« ElőzőTovább »
"My father lived at Blenheim then,
"Yon little stream hard by;
"And he was forced to fly;
"With fire and sword the country round
"Was wasted far and wide;
"And new-born baby died;
'' They say it was a shocking sight
"After the field was won;
"Lay rotting in the sun;
"Great praise the Duke of Marlbroi won,
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
"Nay—nay—my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory.
"And every body prais'd the Duke
"But what good came of it at last?"
"Why, that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."
Thou wert out betimes, thou busy, busy Bee!
As abroad I took my early way,
Before the cow from her resting-place
Had risen up and left her trace
On the meadow, with dew so grey.
Saw 1 thee, thou busy, busy Bee.
Thou wert working late, thou busy, busy Bee!
After the fall of the Cistus flower;
When the Primrose of evening was ready to burst,
I heard thee last, as I saw thee first;
In the silence of the evening hour,
Heard I thee, thou busy, busy Bee.
Thou art a miser, thou busy, busy Bee!
Late and early at employ;
Still on thy golden stores intent,
Thy summer in heaping and hoarding is spent
What thy winter will never enjoy; Wise lesson this for me, thou busy, busy Bee!
Little dost thou think, thou busy, busy Bee!
What is the end of thy toil.
When the latest flowers of the ivy are gone,
And all thy work for the year is done,
Thy master comes for the spoil:
Woe then for thee, thou busy, busy Bee!
O God! have mercy in this dreadful hour
The blast that rages with resistless power.
The madden'd waves, and know no succour near;
The howling of the storm alone to hear,
To gaze amid the horrors of the night,
And only see the billow's gleaming light;
Who, as she listens, sleepless, to the gale,
Puts up a silent prayer and waxes pale?
Thomas Moore was born in Dublin, on the 28th or May, 1780. At the age of fourteen, he entered the University of his native city, where he took his degree. In 1799, he became a member of the Middle Temple, and was called to the bar. Before he had completed his twentieth year, he published his Translations of the Odes of Anacrcon; and, at once, " became famous." The work was dedicated to the Prince of Wales,— and led to an introduction to his royal highness, and a subsequent intimacy of which a variety of anecdotes are related; but that it terminated disadvantageous^ for both, we have unquestionable proof in the pages of some of the Poet's later writings. In 1803, Mr. Moore obtained an official situation at Bermuda; he filled it but for a short period, and returned to England. In 1806, he published the "Odes and Epistles;" in 1808, Poems, under the assumed name of Thomas Little; in 1817, Lallah Rookh; and in 1823, the Loves of the Angels. Besides these Poems, Mr. Moore has printed a variety of light political squibs,—the value of which naturally ceased with the topics that called them forth.
Mr. Moore resides in the vicinity of Bowood,—the seat of his friend Lord Lansdowne, near Calne. He has preferred retirement to celebrity—except that which the Muses have so lavishly bestowed upon him; and resists all attempts to lure him into the arena of public life. It will be readily believed that he is the idol of the circle in which he moves. A finer gentleman, in the better sense of the term, is no where to be found: his learning is not only extensive, but sound ; and he is pre-eminent for those qualities which attract and charm in society. His voice though not of large compass, is wonderfully sweet and effective, and he is a good musician;—to hear him sing one of his own melodies, is, indeed, a rich treat. In person he is " Little," and the expression of his countenance is rather joyous than dignified; there is, however, a peculiar kindliness in his look and manner which in no way detracts from the enthusiasm his presence cannot fail to excite.
It is scarcely necessary to comment on the poetry of Thomas Moore. It has been more extensively read than that of any existing author; those who might not have sought it otherwise, have become familiar with it through the medium of the delicious music to which it has been wedded; and it would be difficult to find a single individual in Great Britain unable to repeat some of his verses. No writer, living or dead, has enjoyed a popularity so universal: and if an author's position is to depend on the delight he produces, we must class the author of " Lallah Rookh," and the " Irish Melodies," as " chiefest of the Bards" of modern times. His poetry, however, is deficient in those higher and more enduring materials which form the ground-work of Imperishable fame. Its leading attribute is grace. The Poet rarely attempts, and more rarely succeeds, in fathoming the depths of the human heart, and laying open the rich vein that has been hidden by the dull quarry: he is always brilliant, but seldom powerful; he is an epicurean in poetry, and turns away from all objects which do not yield enjoyment. His fancy is perpetually at play;—things which please the senses are more contemplated than those which excite or controul the passions; and while he
"Lives in a bright little world of hb own"—
we must not mistake the dazzling and brilliant light which surrounds him, for the animating and invigorating sun.
His poetry is exquisitely finished: we never encounter aline or even a word that grates upon the ear; It is "harmony, delicious harmony," unbroken by a single jarring note.
We are by no means singular in thinking that the " Irish Melodies" must be considered as the most valuable and enduring of all his works; they
** Circle hit name with a charm against death i"
and as a writer of song he stands without a rival. Mr. Moore found the national music of his country, with very few exceptions, debased by a union with words that were either unseemly or unintelligible. It was, therefore, comparatively lost to the world; and time was rapidly diminishing that which memory alone preserved. The attempt to combine it with appropriate language, was commenced in 1807. Its success is almost without parallel in the history of literature. The music of Ireland is now known and appreciated all over the world ;—and the songs of the Irish Poet will endure as long as the country,—the loves and gloiies of which they commemorate.
They say that Love had once a book
Where all who came the pencil took,
'Twas Innocence, the maid divine,
Who kept this volume bright and fair,
And saw that no unhallow'd line,
Or thought profane, should enter there.
And sweetly did the pages fill
With fond device and loving lore,
And every leaf she turn'd was still
More bright than that she turn'd before!
Beneath the touch of Hope, how soft,
Till Fear would come, alas ! as oft,
And trembling close what Hope began.
A tear or two had dropp'd from Grief,
Ruffle in haste some snowy leaf,
Which Love had still to smooth again!
But, oh, there was a blooming boy,
And wrote therein such words of joy,
And Pleasure was this spirit's name,
Yet Innocence, whene'er he came.
For still she saw his playful fingers
And well she knew the stain that lingers
And so it chanced, one luckless night
He let his honey goblet fall
And sullied lines, and marge and all!
In vain he sought, with eager lip,
For still the more the boy would sip,
Oh, it would make you weep, to see
Steal o'er a page, where Modesty
And Fancy's emblems lost their glow,
And Ix)ve himself could scarcely know