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other evil ; the words, which flow winningly from the lips of youth, are ludicrous when mumbled by the toothless gentleman of sixty-five. Those who write for the centre-table must expect to be shortly out of fashion ; and to present themselves to the next generation like a hooped, cushioned, high-heeled beauty of the last century, rustling and creaking in a modern ball-room. Had Moore done always thus, he must have been regarded merely as one, who pelted gracefully with sugar-plums at the carnival ; as a writer of considerable powers, but low and vulgar tastes; for it is not in the power of rank and fashion, whatever currency they may for the moment give to glittering and brocaded sensuality, so to construct the mask as long to hide its coarse features from the common eye.

The poet, who limits his ambition to the applauses of Almack's, will soon find that "the lights are fled, the garlands dead”; and, if he be a man of genius, of the highest poetical genius he can hardly be, will meet the sad retribution which invariably follows the abuse of exalted powers.

Any strong and not unworthy feeling, like the dramatic pity and terror, purifies the heart. There was a subject on which Moore felt deeply, and felt like a man.

This subject was the wrongs of his country. For, whatever may be our impression of the demands of policy or necessity, one can hardly glance over the dreary waste of Irish history, without seeing that if England has been just, her justice has been slightly tempered with mercy; for the Eternal City, in the flush of her proudest march of victory, rarely dealt with her subjected provinces as England has done with her sister isle. At least, it is certain that the elements of modern civilization sprung up in the bloody track of Rome's chariot wheels ; while Ireland has little cause of gratitude for aught that has been done by her conquerors to improve and elevate her. Even were this otherwise, there is enough in her present as there has been in her past condition, to make us cease to wonder at the intensity of feeling, with which her sons regard the condition of a land, abounding in all that nature or genius can bestow to make it great and prosperous. It was a fortunate suggestion, that induced Moore to adapt new songs to the old and favorite Irish airs, which have a charm for every ear, that has not been disciplined to stand the fire of a modern orchesVOL. L. NO, 107.

64

tra ; and it was fortunate too, that he availed himself of the occasion to express his natural and patriotic feeling. This feeling pervades them all, and seems to change the whole character of the poet and of the man. Something of the old leaven remains, but the Melodies that reveal it are the worst of the collection ; wbile those in which he puts by the faded graces in which he had been used to flourish, are rich in truth and beauty, and occasional loftiness of inspiration. A striking effect is produced in some of them by covering the sword with myrile, like the patriots of old; as, for example, in the singularly beautiful song, “When he who has loved thee,” which appears to express merely the invocation of a dying lover, while it becomes far more touching and impressive, when regarded as the last address of the martyr of freedom to

There are other instances of this, which will readily occur to those who are familiar with the Irish Melo

his country.

dies."

of

We need say little of “ Lalla Rookh,” because its prominent beauty is of the same kind with that to which we have just adverted, and its defects are of the same character with those of his earlier poems, though far from being disfigured by the same grossness. There is no great beauty in the thread on which its pearls are strung ; these are composed of a series of tales, which attract no very intense interest until we come to “ The Fire-worshippers”; then, his foot is on the soil of freedom, conceit and glitter are forgotten in the glow of patriotic enthusiasm, and the heart goes with the martyr liberty through his race of disaster and sorrow, till he climbs the blazing altar. Moore's mastery over the language is perfect; he seems to possess a magic spell for converting every thing he touches into melody ; in following his sweet and flexible versification, one almost ceases to care what thought it expresses, or whether it conveys any thought at all ; and it must be admitted, that in his Oriental descriptions bis inclination for display and brilliancy is sufficiently at home. But this inclination cannot be long indulged, except at the expense of manliness. Genius is always in earnest ; it does not disdain the aid of ornament, but disdains to make it other than an aid. The glory of Prometheus was not to decorate the senseless clay ; but to kindle the immortal fire within it ; to "create a soul under the ribs of death." Perhaps the secret of Moore's defects is his ambition to make himself the idol of society. Whoever estimates himself by the standard of fashionable praise holds his fame by the most precarious of all tenures. If Milton had aimed merely to catch the applauses of a court, and that the court of Charles the Secoud, what a blight would have been brought upon a genius, created by Providence for all time and all nations. Scott had acquired a monopoly of favor before “Gertrude of Wyoming" appeared ; and Moore's “ Lalla Rookh” was published while Byron was lord of the ascendant. Neither of these gained, nor did the authors probably expect them to gain, any remarkable popularity, as success was in those days founded on other qualities than such as they displayed; and the character of poetry was but another name for the peculiar traits of that of Scott and Byron. Their march was so triumphant, that it overwhelmed most other candidates for fame ; though the inexhaustible fertility of Southey, and the calm confidence of Wordsworth, were not to be repressed by any adverse circumstances. In general, they were driven from poetry to other objects of pursuit ; even Southey paused awhile in his epic career, to pour out a flood of histories, books of the church, biographies, and reviews. Campbell quietly retreated to the lecture-room and the editor's chair ; and Moore employed himself in building the tombs of the prophets, whose living oracles he had most held in reverence.

But we must not forget, that our subject is more inexhaustible than the patience of the reader. What the character of English poetry will be in time to come, presents a most interesting subject of inquiry ; but it would be as vain, we sear, to decide on it with certainty, as to predict the form and colors of the next year's clouds. Now that the fashion of excitement has for the moment passed away, and the field is again undisputed and open to the adventurer, it is not unreasonable to indulge the hope, that the east will soon redden with the promise of a purer, if not a brighter dawn, than that of the times which are gone by; not perhaps in the character of the intellect it shall call forih, but in that of the objects to which poetry shall be devoted. Is not the promise of its coming to be seen in the majesty with which even Byron, reckless and poor in moral elevation as he is, urges his crushing chariot wheels over the delusive glories of battle ; in the calm inspiration with which Wordsworth finds the beautiful and true

in the pure affections of lowly hearts, and traces the footsteps of his God amidst the grandeur of his mountain solitudes ; in the thrilling strains, with which Southey celebrates the regeneration of the soul, and the victory of innocence and faith over the spells of dark enchanters? The hour, we trust, is not far distant, when the spirit of the age shall be but another name for moral and spiritual advancement; when the real glory of humanity shall no more be looked for in shame and blood, or in the tournaments and dungeon-keeps of barbarism. The beautiful spirit of poetry,“from heaven which came, to heaven returns” when her vestments are soiled by the grossness of mortality. Nor will the sphere of her dominion be diminished, as it grows more pure. She may unveil the depths and power of the affections ; accompany the philanthropist on his voyage of charity; light the lamp of love, and kindle the altar-fire of devotion ; go up with the martyr to the mount of sacrifice; and like the angels, when

• With solemn adoration down they cast,

Their crowns, inwove with amaranth and gold," consecrate herself and all her powers to Him, from whom the springs of real inspiration flow.

But how, and by what manner of man, is such a work to be accomplished ? Hear the answer in the words of one of the noblest of the sons of men. “ An inward prompting grew daily upon me, that, by labor and intent study, which I take to be my portion in this life, joined to the strong propensity of nature, I might, perhaps, leave something, so written, to after times, as that they should not willingly let it die.' Such was the divine vision, that burst upon the eye of the true prophet. Thus did he lift up his soul to the contenplation of the mighty task, which Providence bad called him to perform. “ T'he accomplishment of these intentions lies not but in a power above man's to promise ; but that none hath by more studious ways endeavoured, and with more unwearied spirit that none shall, that I dare almost aver of myself, so far as life and free leisure shall extend. Neither do I think it shame to covenant with any knowing reader, that some few years yet I may go in trust with him toward the payment of that, for which I am now indebted ; as being a work not to be raised from the heat of youth, or the vapors of wine, like that which flows at waste from the pen of some vulgar amorist, nor to be obtained by the invocation of dame Memory and her Siren daughters ; but by devout prayer to that Eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim with fire from his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases.” Let him, who would bind his brow with the amaranth that shades the fount of life, study at the feet of this great master. His honie was left desolate ; the standard of freedom, long upborne by his strong hand, lay rent and trampled in the dust. He was poor, blind, and forsaken. But he counted all this as nothing. He “ bated not a jot of heart or hope.” The celestial light irradiated his mind through all

To the eye of man, his course was finished, and his purposes were broken off. Yet, in the fulness of time, the glorious vision of his youth and manhood was made. permanent; the mortal put on immortality.

her powers.

ART. IX.-1. The School Library. Published under the

Sanction of the Board of Education of the State of Massachusetts. Boston: Marsh, Capen, Lyon, & Webb.

1839. (1.) Introductory Essay to the School Library. Irving's

Life and Voyages of Columbus, with the Author's Visit to Palos, and a Portrait, Map, and other Nlustrations.

12mo. pp. xlviii., 325. (2.) Paley's Natural Theology, with Selections from the

Illustrative Notes, and the Preliminary Dissertations of
Sir CHARLES BELL, and LORD BROUGHAM, the whole
newly arranged and edited by Elisha Bartlett, M.D.
With numerous Wood Cuts, and a Life and Portrait of

the Author. 2 vols. 12mo. pp. 365, 454. (3.) Lives of Eminent Individuals, celebrated in American

History. 3 vols. 12mo. pp. xii., 364; xii., 380; vii.,

399. (4.) Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons, by the Rev. HEN

RY DUNCAN, D. D. ; adapted to American Readers, by the Rev. F. W. P. GREENWOOD, D. D. 4 vols. 12mo. pp. xvi., 389, 391, 401, 416.

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