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Master of Melodious Lyrics

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore (1779–1852)
Vol. 41, pp. 816-822 of The Harvard Classics

Any one of these poems, "The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls," "The Last Rose of Summer," "The Light of Other Days," would alone have made Moore immortal.
(Thomas Moore born May 28, 1779.)


The Light of Other Days

OFT in the stilly night
  Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Fond Memory brings the light
  Of other days around me:
    The smiles, the tears
    Of boyhood’s years,
  The words of love then spoken;
    The eyes that shone,
    Now dimm’d and gone,
  The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus in the stilly night
  Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Sad Memory brings the light
  Of other days around me.

When I remember all
  The friends so link’d together
I’ve seen around me fall
  Like leaves in wintry weather,
    I feel like one
    Who treads alone
  Some banquet-hall deserted,
    Whose lights are fled
    Whose garlands dead,
  And all but he departed!
Thus in the stilly night
  Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
Sad Memory brings the light
  Of other days around me.



Pro Patria Mori

WHEN he who adores thee has left but the name
  Of his fault and his sorrows behind,
O! say wilt thou weep, when they darken the fame
  Of a life that for thee was resign’d!
Yes, weep, and however my foes may condemn,
  Thy tears shall efface their decree;
For, Heaven can witness, though guilty to them,
  I have been but too faithful to thee.

With thee were the dreams of my earliest love;
  Every thought of my reason was thine:
In my last humble prayer to the Spirit above
  Thy name shall be mingled with mine!
O! blest are the lovers and friends who shall live
  The days of thy glory to see;
But the next dearest blessing that Heaven can give
  Is the pride of thus dying for thee.


The Meeting of the Waters

THERE is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
Oh! the last rays of feeling and life must depart,
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.

Yet it was not that nature had shed o’er the scene
Her purest of crystal and brightest of green;
’Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill,
Oh! no—it was something more exquisite still.

’Twas that friends, the beloved of my bosom, were near,
Who made every dear scene of enchantment more dear,
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve,
When we see them reflected from looks that we love.

Sweet vale of Avoca! how calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best,
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease,
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace.


The Last Rose of Summer

’TIS the last rose of summer
  Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
  Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
  No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
  To give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
  To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
  Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
  Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
  Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
  When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
  The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
  And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
  This bleak world alone?


The Harp that Once Through Tara’s Halls

THE HARP that once through Tara’s halls
  The soul of music shed,
Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls
  As if that soul were fled.
So sleeps the pride of former days,
  So glory’s thrill is o’er,
And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
  Now feel that pulse no more.

No more to chiefs and ladies bright
  The harp of Tara swells:
The chord alone, that breaks at night,
  Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
  The only throb she gives,
Is when some heart indignant breaks,
  To show that still she lives.


A Canadian Boat-Song

FAINTLY as tolls the evening chime
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time.
Soon as the woods on shore look dim,
We’ll sing at St. Anne’s our parting hymn.
Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight’s past!

Why should we yet our sail unfurl?
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl;
But, when the wind blows off the shore,
Oh! sweetly we’ll rest our weary oar.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight’s past!

Utawas’ tide! this trembling moon
Shall see us float over thy surges soon.
Saint of this green isle! hear our prayers,
Oh, grant us cool heavens and favouring airs.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight’s past!


The Journey Onwards

AS slow our ship her foamy track
  Against the wind was cleaving,
Her trembling pennant still look’d back
  To that dear isle ’twas leaving.
So loth we part from all we love,
  From all the links that bind us;
So turn our hearts, as on we rove,
  To those we’ve left behind us!

When, round the bowl, of vanish’d years
  We talk with joyous seeming—
With smiles that might as well be tears,
  So faint, so sad their beaming;
While memory brings us back again
  Each early tie that twined us,
O, sweet’s the cup that circles then
  To those we’ve left behind us!

And when, in other climes, we meet
  Some isle or vale enchanting,
Where all looks flowery, wild and sweet,
  And nought but love is wanting;
We think how great had been our bliss
  If Heaven had but assign’d us
To live and die in scenes like this,
  With some we’ve left behind us!

As travellers oft look back at eve
  When eastward darkly going,
To gaze upon that light they leave
  Still faint behind them glowing,—
So, when the close of pleasure’s day
  To gloom hath near consign’d us,
We turn to catch one fading ray
  Of joy that’s left behind us.


The Young May Moon

THE YOUNG May moon is beaming, love,
The glow-worm’s lamp is gleaming, love;
    How sweet to rove
    Through Morna’s grove,
When the drowsy world is dreaming, love!
Then awake!—the heavens look bright, my dear,
’Tis never too late for delight, my dear;
    And the best of all ways
    To lengthen our days
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!

Now all the world is sleeping, love,
But the Sage, his star-watch keeping, love,
    And I, whose star
    More glorious far
Is the eye from that casement peeping, love.
Then awake!—till rise of sun, my dear,
The Sage’s glass we’ll shun, my dear,
    Or in watching the flight
    Of bodies of light
He might happen to take thee for one, my dear!


Echo

HOW sweet the answer Echo makes
To Music at night
When, roused by lute or horn, she wakes,
And far away o’er lawns and lakes
Goes answering light!

Yet Love hath echoes truer far
And far more sweet
Than e’er, beneath the moonlight’s star,
Of horn or lute or soft guitar
The songs repeat.

’Tis when the sigh,—in youth sincere
And only then,
The sigh that’s breathed for one to hear—
Is by that one, that only dear
Breathed back again.


At the Mid Hour of Night

AT the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping, I fly
To the lone vale we loved, when life shone warm in thine eye;
And I think oft, if spirits can steal from the regions of air
To revisit past scenes of delight, thou wilt come to me there
And tell me our love is remember’d even in the sky!

Then I sing the wild song it once was rapture to hear
When our voices, commingling, breathed like one on the ear;
And as Echo far off through the vale my sad orison rolls,
I think, O my Love! ’tis thy voice, from the Kingdom of Souls
Faintly answering still the notes that once were so dear.


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