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unmistakably delivered judgment. We extract one or two of their minor beauties:
"While yet upon Columbia's rising brow
This, it must be confessed, like his gunpowder letter in Arthur O'Connor's paper, is rather strong' than civil. It will also be admitted to be somewhat perplexing that the poet who, but for his mother's interference and his own wise second-thoughts, would have joined the confederacy of United Irishmen, and who has since then shed melodious tears over the graves of Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Emmet, should denounce the errors and deficiencies of America as
'The ills, the vices of the land where first
Those rebel fiends that rack the world were nurst.'
But let us pass on to a pleasanter subject. While in Canada Mr Moore composed the popular 'Boat-song,' the words and air of which were, he says, inspired by the scenery and circumstances which the verses portray, and by the measured chant of the Canadian rowers. Captain Hall also testifies to the fidelity of this descriptive song.
The republication in 1806 of Juvenile Songs, Odes, etcetera, elicited a fierce and contemptuous denunciation of them from the Edinburgh Review, and this led to a hostile meeting between the editor of that publication, the late Lord Jeffrey, and Mr Moore. They met at Chalk Farm, near Hampstead; but the progress of the duel was interrupted by police-officers, who, on examining the pistols of the baffled combatants, found that they had been charged with powder only. This was probably a sensible device-it was not at all an uncommon one-on the part of the seconds to prevent mischief; or it might have been, as is usually believed, that the bullets dropped out of one or both of the pistols by the jolting of the carriages in which the combatants reached the field of expected battle; but of course the discovery created a great laugh at the time. Moore indignantly denied through the newspapers that he was cognisant of the innocent state of Mr Jeffrey's pistol-an assertion there cannot be the slightest reason for doubting. This droll incident led to his subsequent acquaintance with Lord Byron, who, unmindful or regardless of Mr Moore's denial of the 'calumny,' repeated it with variations in his 'English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,' chiefly with a view to annoy Mr Jeffrey. Moore was again indignant, and demanded an apology or satisfaction. His letter did not, however, reach the noble lord till many months afterwards, when expla nations ensued, and the affair terminated by a dinner at the house of Mr Rogers, where the four poets, Byron, Campbell, Moore, and Rogers, met each other for the first time.
The intimacy thus commenced, if we may judge from the biography of Byron, ripened into a lasting friendship on the part of Moore. This feeling was but faintly reciprocated by Byron. Indeed, if we are to believe his own statement, made in one of his latest letters, the noble poet
was almost incapable of friendship, never having,' he says, 'except towards Lord Clare, whom he had known from infancy, and perhaps little Moore,' experienced any such emotion. Little Tommy dearly loves a lord,' was Byron's sneering expression more than once; and perhaps he believed Moore's loudly-expressed regard for himself to be chiefly based on that predilection.
Moore had before this married a Miss Dyke, who is described as a lady of great beauty and amiability, and moreover distinguished for considerable decision of character and strong common-sense-qualities which more than once proved of essential service to her husband. They had several children, the loss of whom, as we have before stated, has darkened and embittered the close of the poet's days.
Two political satires, called 'Corruption' and 'Intolerance,' were next published, and followed by The Sceptic,' described as a philosophical essay. Neither of them reached a second edition. The aim of The Sceptic' was to set forth in sober seriousness the beauty, true enlightenment, and amiability of Ignorance, with whom Faith, Hope, Charity, and Patience, fleeing in disgust from such contradictory sciolists as Newton, Descartes, Locke, &c. are represented as dwelling in content and love. In his enthusiasm for the leaden goddess, Moore exclaims
Hail, modest Ignorance!-the goal and prize,
This philosophic ignorance he further opines to be 'the only daughter of the schools that can safely be selected as the handmaid of Piety.' Figaro's exclamation' Que les gens d'esprit sont bêtes!' has received frequent serious confirmation, and never perhaps more so than in this panegyric on Ignorance by Thomas Moore.
The Intercepted Letters; or the Twopenny Post - Bag, by Thomas Brown, the Younger,' was Moore's next successful work. It is a collection of sarcastic jeux d'esprits levelled at the Prince-Regent and the ruling politicians of the day. They had a great but necessarily transitory success. Such pièces d'occasion inevitably lose their force and piquancy by the passing into oblivion of the ephemera against which they were directed. It may sufficiently indicate the slight permanency and limited range of such pin-points, however sharp and polished, to state, that of all Moore's sarcastic verse, excellent in its way, as everybody admits it to be, only one piece
There was a little man,
has had the honour of translation into a foreign language. Wit which strikes at individuals dies with the world's remembrance of the crimes or follies of the persons assailed; and who cares now for the brilliant butterflies of Carlton House, or the gilded gadflies, social or political, which infested the atmosphere of the vain regent's court? It has been frequently made a reproach to Moore, that in aiming the light arrows of his wit at the prince, he was ungratefully assailing one who had heaped favours and benefits upon him. 'These favours and benefits,' replies Mr Moore,' are very easily summed up: I was allowed to dedicate "Anacreon" to his
Royal Highness; I twice dined at Carlton House; and I made one of the fifteen hundred envied guests at the prince's grand fête in 1815!'
In 1811 Moore made a first and last appearance before the world as a dramatist, by the production at the Lyceum theatre of an operatic piece called An M.P.; or the Blue Stocking.' It was emphatically damned, notwithstanding two or three pleasing songs, which somewhat redeemed its dull and vapid impertinence. The very pretty song of 'Young Love lived once in an humble shed' occurs in this piece. Moore's acquaintance with Leigh Hunt dates from the acting of the 'Blue Stocking.' Mr Hunt was at the time editor of the 'Examiner' newspaper, in which he had just before paid some compliments to Moore's poetry; and the nervous dramatist, naturally anxious to propitiate a critic whose opinion was esteemed oracular in certain circles, wrote him a rather fulsome letter, in which he set forth, as an ad misericordiam plea for lenient judgment, that he had rashly been induced to promise Arnold a piece for his theatre, in consequence of the state of attenuation to which the purses of poets are proverbially liable. The 'M.P.' was, as we have said, condemned, and Esop's disappointed fox received another illustration. 'Writing bad jokes,' quoth Mr Moore, for the Lyceum to make the galleries laugh is in itself sufficiently degrading; but to try to make them laugh, and fail to do so, is indeed deplorable.' In sooth, to make 'galleries' either laugh or weep was never Mr Moore's aim or vocation. His eye was ever fixed upon the gay company of the boxes,' occasionally only glancing apprehensively aside from its flattering homage to scan the faces of the sour critics of the pit. And yet to make the galleries of the theatre and the world laugh has tasked and evidenced wit and humour, in comparison with which the gayest sallies, the most sparkling of Mr Moore's fancies, are vapidity itself. The mortified dramatist gave up play-writing for ever, or, as he con temptuously expressed it,' made a hearty abjuration of the stage and all its heresies of pun, equivoque, and clap-trap.' He was wise in doing so. The discretion evinced by the hasty retreat was only exceeded by the rashness of the venture.
The intimacy of Thomas Moore and Leigh Hunt continued for some years. Moore, in company with Lord Byron, dined once or twice with Hunt in prison during his confinement for a pretended libel upon the regent. A pertinent anecdote, throwing some light on Byron's sneer respecting Moore's love of lords, is told of one of these visits. The three friends, Byron, Moore, and Hunt, were walking before dinner in the prison garden, when a shower of rain came on, and Moore ran into the house, and up stairs, leaving his companions to follow as they best might. Consciousness of the discourtesy of such behaviour towards his noble companion quickly flashed upon him, and he was overwhelmed with confusion. Mr Hunt tried to console him. 'I quite forgot at the moment,' said Moore, 'whom I was walking with; but I was forced to remember it by his not coming up. I could not in decency go on, and to return was awkward.' This anxiety-on account of Byron's lameness-Mr Hunt remarks, appeared to him very amiable.
This friendship came to an abrupt and unpleasant close. Lord Byron agreed with Hunt and Shelley to start a new periodical, to be called 'The Liberal,' the profits of which were to go to Leigh Hunt. Byron's parody
on Southey's 'Vision of Judgment' appeared in it, and ultimately William Hazlitt became a contributor. Moore immediately became alarmed for his noble friend's character, which he thought would be compromised by his connection with Hunt and Hazlitt, and wrote to entreat him to withdraw himself from a work which had 'a taint in it,' and from association with men upon whom society had set a mark.' His prayer was complied with, and the two last-named gentlemen were very angry, as well they might be. There has been a good deal of crimination and recrimination between the parties on the subject, not at all worth reproducing. The truth is that both Hunt and Hazlitt, but especially the latter, were at the time under the ban of influential society and a then powerful Tory press; and Moore, with his usual prudence, declining to be mad-dog'd in their company and for their sakes, deliberately cut two such extreme Radicals, and induced his noble friend to do likewise. How could a prudent man who had given hostages to fortune, which Moore by this time had, in a wife and children, act otherwise?
Moore had long cherished a hope of allying his poetry with the expressive music of Ireland; of giving appropriate vocal utterance to the strains which had broken fitfully from out the tumults and tramplings of centuries of unblest rule. A noble task! in which even partial success demands great powers and deserves high praise. The execution of the long-meditated design now commenced; and the 'Melodies,' as they appeared, obtained immense and well-deserved popularity. It is upon these his fame as a poet will mainly rest; and no one can deny that, as a whole, they exhibit great felicity of expression, and much graceful tenderness of thought and feeling, frequently relieved by flashes of gay and genial wit and humour. No one could be more keenly aware, or could more gracefully acknowledge than Moore, the great help to a poet's present reputation of connecting his verse with national or local associations. He instances in proof of its value the popularity in Bermuda of a song comparatively valueless in itself-a popularity owing to its association with a well-known tree growing near Walsingham in that group of islets
'Twas there in the shade of the calabash tree,
With a few who could feel and remember like me,' &c.
Mr Dudley Costello brought him home a goblet, the inscription on which states that it was formed of one of the fruit-shells of the tree which he had rendered famous, and which now bears his name. But it must be confessed that this kind of appreciative association, however gratifying to an author's vanity, or decisive of present success, is but a frail, unpromising plank to float down to posterity upon. If the poetry of a song is only remembered because it recalls local incidents, or objects, or memories, power must be a very confined and fleeting one. The man who had sung or heard Moore's song under the calabash tree, if a sojourner in distant lands, would dwell upon its words and air with pleasure for no other reason than because he had so sung or heard them; but not so his son-not so his descendants: it must for them have a distinct self-existent
beauty of its own, or it will pass from their lips and language. If, therefore, Moore's songs are, as we are frequently told, to perpetuate the music and poetry and romance of Ireland in distant climes, it must be for some
other reason than because they were once heard on the banks of the Shannon, or that they allude incidentally to Irish events, or bear Irish names. It is not from individual local association that the song of the 'Captives of Israel' awakens a tide of gushing emotions in the Jewish soul. The song embodies an enduring national sentiment, expresses and enshrines a national lamentation and a national hope, in strains exclusively of Israel. Do Moore's graceful, and tender, and witty melodies do this? How many of them are Irish songs in the sense in which those of Béranger are French -those of Burns Scotch-idiomatic, national, racy of the soil? There are not very many of them that even allude to Irish topics, and those that do-Oh! breathe not his Name!' 'The Harp that once through Tara's Halls,' and a dozen others-are essentially English songs-always excepting the air, to the magical beauty of which English music has no pretence -English in their mode of thought and turn of expression. And the gay, witty melodies-Wreathe the Bowl,' 'Fill the Bumpers Fair,' and many others, not even excepting the brilliant song of 'Through Erin's Isle are theirs the wit and humour-the Irish wit and humour which the graphic pens of Edgeworth and others have made familiar to us, and of which such ballads as 'Rory O'More' give a faithful reflex, though a pale and faint one? It is just as much English, French, Italian wit and humour as Irish. Again, what distinctive Irish character, or what distinctive national sentiment is enshrined in the great mass of the more tender and graceful melodies' Flow on, thou Shining River!'' Fly not Yet,' 'The Young May Moon,''Go where Glory waits Thee,' or 'Love's Young Dream?' Take, for instance, the concluding verse of the last song, where a hackneyed thought-common to all countries-by the aid of the beautiful Irish air sinks with such a dying fall upon the ear—
'Oh that hallowed form is ne'er forgot,
It fondly haunts the greenest spot,
On memory's waste:
'Tis odour fled, as soon as shed
'Tis morning's winged dream
'Tis a light that ne'er will shine again
The melody of these lines glides into the heart and sparkles in the brain of young and old-harmonising with the fresh romance of youth, and recalling to the aged the far-off music of their prime; but surely the sentiment the verses embody is cosmopolitan, not Irish, chiefly or especially? Moore, whether for good or evil, has, temporarily at least, divorced Irish music-at all events, in the great majority of instances-from Irish sentiment; and the national airs, as illustrated and rendered vocal by him, will recall to the exile and the wayfarer not memories of Ireland, but of the home where the brother or the lover first heard a sister or a mistress sing them-be that home in the Green Isle, in Scotland, England, or wherever else the English race dwell and English song is cultivated. In his war-melodies Moore fails, not from coldness of national partisanship, but from want of power. Compare the best of them with the 'BattleSong' of Burns, and the difference between the two men in high poetic faculty will be at once apparent. The Minstrel Boy,' and 'Let Erin