Thomas Moore

There is an abridged version of Thomas Moore’s life in W. Howitt’s “Homes and Haunts of the English Poets” which is quoted in a small eight-volume edition entitled Poetical Works by Thomas Moore. There is a manuscript dedication which is dated Sept 1875.

Howitt writes: ‘Moore was not ashamed of his humble birthplace. “Be sure” he said to me, “when you go to Dublin, to visit the old shop in Aungier Street.” I did visit it, and the landlord insisted that I should drink a glass of whiskey in honour of Tom Moore’s being born there.

Moore declared that he knew very little of his ancestry. On his father’s side, his uncle, Garret Moore, was the only one whom he knew. He was a Kerry man. His mother was an Anastasia Codd, the daughter of “my gouty old grandfather, Tom Codd,” as Moore familiarly names him, “who lived in the corn market, Wexford,” and who was in the provision trade, and as Moore believed, from his recollection of machinery, had been a weaver. Moore was born on the 29th of May 1779. He was first sent to school at a very early age, to a man of the name of Malone, in the same street; “a wild odd fellow” he says, “of whose cocked hat I have still a clear remembrance, and who used to pass the greater part of his nights in drinking at public-houses and was hardly ever able to make his appearance in the school before noon. He would then generally whip the boys all round for disturbing his slumbers.” He was then sent to the grammar school of the well known Samuel Whyte, to whom in his fourteenth year he addressed a sonnet, which was published in the Dublin Magazine, called the ‘Anthologia’ In this periodical he also first published is amatory effusions, addressed by him under the cognomen of Romeo to a Miss Hannah Byrne, who bore the name Zelia. This Mr Whyte was fond of poetry and dramatic representation, and is mentioned by Moore as having superintended private theatricals at different gentlemen’s and noblemen’s houses, as at the Duke of Leinster’s, at Marly, the seat of the Latouches &c, where he supplied prologues. Sheridan had been a pupil of Whye’s, and it is further stated by Mr. Moore, that many parents were alarmed at the danger of his instilling a love of these things into his scholars. Can there be doubt that he did so with Sheridan and Moore?

Moore was sent to university in Dublin in 1795 where the unfortunate Robert Emmet was at the time. Moore soon formed an acquaintance with him and became a member of a debating society, at which Emmet and other young patriots assembled to prepare themselves for public life. on the approach to the frightful explosion of 1798 the university was visited by Lord Fitzgibbon, it’s vice chancellor, with a rigorous examination, Government having become aware of the students being deeply engaged in the organisations of the Irish Union. Amongst those found to be thus implicated were Emmet, John Brown and others. They became marked men. Moore himself underwent examination but came clear off. From the connections and early impressions , however, we may date his steady adherence to liberal and patriotic sentiments.”

Moore’s Irish melodies (1807-1834) were songs of his own composition set to traditional Irish airs and they achieved great popularity. His Lalla Rookh (1817) is a series of oriental tales in verse which also enjoyed great popularity.

He was a friend of Byron who praised him extravagantly, and it was to Moore that Byron gave his unpublished memoirs which were subsequently bought and burned by their publisher, John Murray, because of their sexually explicit content. Moore died in 1852.

His works include:
The odes of Amereon translated, A Candid Appeal to public Confidence, or Considerations on the Dangers of the Present Crisis, 1803, Corruption and Intolerance, two poems. Epistles, Odes and other Poems, 1806, Little’s Poems 1808, A Letter to the Roman Catholics of Dublin,1810, M.P. or the Blue Stocking, a comic opera in three parts performed at the Lyceum, 1811, Intercepted letters or the Twopenny Post Bag, by Thomas Browne the Younger, 1812, (this went through upward of fourteen editions). Irish melodies, Arthur Murphy’s Translation of Sallust, completed. The Sceptic, a philosophical satire. Lalla Rookh, 1817. The Fudge Family in Paris, 1818 Ballads, Songs, &c. Tom Cribbs Memorial to Congress in verse. Trifles reprinted in verse. Love of the Angels. Rhymes on the Road. Miscellaneous Poems by Members of the Pococurante Society. Fables for the Holy Alliance, Ballads, Songs, Miscellaneous Poems &c. Memoirs of Captain Rock, Life of Sheridan, The Epicurean,, Odes on Cash, Corn, Catholics &c., Evenings in Greece, Life and Letters of Lord Byron in 17 vols. History of Ireland &c., &c. &c.