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In those airs, which he has arranged for voices, his skill has particularly distinguished itself, and, though it cannot be denied that a single melody most naturally expresses the language of feeling and passion, yet often, when a favourite strain has been dismissed, as having lost its charm of novelty for the ear, it returns, in a harmonized shape, with new claims on our interest and attention; and to those who study the delicate artifices of composition, the construction of the inner parts of these pieces must afford, I think, considerable satisfaction. Every voice has an air to itself, a flowing succession of notes, which might be heard with pleasure, independently of the rest ;so artfully has the harmonist (if I
express it) gavelled the melody, distributing an equal portion of its sweetness to every part.
If your Ladyship’s love of Music were not well known to me, I should not have hazarded so long a letter upon the subject; but as, probably, I may have
Ι presumed too far upon your partiality, the best revenge you now can take is to write me just as long a letter upon Painting; and I promise to attend to your theory of the art, with a pleasure only surpassed by that which I have so often derived from your practice of it. — May the mind which such talents adorn, continue calm as it is bright, and happy as it is virtuous !
Believe me, your Ladyship's
TO THE MARCHIONESS OF HEADFORT,
PREFIXED TO THE TENTH NUMBER.
It is with a pleasure, not unmixed with melancholy, that I dedicate the last Number of the Irish Melodies to your Ladyship; nor can I have any doubt that the feelings with which you receive the tribute will be of the same mingled and saddened tone. To you, — who, though but little beyond the season of childhood, when the earlier numbers of this work appeared, — lent the aid of your beautiful voice, and, even then, exquisite feeling for music, to the happy circle who met, to sing them together, under your father's roof, the gratification, whatever it may be, which this humble offering brings, cannot be otherwise than darkened by the mournful reflection, how many of the voices, which then joined with ours, are now silent in death!
I am not without hope that, as far as regards the grace and spirit of the Melodies, you will find this closing portion of the work not unworthy of what has preceded it. The Sixteen Airs, of which the Number and the Supplement consists, have been selected from the immense mass of Irish music, which has been for years past accumulating in my hands; and it was from a desire to include all that appeared most worthy of preservation, that the four supplementary songs which follow this Tenth Number have been added.
Trusting that I may yet again, in remembrance of old times, hear our voices together in some of the harmonized airs of this Volume, I have the honour to subscribe myself, Your Ladyship’s faithful Friend and Servant,
THOMAS MOORE. Sloperton Cottage,