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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

And in three years produced Lalla Rookh


Shortly

before Webster's death another orator of world-wide reputation was heard at Washington. This was Louis Kossuth, the Hungarian exile. On the occasion of a banquet tendered to him by the American Congress early in the year, Kossuth delivered the famous speech in which he compared the Roman Senate of antiquity to that of the New World.

[Sidenote: Junius Brutus Booth]

Junius Brutus Booth, the great English tragedian, died in America while returning from a lucrative tour to California. Booth made his debut at Covent Garden Theatre in London in 1814 as Richard III. His personal resemblance to the hunchbacked tyrant conformed so well to the traditions of the stage, and his personification of the character was in other respects so striking, that he eclipsed Edmund Keane, then acting at Drury Lane. The rivalry of the two actors grew so intense that Booth was driven from the stage by a serious theatrical riot. In 1821, he made his first appearance in the United States, again as Richard III., and was received with such enthusiasm that he settled permanently at Baltimore. From here he made professional excursions to other American cities. Among his most familiar personations were Iago, Hamlet, Shylock, Sir Giles Overreach, and Sir Edmund Mortimer. Over his audiences he ever exercised a wonderful power. On his death he left two sons, both actors like himself, and both destined to make their mark in life.

justify;">[Sidenote: Death of Tom Moore]

[Sidenote: Moore's American impressions]

The death of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet, excited as much attention in America as it did in England. Born at Dublin in 1779, Tom Moore, as he was usually called, wrote verses in early youth. Like Pope, he may be said to have lisped in numbers. At the age of thirteen he was a contributor to the "Anthologia Hibernica." After graduating at Trinity College he came to London, and there dedicated his translation of the poems of Anacreon to the Prince Regent. He became a favorite of fashionable society. Among his patrons were the Earl of Moira, Lord Holland, the Marquis of Lansdowne, and other noblemen of the Whig party. He obtained the appointment of Registrar to the Admiralty in Bermuda, but on arriving there hired a deputy to discharge the duties of the office and went on a tour to America. Like some other famous travellers, he conceived a poor opinion of the American people. In commemoration of his trip, Moore brought out "Epistles, Odes and other Poems," containing many defamatory verses on America. One scurrilous stanza read:

The patriot, fresh from Freedom's councils come, Now pleas'd retires to lash his slaves at home; Or woo, perhaps, some black Aspasia's charms, And dream of freedom in his bondmaid's arms.

[Sidenote: "Irish Melodies"]

[Sidenote: "Lalla Rookh"]

In a footnote Moore was careful to explain that this allusion was to the President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. The poems were roughly handled by the "Edinburgh Review." This led to a duel between Moore and Jeffrey--a bloodless encounter, which resulted in a life-long friendship between the two men. The same affair produced a quarrel and Moore's subsequent friendship with Byron. Throughout this time Moore brought out his charming "Irish Melodies," the most popular of all his productions. Messrs. Longwin, the publishers, agreed to give him L3,000 for a long poem on an oriental subject. Moore retired to the banks of the Dofe, surrounded himself with oriental books, and in three years produced "Lalla Rookh." The success of this work was beyond the expectations of the publishers. After achieving this triumph, Moore travelled abroad in the company of the wealthy poet Rogers, and later of Lord John Russell. At Venice he visited Lord Byron. The affairs of his office in Bermuda next called him there, after which he resided in Paris, where he wrote his famous "Fables for the Holy Alliance." Returning to England, he settled at Bow-wood near Wiltshire, the seat of his life-long friend, Lord Lansdowne. There he spent his declining years and died in dotage.


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