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I HAVE STUDIED TO MAKE THIS MEMORY OF MOORE OBJECTIONABLE TO NO PARTY : EVEN AT THE RISK OF RENDERING IT ACCEPTABLE TO NONE.
BUT I WILL CHERISH A CONVICTION THAT THERE ARE IN IRELAND, AS THERE ARE IN ENGLAND, MANY WHO REFUSE TO GIVE UP THEIR MINDS TO ANY-WHO CAN SEE MERITS AND DEMERITS IN ALL. IT IS TO THE IRISH PEOPLE I DEDICATE THE BOOK : AN ATTEMPT TO DO JUSTICE TO THEIR ILLUSTRIOUS COUNTRYMAN-A GREAT POET AND A GOOD MAN.
THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THIS PUBLICATION IS TO ADD TO A FUND THE AUTHOR INTENDS TO RAISE FOR PLACING A MEMORIAL WINDOW IN THE CHURCH AT BROMHAM, WHERE MOORE IS, WITH HIS WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN, BURIED. IT IS THE WEST WINDOW: THE OF THE SUN IN THE WEST : AND, MOREOVER, IT IS THE POINT NEAREST TO IRELAND. IT IS NOT MERE FANCY TO THINK THE POET WOULD HAVE PREFERRED THE WEST, TO THE EAST, WINDOW.
HE DEARLY LOVED:
OFTEN WATCHING THE SETTING
ANY years—nearly sixty—have gone since I had first
the honour to converse with the Poet THOMAS MOORE. Afterwards, it was my privilege to know him intimately. He seldom, of later years, visited London without spending an evening at our house; and, in November, 1845, we passed a week at his cottage, Sloperton-his happy home in Wiltshire.
“In my kalendar,
There are no whiter days!” The poet has noted the date in his “ Diary.” Thus, it is to a very far off distance I send my Memory back.
In the year 1821, I made his acquaintance in Dublin, while I was a casual resident there. Moore was in the
full ripeness of middle age: then, as ever, of all circles, and the idol of his own.” As his visits to his native city were few and far between, the ower to see him, and especially to hear him, were boons of magnitude. It was, indeed, a treat when, seated at the piano, he gave voice to
- the poet the glorious “Melodies ” that are justly regarded as the most valuable of his legacies to mankind. I can vividly recall that evening of intense delight; the graceful man, small and slim in figure, his upturned eyes and eloquent features giving force to the music that accompanied the songs, or rather, to the songs that accompanied the music.*
Dublin was then the home of much of the native talent that afterwards found its way to England; and there were some—Lady Morgan especially-whose
Fill's with batin the gale sighs
through the flowers have sunk in death, So, when pleasure's dreams is
“Evenings” drew together the wit and genius for which that city has been always famous. I have written a Memory of “Sydney, Lady Morgan,” and have found something to say of the brilliancy of those evenings, although then (as now) there were two “societies” which rarely mingled the one with the other. In England, public differences seldom interrupt private intercourse; nay, cordial friendships often exist between persons of very opposite opinions in both religion and politics. It is not so in Ireland. But the poet Moore was an “influence" that rendered powerless, for a time, the evil spirit of Party; and it was not difficult, on such occasions as that I describe, to attract around him all that was most eminent and distinguished in the Irish capital. I was then very young-a heroworshipper, as I have been from that day to this; and though he was to me “a star apart," I remember his cordial reception with an amount of gratitude that time has neither lessened nor weakened.*
* In this "Memory" I have made frequent allusions to the corrections it received from Mrs. Moore : it is therefore necessary for me to explain that it was originally published in the Art Journal, in January, 1865 (she died on the 4th September of that year), and subsequently in “A Book of Memories of Great Men and Women of the Age, from personal acquaintance.” In the first instance, I submitted the proof to Mrs. Moore, who made the several corrections (with some suggestions), which I, of course, adopted. It is not presumption to add that the Memory" gave great satisfaction-I may, I think, add consolation-to that most estimable lady.
I take this opportunity of thanking Messrs. Virtue and Co. for permission to reprint it from “A Book of Memories"-their publication. I have, however, omitted some passages from the original, and added many
It is a great privilege—the belief that I may now repay some portion of the debt, nearly sixty years after it was contracted.
Among the guests, on that evening (the sixteenth of October, 1821), were the poet's father (“ John Moore"), his mother, and his sister—the sister to whom he was so fervently attached. The father was a homely man;t nothing more, and assuming to be nothing more, than a Dublin tradesman. The mother possessed a far higher mind. She, too, was retiring and unpretending; like her great son in features; with the same gentle yet sparkling eye, flexible and smiling mouth, and kindly and conciliating manners. It was to be learned, long afterwards, how deep was the affection that existed in the poet's heart for these relatives—how fervid the love he bore them-how earnest the respect with which he invariably treated them - nay, how elevated was the pride with which he regarded them, from first to last.
The sister, Ellen, was a small, delicate woman. The expression of her countenance betokened suffering. It had the peculiar “sharpness” that usually accompanies continuous bodily ailment. $ I saw more of her some years afterwards, and knew that her mind and disposition were essentially lovable.
To the mother-Anastasia Moore, née Codd, an humbly-descended, homely, and almost uneducated woman &—Moore gave intense respect and devoted affection, from the time that reason dawned upon him to the hour of her death. To her he wrote his first letter (in 1793), ending thus :
“Your absence all but ill endure,
And none so ill as-THOMAS MOORE."
• It was the Rev. Charles Maturin who took me to that party. I had made some little reputation in Dublin by a poem I published on the visit of George IV. to Ireland in 1821.
+ Mrs. Moore-writing to me in 1864-told me I had a wrong impression as to Moore's father; that he was “handsome, full of fun, and with good manners.” Moore calls him “one of Nature's gentlemen.”
# Mrs. Moore wrote to me that here also I had a wrong impression. “She was only a little grown out in one shoulder, but with good health : her expression was feeling, not suffering.” “Dear Ellen,” she added, “was the delight of every one who knew her-sang sweetly-her voice very like her brother's. She died, suddenly, to the grief of my loving heart.” We spent two evenings in her company at the house of Mr. John Cumming, a Scotchman, then an enterprising and liberal publisher in Dublin. His "evenings” were charming re-unions. Miss Moore made a most favourable impression on our minds. We became friends at once.
& She was born in Wexford, where her father kept a “general shop.” Moore used to say playfully that he was called, in order to dignify his occupation, “a provision merchant.” When or his way to Bannow, in 1835, to spend a few days with his friend, Thomas Boyse--a genuine gentleman of the good old school-he records his visit to the house of his maternal grandfather. “Nothing,” he says, “could be more humble and mean than the little low house that remains to tell of his whereabouts."
It is situate in the old corn-market of Wexford. The rooms are more than usually “quaint.” Here Mrs. Moore lived until within a few weeks of the birth of her illustrious son. Several years ago, I placed a tablet of white marble over the entrance door, stating in few words the fact that there the mother was born and lived, and that to this house the poet came, on the 26th August, 1835, when in the zenith of his fame, to render homage to her memory He thus writes of her and her birthplace in his “Notes” of that year:—“One of the nob stminded, as well as the most warm-hearted, of all God's creatures was born under that lowly roof.” The marble slab still remains over the door of the house where I placed it.