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success, and very intelligibly such, going through fourteen editions in one year. In the same year the project of writ. ing an oriental poem--a class of work greatly in vogue now that Byron was inventing Giaours and Corsairs—was seriously entertained by Moore. This project took shape in Lalla Rookh, written chiefly at Mayfield Cottage-a performance for which Mr. Longman the publisher paid the extremely large sum of £3150 in advance : its publication hung over till 1817. The poem has been translated into all sorts of languages, including Persian, and is said to have found many admirers among its oriental readers. Whatever may be thought of its poetic merits—and I for one disclaim in its behalf the traditional enthusiasm of an editor's feelings-or of its power in vitalizing the disjecta membra of orientalism, the stock-in-trade of the Asiatic curiosity-shop, there is no doubt that Moore worked very conscientiously upon this undertaking: he read up to any extent,-wrote, talked, and perhaps thought, saracenically
and he trips up his reader with some allusion verse after verse, tumbling him to the bottom of the page, with its quagmire of explanatory footnotes. In 1815 appeared the National Airs, in 1816, Sacred Songs, Duets, and Trios, the music composed and selected by Stevenson and Moore; in 1818, The Fudge Family in Paris, again a great hit. This work was composed in Paris, which capital Moore had been visiting in company with his friend Samuel Rogers The poet.
The easily earnta money and easily discharged duties of the appointment in Bermuda began now to weigh heavy on Moore. Defalcations of his deputy, to the extent of £6000, were discovered, for which the nominal holder of the post was liable. Moore declined offers of assistance; and, pending a legal decision on the matter, he found it apposite to revisit the Continent. In France, Lord John (the present Earl) Russell was his travelling companion : they went on together through Switzerland, and parted at Milan. Moore then, on the 8th of October, joined in Venice his friend Byron, who had been absent from England ever since 1816. The poets met in the best of humour, and on terms of hearty good fellowship-Moore staying with Byron for five or six days. On taking leave of him, Byron presented the Irish lyrist with the MS. of his autobiographical memoirs ; a sacred deposit which (as many people have thought ever since) Moore ought either to have used unAinchingly on the understanding on which it was tendered, or else to have at once declined. The stipulation made by Byron was that the memoirs should not be published till after his death ; but that they should be published at some
time was his manifest intention. Moore sold the MS. in 1821 to Murray for £2100, after some negotiations with Longman; and consigned it to the publisher's hands in April 1824. Hardly had he done so when the news arrived of Byron's death. Murray now considered that the bad blood certain to be generated by the publishing of the memoirs rendered their suppression highly expedient. Mr. Wilmot Horton on the part of Lady Byron, Mr. Luttrell on that of Moore, Colonel Doyle on that of Mrs. Leigh, Lord Byron's half-sister, and Mr. Hobhouse (afterwards Lord Broughton) as a friend of the deceased poet, consulted on the subject. The result was that Murray, setting aside considerations of profit, burned the MS. (some principal portions of which nevertheless exist in print, in other forms of publication); and Moore immediately afterwards, also in a disinterested spirit, repaid him the purchase-money of £2100 with interest. It was quite fair that Moore should be reimbursed this large sum by some of the persons in whose interest he had made the sacrifice ; and there is reason to believe that this was not neglected. The upshot is that all parties concerned showed an honourable disregard of filthy lucre. Whether Murray (the prime mover in the affair) was justified in taking out of the mouth of Byron the posthumous words which he had resolved to speak, and whether his friend Moore was warranted in assisting the gagging process, are different questions, which will be diversely answered by various minds: for myself, I think the decision was both a weakness and a wrong.
To resume. Bidding adieu to Byron at Venice, Moore went on to Rome with the sculptor Chantrey and the portrait-painter Jackson. His tour supplied the materials for the Rhymes on the Road, published, as being extracted from the journal of a travelling member of the Pococurante Society, in 1820, along with the Fables for the Holy Alliance. Lawrence, Turner, and Eastlake, were also much with Moore in Rome: and here he made acquaintance with Canova. Hence he returned to Paris; and made that city his home up to 1822, expecting the outcome of the Bermuda affair. He also resided partly at Butte-Coaslin near Sèvres, with a rich and hospitable Spanish family named Villamil. The debt of £,6000 was eventually reduced to £750: both the Marquis of Lansdowne and Lord John Russell pressed Moore with their friendly offers, and the advance which he at last accepted was soon repaid out of the profits of the Loves of the Angels—which poem, chiefly written in Paris, was published in 1823. The Epicurean was composed about the same time, but did not issue from the press till 1827; the Memoirs of Captain Rock, in 1824.
He had been under an engagement with a bookseller to write a Life of Sheridan. During his stay in France the want of documents withheld him from proceeding with this work ; but he ultimately took it up, and brought it out in 1825. It has not availed to give Moore any reputation as a biographer, though the reader in search of amusement will pick out of it something to suit him. George the Fourth is credited with having made a neat bon mot upon this book. Some one having remarked to him that “ Moore has been murdering Sheridan,”-“No," replied his sacred majesty, “but he has certainly attempted his life.” A later biographical performance, published in 1830, and one of more enduring interest to posterity, was the Life of Byron. This is a very fascinating book; but more—which is indeed a matter of course-in virtue of the lavish amount of Byron's own writing which it embodies than on account of the Memoir-compiler's doings. However, there is a considerable share of good feeling in the book, as well as matter of permanent value from the personal knowledge that Moore had of Byron; and the avoidance of “posing" and of dealing with the subject for purposes of effect, in the case of a man whose career and genius lent themselves so insidiously to such a treatment, is highly creditable to the biographer's good sense and taste. The Life of Byron succeeded, in the list of Moore's writings, a History of Ireland contributed in 1827 to Lardner's Cyclopædia, and the Travels of an Irishman in Search of a Religion, published in the same year : and was followed by a Life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, issued in 1831. This, supplemented by some minor productions, closes the sufficiently long list of writings of an industrious literary life.
In his latter years, Moore resided at Sloperton Cottage, near Devizes, in Wiltshire; where he was near the refined social circle of Lord Lansdowne, at Bowood, as well as the lettered home of the Rev. Mr. Bowles, at Bremhill. Domestic sorrows clouded his otherwise cheerful and comfortable retirement. One of his sons died in the French military service in Algeria ; another of consumption in 1842. For some years before his own death, his mental powers had collapsed. The end came on the 25th of February 1852. He lies buried in Bromham Cemetery, in the neighbourhood of Sloperton.
Moore had a very fair share of learning, as well as steady application, greatly as he sacrificed to the graces of life, and especially of “good society.” His face was not perhaps much more impressive in its contour than his diminutive figure. His eyes, however, were dark and fine; his forehead bony, and with what a phrenologist would recognise
as large bumps of wit ; the mouth pleasingly dimpled. His manner and talk were bright, abounding rather in lively anecdote and point than in wit and humour, strictly 30 called. To term him amiable according to any standard, and estimable too as men of an unheroic fibre go, is no more than his due.
No doubt the world has already seen the most brilliant days of Moore's poetry. Its fascinations are manifestly of the more temporary sort :-partly through fleetingness of subject-matter and evanescence of allusion (as in the clever and still readable satirical poems); partly through the aroma of sentimental patriotism, hardly strong enough in stamina to make the compositions national, or to maintain their high level of popularity after the lyrist himself has long been at rest; partly through the essentially commonplace sources and forms of inspiration which belong to his more elaborate and ambitious works. No poetical reader of the present day is the poorer for knowing absolutely nothing of Lalla Rookh or the Loves of the Angels. What then will be the hold or the claim of these writings upon a reader of the twenty-first century? If we except the satirical compositions, choice in a different way, the best things of Moore are to be sought in the Irish Melodies, to which a considerable share of merit, and of apposite merit, is not to be denied : yet even here what deserts around the oases, and the oases themselves how soon exhaustible and forgetable! There are but few thoroughly beautiful and touching lines in the whole of Moore's poetry: here is one
"Come rest in this bosom, mine own stricken deer."
A great deal has been said of the overpowering “lusciousness” of his poetry, and the magical “melody" of his verse : most of this is pure nonsense. There is in the former as much of fadeur as of lusciousness; and a certain tripping or trotting exactitude, not less fully reducible to the test of scansion than of a well-attuned ear, is but a very rudimentary form of melody--while of harmony or rhythmic volume of sound Moore is as decisively destitute as any correct versifier can well be. No clearer proof of the incapacity of the mass of critics and readers to appreciate the calibre of poetical work in point of musical and general execution could be given than the fact that Moore has always with them passed, and still passes, for an eminently melodious poet. What then remains ? Chiefly this. In one class of writing, liveliness of witty banter, along with neatness; and, in the other and ostensibly more permanent class, elegance, also along with neatness. Reduce these qualities to one denomination, and we come to something that may be called “ Propriety :” a sufficiently disastrous "raw material” for the purposes of a poet, and by no means loftily to be praised or admired even when regarded as the outer investiture of a nobler poetic something within. But let desert of every kind have its place, and welcome. In the cosmical diapason and august orchestra of poetry, Tom Moore's little Pan's-pipe can at odd moments be heard, and interjects an appreciable and rightly-combined twiddle or two. To be gratified with these at the instant is no more than the instrument justifies, and the executant claims: to think much about them when the organ is pealing or the violin plaining (with a Shelley performing on the first, or a Mrs. Browning on the second), or to be on the watch for their recurrences, would be equally superfluous and weak-minded.