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Was not far distant
can I not escape
I will try
Music, hark !
[The Spirit rises in the cloud.
Thou hast done
Good Zeno, speak.
Zeno. Nought but a silvery cloud, from which there comes
My son is dead !
Glory to the Almighty !* • This subject is partly taken from a Tale, published some years since, entided, " The King and the Well."
iuneable cele terih ne of them
dix am put MOORE'S IBIFU MELODIES.
dhe age, and
home culculate on Dublin, November 20, 1821. envy are in general much about the are efizeted, Me NORTH,
samem-only that thought takes a cirThere are really some people, and of cuitous rout to the opinion, which stu- texte his in fact extensive literary acquirements, who pidity finds at once. One of our pro- des de phole fac believe and assert that Moore is no foundest thinkers has discovered, with ti be eile that I poet-this is going too far with a joke. the Literary Gazette, though by a very sted and ten t The critical demurs thrown out against different process, that Lord Byron also and its flores there him in good humour and whim, have is no poet ;-thus genius and dulness Bodas Ther been eagerly seized on by these poeti- travel different sides of the same cir- uteriets need to cal bigots, and magnified into almost cle, and meet at the same point.
lasted trib an utter annihilation of his fame. This Moore is not, I'll allow, like Words
For merged in the i is the more dangerous and unjust, as worth or Coleridge, the poet's poet, those who devote themselves entirely nor is it necessary, in order to enjoy to poetical pursuits, and are conse- his writings, that we should create a quently the most powerful critics in taste for them, other than what we rethat department of literature, are most ceived from natureand our horn-books.
eloped to po apt to give themselves up to the exclu- Yet his style is contemned as tinsel sive admiration of one great master, and artificial
, whereas the great praise there unity and power on poetic talent, is that they are the only true natural. too often accompanied by a littleness, Now, if it requires study and progresand a selfish pedantry, which incapa- sive taste to arrive at a sense of the citates its possessor from entering into natural, and but common feeling to the spirit, or justly appreciating the enjoy the beauties of the artificial, merit, of writings foreign to his style tben certainly these names have chanof thought. In the progress of his ged places, since I met them in the knowledge and opinions, he insensibly dictionary. But let us shun these horascends from the plane of vulgar na- ritic words, art and nature, and that ture, he becomes the centre of another wearisome controversy, which seems sphere of objects-acquires another to have acted like a torpedo on every principle of delight and test of ge- pen, and has turned genius itself into e deterity in nius, and not taking into account his babbling. If the subject was fresh, it aberrations from the current feelings would be well worth inquiring into; of men, he appeals for proofs of his but the waters have been so troubled, opinions to that common sense which and to so little purpose, that they inust he has left behind. Very unfortu- be allowed to settle, ere any one can nately for common sense, the appeal hope to see the bottom. is often as eloquent as it is unintelli Formerly people were content with gible, and confounds the reader into estimating books-persons are the precoincidence with its opinions. Hence sent objects universally. It is not the spring those shoals that one meets pleasure or utility a volume affords, with-of neophyte followers of a school which is taken into consideration, but of taste, hot from conviction, and the genius which it indicates. Each vaunting their new creed, as a boy person is anxious to form his scale of does his breeches when he first gets excellence, and to range great names, into them-amazingly pleased and living or dead, at certain intervals and mightily inconvenienced. One can no in different grades, self being the hidmore find his reasons, than the other den centre whither all the comparihis pockets, but both are conscious of sons verge. In former times, works a sort of promotion, and are satisfied. of authors were compared with ideal The followers may be despised, but or with ancient models,—the humble the leaders cannot, they are not seldom crowd of readers were content to peour superiors; and the only method ruse and admire. At present it is by which we can maintain just and otherwise, --every one is conscious eifair sentiments against their over- ther of having written, or at least hawhelming sophistry, is to bear in ving been able to write a book, and mind, that what is illiberal is very consequently all literary decisions aflikely to be false. The discourses offect them personally ;
a lle people ar
de mbole bus a ihes can ornside itself; the a
what mant olare did be bi uz yuppts of lit le pertinent eur o put themselves is
Henge, he ca
" Scribendi nibil a me alienum puto," knows no bounds; its abettors, at the is the language of the age, and the same time that they reserve to themmost insignificant calculate on the selves the full advantage of dormant wonders they might have effected, had merit, make no such allowance to eschance thrown å pen in their way. tablished authors. They judge them The literary character has in fact ex- rigidly by their pages, assume that tended itself over the whole face of their love of fame and emolument society, with all the evils that D’Is- would not allow them to let any talent raeli has enumerated, and ten times be idle, and will not hear any argumore, it has spread its fibres through ment advanced for their unexerted caall ranks, sexes, and ages. There no pabilities." longer exist what writers used to call The simplest and easiest effort of a public—that disinterested tribunal the mind is egotism,-it is but baring has been long since merged in the body one's own breast, disclosing its curious it used to try. Put your finger on any mechanism, and giving exaggerated head in a crowd, it belongs to an au- expressions to every-day feeling. Yet thor, or the friend of one, and your no productions have met with such great authors are supposed to possess success--what authors can compete as a quantity of communicable celebrity to popularity with Montaigne, Byron, -an intimacy with one of them is a Rousseau ? Yet I cannot but believe sort of principality, and a stray anecə that there have been thousands of men dlate picked up ráther a valuable sort in the world, who could have walked of possession. These people are als the same path, and have met the same ways crying out against personality, success, if they had had the same and personality is the whole business impudence. Passionate and reflectof their lives. They can consider no- ing minds are not so rare as we supthing as it is, by itself; the cry is, pose, but the boldness that sets at "who wrote it?"_“what manner of nought society, is. Nor would want man is he?"_"where did he borrow of courage be the only obstacle; there it?" They make puppets of literary are and have been, I trust, many, who men by their impertinent curiosity, would not exchange the privacy of and when one of themselves is drag- their mental sanctuary for the indulgel from his malign obscurity in ban- gence of spleen, or the feverish dream ter or whimsical revenge, he calls on of popular celebrity. And if we can all the gods to bear witness to the in- give credit for this power to the many dignity he is made to suffer.
who have lived unknown and shunned It is this spirit which has perverted publicity, how much more must we criticism, and reduced it to a play of not be inclined to allow to him of acwords. To favour this vain eagerness knowledged genius, and who has maof comparison, all powers and faculties nifested it in works of equal beauty áre resolved at once into genius,—that and of greater merit, inasmuch as they rague quality, the supposition of which are removed from self.* is at every one's command; and cha These considerations ought at least racters sublime in one respect, as they to prevent us from altogether merging are contemptible in another are viewed a writer's genius in his works, and under this one aspect. The'man, the from using the name of the poem and poet, and the philosopher, åre blended, that of the poet indifferently. For my and the attributes of each applied to part, Mr North, I think, that if Thoall without distinction. One personinas Moore had the misfortune to be acquires the name of a poet, because metaphysical, he might have written he is a reasoner, another because he is the Excursion, (but this with a permad
, another because he is conceited. haps)—that had he the meanness to Johnson's assertion is taken for grant- borrow, and at the same time disguise el—that genius is but great natu- the feelings of the great Lake Poets, mal power directed towards a particu- he might have written the only good Jaz object; thus all are reduced to parts of Childe Harold—and had he the same scale--Wellington, Byron, the pluck or the whim to be egotistiand Kean, measured by the same cal, he might lay bare a little mind of standard. "This fury of comparison his own, as proudly and as passionate* Coleridge, in his Biographia, esteems the choice of a subject removed from self, as
a test of genius,
» for a na
Zars with comiti
as the foundation of modern criticism, a little with the loyalists—complained med danded down greater the passion, the greater the visited them the other day, who might the win, an
ly organized, as the great Lord, whom spoiled child, pouting because he is
me ler for Woor some one describes « to have gutted turned out of company before the suhimself, body and soul, for all the gar-plumbs come on the table. But
mbeled cou world to walk in and see the show,” what of all that?-extremes meet, and So much for the preliminary cavils if he be half-man, half-infant, let not
3. Sheridan, to which are thrown in the teeth of the peccadilloes of the child prevent us
b Moore's admirers. They have been froin
rendering justice to the talents braubey may picked up by a small fry of critics, of maturity.
Edvarte men, bt who commenced their career with a The gravest of Moore's critics is the gift on them ag furious admiration of him, Pope, and Baron Lawerwinkel. The poet has
122s the testir Campbell, but have since thought it allowed his objections to be just, and earus, the ep becoming to grow out of their early even, if I have not been misinformed, play wat men of likings. And at present they profess promised to profit by his advice reto prefer the great works which they specting the ideal of the female charac- suterely in be have never read, and which they will ter. The Baron's great demur is, that never be able to read, to those classic Moore is not the poet of Ireland ;-and poems, of which they have been the pray, to use the language of your “ Oldschot and she most destructive enemies, by bethumb- friend with the new face," who the ing and bequoting their beauties into deuce ever said he was?' The Ger- & bikers Do We triteness and cominon-place.
man sages know but little of Ireland 1988 to the ces The merits of Pope and of Moore when they talk in this manner. Born have suffered depreciation from the and bred in Dublin, a Hibernian Cock-El to occupy same cause the facility of being imi- ney, Moore knows as much about Irish tated to a certain degree. And as vul- feeling as Lady Morgan; but then he gar admiration seldom penetrates be- does not pretend to it like her lady, dless more yond this degree, the conclusion is, ship. To be sure, he talks of liberty, that nothing can be easier than to and the wreath of Harmodius, like write like and even equal to either of any other jolly old Grecian, but the these poets. In the universal self, gibs of all colleges write their themes 1 of infano comparison, which is above mentioned after that fashion. He coquetted also if unth. It feeling is assumed to be genius--the that some people had accused him of passive is considered to imply the ac- favouring revolutionary principles, and tive power. No opinion is more com- exciting popular feeling in Ireland; and a privileged mon or more fallacious-it is the “flata whereas, taking it for granted that is that the central tering unction” which has inundated there are a few rebels in this country, the world with versifiers, and which the devil a one ever thought of him. seems to under-rate the merit of com- There are too some songs in the Melopositions, in which there is more in- dies, over which young ladies shake genuity and elegance than passion. their heads, and think the poet a kind Genius is considered to be little more of little hero for talking so big; but than a capability of excitement—the Moore has friends in Ireland, and he
-on have quieted his by which Moore's love and heroism is ala ring him that his songs will never exways set, is not considered by any cite any commotions here beyond the reader beyond his reach. This is cer- chords of the piano. He may also tainly Moore's great defect; but it is have learned from his trip, how much perhaps more that of his taste than of his countrymen have adopted his grateany superior faculty: And being on ful sentiments towards their sovereign, the subject of his detects, let me speak who, by the by, understood at once and of them at once. There can be no entered into the spirit of Irish feeling, doubt that Tommy Little will be 'Tom- better than e'er a poet or speechifier of my Little all the days of his life, whe- them all. ther he praises liberty or flaxen locks But there are some patriotic people, -whether he paints maidens flinging who think that a country cannot exroses at one another, or young Azim ist without a national poet. Ireland in yellow boots routing whole legions in particular ought to be much obliged of Musselmen, to the tune of " Alla to these gentlemen :-some would give Akbar"--above all, in those lampoons, her Ossian-some would cram Bere which some people call satires, where mody down her throat-Charles Phibe displays precisely the spirit of a lips would lay hold of her for himself;
a country, and
while others engage her for Moore.? Poets, at least a great many of them, The greatest obligation they can pos are strange inconsistent creatures sibly bestow on their beloved country, they strive to be patriots and cosmois to hold their tongues. She has given politans at ortce; both themes are so birth to Burke, to Sheridan, to Wel- fertile and convenient, that they never lington, to Moore-they may be, or perceive them to be contradictory. Vamay have been, first-rate men, but we nity makes them aspire to be national, have no right to fix on them against and vanity prevents them. Launch their wills, and against the testimony ed into the sea of words and sophistry, of their lives and pursuits, the epithet which they mistake for wisdom, they of national-they were men of great forsake all natural and national prinness, and of the world. Ireland dis- ciple for some butterfly word that atdans to rank exclusively in her fa- tracts their attention. And after a life mily those who do not openly claim of moral loves and hatreds equally the privilege. Grattan was a nation- vain, their discerning faculties fall into al orator,-—what Burke and Sheridan such a state of effacement, that so far were not; we can wait for a national from being imprinted with a national poet,—what Moore is not. We have character, they have lost even their contributed our mite to the celebrity own, and are to be distinguished from of Europe, and trust with confidence the rabble of cities, and the harangues to our soil and fate to occupy in the of market-places, merely by their sueyes of posterity our proper space of perior extravagance both of Hattery and consideration.
of spite-an atom more of creed or 50National feeling is a more subtle lidity they have not. No-nationality and a more innate spirit than even ge- is not to be looked for among the poets hius itself; it is not to be learned or of modern times. There are and have gleaned from books, but must be im- been great and enviable exceptions, bribed with the milk of infancy, and especially in the land to which this is the associations of youth. It is here addressed ; but here, with Lady Morditary, and orally handed down in the gan and Mrs Peck to illustrate our great families of a country, and in the national character, Miss Edgeworth to noblest of those families—its
national turn it into ridicule, and Moore to be peasantry. It is a privileged kind of put forth as our chosen minstrel, we enthusiasın, which the soil alone can are prettily represented in the literary bestow, far removed from the vulgar world. and secondary notions of patriotisin, But you must be astonished at my which school-boys are taught to ga- contradictory reasoning. A firm ad ther from the declamatory writings of mirer of Moore, I am equally indig. Grecce and Rome. Its idea of liber- pant with them who have become blind ty is not borrowed or second-hand to his merit from fickleness, and those founded on sophism or on precept; who would imprudently elevate his rethe contrary of the term, and there- putation at the expence of his counfore itself is unknown-liberty with try's. In the airy spirit of gallantry, of it is implied in the natural feelings of trifling, of tenderness, and often of pride and independence. There can- passion, no poet can be superior to hot be a stronger proof of real mean- Moore; but then it is in a language bess and littleness of mind than the and feeling common to all the world eternal mouthing of this word, to it is Irish, French, Circassian, or what which no idea is attached :-it is sick- you please. In the beautiful collection ening beyond the worst insipidity of of the Irish melodies, those songs cant to hear such writers as Moore and founded on national tradition are Byron aping the language of the an- meagre, fat, and spiritless, nor can eients on a subject for which they evi- they even convey the story without the dently have no real feeling, and string- lumbering assistance of a note. There ing truisans against slavery, devoid of is, however, one exception, and a gloall existence but for their own ima- rious one-" Rich and Rare" --which ginations. 'Tis the extreme of cow. taken, music, words, and all, is worth andice and affectation mingled, which an epic poem to the Irish nation, thus raises bugbears out of words, simple, elegant, tender, sublime, it is and falls down in trepidation before the very essence of poetry and music
there is not one simile or conceit, por