Thomas Moore, 1779-1852, was an Irish barrister and a prolific poet. He wrote volumes of poetry, his most famous poems being 'T is the Last Rose of Summer, Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms, and The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls.
The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls, one of the most powerful poems ever written for human freedom, is rich in symbolism. The harp, the traditional musical instrument of Ireland, symbolizes the Irish people, culture and spirit.
The British arrived in Ireland in 1172 and took the island by force – an unwelcome colonial power ruling the Irish people for 750 brutal years. Despite numerous abortive rebellions, Irish independence was not wrested from England until 1922.
Although the hilltop castle known as Tara was actually demolished several centuries before the arrival of the British, Moore invites the reader to imagine a figurative Tara that still exists. But the soul of Ireland – the harp – is not permitted to express itself there, and so hangs mute and unused on the wall. The pride and glory of self-rule are gone, and the only chord that sounds at night is when some brave individual asserts his or her Freedom in the face of brutal oppression.
This is the poetry of which revolution is born.