Section 1: History
Section 2: Literature
Section 3: Philosophy
Section 4: Creative
Given the profound impact of Patrick Thornhart’s advent in our lives, through his dynamic personality, seductive voice, and overwhelmingly physical presence, it is only natural that our curiosity to know more about this enigmatic man has been greatly aroused. Still, while Professor Thornhart has generously acquainted us with the likes of W. B. Yeats and Thomas Wyatt (and for those to whom these writers were previously strangers, that is quite a gift), we yearn to hear more of his own words.
Because he considers himself such a simple man (despite his many talents), he prefers to let the poets speak for him. Fortunately, however, we have been made privy to the following information that he has revealed about his past.
As a boy, Patrick Thornhart experienced the humiliation of growing up in Ireland as the son of "servants" (the disdainful term still then in use by the unenlightened) on a large estate belonging to the wealthy Anglo/Irish industrialist, Lord Smithson-Hyde. Patrick’s mother was employed as the cook, and Thornhart Senior worked in the stables. While he taught his volatile son the love of horses, young Patrick also learned another lesson... he realized at an early age that the life of a "servant" was not for him! His youthful pride forbade him bowing and scraping to the "master"; he refused to demean himself in such a fashion.
Fortunately, Patrick had a devoted mentor in Sister Bridget, his teacher at the parish school. Because she was so tiny, the students dubbed her "Sister Birdie," but she encouraged them to talk back to her. "It means I’m not teaching a flock of sheep," she would say.
Although Patrick’s stubborn nature seemed to belong more to a goat than a sheep - he found himself always butting his head - Sister Birdie saw something more in him - a spark of unusual creativity. "Never in my life did I meet a lad as moony as you. Patrick Thornhart, are you counting stars again?" she would constantly ask.
It was Sister Birdie who took the young savage in hand and educated him to the realization that a poem "is making your imagination paint pictures inside of your head." This was a grand thing, he knew, and he was never to forget it.
Patrick hated injustice - it made his stomach turn to see his "da" grovel to Lord Smithson-Hyde, and he was often in trouble in school. His attitude resulted in many fights, a price he was willing to pay. Sister Birdie, however, was able to teach Patrick to win battles with his words instead of with his fists. She found Patrick to be an apt pupil, and he credits her entirely for the fulfillment of his aspirations to go to university and become a brilliant scholar.
May we all have a Sister Birdie in our lives to inspire us to great undertakings!