Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was born in Dublin, Ireland, and educated at a private school and at Trinity College, Dublin.
Moore read at the Middle Temple for the Bar and for a while held a government post in Bermuda. His Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence were published by British Prime Minister Lord John Russell in 1855.
Moore’s poetry tended towards religious themes, but his connection with hymns is confined to his Sacred Songs, published in 1816, many of which were written to popular airs of various nations. “I Saw From The Beach” combines awe of nature with the realization that life is short.
I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining,
A bark o’er the waters move gloriously on;
I came when the sun o’er that beach was declining,
The bark was still there, but the waters were gone.
And such is the fate of our life’s early promise,
So passing the spring-tide of joy we have known;
Each wave that we danced on at morning ebbs from us,
And leaves us, at eve, on the bleak shore alone.
Oh, who would not welcome that moment’s returning
When passion first waked a new life through his frame,
And his soul, like the wood that grows precious in burning,
Gave out all its sweets to love’s exquisite flame.