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two contained in the following pages are closely As to my own share in these representations, connected.* In my Preface to the First Vo- the following list of my most successful chalume of this collection, I briefly noticed the racters will show how remote from the line of taste for Private Theatrical Performances which the Heroic was the small orbit through which prevailed during the latter half of the last cen- I ranged; my chief parts having been Sam, in tury among the higher ranks in Ireland. This “Raising the Wind,” Robin Roughhead, Mungo, taste continued for nearly twenty years to sur- Sadi, in the “ Mountaineers," Spado, and Peepvive the epoch of the Union, and in the per- ing Tom. In the part of Spado there occur formances of the Private Theatre of Kilkenny several allusions to that gay rogue's shortness gave forth its last, as well as, perhaps, brightest of stature, which never failed to be welcomed flashes. The life and soul of this institution by my auditors with laughter and cheers; and was our manager, the late Mr. Richard Power, the words “ Even Sanguino allows I am a a gentleman who could boast a larger circle of clever little fellow" was always a signal for attached friends, and through a life more free this sort of friendly explosion. One of the from shadow or alloy, than any individual it songs, indeed, written by O'Keefe for the chahas ever been my lot to know. No livelier racter of Spado so much abounds with points proof, indeed, could be required of the sort of thus personally applicable, that many supposed, feeling entertained towards him than was once with no great compliment either to my poetry shown in the reception given to the two follow- or my modesty, that the song had been written, ing homely lines which occurred in a Prologue expressly for the occasion, by myself. The I wrote to be spoken by Mr. Corry in the cha- following is the verse to which I allude, and for racter of Vapid.
the poetry of which I was thus made respon'Tis said our worthy manager intends
sible :To help my night, and he, you know, has friends.t
“ Though born to be little's my fate, These few simple words I wrote with the as
Yet so was the great Alexander ;
And, when I walk under a gate, sured conviction that they would produce more
I've no need to stoop like a gander. effect, from the homefelt truism they contained, I'm no lanky, long hoddy.doddy, than could be effected by the most laboured
Whose paper-kite sails in the sky;
Though wanting two feet, in my body, burst of eloquence; and the result was just
In soul, I am thirty feet high." what I had anticipated, for the house rung, for
Some further account of the Kilkenny Thea considerable time, with the heartiest plaudits.
atre, as well as of the history of Private TheaThe chief comic, or rather farcical, force of tricals in general, will be found in an article I the company lay in my friend Mr. Corry, and
wrote on the subject for the Edinburgh Re“ longo intervallo," myself; and though, as
view, vol. xlvi. No. 92. p. 368. usual, with low comedians, we were much looked down upon by the lofty lords of the buskin, many was the sly joke we used to indulge together, at the expense of our heroic brethren. Some waggish critic, indeed, is said to have declared that of all the personages of our theatre he most admired the prompter,
PREFACE “because he was least seen and best heard." But this joke was, of course, a mere goodhumoured slander. There were two, at least,
THE EIGHTH VOLUME, of our dramatic corps, Sir Wrixon Becher and Mr. Rothe, whose powers, as tragic actors, few On my return from the interesting visit to amateurs have ever equalled; and Mr. Corry Rome, of which some account has been given - perhaps alone of all our company – would in the preceding Preface, I took up my abode have been sure of winning laurels on the public in Paris, and, being joined there by my family, stage.
continued to reside in that capital, or its en
virons, till about the close of the year 1822. from me." I select this one instance from among As no life, however sunny, is without its clouds, the many which that trying event of my life
I could not escape, of course, my share of such enables me to adduce, both on account of the i passing shadows; and this long estrangement deliberate feeling of manly regard which it
from our happy English home, towards which manifests, and also from other considerations my family yearned even more fondly than which it would be out of place here to mention, myself, had been caused by difficulties of a but which rendered so genuine a mark of pecuniary nature, and to a large amount, in friendship from such a quarter peculiarly which I had been involved by the conduct of touching and welcome to me. the person who acted as my deputy in the small When such were the men who hastened to office I held at Bermuda.
my aid in this emergency, I need hardly say, it That I should ever have come to be chosen was from no squeamish pride, — for the pride for such an employment seems one of those would have been in receiving favours from such freaks or anomalies of human destiny which hands, — that I came to the resolution of gratebafile all ordinary speculation ; and went far, fully declining their offers, and endeavouring indeed, to realise Beaumarchais' notion of the to work out my deliverance by my own efforts. | sort of standard by which, too frequently, With a credit still fresh in the market of li
qualification for place is regulated, -" Il fallut terature, and with publishers ready as ever to un calculateur ; ce fut un danseur qui l'obtint.” risk their thousands on my name, I could not
But however much, in this instance, I suf- but feel that, however gratifying was the genefered from my want of schooling in matters of rous zeal of such friends, I should best show business, and more especially from my having that I, in some degree, deserved their offers, by neglected the ordinary precaution of requiring declining, under such circumstances, to accept security from my deputy, I was more than them. consoled for all such embarrassment, were it Meanwhile, an attachment had issued against eren ten times as much, by the eager kindness me from the Court of Admiralty; and as a with which friends pressed forward to help negotiation was about to be opened with the to release me from my difficulties. Could I American claimants, for a reduction of their venture to name the persons, — and they were large demand upon me, — supposed, at that many,—who thus volunteered their aid, it time, to amount to six thousand pounds, it would be found they were all of them men was deemed necessary that, pending the treaty, whose characters enhanced such a service, and I should take up my abode in France. that, in all, the name and the act reflected To write for the means of daily subsistence, honour upon each other.
and even in most instances to “forestall the I shall so far lift the veil in which such deli- slow harvest of the brain," was for me, uncate generosity seeks to shroud itself, as to men- luckily, no novel task. But I had now, in tion briefly the manner in which one of these addition to these home calls upon the Muse, a kind friends,— himself possessing but limited new, painful, and, in its first aspect, overwhelmmeans,-proposed to contribute to the object ing exigence to provide for; and, certainly, of releasing me from my embarrassments. After Paris, swarming throughout as it was, at that adverting, in his letter, to my misfortunes, and period, with rich, gay, and dissipated English, *the noble way,” as he was pleased to say, was, to a person of my social habits and multi" in which I bore them,” he adds, —“would farious acquaintance, the very worst possible it be very impertinent to say, that I have 5001. place that could have been resorted to for even entirely at your disposal, to be paid when you the semblance of a quiet or studious home. like; and as much more that I could advance, The only tranquil, and, therefore, to me, most upon any reasonable security, payable in seven precious portions of that period were the two Fears?" The writer concludes by apologising summers passed by my family and myself with anxiously and delicately for “ the liberty which our kind Spanish friends, the V ******* Is, he thus takes," assuring me that “ he would not at their beautiful place, La Butte Coaslin, on have made the offer if he did not feel that he the road up to Bellevue. There, in a cottage would most-readily accept the same assistance belonging to M. V* **l, and but a
few steps from his house, we contrived to or Epistles ; and with this view sketched out a conjure up an apparition of Sloperton * ; and I story, on an Egyptian subject, differing not was able for some time to work with a feeling much from that which, some years after, formed of comfort and home. I used frequently to the groundwork of the Epicurean. After lapass the morning in rambling alone through bouring, however, for some months, at this the noble park of St. Cloud, with no apparatus experiment, amidst interruption, dissipation, for the work of authorship but my memo- and distraction, which might well put all the randum-book and pencils, forming sentences to Nine Muses to flight, I gave up the attempt run smooth and moulding verses into shape. in despair ;—fully convinced of the truth of In the evenings I generally joined with Madame that warning conveyed in some early verses of
**** 1 in Italian duetts, or, with far my own, addressed to the Invisible Girl:more pleasure, sat as listener, while she sung Oh hint to the bard, 'tis retirement alone to the Spanish guitar those sweet songs of her
Can hallow its harp or ennoble its tone:
Like you, with a veil of seclusion between, own country to which few voices could do such
His song to the world let him utter unseen, justice.
One of the pleasant circumstances connected It was, indeed, to the secluded life I led during with our summer visits to La Butte was the the years 1813–1816, in a lone cottage among near neighbourhood of our friend, Mr. Kenny, the fields, in Derbyshire, that I owed the inthe lively dramatic writer, who was lodged spiration, whatever may have been its value, picturesquely in the remains of the Palace of of some of the best and most popular portions the King's Aunts, at Bellevue. I remember, of Lalla Rookh. It was amidst the snows of on my first telling Kenny the particulars of my two or three Derbyshire winters that I found Bermuda mishap, his saying, after a pause of myself enabled, by that concentration of thought real feeling, “Well, — it's lucky you're a poet; which retirement alone gives, to call up around
- a philosopher never could have borne it.” me some of the sunniest of those Eastern scenes Washington Irving also was, for a short time, which have since been welcomed in India itself, our visiter ; and still recollects, I trust, his as almost native to its clime. reading to me some parts of his then forth- But, abortive as had now been all my efforts coming work, Bracebridge Hall, as we sat to woo the shy spirit of Poesy, amidst such together on the grass walk that leads to the unquiet scenes, the course of reading I found Rocher, at La Butte.
time to pursue, on the subject of Egypt, was Among the writings, then but in embryo, to of no small service in storing my mind with which I looked forward for the means of my the various knowledge respecting that country, enfranchisement, one of the most important, which some years later I turned to account, in as well as most likely to be productive, was writing the story of the Epicurean. The kind my intended Life of Sheridan. But I soon facilities, indeed, towards this object, which found that, at such a distance from all those some of the most distinguished French scholars living authorities from whom alone I could and artists afforded me, are still remembered gain any interesting information respecting by me with thankfulness. Besides my old the private life of one who left behind him acquaintance, Denon, whose drawings of Egypt, so little epistolary correspondence, it would be then of some value, I frequently consulted, I wholly impossible to proceed satisfactorily with found Mons. Fourier and Mons. Langlès no less this task. Accordingly I wrote to Mr. Murray prompt in placing books at my disposal. With and Mr. Wilkie, who were at that time the in- Humboldt, also, who was at that time in Paris, tended publishers of the work, to apprize them I had more than once some conversation on the of this temporary obstacle to its progress. subject of Egypt, and remember his expressing
Being thus baffled in the very first of the himself in no very laudatory terms respecting few resources I had looked to, I next thought the labours of the French savans in that country. of a Romance in verse, in the form of Letters, I had now been foiled and frustrated in two
“A little cot, with trees arow,
† See p. 71, of this edition.
of those literary projects on which I had a rich London merchant, — had been brought, counted most sanguinely in the calculation of with some difficulty, to contribute three hunmy resources; and, though I had found sufficient dred pounds. I was likewise informed, that a time to furnish my musical publisher with the very dear and distinguished friend of mine, to Eighth Number of the Irish Melodies, and also whom, by his own desire, the state of the negoa Number of the National Airs, these works tiation was, from time to time, reported, had, alone, I knew, would yield but an insufficient upon finding that there appeared, at last, some supply, compared with the demands so closely chance of an arrangement, and learning also the and threateningly hanging over me. In this amount of the advance made by my deputy's difficulty I called to mind a subject, — the relative, immediately deposited in the hands of Eastern allegory of the Loves of the Angels, a banker the remaining portion (7501.) of the -on which I had, some years before, begun required sum, to be there in readiness for the a prose story, but in which, as a theme for final settlement of the demand. poetry, I had now been anticipated by Lord Though still adhering to my original purByron, in one of the most sublime of his pose of owing to my own exertions alone the many poetical miracles, “ Heaven and Earth.” means of relief from these difficulties, I yet Knowing how soon I should be lost in the felt a pleasure in allowing this thoughtful deshadow into which so gigantic a precursor posit to be applied to the generous purpose for would cast me, I had endeavoured, by a speed which it was destined ; and having employed of composition which must have astonished in this manner the 7501., I then transmitted to my habitually slow pen, to get the start of my kind friend, - I need hardly say with what my noble friend in the time of publication, feelings of thankfulness, –a cheque on my and thus afforded myself the sole chance I could publishers for the amount. perhaps expect, under such unequal rivalry, Though this effort of the poet's purse was of attracting to my work the attention of the but, as usual, a new launch into the Future,— public. In this humble speculation, however, a new anticipation of yet unborn means,— I failed; for both works, if I recollect right, the result showed that, at least in this instance, made their appearance at the same time. I had not counted on my bank “in nubibus"
In the meanwhile, the negotiation which had too sanguinely; for, on receiving my pubbeen entered into with the American claim- lishers' account, in the month of June following, ants, for a reduction of the amount of their I found 1000l. placed to my credit from the demands upon me, had continued to "drag its sale of the Loves of the Angels, and 5001, from slow length along;” nor was it till the month the Fables of the Holy Alliance. of September, 1822, that, by a letter from I must not omit to mention, that, among the the Messrs. Longman, I received the welcome resources at that time placed at my disposal, intelligence that the terms offered, as our was one small and sacred sum, which had been ultimatum, to the opposite party, had been at set apart by its young possessor for some such last accepted, and that I might now with safety beneficent purpose. This fund, amounting to return to England. I lost no time, of course, about 300l., arose from the proceeds of the in availing myself of so welcome a privilege ; sale of the first edition of a biographical work, and as all that remains now to be told of this then recently published, which will long be trying episode in my past life may be comprised memorable, as well from its own merits and within a small compass, I shall trust to the subject, as from the lustre that has been since patience of my readers for tolerating the recital. shed back upon it from the public career of its
On arriving in England I learned, for the noble author. To a gift from such hands first time, -having been, till then, kept very might well have been applied the words of Ovid, much in darkness on the subject, -that, after
acceptissima semper a long and frequently interrupted course of Munera sunt, auctor quæ pretiosa facit. negotiation, the amount of the claims of the In this volume, and its immediate successor, American merchants had been reduced to the will be found collected almost all those delinsum of one thousand guineas, and that towards quencies of mine, in the way of satire, which the payment of this the uncle of my deputy, - have appeared, from time to time, in the pub
lic journals, during the last twenty or thirty to this series of squibs, may have been collected years. The comments and notices required to from the concluding sentences of my last Prethrow light on these political trifles must be face; but a little further consideration has led reserved for our next volume.
me to abandon this intention.
To that kind of satire which deals only with the lighter follies of social life, with the passing modes, whims, and scandal of the day, such
illustrative comments become, after a short PREFACE
time, necessary. But the true preserving salt
of political satire is its applicability to future THE NINTH VOLUME,
times and generations, as well as to those
which had first called it forth ; its power of In one of those Notices, no less friendly than transmitting the scourge of ridícule through they are able and spirited, which this new succeeding periods, with a lash still fresh for the Edition of my Poetical Works has called forth back of the bigot and the oppressor, under whatfrom a leading political journal, I find, in ever new shape they may present themselves. reference to the numerous satirical pieces con- I can hardly flatter myself with the persuasion tained in these volumes, the following sug- that any one of the satirical pieces contained gestion*:—“ It is now more than a quarter in this Volume is likely to possess this principle of a century since this bundle of political pas- of vitality; but I feel quite certain that, without quinades set the British public in a roar; and it, not all the notes and illustrations in which though the events to which they allude may even the industry of Dutch commentatorship be well known to every reader,
could embalm them would insure to these trifles Cujus octavum trepidavit ætas
a life much beyond the present hour.
Already, to many of them, that sort of relish there are many persons, now forming a part of — by far the least worthy source of their sucthe literary public, who have come into ex
which the names of living victims lend istence since they happened, and who cannot to such sallies, has become, in the course of be expected, even if they had the leisure and time, wanting. But, as far as their appositeopportunity to rummage the files of our old ness to the passing political events of the day newspapers for a history of the perishable facts has yet been tried—and the dates of these saon which Mr. Moore has so often rested the tires range over a period of nearly thirty years flying artillery of his wit. Many of those facts
— their ridicule, thanks to the undying nature will be considered beneath the notice of the of human absurdity, appears to have lost, as grave historian : and it is, therefore, incumbent yet, but little of the original freshness of its on Mr. Moore-- if he wishes his political first application. Nor is this owing to any pesquibs, imbued as they are with a wit and hu- culiar felicity of aim, in the satire itself, but to mour quite Aristophanic, to be relished, as the sameness, throughout that period, of all its they deserve to be relished, by our great-grand- original objects ;--the unchangeable nature children — to preface them with a rapid sum- of that spirit of Monopoly by which, under all mary of the events which gave them birth.”
its various impersonations, commercial, religious, Without pausing here to say how gratifying and political, these satires had been first proit is to me to find my long course of Anti- voked. To refer but to one instance, the Corn Tory warfare thus tolerantly, and even gene- Question,-assuredly, the entire appositeness, at rously spoken of, and by so distinguished an this very moment, of such versicles as the folorgan of public opinion, I shall as briefly as I lowing, redounds far less to the credit of poesy can, advert to the writer's friendly suggestion, than to the disgrace of legislation, and then mention some of those reasons which
How can you, my Lord, thus delight to torment all have induced me to adopt it. That I was dis- The Peers of the realm about cheap'ning their corn, posed, at first, to annex some such commentary
When you know if one hasn't a very high rental,
'Tis hardly worth while to be very high-born. • The Times, Jan. 9. 1841.
That, being by nature so little prone to spleen