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EDWARD LORD THUR LOW.
EDwARD HovELL THURLow, Lord Thurlow (1781– 1829), published several small volumes of poetry: Select Poems (1821); Poems on Several Occasions; Angelica, or the Fate of Proteus; Arcita and Palamon, after Chaucer; &c. Amidst much affectation and bad taste, there is real poetry in the works of this nobleman. He was a source of ridicule and sarcasm to wits and reviewers—including Moore and Byron —and not undeservedly; yet in pieces like the following, there is a freshness of fancy and feeling, and a richness of expression, that resemble Herrick or Moore:
Song to May.
May ! queen of blossoms,
Thou hast no need of us,
Thou hast thy mighty herds,
When with the jacinth
The Summer, the divinest Summer burns,
O Moon, that shinest on this heathy wild,
By thy broad taper I call up the time
THOMAS M 00 R.E.
A rare union of wit and sensibility, of high powers of imagination and extensive learning, is exemplified in the poetical works of THOMAS MooRE. Mr Moore was a native of Dublin, born on the 28th of May 1779. He early began to rhyme, and a sonnet to his schoolmaster, Mr Samuel Whyte, written in his fourteenth year, was published in a Dublin magazine,” to which he contributed other pieces.
The parents of our poet were Roman Catholics, a body then proscribed and depressed by penal enactments, and they seem to have been of the number who, to use his own words, ‘hailed the first dazzling outbreak of the French Revolution as a signal to the slave, wherever suffering, that the day of his deliverance was near at hand. The poet states that in 1792 he was taken by his father to one of the dinners given in honour of that great
* Mr Whyte was also the teacher of Sheridan, and it is curious to learn that, after about a year's trial, Sherry was pronounced, both by tutor and parent, to be an incorrigible dunce! “At the time, says Mr Moore, “when I first began to attend his school, Mr Whyte still continued, to the no small alarm of many parents, to encourage a taste for acting among his pupils. In this line I was long his favourite show-scholar; and among the play-bills introduced in his volume, to illustrate the occasions of his own prologues and epilogues, there is one of a play got up in the year 1790, at Lady Borrowes's private theatre in Dublin, where, among the items of the evening's entertainment, is “An Epilogue, A Squeeze to St Paul's, Master Moore.”"
event, and sat upon the knee of the chairman while the following toast was enthusiastically sent round: ‘May the breezes from France fan our Irish Oak into verdure. Parliament having, in 1793, opened the university to Catholics, young Moore was sent to college, and distinguished himself by his classical acquirements. In 1799, he proceeded to London to study law in the Middle Temple, and publish by subscription a translation of Anacreon. The latter appeared in the following year, dedicated to the Prince of Wales. At a subsequent period, Mr Moore was among the keenest satirists of this prince, for which he has been accused of ingratitude; but he states himself that the whole amount of his obligations to his royal highness was the honour of dining twice at Carlton House, and being admitted to a great fête given by the prince in 1811 on his being made regent. In 1801, Moore ventured on a volume of original verse, put forth under the assumed name of Thomas Little—an allusion to his diminutive stature. In these pieces the warmth of the young poet's feelings and imagination led him to trespass on delicacy and decorum. He had the good sense to be ashamed of these amatory juvenilia, and genius enough to redeem the fault. His offence did not stand in the way of his preferment. In 1803 Mr Moore obtained an official situation at Bermuda, the duties of which were discharged by a deputy; and this subordinate proving unfaithful, the poet suffered pecuniary losses and great embarrassment. Its first effect, however, was two volumes of poetry, a series of Odes and Epistles, published in 1806, and written during an absence of fourteen months from Europe, while the author visited Bermuda. The descriptive sketches in this work are remarkable for their fidelity, no less than their poetical beauty. The style of Moore was now formed, and in all his writings there is nothing finer than the opening epistle to Lord Strangford, written on board ship by moonlight:
Sweet Moon l if, like Crotona's sage,
* * * *
Even now, delusive hope will steal Amid the dark regrets I feel, Soothing as yonder placid beam Pursues the murmurers of the deep, And lights then with consoling gleam, And smiles them into tranquil sleep. Oh! such a blessed night as this I often think if friends were near, How should we feel and gaze with bliss Upon the moon-bright scenery here! The sea is like a silvery lake, And o'er its calm the vessel glides, Gently, as if it feared to wake The slumber of the silent tides, The only envious cloud that lowers Hath hung its shade on Pico's height, Where dimly 'mid the dusk he towers, And, scowling at this heaven of light, Exults to see the infant storm .."ling darkly round his giant form !
Mr Moore now became a satirist, attempting first the grave serious style, in which he failed, but succeeding beyond almost any other poet in light satire, verses on the topics of the day, lively and pungent, with abundance of humorous and witty illustration. The man of the world, the scholar, and the poetical artist, are happily blended in his satirical productions, with a rich and playful fancy. His Twopenny Post-bag, The Fudge Family in Paris, Fables for the Holy Alliance, and numerous small pieces written for the newspapers, to serve the cause of the Whig or liberal party, are not excelled in their own peculiar walk by any satirical compositions in the language. It is difficult to select a specimen of these exquisite productions; but the following contains a proportion of the wit and poignancy distributed over all. It appeared at a time when an abundance of mawkish reminiscences and memoirs had been showered from the press, and bore the title of Literary Advertisement:
Wanted—Authors of all work to job for the season, No matter which party, so faithful to neither; Good hacks, who, if posed for a rhyme or a reason, Can manage, like ******* [Southey], to do without either.
If in jail, all the better for out-of-door topics;
For a dramatist, too, the most useful of schools—
Any lady or gentleman come to an age
No matter with what their remembrance is stocked,
Enough to fill handsomely Two Volumes oct,
They may treat us, like Kelly, with old jeu d'esprits,
Or kindly inform us, like Madame Genlis,
* * * *
Funds, Physic, Corn, Poetry, Boxing, Romance,
To write upon all is an author's sole chance
Nine times out of ten, if his title is good,
Let him only write fine, and if not understood,
Nota Bene—an Essay, now printing, to shew
*According to the common reading, ‘Quodcunque infundis, acescit.' [A punning travesty of a maxim, Ep. ii., b. i., which Francis renders—‘For tainted vessels sour what they contain.']
As early as 1806, Mr Moore entered upon his noble poetical and patriotic task—writing lyrics for the ancient music of his native country. His Irish Songs displayed a fervour and pathos not found in his earlier works, with the most exquisite melody and purity of diction. An accomplished musician himself, it was the effort, he relates, to translate into language the emotions and passions which music appeared to him to express, that first led to his writing any poetry worthy of the name. “Dryden, he adds, “has happily described music as being “inarticulate poetry:” and I have always felt, in adapting words to an expressive air, that I was bestowing upon it the gift of articulation, and thus enabling it to speak to others all that was conveyed, in its wordless eloquence, to myself. Part of the inspiration must also be attributed to national feelings. The old airs were consecrated to recollections of the ancient glories, the valour, beauty, or sufferings of Ireland, and became inseparably connected with such associations. Of the Irish Melodies, in connection with Mr Moore's songs, ten parts were published. Without detracting from the merits of the rest, it appears to us very forcibly, that the particular ditties in which he hints at the woes of his native country, and transmutes into verse the breathings of its unfortunate patriots, are the most real in feeling, and therefore the best. This particularly applies to When he who adores thee; Oh, blame not the bard; and Oh, breathe not his name; the first of which, referring evidently to the fate of Mr Emmett, is as follows:
When he who adores thee has left but the name
With thee were the dreams of my earliest love,
Next to the patriotic songs stand those in which a moral reflection is conveyed in that metaphorical form which only Moore has been able to realise in lyrics for music—as in the following exquisite example:
I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining, A bark o'er the waters move gloriously on :
I came, when the sun o'er that beach was declining— The bark was still there, but the waters were gone.
Ah! such is the fate of our life's early promise,
us, And leaves us, at eve, on the black shore alone.
Ne'er tell me of glories seremely adorning
morning, Her clouds and her tears are worth evening's best light.
Oh, who would not welcome that moment's returning, When passion first waked a new life through his frame, And his soul—like the wood that grows precious in burning— Gave out all its sweets to Love's exquisite flame!
In 1817 Mr Moore produced his most elaborate poem, Lalla Rookh, an oriental romance, the accuracy of which, as regards topographical, antiquarian, and characteristic details, has been vouched by numerous competent authorities. The poetry is brilliant and gorgeous—rich to excess with imagery and ornament—and oppressive from its very sweetness and splendour. Of the four tales which, connected by a slight narrative, like the ballad stories in Hogg's Queen's Wake, constitute the entire poem, the most simple is Paradise and the Peri, and it is the one most frequently read and remembered. Still, the first—The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan—though improbable and extravagant as a fiction, is a poem of great energy and power. The genius of the poet moves with grace and freedom under his load of Eastern magnificence, and the reader is fascinated by his prolific fancy, and the scenes of loveliness and splendour which are depicted with such vividness and truth. Hazlitt says that Moore should not have written Lalla Rookh, even for three thousand guineas —the price understood to be paid by the booksellers for the copyright. But if not a great poem, it is a marvellous work of art, and contains paintings of local scenery and manners, unsurpassed for fidelity and picturesque effect. The patient research and extensive reading required to gather the materials, would have damped the spirit and extinguished the fancy of almost any other poet. It was amidst the snows of two or three Derbyshire winters, he says, while living in a lone cottage among the fields, that he was enabled, by that concentration of thought which retirement alone gives, to call up around him some of the sunniest of those Eastern scenes which have since been welcomed in India itself as almost native to its clime. The poet was a diligent student, and his oriental reading was ‘as good as riding on the back of a camel. The romance of Vathek alone equals Lalla Rookh, among English fictions, in local fidelity and completeness as an Eastern tale. Some touches of sentiment and description have the grace and polish of ancient cameos. Thus of retired beauty:
Melt off, and leave the land and sea
As true and picturesque, and more profound in
feeling, is the poet's allusion to the fickleness of
A word unkind or wrongly taken-
And ruder words will soon rush in
After the publication of his work, the poet set off with Mr Rogers on a visit to Paris. The “groups of ridiculous English who were at that time swarming in all directions throughout France, supplied the materials for his satire, entitled The Fudge Family in Paris, which, in popularity, and the run of successive editions, kept pace with Lalla Rookh, In 1819 Mr Moore made another journey to the continent in company with Lord John Russell, and this furnished his Rhymes on the Road, a series of trifles often graceful and pleasing, but so conversational and unstudied, as to be little better—to use his own words—than ‘prose fringed with rhyme.’ From Paris the poet and his companion proceeded by the Simplon to Italy. Lord John took the route to Genoa, and Mr Moore went on a visit to Lord Byron at Venice. On his return from this memorable tour, the poet took up his abode in Paris, where he resided till about the close of the year 1822. He had become involved, in pecuniary difficulties by the conduct of the person who acted as his deputy at Bermuda. His friends pressed forward with eager kindness to help to release him —on: 'ring to place £500 at his disposal; but he
came to the resolution of ‘gratefully declining their offers, and endeavouring to work out his deliverance by his own efforts. In September 1822 he was informed that an arrangement had been made, and that he might with safety return to England. The amount of the claims of the American merchants had been reduced to the sum of one thousand guineas, and towards the payment of this the uncle of his deputy—a rich London merchanthad been brought to contribute £300. The Marquis of Lansdowne immediately deposited in the hands of a banker the remaining portion (£750), which was soon repaid by the grateful bard, who, in the June following, on receiving his publisher's account, found £1000 placed to his credit from the sale of the Loves of the Angels, and £500 from the Fables of the Holy Alliance. The latter were partly written while Mr Moore was at Venice with Lord Byron, and were published under the nom de guerre of Thomas Brown. The Loves of the Angels was written in Paris. The poem is founded on ‘the Eastern story of the angels Harut and Marut, and the Rabbinical fictions of the loves of Uzziel and Shamchazai, with which Mr Moore shadowed out ‘the fall of the soul from its original purity—the loss of light and happiness which it suffers in the pursuit of this world's perishable pleasures—and the punishments both from conscience and divine justice with which impurity, pride, and presumptuous inquiry into the awful secrets of heaven are sure to be visited. The stories of the three angels are related with graceful tenderness and passion, but with too little of ‘the angelic air’ about them. He afterwards contributed a great number of political squibs to the Times newspaper—witty sarcastic effusions, for which he was paid at the rate of about £400 per annum ! His latest imaginative work was The Epicurean, an Eastern tale, in prose, but full of the spirit and materials of poetry; and forming, perhaps, his highest and best sustained flight in the regions of pure romance. His lives of Sheridan and Byron we shall afterwards allude to in the list of biographical writers. Thus, remarkable for industry, genius, and acquirements, Mr Moore's career was one of high honour and success. No poet was more universally read, or more courted in society by individuals distinguished for rank, literature, or public service. His political friends, when in office, rewarded him with a pension of £300 per annum, and as his writings were profitable as well as popular, his latter days might have been spent in comfort, without the anxieties of protracted authorship. He resided in a cottage in Wiltshire, but was too often in London, in those gay and brilliant circles which he enriched with his wit and genius. In 1841–42 he gave to the world a complete collection of his poetical works in ten volumes, to which are prefixed some interesting literary and personal details. Latterly, the poet's mind gave way, and he sank into a state of imbecility, from which he was released by death, February 26, 1852. Moore left behind him copious memoirs, journal,
and correspondence, which, by the poet's request, were after his death placed for publication in the hands of his illustrious friend, Lord John Russell. By this posthumous work, a sum of £3000 was realised for Moore's widow. The journal disappointed the public. Slight personal details, brief anecdotes and witticisms, with records of dinnerparties, visits, and fashionable routs, fill the bulk of eight printed volumes. His friends were affectionate and faithful, always ready to help him in his difficulties, and his publishers appear to have treated him with great liberality. He was constantly drawing upon them to meet emergencies, and his drafts were always honoured. Money was offered to him on all hands, but his independent spirit and joyous temperament, combined with fits of close application, and the brilliant success of all his works, poetical and prosaic, enabled him to work his way
Moore's Cottage, near Devizes.
out of every difficulty. Goldsmith was not more potent in raising money, and melting the hearts of booksellers. Lord John Russell admits that the defect of Moore's journal is, that while he is at great pains to put in writing the stories and the jokes he hears, he seldom records a serious discussion, or notices the instructive portions of the conversations in which he bore a part. To do this would have required great time and constant attention. Instead of an admired and applauded talker, the poet must have become a silent and patient listener, and have possessed Boswell's servility of spirit and complete devotion to his hero and subject. Moore said that it was in high-life one met the best society. His friend Rogers disputed the position: and we suspect it will be found that, however agreeable such company may be occasionally, literary men only find real society among their equals. Moore loved high-life, sought after it, and from his genius, fame, and musical talents was courted by the titled and the great. Too much of his time was frittered away in fashionable parties. Such a glittering career is dangerous. The noble and masculine mind of Burns was injured by similar patronage; and in recent times a man of great powers, Theodore Hooke, was ruined by it. Another feature in Moore's journal is his undisguised vanity, which overflows on all occasions. He is never tired of recording the compliments paid to his talents. But Lord John Russell has justly characterised this weakness in Moore as being wholly free from envy. It never took the shape of depreciating others that his own superiority might become conspicuous. “His love of praise was joined with the most generous and liberal dispensation of praise to others—he relished the works of Byron and Scott as if he had been himself no competitor for fame with them.’ Ill success might have tinctured the poet's egotism
with bitterness, but this he never knew; and such a feeling could not have remained long with a man so constitutionally genial and light-hearted.
When time shall have destroyed the remembrance of Moore's personal qualities, and removed his works to a distance, to be judged of by their fruit alone, the want most deeply felt will be that of simplicity and genuine passion. He has worked little in the durable and permanent materials of poetry, but has spent his prime in enriching the stately structure with exquisite ornaments, foliage, flowers, and gems. Yet he often throws into his gay and festive verses, and his fanciful descriptions, touches of pensive and mournful reflection, which strike by their truth and beauty, and by the force of contrast. Indeed, one effect of the genius of Moore has been, to elevate the feelings and occurrences of ordinary life into poetry, rather than dealing with the lofty abstract elements of the art. The combinations of his wit are wonderful. Quick, subtle, and varied, ever suggesting new thoughts or images, or unexpected turns of expression—now drawing resources from classical literature or the ancient fathers—now diving into the human heart, and now skimming the fields of fancy—the wit or imagination of Moore (for they are compounded together) is a true Ariel, ‘a creature of the elements, that is ever buoyant and full of life and spirit. His very satires ‘give delight and hurt not. They are never coarse, and always witty. When stung by an act of oppression or intolerance, he could be bitter or sarcastic enough; but some lively thought or sportive image soon crossed his path, and he instantly followed it into the open and genial region where he loved most to indulge. He never dipt his pen in malignity. For an author who has written so much as Moore on the subject of love and the gay delights of good-fellowship, it was scarce possible to be always natural and original. Some of his lyrics and occasional poems, accordingly, present far-fetched metaphors and conceits, with which they often conclude, like the final flourish or pirouette of a stage-dancer. He exhausted the vocabulary of rosy lips and sparkling eyes, forgetting that true passion is ever direct and simple—ever concentrated and intense, whether bright or melancholy. This defect, however, pervades only part of his songs, and those mostly written in his youth. The Irish Melodies are full of true feeling and delicacy. By universal consent, and by the sure test of memory, these national strains are the most popular and the most likely to be immortal of all Moore's works. They are musical almost beyond parallel in words— graceful in thought and sentiment—often tender, pathetic, and heroic—and they blend poetical and romantic feelings with the objects and sympathies of common life in language chastened and refined, yet apparently so simple that every trace of art has disappeared. The songs are read and remembered by all. They are equally the delight of the cottage and the saloon, and, in the poet's own country, are sung with an enthusiasm that will long be felt in the hour of festivity, as well as in periods of suffering and solemnity, by that imaginative and warm-hearted people.
JOHN HOOKHAM FRERE.
In 1817, Mr Murray published a small poetical volume under the eccentric title of Prospectus and Specimen of an intended National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecraft, of Stowmarket in Suffolk, Harness and Collar Makers. Intended to comprise the most Interesting Particulars relating to King #"r