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Like swallows round a lake.
reached its utmost range; and to all verses bestowing upon it the gift of articulation, and connected with music, from a Birth-day Ode thus enabling it to speak to others all that was down to the libretto of the last new opera, conveyed, in its wordless eloquence, to myself. might fairly be applied the solution which Owing to the space I was led to devote, in our Figaro gives of the quality of the words of last volume, to subjects connected with the songs, in general, —“Ce qui ne vaut pas la Irish Melodies, I was forced to postpone some peine d'être dit, on le chante."
recollections, of a very different description, It may here be suggested that the convivial respecting the gala at Boyle Farm, by which lyrics of Captain Morris present an exception my poem, entitled The Summer Fête, was to the general character I have given of the suggested. In an old letter of my own to a songs of this period ; and, assuredly, had friend in Ireland, giving an account of this Morris written much that at all approached brilliant festival, I find some memorandums the following verses of his “Reasons for which, besides their reference to the subject of Drinking,” (which I quote from recollection,) the poem, contain some incidents also connected few would have equalled him either in fancy, with the first appearance before the public of or in that lighter kind of pathos, which comes, one of the most successful of all my writings, as in this instance, like a few melancholy notes the story of the Epicurean. I shall give my in the middle of a gay air, throwing a soft and extracts from this letter, in their original diarypassing shade over mirth :
like form, without alteration or dressing:
June 30. 1837.— Day threatening for the “My muse, too, when her wings are dry, Fête. Was with Lord Essex* at three o'clock,
No frolic fights will take ;
and started about half an hour after. The
whole road swarming with carriages-and-four If then the nymph must have her share, Before she'll bless her swain,
all the way to Boyle Farm, which Lady de Why, that I think's a reason fair
Roos has lent, for the occasion, to Henry ;To fill my glass again.
the five givers of the Fête, being Lords “ Then, many a lad I lik'd is dead,
Chesterfield, Castlereagh, Alvanley, Henry de And many a lass grown old ;
Roos, and Robert Grosvenor, subscribing four And, as the lesson strikes my head,
The My weary heart grows cold.
or five hundred pounds each towards it. But wine awhile holds off despair
arrangements all in the very best taste. The Nay, bids a hope remain ;
pavilion for quadrilles, on the bank of the river, To fill my glass again.”
with steps descending to the water, quite east
ern-like what one sees in Daniel's pictures. How far my own labours in this field - if, Towards five the élite of the gay world was indeed, the gathering of such idle flowers may assembled -- the women all looking their best, be so designated — have helped to advance, or and scarce a single ugly face to be found. even kept pace with the progressive improve- About half past five, sat down to dinner, 450 ment I have here described, it is not for me to under a tent on the lawn, and fifty to the presume to decide. I only know that in a Royal Table in the conservatory. The Tyrolese strong and inborn feeling for music lies the musicians sung during dinner, and there were, source of whatever talent I may have shown after dinner, gondolas on the river, with for poetical composition; and that it was the Caradori, De Begnis, Velluti, &c., singing effort to translate into language the emotions barcarolles and rowing off occasionally, so as and passions which music appeared to me to to let their voices die away and again return. express, that first led to my writing any poetry After these succeeded a party in dominos, at all deserving of the name. Dryden has Madame Vestris, Fanny Ayton, &c., who happily described music as being “inarticulate rowed about in the same manner, and sung, poetry;" and I have always felt, in adapting among other things, my gondola song, words to an expressive air, that I was but come to me when daylight sets." The evening
And that I think's a reason fair
I cannot let pass the incidental mention here of this social only society, but the cause of sound and progressive Political and public-spirited nobleman, without expressing my strong Reform, has sustained by his death, sense of his kindly qualities, and lamenting the loss which not
Fas delicious, and, as soon as it grew dark, the melody, and require, to justify them, the pregroves were all lighted up with coloured lamps, sence of the music to whose wildness or sweetin different shapes and devices. A little lake ness the sacrifice had been made. near a grotto took my fancy particularly, the In a preceding page of this preface, I have shrubs all round being illuminated, and the mentioned a Treatise by the late Rev. Mr. lights reflected in the water. Six-and-twenty Crowe, on English versification ; and I reof the prettiest girls of the world of fashion, the member his telling me, in reference to the point F****t* rs, Br * d*** lls, De R ** s's, I have just touched upon, that, should another Miss F**ld Miss F * x, Miss R * ss * 11, edition of that work be called for, he meant to Miss B * *ly, were dressed as Rosières, and produce, as examples of new and anomalous opened the quadrilles in the pavilion forms of versification, the following songs from
• While talking with D-n (Lord P.'s the Irish Melodies :- .“ Oh the days are gone brother), he said to me, “I never read any when Beauty bright”—“At the dead hour of thing so touching as the death of your heroine." night, when stars are weeping, I fly,”—and, ** What!” said I,“ have you got so far already?”† Through grief and through danger thy smile “Oh, I read it in the Literary Gazette.” This hath cheer'd my way." 1 anticipation of my catastrophe is abominable. Soon after, the Marquis P_Im—a, said to me, as he and I and B-m stood together, looking at the gay scene,
“ This is like one of your Fêtes.” “Oh yes," said B—m, thinking he alluded to Lalla Rookh, “ quite oriental.”
PREFACE * Non, non," replied P-\m-a, “je veux dire cette Fète d'Athènes, dont j'ai lu la description dans la Gazette d'aujourd'hui."
THE SIXTH VOLUME. Respecting the contents of the present Volame I have but a few more words to add. The Poem, or Romance, of Lalla Rooka, Accustomed as I have always been to consider having now reached its twentieth edition, a my songs as a sort of compound creations, in short account of the origin and progress of which the music forms no less essential a part a work which has been hitherto, at least, so very than the verses, it is with a feeling which I fortunate in its course, may not be deemed, can hardly expect my unlyrical readers to un- perhaps, superfluous or misplaced. derstand, that I see such a swarm of songs It was about the year 1812 that, impelled as crowd these pages all separated from the far more by the encouraging suggestions of beautiful airs which have formed hitherto their friends than impelled by any confident promptchief ornament and strength — their “decus et ings of my own ambition, I was induced to tutamen.” But, independently of this uneasy attempt a Poem upon some Oriental subject, feeling, or fancy, there is yet another incon- and of those quarto dimensions which Scott's venient consequence of the divorce of the words late triumphs in that form had then rendered from the music, which will be more easily, per- the regular poetical standard. A negotiation haps, comprehended, and which, in justice to on the subject was opened with the Messrs. myself, as a metre-monger, ought to be noticed. Longman in the same year, but, from some Those occasional breaches of the laws of rhythm, causes which have now escaped my recollection, which the task of adapting words to airs de- led to no decisive result ; nor was it till a year mands of the poet, though very frequently one or two after, that any further steps were taken of the happiest results of his skill, become in the matter, - their house being the only blemishes when the verse is separated from the one, it is right to add, with which, from first to
The Epicurean had been published but the day before. been ventured upon (and they are but few and slight), the : 1 shall avail myself of this opportunity of noticing the responsibility for them rests solely with me; as, leaving the charge brought by Mr. Bunting against Sir John Stevenson, Harmonist's department to my friend Stevenson, I reserved of baring made alterations in many of the airs that formed to myself entirely the selection and management of the airs. our Irish Collection. Whatever changes of this kind have
last, I held any communication upon the sub- having made some progress in my task, I wrote ject.
to report the state of the work to the Messrs. On this last occasion, an old friend of mine, Longman, adding, that I was now most willing Mr. Perry, kindly offered to lend me the aid of and ready, should they desire it, to submit the his advice and presence in the interview which manuscript for their consideration. Their I was about to hold with the Messrs. Longman, answer to this offer was as follows:-“We are for the arrangement of our mutual terms; and certainly impatient for the perusal of the Poem; what with the friendly zeal of my negotiator but solely for our gratification. Your sention the one side, and the prompt and liberal ments are always honourable."* spirit with which he was met on the other, I continued to pursue my task for another there has seldom occurred any transaction in year, being likewise occasionally occupied with which Trade and Poesy have shone out so the Irish Melodies, two or three numbers of advantageously in each other's eyes. The which made their appearance, during the period short discussion that then took place, between employed in writing Lalla Rookh. At length, the two parties, may be comprised in a very in the year 1816, I found my work sufficiently few sentences. “I am of opinion," said Mr. advanced to be placed in the hands of the pubPerry, -enforcing his view of the case by lishers. But the state of distress to which arguments which it is not for me to cite, — England was reduced, in that dismal year, by " that Mr. Moore ought to receive for his Poem the exhausting effects of the series of wars she the largest price that has been given, in our had just then concluded, and the general day, for such a work.” “That was," answered embarrassment of all classes, both agricultural the Messrs. Longman,“three thousand guineas." and commercial, rendered it a juncture the * Exactly so," replied Mr. Perry," and no less least favourable that could well be conceived a sum ought he to receive."
for the first launch into print of so light and It was then objected, and very reasonably, costly a venture as Lalla Rookh. Feeling conon the part of the firm, that they had never scious, therefore, that, under such circumyet seen a single line of the Poem; and that a stances, I should act but honestly in putting it perusal of the work ought to be allowed to in the power of the Messrs. Longman to rethem, before they embarked so large a sum in consider the terms of their engagement with the purchase. But, no ;—the romantic view me, — leaving them free to postpone, modify, which my friend, Perry, took of the matter, or even, should such be their wish, relinquish it was, that this price should be given as a tribute altogether, I wrote them a letter to that effect, to reputation already acquired, without any and received the following answer :-“We condition for a previous perusal of the new shall be most happy in the pleasure of seeing work. This high tone, I must confess, not you in February. We agree with you, indeed, a little startled and alarmed me; but, to the that the times are most inauspicious for 'poetry honour and glory of Romance, -as well on and thousands ;' but we believe that your the publisher's side as the poet's, — this very poetry would do more than that of any other generous view of the transaction was, without living poet at the present moment." † any difficulty, acceded to, and the firm agreed, The length of time I employed in writing before we separated, that I was to receive three the few stories strung together in Lalla Rookh thousand guineas for my Poem.
will appear, to some persons, much more than At the time of this agreement, but little of was necessary for the production of such casy the work, as it stands at present, had yet been and“ light o'love" fictions. But, besides that written. But the ready confidence in my suc- I have been, at all times, a far more slow and cess shown by others, made up for the deficiency pains-taking workman than would ever be of that requisite feeling, within myself; while guessed, I fear, from the result, I felt that, a strong desire not wholly to disappoint this in this instance, I had taken upon myself a
auguring hope," became almost a substitute more than ordinary responsibility, from the for inspiration. In the year 1815, therefore, immense stake risked by others on my chance
of success. For a long time, therefore, after Fain would I fly from mortal sight
To my own sweet bowers of Peristan; the agreement bad been concluded, though
But, there, the Rowers are all too bright generally at work with a view to this task, I
For the eyes of a baby born of man. made but very little real progress in it, and I
On Bowers of earth her feet must tread;
So hither my light-wing'd bark hath brought her ; have still by me the beginnings of several
Stranger, spread stories, continued, some of them, to the length
Thy leaflest bed,
To rest the wandering Peri's daughter. of three or four hundred lines, which, after in vain endeavouring to mould them into shape,
In another of these inchoate fragments, a I threw aside, like the tale of Cambuscan, “left proud female saint, named Banou, plays a half-told.” One of these stories, entitled The principal part; and her progress through the Peri's Daughter, was meant to relate the loves streets of Cufa, on the night of a great illumiof a nymph of this aërial extraction with a nated festival, I find thus described :youth of mortal race, the rightful Prince of It was a scene of mirth that drew
A smile from ev'n the Saint Banou, Ormuz, who had been, from his infancy, brought
As, through the hush'd, admiring throng, up, in seclusion, on the banks of the river
She went with stately steps along, Amou, by an aged guardian named Mohassan. And counted o'er, that all might see,
The rubies of her rosary. The story opens with the first meeting of these
But none might see the worldly smile destined lovers, then in their childhood ; the That lurk'd beneath her veil, the while:Peri having wafted her daughter to this holy
Alla forbid ! for, who would wait
Her blessing at the temple's gate, retreat, in a bright, enchanted boat, whose first
What holy man would ever run appearance is thus described :
To kiss the ground she knelt upon,
She look'd and smil'd as others do.
Her hands were join'd, and from each wrist
By threads of pearl and golden twist
Hung relics of the saints of yore,
And scraps of talismanic lore,
Charms for the old, the sick, the frail,
Some made for use, and all for sale.
On either side, the crowd withdrew,
To let the Saint pass proudly through ;
While turban'd heads, of every hue,
Green, white, and crimson, bow'd around,
And gay tiaras touch'd the ground, -
As tulip-bells, when o'er their beds
The musk-wind passes, bend their heads.
Nay, some there were, among the crowd
Of Moslem heads that round her bow'd,
So fill'd with zeal, by many a draught
Or Shiraz wine profanely quaff'd,
That, sinking low in reverence then,
They never rose till morn again.
There are yet two more of these unfinished
sketches, one of which extends to a much With which, from time to time, she stirr'd The fragrant air, and coolly fann'd
greater length than I was aware of; and, as The baby's brow, or brush'd away
far as I can judge from a hasty renewal of my The butterflies that, bright and blue
acquaintance with it, is not incapable of being As on the mountains of Malay, Around the sleeping infant few.
yet turned to account. And now the fairy boat hath stopp'd
In only one of these unfinished sketches, the Beside the bank, – the nymph has dropp'd tale of The Peri's Daughter, had I yet ventured Her golden anchor in the stream ;
to invoke that most home-felt of all my inspir
ations, which has lent to the story of The A song is sung by the Peri in approaching, Fire-worshippers its main attraction and inteof which the following forms a part:- rest. That it was my intention, in the conMy child she is but half divine,
cealed Prince of Ormuz, to shadow out some Her father sleeps in the Caspian water ;
impersonation of this feeling, I take for granted Sea-weeds twine His funeral shrine,
from the prophetic words supposed to be adBut he lives again in the Peri's daughter.
dressed to him by his aged guardian :
Bright child of destiny ! even now
great was my pleasure, when told by the late I read the promise on that brow, That tyrants shall no more defile
Sir James Mackintosh, that he was once asked The glories of the Green-Sea Isle,
by Colonel Wilks, the historian of British But Ormuz shall again be free,
India, “ whether it was true that Moore had And hail her pative Lord in thee!
never been in the East?” “Never," answered In none of the other fragments do I find any Mackintosh. “Well, that shows me," replied trace of this sort of feeling, either in the sub- Colonel Wilks, " that reading over D'Herbelot ject or the personages of the intended story; is as good as riding on the back of a camel.” and this was the reason, doubtless, though I need hardly subjoin to this lively speech, hardly known, at the time, to myself, that, that although D'Herbelot's valuable work was, finding my subjects so slow in kindling my of course, one of my manuals, I took the whole own sympathies, I began to despair of their range of all such Oriental reading as was accesever touching the hearts of others; and felt sible to me; and became, for the time, indeed, often inclined to say,
far more conversant with all relating to that
distant region, than I have ever been with the " Oh no, I have no voice or hand For such a song, in such a land."
scenery, productions, or modes of life of any of
those countries lying most within my reach. Had this series of disheartening experiments We know that D'Anville, though never in his been carried on much further, I must have life out of Paris, was able to correct a number thrown aside the work in despair. But, at of errors in a plan of the Troad taken by De last, fortunately, as it proved, the thought Choiseul, on the spot; and, for my own very occurred to me of founding a story on the different, as well as far inferior, purposes, the fierce struggle so long maintained between knowledge I had thus acquired of distant lothe Ghebers *, or ancient Fire-worshippers of calities, seen only by me in day-dreams, was Persia, and their haughty Moslem masters. no less ready and useful. From that moment, a new and deep interest in An ample reward for all this painstaking has my whole task took possession of me. The been found in such welcome tributes as I have cause of tolerance was again my inspiring just cited ; nor can I deny myself the gratificatheme; and the spirit that had spoken in the tion of citing a few more of the same descripmelodies of Ireland soon found itself at home tion. From another distinguished authority on in the East.
Eastern subjects, the late Sir John Malcolm, I Having thus laid open the secrets of the had myself the pleasure of hearing a similar workshop to account for the time expended in opinion publicly expressed; - that eminent perwriting this work, I must also, in justice to my son having remarked, in a speech spoken by own industry, notice the pains I took in long him at a Literary Fund Dinner, that together and laboriously reading for it. To form a store- with those qualities of the poet which he much house, as it were, of illustration purely Oriental, too partially assigned to me was combined also and so familiarise myself with its various trea- “ the truth of the historian." sures, that, as quick as Fancy, in her airy Sir William Ouseley, another high authority, spiritings, required the assistance of fact, the in giving his testimony to the same effect, thus memory was ready, like another Ariel, at her notices an exception to the general accuracy “strong bidding,” to furnish materials for the for which he gives me credit :—“ Dazzled by spell-work,—such was, for a long while, the the beauties of this composition t, few readers sole object of my studies; and whatever time can perceive, and none surely can regret, that and trouble this preparatory process may have the poet, in his agnificent catastrophe, has cost me, the effects resulting from it, as far as forgotten, or boldly and most happily violated, the humble merit of truthfulness is concerned, the precept of Zoroaster, above noticed, which have been such as to repay me more than suffi- held it impious to consume any portion of a ciently for my pains. I have not forgotten how human body by fire, especially by that which
• Voltaire, in his tragedy of “Les Gudbres," written with ques figuristes," he says, “prétendent que les Guèbres sont a similar under-current of meaning, was accused of having les Jansenistes." transformed his Fire-worshippers into Jansenists : - “Quel. † The Fire-worshippers.