Tag Archives: Galignani

Lalla Rookh in Europe: the first twenty years

Lalla Rookh is the story of an oriental princess regaled with several fantastic tales by the handsome young poet Feramorz whilst travelling to her own wedding. It  is the quintessential romantic epic. Feramorz (Lalla Rookh’s betrothed, the King of Bucharia, in disguise), successfully courts his bride through his story-telling, and so by the time they reach his kingdom he has captured Lalla Rookh’s heart. Moore, who had started writing Lalla Rookh in 1813, began sending it in installments to Longmans of London between March and May 1817. On the 27th of the month it was ‘out’; by December of that year it was in its sixth London edition.

London was also the site of the initial song sheet publications. The poem itself has several song texts, either sung by Feramorz to the princess or sung by characters within the tales he tells. Moore’s regular music publisher James Power issued songs by Dr John Clarke  and well as Sir John Stevenson in 1817; this was swiftly followed by settings from  Thomas Attwood (4),  J.C. Clifton (1), W. Hawes (2), and G. Kiallmark. 1817 also marked Longman’s first edition of Royal Academician Richard Westall’s engraved ‘Illustrations of Lalla Rookh’.

Lalla Rookh continued to stimulate a notable number of vocal and artistic publications, as well as translations of its poetry, up until the first World War. Possibly the first theatre piece inspired by Moore’s poem was Charles Edward Horn’s Lalla Rookh, or the Cashmerian Minstrel to a text by M. J. Sullivan, which opened at Dublin’s Royal Theatre. The next theatrical setting appears to have been Gaspare Spontini’s ‘Festspiel’, Lalla Rûkh, to a text by S.H. Spicker, which was staged at Berlin’s Royal Palace on 27 May 1822. This stimulated a ‘lyrical drama with ballet’ by Spontini for Berlin’s Royal Opera House in 1822, named after Moore’s enchanting  odalisque, Nurmhahal. That beauty continued to inspire the German song market, with Carl Maria von Weber setting “From Chinadara’s warbling fount”, otherwise known as the ‘Song of Nurmahal’, by 1826.

Moore’s Paris agents Galignani included Lalla Rookh in their 1819 English-language edition of Moore’s works; the brothers Schumann of Zwickau issued the first German translation in 1822. Vienna had its own translation, by Baron de la Motte Fouqué, in 1825. In its second decade Lalla Rookh would travel to the orient (literally; Moore reports that the East India Company had named a ship after his creation in 1827); the poem is published in Swedish translation (Turku, 1829), and again in German at Frankfurt-am-Main (1830). Moore’s tale of the hideous (both morally and physically ) ‘Veil’d Prophet of Khorassan’ is translated into Spanish (El falso Profeta de Cora-san, Barcelona, 1836) as well as Italian (Il Profeto velato, Torino, 1838). As the Victorian era advanced, there was a particular emphasis on illustrated editions of Moore’s poem–but that is a tale for another time.

Are you aware of any translations of Lalla Rookh not mentioned here? Please tell us on the blog!

The Irish Melodies in Europe: 1808-1880

Although Moore himself was adverse to the separation of music and text for his Irish Melodies, by 1817 J.P. Reynolds – an enterprising publisher in Salem, New York— had issued Irish Melodies, Sacred Melodies, and other Poems. This appeared to open the way for a spate of similar publications across Europe, led by Moore’s Parisian agents the Galignanis, who issued various compilations of his poetic works in 1819, 1820, 1823, and 1829. This firm and Baudry’s European Library—also based in Paris—appeared to be addressing an English-language market. Moore’s four titles with Baudry (1821, 1841, 1843, and 1847) made him—along with Walter Scott and Washington Irvine—their fifth most represented author. The 1820s was the most intense decade for English-language publications of the Irish Melodies, which—in combination with the poems for the National Airs—were issued in Brussels (1822), Pisa (1823), and Jersey (1828).

Title-pages for the Jersey (1828) and Paris (1841) editions

of Moore’s Poetry

By 1825 we also have an actual translation of Moore’s poetry, Louise Swanton Belloc’s Les amours des anges et les Mélodies irlandaises. It is interesting to note that Belloc, whose father was Irish, also translated selected works of Moore’s Irish contemporaries Oliver Goldsmith and Maria Edgeworth as well as Moore’s own Memoirs of Lord Byron for various Parisian publishers. By 1835 we have the first Swedish translation of the Irish Melodies; by 1839 the first German. Leipzig (1839, 1843, and 1874), Berlin (1841) and Hamburg (1875) each published Moore’s Irish Melodies in translation. Added to the polyglot profile of Moore’s Irish Melodies were a new French translation by Henri Jousselin (1869), a Spanish translation issued in New York (1875), and an Italian translation issued in Pisa (1880). By a strange quirk of market forces, the first Latin translation of the Irish Melodies (1835) preceded the first in Irish (1842) by some seven years. If we add to this the some seventy editions of the Irish Melodies issued by Moore’s London-based publisher Longmans, and the over 100 editions issued in Dublin, we can appreciate that Moore’s response to the native tunes of his own country held a universal appeal.

(Irish) The Harp that once

“The Harp that once in Tara’s Halls” in Latin and Irish

Are you aware of editions of the Irish Melodies at locations or in languages not mentioned here? If so, we would welcome a comment on the blog.

Images reproduced courtesy of Special Collections, McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast.