ThomasMoore

Thomas Moore [電子書籍版]
Stephen Lucius Gwynn

426円(税込)

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BOYHOOD AND EARLY POEMS Sudden fame, acquired with little difficulty, suffers generally a period of obscuration after the compelling power which attaches to a man's living personality has been removed; and from this darkness it does not always emerge. Of such splendour and subsequent eclipse, Moore's fate might be cited as the capital example. The son of a petty Dublin tradesman, he found himself, almost from his first entry on the world, courted by a brilliant society; each year added to his friendships among the men who stood highest in literature and statesmanship; and his reputation on the Continent was surpassed only by that of Scott and Byron. He did not live to see a reaction. Lord John Russell could write boldly in 1853, a year after his friend's death, that "of English lyrical poets, Moore is surely the greatest." There is perhaps no need to criticise either this attitude of excessive admiration, or that which in many cases has replaced it, of tolerant contempt. But it is as well to emphasise at the outset the fact that even to-day, more than a century after he began to publish, Moore is still one of the poets most popular and widely known throughout the English-speaking world. His effect on his own race at least has been durable; and if it be a fair test of a poet's vitality to ask how much of his work could be recovered from oral tradition, there are not many who would stand it better than the singer of the Irish Melodies. At least the older generation of Irishmen and Irishwomen now living have his poetry by heart. The purpose of this book is to give, if possible, a just estimate of the man's character and of his work as a poet. The problem, so far as the biographical part is concerned, is not to discover new material but to select from masses already in print. The Memoirs of his Life, edited by Lord John Russell, fill eight volumes, though the life with which they deal was neither long nor specially eventful. In addition we have allusions to Moore, as a widely known social personage, in almost every memoir of that time; and newspaper references by thousands have been collected. These extraneous sources, however, add very little to the impression which is gained by a careful reading of the correspondence and of the long diaries in which Moore's nature, singularly unsecretive, displays itself with perfect frankness. Whether one's aim be to justify Moore or to condemn him, the most effective means are provided by his own words; and for nearly everything that I have to allege in the narrative part of this work, Moore, himself is the authority. Nor is the critical estimate which has to be put forward, though remote from that of Moore's official biographer, at all unlike that which the poet himself seems to have formed of his work. Briefly, one gathers the impression that Moore's schooldays were enlivened by many small gaieties, while his holidays abounded with the same distractions. The family was sent down to Sandymount, now a suburb, but then a seaside village on Dublin Bay, and there, in addition to sea-bathing, they had their fill of mild play-acting. Moore reproduces some lines from an epilogue written for one of these occasions when the return to school was imminent:ー"Our Pantaloon that did so agéd look Must now resume his youth, his task, his book; Our Harlequin who skipp'd, leap'd, danced, and died, Must now stand trembling by his tutor's side

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