He was a poet, satirist, composer and musican of note. His ten volume work Irish Melodies (1807-34) consisted of 130 poems set to music composed by Moore and Sir John Stevenson. Much of the music was based on older Irish airs. Irish Melodies was so popular that Moore earned 500 pounds annually for more than 25 years for it's publication. Although noted for his music, his poetry was as celebrated. He was paid 3,000 pounds - a record at that time - for his poem Lalla Rookh (1817). His reputation equalled that of Byron and Shelley.
His career was not without controversy and risk. He turned down the post of "Irish Poet Laureate" because he felt it required toning down his politics. He published a biography of Fitzgerald despite English fears it might lead to another rebellion. In the most controversial of his acts he burned the manuscript of Byron's autobiography which Bryon had left him. He did so because of the pleas of Byron's half sister and Lady Byron who felt it would damage Byron's reputation.His work endured. Irish Melodies was translated into every European language, including Hungarian, Polish and Russian. More than a million copies of The Last Rose of Summer were sold in the United State alone. Thomas Moore's work popularized Irish music throughout the world.