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VOL. 4.]

Remarks on the Poetry of Thomas Moore.


whose songs have been so effectually virgin radiance of the harvest moon. Ia embalmed in the heart of Scotland, with the haunts of the dissolute, the atmos

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him who hopes to possess, in that of phere of corruption might seize upon Ireland, a mausoleuin no less august. him, and taint his breath with the coldThere are few things more worthy of ness of its derision; but he returned to being studied, either in their character right thoughts in the contemplation of or in their effects, than the poems of the good, and felt in all its fulness, Robert Burns. This man, born and when he bent his knee by the side of bred a peasant, was taught, like all oth- "the Father and the Priest," the gener Scotsmen, to read his Bible, and tle majesty of that religion which conlearned by heart in his infancy, the he- soles the afflicted and elevates the poor. roic ballads of his nation. Amidst the He is at present, the favourite poet solitary occupations of his rural labours, a virtuous, a pious, a patriotic people; the soul of the ploughman fed itself and the first symptom of their decay in with high thoughts of patriotism and virtue, piety, and patriotism, will be religion, and with that happy instinct seen on the instant when Scotsmen shall which is the best prerogative of genius, cease to treasure in their hearts the he divined every thing that was neces- Highland Mary," the "Cotter's Satsary for being the poet of his country. urday Night," and the "Song of BanThe men of his nation, high and low, nockburn." are educated men; meditative in their Mr. Moore has attempted to do for spirit, proud in their recollections, Ireland the same service which Burns steady in their patriotism, and devout rendered to Scotland; but although his in their faith. At the time, however, genius is undoubted, he has failed to do when he appeared, the completion of so. It will be said, that the national their political union with a greater and character of his countrymen did not wealthier kingdom, and the splendid furnish such materials as fell to the share success which had crowned their efforts of his rival, and there is no doubt that in adding to the general literature of so far this is true. The Irish have not Britain-but above all, the chilling na- the same near recollections of heroic acture of the merely speculative philoso- tions, or the same proud and uncontamphy, which they had begun to cultivate, inated feeling of independence as the seemed to threaten a speedy diminution Scots. Their country has been conof their fervent attachment to that which quered, perhaps oppressed, and the was peculiarly their own. This mis- memory of those barbarous times in chievous tendency was stopped by a which they were ruled by native reguli peasant, and the noblest of his land are is long since faded into dimness and the debtors of his genius. He revived insignificance. The men themselves, the spark that was about to be extin- moreover, are deficient, it may be, in guished-and taught men to reverence some of those graver points of characwith increasing homage, that enthusiasm ter, which afford the best grappling of which they were beginning to be places for the power of poetry. All ashamed. The beauty of many of his this may perhaps be admitted; but descriptions, the coarseness of many of surely it will not be contended, but that his images, cannot conceal from our much, both of purpose and instrument, eyes the sincerity with which, at the was still left within the reach of him bottom of his heart, this man was the that would aspire to be the national worshipper of the pure genius of his poet of the Irish. Their religious feelcountry. The improprieties are super- ings are not indeed of so calm and digficial, the excellence is ever deep.-The nified a nature as those of some naman might be guilty in his own person tions, but they are strong, ardent, pasof pernicious trespasses, but his soul sionate, and, in the hands of one worthy came back, like a dove, to repose amidst to deal with them, might furnish abunimages of purity. The chaste and dantly the elements both of the beautilowly affection of the village maiden ful and the sublime. Their character was the only love that appeared worthy is not so consistent as it might be, but it in his eyes, as he wandered beneath the yields to none in the fine attributes of


On Melancholy.

[VOL. 4

warmth, of generosity, and the whole verse which I could imagine to be imchivalry of the heart. Were these pressed upon the memory, nor brought things likely to have been left out of the together a single groupe of images calcalculation of a genuine poet of Ire- culated to ennoble the spirit of an Irish land ?-Mr. Moore addresses nothing peasant. to his countrymen that should make Were the Irish to acknowledge in them listen to him long. He seems to this man, their Burns or Camoens, they have no part nor lot with them in the would convince Europe, that they are things which most honourably and entirely deficient in every thing that most effectually distinguish them from renders men worthy of the name of a others. He writes for the dissipated nation. The "Exile of Erin," and fashionables of Dublin, and is himself the " O'Connor's Child" of Campbell, the idol in the saloons of absentees; are worth more to Ireland than all the but he has never composed a single poetry of Moore. *




From the New Monthly Magazine, November 1818.

Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego

Those sacred hours, when stealing from the noise with virtue's kindest looks, his aching breast, And turns his tears to rapture!

Of care and envy, sweet remembrance soothes,


"The joy of grief.”—Ossian. THAT HAT the mind of man should derive gratification from the excitement of those sensations which are in themselves painful, is a paradox too mysterious to be solved; but, that the "Melancholy," observes Steele, "is seeds of delight are not unfrequently the true and proper delight of men of implanted by the hand of sorrow, is an knowledge and virtue. The pleasures observation more generally allowed than of ordinary beings are in their passions, accounted for. Fontenelle says, " that but the seat of this delight is in the unthough pleasure and pain are sentiments derstanding." There is much truth in so entirely different in themselves, yet this remark. The indulgence of melthey do not differ materially in their ancholy tends frequently to strengthen It extincause; as it appears that the movement and ameliorate the heart. of pleasure pushed too far becomes guishes the passions of envy and ill-will, pain, and the movement of pain a little corrects the pride of prosperity, and moderated becomes pleasure." Diffi- beats down that fierceness and insolence culties certainly increase passions of which is apt to get into the minds of the every kind, and by rousing our atten- daring and fortunate. Few individuals tion, and exciting our active powers, are so gross and uncultivated, as to be produce an emotion which nourishes incapable, at certain moments, and the prevailing affection. Nothing enamid certain combinations of ideas, of dears a friend so much as sorrow for feeling that sublime influence on the his death: the pleasure of his society spirits-that soft and tender abstraction has not so powerful an influence; and from the cares aud vexations of the whilst we look back with keen regret world, which steals upon the soul, on scenes of happiness, dissipated by unforeseen misfortune, and not by our own unworthiness, our woes are qualified by that mysterious and indescribable feeling which Ossian has so expressively denominated the "joy of grief."

Ask the faithful youth,
Why the cold urn of her whom long he loved
So often fills his arms, so often draws
His lonely footsteps, silent and unseen,
To pay the niournful tribute of his tears.
Oh! he will tell you that the wealth of worlds

"And fits it to hold converse with the Gods."

Such a frame of mind raises and en

courages that sweet and lofty enthusiasm
which warms the imagination at the
sight of the glorious and stupendous
works of our Creator: it leads us

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion, dwell,
And mortal feet have ne'er or rarely been,
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;

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There are two kinds of melancholy,
which may be thus distinguished :~~-
First, that of the swain-of the mind
which contemplates nature but in the
grove or the cottage; secondly, that of
the scholar and the philosopher; of the
intellect which has ranged through the
mazes of science, and which has formed
its decisions upon vanity and happiness,
from frequent intercourse with
and upon extensive knowledge and ex-
perience. The melancholy of the swain
is finely depicted in the following beau-
tiful song from Beaumont and Fletch-
er's" Nice Valour, or the Passionate

Hence all you vain delights,
As short as are the nights

Wherein you spend your folly;
There's nought in life so sweet,
If wise men were to see it,
But only Melancholy,

O sweetest Melancholy !
Welcome crossed arms and fixed eyes,
A sigh that piercing mortifies,


A look that's fastened to the ground,*
A tongue chained up without a sound!
Fountain heads and pathless groves,
Places which pale passion loves,
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls
Are warmly housed, save bats and owls,
A midnight bell-a parting groan,
These are the thoughts we feed upon;
Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley;
Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely Melancholy!

Of this song the construction is particularly to be admired. It is divided into three parts. The first part displays moral melancholy: the second the person or figure and the third the circumstances which create the feeling.


Contemplative melancholy-that of the scholar and the philosopher, has been finely personified by Millon in the fallowing verses :—

Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast and deinure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole of cypress lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn ;
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step and musing gait,
And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes :
"With a sad leaden downward cast.-Milton.
"With leaden eye that loves the ground."-Gray

There held in holy passion, still
Forget thyself to marble, till,
With a sad leaden downward cast,
Thou fix them on the earth at last.


Il Penseroso.

There appears to be something emblematical in these lines

Hail thou goddess sage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancholy,
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view
O'erlaid with black, staid wisdom's hue.

Il Penseroso.

Contemplative melancholy is again alluded to in Comus

Musing Melancholy most affects
The pensive secresy of desert cells,

Far from the cheerful haunts of men and herds.

Some lines, prefixed to Burton's "Anatomie of Melancholy," seem also to have afforded Milton many hints for his Il Penseroso

When I go musing all alone,

Thinking of divers things foreknown;
When I build castles in the air,

Void of sorrow, void of care,

Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
Methinks the time runs very fleet;
All my joys to this are folly,
Nought so sweet as Melancholy!
When to myself I act and smile,
With pleasing thoughts the time beguile,
By a brook side, or wood so green,
Unheard, unsought for, and unseen,
Methinks I hear, methinks I see
Sweet music, wondrous melody,
Towns, palaces, and cities fine,
Rare beauties, gallant ladies shine;
All other joys to this are folly,
Nought so sweet as Melancholy!

Burton's Prefatory Verses. Melancholy has elicited the praises thors; and as juxtaposition forms an also of many of our more modern auelegant entertainment to the lovers of poetry, I shall conclude this article by the adduction of such passages from our later poets, as inay appear to illusmy observations.*


There is a mood,

I sing not to the vacant or the young,
There is a kindly mood of Melancholy,
That wings the soul and points it to the skies.
Dyer's Fleeces

Few know the elegance of soul refined,
Whose short sensation feels a quicker joy
From Melancholy's scenes, that the dull pride
Of tasteless splendor and magnificence
Can e'er afford.

Warton's Pleasures of Melancholy

* As the greater part of these quotations are from. trifling inaccuracy. memory, my readers will probably excuse any


The Minstrel of Bruges.

[VOL. 4

J. Warton also invokes melancholy From which there is no doubt but Ro

in his ode to Fancy

Goddess of the tearful eye,

Who lov'st with folded arms to sigh.

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And again in the same poem

To the pure soul by fancy's fire refined,
Ah! what is mirth but turbulence unholy,

When with the charm compared of heavenly

With eyes up-raised, as one inspired,

Pale Melancholy sat retired,

And from her wild sequestered seat,


In notes, by distance made more sweet,
Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul.
Collins' Ode to the Passions.

Oh lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms,
To ruined seats, to twilight cells and bowers,
Where thoughtful Melancholy loves to muse
Her favourite midnight haunts.

gers borrowed the following well-known

Go, you may call it madness-folly,
You shall not chase my gloom away,
There's such a charm in Melancholy
I would not, if I could, be gay!
Oh if you knew the pensive pleasure
That fills my bosom when I sigh,
You would not rob me of a treasure,
Monarchs are too poor to buy.

The following sonnet is by the author of the foregoing observations, who has "neither the scholar's melancholy,which is emulation; nor the musician's, which is fantastical; nor the courtier's, which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer's, which is politic; nor the lady's, which is nice; nor the lover's, which is all these; but a melancholy of his own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects; and indeed the sundry con

Warton's Pleasures of Melancholy. templation of his travels, on which his often rumination wraps him in a most humorous sadness."*

Goddess of downcast eye, upon whose brow
Misfortune's hand seems dimly to have drawn
Her tints of pining hues, to thee belong
The visionary tribes of busy thought,

That crowd, in nameless shapes, the mental eye :
Oh teach me, gentle maid, with hermit step
Thy haunts to find, and ever at thy shrine
To bend unseen, an humble votary.


Sweet nymph of tears! Goddess of downcast eye !
Thee have I loved from childhood's earliest hour,
With thee have loitered in the muses' bower,
Cheating slow time with pensive minstrelsy!

Headly's Invocation to Melancholy. Far from the phrenzied crowd 'tis time to stray,

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Where wildly warbling from her secret cell,
The bird of eve-the love-lorn Philomel-
Pours on the ear of night her sorrowing lay.
Sweet power! not irksome is thy mild control,

For thou canst all those pleasing thoughts bestow
Which genius gathers from the springs of woe,
And yield a chastened pleasure to the soul;
Taught through thy veil, the world at large to scan
I deem no bliss on earth as permanent to man!
* As You Like It.



From Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, September, 1818.


YOUTH of Cambray, setting out from that town on a party of pleasure, overtook a wretched looking set of travellers in a hollow way not far from Cambray, at the source of the Scheldt. This company consisted of an old man about seventy, a woman of fifty,a young girl of eighteen, and two ragged boys

of fifteen and sixteen years of age, who were amusing themselves with gathering nuts.

The old man had the black collar of his coat hung round with shells, and at his feet (for he was seated) lay his pilHe was grim's staff and a bagpipe. humming an air to the tune of the Duchess Golande; the old woman was

VOL. 4.]

The Minstrel of Bruges.


complaining of her misery; the young distinctly understood the conversation girl seemed lost in thought; and the between you and your wife, that has boys were bawling loud enough to stun just passed, it seems that your noble one,-while the Cambresian observed, from a small eminence, this discordant group.

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profession does not gain you a great number of ducats.' "No, certainly," replied the Minstrel, "but one cannot The woman spoke to her husband.- enjoy every happiness at the same time; "How can you thus sing in our rich or poor I am always gay; I have wretched situation ?"—"It is to drive seen a variety of countries, and have away sorrow," replied he." Your lived more happily than many kings; songs have not that virtue. You must but, sir, every thing must have an end; allow that you have made choice of a I am now thinking to retire, and am on pretty trade.""It is a gay one, how my road to end my days in tranquillity ever. "To turn Minstrel, and run at Bruges, my native country." "You about the world like a vagabond."- have more than time for that," inter"I have always loved geography and rupted the Cambresian; " and were I travels.' 166 I do not love them for my not afraid of being troublesome, I would part; you only think of yourself; and request an account of your adventures, what a fine education are you giving which assuredly must be very interestyour children.”"Neither you nor ing."-" I will cheerfully comply with myself have had a better; in truth, our your wishes, sir," said the Minstrel, children are grown up. "Yes, but "for I am always thankful when any they have not a farthing."-"I never one shall have the goodness to set me received more from my parents." One talking. of the little nut-gatherers now interrupt- "I was born, as I before said, at ed the conversation, by calling out, Bruges, and in my younger days was Mother, do not scold thus loudly, for one of the best archers of that town; here is a gentleman listening to you." but having received from Nature a The Cambresian, at these words, ad- strong taste for music, I laid the bow vanced and saluted the Minstrel, who aside, and swelled the bagpipe. Unrose up with dignity, seized his staff, fortunately, at that period, Bruges and preparing his bagpipe, said, "Sir, swarmed with Minstrels, and their harwhat air would you wish to hear-gay, mony soon overpowered mine. It was tender, or grand? say, for I can satisfy in vain that I presented myself at the your taste, however difficult it may be." palaces of the Duke of Brabant and The Cambresian presented him with a Earl of Hainault-they laughed at my skelein, and replied, "Play whatever harmony, and plainly told me that I air, Minstrel you may like-I am not played most wretchedly on the pipes. difficult to please, having never heard Finding, therefore, from my own expeother music than the plain chant of our rience, that a prophet has no honour in church of St. Geri.' The Minstrel his own country, I left Belgium and struck up a Virelais of the Count of went into Picardy.


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Barcelona. "That is very melancho- "One day as I was playing an air at ly," said the Cambresian; can not the foot of the walls of the castle of you make me laugh instead of making Coucy, the generous Raoul appeared ?" The Minstrel played off a on the battlements; he called me to Biscayan air, which delighted the young him, and said, Young Minstrel, four. man; and as he had found out his taste, leagues hence lies the town of St. he continued so many of these airs, that Quentin; and having passed through the Cambresian no way regretted his it, you will see the fortunate castle of skelein. Fayel a quarter of a league off, seated Perhaps there is no good thing that on an eminence, wherein resides my people so soon tire of as music. The love. Go thither, and play off, under Cambresian, struck with what he had the walls, such discordant sounds as heard of the dispute between the Min- you have done here; my love may strel and his wife, said to him, "If I perhaps come to listen to them as I have

2T ATHENEUM. Vol. 4.

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