Page images
PDF
EPUB

3. 'Tis not the chime and flow of words, that more

In measured file, and metrical array;
'Tis not the union of returning sounds,
Nor all the pleasing artifice of rhyme,
And quantity, and accent, that can give
This all-pervading spirit to the ear,
Or blend it with the movings of the soul.
"Tis a mysterious feeling, which combines
Man with the world around him, in a chain
Woven of flowers, and dipped in sweetness, till
He taste the high communion of his thoughts
With all existence, in earth and heaven,

That meet him in the charm of grace and power
4. 'Tis not the noisy babbler, who displays,

In studied phrase, and ornate epithet,
And rounded period, poor and vapid thoughts,
Which peep from out the cumbrous ornaments
That overload their littleness. Its words
Are few, but deep and solemn; and they break
Fresh from the fount of feeling, and are full
Of all the passion, which, on Carmel, fired
The holy prophet, when his lips were coals,
His language winged with teilor, as when boltz
Leap from the brooding tempest, armed with wruh,
Commissioned to affright us, and destroy.

LESSON XXXIII.

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.* - C. P. CRANCH.

1. And is the harmony of heaven gone ?

Hath it all died away, ere human ears

It was believed by Py-thag'o-ras, a Grecian philosopher, that the motion of tho heavenly bodies produced a musio imperceptible by the ears of mortals; bence the origin of this phrase.

Caught the faint, closing hymn, far-off and lonc,

The music of the spheres ?
2. Have the stars hushed that glorious song of old,

When the night shrunk to the far occident,
And morning gushed in streaks of burning gold

Up the gray firmament?
3. Yon orbs that watch so fixedly above,

Yon planets claiming with our own their birth, Are they all mute as through the abyss they move

Like our dim, silent earth? 4. And hath the sky, the deep, mysterious sky,

No voices from amid yon, circling throng? Are there no thundering echoes where the high

Procession rolls along? 5. Hath heaven rare changing tints, and doth it glow

Full of high eloquence and poetry,
And all that makes the love of beauty grow,

And yet no harmony?
6. No music there, where music's font hath been,

No sweet sounds, swelling dreamily and long, When night and silence listen to drink in

The choral streams of song ? 7. Is it a fable all of early time,

That the young stars, as they leaped by our earth, Rang sweet and loud a deep and voice-like chime,

Ere the first soul had birth? 8. And was the sage's thought a fiction too,

That the crystalline spheres that closed us round, Murmured from all their moving arches blue

A never-ceasing sound, 9. Too fine and too sublime for mortal ears

In our dull orb of clay,— and this is why

We never hear the music of the spheres

Come pealing through the sky?
10. If, O ye orbs, ye never yet have spoken

In language audible, - still let me feel
Your silent concord, o'er my heart unbroken,

In holy influence steal !
11. And let me trace in all things beautiful,

A natural harmony, that soothes, upraises,
So it may wake a soul too mute and dull,

To everlasting praises !

LESSON XXXIV.

A MUSICAL LANDSCAPE. - J. WATERS. 1. “ Is there no music in Frankfort* to-night?” I inquired. “I beg your pardon,” was the reply; "there is the finest. Monsieur Listz,t the pianist, performs this evening at the theater." “ Is it far from this?” “ Quite the contrary, fortunately, for the performances must have begun.” “ Show me the way,” said I. In a few minutes, I had passed through the boxes into the pit of a small theater. well filled, and yet the number of performers and amateurs on the stage seemed hardly less than that of the audience.

2. The entertainment had opened, and was continued for some time with alternate instrumental and vocal music. The latter was composed of those strong, brassy voices, that satisfy the ear by their correctness and force, perhaps, but make no approach ard the heart. There was then a

It was

• Prank fort, one of the four free cities of Germany, and the seat of the Ger manic Diet. Listz, a German, and one of the most celebrated pianists in the world.

pause of some minutes, and a movement of expectation throughout the house; and presently a pale-faced, light complexioned, loosely-constructed, middle-aged person made his way through the artists and assistants, saluted the audience in a shambling and awkward manner, and seated him self, without notes, at a piano that was near the front of the stage.

3. Until he reached the side of this instrument, he seemed like a part of a man, wanting support and confidence; but as he took his place, the existence became complete, and joy passed over his countenance as he laid his hand

upon the keys. It was one of the faces of Thorwaldsen,* an express indication of the deep interior spirit; and expectation was high when the piano breathed, as it were, under his touch. He ran through a delicious voluntary, that there might be no doubt of the exactness of each note, and we all felt the perfection of his fingering ; clear, distinct, round, precious, full, - a shower of pearls upon a table of porphyry!

4. It was now all stillness, the intense stillness of watchfulness, throughout the house, for his performance was to commence; and although the moments, if measured by a clock, might have been short, no doubt, we divided time by a different meter; and a wild waste had in our imagination extended itself around him, when he calmly raised his hands to their utmost height, and, with blow after blow upon the instrument with his whole force, successively planted large columnar masses of sound over the extended plain, and a scene like that of the Giant's Causeway,t rose like enchantment before our astonished and delighted senses. Hardly had he sketched the vision before us, when a storm began, such as I have seldom witnessed.

* Thor'wald-sen, a very distinguished sculptor, born at Copenhagen in 1772.

† Gl’ant's Causo'way, the greatest natural curiosity on the north coast of Ire land. It consists of many hundred thousands of columns composed of a hard black rock rising perpendicularly from 200 to 400 feet above the water's edge.

5. The instrument rained, hailed, thundered, moaned, whistled, shrieked round those basaltic columns, in every cry that the tempest can utter in its wildest paroxysms of wrath. It was almost too powerful and ungoverned at the last ; and at the instant that this thought entered into the mind, the wind lulled, the elements were spent, the calm came; the brooks and watercourses took up their song of exultation ; the air was refreshed, the birds chirped, the sun put forth, and the young leaf lifted its green head.'

6. We now accompanied him through a small valley with precipitous banks, such as one finds in Piedmont,* where the large-leafed tree grows beside the mossy rock, and the vine tries vainly lo envelop both, — and shade, and light, and repose, are the glory of the earth. Young clouds were forming on the upper heights, destined to paint the skies of Italy, and struggling hard in their ascent, at every jutting rock and leafy buttress, to remain adhering to their native cliffs, against the repeated bidding of the sun, as if preferring, even to the cerulean † heaven, a world so verdant and so fair.

7. We were thus borne along by the strain through countless beauties of rock, and sky, and foliage, to a grotto, by the side of which was a fountain that seemed one of the eyes of the earth, so large and darkly brilliant was it, so deep and so serene ; reflecting on its retina with magical distinctness, every surrounding object, whether distant or

Here we listened for some moments to the voices, rather than the songs of birds, when the music by degrees again diminished, then fluttered, and then ceased.

8. It was not immediately, that the audience gave forth their demonstrations of rapturous applause; and as I looked around, I saw on all sides, that "eyes in tears, both smiled

near.

• Pied’mont, a province of the Sardinian monarchy, situated at the base of the Penine Alps. The name signifies foot of the mountain.

+ Ce-rule-an, sky-colored, blue.

« PreviousContinue »