« ForrigeFortsæt »
And beckon to the sable shore,
supposition of which is at every one's command ; and And grimly bid us--drink no More!
characters, sublime in one respect, as they are conWe here terminate the Biographical part of our temptible in another, are viewed under this one sketch; and, after a few introductory and general re- aspect. The man, the poet, the philosopher, are marks, shall proceed to take a critical review of our blended, and the attributes of each applied to all author's principal works, including some interesting without distinction. One person inquires the name sketches and anecdotes of ancient minstrelsy, illus- of a poet, because he is a reasoner; another, because trative of the “Irish Melodies."
he is mad; another, because he is conceited. JohnMoore is not, like Wordsworth or Coleridge, the son's assertion is taken for granted—that genius is poet's poet; nor is it necessary, in order to enjoy his but great natural power directed towards a particular writings, that we should create a taste for them other object : thus all are reduced to the same scale, and than what we received from nature and education. measured by the same standard. This fury of comYet his style is condemned as tinsel and artificial, parison knows no bounds; its abettors, at the same whereas the great praise bestowed on those preferred time that they reserve to themselves the full advanto it is, that they are the only true natural.-Now if tage of dormant merit, make no such allowance to it requires study and progressive taste to arrive at a established authors. They judge them rigidly by their sense of the natural, and but common feeling to enjoy pages, assume that their love of fame and emolument the beauties of the artificial, then certainly these names would not allow them to let any talent be idle, and have changed places since we met them in the dic- will not hear any arguments advanced for their unex. tionary.
pected capabilities. Formerly, people were ontent with estimating The simplest and easiest effort of the mind is books-persons are the present objects universally. egotism,—it is but baring one's own breast, disclosing It is not the pleasure or utility a volume affords, which its curious mechanism, and giving exaggerated exis taken into consideration, but the genius which it pressions to every-day feeling. Yet no productions indicates. Each person is anxious to form his scale have met with such success ;-what authors can comof excellence, and to range great names, living or pete, as to popularity, with Montaigne, Byron, Rousdead, at certain intervals and in different grades, self seau ? Yet we cannot but believe that there have being the hidden centre whither all the comparisons been thousands of men in the world who could have verge. In former times works of authors were com- walked the same path, and perhaps met with the same posed with ideal or ancient models,—the humble success, if they had had the same confidence. Pascrowd of readers were content to peruse and admire. sionate and reflecting minds are not so rare as we At present it is otherwise,-every one is conscious of suppose, but the boldness that sets at nought society having either written, or at least having been able to is. Nor could want of courage be the only obstacle : write a book, and consequently all literary decisions there are, and have been, we trust, many who would affect them personally :
not exchange the privacy of their mental sanctuary,
for the indulgence of spleen, or the feverish dream of Scribendi nibil a me alienum puto,
popular celebrity. And if we can give credit for this is the language of the age; and the most insignificant power to the many who have lived unknown and calculate on the wonders they might have effected, shunned publicity, how much more must we not be had chance thrown a pen in their way.—The literary inclined to allow to him of acknowledged genius, and character has, in fact, extended itself over the whole who has manifested it in works of equal beauty, and face of society, with all the evils that D’Israeli has of greater merit, inasmuch as they are removed from enumerated, and ten times more--it has spread its self? It has been said by a great living author and fibres through all ranks, sexes, and ages. There no poet,* that “the choice of a subject, removed from longer exists what writers used to call a public—that self, is the test of genius.” disinterested tribunal has long since merged in the
These considerations ought, at least, to prevent us body it used to try. Put your finger on any head in from altogether merging a writer's genius in his a crowd—it belongs to an author, or the friend of one, works, and from using the name of the poem and that and your great authors are supposed to possess a of the poet indifferently. For our part, we think that quantity of communicable celebrity: an intimacy with if Thomas Moore had the misfortune to be metaone of them is a sort of principality, and a stray anec-physical, he might have written such a poem as the dote picked up, rather a valuable sort of possession. Excursion,—that had he condescended to borrow, and These people are always crying out against person- at the same time disguise the feelings of the great Lake ality, and personality is the whole business of their Poets, he might perhaps have written the best parts lives. They can consider nothing as it is by itself; of Childe Harold—and had he the disposition or the the cry is, “who wrote it ?”—“ what manner of man whim to be egotistical, he might lay bare a mind of is he?”—“where did he borrow it ?” They make his own as proudly and as passionately organized as puppets of literary men by their impatient curiosity; the great lord did, whom some one describes “to have and when one of themselves is dragged from his ma- gutted himself body and soul, for all the world to lign obscurity in banter or whimsical revenge, he calls walk in and see the show.” upon all the gods to bear witness to the malignity he So much for the preliminary cavils which are is made to suffer.
thrown in the teeth of Moore's admirers. They have It is this spirit which has perverted criticism, and been picked up by the small fry of critics, who comreduced it to a play of words. To favour this vain menced their career with a furious attack on him, sagerness of comparison, all powers and faculties are resolved at once into genrus—that vague quality, thel
Pope, and Campbell, but have since thought it becom- step we stumble over recollections of departed gran. ing to grow out of their early likings. And at present deur, and behold the scenes where the human mind they profess to prefer the great works which they has glorified itself for ever, and played a part, the re have never read, and which they will never be able to cords of which can never die. But in Asia, to the read, to those classic poems, of which they have been same charm of viewing the places of former powerthe most destructive enemies, by bethumbing and of comparing the present with the past-there is quoting their beauties into triteness and common- added a luxuriance of climate, and an unrivalled place.
beauty of external nature, which, ever according with The merits of Pope and Moore have suffered de- the poet's soul, preciation from the same cause the facility of being
Temper, and do befit him to obey imitated to a certain degree. And as vulgar admira
High inspiration. tion seldom penetrates beyond this degree, the con It was reserved for Mr. Moore to redeem the clusion is, that nothing can be easier than to write character of oriental poetry, in a work which stands like, and even equal to, either of these poets. In the distinct, alone, and proudly pre-eminent above all universal self-comparison, which is above mentioned, that had preceded it on the same subject. as the foundation of modern criticism, feeling is as Never, indeed, has the land of the sun shone out so sumed to be genius-the passive is considered to brightly on the children of the north-nor the sweets imply the active power. No opinion is more com- of Asia been poured forth-nor her gorgeousness mon or more fallacious—it is the "flattering unction” displayed so profusely to the delighted senses of Euwhich has inundated the world with versifiers, and rope, as in the fine oriental romance of Lalla Rookh. which seems to under-rate the merit of compositions, The beauteous forms, the dazzling splendours, the in which there is more ingenuity and elegance than breathing odours of the East, found, at last, a kindred passion. Genius is considered to be little more than poet in that Green Isle of the West, whose genius has a capability of excitement—the greater the passion long been suspected to be derived from a warmer the greater the merit; and the school-boy key on clime, and here wantons and luxuriates in these vowhich Mr. Moore's love and heroism are usually set, luptuous regions, as if it felt that it had at length reis not considered by any reader beyond his reach.cognized its native element. It is amazing, indeed, This is certainly Moore's great defect; but it is more how much at home Mr. Moore seems to be in India, that of his taste than of any superior faculty. Persia, and Arabia ; and how purely and strictly
We shall now proceed to notice the most laboured Asiatic all the colouring and imagery of his poem apand most splendid of Mr. Moore's productions, pears. He is thoroughly imbued with the character “ Lalla Rookh:"
of the scenes to which he transports us; and yet the Then if, while scenes so grand,
extent of his knowledge is less wonderful than the So beautiful, shine before thee,
dexterity and apparent facility with which he has Pride, for thine own dear land,
turned it to account, in the elucidation and embellishShould haply be stealing o'er thee;
ment of his poetry. There is not a simile, a descripOh! let grief come first,
tion, a name, a trait of history, or allusion of romance, O'er pride itself victorious,
which belongs to European experience, that does not To think how man hath curst,
indicate entire familiarity with the life, nature, and What Heaven hath made so glorious.
learning of the East. Several of our modern poets had already chosen Nor are the barbaric ornaments thinly scattered to the luxuriant climate of the East for their imagina- make up a show. They are showered lavishly over tions to revel in, and body forth their shapes of light; the whole work; and form, perhaps too much, the but it is no less observable that they had generally staple of the poetry, and the riches of that which is failed, and the cause we believe to be this--that the chiefly distinguished for its richness. We would conpartial conception and confined knowledge which fine this remark, however, to the descriptions of exthey naturally possessed of a country, so opposed in ternal objects, and the allusions to literature and the character of its inhabitants and the aspect of its history—to what may be termed the materiel of the scenery to their own, occasion them, after the man- poetry we are speaking of. The characters and senner of all imperfect apprehenders, to seize upon its timents are of a different order. They cannot, inprominent features and obvious characteristics, with deed, be said to be copies of an European nature; out entering more deeply into its spirit, or catching but still less like that of any other region. They are, its retired and less palpable beauties. The sudden in truth, poetical imaginations ;-but it is to the poetransplantation of an European mind into Asiatic try of rational, honourable, considerate, and humane scenes can seldom be favourable to its well-being and Europe that they belong—and not to the childishness, progress; at least none but those of tho first order cruelty, and profligacy of Asia. would be enabled to keep their imaginations from de There is something very extraordinary, we think, generating into inconsistency and bombast, amid the in this work—and something which indicates in the swarms of novelties which start up at every step. author, not only a great exuberance of talent, but a Thus it is that, in nearly all the oriental poems added very singular constitution of genius. While it is more to our literature, we had the same monotonous as- splendid in imagery—and for the most part in very semblage of insipid images, drawn from the peculiar good taste-more rich in sparkling thoughts and phenomena and natural appearances of the country. original conceptions, and more full indeed of exqui
We have always considered Asia as naturally the site pictures, both of all sorts of beauties, and all sorts home of poetry, and the creator of poets. What of virtues, and all sorts of sufferings and crimes, than makes Greece so poetical a country is, that at every any other poem which we know cf; we rather think
we speak the sense of all classes of readers, when we deeper; and though they first strike us as qualities of add, that the effect of the whole is to mingle a certain the composition only, we find, upon a little reflection, feeling of disappointment with that of admiration, that the same general character belongs to the fable, to excite admiration rather than any warmer senti- the characters, and the sentiments--that they all are ment of delight-to dazzle more than to enchant-alike in the excess of their means of attraction-and and, in the end, more frequently to startle the fancy, fail to interest, chiefly by being too interesting. and fatigue the attention, with the constant succession We have felt it our duty to point out the faults of of glittering images and high-strained emotions, than our author's poetry, particularly in respect to Lalla to maintain a rising interest, or win a growing sympa- Rookh; but it would be quite unjust to characterize thy, by a less profuse or more systematic display of that splendid poem by its faults, which are infinitely attractions.
less conspicuous than its manifold beauties. There The style is, on the whole, rather diffuse, and too is not only a richness and brilliancy of diction and unvaried in its character. But its greatest fault is the imagery spread over the whole work, that indicate uniformity of its brilliancy--the want of plainness, the greatest activity and elegance of fancy in the ausimplicity, and repose. We have heard it observed thor; but it is every where pervaded, still more by some very zealous admirers of Mr. Moore's genius, strikingly, by a strain of tender and noble feeling, that you cannot open this book without finding a poured out with such warmth and abundance, as to cluster of beauties in every page. Now, this is only steal insensibly on the heart of the reader, and graanother way of expressing what we think its greatest dually to overflow it with a tide of sympathetic emodefect. No work, consisting of many pages, should tion. There are passages, indeed, and these neither have detached and distinguishable beauties in every few nor brief, over which the very genius of poetry one of them. No great work, indeed, should have seems to have breathed his richest enchantmentmany beauties: if it were perfect it would have but where the melody of the verse and the beauty of the one, and that but faintly perceptible, except on a view images conspire so harmoniously with the force and of the whole. Look, for example, at what is the most tenderness of the emotion, that the whole is blended finished and exquisite production of human art—the into one deep and bright stream of sweetness and design and elevation of a Grecian temple, in its old feeling, along which the spirit of the reader is borne severe simplicity. What penury of ornament-what passively through long reaches of delight. Mr neglect of beauties of detail--what masses of plain Moore's poetry, indeed, where his happiest vein is surface—what rigid economical limitation to the opened, realizes more exactly than that of any other useful and the necessary! The cottage of a peasant writer, the splendid account which is given by Cois scarcely more simple in its structure, and has not mus* of the song of fewer parts that are superfluous. Yet what grandeur His mother Circe, and the sirens three, -what elegance-what grace and completeness in Amid the flowery-kirtled Naiades, the effect! The whole is beautiful-because the Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, beauty is in the whole; but there is little merit in any
And lap it in Elysium. of the parts except that of fitness and careful finishing. And though it is certainly to be regretted that he Contrast this with a Dutch, or a Chinese pleasure-should occasionally have broken the measure with house, where every part is meant to be beautiful, and more frivolous strains, or filled up its intervals with a the result is deformity-where there is not an inch of sort of brilliant falsetto, it should never be forgotten, the surface that is not brilliant with colour, and rough that his excellences are as peculiar to himself as his with curves and angles,-and where the effect of the faults, and, on the whole, we may assert, more whole is displeasing to the eye and the taste. We characteristic of his genius. are as far as possible from meaning to insinuate that The legend of Lalla Rookh is very sweetly and Mr. Moore's poetry is of this description ; on the con- gaily told; and is adorned with many tender as well trary, we think his ornaments are, for the most part, as lively passages--without reckoning among the lattruly and exquisitely beautiful; and the general design ter the occasional criticisms of the omniscient Fadlaof his pieces extremely elegant and ingenious: all deen, the magnificent and most infallible grand chamthat we mean to say is, that there is too much orna- berlain of the haram--whose sayings and remarks, ment—too many insulated and independent beauties by the by, do not agree very well with the character --and that the notice and the very admiration they which is assigned him-being for the most part very excite, hurt the interest of the general design, and smart, snappish, and acute, and by no means solemn, withdraw our attention too importunately from it. stupid, and pompous, as one would have expected.
Mr. Moore, it appears to us, is too lavish of his Mr. Moore's genius perhaps, is too inveterately lively, gems and sweets, and it may truly be said of him, in to make it possible for him even to counterfeit dulhis poetical capacity, that he would be richer with ness. We must now take a slight glance at the half his wealth. His works are not only of rich ma- poetry. terials and graceful design, but they are every where The first piece, entitled “The Veiled Prophet of glistening with small beauties and transitory inspira- Khorassan,” is the longest, and, we think, certainly not tions-sudden flashes of fancy that blaze out and perish; like earth-born meteors that crackle in the * Milton, who was much patronized by the illustrious lower sky, and unseasonably divert our eyes from the house of Egerton, wrote the Mask of Comus upon John great and lofty bodies which pursue their harmonious Egerton, then Earl of Bridgewater, when that nobleman,
in 1634, was appointed Lord President of the principality courses in a serener region.
of Wales. It was performed by three of his Lordship's We have spoken of these as faults of style—but children, before the Earl, at Ludlow Castle.—See the Works they could scarcely have existed without going of the present Earl of Bridgewater.
the best of the series. The story, which is not in all the ultimate result, even though they should appreits parts extremely intelligible, is founded on a vision, ciate their own productions as highly as Milton his in d'Herbelot, of a daring impostor of the early ages Paradise Lost; while they who succeed in obtaining of Islamism, who pretended to have received a later a large share of present applause, cannot but expeand more authoritative mission than that of the Pro- rience frequent misgivings as to its probable duration : phet, and to be destined to overturn all tyrannies and prevailing tastes have so entirely changed, and works, superstitions on the earth, and to rescue all souls that the wonder and delight of one generation, have been believed in him. To shade the celestial radiance of so completely forgotten in the next, that extent of his brow, he always wore a veil of silver gauze, and reputation ought rather to alarm than assure an author was at last attacked by the Caliph, and exterminated in respect to his future fame. with all his adherents. On this story Mr. Moore has But Mr. Moore, independently of poetical powers engrafted a romantic and not very probable tale: yet, of the highest order-independently of the place he even with all its faults, it possesses a charm almost at present maintains in the public estimation-has seirresistible, in the volume of sweet sounds and beau- cured to himself a strong hold of celebrity, as durable tiful images, which are heaped together with luxurious as the English tongue. profusion in the general texture of the style, and Almost every European nation has a kind of priinvest even the faults of the story with the graceful mitive music, peculiar to itself, consisting of short amplitude of their rich and figured veil.
and simple tunes or melodies, which, at the same Paradise and the Peri" has none of the faults just time that they please cultivated and scientific ears, alluded to. It is full of spirit, elegance, and beauty ; are the object of passionate and almost exclusive atand, though slight in its structure, breathes throughout tainment by the great body of the people, constituting, a most pure and engaging morality.
in fact, pretty nearly the sum of their musical know“The Fire-worshippers" appears to us to be indis- ledge and enjoyment. Being the first sounds with putably the finest and most powerful poem of them which the infant is soothed in his nursery, with which all. With all the richness and beauty of diction that he is lulled to repose at night, and excited to animabelong to the best parts of Mokanna, it has a far more tion in the day, they make an impression on the imainteresting story; and is not liable to the objections gination that can never afterwards be effaced, and that arise against the contrivance and structure of the are consequently handed down from parent to child, leading poem. The general tone of “The Fire-wor- from generation to generation, with as much unishippers" is certainly too much strained, but, in spite formity as the family features and dispositions. It is of that, it is a work of great genius and beauty; and evident, therefore, that he who first successfully innot only delights the fancy by its general brilliancy vests them with language, becomes thereby himself a and spirit, but moves all the tender and noble feel component part of these airy existences, and commits ings with a deep and powerful agitation.
his bark to a favouring wind, before which it shall pass The last piece, entitled “ The Light of the Haram," on to the end of the stream of time. is the gayest of the whole; and is of a very slender Without such a connexion as this with the national fabric as to fable or invention. In truth, it has music of Scotland, it seems to us, that Allan Ramscarcly any story at all; but is made up almost en- say's literary existence must have terminated its tirely of beautiful songs and fascinating descriptions. earthly career long since; but, in the divine melody
On the whole, it may be said of “ Lalla Rookh,' of “ The Yellow-hair'd Laddie," he has secured a that its great fault consists in its profuse finery; but passport to future ages, which mightier poets might it should be observed, that this finery is not the vulgar envy, and which will be heard and acknowledged as ostentation which so often disguises poverty or mean- long as the world has ears to hear. ness--but, as we have before hinted, the extravagance This is not a mere fancy of the uninitiated, or the of excessive wealth. Its great charm is in the inex- | barbarous exaggeration of a musical savage who has haustible copiousness of its imagery—the sweetness lost his senses at hearing Orpheus's hurdy-gurdy, beand ease of its diction—and the beauty of the objects cause he never heard any thing better. One of the and sentiments with which it is conceived.
greatest composers that ever charmed the world--the Whatever popularity Mr. Moore may have acquired immortal Haydn-on being requested to add symphoas the author of Lalla Rookh, etc., it is as the author nies and accompaniments to the Scotch airs, was so of the “ Irish Melodies" that he will go down to pos- convinced of their durability, that he replied—“ Mi terity unrivalled and alone in that delightful species vanto di questo lavoro, e per cio mi lusingo di vivere of composition. Lord Byron has very justly and pro- in Scozia molti anni dopo la mia morte." phetically observed, that “Moore is one of the few It is not without reason, therefore, that Mr. Moore writers who will survive the age in which he so de- indulges in this kind of second-sight, and exclaims (on servedly flourishes. He will live in his "Irish Melo- hearing one of his own melodies re-echoed from a dies ;' they will go down to posterity with the music; bugle in the mountains of Killarney,) both will last as long as Ireland, or as music and
Oh, forgive, if, while listening to music, whose breath poetry.”
Seem'd to circle his name with a charm against death, If, indeed, the anticipation of lasting celebrity be He should feel a proud spirit within him proclaim, the chief pleasure for the attainment of which poets Even so shalt thou live in the echoes of fame; bestow their labour, certainly no one can have en Even so, though thy mem'ry should now die away, gaged so much of it as Thomas Moore. It is evident
'Twill be caught up again in some happier day, that writers who fail to command immediate attention,
And the hearts and the voices of Erin prolong,
Through the answering future, thy name and thy song! and who look only to posterity for a just estimate of their merits, must feel more or less uncertainty as to In truth, the subtile essences of these tunes present
no object upon which time or violence can act. Py- Jobtain for themselves, in an age of ignorance and ramids may moulder away, and bronzes be decom-credulity, all the influence and respect which that posed; but the breeze of heaven which fanned them useful and deserving class of men have never failed in their splendour shall sigh around them in decay, to retain, even among nations who esteem themselves and by its mournful sound awaken all the recollections the most enlightened. But the remotest period in of their former glory. Thus, when generations shall which their character of musician was disengaged have sunk into the grave, and printed volumes been from that of priest, is also the period assigned to the consigned to oblivion, traditionary strains shall pro- highest triumph of their secular musical skill and long our poet's existence, and his future fame shall respectability. “It is certain,” says Mr. Bunting (in not be less certain than his present celebrity. his Historical and Critical Dissertation on the Harp,) Like the gale that sighs along
" that the further we explore, while yet any light reBeds of oriental flowers,
mains, the more highly is Irish border minstrelsy exIs the grateful breath of song,
tolled.” That once was heard in happier hours.
“The oldest Irish tunes (says the same writer) are Filld with balm the gale sighs on,
said to be the most perfect," and history accords with Though the flowers have sunk in death;
this opinion. Vin. Galilei, Bacon, Stanishurst, SpenSo when the Bard of Love is gone,
ser, and Camden, in the 16th century, speak warmly His mem'ry lives in Music's breath!
of Irish version, but not so highly as Polydore Virgil Almost every European nation, as we before ob- and Major, in the 15th, Clynn, in the middle of the served, has its own peculiar set of popular melodies, 14th, or Fordun, in the 13th. As we recede yet furdiffering as much from each other in character as the ther, we find Giraldus Cambrensis, G. Brompton, and nations themselves; but there are none more marked John of Salisbury, in the 12th century, bestowing still or more extensively known than those of the Scotch more lofty encomiums; and these, again, falling short and Irish. Some of these may be traced to a very of the science among us in the 11th and 10th centuremote era; while of others the origin is scarcely ries. In conformity with this, Fuller, in his account known; and this is the case, especially, with the airs of the Crusade conducted by Godfrey of Bologne, of Ireland. With the exception of those which were says, “ Yea, we might well think that all the concert produced by Carolan, who died in 1738, there are of Christendom in this war would have made no few of which we can discover the dates or composers. music, if the Irish Harp had been wanting."
That many of these airs possess great beauty and In those early times the Irish bards were invested pathos, no one can doubt who is acquainted with the with wealth, honours, and influence. They wore a selections that have been made by Mr. Moore; but as robe of the same colour as that used by kings; were a genus or a style, they also exhibit the most unequi- exempted from taxes and plunder, and were billeted vocal proofs of a rude and barbarous origin; and on the country from Allhallow-tide to May, while there is scarcely a more striking instance of the prone- every chief bard had thirty of inferior note under his ness of mankind to exalt the supposed wisdom of orders, and every second-rate bard fifteen. their ancestors, and to lend a ready ear to the mar John of Salisbury, in the 12th century, says, that vellous, than the exaggerated praise which the authors the great aristocrats of his day imitated Nero in their of this music have obtained.
extravagant love of fiddling and singing; that “they It is natural to suppose that in music, as in all prostituted their favour by bestowing it on minstrels other arts, the progress of savage man was gradual; and buffoons ; and that, by a certain foolish and shamethat there is no more reason for supposing he should ful munificence, they expended immense sums of mohave discovered at once the seven notes of the scale, ney on their frivolous exhibitions." " The courts of than that he should have been able at once to find princes," says another contemporary writer, appropriate language for all the nice distinctions of filled with crowds of minstrels, who extort from them morals or metaphysics. We shall now pass to some gold, silver, horses, and vestments, by their flattering interesting accounts of the Bards of the “olden time," songs. I have known some princes who have bewhich come within the scope of our subject when stowed on these minstrels of the Devil, at the very speaking of the present Bard of Erin, and his “ Irish first word, the most curious garments, beautifully emMelodies."
broidered with flowers and pictures, which had cost Dr. Burney observes, that “the first Greek mu- them twenty or thirty marks of silver, and which they sicians were gods; the second, heroes; the third, had not worn above seven days !" bards; the fourth, beggars !” During the infancy of From the foregoing account, by Salisbury John, music in every country, the wonder and affections of the twelfth century must, verily, have been the true the people were gained by surprise; but when mu- golden age for the sons of the lyre; who were then, it sicians became numerous, and ihe art was regarded seems, clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared of easier acquirement, they lost their favour; and, i sumptuously every day. It is true, they were flatterfrom being seated at the tables of kings, and helped ers and parasites, and did “dirty work” for it in those to the first cut, they were reduced to the most abject days ; but, at any rate, princes were then more state, and ranked amongst rogues and vagabonds. generous to their poet-laureates, and the sackbut and That this was the cause of the supposed retrograda- the song were better paid for than in a simple butt tion of Irish music, we shall now proceed to show, of sack. by some curious extracts from contemporary writers. According to Stowe, the minstrel had still a ready
The professed Bards, of the earliest of whom we admission into the presence of kings in the 4th cenhave not any account, having united to their capacity tury. Speaking of the celebration of the feast of of musicians the functions of priests, could not fail to Pentecost at Westminster, he says In the great