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in his pocket, as his incipient stock in by a gentleman of the name of Moore, who trade. His countryman Sheridan, too, has acquired considerable poetical reputation it will be remembered, started at the by some elegant and spirited translations of same early age with a translation from Anacreon,' was produced on this evening, a Greek poet; but Sheridan's “ Aris
and was received with a mixture of applause tænetus " is forgotten, while Moore's
and disapprobation. It is certainly a flimsy 66 Anacreon" is destined for immorta.
and uninteresting performance, and must be
considered merely as a vehicle for some very lity. The translation was speedily fol.
pleasing music by Mr. Kelly, who made his lowed by “ The Poetical Works of the
first appearance on this stage for these three late Thomas Little, Esq.," of which years, in the character which gives the piece the less that is said the better. On a title. A noble Spaniard, for some reason the 24th of February, 1801, Moore or other, is obliged to disguise his person, produced, at the Haymarket Theatre, He becomes the leader of a band of gipsies ; an operatic spectacle, called The Gipsy and in that capacity rescues a poor Jew from Prince, which, although never printed,
the officers of the Inquisition, one of whom was moderately successful in represen.
is wounded in the rencontre. For this he is tation, and was repeated about ten
obliged to fly. He takes shelter in the gartimes. It was known to be his, although
den of a grandee, whose daughter instantly
falls in love with him, and conceals him he did not publicly avow himself as the
from his pursuers. After a little time he is author before it was acted, and felt lit- discovered ; but it appearing that the man tle disposed to do so after. The “ Dra
he had wounded is not dead, and that he is matic Censor” condemns it as a very the long-lost nephew of a friend of the young poor piece. The “ Biographia Drama- lady's father, his offence is pardoned, and tica ” says, “ Though not very interest- the fond pair are united. There is a chaing as a drama, it contained some racter called Rincon, into which the author humour, and was interspersed with
has endeavoured to throw a little humour ; some pretty music from the pen of
but it is so little, and the part itself, though Mr. Kelly." Kelly himself sustained
performed by Mr. Fawcett, is so detached the hero, and Mrs. Mountain, Suett,
from the general plot, that its effect was
very inconsiderable. Mrs. Mountain looked Emery, and Fawcett were included in
and sung, as she always does, most charmthe cast. In Moore's letters to his
ingly; and Miss Tyrer, † who is the express mother, in February and March, 1801 image of Mrs. Bland, was very lucky in her (published in Lord John Russell's me- song and duet, which were both rapturously moirs), we find the following slight applauded. Indeed the whole of the music, allusion to The Gipsy Prince : - “ I as well the original airs composed by Mr. dined on Saturday in company with Kelly, as the selections from · Paisiello,' are Suett and Bannister ; read the piece
extremely creditable to the taste and scientito them. Suett is quite enchanted with
fic arrangements of the composer. The songs bis part, particularly the mock bravu
do not possess much merit; but Milton him
self could hardly infuse a spirit of poetry into ra."-"I kept my piece back too long.
the songs of a modern opera." I am afraid they will not have time to bring it out this season, and it is too
The concluding sentence is rather a expensive for Colman's theatre. He
harsh and hasty dictum on the early has read it, however ; is quite delight
efforts of a writer, many of whose subed with it, and wishes me to undertake
sequent ballads are as exquisitely delisomething on a more moderate scale
cate and beautiful in the words, as in for the little theatre, which perhaps I
the melodies to which they are adapted. shall do." His correspondence makes
Byron was neither exaggerated nor no mention of his drama subsequent to
wildly enthusiastic in his admiration its production.* The“ Monthly Mirror”
when he wrote: “To me, some of of July, 1801_at that time a periodi- Moore's last Erin sparks—. As a beam cal of first-rate celebrity, edited by
o'er the face of the waters,' When he Edward Dubois, contained the follow
who adores thee,' Oh, blame not,' notice :
and Oh! breathe not his name '-are “July 24th. - A musical entertainment, worth all the epics that ever were com. under the title of The Gipsy Prince, written posed."
* In the" Familiar Epistles," the piece is identified with the author in the following lines :
" And Moore, with Colman's aid, erince
Uis genius in the Gipsy Prince," † Afterwards Mrs. Liston.
In the “Reminiscences of Michael Kelly” we find the following pas. sage:
" I had the pleasure this year (1801) to meet Mr. Thomas Moore, the poet, at Mrs. Crouch's cottage, in the King's-road ; my brother Joseph introduced him there. I was much entertained with his conversation, and cultivated his pleasing society; and in the course of our acquaintance, persuaded him to write a musical afterpiece for the Haymarket Theatre. I engaged with Mr. Colman to compose the music and to perform in it. It was called The Gipsy Prince, and was performed, for the first time, on the 24th of February, 1801. Part of the poetry was very pretty ; but the piece did not succeed, and was withdrawn. As a sample of the poetry, I subjoin a song, sung by me in the character of the Gipsy Prince : “ I have roam'd through many a weary round,
I have wander'd east and west ;
But sought in vaia for rest.
I feel that one's too wide,
Is worth a world beside.
Wander'd unconscious where ;
It, trembling, settled there."
of youth and inexperience, and should be estimated accordingly; but when Moore had reached full maturity, and had passed what Shakspeare calls the period of “blown youth," and was gently gliding into his thirty-third year, he brought forward a comic opera in three acts, entitled M.P., or the Blue Stocking, which was published soon after representation, but has never since been reprinted, or included in any of his collected works. This piece was acted, for the first time, at the Lyceum Theatre, by the Drury-lane Company, under the management of Arnold, on the 9th of September, 1811. It met with more than average success, and ran for nineteen nights, but does not appear to have been continued after the first season. Some of the papers praised it warmly; others were very severe, and unjustly so, in their strictures. Some time previous to the performance, Moore says in a letter to his mother :
" I did not write on Saturday, as I was a 8 little nervous about my reading to the manager ; but I came off with him ten times better than I expected, as I have, indeed, very little confidence in my dramatic powers. He was, however, very much pleased, and said its only fault was, that it would be too good for the audience; that it was in the best style of good comedy, and many more things, which, allowing all that is necessary for politeness, are very encouraging; and I begin to lave some little hopes that it may succeed. Do not mention my opera to any one, and bid Kate muzzle old Joe upon the
Again, he writes to Lady Donegall, on the 17th of August, 1811:
The above short details comprise all we have been able to collect respecting this ricketty bantling, which died al. most as soon as it was born ; but they suslice to fix the paternity in the face of many assertions to the contrary.
Moore, although professing liberal principles, and writing himself a democrat, bowed before the altar of aristocracy with more incense than became the lofty independence of genius, even though in want of patronage to help its progress. But he had true pride, notwithstanding, and never neglected or felt ashamed of his own relations, amidst all the fascinations of popularity, or the congenial allurements of elevated society. Once, when the Prince of Wales said to him, at his own table, " Moore, are you connected with the Drogheda family?" he replied readily, without a blush, “No, your Royal Highness; I have no pretensions to such an honour; I am the son of an humble tradesman in Dublin.”
Whatever might be merits or demerits, the promise or disappointment, of The Gipsy Prince, it was a production
"The season is now, indeed, so far gone, that I should not wonder if I were yet to have you witnesses of my first plunge ; and, oh! if I could pack a whole audience like you, with such taste for what is good, and such indulgence for what is bad! But I think there is not in the world so stupid or so boorish a congregation as the audience of an English play-house. I have latterly attended a good deal, and I really think that when an author makes them laugh, he ought to feel like Phocion, when the Athenians applauded him, and ask what wretched bêtise had produced the tribute.”+
After the production of the opera, he seems to have communicated the result
* Lord John Russell's " Memoirs." Vol. i. p. 256.
† Ibid. p. 257.
to his friends, but with no very strong The “Biographia Dramatica " says impression that be had made a hit. of M. P.: This drew from bis constant correspondent, Miss Godfrey, Lady Donegall's
" This very successful piece is the producsister, the following reply:
tion of Thomas Moore, Esq., the wellknown translator of 'Anacreon,' and writer
of some amatory poems, under the assumed " You are so severe upon your poor opera, name of Thomas Little, Esq. It is an elethat, on tirst opening your letter, we gave it gant and pleasant jeu d'esprit, containing up for lost, and thought it must certainly
some laughable equivoque, and broad hugo to the regions below. However, upon mour, intermised occasionally with scenes going a little further on, it was an agree- of pathos. Lady Bab Blue is a literary able surprise to find it had succeeded, and
woman of fashion, a class of beings which upon turning to the Globe, the paper which our modern lecturers have re-invigorated; a we get, we had great consolation in seeing vestige of the Bas Blue Club, whose primary that it had been very well received, and was ambition is, to be imagined a philosopher in likely to go on with great success. What
petticoats. The author. appears to us to more would you have? If you had written
bave had an eye, in sketching this character, something that had pleased yourself and to that of Miss Beccabunga Veronica, in the half-a dozen people of taste very much, that comic opera called The Lakers.t Some of had been full of sentiment and refinement,
the songs possess considerable poetical merit. and not a vulgar joke in it, it might have
The music by the author.” been very delightful for the above-mentioned seven people ; but the public would
Whether Moore's dramatic ardour not have borne it the second night. You write to please the public and not yourself ;
was cooled by the unfair treatment le and if the public are pleased, upon their heads
hints at as to the profits of his opera, be the sin and shame, if it be unworthy of
or that he was really discontented with giving pleasure. An author whọ hopes for
the result, and felt that he was losing success on the stage must fall in with popu- his name, and warring with his “gifts," lar taste, which is now at the last gasp, and he resigned the sock and never more past all cure. I dare say, however, that this resumed it; although he seems to have piece has a great deal more merit than meditated a third attempt in 1813, as you allow that it has; and that whenever you we collect from a passage in one of his could give your taskmasters the slip you letters to his musical publisher, Mr. have put in something excellent in your own
Power, in which he says "I have way. At all events, the Globe gives a very
had another application about Drurygood account of it, and I'll stick to that ; and I hope we shall see it next November with
lane, in consequence of a conversation a great deal of pleasure, and I am sure we
at Holland House, and am beginning shall with a great deal of interest. Pray already (without, however, stopping don't let Mr. A-cheat you: it really the progress of my poem) to turn over is too bad that everybody cheats you, and a subject in my mind.” But he soon makes money of your talents, and you abandoned it, 'if he had ever seriously sit smiling by, not a farthing the better for entertained the idea. Perhaps he had
been urged by his friend Lord Byron,
at that time one of the active members On the 28th of October following, of the committee, and very warm in Moore writes to Lady Donegall:- his efforts to rouse up sleeping genius,
in the hope that some novelty might “My opera has succeeded much better start forth to revive and prop the than I expected, and I am glad to find that sinking fortunes of the theatre. The Braham is going to play it at Bath; but I desired novelty soon came, in the have been sadly cheated. What a pity that
person of a great actor, Edmund swans of Helicon' should be such
Kean, but the authors slumbered on, geese! Rogers is indignant, and so am I; and we ring the changes upon
and fortunately left his genius to grapoften enough, heaven knows, say
ple with their mightier predecessors. ing of them, like Cadet Roussel's children As Moore's opera was never reprinted L'un est voleur, l'autre est fripon-ah! ah! after the run was over, and the demand &c., &c., but it all won't do."
bad ceased, and very few collectors
* * Memoirs." Vol. i. p. 259.
† The Lakers is a poor comic opera, written and printed in 1798, intended to burlesque the theu fashionable propensity of visiting the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland. It was never acted, but the part of Miss Veronica was intended for Mrs. Mattocks.
have preserved a copy, it has become a intends Leatherhead to print. In a sort of literary rarity, and in this par- letter to Sir Charles, she has expressed ticular record some account of it may her determination that he shall marry not be considered superfluous or out her niece. She gives this letter by of place. The characters, and the ac- mistake to Leatherhead, who concludes tors who represented them, are enu- from the epistle, and from another merated in the following list : — Sir which she sends him about her poem, Charles Canvas, a Member of Parlia. that Ammonia is the name of her niece. ment, Mr. Oxberry; Leatherhead, the This produces some good equivocation, keeper of a circulating-library, Mr. and the most amusing scene in the Lovegrove; Henry de Rosier, in love opera. The piece, on the whole, al. with Miss Hartington, Mr. Philipps ;* though it would pass muster with a Hartington, Mr. Marshall; Captain less distinguished parentage, must be Canvas, in love with Miss Selwyn, pronounced unworthy of Moore's geMr. Horn; Davy, servant to Lady nius, considering the mature age at Bab, Mr. Knight; La Fosse, Mr. which it was written. The dialogue Wewitzer ; Lady Bab Blue, Mrs. is too much laboured and elaborate, Sparks; Miss Selwyn, her niece, in the humour is slow and forced, and love with Captain Canvas, Miss Poole; the whole moves as lazily as the first Miss Hartington, in love with Henry, starting of a steam train, without the Miss Kelly ; Susan, her maid, Mrs. exhilarating rapidity which invariably Bland; Madame de Rosier, Mrs. Har- follows. Yet we find here, for the lowe.
first time, some of the author's songs, The plot may be readily described. which obtained much permanent popu. The scene lies at a fashionable water- Jarity, such as “ When Leila touched ing-place. The father of Captain and the Lute," " Young Love once lived Sir Charles Canvas was married pri. in an humble shed,” “To sigh, yet vately in France. Captain Canvas feel no pain,” “Mr. Orator Puff," was born before his father's marriage “ Here's the lip that betrayed,” and was avowed, and previous to the se- "Though sacred the tie that our councond solemnisation of it publicly in try entwineth.” When Moore printed England. As there was no proof of his opera, he accompanied it by the the first marriage, Sir Charles has following preface, explaining his mousurped, and is in possession of the family title and estate. Madame de Ro. sier and her son are emigrants, who
“When I gave this piece to the theatre,
I had not the least intention of publishing have lost their property in the French
it; because, however I may have hoped revolution. Henry is reduced to be- that it would be tolerated upon the stage, come shopman to Leatherhead. Ma
amongst those light summer productions dame de Rosier, and her servant, La which are laughed at for a season and forFosse, happen to have been present at gotten, I was conscious how ill such fugithe first marriage of Lady Canvas. tive trifles can bear to be embodied into a Sir Charles endeavours to suppress literary form by publication. Amongst the their evidence, but at the conclusion
reasons which have influenced me to alter he is forced to resign the title and es
this purpose, the strongest, perhaps, is the tate to his elder legitimate brother.
pleasure I have felt in presenting the copyCaptain Canvas and Henry de Rosier
right of the dialogue to Mr. Power, as some
little acknowledgment of the liberality he marry Miss Selwyn and Miss Hartington. "Lady Bab Blue is a pretender to
has shown in the purchase of the music.
“ The opera, altogether, has had a much poetry, chemistry, &c. She has writ
better fate than I expected ; and it would, ten a poem upon sal-ammoniac, which
perhaps, have been less successful in amusing she calls the “ Loves of Ammonia," and the audience if I had songé serieusement a
* Poor Tom Philipps, many years a resident in Dublin, where he married and lived in good respect. He affected a military bearing, costume, and phraseology, which obtained for him, in the theatre, the sobriquet of the "Field Marshal;" but though an intolerable fidget in business, he was kind, gentlemanlike and hospitable. He was the original_performer, in Dublin, of Rodolph and Sir Huon, in Von Weber's two great operas of Der Freis. chutz and Oberon. In the former he introduced a song of his own called, " The Horn of Chase," which bec:ime so popular with the gods, that Braham, who succeeded him, was compelled to study and sing it. Philipps met his death by an accident on the railroad be. tween Birmingham and Liverpool, when on a journey to visit a friend in Dublin.
les faire rire.' But that the humble opinion in such a style as promises a race of which I express of its merits has not been glory! I am but just this moment adopted in complaisance to any of my critics, come from the House (I mean the will appear by the following extract from a
stand-house), where the knowing ones letter, which I addressed to the licenser, for
take different sides, you understand, the purpose of prevailing upon him to re
according as they think a horse will store certain passages which he had thought
be in or ont. But upon this start they proper to expunge as politically objectionYou will perceive, sir, by the true
are all nem. con., and the unanimous estimate which I make of my own nonsense,
cry froin all sides is, Regent against that, if your censorship were directed against
the field. Huzza ! huzza l'" bad jokes, &c., J should be much more ready This, it must be confessed, is com. to agree with you than I am at present. monplace enough, but still in much Indeed, in that case, the “una litura ” would better taste than the withering philipbe sufficient.' I cannot advert to my cor. pics which Moore, in later days, respondence with this gentleman without launched against the exalted individual thanking him for the politeness and forbear- from whom he had received much per. ance with which he attended to my remon
sonal attention, which might have strances; though I suspect he will not quite
closed his lips, even though insufficient coincide with those journalists who have had the sagacity to discover symptoms of politi
to command his gratitude or respect. cal servility in the dialogue. This extraor
As sincerely admiring the poet and ordinary charge was, I believe, founded upon
the man, we could wish these had not the passage which allades to the REGENT ; been written, at least by him. and if it be indeed servility to look up with
The other interdicted passages conhope to the Prince as the harbinger of bet. tain some biblical references a little ter days to my wronged and insulted coun- out of keeping, with sly hints as to try, and to expect that the friend of a Fox
the possibility of parliamentary corand a Moira will also be the friend of liberty
ruption, venal members, incompetent and of Ireland, --if this be servility, in com
ministers, and official favouritism. mon with the great majority of my countrymen, I am proud to say, I plead guilty to
These, as we humbly opine, are fair the charge.
and not dangerous subjects for satire, * Amongst the many wants which are ex
and it will scarcely be denied that they perienced in these times, the want of a suf
are drawn from nature. But the li. ficient number of critics will not, I think, be censer of the day (or Examiner of complained of by the most querulous. In- Theatrical Entertainments, to use his deed, the state of an author now resembles proper technicality), John Larpent, very much that of the poor Laplander in win- Esq., was a very worthy and accomter, who has hardly time to light his little
plished gentleman, with a slight tinge candle in the darkness, before myriads of
of the serious, or, as the profane call insects swarm round to extinguish it. In
it, a slue towards Methodisın, which the present instance, however, I have no rea
led himn to exercise his functions with son to be angry with my censurers; for, upon weighing their strictures on this dra
a scrupulous horror of the most dismatic bagatelle against the praises with
tant approach to a joke, in all that which they have honoured my writings in touched upon matters political, moral, general, I find the balance so flatteringly in or religious.
Vhen he died, and was my favour, that gratitude is the only senti- succeeded by George Colman, it was ment which even the severest have awaken- thought that the reins would be relaxed ed in me."
somewhat; but the eccentric (not to
say licentious) humourist of the Broad The preface concludes with the usual Grins," and " Poetical Vagaries," had platitudes in glorification of the manager repented of his early levity, and apand performers. Some of the passages plied the excising-knife with additional we have quoteà require a running rigour. He carried this punctilious commentary to render them intelligi- nicety to such an extent, that in his ble. The allusion to the Regent is letter accompanying the license for figurative, that royal person being Kenney's farce of Spring and Autumn, typified as a high-mettled racer, and which is now lying before us, he dithe universal favourite. Lady Bab rected the following lines to be exinquires of Sir Charles if the race had punged :-"Where did you meet the begun. IIe replies, “ Begun, madam! angel?” “Heavens ! this is a faint!” Yes, to be sure, they have begun. "'Twas devilish good !” “ The Tower There's the high-blooded horse, Re. of Babel broke loose !" • What an gent, has just started, and has set off angel!” “Heaven upon earth," &c. &c.