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Melodies belong preeminently to that minor and less ambitious school of lyrics which of set purpose dedicates itself to vocal singing. The highest lyrical poetry, of course, appeals to the inner ear alone, in that silent singing which is a sweeter thing than any triumph of the vocalist. No tune of the most transcendent aptness could throw fresh charm into the finest stanzas of Shelley, while the most clear-voiced and sympathetic singer would probably fail to make so subtle a scheme of words intelligible to any audience previously ignorant of them. But Moore is a master in that ritual of which Burns is the high priest, in which words of a commonplace character are so strung together as to form poetry easily grasped and enjoyed by the ear, while sometimes the Melodies reach a higher pitch, and may be judged by a more severe standard than the improvisatore ever knows. When his genuine and burning love of Irish liberty inspires him, the little amatory bard rises for a moment to the level of Tyrtæus and Campbell.
It is difficult at the present day to revive an interest in Moore's satirical and humourous collections of verse, yet their gaiety was hailed with great enjoyment by a generation accustomed to Wolcot's sturdy fun and the heavy hand of Gifford. In fact the public was excessively entertained by these brisk, smart epistles, in which the Horatian manner was carried to its last excess of levity, and in which witty personalities against public individuals were as thick as plums in a pudding. The Fables for the Holy Alliance were more serious and more trenchant than the rest, and perhaps just because their effect was greater at the time, it is less now. is precisely the lightness of The Twopenny Post-Bag that supports it still on the stream of literature. In Rhymes on the Road Moore seems to be emulating Byron in his rapid interchange of cynical with romantic reflection, but he has not the muscular strength needed to draw the bow of Byron, and when he describes the view of Lake Leman from the Jura we miss almost painfully the note of the master. He is infinitely more at home in describing the gay world of Florence, and sentimentally regretting the domestic pleasures of an English home. Nor is the modern reader much scandalised, but only very much amused, to find little Mr. Moore inditing a long poem at Les Charmettes merely to insist upon the fact that he was not roused by reminiscences of Rousseau.
EDMUND W. GOSSE.
THE LIGHT OF THE HARAM.
[From Lalla Rookh.]
Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere,
Oh! to see it at sunset,-when warm o'er the Lake
A last look of her mirror at night ere she goes!—
Here the Magian his urn, full of perfume, is swinging, And here, at the altar, a zone of sweet bells
Round the waist of some fair Indian dancer is ringing. Or to see it by moonlight,-when mellowly shines The light o'er its palaces, gardens, and shrines; When the water-falls gleam, like a quick fall of stars, And the nightingale's hymn from the Isle of Chenars
Is broken by laughs and light echoes of feet
From the cool, shining walks where the young people meet.—
[From the same.]
'How sweetly,' said the trembling maid,
So long had they in silence stood,
'How sweetly does the moonbeam smile To-night upon yon leafy isle!
Oft, in my fancy's wanderings,
I've wish'd that little isle had wings,
Were wafted off to seas unknown,
His eyes met hers, that smile was gone;
'Twas bright, 'twas heavenly, but 'tis past! Oh! ever thus, from childhood's hour, I've seen my fondest hopes decay;
I never loved a tree or flower,
But 'twas the first to fade away.
I never nursed a dear gazelle,
To glad me with its soft black eye,
But when it came to know me well,
To see thee, hear thee, call thee mine,—
Those frightful rocks-that treacherous sea-
Where'er thou go'st, beloved stranger!
Than have thee near me, and in danger!'
WHEN HE, WHO ADORES THEE.
When he, who adores thee, has left but the name Of his fault and his sorrows behind,
Oh! say wilt thou weep, when they darken the fame
Yes, weep, and however my foes may condemn,
For Heaven can witness, though guilty to them,
With thee were the dreams of my earliest love;
In my last humble prayer to the Spirit above,
Oh! blest are the lovers and friends who shall live
The days of thy glory to see ;
But the next dearest blessing that Heaven can give Is the pride of thus dying for thee.
BELIEVE ME, IF ALL THOSE ENDEARING YOUNG CHARMS.
Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be ador'd, as this moment thou art,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
That the fervour and faith of a soul can be known,
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets,
BY THAT LAKE, WHOSE GLOOMY SHORE1.
By that Lake, whose gloomy shore
Where the cliff hangs high and steep,
'Twas from Kathleen's eyes he flew,
Eyes of most unholy blue!
She had lov'd him well and long,
Wish'd him hers, nor thought it wrong.
1 This ballad is founded upon one of the many stories related of St. Kevin, whose bed in the rock is to be seen at Glendalough, a most gloomy and romantic spot in the county of Wicklow.