, Molly Bawn, and The Four-leaved Shamrock – attained great popularity. He also wrote novels, of which Rory O'Moore (in its first form a ballad), and Handy Andy are the best known, and short Irish sketches which, with his songs, he combined into a popular entertainment called Irish Nights. He joined with Charles Dickens in founding Bentley's Magazine.
When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. — Samuel Lover
Lover's grandson was composer Victor Herbert whose mother was Lover's daughter Fanny. Irish born and German raised, Herbert is best known for his many successful operettas that premiered on Broadway. As a child he stayed with the Lovers in a musical environment following the death of his father.
Death and legacy
Lover died on July 6, 1868. A memorial in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin summarises his achievements—
Poet, painter, novelist and composer, who, in the exercise of a genius as distinguished in its versatility as in its power, by his pen and pencil illustrated so happily the characteristics of the peasantry of his country that his name will ever be honourably identified with Ireland.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource
- Samuel Lover (Anglo-Irish novelist, songwriter, and painter) Encyclopaedia Britannica.
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- Works by Samuel Lover at Project Gutenberg
- Free scores by Samuel Lover in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)