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passing heedlessly over " its chords, and that the music was by no means his own.
A simple hint was sometimes enough to set his muse at work; and he not only was, to my knowledge, an adept in translating accurately, but he could also string together any number of lines in any given measure, in imitation of a song or ode which casually came in his way. This is not such arrant robbery as what I have previously stigmatised ; but it is a sort of quasi-pilfering, a kind of petty larceny, not to be encouraged. There is, for instance, his “National Melody,” or jingle, called, in the early edition of his poems, “ Those Evening Bells,” a “ Petersbury air;” of which I could unfold the natural history. It is this :-In one of bis frequent visits to Watergrasshill, Tommy and I spent the evening in talking of our continental travels, and more particularly of Paris and its mirabilia ; of which he seemed quite enamoured. The view from the tower of the central church, Nôtre Dame, greatly struck his fancy; and I drew the conversation to the subject of the simultaneous ringing of all the bells in all the steeples of that vast metropolis on some feast-day, or public rejoicing. The effect, he agreed with me, is most enchanting, and the harmony most surprising. At that time Victor Hugo had not written his glorious romance, the Hunchback Quasimodo; and, consequently, I could not have read his beautiful description : " In an ordinary way, the noise issuing from Paris in the day-time is the talking of the city; at night, it is the breathing of the city; in this case, it is the singing of the city. Lend your ear to this opera of steeples. Diffuse over the whole the buzzing of half a million of human beings, the eternal murmur of the river, the infinite piping of the wind, the
grave and distant quartette of the four forests, placed like immense organs on the four hills of the horizon; soften down as with a demi-tint all that is too shrill and too harsh in the central mass of sound,-and say
you know anything in the world more rich, more gladdening, more dazzling, than that tumult of bells—than that furnace of music—than those ten thousand brazen tones, breathed all at once from flutes of stone three hundred feet high-than that city which is but one orchestra—than that symphony, rushing and roaring like a tempest.” All these matters, we agreed,
were very fine; but there is nothing, after all, like the associations which early infancy attaches to the well-known and long-remembered chimes of our own parish-steeple : and no magic can equal the effect on our ear when returning after long absence in foreign, and perhaps happier countries. As we perfectly coincided in the truth of this observation, I added, that long ago, while at Rome, I had thrown my ideas into the shape of a song, which I would sing bim to the tune of the Groves.”
THE SHANDON BELLS.*
Inscrip. on an old Bell.
But all their music And recollection
Spoke naught like thine ;
For memory dwelling
On each proud swelling
Its bold notes free,
Made the bells of Shandon
Sound far more grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.
I've heard bells tolling
Their thunder rolling
From the Vatican,
And cymbals glorious
Swinging uproarious I've heard bells chiming
In the gorgeous turrets Full many a clime in,
Of Notre Dame; Tolling sublime in
But thy sounds were sweeter Cathedral shrine,
Than the dome of Peter While at a glibe rate
Flings o'er the Tiber, Brass tongues would vibrate
Pealing solemnly ;
The spire of Shandon, built on the ruins of old Shandon Castle (for which see the plates in “ Pacata Hybernia”), is a prominent object, from whatever side the traveller approaches our beautiful city. În á vault at its foot sleep some generations of the writer's kith and kin.
Shortly afterwards, Moore published his “Evening Bells, a Petersburg air.” But any one can see that he only rings a few changes on my Roman ballad, cunningly shifting the scene as far north as he could, to avoid detection. He deserves richly to be sent on a hurdle to Siberia.
I do not feel so much hurt at this nefarious “ belle's stratagem” regarding me, as at his wickedness towards the man of the round towers; and to this matter I turn in conclusion.
“ O blame not the bard !” some folks will no doubt exclaim, and perhaps think that I have been over-severe on Tommy, in my vindication of O'B. ; I can only say, that if the poet of all circles and the idol of his own, as soon as this posthumous rebuke sball meet his eye, begins to repent him of his wicked attack on my young friend, and, turning him from his evil ways, betakes him to his proper trade of balladmaking, then shall he experience the comfort of living at peace with all mankind, and old Prout's blessing shall fall as a precious ointment on his head. In that contingency if (as I understand it to be his intention) he should happen to publish a fresh number of his “ Melodies,” may it be eminently successful; and may Power of the Strand, by some more sterling sounds than the echoes of fame, be convinced of the power of song
For it is not the magic of streamlet or hill :
My humble patronage, it is true, cannot do much for him in fashionable circles ; for I never mixed much in the beau
monde (at .east in Ireland) during my life-time, and can be of no service of course when I'm dead; nor will his “Melodies," I fear, though well adapted to mortal piano-fortes, answer the purposes of that celestial choir in which I shall then be an obscure but cheerful vocalist. But as I have touched on this grave topic of mortality, let Moore recollect that his course here below, however harmonious in the abstract, must have a finale; and at his last hour let him not treasure up for himself the unpleasant retrospect of young genius nipped in the bud by the frost of his criticism, or glad enthusiasm's early promise damped by inconsiderate sneers. O'Brien's book can, and will, no doubt, afford much matter for witticism and merriment to the superficial, the unthinking, and the profane; but to the eye of candour it ought to have presented a page richly fraught with wondrous research -redolent with all the perfumes of Hindostan; its leaves, if they failed to convince, should, like those of the mysterious lotus, have inculcated silence; and if the finger of meditation did not rest on every line, and pause on every period, the volume, at least, should not be indicated to the vulgar by the finger of scorn. Even granting that there were in the book some errors of fancy, of judgment, or of style, which of us is without reproach in our juvenile productions ? and though I myself am old, I am the more inclined to forgive the inaccuracies of youth. Again, when all is dark, who would object to a ray of light, merely because of the faulty or flickering medium by which it is transmitted ? And if these round towers have been hitherto a dark puzzle and a mystery, must we scare away O'Brien because he proaches with a rude and unpolished but serviceable lantern ? No; forbid it, Diogenes : and though Tommy may attempt to put his extinguisher on the towers and their historian, there is enough of good sense in the British public to make common cause with O'Brien the enlightener. Moore should recollect, that knowledge conveyed in any shape will ever find a welcome among us; and that, as he himself beautifully observes in his “Loves of the Angels”
“Sunshine broken in the rill,
Though turned aside, is sunshine still.” For my own part, I protest to Heaven, that were I, while
wandering in a gloomy forest, to meet on my dreary path the small, faint, glimmering light even of a glow-worm, I should shudder at the thought of crushing with my foot that dim speck of brilliancy; and were it only for its being akin to brighter rays, honouring it for its relationship to the stars, I would 'not harm the little lamplighter as I passed along in the woodland shade.
If Tommy is rabidly bent on satire, why does he pot fall foul of Doctor Lardner, who has got the clumsy machinery of a whole Cyclopædia at work, grinding that nonsense which he calls “ Useful Knowledge ?” Let the poet mount his Pegasus, or his Rosinante, and go tilt a lance against the doctor's windmill. It was unworthy of him to turn on O'Brien, after the intimacy of private correspondence; and if he was inclined for battle, he might have found a seemlier foe. Surely my young friend was not the quarry on which the vulture should delight to pounce, when there are so many literary reptiles to tempt his beak and glut his maw! Heaven knows, there is fair game and plentiful carrion on the plains of Bæotia. In the poet's picture of the pursuits of a royal bird, we find such sports alluded to
“In reluctantes dracones
Egit amor dapis atque pugnæ." Let Moore, then, vent his indignation and satiate his voracity on the proper objects of a volatile of prey ; but he will find in his own province of imaginative poetry a kindlier element, a purer atmosphere, for his winged excursions. Long, long may we behold the gorgeous bird soaring through the regions of inspiration, distinguished in his loftier as in his gentler flights, and combining, by a singular miracle of ornithology, the voice of the turtle-dove, the eagle's eye and ving, with the plumage of the “bird of Paradise."
MEM.-On the 28th of June, 1835, died, at the Hermitage, Hanwell, Henry O'Brien, author of the Round Towers of Ireland.” His portrait was hung up in the gallery of Regina on the 1st of August following; and the functionary who exhibits the “Literary Characters” dwelt thus on his inerits :