1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Moore

Robert Carruthers, in Chambers's Cyclopaedia of English Literature, 3rd ed. (1876; 1879) 4:17.



The success of Gay's Fables suggested a volume of Fables for the Female Sex, published in 1744 by EDWARD MOORE (1712-l77). Moore was a native of Abingdon, in Berkshire, son of a dissenting clergyman. He was for some years engaged in the business of a linen-draper, but adopted literature as a more congenial profession. He wrote several plays, and was editor of the series of essays entitled The World. Chesterfield, whom Moore complimented highly in a poem called The Trial of Selim the Persian, wrote no less than twenty-four essays for The World, and interested himself warmly in the fortunes of the amiable poet. The Fables of Moore rank next to those of Gay, but are inferior to them both in choice of subject and in poetical merit. Goldsmith thought that justice had not been done to Moore as a poet: "It was upon his Fables he [Moore] founded his reputation, but they are by no means his best production." His tragedy of The Gamester is certainly better, and some of his verses are finished with greater care. The following little pastoral has a fine vein of sentiment versified with ease and elegance:

THE HAPPY MARRIAGE.
How blest has my time been, what joys have I known,
Since wedlock's soft bondage made Jessy my own!
So joyful my heart is, so easy my chain,
That freedom is tasteless, and roving a pain.

Through walks grown with woodbines as often we stray,
Around us our boys and girls frolic and play:
How pleasing their sport is! The wanton ones see,
And borrow their looks from my Jessy and me.

To try her sweet temper, ofttimes am I seen,
In revels all day, with the nymphs on the green:
Though painful my absence, my doubts she beguiles,
And meets me at night with complacence and smiles.

What though on her cheeks the rose loses its hue,
Her wit and good-humour bloom all the year through;
Time still, as he flies, adds increase to her truth,
And gives to her mind what he steals from her youth.

Ye shepherds so gay, who make love to ensnare
And cheat with false vows the too credulous fair;
In search of true pleasure, how vainly you roam!
To hold it for life, you must find it at home.

It is an interesting and singular fact in literary history that Moore died while the last number of the collected edition of his periodical, The World, which describes the imaginary death of the author, was passing through the press.