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He nightly tippled “Græco more, Orpheuses and Saint Cecilias,
He owned he thought them much surExcept upon the Grecian Kalends:
past From whence your scholars, when they By that redoubted Hyaloclast want tick,
Who still contrived by dint of throttic, Say, to be Attic 's to be on tick,
Where'er he went to crack a bottle. In logics, he was quite Ho Panu; 1 Knew as much as ever man knew.
Likewise to show his mighty knowl He fought the combat syllogistic
edge, he, With so much skill and art eristic, On things unknown in physiology, That though you were the learned Stagy Wrote many a chapter to divert us, rite,
(Like that great little man Albertus,) At once upon the hip he had you right. Wherein he showed the reason why, In music, though he had no ears
When children first are heard to cry, Except for that amongst the spheres, If boy the baby chance to be, (Which most of all, as he averred it, He cries O A! - if girl, O E!He dearly loved, 'cause no one heard it,) Which are, quoth he, exceeding fair hints Yet aptly he, at sight, could read Respecting their first sinful parents; Each tuneful diagram in Bede,
"Oh Eve!” exclaimeth little madam, And find, by Euclid's corollaria,
While little master cries “ Oh Adam !” 3 The ratios of a jig or aria. But, as for all your warbling Delias,
But, 't was in Optics and Dioptrics,
Our dæmon played his first and top tricks. writing to him in Greek. “Master Joachim
He held that sunshine passes quicker (says he) has sent me some dates and some Through wine than any other liquor; raisins, and has also written me two letters in And though he saw no great objection Greek. As soon as I am recovered, I shall answer them in Turkish, that he too may have the
To steady light and clear reflection, pleasure of reading what he does not under He thought the aberrating rays, stand.' “ Græca sunt, legi non possunt," is the Which play about a bumper's blaze, ignorant speech attributed to Accursius; but very
Were by the Doctors looked, in common, unjustly : — for, far from asserting that Greek could not be read, that worthy juris-consult upon
on, the Law 6. D. de Bonor. Possess. expressly says, As a more rare and rich phenomenon. "Græcæ literæ possunt intelligi et legi.” (Vide “Nov. Libror. Rarior. Collection.” Fascic. IV.)
He wisely said that the sensorium - Scipio. Carteromachus seems to have been Is for the eyes a great emporium, of opinion that there is no salvation out of the To which these noted picture-stealers pale of Greek Literature: “via prima salutis Graiâ pandetur ab urbe : " and the zeal of Lau
Send all they can and meet with dealers. rentius Rhodomannus cannot be sufficiently ad
In many an optical proceeding mired, when he exhorts his countrymen, per The brain, he said, showed great good gloriam Christi, per salutem patria, per reipublicæ decus et emolumentum," to study the Greek
breeding; language. Nor must we forget Phavorinus, the
For instance, when we ogle women excellent bishop of Nocera, who, careless of all (A trick which Barbara tutored him in), the usual commendations of a Christian, required Although the dears are apt to get in a no further eulogium on his tomb than “Here lieth a Greek Lexicographer."
Strange position on the retina, 1 ó trávu. – The introduction of this language Yet instantly the modest brain into English poetry has a good effect, and ought Doth set them on their legs again ! 4 to be more universally adopted. A word or two of Greek in a stanza would serve as ballast to 2 Or Glass-Breaker - - Morhofius has given an the most ' light o' love”
Ausonius, account of this extraordinary man, in a work, among the ancients, may serve as a model :
published 1682, —“De vitreo scypho fracto," ου γάρ μοι θέμις εστίν in hac regione μένοντι άξιον ab nostris επιδευέα esse καμήναις
3 Translated almost literally from a passage Ronsard, the French poet, has enriched his son
in Albertus de Secretis, etc. nets and ode with many an exquisite morsel 4 Alluding to that
the judg. from the Lexicon. His chère Entelechie,” in ment, by which, notwithstanding the inversion of addressing his mistress, can only be equalled by the image upon the retina, a correct impression Cowley's "Antiperistasis."
of the object is conveyed to the sensorium.
Our doctor thus, with“ stuft suffi
ciency Of all omnigenous omnisciency, Began (as who would not begin That had, like him, so much within?) To let it out in books of all sorts, Folios, quartos, large and small sorts; Poems, so very deep and sensible That they were quite incomprehensible 1 Prose, which had been at learning's Fair, And bought up all the trumpery there, The tattered rags of every vest,
In which the Greeks and Romans drest,
tedious, Did I but tell thee half, to follow me: Not the scribbling bard of Ptolemy, No nor the hoary Trismegistus, (Whose writings all, thank heaven! have
missed us,) E’er filled with lumber such a wareroom As this great “porcus literarum !”
1. Under this description, I believe "the Devil among the Scholars" may be included. Yet Leibnitz found out the uses of incomprehensibility, when he was appointed secretary to a society of philosophers at Nuremberg, chiefly for his ingenuity in writing a cabalistical letter, not one word of which either they or himself could interpret. See the Éloge Historique de M. de Leibnitz, l'Europe Savante. - People in all ages have loved to be puzzled. We find Cicero thanking Atticus for having sent him a work of Serapion “ex quo (says he) quidem ego (quod inter nos liceat dicere) millesimam partem vix intelligo." Lib. ii. epist. 4. And we know
that Avicen, the learned Arabian, read Aristotle's Metaphysics forty times over for the mere pleasure of being able to inform the world that he could not comprehend one syllable throughout them. (Nicolas Massa in “ Vit. Avicen.”)
POEMS RELATING TO AMERICA.
FRANCIS, EARL OF MOIRA,
STABLE OF THE TOWER, ETC.
It is impossible to think of addressing a Dedication to your Lordship without calling to mind the well-known reply of the Spartan to a rhetorician, who proposed to pronounce an eulogium on Hercules. “On Hercules !” said the honest Spartan, "who ever thought of blaming Hercules?" In a similar manner the concurrence of public opinion has left to the panegyrist of your Lordship a very superfluous task. I shall, therefore, be silent on the subject, and merely entreat your indul. gence to the very humble tribute of gratitude which I have here the honor to present.
I am, my Lord,
THOMAS MOORE. 27 Bury Street, St. James's,
April 10, 1806.
The principal poems in the following collection were written during an absence of fourteen months from Europe. Though curiosity was certainly not the motive of my voyage to America, yet it happened that the gratification of curiosity was the only advantage which I derived from it. Finding myself in the country of a new people, whose infancy had promised so much, and whose progress to maturity has been an object of such interesting speculation, I determined to employ the short period of time, which my plan of return to Europe afforded me, in travelling through a few of the States, and acquiring some knowledge of the inhabitants.
The impression which my mind received from the character and manners of these republicans, suggested the Epistles which are written from the city of Washington and Lake Erie. How far I was right, in thus assuming the tone of a satirist against a people whom I viewed but as a stranger and a visitor, is a doubt which my feelings did not allow me time to investigate. All I presume to answer for is the fidelity of the picture which I have given; and though prudence might have dictated gentler language, truth, I think, would have justified severer.
I went to America with prepossessions by no means unfavorable, and indeed rather
1 This Preface, as well as the Dedication which precedes it, were prefixed originally to the miscellaneous volume entitled “Odes and Epistles," of which, hitherto, the poems relating to my American tour have formed a part.
2 Epistles VI., VII., and VIII.
indulged in many of those illusive ideas, with respect to the purity of the government and the primitive happiness of the people, which I had early imbibed in my native country, where, unfortunately, discontent at home enhances every distant temptation, and the western world has long been looked to as a retreat from real or imaginary oppression; as, in short, the elysian Atlantis, where persecuted patriots might find their visions realized, and be welcomed by kindred spirits to liberty and repose. In all these flattering expectations I found myself completely disappointed, and felt inclined to say to America, as Horace says to his mistress, “ intentata nites.” Brissot, in the preface to his travels, observes, that “ freedom in that country is carried to so high a degree as to border upon a state of nature; and there certainly is a close approximation to savage life, not only in the liberty which they enjoy, but in the violence of party spirit and of private animosity which results from it. This illiberal zeal imbitters all social intercourse; and, though I scarcely could hesitate in selecting the party, whose views appeared to me the more pure and rational, yet I was sorry to observe that, in asserting their opinions, they both assume an equal share of intolerance; the Democrats, consistently with their principles, exhibiting a vulgarity of rancor, which the Federalists too often are so forgetful of their cause as to imitate.
The rude familiarity of the lower orders, and indeed the unpolished state of society in general, would neither surprise nor disgust if they seemed to flow from that simplicity of character, that honest ignorance of the gloss of refinement which may be looked for in a new and inexperienced people. But, when we find them arrived at maturity in most of the vices, and all the pride of civilization, while they are still so far removed from its higher and better characteristics, it is impossible not to feel that this youthful decay, this crude anticipation of the natural period of corruption, must repress every sanguine hope of the future energy and greatness of America.
I am conscious that, in venturing these few remarks, I have said just enough to offend, and by no means sufficient to convince; for the limits of a preface prevent me from entering into a justification of my opinions, and I am committed on the subject as effectually as if I had written volumes in their defence. My reader, however, is apprised of the very cursory observation upon which these opinions are founded, and can easily decide for himself upon the degree of attention or confidence which they merit.
With respect to the poems in general, which occupy the following pages, I know not in what manner to apologize to the public for intruding upon their notice such a mass of unconnected trifles, such a world of epicurean atoms as I have here brought in conflict together. To say that I have been tempted by the liberal offers of my bookseller, is an excuse which can hope for but little indulgence from the critic; yet I own that, without this seasonable inducement, these poems very possibly would never have been submitted to the world. The glare of publication is too strong for such imperfect productions: they should be shown but to the eye of friendship, in that dim light of privacy which is as favorable to poetical as to female beauty, and serves as a veil for faults, while it enhances every charm which it displays. Besides, this is not a period for the idle occupations of poetry, and times like the present require talents more active and more useful. Few have now the leisure to read such trifles, and I most sincerely regret that I have had the leisure to write them.
1 See the foregoing Note, p. 123.
POEMS RELATING TO AMERICA.
The heart awhile, with wanton wing, LORD VISCOUNT STRANGFORD. May dip and dive in Pleasure's spring;
But, if it wait for winter's breeze,
The spring will chill, the heart will Sweet Moon! if, like Crotona's sage,1
freeze. By any spell my hand could dare And then, that Hope, that fairy Hope, – To make thy disk its ample page,
Oh! she awaked such happy dreams, And write my thoughts, my wishes And gave my soul such tempting scope there;
For all its dearest, fondest schemes, How many a friend, whose careless eye That not Verona's child of song, Now wanders o'er that starry sky,
When flying from the Phrygian shore, Should smile, upon thy orb to meet With lighter heart could bound along, The recollection, kind and sweet,
Or pant to be a wanderer more! 2 The reveries of fond regret, The promise, never to forget,
Even now delusive hope will steal And all my heart and soul would send Amid the dark regrets I feel, To many a dear-loved, distant friend.
Soothing, as yonder placid beam
Pursues the murmurers of the deep, How little, when we parted last, And lights them with consoling gleam, I thought those pleasant times were past, And smiles them into tranquil sleep. For ever past, when brilliant joy
Oh! such a blessed night as this, Was all my vacant heart's employ:
I often think, if friends were near, When, fresh from mirth to mirth again,
How we should feel, and gaze with We thought the rapid hours too few; bliss Our only use for knowledge then
Upon the moon-bright scenery here ! To gather bliss from all we knew.
The sea is like a silvery lake, Delicious days of whim and soul !
And, o'er its calm the vessel glides When, mingling lore and laugh to.
Gently, as if it feared to wake gether,
The slumber of the silent tides. We leaned the book on Pleasure's bowl,
The only envious cloud that lowers And turned the leaf with Folly's Hath hung its shade on Pico's height, 3 feather.
Where dimly, mid the dusk, he towers, Little I thought that all were fled,
And scowling at this heaven of light, That, ere that summer's bloom was shed,
Exults to see the infant storm My eye should see the sail unfurled
Cling darkly round his giant form! That wafts me to the western world.
2 Alluding to these animated lines in the 44th And yet, 't was time; - in youth's Carmen of Catullus : sweet days,
jam mens prætrepidans avet vagari, To cool that season's glowing rays,
jam læti studio pedes vigescunt !
3 A very high mountain on one of the Azores, 1 Pythagoras; who was supposed to have a from which the island derives its name. It is power of writing upon the Moon by the means said by some to be as high as the Peak of Tenof a magic mirror. - See Bayle, art. Pythag. eriffe.