Thomas Moore, an Irish poet, born in Dublin, May 28, 1779, died at Sloperton cottage, Devizes, Wiltshire, Feb. 25, 1852. By his father, John Moore, a grocer, he was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith; and at school he acquired a taste for music, recitation, and dramatic performances. As early as 1793 he became a contributor of short poems to the "Anthologia Hibernica," a Dublin magazine. He graduated at Trinity college, Dublin, in 1798, and in 1799 went to London to study law in the Middle Temple, carrying with him a translation of the odes of Anacreon commenced in his school days, which he published by subscription (1800). It proved successful; and gaining the acquaintance of the earl of Moira, he was introduced to some of the fashionable circles of the metropolis. In 1801 he published "The Poetical Works of the late Thomas Little, Esq.," a pseudonyme suggested by his diminutive stature. With much that was polished, tender, and natural, the volume contained many pieces of questionable morality, which were afterward excluded from the collected edition of his poems.
In 1803 he was appointed registrar to the admiralty in Bermuda, where he arrived in January, 1804. The office was neither lucrative nor adapted to his tastes; and intrusting his business to a deputy, he returned to England, having first made a rapid tour through a portion of the United States and Canada. His " Odes and Epistles " (1806) presented a series of poetical notes of his progress and comments upon American institutions and literature. This volume was severely handled by Jeffrey in an article in the " Edinburgh Review." Moore challenged the reviewer, and a meeting took place, which was interrupted by the police before a shot had been fired. It was subsequently discovered that one of the pistols had no bullet, and Byron, in his "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," made a ludicrous allusion to " Little's leadless pistol," for which he was called to account by Moore. A second duel was however avoided, and thenceforth Moore was on terms of warm friendship with both Jeffrey and Byron. In 1811 he married Miss Bessie Dyke, a young actress, and adopted literature as a profession.
Having tried his hand at serious satire in his " Corruption," " Intolerance," and the "Sceptic" (1808-'9), he attempted jeux d'esprit and political squibs, writing among others the " Twopenny Post-Bag " (1812), which like most of his similar pieces was in the interest of the whig party. In July, 1813, he was established at May field cottage, near Ashbourne in Derbyshire. Here were written many of the songs adapted to the ancient music of his native country, known as " Irish Melodies " (1807-34). They were commenced at the suggestion of Mr. Power, a music publisher, and were extended to ten series. For the arrangement of the melodies he was indebted to Sir John Stevenson. These songs have enjoyed a popularity beyond that of any similar poems in the English language. He also published two series of " Sacred Melodies" (1816), six series of "National Airs" (1819-'28), "Legendary Ballads" (1830), and many miscellaneous pieces, the airs and arrangements for which were prepared by Sir John Stevenson or himself.
In the latter part of 1814 Moore agreed to furnish the Messrs. Longman with a poem of the same length as Scott's "Rokeby," for which he was paid £3,000. The idea of writing an oriental roruance had occurred to him several years previous and at the time of making the contract much of the preliminary reading and a portion of the poem were- already completed. Two more wars of labor produced his "Lalla Rookh," the most elaborate of his works (1817), a series of four eastern stories, connected by a thread of prose. This poem has passed through numberless editions, and has been translated into Per-After its publication the poet accompanied Rogers to Paris, where he obtained the materials for his "Fudge Family in Paris" (1818), which was succeeded in 1819 by "Tom Crib's Memorial to Congress." About this time, at the request of the marquis of Lansdowne, he took up his residence at Sloperton cottage, near Bowood, Wiltshire, the seat of that nobleman. Having become involved, through his agent in Bermuda, in liabilities amounting to £6,000, in September, 1819, he went to Paris to avoid arrest, declining many offers of assistance.
Soon after he accompanied Lord John Russell to Italy, and visited Byron at Venice. His impressions of travel were re-corded in his "Rhymes on the Road," published with the " Fables for the Holy Alliance" in 1823. Establishing himself in Paris in 1S2", he sent for his family and resumed his literary pursuits. In 1822, after negotiation. the claim against him was reduced to 1,000 guineas, toward the discharge of which the uncle of his agent contributed £300, while the marquis of Lansdowne lent Moore the balance; and he returned to Wiltshire. His "Loves of the Angels" appeared in 1823, the "Life of Sheridan" in 1825, and "The Epicurean," a prose fiction, in 1829. His most important prose work was his "Notices of the Life of Lord Byron"' (2 vols. 4to, 1830), founded on the journals and memorandum books of the poet, and a mass of correspondence furnished by the publisher Murray and others. Ten years before Byron had intrusted to Moore an autobiography extending to 1820, to be published after his death, which Moore in 1821 disposed of to Murray for £2,000. The sudden death of Byron in 1824 revealed the existence and projected publication of this manuscript, and Moore was persuaded into an arrangement by which it was repurchased from Murray and burned, on the ground that it contained disclosures affecting the character of many persons living and dead.
The objectionable pas-sages, aocording to Lord John Russell, did not exceed three or four pages. With such materials as were subsequently procured he compiled a biography, for which he received from Murray £4,870. His remaining works comprise The Summer Fete" (1831), a poem; "Memoirs of Lord Edward Fitzgerald" (1H31)- Travels of an Irish Gentlenian in Search of a Religion" (833); and the "History of Ireland"(4 vols,12mo, 1835), written for Lardher's "Cabinet Cyclopaedia." He wrote little else beyond an occasional trifle in verse for the periodicals, and the prefaces and a few additions to a collected edition of his poetical works, published by the Longmans in 1840-'41, in 10 vols. His latter years were clouded by domestic grief, his children having all died before him, and by mental imbecility caused by softening of the brain. In 1835 a literary pension of £300 was conferred upon him. His " Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence " were sold for £3,000 to the Longmans, who published them in 8 vols. (1852-6), under the editorial supervision of Lord John Russell, in accordance with the testamentary desire of the poet.
The journal embraces the period between 1818 and 1847.