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MOORE. Mr. Moore was a native of Dublin, born on the 28th of May 1779. He early began to rhyme, and a sonnet to his schoolmaster, Mr. Samuel Whyte, written in his fourteenth year, was published in a Dublin magazine, * to which he contributed other pieces. The parents of our poet were Roman Catholics, a body then proscribed and depressed by penal enactments, and they seem to have been of the number who, to use his own words,“ hailed the first dazzling outbreak of the French Revolution as a signal to the slave, wherever suffering, that the day of his deliverance was near at hand.' The poet states that in 1792 he was taken by his father to one of the dinners given in honour of that great event, and sat upon the knee of the chairman while the following toast was enthusiastically sent round: May the breezes from France fan our Irish Oak into verdure.' Parliament having, in 1793, opened the university to Catholics, young Moore was sent to college, and distinguished himself by his classical acquirements. In 1799, he proceeded to London to study law in the Middle Temple, and publish by subcription a translation of Anacreon. The latter appeared in the following year, dedicated to the Prince of Wales. At a subsequent period Mr. Moore was among the keenest satirists of this prince, for which he has been accused of ingratitude; but he states himself that the whole amount of his obligations to his royal highness was the honour of dining twice at Carlton House, and being admitted to a great fete given by the prince in 1811 on his being made regent. In 1801, Moore ventured on a volume of original verse, put forth under the assumed name of * Thomas Little '--an allusion to his diminutive stature. In these pieces the warmth of the young poet's feelings and imagination led him to trespass on delicacy and decorum. He had the good sense to be ashamed of these amatory juvenilia, and genius enough to redeem the fault. His offence did not stand in the way of his preferment. In 1803 Mr. Moore obtained an official situation at Bermuda, the duties of which were discharged by a deputy; and this subordinate proving unfaithful, the poet suffered pecuniary losses and great embarrassment. Its first effect however, was two volumes of poetry, a series of Odes and Epistles,' published in 1806, and written during an absence of fourteen months from Europe, while the author visited Bermuda. The descriptive sketches in this work are remarkable for their fidelity, no less than their poetical beauty. The style of Moore was now formed, and in all his writings there was nothing finer than the opening epistle to Lord Strangford, written on board ship by moonlight:
* Mr. Whyte was also the teacher of Sheridan, and it is curious to learn that, after about a year's trial. Sherry was pronounced, both by tutor and parent, to be an in corrigible dunce! 'At the time,' says Mr. Moore, 'when I first began to attend his school. Mr. Whyte still continued, to the no small alarm of many parents, to encourage a taste for acting among his pupils. In this line I was long his favourite shou-scholar; and among the play-bills introduced in bis volume, to illustrate the occasions of his own prologues and epilogues, there is one of a play got up in the year 1790, at Lady Borrowes's private theatre in Dublin. where. among the items of the evening's entertainment, is "An Epilogue, A Squeeze to St. Paul's, Master Moore.''
ate theatre in Dihlin there is one of a plane to illustrate the chou-scholar; and
Mitems of the eve year 1790, ocasions of his cand A Moonlight Scene at sea. Sweet moon! if, like Crotona's sage, And lights them with consoling gleam, By any spell my hand could dare
And smiles them into tranquil sleep. To make thy disk its ample page,
Oh! such a blessed night as this And write my thougats, my wishes I often think, if friends were near, there;
How should we feel, and gaze with bliss How many a friend, whose careless eye Upon the moon-bright scenery here! Now wanders o'er that starry sky,
The sea is like a silvery lake, Should smile, upon thy orb to meet
And o'er its calm the vessel glides The recollection kind and sweet,
Gently, as if it feared to wake The reveries of fond regret,
The slumber of the silent tides ! The promise never to forget,
The only envious cloud that lowers, And all my heart and soul would send Hath hung its shade on Pico's height, To many a dear-loved, distant friend. ... Where dimly 'mid the dusk he towers, Even now, delusive hope will steal
And, scowling at this heaven of light, Amid the dark regrets I feel,
Exults to see the infant storm
Cling darkly round his giant form!
Canadian Boat Song.
The rapids are near, and the daylight's past. Mr. Moore now became a satirist, attempting first the grave serious style, in which he failed, but succeeding beyond almost any other poet in light satire, verses on the topics of the day, lively and pungent, with abundance of humorous and witty illustration. The man of the world, the scholar, and the poetical artist are happily blended in his satirical productions, with a rich and playful fancy. His “Twopenny Postbag,' The Fudge Family in Paris,' • Fables for the Holy Alliance,' and numerous small pieces written for the newspapers, to serve the cause of the Whig or Liberal party, are not excelled in their own peculiar walk by any satirical composition in the language. It is difficult to select a specimen of these; but the following contains a proportion of the wit and poignancy distributed over all. It appeared at a time when an abundance of mawkish reminiscences and memoirs had been showered from the press.
No matter which party, so faithful to neither;
Can manage, like . . . [Southey), to do without either.
Your jail is for travellers a charming retreat ;
And sail round the world, at their ease, in the Fleet.
He can study high life in the King's Bench commun
And of place he, at least, must adhere to the unity.
To have good · Reminiscences' (threescore or higher),
And the spelling and grammar both found by the bayer.
So they'll only remember the quantum desired;
Price twenty-four shillings, is all that's required.
Like Didbin, may tell of each fanciful frolic;
That ginger-beer cakes always give them the colic.
All excellent subjects for turning a penny;
For attaining at last the least knowledge of any.
The material within of small consequence is ;
Why—that's the concern of the reader, not his.
That Horace, as clearly as words could express it,
When he wrote thus—Quodcunque in Fund is, assess it.**
As early as 1806, Mr. Moore entered upon his noble poetical and patriotic task-writing lyrics for the ancient music of his native country. His “Irish Songs' displayed a fervour and pathos not found in his earlier works, with the most exquisite melody and purity of diction. An accomplished musician himself, it was the effort, he relates, to translate into language the emotions and passions which music appeared to him to express, that first led to his writing any poetry worthy of the name. Dryden,' he adds,'has happily described music as being "inarticulate poetry:" and I have always felt, in adapting words to an expressive air, that I was bestowing upon it the gift of articulation, and thus enabling it to speak to others all that was conveyed, in its wordless eloquence, to myself.' Part of the inspiration must also be attributed to national feelings. The old airs were consecrated to recollections of the ancient glories, the valour, beauty, or sufferings of Ireland, and became inseparably connected with such associations. Of the Irish Melodies,' in connection with Mr. Moore's songs, ten parts were published. Without detracting from the merits of the rest, it appears to us very forcibly, that the particular ditties in which he hints at the woes of his native country, and transmutes into verse the breathings of its unfortunate patriots, are the most real in feeling, and therefore the best. This particularly applies to · When he who adores thee;' Oh, blame not the bard; and “Oh, breathe not his name;' the first of which, referring evidently to the fate of Mr. Emmet, is as follows: In 1817 Mr. Moore produced his most elaborate poem, "Lalla Rookh,' an oriental romance, the accuracy of which, as regards topographical, antiquarian, and characteristic details, has been vouched by numerous competent authorities. The poetry is brilliant and gorgeous-rich to excess with imagery and ornament-and oppressive from its very sweetness and splendour. Of the four tales which, connected by a slight narrative, like the ballad stories in Hogg's "Queen's Wake,' constitute the entire poem, the most simple is Paradise and the Peri,' and it is the one most frequently read and remembered. Still, the first-'The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan'-though improbable and extravagant as a fiction, is a poem of great energy and power. The genius of the poet moves with grace and freedom under his load of Eastern magnificence, and the reader is fascinated by his prolific fancy, and the scenes of loveliness and splendour which are depicted with such vividness and truth. Hazlitt says that Moore should not have written 'Lalla Rookh,' even for three thousand guineas—the price understood to be paid by the booksellers for the copyright. But if not a great poem, it is a marvellous work of art, and contains paintings of local scenery and manners, unsurpassed for fidelity and picturesque effect. The patient research and extensive reading required to gather the materials, would have damped the spirit and extinguished the fancy of almost any other poet. It was amidst the snows of two or three Derbyshire winters, he says, while living in a lone cottage among the fields, that he was enabled, by that concentration of thought which retirement alone gives, to call up around him some of the sunniest of those Eastern scenes which have since been welcomed in India itself as almost native to its clime. The poet was a diligent student, and his oriental reading was 'as good as riding on the back of a camel.' The romance of Vathek' alone equals 'Lalla Rookh,' among English fictions, in local fidelity and completeness as an Eastern tale. Some touches of sentiment and description have the grace and polish of ancient cameos. Thus, of retired beauty:
* According to the common reading, Quodcunque infundis, acescit.' (A punning travesty of a maxim, Ep.ii., b.i., which Francis renders-For tainted vessels sour what hey contain.')
When he who adores thee has left but the name
Of his fault and his sorrows behind,
Of a life that for thee was resigned ?
Thy tears shall efface their decree;
I have been but too faithful to thee!
Every thought of my reason was thine;
Thy name shall be mingled with mine!
The days of thy glory to see ;
Is the pride of thus dying for thee! Next to the patriotic songs stand those in which a moral reflection is conveyed in that metaphorical form which only Moore has been able to realise in lyrics for music-as in the following example:
Irish Melody-'I saw from the Beach.'
A bark o'er the waters move gloriously on;
The bark was still there, but the waters were gone.
So passing the spring-tide of joy we have known;
And leaves us, at eve, on the bleak shore alone.
The close of our day, the calm eve of our night;
Her clouds and her tears are worth evening's best light.
When passion first waked a new life through his frame,
Beauty. Oh, what a pure and sacred thing
Where through some shades of earthly Is Beauty, curtained from the sight
feeling, Of the gross world, Sillumining
Religion's softened glories shine, One only mansion with her light ! Like light through summer foliage Unseen by man's disturbing eye
Hid in more chaste obscurity. ... As makes the very darkness there
Or this picture of nature after a summer storm, closing with a rich voluptuous simile:
Nature after a Storm. How calm, how beautiful, comes on And clouds, beneath the glancing ray, The stilly hour when storms are gone; Melt off, and leave the land and sea When warring winds have died away, Sleeping in bright tranquility