Page images


And 'gan to question him, and catechize
As to which way the drink went :
Still the same dogged answers rise -

"The flies, my Lord! the flies, the flies!"

"Psha!" quoth the judge, half peevish and half pompous,

"Why, you're non compos;

You should have watched the bowl, as she desired,

And killed the flies, you stupid clown."
"What! is it lawful, then," the dolt inquired,
"To kill the flies in this here town?"

“The man's an ass! a pretty question this!
Lawful, you booby? To be sure it is.
You've my authority, whene'er you meet 'em,
To kill the rogues, and, if you like it, eat 'em.”
"Zooks!" cried the rustic, "I'm right glad to hear it.
Constable, catch that thief! May I go hang,
If yonder blue-bottle- I know his face-
Isn't the very leader of the gang

That stole the cream! Let me come near it."
This said, he started from his place,

And, aiming one of his sledge-hammer blows
At a large fly upon the judge's nose,
The luckles blue-bottle he smashed,
And gratified a double grudge;
For the same catapult completely mashed
The bottle nose belonging to the judge.


Thomas Moore was born in Dublin in 1779, and was educated in the university of that city. He went to London in 1799 to read law, and the year after published his translation of Anacreon. His first original poems were published under the name of Thomas Little; they were grossly indelicate, and the poet, it is believed, was afterwards quite ashamed of them. He was soon after sent to Bermuda in an official capacity, and remained there over a year, during which time his pen was busy. On his return he wrote several pungent polit ical satires in the interest of the Whig party. Next appeared his best and most famous productions, the Irish Melodies, which are pervaded by an intense national feeling, and marked by an uncommon felicity of phrase, as well as by a strong musical rhythm. They were written for favorite native airs, and are now firmly established among the folk-songs of Ireland.

Lalla Rookh was published in 1817. It is full of Oriental learning,

-rather overladen

with it, in fact,

but the story connecting the several parts is gracefully told, and there are many passages of great beauty and power throughout the whole poem. An occasional preference for tinsel, in place of bullion, easily passed over by romantic persons of a certain age, gives the maturer critic a twinge in reading; and it may be pretty safely assumed that in any house the copy of Lalla Rookh, in which the gray-beard once delighted, has now found its way into the book-shelves of the coming generation.

Moore made a visit to Paris in company with Rogers, and, two years later, travelled to Italy with Lord John Russell, at which time he visited Lord Byron in Venice. Returning, he stopped at Paris, and remained there until 1822. His subsequent works were, The Loves of the Angels, an Eastern story; the Life of Byron, and the Life of Sheridan, and The Epicurean. A complete edition of his works, in ten volumes, was issued in 1842. He died in 1852-dying, as Dean Swift said, like a cedar, from the top downwards. Moore certainly possessed many remarkable traits of mind; but he was animated rather than brilliant, fanciful rather than imaginative, prone to indulge in a tawdry excess of ornament, and in a juvenile exuberance of feeling which seems an affectation, whether real or not. But on his native soil his step was firm and his eye clear. His patriotic songs are not only the best in Ireland's history, but they may challenge comparison with those of any nation.

The poet was an amiable person, fond of society, and especially proud of his titled friends. His Memoirs, edited by Lord John Russell, from which much was expected, proved to be quite void of interest.


ONE morn a Peri at the gate
Of Eden stood disconsolate,
And as she listened to the Springs
Of Life within, like music flowing,
And caught the light upon her wings

Through the half-open portal glowing,
She wept to think her recreant race
Should e'er have lost that glorious place.

"How happy," exclaimed this child of air,
"Are the holy spirits who wander there,

'Mid flowers that never shall fade or fall:
Though mine are the gardens of earth and sea,
And the stars themselves have flowers for me,

One blossom of heaven out-blooms them all.

"Though sunny the lake of cool Cashmere,
With its plane-tree isle reflected clear,

And sweetly the founts of that valley fall;
Though bright are the waters of Sing-su-hay,
And the golden floods that thitherward stray;
Yet, O! 'tis only the blest can say

How the waters of heaven outshine them all.

"Go, wing thy flight from star to star, From world to luminous world, as far

As the universe spreads its flaming wall; Take all the pleasures of all the spheres, And multiply each through endless years —

One minute of heaven is worth them all."

The glorious Angel who was keeping
The Gates of Light beheld her weeping;
And, as he nearer drew, and listened
To her sad song, a tear-drop glistened
Within his eyelids, like the spray

From Eden's fountain, when it lies
On the blue flower, which Bramins say
Blooms nowhere but in Paradise.1

"Nymph of a fair but erring line," Gently he said, "one hope is thine. 'Tis written in the Book of Fate,

'The Peri yet may be forgiven Who brings to this eternal gate

The gift that is most dear to Heaven.'

Go, seek it, and redeem thy sin :
'Tis sweet to let the pardoned in."

Rapidly as comets run

To the embraces of the Sun,
Fleeter than the starry brands
Flung at night from angel hands
At those dark and daring sprites
Who would climb the empyreal heights,
Down the blue vault the Peri flies,

And, lighted earthward by a glance
That just then broke from morning's eyes,
Hung hovering o'er our world's expanse.

But whither shall the Spirit go
To find this gift for Heaven? "I know
The wealth," she cries, "of every urn,
In which unnumbered rubies burn,

1 The blue campac.


Beneath the pillars of Chilminar ;1

I know where the Isles of Perfume are,
Many a fathom down in the sea,
To the south of sun-bright Araby;

I know, too, where the genii hid
The jewelled cup of their King Jamshid,
With Life's elixir sparkling high;

But gifts like these are not for the sky.
Where was there ever a gem that shone
Like the steps of Alla's wonderful throne?
And the Drops of Life-O, what would they be
In the boundless deep of eternity!"

While thus she mused, her pinions fanned
The air of that sweet Indian land
Whose air is balm, whose ocean spreads
O'er coral rocks and amber beds;
Whose mountains, pregnant by the beam
Of the warm sun, with diamonds teem;
Whose rivulets are like rich brides,
Lovely, with gold beneath their tides;
Whose sandal groves and bowers of spice
Might be a Peri's paradise;

But crimson now her rivers ran

With human blood; the smell of death
Came reeking from those spicy bowers,
And man, the sacrifice of man,

Mingled his taint with every breath
Upwafted from the innocent flowers.
Land of the Sun, what foot invades
Thy pagods and thy pillared shades,"
Thy cavern shrines, and idol stones,
Thy monarchs and their thousand thrones ?
'Tis he of Gazna: 3 fierce in wrath

[blocks in formation]

1 The ruins of Persepolis.

2 The banyan tree. 3 Mahmood, conqueror of India.

Maidens within their pure Zenana,
Priests in the very fane he slaughters,
And chokes up with the glittering wrecks
Of golden shrines the sacred waters.
Downward the Peri turns her gaze,
And through the war-field's bloody haze
Beholds a youthful warrior stand

Alone beside his native river,
The red blade broken in his hand,

And the last arrow in his quiver.
"Live," said the conqueror, "live to share
The trophies and the crowns I bear."
Silent that youthful warrior stood —
Silent he pointed to the flood
All crimson with his country's blood,
Then sent his last remaining dart,
For answer, to the invader's heart.

False flew the shaft, though pointed well;
The tyrant lived, the hero fell;
Yet marked the Peri where he lay,

And, when the rush of war was past,
Swiftly descending on a ray

Of morning light, she caught the last, Last glorious drop his heart had shed Before its free-born spirit fled.


"Be this," she cried, as she winged her flight,
My welcome gift at the Gates of Light.
Though foul are the drops that oft distil

On the field of warfare, blood like this,
For liberty shed, so holy is,

It would not stain the purest rill

That sparkles among the Bowers of Bliss. O, if there be on this earthly sphere

A boon, an offering Heaven holds dear,

'Tis the last libation Liberty draws

From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause."

"Sweet," said the Angel, as she gave

The gift into his radiant hand,

« PreviousContinue »