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Coaslin, on the road to Belle Vue. This was also the residence of some agreeable Spanish friends of the poet. Kenny the dramatic writer lived also in the neighbourhood. Here Moore composed his 'Loves of the Angels,' passing his days, when they were fine, in walking up and down the park of Saint Cloud, polishing verses and making them run easy,' and the evenings in singing Italian duets with his Spanish friends. Previous to leaving Paris at the close of 1822, he attended a banquet got up in his honour by many of the most distinguished and wealthy of the English residents in that gay city. His speech on this occasion was a high-flown panegyric upon England and everything English, and grievously astonished Byron, Shelley, Hunt, and others, when they read it in Italy. Either they thought the tone of some of the Irish melodies was wrong, or the speech was. They did not reflect that a judicious speaker always adapts his speech to his audience. Apt words in apt places are the essentials of true eloquence.
Moore's publishers' account, delivered in the following June, exhibited a very pleasing aspect. He was credited with one thousand pounds for the 'Loves of the Angels,' and five hundred pounds for 'Fables for the Holy Alliance.' These were the halcyon days of poetry. There was truth as well as mirthful jest in Sir Walter Scott's remark a few years afterwards, in reply to Moore's observation, 'that hardly a magazine is now published but contains verses which would once have made a reputation.' 'Ecod!'
exclaimed the baronet, ' we were very lucky to come before these fellows!' The Loves of the Angels' is throughout but a prolonged, melodious echo of Mr Moore's previous love-poetry. The angels talk of woman's eyes, lips, voices, grace, precisely after the manner of his amatory `songs. The opening lines, which are flowing and pretty, seem a kind of periphrasis of the Hebrew verse-'When the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy '—
'Twas when the world was in its prime,
Told his first birthdays by the sun.'
The three angel-stories, told in very graceful verse, are grounded upon rabbinical and mythological fables and precedents, and excite but the faintest interest in the reader. It is difficult to remember anything about them five minutes after their perusal—the sensation produced resembling that which one feels after listening for half an hour to the silvery murmuring of a brook in the summer month of June. Just as dreamy and inarticulate as that sound is the musical and cadenced flow of love-verses, destitute, or nearly so, of interest, true tenderness, or passion. In proof of our assertion that this poem is but a repetition of Mr Moore's early and earthly painting of female beauty, we have only to quote the following lines from the second angel's story :
You both remember well the day,
Can you forget her blush, when round
In this passage mere jingling exaggeration supplies the place of poetical enthusiasm; and were it not ungenerous to quote Milton twice against Moore, we should be tempted to contrast it with the awakening of the true Eve beside the fountain in the 'Paradise Lost.' But the reader's mind will have spontaneously referred to it, and that must suffice. As this is the last of Mr Moore's poetry we shall have to notice, we would fain take leave of it with a more favourable specimen. The following lines from the close of the book are pleasing, and, moreover, possess a touch of human feeling. One of the angels, we should say, is condemned to waste his immortality on earth; and to console him in his wanderings, the fair one for whom he has temporarily lost heaven is to be his undying companion :
"In what lone region of the earth
These pilgrims now may roam or dwell,
Who shine where'er they tread, and yet
That shines unseen, and were it not
So like itself we seek in vain
Which is the echo, which the strain;
Whose piety is love, whose love,
Though close as 'twere their soul's embrace,
Like two fair mirrors face to face,
Whose light from one to the other thrown
Is Heaven's reflection and their own:
Should we e'er meet with aught so fair,
'Tis Zaraph and his bride we see ;
Their pathway towards Eternity.'
In 1825 Moore paid a visit to Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford. The meeting was a cordial one, and the Baronet, Mr Lockhart informs us, pronounced Mr Moore 'to be the prettiest warbler' he ever knew. What somewhat diminishes the value of this praise is, that, according to the warbler himself, Sir Walter-but the thing seems incredible—had no genuine love or taste for music, except indeed for the Jacobite chorus of Hey tuttie, tattie,' now indissolubly united to 'Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled!' which, when sung after supper by the company, with hands clasped across each other, and waving up and down, he hugely delighted in. Scott accompanied Moore to Edinburgh, and both of them, with Mr Lockhart and his lady, went to the theatre on the same evening that it was honoured by the presence of the celebrated Mrs Coutts, afterwards Duchess of St Albans. Soon after their at first unmarked entrance, the attention of the audience, which had till then been engrossed by the ladymillionaire, was directed towards the new-comers, and according to a newspaper report, copied and published by Mr Moore in one of his last prefaces, considerable excitement immediately prevailed. 'Eh!' exclaimed a man in the pit-'eh! yon's Sir Walter, wi' Lockhart and his wife; and wha's the wee body wi' the pawkie een? Wow, but it's Tam Moore just!' 'Scott-Scott! Moore-Moore!' immediately resounded through the house. Scott would not rise: Moore did, and bowed several times with his hand on his heart. Scott afterwards acknowledged the plaudits of his countrymen, and the orchestra during the rest of the evening played alternately Scotch and Irish airs.
At the request of the Marquis of Lansdowne, who was desirous that he should reside near him, Moore at this period took a journey into Wiltshire, to look at a house in the village of Bromham, near Bowood, the seat of the noble Marquis, which it was thought might suit him. He, however, pronounced it to be too large, and declined taking it. On his return he told his wife there was a cottage in a thickly-wooded lane in the neighbourhood to let, which he thought might be made to do. Mrs Moore immediately left town, secured it, and there they shortly afterwards took up their permanent abode. They have greatly improved and enlarged Sloperton Cottage; and covered almost as its front and two porches are with roses and clematis, with the trim miniature lawn and garden in front, along which runs a raised walk enclosed with evergreens, from which a fine view is obtained, it presents an entirely satisfactory aspect of well-ordered neatness, prettiness, and comfort. It is situated within about two miles of Devizes, and is within easy reach of the country residence of Lord Lansdowne. It was here he wrote the biographies of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Lord Byron, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, of which we need only remark that they are industriously compiled and pleasantly written.
In 1824, five years before the passing of the Catholic Relief Act, Moore published The Memoirs of Captain Rock, written by Himself.' It is a bitter, rhapsodical, and of course one-sided commentary upon the government of Ireland by England, not only since the Reformation, but from the
time of Pope Adrian's famous bull, which is twisted into an exclusively English grievance and insult. Captain Rock, assisted at the commencement by a sour gentleman in a flaxen wig and green spectacles, is of course the grim mouthpiece through which Mr Moore pours the amauris liquidus of his unpent wrath upon the devoted heads of the oppressors of his country. Truly a terrible fellow, if one were to believe him in serious earnest, is this tremendous captain
'Through Connaught, Leinster, Ulster, Munster,
But to take him at his word would be a very great mistake indeed, and
The next considerable work of Moore's-for his light, Parthian warfare in the politics of the hour continued as usual, and with about the same success, as in his younger days-was 'The Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a Religion'—a perfectly serious and earnest book in defence of the Roman Catholic faith. There is a vast amount of erudition displayed in its pages; and remembering how slow and painstaking a workman Moore declared himself to be, it must, one would suppose, have been the work of years. The author's object is to prove, from the writings of the early fathers and other evidence, that the peculiar dogmas and discipline and practice of the Church of Rome date from the apostolic age, or at least from the first centuries of the Christian era, and are consequently true. This the writer does entirely, at least to his own satisfaction, which is the case, we believe, with controversial writers generally. The book concludes with the following words, addressed to the Catholic Church, which his after-life proves to have been earnest and sincere:-'In the shadow of thy sacred mysteries let my soul henceforth repose, remote alike from the infidel who scoffs at their darkness, and the rash believer who would pry into its recesses.'
These imaginary travels were published anonymously, but the book was always known to be Moore's. Apart from any other evidence, the poetic translations of portions of the writings of ancient bishops would have amply sufficed to determine the authorship. Without adverting to the elegant and tender stanzas addressed to 'A Fallen Virgin' by St Basil, which the gravest bishop might be proud of, who, let us ask, save the author of the 'Loves of the Angels,' would have raked amongst the homilies of St Chrysostom till he lit upon the following one, and who but Moore would have paraphrased it into such verse? The homily selected is one which is said to have been composed by St Chrysostom in reprobation of the ladies of Constantinople, who in his day, before the cross had sunk before the crescent in the Eastern metropolis, were accustomed to go too finely dressed to church. Moore's version begins thus :
This is very well, and may likely enough have been fairly rendered from the venerable bishop's homily; but if the following be not pretty nearly unadulterated Moore-Chrysostom's prose bearing about the same proportion to the verse as Falstaff's ha'porth of bread to the intolerable quantity of sack—we have been strangely misled as to the stern and ascetic character of the celebrated opponent and victim of the Empress Eudoxia. Chrysostom is made to reply as follows to the supposed excuses of the more plainlydressed females of his congregation :—