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“ With best regards to Mrs. Hunt and your little child, for whom I could supply a companion picture, I am, my dear sir,
“ Most truly yours,
6. THOMAS MOORE. “ Wednesday
“I shall take the liberty of paying the postage of this, lest it might not be received at the office."
“Kegworth, Leicestershire, Thursday. My dear Sir,
"I was well aware that, on the first novelty of your imprisonment, you would be overwhelmed with all sorts of congratulations and condolences, and therefore resolved to reserve my tribute, both of approbation and sympathy, till the gloss of your chains was a little gone off, and both friends and starers had got somewhat accustomed them. If I were now to tell you half of what I have thought and felt in your favour during this period, I fear it would be more than you know enough of me to give me credit for; and I shall, therefore, only say in true Irish phrase and spirit, that my heart takes you by the hand most cordially, and that I only wish that heaven had given me a brother whom I could think so well of, and feel so warmly about. I hope to be in London in about four or five weeks, when one of my first visits shall be to Horsemongerlane; and I trust I shall find your restrictions so far relaxed, as to allow of my not merely looking at you through the bars, but passing an hour or two with you in your room.
“I have long observed, and (I must confess) wondered at your retenue about Lord Moira, and
have sometimes flattered myself (forgive me for being so vain, and so little just, perhaps, to your sense of duty) that a little regard for me was at the bottom of your forbearance, for you have always struck me as one whom nature never destined accusatoriam vitam vivere, and who, if you were to live much among us Lilliputians of this world, would soon find your giant limbs entangled with a multitude of almost invisible heart-strings ; but be this as it may, I must acknowledge (with a candour which is wrung from me) that Lord Moira’s conduct no longer deserves your approbation ; and when I say this, I trust I need not add, that it no longer has mine. His kindness to me, of course, I can never forget ; but they are remembered as one remembers the kindnesses of a faithful mistress : and that esteem, that reverence, which was the soul of all, is fled. His thoughtfulness about me, indeed, remained to the last ; and in the interview which i had with him immediately on his coming down here after his appointment, he said that though he had nothing sufficiently good in his Indian patronage to warrant my taking such an expensive voyage, yet it was in his power, by exchange of patronage with ministers, to serve me at home, and that he meant to provide for me in this way; to which I answered, with many acknowledgements for his friendship, that I begged he would not take the trouble of making any such application ; as I would infinitely rather struggle on as I am, than accept of anything under such a system. I must add (because it is creditable to him) that this refusal, though so significantly conveyed, and still more strongly afterwards by letter, did not offend him,
and that he continued the most cordial attentions to us during the remainder of his stay. I know you will forgive this egotism, and would, perhaps, trouble you with a little more of it, if the unrelenting post time were not very nearly at hand.
“My Bessy has given me another little girl, which was one of the very few wrong things she does, for I meant it to be a boy. If the lively anxiety and interest of a very pure and natural heart be gratifying to you, you have had it from her throughout. Do you recollect meeting me and her one day? Best regards to Mrs. Hunt, from
“ Yours, ever,
“ THOMAS MOORE."
Few men have written so much as Moore, certainly few have written for so long a period. For nearly fifty years Moore was before the literary world, and even after all his toils and all his triumphs, the most critical of critics wanted more. Moore's latest poetical work, the “ Epicurean,” was pronounced by the Edinburgh Review, to bear evidence of the undiminished vigour of the poetical faculties of the writer, to be the “most perfect of Moore's compositions as a work of art, and which if it had not wanted the ornament of verse, would have been the most popular.” Many a writer who has in early and middle life won a proud name, feeling unconscious of declining powers has ventured into the literary arena in old age, and has lived to show that he outlived his genius.
Not so with Moore; he withdrew from the field while his powers were still undiminished. The luxuriance
of his teeming fancy was mellowed not dimmed by age.
Moore only wrote one pamphlet on which we have been able to lay our hands. It was written in Dublin in 1810, and was in advocacy of the “ Veto." In common with many sincere Catholics (even prelates of the Church), Moore was of opinion that it would be better to yield up the “ Veto” point, than for Ireland to remain outside the constitution. The
-iræ leonum vincula recusantum
led many to wish their bondage ended, even with some compromise. Sheil was for some time of the same view. O'Connell resisted the “ Veto" upon all occasions, preferring that the people should remain a little longer in the desert, than enter Canaan with a single link of a chain clanking on them. Providence spared him to carry his policy to a triumphant issue. The event proved O'Connell to be right, but we must not look too harshly on those men who, despairing of obtaining for the Catholics of the British Empire complete equality with members of other religions, were ready to consent to accept a portion of their freedom, and struggle for the rest afterwards.
We have forborne to enter into any critical disquisition on Moore's genius. Even if (as we unaffectedly say we are not) we were competent to the task, how unnecessary it would be. Moore's best critic is the heart ; not those deep and harrowing feelings, in depicting which, Byron has pierced to the innermost shrine of the soul of man, but those
sentiments which teach us how exquisitely truthful Moore is in delineating human nature. If his flowers be profuse, and if they be richly coloured, still they have the scent of nature and of reality. In dealing with our beautiful melodies he found them disfigured with rude and vulgar language. He moulded them so as to be in accordance with an advanced stage of society. No man ever made words so expressive of sound, or so completely succeeded in conveying in language that class of emotion which the music should suggest.
“ This is (writes a critic in the Edinburgh Review) a peculiar faculty and extremely rare indeed. Burns had something of it, Beranger perhaps more, but Moore stands absolutely pre-eminent in it.”
Moore was consistent through life. His opinions were always those of a man of advanced and liberal mind. He refused office from the Tories, even though offered through his friend Lord Moira. The pension which was given to him in advanced life was not the guerdon of political apostacy. It was his due as a man who had elevated English literature. Even his opponents (Moore mentions the Standard particularly) honourably admitted that he had fairly won that which too often had been bestowed upon tergiversation and dishonesty.
An eloquent critic in the Dublin Review describes the re-perusal of Moore's works in advanced life as bringing back to the imagination feelings, and scenes, and persons long forgotten, and again presenting to the mind the fairy land of early home. Yes, such is Moore. His lines bring back many an early scene-recall to life many who are long since cold and silent. As a musical poet he holds