Monthly Archives: December 2016

Moore and McDonagh

The Irish peasant to his mistress (Thro’ grief and thro’ danger) is from the Third Number of the Irish Melodies which was first published in the Summer of 1810. An undated manuscript copy of the lyrics to the first verse in the hand of poet, playwright and 1916 signatory Thomas McDonagh is extant at the National Library of Ireland; A digitised version of this source is available to view online by following this link;

The lyrics to many of Moore’s Irish Melodies are well known for their political and nationalistic content and themes; subjects which may well have resonated with McDonagh. The lyrics for the complete song are transcribed below.


Thro’ grief and thro’ danger thy smile hath cheer’d my way,
Till hope seem’d to bud from each thorn that round me lay;
The darker our fortune, the brighter our pure love burn’d
Till shame into glory, till fear into zeal was turn’d;
Oh! salve as I was, in thy arms my spirit felt free,
And bless’d e’en the sorrows that made me more dear to thee.

Thy rival was honour’d, while thou wert wrong’d and scorn’d;
Thy crown was of briers, while gold her brows adorn’d;
She woo’d me to temples, while thou lay’st hid in caves;
Her friends were all masters, while thin, alas! were slaves;
Yet, cold in the earth, at thy feet I would rather be,
Than wed what I loved not, or turn one thought from thee.

They slander thee sorely, who say thy vows are frail-
Hadst thou been a false one, thy cheek had look’d less pale!
They say too, so long thou hast worn those ling’ring chains;
That deep in thy heart they have printed their servile stains;
Oh! do not believe them – no chain could that soul subdue;
Where shineth thy spirit, there liberty shineth too!

Image Courtesy of Special Collections, McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast

The Irish Peasant to His Mistress
The Irish Peasant to His Mistress

Researching at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin

The National Library of Ireland reading rooms are located at two sites; the Main Reading Room is located at the main library site 5 Kildare Street and the Manuscripts’ Reading Room is located at 2-3 Kildare Street. Sources for Moore’s works are available to view at both sites however the majority of Moore sources are available in the Manuscripts’ Reading Room and are Special Access; this means the items are stored offsite, consequently call times and access may be limited. Reader’s tickets can be obtained from the Reader Services Office which is located to the left of the security desk on entering the main site; consult the library’s website for more information about visiting the library (see link below).

I’ve held a National Library reader’s ticket for a number of years now and my current ticket doesn’t expire until 2017, however I did need to visit Reader Services in order to acquire a password for wifi access which is available in both reading rooms. If you have a valid reader’s ticket you can order items online in advance of your visit. If working in the Main Reading Room you can order up to three items at a time and you can choose items to be delivered at any of the 10 available call times; bags and coats must be stored in the lockers located in a small room on the left after the security desk. The variety of call times available to readers working in the Main Reading Room facilitates with planning your research schedule and it’s possible to hold items for up to a week by filling in the forms available at the main desk. Copying and microfilm facilities are available onsite; see the library’s website for further details. The Manuscripts’ Reading Room is smaller than the Main Reading Room, however there is space to seat approximately 30 readers. Storage space is limited, consequently the number of items you wish to order may be restricted. The library is located in the centre of Dublin city so there are plenty of cafés and restaurants to choose from if you are in need of lunch or a coffee break; Café Joly is located on the ground floor at the main site.