Thomas Moore

[moor, mawr, mohr]

Thomas Moore (28 May 1779 – 25 February 1852) was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of The Minstrel Boy and the The Last Rose of Summer.

Thomas Moore


Born on the corner of Aungier Street in Dublin, Ireland over his father's grocery shop, his father being from an Irish speaking Gaeltacht in Kerry and his mother, Anastasia Codd, from Wexford. He was educated at Trinity College, which had recently allowed entry to Catholic students and studied law at the Middle Temple in London. It was as a poet, translator, balladeer and singer that he found fame. His work soon became immensely popular and included The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls, Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms, The Meeting of the Waters and many others. His ballads were published as Moore's Irish Melodies (commonly called Moore's Melodies) in 1846 and 1852.

Moore was far more than a balladeer, however. He had major success as a society figure in London, and in 1803 was appointed registrar to the Admiralty in Bermuda. From there, he travelled in Canada and the United States. It was after this trip that he published his book, Epistles, Odes, and Other Poems, which featured a paean to the historic Cohoes Falls called Lines Written at the Cohos (sic), or Falls of the Mohawk River, among other famous verses. He returned to England and married an actress, Elizabeth "Bessy" Dyke, in 1811. Moore had expensive tastes, and, despite the large sums he was earning from his writing, soon got into debt, a situation which was exacerbated by the embezzlement of money by the man he had employed to deputise for him in Maine. Moore became liable for the £6000 which had been illegally appropriated. In 1819, he was forced to leave Britain -- in company with Lord John Russell -- and live in Paris until 1822 (notably with the family of Martin de Villamil), when the debt was finally paid off. Some of this time was spent with Lord Byron, whose literary executor Moore became. He was much criticised later for allowing himself to be persuaded into destroying Byron's memoirs at the behest of Byron's family due to their damningly honest content. Moore did, however, edit and publish Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, with Notices of his Life (1830).

He finally settled in Sloperton Cottage at Bromham, Wiltshire, England, and became a novelist and biographer as well as a successful poet. He received a state pension, but his personal life was dogged by tragedy including the untimely deaths of all of his five children within his lifetime and the suffering of a stroke in later life, which disabled him from performances - the activity at which he was most renowned. His remains are in the vault at St. Nicholas, Bromham.

Moore frequently visited Boyle Farm in Thames Ditton, Surrey, as the guest of Lord Henry Fitzgerald and his wife. One noteworthy occasion was the subject of Moore's long poem, 'The Summer Fete'.

Moore is considered Ireland's National Bard and is to it what Robert Burns is to Scotland. Moore is commemorated by a plaque on the house where he was born and by a large bronze statue near Trinity College Dublin.

  • Many composers have set the poems of Thomas Moore to music. They include Gaspare Spontini, Robert Schumann, Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, William Bolcom, Lori Laitman and Benjamin Britten.
  • The song Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms is often used in a famous gag in a number of Warner Brothers cartoons, usually involving a piano or Xylophone rigged to explode when a certain note is played. The hero, typically Bugs Bunny, tries to play the melody line of the song, but always misses the rigged note (C above middle C). The villain or rival, finally exasperated, pushes the hero aside and plays the song himself, striking the correct note and blowing himself up. In one instance, however, the protagonist plays the the melody on a xylophone and, upon striking the rigged note, the antagonist explodes in an "old gag, new twist."

List of Works

  • Odes of Anacreon (1800)
  • Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Little, Esq. (1801)
  • The Gypsy Prince (light opera; w/ Michael Kelly) (1801)
  • Epistles, Odes and Other Poems (1806)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 1) and 2) (April 1808)
  • Corruption and Intolerance, Two Poems (1808)
  • The Sceptic: A Philosophical Satire (1809)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 3) (January 1810)
  • A Letter to the Roman Catholics of Dublin (1810)
  • A Melologue upon National Music (1811)
  • M.P.: or, the Blue-Stocking, a Comic Opera (produced at the Lyceum 9 Sept) (1811)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 4) (November, 1811)
  • Parody of a Celebrated Letter (privately printed and circulated; E, 8 March) (February, 1812)
  • To a Plumassier" ,Morning Chronicle, (16 March 1812)
  • Extracts from the Diary of a Fashionable Politician" ,Morning Chronicle, (30 March 1812)
  • The Insurrection of the Papers" ,Morning Chronicle, (23 April 1812)
  • Lines on the Death of Mr. P[e]rc[e]v[a]l" (May]], 1812)
  • The Sale of the Tools" ,Morning Chronicle, (21 December]], 1812)
  • Correspondence Between a Lady and a Gentleman ,Morning Chronicle, (6 January 1813)
  • Intercepted Letters, or, the Two-Penny Post-Bag (March, 1813)
  • Reinforcements for Lord Wellington,Morning Chronicle, (27 August 1813)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 5) (December, 1813)
  • A Collection of the Vocal Music of Thomas Moore (1814)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 6) (March, 1815)
  • Sacred Songs, 1)
  • Lines on the Death of Sheridan ,Morning Chronicle, (June, 1816)
  • Lalla Rookh, an Oriental Romance (May, 1817)
  • The Fudge Family in Paris (20 April 1818)
  • National Airs, 1) (23 April 1818)
  • To the Ship in which Lord C[A]ST[LE]R[EA]GH Sailed for the Continent ,Morning Chronicle, (22 September 1818)
  • Lines on the Death of Joseph Atkinson, Esq. of Dublin(25 September 1818)
  • Go, Brothers in Wisdom ,Morning Chronicle, (18 August 1818)
  • To Sir Hudson Lowe , Examiner,(4 October 1818)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 7) (October, 1818)
  • The Works of Thomas Moore (6 vols.) (1819)
  • Tom Crib's Memorial to Congress (January, 1819)
  • National Airs, 2) (1820)
  • Irish Melodies, with a Melologue upon National Music (1820)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 8)(1821)
  • Irish Melodies, with an Appendix, containing the original advertisements and the prefatory letter on music (1821)
  • National Airs, 3) (June, (1822)
  • National Airs, 4) (1822)
  • The Loves of the Angels, a Poem (23 December 1822)
  • The Loves of the Angels, an Eastern Romance (5th ed. of Loves of the Angels) (1823)
  • Fables for the Holy Alliance, Rhymes on the Road, &c. &c. (7 May 1823)
  • Sacred Songs, 2) (1824)
  • A Selection of Irish Melodies, 9) (1 November 1824)
  • Memoirs of Captain Rock (9 April 1824)
  • Memoirs of the Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan (2 vols.) (1825)
  • National Airs, 5) (1826)
  • Evenings in Greece, 1) (1826)
  • A Dream of Turtle, Times, (28 September, (1826)
  • The Epicurean, a Tale (1827)
  • National Airs, 6) (1827)
  • A Set of Glees (1827)
  • Odes upon Cash, Corn, Catholics, and other Matters (1828)
  • Letters & Journals of Lord Byron, with Notices of his Life (vol. 1) (15 January 1830)
  • Legendary Ballads (1830)
  • Letters & Journals of Lord Byron, with Notices of his Life (vol. 2) (January, 1831)
  • The Life and Death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald (2 vols.) (1831)
  • The Summer Fete (1831)
  • Evenings in Greece, 2) (1832)
  • Irish Antiquities, Times, (5 March 1832)
  • From the Hon. Henry ---, to Lady Emma ---, Times, (9 April 1832)
  • To Caroline, Viscountess Valletort, Metropolitan, (June, 1832)
  • Ali's Bride... , Metropolitan, (August, 1832)
  • Verses to the Poet Crabbe's Inkstand, Metropolitan, (August, 1832)
  • Tory Pledges, Times, (30 August 1832)
  • Song to the Departing Spirit of Tithe, Metropolitan, (September, 1832)
  • The Duke is the Lad, Times, (2 October 1832)
  • St. Jerome on Earth, First Visit, Times, (29 October 1832)
  • St. Jerome on Earth, Second Visit, Times, (12 November 1832)
  • Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a Religion (2 vols.) (1833)
  • To the Rev. Charles Overton", Times, (6 November 1833)
  • Irish Melodies, 10) with Supplement (1834)
  • Vocal Miscellany, 1) (1834)
  • The Numbering of the Clergy, Examiner, (5 October 1834)
  • Vocal Miscellany, 2) 1835
  • The Fudge Family in England 1835
  • The History of Ireland (vol.1) 1835
  • The History of Ireland (vol. 2) 1837
  • The Song of the Box ,Morning Chronicle, (19 February 1838)
  • Sketch of the First Act of a New Romantic Drama ,Morning Chronicle, (22 March 1838)
  • Thoughts on Patrons, Puffs, and Other Matters(Bentley's Miscellany), 1839
  • Alciphron, a Poem, 1839
  • The History of Ireland (vol. 3) ,1840
  • The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore. Collected by himself (10 vols.) (1840-1841)
  • Thoughts on Mischief,Morning Chronicle, (2 May 1840)
  • Religion and Trade,Morning Chronicle, (1 June 1840)
  • An Account of an Extraordinary Dream,Morning Chronicle, (15 June 1840)
  • The Retreat of the Scorpion,Morning Chronicle, (16 July 1840)
  • Musings, suggested by the Late Promotion of Mrs. Nethercoat,Morning Chronicle, (27 August 1840)
  • The Triumphs of Farce ,1840
  • Latest Accounts from Olympus ,1840
  • A Threnody on the Approaching Demise of Old Mother Corn-Law, Morning Chronicle (23 February 1842)
  • Sayings and Doings of Ancient Nicholas, Morning Chronicle (7 April 1842)
  • "More Sayings and Doings of Ancient Nicholas,Morning Chronicle, (12 May 1842)
  • The History of Ireland (vol. 4) (1846)


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