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reflection, that this very versatility, which renders it so difficult to fix " ere it change,' the fairy fabric of his character is, in itself, the true clue through all that fabric's mazes—is in itself the solution of whatever was most dazzling in his might or startling in his levity, of all that most attracted and repelled, whether in his life or in his genius. A variety of powers almost boundless, and a pride no less vast in displaying them-a susceptibility of new impressions and impulses, even beyond the usual allotment of genius, and an uncontrolled impetuosity, as well from habit as temperament, in yielding to them-such were the two great and leading sources of all that varied spectacle which his life exhibited; of that succession of victories achieved by his genius, in almost every field of mind that genius ever trod, and of all those sallies of character in every shape and direction that unchecked feeling and dominant self-will could dictate.
“In proposing to show that the distinctive properties of Lord Byron's character, as well moral as literary, arose mainly from those two great sources, the unexampled versatility of his powers and feelings, and the facility with which he gave way to the impulses of both, it had been my intention to pursue the subject still further in detail, and to endeavour to trace throughout the various excellencies and defects, both of his poetry and of his life, the operation of these two dominant attributes of his nature. No men,' says Cowper, in speaking of persons of a versatile turn of mind, are better qualified for companions in such a world as this, than men of such temperament. Every scene of life has two sides, a dark and a bright one; and the mind that has an equal mixture of melancholy and vivacity is best of all qualified for the contemplation of either. It would not be difficult to show that to his readiness in reflecting all hues, whether of the shadows or the lights of our variegated existence, Lord Byron owed not only the great range of his influence as a poet, but those powers of fascination which he possessed as a man.
This susceptibility, indeed, of immediate impressions, which in him was so active, lent a charm of all others the most attractive to his social intercourse, by giving to those who were at the moment present such ascendant influence, that they alone for the time occupied all his thoughts and feelings, and brought whatever was most agreeable in his nature into play."
LIFE OF LORD EDWARD FITZGERALD. We have seen in an early page of this volume that Moore, though not a member of the Society of United Irishmen, felt a deep sympathy with the principles of that body. The affectionate anxiety of his mother snatched young Moore from the consequences which would probably have resulted from the continuation of his connection with the Press newspaper and its writers.
The feeling, however, never died within the heart of Moore. In his Melodies there are bursts of feeling here and there, which touch the soul with a keener sense of the wrongs
of Ireland than could be effected by the
most brilliant oration. From “ Captain Rock” and the “ Life of Sheridan" we have culled some extracts illustrative of Moore's sense of the injustice with which his country had been treated. In taking up Moore's “Life and Death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald,” we feel confident that we shall find a vivid sketch of the strange and startling scenes of '98, without any effort to please the “London market” by sneering at the men who, because they did not succeed, have of course taken their place in history as
" rebels.” This work is written in a beautiful and thoughtful style, and contains many passages with which we would enrich these pages if our space per. mitted. Especially deserving of the attention of the historical student is the eloquent sketch of the affairs of Ireland from 1776 to 1793, towards the conclusion of the first volume. Moore dwells with all the fervour of a tribune on the period when “ America proclaimed her independence, and in the same year the first link was struck from the chain of the Catholic.” He paints in glowing language the springing up of an immense army of Volunteers, and how the sympathies of all rallied round the patriotic standard, planted amidst what he terms “ that only true fortress of freedom-an armed people.”
The career of Lord Edward is eloquently told, and his virtues dwelt upon with almost the feelings of a brother. The commentary on Lord Edward's correspondence with his mother shows how deeply Moore sympathises with domestic affection. The passages which represent a numerous circle of attached friends and relatives mourning over the lot of Lord Edward are written with a deep and thrilling pathos.
Moore discusses in this work the grave questions relative to the right of resistance, and endeavours to define the exact limit where endurance sinks from duty to degradation. These theoretical reasonings are interwoven with the narrative, and have always been deemed skilful and eloquent disquisitions on the knotty subject to which they refer.
Connected with the Life of Lord Edward there is a topic which shows Moore's wish to alter any passage in his writings painful to the feelings of others. In his account of the arrest of Lord Edward, Moore stated that Samuel Neilson (who left the room a few minutes before the arrest) was supposed to be the party who betrayed him ; but in the same passage Moore tates that he did not believe Neilson guilty of this treachery. This passage, though thus softened, gave offence to Neilson's friends. Dr. MacNevin wrote a note for the American edition of Moore's work, protesting against any inference being drawn against Neilson. MacNevin does not attack Moore, but regrets the appearance of the passage, which, he says, is “ the more to be regretted as Moore is not only a delightful writer, but is bold and honest enough to speak the truth when he knows it.” Hamilton Rowan also defended the memory of Neilson, and wrote to Moore, enclosing him a letter which Neilson wrote in 1802, full of the most unequivocal sentiments respecting the cause of Irish independence. Moore thus replied to Rowan's communi. cation :
“Sloperton Cottage, Dec. 21st, 1831. “My dear Sir,
“However much I may have felt the injustice with which some persons have treated me on the subject to which your letter refers, I am far more than compensated for it by the honour and pleasure which it has been the means of bringing me, in the communication I have just received from you, a person, allow me to say, whom as far back almost as I can remember anything, I remember having always looked to with the fondest respect.
“I beg you to accept my best thanks for the letter of Neilson which you
have sent me, and any other communications on the subject of Ireland you may have it in your power to favour me with, will be most thankfully received. “Yours, my dear Sir, very truly,
6 THOMAS MOORE." Moore addressed the following letter to the editor of the Freeman's Journal on the same subject :
“ Sloperton Cottage, Nov. 29th, 1831.
“Having just seen the Freeman's Journal of the 26th of this month, in which notice is taken of a late attack upon me in the Northern Whig, on account of some passages in my Life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, relative to Mr. Neilson, I think it right to trouble you with a few words on the subject. In the first place, I have to thank you for having laid before your readers the actual paragraph of my work which has provoked all their