Thomas Moore: Quotations

Poetry Prose

Fire Worshippers”: ‘Rebellion! foul, dishonouring word, / Whose wrongful blight so oft has stain’d / The holiest cause that tongue or sword / Of mortal ever lost or gain’d, / How many a spirit, born to bless, / Hath sunk beneath that withering name, / Whom but a day’s, an hour’s success, / Had wafted to eternal fame!’ (In Lalla Rookh; quoted in Stephen Gwynn, Thomas Moore, London: Macmillan 1905, p.13.)
Prince of Wales: Moore wrote verses to the George IV, formerly the Prince of Wales, registering his disappointment at his former friend’s conduct on the throne: ‘When first I met thee, warm and young / There shone such truth about thee / And on thy lip such promise hung, / I did not dare to doubt thee, / I saw thee change, yet still relied, / Still clung with hope the fonder, / And thought, though false to all beside, / From me thou couldst not wander. / But go, deceiver! Go ... / The heart, whose hopes could make it / Trust one so false, so low, / Deserves that thou shouldst break it. [...] Go - go - ’tis in vain to curse, / ’Tis weakness to upbraid thee; / Hate cannot wish thee worse / Than guilt and shame have made thee.’ ([Stanza 1 & 4; quoted [in part] in Catriona MacKernan, review of Ronan Kelly, Bard of Erin: The Life of Thomas Moore, in Books Ireland, Summer 2009, p.143-44; p.144.)
Spooky century: Moore described the Act of Union (Jan. 1801) as ‘the phantom by which the nineteenth century was welcomed.’ (Captain Rock, London 1824, p.363; quoted in Claire Connolly, ‘Irish Romanticism, 1800-1839’, Cambridge History of Irish Literature (Cambridge UP 2006, Vol. I [Chap.10], p.6.
Man to man: When Byron was being pursued by an unwanted lover who put his child in his path, Moore advised: ‘Marry and repair to Newstead’ - Newstead being the Byron family seat. (Quoted in Edna O’Brien, Byron in Love, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2008; see review in Books Ireland, May 2009).

Lallah Rookh (1817) The Loves of Angels (1823)

Irish Melodies
“The Meeting of the Waters”
“Araby’s Daughter”
“Oh! Blame not the Bard”
“Oft in the Stilly Night”
“Let Erin Remember”
“Silent, O Moyle”
“Song of Innisfail”
“The Minstrel Boy”
“Erin! The Tear and the Smile”
“Dear harp of my Country”
“Did Not”
“Believe me, if all ...”
“Thee, Thee, only Thee”
“I Saw From the Beach”
“O, Ye Dead!”
“Savourneen Deelish”
“At the Mid Hour of Night”
“How Oft Has the Banshee Cried”
“Thro’ Grief and Thro’ Danger”
“Irish Peasant to His Mistress”
“Avenging and Bright”
“A Pastoral Ballad by John Bull”
Other verses ...
“A Pastoral Ballad by John Bull”
For further quotations, see under Robert Emmet [supra], Mary Tighe [infra] and John MacHale [ supra].

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Poems of Thomas Moore - alphabetical index (given at Readonline)
  • Advertisement
  • After The Battle
  • Alarming Intelligence!
  • Alciphron: A Fragment
  • All In The Family Way - A New Pastoral Ballad
  • All That’s Bright Must Fade
  • Almighty God!
  • Alone In Crowds To Wander On
  • Amatory Colloquy Between Bank And Government
  • Anacreontic [Friend Of My Soul, This Goblet Sip]
  • Anacreontic [I filled to thee, to thee I drank]
  • Anacreontic [Press the grape, and let it pour]


  • Wreath And The Chain, The
  • Wreath The Bowl
  • Wreaths For The Ministers
  • Write On, Write On
  • Written In A Commonplace Book, Called "The Book Of Follies".
  • Written In The Blank Leaf Of A Lady’s Commonplace Book
  • Written On Passing Deadman’s Island
  • Yes, Yes, When The Bloom
  • You Remember Ellen
  • Young Indian Maid, The
  • Young Jessica
  • Young May Moon, The
  • Young Muleteers Of Grenada, The
  • Young Rose, The
  • Youth And Age
Go online [accessed 07.08.2009; defunct 22.04.2023] - or see copy as attached.

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Poems of Thomas Moore at Mary Baker’s Poetry Palace [Geocities]
  • “An Argument”.
  • “Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms”.
  • “Come, Rest In This Bosom”.
  • “Did Not”.
  • “Fly Not Yet”.
  • “Go Where Glory Waits Thee!”.
  • “Oh, No - Not Ev’n When First We Lov’d”.
  • “The Garland I Send Thee”.
  • “The Monopolist”.
  • “Thee, Thee, Only Thee”.
  • “When First I Met Thee”.
  • “When I Loved You”.
Go online [accessed 07.08.2009]; or see copy [attached].


Lallah Rookh


Around the white necks of the nymphs who danced
Hung carcancts of orient gems, that glanced
More brilliant than the sea-glass glittering o’er
The hills of crystal on the Caspian shore;
While from their long dark tresses, in a fall
Of curls descending, bells as musical
As those that, on the golden-shafted trees
Of Eden, shake in the Eternal Breeze,
Rung round their steps, at every sound more sweet,
As ’twere the ecstatic language of their feet!
At length the chase was o’er, and they stood wreathed
Within each other’s arms; while soft there breathed
Through the cool casement, mingled with the sighs
Of moonlight flowers, music that seemed to rise
From some still lake, so liquidly it rose;
And, as it swell’d again at each faint close
The ear could track through all that maze of chords
And young sweet voices, these impassion’d words.


(Quoted in Robert Welch, in Changing States: Transformations in Modern Irish Writing, London: Routledge 1993, p.22 [Chap.: ‘Language and Tradition in the Nineteenth Century’].


Stranger, though new the frame
they soul inhabits now, I’ve traced its flame
For many an ae, in every chance and chane
Of that Existence, through whose varied range, -
As through a torch-race, where, from hand to hand
The flying youths transmit the flaming brand, -
From frame to frame the unextinguished soul
Rapidly passes, till it reach its goal!

[verse 128]
Quoted in Theodore Pascal, Reincarnation: A Study in Human Evolution (1910), p.246.

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The Loves of Angels (1823)  


Sweet was the hour, tho’ dearly won,
And pure, as aught of earth could be,
For then first did the glorious sun
Before religion’s altar see
Two hearts in wedlock’s golden tie
Self-pledged, in love to live and die.
Blest union! by that Angel wove,
And worthy from such hands to come;
Safe, sole, asylum, in which Love,
When fallen or exiled from above,

And, tho’ the Spirit had transgrest,
Had, from his station ’mong the blest
Won down by woman’s smile, allow’d
Terrestrial passion to breathe o’er
The mirror of his heart, and cloud
God’s image there so bright before -
Yet never did that Power look down
On error with a brow so mild;
Never did Justice wear a frown,
Thro’ which so gently Mercy smiled.

—Available at Old Poetry, online; accessed 8.11.2010; see also full text [attached].

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A compilation of songs from Irish Melodies (serialised in 10 pts., 1807-34)

The Meeting of the Waters
There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
Oh! the last rays of feeling and life must depart,
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.

Yet it was not that nature had shed o’er the scene
Her purest of crystal and brightest of green;
’Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill,
Oh! no—it was something more exquisite still.

’Twas that friends, the beloved of my bosom, were near,
Who made every dear scene of enchantment more dear,
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve,
When we see them reflected from looks that we love.

Sweet vale of Avoca! how calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best,
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease,
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace.

Araby’s Daughter”: ‘Farewell -farewell to thee, Araby’s daughter! / (Thus warbled a peri beneath the dark sea,) / No pearl ever lay, under Oman’s green water / More pure in its shell than thy spirit in thee. // Oh! fair as the sea-flower close to thee growing, / How light was thy heart till Love’s witchery came, / Like the wind of the South o’er a summer lute blowing, / And hush’d all its music, and wither’d its frame! // But long, upon Araby’s green sunny highlands, / Shall maids and their lovers remember the doom / Of her, who lies sleeping among the Pearl Islands, / With nought but the sea-star to light up her tomb. // And still, when the merry date-season is burning, / And calls to the palm-groves the young and the old, / The happiest here from their pastime returning / At sunset will weep when thy story is told.’ [Note: Incl. in Edward Hayes, ed., Ballads of Ireland, 1885; quoted in Don Gifford, Joyce Annotated [... &c.], California UP 1982, p.42; not to be confused with the song “Araby” by W. G. Wills, to music by Frederick Clay, from the prologue of the Cantata Lalla Rookh [by Moore], which is the more proximate source of James Joyce’s title in the story of that name.]

Oh! Blame not the Bard”: ‘Oh! blame not the bard, if he fly to the bowers / Where Pleasure lies carelessly smiling at fame, / He was born for much more, and in happier hours / His soul might have burned with a holier flame; / The string that now languishes loose o’er the lyre / Might have bent a proud bow to the warrior’s dart; / And the lip which now breathes but the song of desire, / Might have poured the full tide of a patriot’s heart. / But alas for his country! – her pride has gone by, / And that spirit is broken, which never would bend; / O’er the ruin her children in secret must sigh, / For ’tis treason to love her, and death to defend. / Unprized are her sons, till they’ve learned to betray; / Undistinguish’d they live, if they shame not their sires; / And the torch, that would light them through dignity’s way, / Must be caught from the pile where their country expires. // Then blame not the bard, if in pleasure’s soft dream / He should try to forget what he never can heal. / Oh! give but a hope - let a vista but gleam / Through the gloom of his country, and mark how he’ll feel! / That instant, his heart at her shrine would lay down / Every passion it nurs’d, every bliss it ador’d; / Like the wreathe of Harmodius should cover his sword.’ (First pub. in Irish Melodies [No.3], 1810; rep. in Poetical Works, London [n.d.]; quoted [in part] in Robert Welch, Changing States:Transformations in Modern Irish Writing, London: Routledge 1993, p.21; also in Liam de Paor, Landscapes with Figures, Dublin: Four Courts 1998, pp.71-73.)

Note the echo of a line by Sir Thomas Wyatt

Blame not my lute, for he must sound
    Of this and that as liketh me....
           Blame not my lute.

—Quoted [at greater length] in A. C. Baugh, ed. A Literary History of England (NY: Appleton 1967), p.340.

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Oft in the Stilly Night”: ‘Oft in the stilly night, / Ere slumber’s chain has bound me, / Fond mem’ry brings the light / Of other days around me; / The smiles, the tears, / Of childhood’s years, / The words of love then spoken; / The eyes that shone, / Now dimm’d and gone, / The cheerful hearts now broken! Thus, in the stilly night, / Ere Slumber’s chain hath bound me, / Sad Memory brings the light / Of other days around me. // When I remember all / The friends, so link’d together, / I’ve seen around me fall / Like leaves in wintry weather; / And feel like one / Who treads alone / Some banquet-hall deserted, / Whose lights are fled, / Whose garlands dead, / And all, but he, departed! / Thus, in the stilly night, / Ere Slumber’s chain hath bound me, / Sad Memory brings the light / Of other days around me.’

[The text as given here coincides with that in the early U.S. edition of The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore which is used as copytext from the version at Music in the Works of James Joyce - online - which includes the note that the wording and punctuation differ minutely from the lyrics in the sheet music [viz., the NY printing of Moore’s song and John Stevenson’s music supplied on that webpage], which replaces boyhood’s with childhood’s, hearts with heart, and hath bound me with has bound me.]

Let Erin Remember the Days of Old”: ‘Let Erin remember the days of old, / Ere her faithless sons betray’d her; / When Malachi wore the collar of gold, / Which he won from the proud invader, / When her kings , with standard of green unfurl’d. / Led the Red-branch Knights to danger; - / Ere the emerald gem of the western world / Was set in the crown of a stranger. // On Lough Neagh’s bank, as the fisherman strays / In the calm, cold eve’s declining, / He sees the Round Towers of other days / In the wave beneath him shining. / Thus shall memory often, in dreams sublime, / Catch a glimpse of the days that are over; / Thus, sighing, look through the waves of time / For the long-faded glories they cover.’ [End.]

Silent, O Moyle” [prop. “The Song of Fionnuala”, to the air of “My Dear Eveleen”]: ‘Silent, O Moyle, be the roar of thy water / Break not ye breezes, your chain of repose / While murmuring mournfully Lir’s lonely daughter / Tells to the night star her tale of woe. // When shall the swan, her death note singing / Sleep with the wings her darkness furled / When will Heav’n, it’s sweet bells ringing / Call my spirit from this stormy world? // Silent, O Moyle to thy crystal wave weeping / Fate bids me languish long ages away / Yet still in the darkness doth Erin lie sleeping / Still doth the pure light its dawning delay. // When will the day star mildly springing / Warm our isle with peace and love? / When will Heav’n, it’s sweet bells ringing / Call my spirit to the fields above?’ (Irish Melodies, Iss. No. 2, Song 9; note that the song is being played by the harpist in Joyce’s story “Two Gallants” in Dubliners, 1914 - and see audioversion on Music in the Works of James Joyce - online; accessed 20.11.2010.)

Song of Innisfail” [“The Coming of the Milesians”]

They came from a land beyond the sea,
And now o’er the western main.
Set sail in their good ships, gallantly,
From the sunny lands of Spain.
’Oh, where’s the isle we've seen in dreams,
Our destined home or grave?’
Thus sang they, as by the morning beams
They swept the Atlantic wave.

And lo, where afar o'er ocean shines
A sparkle of radiant green,
As though in that deep lay emerald mines
Whose light through the wave was seen.

“’Tis Inisfáil - ’tis Inisfáil!”
Rings o’er the echoing sea;
While bending to heaven, the warriors hail
That home of the brave and free.

Then turned they unto the Eastern wave
Where now their Day-God’s eye
A look of such sunny omen gave
As lighted up sea and sky.
No frown was seen through sky or sea,
Nor tear o’er leaf or sod,
When first on their Isle of Destiny
Our great forefathers trod.

On Poem Hunter - online; accessed 20.06.2019.
Note: calls Amergin of the Milesians the singer of the song - online [accessed 15.12.2020].

The Minstrel Boy”: ‘The minstrel boy to the war is gone / In the ranks of death you will find him / His father’s sword he hath girded on / And his wild harp slung behind him. // “Land of Song!” said the warrior bard / “Though all the world betrays thee / One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard, / One faithful harp shall praise thee!” // The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chain / Could not bring that proud soul under / The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again / For he tore its chords asunder, // And said “No chains shall sully thee / Thou soul of love and bravery! / Thy songs were made for the pure and free / They shall never sound in slavery!”’

Erin! The Tear and the Smile”:
Erin! the tear and the smile in thine eyes
Blend like the rainbow that hangs in thy skies,
 Shining through sorrow’s stream,
 Saddening through pleasure’s beam,
 Thy suns with doubtful gleam,
   Weep while they rise.
Erin, thy silent tear never shall cease,
Erin, thy languid smile ne’er shall increase,
 Till, like the rainbow’s light,
 Thy various tints unite,
 And form in heaven’s sight
   One arch of peace!

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Dear harp of my Country”: ‘Dear harp of my Country! In darkness I found thee, / The cold chain of silence had hung o’er thee long, / When proudly, my own island Harp, I unbound thee, / And gave all thy chords to light, freedom, and song! / The warm lay of love and the light note of gladness / Have waken’d thy fondest, thy liveliest thrill; / But, so oft hast thou echo’d the deep sign of sadness, / That ev’n in thy mirth it will steal from thee still. // Dear harp of my Country! farewell to thy numbers, / This sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine! / Go, sleep with the sunshine of Fame on thy slumbers, / Till touch’d by some hand less unworthy than mine; / if the pulse of the patriot, soldier, or lover, / Have throbb’d at our lay, ’tis thy glory alone; / I was but as the wind, passing heedlessly over, / and all the wild sweetness I wak’d was thy own.’

Did Not”: ‘’Twas a new feeling - something more / Than we had dared to own before, / Which then we hid not; / We saw it in each other’s eye, / And wished, in every half-breathed sigh, / To speak, but did not. // She felt my lips’ impassioned touch / ’Twas the first time I dared so much, / And yet she chid not; / But whispered o’er my burning brow, / “Oh, do you doubt I love you now?” / Sweet soul! I did not. // Warmly I felt her bosom thrill, / I pressed it closer, closer still, / Though gently bid not; / Till - oh! the world hath seldom heard / Of lovers, who so nearly erred, / And yet, who did not.’

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms”, / Which I gaze on so fondly today, / Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms, / Like fairy gifts, fading away, / Thou wouldst still be ador’d, as this moment thou art, / Let they loveliness fade as it will, / And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart / Would entwine itself verdantly still. // It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, / And thy cheeks unprofan’d by a tear, / That the fervour and faith of a soul can be known, / To which time will but make thee more dear; / No, the heart that has truly lov’d never forgets, / But as truly loves on to the close, / As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets, / The same look which she turn’d when he rose.’

Thee, Thee, only Thee”: ‘The dawning of morn, the daylight’s sinking, / The night’s long hours still find me thinking / Of thee, thee, only thee. / When friends are met, and goblets crowned, / And smiles are near, that once enchanted, / Unreached by all that sunshine round, / My soul, like some dark spot, is haunted / By thee, thee, only thee. // Whatever in fame’s high path could waken / My spirit once, is now forsaken / For thee, thee, only thee. / Like shores, by which some headlong bark / To the ocean hurries - resting never - / Life’s scenes go by me, bright or dark, / I know not, heed not, hastening ever / To thee, thee, only thee. // I have not a joy but of thy bringing, / And pain itself seems sweet, when springing / From thee, thee, only thee. / Like spells, that nought on earth can break, / Till lips that know the charm have spoken, / This heart, however the world may wake / Its grief, its scorn, can but be broken / By thee, thee, only thee.’

I Saw From the Beach”: ‘I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining, / A bark o’er the waters move gloriously on; / I came when the sun from that beach was declining, / The bark was still there, but the waters were gone. // And such is the fate of our life’s early promise, / So passing the spring-tide of joy we have known; / Each wave, that we danced on at morning, ebbs from us, / And leaves us, at eve, on the bleak shore alone. // Ne’er tell me of glories, serenely adorning / The close of our day, the calm eve of our night; / Give me back, give me back the wild freshness of Morning, / Her clouds and her tears are worth Evening’s best light.’

O, Ye Dead!”: ‘Oh, ye Dead! oh, ye Dead! whom we know by the light you give / From your cold gleaming eyes, though you move like men who live, / Why leave you thus your graves, / In far off fields and waves, / Where the worm and the sea-bird only know your bed, / To haunt this spot where all / Those eyes that wept your fall, / And the hearts that wail’d you, like your own, lie dead? // It is true, it is true, we are shadows cold and wan; / And the fair and the brave whom we loved on earth are gone; / But still thus ev’n in death, / So sweet the living breath / Of the fields and the flow’rs in our youth we wandered o’er, / that ere, condemn’d, we go / To freeze, ’mid Hecla’s snow, / We would taste awhile, and think we live once more!’ (Note that these verses, sung by Plunket Greene in Dublin in 1906, caused Stanislaus Joyce to write to James Joyce about the eerie effect produced by the singer in this the second stanza where he whimpered as if speaking with the voice of the dead. In this way the verses may be said to have inspired Joyce’s famous short story. See Richard Ellmann, James Joyce [1959] 1965 Edn., p.253.)

Savourneen Deelish”: ‘’Tis gone, and for ever, the light we saw breaking, / Like Heaven’s first dawn o’er the sleep of the dead / When Man, from the slumber of ages awaking, / Look’d upward, and bless’d the pure ray, ere it fled. / ’Tis gone, and the gleams it has left of its burning / But deepen the long night of bondage and mourning, / That dark o’er the kingdoms of earth is returning, / And darkest of all, hapless Erin, o’er thee. [...] But shame on those tyrants who envied the blessing! / And shame on the light race unworthy its good, / Who, at Death’s reeking altar, like furies caressing / The young hope of Freedom, baptized it in blood!’ ( Note that, in quoting these lines, Stephen Gwynn remarks: ‘Moore wrote this after Napoleon had been sequestered in Elba, when the Holy Alliance were left masters of the field. He was well pleased with the verses, and his comment to Power is extremely typical of his attitude at this period: “It is bold enough; but the strong blow I have aimed at the French in the last stanza makes up for everything.”’ (Gwynn, Thomas Moore, 1904, p.66.) [See also under Joyce > Notes > Thomas Moore, supra.]

At the Mid Hour of Night”: ‘At the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping, I fly / To the lone vale we lov’d, when life shone warm in thine eye; / And I think oft, if spirits can steal from the regions of air, / To revisit past scenes of delight, thou wilt come to me there, / And tell me our love is remember’d, even in the sky. // When I sing the wild song ’twas once such pleasure to hear! / When our voices commingling breath’d, like one, on the ear. / And, as Echo far off through the vale my sad orison rolls, / I think, O my love! ’tis thy voice from the Kingdom of Souls, / Faintly answering still the notes that once were so dear.’

How Oft Has the Banshee Cried”: ‘How oft has the Banshee cried! / How oft has death untied / Bright links that Glory wove, / Sweet bonds entwined by Love! / Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth; / Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth; / Long may the fair and brave / Sigh o’er the hero’s grave! // We’re fallen on evil days! / Star after star decays, / Every bright name that shed / Light o’er the land is fled. / Dark falls the tear of him that mourneth / Lost joy, or hope that ne’er returneth: / But brightly flows the tear / Wept o’er a hero’s bier. // Quenched are our beacon lights - / Thou, of the Hundred Fights! / Thou, on whose burning tongue / Truth, peace and freedom hung! / Both mute - but long as valor shineth, / Or mercy’s soul at war repineth, / So long shall Erin’s pride / Tell how they lived and died.’ (Rep. in Padraic Colum, ed., Anthology of Irish Verse, 1922.)

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“The Last Rose of Summer”

’Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

—Available with sound [.midi] on Reely’s Poetry Page [online; 27.09.2010]; see also under Notes - as infra.

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Thro’ Grief and Thro’ Danger”: ‘Thro’ grief and thro’ danger thy smile hath cheer’d my way, / Till hope seem’d to bud from each thorn that round me lay; / The darker our fortune, the brighter our pure love burned, / Till shame into glory, till fear into zeal was turned, / Oh! slave as I was, in thy arms my spirit felt free, / And bless’d e’en the sorrows that made me more dear to thee. // Thy rival was honoured, while thou wert wronged and scorned; / Thy crown was of briers, while gold her brows adorned; / She woo’d me to temples, while thou lay’st hid in caves; / Her friends were all masters, while thine, alas! were slaves; / Yet, cold in the earth at thy feet I would rather be, / Than wed what I lov’d not, or turn one thought from thee.” (Rep. in Padraic Colum, ed., Anthology of Irish Verse, 1922.)

Irish Peasant to His Mistress” [i.e., the Roman Catholic Church]: ‘Thro’ grief and thro’ danger thy smile hath cheer’d my way, / Till hope seem’d to bud from each thorn that round me lay; / The darker our fortune, the brighter our pure love burned, / Till shame into glory, till fear into zeal was turned, / Oh! slave as I was, in thy arms my spirit felt free, / And bless’d e’en the sorrows that made me more dear to thee. // Thy rival was honoured, while thou wert wronged and scorned; / Thy crown was of briers, while gold her brows adorned; / She woo’d me to temples, while thou lay’st hid in caves; / Her friends were all masters, while thine, alas! were slaves; / Yet, cold in the earth at thy feet I would rather be, / Than wed what I lov’d not, or turn one thought from thee.’ (Rep. in Padraic Colum, ed., Anthology of Irish Verse, 1922; quoted in Patrick Rafroidi, ‘Thomas Moore: Towards a Reassessment?’, in Irish Literature and Culture, ed. Michael Kenneally, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992, pp.55-62, p.59.)

Cf. his verses on marrying a Protestant: ‘From the heretic girl of my soul should I fly / To seek somewhere else a more orthodox kiss? / No, perish the hearts, and the law that try / Truth, valour, or love by a standard like this.’ (Quoted in Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (1980), Vol. 2. p.59.) Note: the lines are also quoted in Stephen Gwynn, Thomas Moore (Macmillan 1904, 1905), with the remark: ‘Moore by no means conceived of tolerance only as a virtue to be practised by Protestants for the benefit of Catholics. Long before his marriage - indeed, when his Bessy was in very short frocks - he had written [... &c.] And later, from the Catholic side of the question, he practised his own doctrine conscientiously, when it came to falling in love, for Bessy Moore was a Protestant.’ Further: ‘And later, from the Catholic side of the question, he practised his own doctrine conscientiously, when it came to falling in love, for Bessy Moore was a Protestant. In spite of the phrase ‘it does not necessarily follow that Mr. Brown is a Papist,” there is no reason to suppose that Moore ever meditated a change of religion. Later in life, his sister Katherine did so, and he advised her to follow his example and remain quietly a Catholic. But he said openly to her, and records it in his diary: ‘My having married a Protestant wife gave me an opportunity of choosing a religion at least for my children, and if my marriage had no other advantage, I should think this quite sufficient to be grateful for.”’ (Gwynn, pp.61-62.)

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Avenging and Bright”: ‘Avenging and bright falls the swift sword of Erin / On him who the brave sons of Usna betrayed – / For every fond eye he hath waken’d a tear in / A drop from his heart-wounds shall weep o’er his blade / By the red cloud that hung over Conor’s dark dwelling, / When Ulad’s three champions lay sleeping in gore - / By the billows of war, which so often, high swelling, / Have wafted these heroes to victory’s shore / We swear to revenge them [...].’ (Quoted in Robert Welch, ‘Irish writing in English’, in Introduction English Studies, ed. Richard Bradford, London: Pearson Educ. 1996, p.659 - remarking: ‘Who is Conor here? Dublin Castle? The resonances are all the more powerful for being clouded by this sublime rhetoric’: ibid., p.660.)

A Pastoral Ballad by John Bull” (1827): ‘I have found out a gift for my Erin, / A gift that will surely content her; / Sweet pledge of a love so endearing! / Five millions of bullets I’ve sent her. // She ask’d me for Freedom and Right, / But ill she her wants understood; / Ball cartridges, morning and night, / Is a dose that will do her more good // there is hardly a day of our lives / But we read, in some amiable trials, / How husbands make love to their wives / Through the medium of hemp and of phials. // One thinks, with his mistress or mate / a good halter is sure to agree - / That love-knot which, early and late / I have tried, my dear Erin, on thee.’ (Quoted [in part] in Kevin Whelan, in ‘The Other Within: Ireland, Britain and the Act of Union’, in Acts of Union: The Causes, Contexts and Consequences of the Act of Union, ed. Dáire Keogh & Whelan, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, p.23.) Note prefatory remarks in Moore’s Works (London: Longman 1848) where Moore refers to a report of the Freeman’s Journal for 12 March 1827: ‘Friday, after the arrival of the packet bringing the account of the defeat of the Catholic Question, in the House of Commons, orders were sent to the Pigeon House to forward 5,000,000 rounds of musket ball cartridge to the different garrisons round the country.’

Corruption”: ‘But oh, poor Ireland! if revenge be sweet / For centuries of wrong, for dark deceit / And withering insult - for the Union thrown / Into this bitter cup, when that alone / Of slavery’s draught was wanting - if for this / Revenge be sweet, thou hast that daemon’s bliss; / For, oh! ’tis more than hell’s revenge to see / That England trusts the men who’ve ruin’d thee ... / All that devoted England can oppose / To enemies made friends, and friends made foes, / Is the rank refuse, the despised remains / Of that unpitying power, whose whips and chains / Made Ireland first, in wild, adulterous trance, / Turn false to England’s bed, and whore with France.’ (The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, London, n.d., pp.226-27; quoted in Robert Welch, ‘Language and Tradition in the Nineteenth Century’, in Changing States: Transformations in Modern Irish Writing, London: Routledge 1993, p.19-20.)

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Poetry Prose

National Airs (1819), Introduction: ‘It is Cicero, I believe, who says ‘Natura ad modos ducimur’; and the abundance of wild indigenous airs which almost every country except England possesses, sufficiently proves the truth of this assertion. The lovers of this simple but interesting kind of music are here presented with the first number of a collection, which I trust their contributions will enable us to continue. A pretty air without words resembles one of those half creatures of Plato, which are described as wandering, in search of the remainder of themselves, through the world. To supply this other half, by uniting with congenial words the many fugitive melodies which have hitherto had none, or only such as are unintelligible to the generality of their hearers, is the object and ambition of the present work. Neither is it our intention to confine ourselves to what are strictly called National Melodies; but wherever we meet with any wandering or beautiful air, to which poetry has not yet assigned a worthy home, we shall venture to claim it as an estray swan, and enrich our humble Hippocrene with its song.’ (Cited in Liam de Paor, ‘Tom Moore and Modern Ireland’, in Landscapes with Figures, Four Courts 1998, p.72.)

Letter to [Sir] John Stevenson (1807): ‘I feel very anxious that a Work of this kind should be undertaken. We have too long neglected the only talent for which our English neighbours ever deigned to allow us any credit. Our National Music has never been properly collected; and while the composers of the Continent have enriched their operas and sonatas with melodies borrowed from Ireland - very often without even the honesty of acknowledgement - we have left these treasures in a great degree unclaimed and fugitive. Thus our airs, like too many of our countrymen, for want of protection at home, have passed into the service of foreigners. But we are come, I hope, to a better period both of politics and music; and how much they are connected, in Ireland at least, appears too plainly in the tone of sorrow and depression which characterises most of our early songs. - The task which you propose to me, of adapting words to these airs, is by no means easy. The poet, who would follow the various sentiments which they express, must feel and understand that rapid fluctuation of spirits, that unaccountable mixture of gloom and levity, which composes the character of my countrymen, and has deeply tinged their music. Even in their liveliest strains we find some melancholy note intrude - some minor third or flat seventh which throws its shade as it passes and makes even mirth interesting. If Burns had been an Irishman (and I would willingly give up all our claims upon Ossian for him,) his heart would have been proud of such music, and his genius would have made it immortal. / Another difficulty (which is, however, purely mechanical) arises from the irregular structure of many of those airs, and the lawless kind of metre which it will in consequence be necessary to adapt to them. In these instances the poet must write not to the eye but to the ear; and must be content to have his verses of that description which Cicero mentions, Quos si cantu spoliaveris, nuda remandebit oratio. That beautiful air, “The Twisting of the Rope” [Casadh na Súgáin], which has all the romantic character of the Swiss “Ranz des Vaches”, is one of those wild and sentimental rakes which it will not be very easy to tie down in sober wedlock with poetry. However, notwithstanding all these difficulties and the very little talent which I can bring to surmount them, the design appears to me so truly national, that I shall feel much pleasure in giving it all the assistance in my power. [Leicestershire, Feb. 1807’ (Letters, ed. W. S. Dowden, OUP 1964, pp.116-17; quoted in Michèle Kohler, Introduction to Thomas Moore: catalogue of 530 items offered for sale by C. C. Kohler, 12 Horsham Rd., Dorking, Surrey, RGH4 3JL, England [?1996], p.vii-viii; also [in full] in Stephen Gwynn, Thomas Moore, Macmillan 1905, 42-43, and [in part] Robert Welch, Changing States: Transformations in Modern Irish Writing, 1993, p.13.) Note: Gwynn points out that the part of the letter was as an advertisement to Irish Melodies in Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 28 May 1807, but dates April 1807 for the publisher’s own reasons.

Letter on Music, to the Marchioness Dowager of Donegal’: ‘With respect to the verses which I have written for these Melodies, as they are intended to be sung rather than read, I can answer for their sound with somwhat more confidence than for their sense. Yet it would be affectation to deny that I have given much attention to the task, and that it is not through want of zeal and industry, if I unfortunately disgrace the sweet airs of my country, by poetry altogether unworthy of their taste, their energy, their tenderness.’ Moore also speaks of ‘the features of our history and our character’, with its ‘turbulence [and] softness’ [as infra], ‘mirth and sadness’ and his own attempt to reclaim from the ‘tasteless decorations’ of ‘our own itinerant musicians [...] the pure gold of the melody’. He goes on to criticise English newspapers which had accused his Melodies of a ‘mischievous’ intent and rebutts those who ‘identify nationality with treason, and who see, in every effort for Ireland, a system of hostility to England’, claiming that the Melodies ‘looks much higher [than the lower, inflammatory classes of people] for its audience and readers; it is found upon the pianofortes of the rich and educated.’ (Prefixed to No. 3 of Irish Melodies; quoted in Seamus Deane, ‘Thomas Moore’ [editorial essay], in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Derry 1991, Vol. 1, pp.1054-55.)

Viz., “It has often been remarked, and oftener felt, that our music is the truest of all comments upon our history. The tone of defiance succeeded by the languor of despondency a burst of turbulence dying away into softness - the sorrows of one moment lost in the levity of the nest - and all that romantic mixture of ranch and sadness, which is naturally produced by the efforts of a lively temperament, to shake off, or forget the wrongs which lie upon it: such are the features of our history and character, which we find strongly and faithfully reflected in our music; and there are many airs, which, I think, it is difficult to listen to, without recalling some period or event to which their expression seems particularly applicable.” (Thus quoted in Seamus Deane, Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Ireland Since 1790, Clarendon Press 1997, p.66, citing Irish Melodies, Longman 1810, p.iv.)

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Irish Melodies [... &c.] (1841 Preface): ‘[issued] though an edition of the Poetry of Irish Melodies, separate from the music, has long been called for, yet having for many reasons, a strong objection to this sort of divorce, I should with difficulty have consented to a disunion of the words from the airs, had it depended solely upon me to keep them quietly and indissolubly together.’ (Quoted in Michèle Kohler, op. cit. supra, p.v.)

Intercepted Letters, or the Two-Penny Post-Bag, by Thomas Brown the Younger (London: J. Carr 1813) - Preface: ‘To the charge of being an Irishman, poor Mr. Brown pleads guilty; and I believe it must also be acknowledged that he comes of a Roman Catholic family. ... But from all this it does not necessarily follow that Mr. Brown is a Papist; and indeed I have the strongest reasons for suspecting that they who say so are somewhat mistaken. ... All I profess to know of his orthodoxy is that he has a Protestant wife and two or three little Protestant children, and that he has been seen at church every Sunday, for a whole year together, listening to the sermons of his truly reverend and amiable friend, Dr.— [i.e., Parkinson]’. (Quoted in Stephen Gwynn, Thomas Moore, Macmillan 1904, 1905, p.61.)

Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824): ‘The ROCKS are a family of great antiquity in Ireland; as old, at least, as the “ancient family of the Wrongheads” in England. / That we had made some noise, even before the memorable period, when Pope Adrian made a present of Ireland to Henry II., there is every reason to believe; but under such wise monarchs as Ollam Fodla[m]h, Dubhlachta, Flabhertach, Brian Boromhe, &c., whose laws, as [Sylvester] Mr. O’Halloran assures us, were models of perfection, it was difficult even for the activity of the Rocks to distinguish itself. Accordingly, for the first 1100 years of the Christian [4] era, we hear but little or nothing of the achievements of the family.’ (pp.[3]-4); ‘With respect to the origin of the family name, ROCK, antiquarians and etymologists are a good deal puzzled. An ideal exists in certain quarters that the letters of which it is composed are merely initials, and contained a prophetic announcement of the high destiny that awaits, at some time or other, that celebrated gentleman, Mr. Roger O’Connor, being, as they fill up the initials, the following awful words, - Roger O’Connor, King!’ [Scholarly persons referred to in this discourse incl. Francis Hucheson & Mr. Hamilton.] (p.6.) [Cont.]

Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824) - cont.: ‘Discord is, indeed, our natural element; like that storm-loving animal, the seal, we are comfortable only in a tempest; and the object of the following historical and biographical sketch is to show how kindly the English government has at all times consulted our taste in this particular - ministering to our love of riot through every successive reign, from the invasion of Henry II. down to the present day, so as to leave scarcely an interval during the whole six hundred years in which the Captain ROCK for the time might not exclaim, / Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris? / or, as it has been translated by one of my family:- / “Through Leinster, Ulster, Connaught, Munster/ROCK’s the boy to make the fun stir!”’ (p.9.) [Cont.]

Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824) - cont.: ‘“He who feedeth a flock (as our Reverend tithe-takers never cease telling us) hath a right to eat of the milk of the flock” - but in Ireland, where divine laws, as well as human, are reversed, it is from a flock which he does not feed, that the unconscionable shepard extorts his milk.’ (p.301); ‘in England, the burthen is equally distributed among the framing class - while in Ireland, where there is no Agistment tithe, it rests almost exclusively upon the lowest orders’ (p.303); ‘But there is still a more cruel exaction The potato, the sole sustenance of the wretched peasantry of the South, is also pressed into the service of the Church - and there is not a parson in that part of the country, who does not live by the starvation of others.’ (p.304.)

Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824) - cont.: ‘The ascent from these minor agents of the Irish hierarchy, up thorough the gradations of curate, vicar, rector, &c. into the loftiest regions of Episcopacy and Primacy, resembles that Scale of Being, which Locke supposes to exist in the Universe, ascending gradually from the lowest to the sublimest and the most etherialised essences; and, between the two extremes - the Driver, who, form the good of the Church, puts the Catholic’s cow into the pound, and the Prelate who, for the same pious purpose, keeps the Catholic himself out of the Constitution - there is a sympathy of sentiment and unity of design, which is felt through all the intermediate range, and, like the sensitiveness of the spider, “lives along the line”.’ (p.313.) [Cont.]

Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824) - cont.: ‘I have myself seen the Archbishop of Cashel taking his morning drive protected by a large escort of dragoons; and I could name more than one worthy Rector, whose pistols are, at least, as [317] necessary a companion of his walks as his prayer-book.’ (p.318.) Footnote here:‘Not the present Archbishop - no - reprobate as I am, I can still admire candour, liberality, and humanity; and to such Churchmen as Lawrence, Jebb, and the late Archbishop of Tuam, I am ready to give safe-conduct through my realms at any time.’ (Idem.) [Cont.]

Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824) - cont.: ‘The potato-garden, too, that last boundary between the peasant and famine - which, everywhere, in the South, is still kept sacred from the Clergy - will, by the applotments under this Act [of Union], wherever they exist, be swept into the general mass of contribution, towards the further enrichment of the Protestant Church of Ireland./I have here spoken of this measure, as any lover of tranquillity might, who wished to see some more rational remedy for the discontent that reigns among us. But, speaking in my own person as CAPTAIN ROCK, I must say that, though perfectly satisfied with the results of the old system, I am equally ready to try this, or any other new [strain] of discord, which may be struck up by our State musicians [324] - whose ideas of a concert, especially among themselves, seem to have been founded upon that famous charivari of Rousseau at Lausanne, in which no two instruments were upon the same scent.’ (pp.324-25.) [See longer extract, attached.]

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Journal [on visiting Wexford, homeplace of his mother, in 1835]: ‘Went through my reception of the various addresses very successfully (as Boyse [his host] told me afterwards), spoke much louder and less Englishly than I did the day before. I find that the English accent (which I always had, by the by, never having, at any time in my life, spoken with much brogue) is not liked by the genuine Pats.’ Further (on hearing an American gentleman defend slavery as a stimulus to nobility): ‘[... C]ertainly almost all free nations had such victims to whet their noble spirits upon and keep them in good humour with themselves [...] the Spartans their Helots, the Romans their servi [slaves], and the English, till of late, their Irish Catholic.’ (Both the foregoing cited in P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland, 1994, p.112.)

Letter to Lady Donegal (March 1815): ‘If there is anything in the world that I have been detesting and despising more than another for this long time past [68] it has been those very Dublin politicians whom you so fear I should associate with. I do not think a good cause was ever ruined by a more bigoted, brawling, and disgusting set of demagogues; and, though it be the religion of my fathers, I must say that much of this vile, vulgar spirit is to be traced to that wretched faith, which is again polluting Europe with Jesuitism and Inquisitions, and which of all the humbugs that have stultified mankind is the most narrow-minded and mischievous; so much for the danger of my joining Messrs. O’Connel, O’Donnel, &c.’ (Quoted in Stephen Gwynn, thomas Moore, Macmillan 1904, 1905, pp.68-69.)

Poems, Preface to 1841 [1st Coll.] Edn. (rep. Longmans 1865): ‘To the zeal and industry of Mr. Bunting his country is indebted for the preservation of her old national airs. During the prevalence of the Penal code, the music of Ireland was made to share in the fate of its people. Both were alike shut out from the pale of civilised life; and seldom any where but in the huts of the proscribed race could the sweet voice of the songs of other days be heard. Even of that class, the itinerant harpers, among whom for a long period our ancient music had been kept alive, there remained but few to continue the precious tradition; and a great music-meeting held in Belfast in the year 1792, at which the two or three still remaining of the old race of wandering harpers assisted, exhib[it]ed the last public effort made by the lovers of Irish music to preserve to their country the only grace and oranment left to her, out of the wreck of all her liberties and hopes [...] (Cont.)

Poems ( Preface to 1841 Edn.) - cont. ‘But for the zeal and intelligent research of Mr. Bunting, at that crisis, the greater part of our musical treasures would probably have been lost to the world. It was in the year 1796 that this gentleman published his first volume; and the national spirit and hope then wakened in Ireland, by the rapid spread of the democratic principle throughout Europe, could not but insure a most cordial reception for such a work. [...] It was in the year 1797 that, through the medium of Mr. Bunting’s book, I was first made acquainted with the beauties of our native music [through a] young friend of our family, Edward Hudson. [...] About the same period I formed an acquaintance, which soon grew into intimacy, with young Robert Emmet, I found him in full reputation, not only for his learning and eloquence, but also for the blamelessness of his life, and the grave suavity of his manners.’ [Cont.]

Poems, Preface to 1841 [1st Coll.] Edn. (1865) - cont.: ‘There elapsed no very long time before I was myself the happy proprietor of a copy fo the work and, though never regularily instructed in music, could play over the airs with tolerable facility on the pianoforte. Robert Emmet used sometimes to sit by me, when I was thus engaged; and I remember one day his starting up as from a reverie, when I had just finished playing that spirited tune called “[T]he Red Fox” [‘Let Erin Remember the Days of Old’] and exclaiming, ‘Oh that I were at the head of twenty thousand men marching to that air!’ [...] it was, I am ashamed to say, in dull and turgid prose, that I made my first appearance in print as champion of the popular cause. Towards the latter end of the year of 1797, the celebrated newspaper The Press was set up by Arthur O’Connor, Thomas Addis Emmet, and others chiefs of the United Irish conspiracy, with the view to preparing and ripening the public mind for the great crisis then fast approaching [...] (Cont.)

Poems ( Preface to 1841 Edn.) - cont. ‘To those unread in the painful history of this period, it is right to mention that almost all the leaders of the United Irish conspiracy were Protestants. Among those companions of my own alluded to in these pages, I scarcely remember one Catholic ... / [Moore calls the Irish Melodies] the only work of my pen, as I very sincerely believe, whose fame (thanks to the sweet music in which it is embalmed) may boast a chance of prolonging its existence to a day much beyond our own.’ (Poems, 1865, pp.vii-xxviii; quoted in A. C. Partridge, Language and Society in Anglo-Irish Literature (1984), pp.161-63).

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Irish independence: ‘The loss of independence very early debased our character. [...] It is true that this island has given birth to heroes ... but the success was wanting to consecrate resistance, their cause was branded with the disheartening name of treason, and their oppressed country was such a blank among nations that .. the fame of their actions was lost in the obscurity of the place where they achieved them. (Appendix to Poetical Works, London [n.d.]; cited in Robert Welsh, Changing States:Transformations in Modern Irish Writing, London: Routledge 1993, p.20.)

Thomas Campbell, et al. (Journal, 24-26 May [quarter-yearly]): ‘From some late letters of Lady Morgan on the subject of the Metropolitan I have been led to believe that Campbell meant to give up the editorship of the magazine, which belief alone could have enduced me to enter into any negotiations on the subject finding, however, from Marryat that Campbell was still to continue in the concern, I felt that my engagement as editor would look like forcing myself into his shoes; and therefore wrote to decline the proposition; say, that “though I should consider it an honour to succeed Campbell, I could not possibily thing of supplanting him.’ (In J. B. Priestley, sel. & ed., Tom Moore’s Diary, Cambridge UP, 1925.)

Poetry & music: ‘The poet must write not to the eye but to the ear’ (Moore, in Wilfred S. Dowden, ed., The Letters of Thomas Moore, 2 vols., Clarendon Press 1964, p.114; cited in Michèle Kohler, op. cit., supra., p.v.)

The Union [of Great Britain & Ireland], a measure arising out of corruption and blood, and clothed in promises put only to betray, was the phantom by with the dawn of the nineteenth century was welcomed.’ (Memoirs of Captain Rock, 1824, p.363; quoted in Claire Connolly, ‘Writing the Union’, in Dáire Keogh & Kevin Whelan, eds., Acts of Union: The Causes, Contexts and Consequences of the Act of Union, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, p.186). Further, Captain Rock describes the Union as ‘an unnatural measure’ which ‘like Frankestein’s ghastly patchwork [is] made up of contributions form the whole charnel-house of political corruption.’ (Captain Rock, 1824, p.322; Connolly, op. cit., p.186.)

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