1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Moore

David Erskine Baker, in Companion to the Play-House (1764) 2:Sig. Y6-Y6v.



EDWARD MOORE was bred a Linen Draper, but having probably a stronger Attachment to the Study than the Counter, and a more ardent Zeal in the Pursuit of Fame than in the Search after Fortune, he quitted Business, and applied to the Muses for a Support.— In Verse he had certainly a very happy and pleasing Manner; in his Trial of Selim the Persian, which is a Compliment to the ingenious Lord Lyttelton, he has shown himself a perfect Master of the most elegant Kind of Panegyric, viz. that which is couched under the Appearance of Accusation; and his Fables for the Female Sex seem, not only in the Freedom and Ease of the Versification, but also in the Forcibleness of the Moral and Poignancy of the Satire, to approach nearer to the Manner of Mr. Gay, than any of the numerous Imitations of that Author which have been attempted since the Publication of his Fables. — As a dramatic Writer, Mr. Moore has, we think, by no means met with the Success his Works have merited; since, out of three Plays which he wrote, one of them, The Foundling, has been condemned for its supposed Resemblance to a very celebrated Comedy (The Conscious Lovers), but to which we cannot avoid giving it greatly the Preference; and Another, viz. The Gamester, met with a cold Reception, for no other apparent Reason, but because it too nearly touched a favourite and fashionable Vice. Yet on the whole his Plots are interesting, his Characters well drawn, his Sentiments delicate, and his Language poetical and pleasing; and, what crowns the Whole of his Recommendation, the greatest Purity runs through all his Writings, and the apparent Tendency of every Piece is towards the Promotion of Morality and Virtue. — The two Plays I have mentioned, and one more, make the whole of his dramatic Works, as follows,

1. Foundling. Com.
2. Gamester. Trag.
3. Gil Blas. Com.

Mr. Moore married a Lady of the Name of Hamilton, Daughter to Mr. H. Table-Decker to the Princesses; who had herself a very poetical Turn, and has been said to have assisted him in the Writing of his Tragedy. — One Specimen of her Poetry, however, was handed about before their Marriage, and has since appeared in Print in different Collections of Songs, particularly in one called the Gold-Finch. — It was addressed to a Daughter of the famous Stephen Duck; and begins with the following Stanza:

Would you think it, my Duck, for the Fault I must own,
Your Jenny, at last, is quite covetous grown;
Though Millions if Fortune should lavishly pour,
I still should be wretched, if I had not MORE.

And, after half a dozen Stanzas more, in which, with great ingenuity and delicacy, and yet in a Manner that expresses a sincere Affection, she has quibbled on our Author's Name, she concludes with the following Lines:

You will wonder, my Girl, who this dear one can be,
Whose Merit can boast such a Conquest as me;
But you shan't know his Name; tho' I told you before
It begins with an M, but I dare not say MORE.

Mr. Moore died the 28th of Feb. 1757, soon after the celebrated Papers, entitled The World, were collected into Volumes.