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composition, in the tragic, the comic, the grave, the graceful, the chastely, or the voluptuously melodious—the musician must be essentially as wellread in the heart, and as familiar with the subtleties of human conduct as the poet who has attained a like success in his mystery. The material of each is idea; their language alone, as we have remarked, is different. It has been said, and well said, that a person cannot be a good singer without having good sense. It is so, inasmuch as good taste is but good sense operating with the rapidity of instinct. How much more is the same quality required in the inventor of the singer's melodies-of many singers' harmonies.
If in society the literary man can successfully arrogate a precedence to the musician, it is merely because he constantly thinks in the common language of society; while the musician with as fine a fancy, as refined a taste, as copious a flow of feeling, thinks in a language in which he may not express himself familiarly. The latter is like a foreigner who understands, but cannot converse in our language. Petrarch making love in broken English---Coleridge essaying "the old man eloquent" in Lingua Franca. To speak any language well, you must think in it. In their own living language, what glorious things have not musicians discoursed ; Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Rossini-have they not soared in as lofty flights as Wordsworth, Byron, Scott, or Moore ?' Have they not been the poets of their native countriesof all the world ?
One great cause, then, we repeat, of the low state of music in this country is the degraded condition in which its professors have been held; and the literary circles which should know better are guilty of the ignorance or insensibility of countenancing their humiliation. And yet, it is not so long since the epoch of their own bondage and debasement. The days of Grub Street, of fawning, and of most condescending patrons are not removed beyond the memory of man. They should recollect the salutary“ non ignarus mali, &c.” maxim. In Germany, in Italy, and in France, even the good instrumental musician holds his fair station of respect in society, while the great composer is honoured amongst the highest. So let it be with us, and we shall soon find that England has won one art more that she has recovered her lost Pleiad.
As we may then rest assured that inasmuch as the poet's and the music composer's arts are alike in their intrinsic qualities, and are capable of that rivalry which is alluded to with so liberal an eloquence in the French lines, which we have made partially our text-lines, from one who knew well what poetry and passion were, else had he not made
“ Clarens ! sweet Clarens! birth place of deep love ;-" as this is so, so also excellence in each can only be attained through the like intrinsic qualities and auxiliary cultivation, by genius and by the intellectual discipline of education. A successful composer, a melodist, may rise, like Burns or Beattie, from lowliness and comparative ignorance; but he is not the less an exception to the general inexorable rule, which requires an ordeal of prolonged study to render men worthy of his high vocation. And herein we find that the musician shares amply in the censure of that evil which degrades him. He is not kindlily or fairly recognized by his literary brethren, and he accepts the slight over-submissively, and in poverty of spirit. He acquiesces in his own
dishonour. He stands like the. Publican in the Temple, afar off, and with a humility most out of place, seems to confess his unworthiness. He has neither the ambition nor the intellectual industry which should sustain his honourable profession; and the consequence is, that he and it remain abject and unimproved. The great body of our instrumental musicians have hitherto been as ignorant as common operatives, while their leaders and conductors seem to have had but little advantage over them, except that of a certain mechanical superiority. The whole body has been characterized by its unrefined, illiterate morale. We should not have ever expected any thing fine from them in the way of composition. How different the state of things from whence arose the continental masters, whose works have commanded our admiration, whose names our gratitude and respect. The exceptions from our rule amongst ourselves have been but a few; and of these, the majority have been men of some education, who were connected with the school of sacred composition. Of the rest it could be said as truly up to the present day, as it was sixty years since, in France, “ Les musiciens lisent peu et cependant je connois peu d'arts, ou la lecture et la reflection soient plus necessaires."
The Royal Academy of Music has done far more than any other cause in our days to remove the evil of which we complain. It has already greatly enhanced the respectability of the profession, into which it attracts young people of a much superior condition to that of its recruits in the bad old times. Already, too, it has given the country several very young and most promising composers. Still we should insist that literary instruction should be made more thoroughly a portion of its system. Let it look betimes to earning a better compliment than that once ironically paid to its Parisian namesake, “That of all the Academies in the world, it was that which made the most noise."
To the Academy we must look for the eventual regenerators of our English opera. Meantime we have reason to congratulate ourselves ou
appearance of those most meritorious composers who have been unbeholden to its tuition, and whom the improved spirit of the times and their own zeal has of late brought so favourably upon our almost abandoned native stage,-more especially Barnett and Balfe. Both are musicians who promise to shed honour on their country, wherein it is most poor in renown. With the former we have been for a considerable time familiar, both in his lighter and more laboured works. The author of the “ Siege of Rochelle” has burst upon the town, a complete stranger. Happy for him that it has been so. He has not grown up here, under the old blighting influences, but has given himself a free and early range in those regions where he was honoured for the harp he bore, where he found music the land's language, and where he could learn to appreciate to the full all its great attributes. Where he encountered abundant models, excellent masters, accomplished judges, and generous encor
couragement on all sides. Mr. Balfe's musical education appears to have been essentially Italian. We must not quarrel with him for not originating a new school. His prevailing manner is Rossinian ; but in rich and elaborate instrumental combination he also gives abundant indication of familiarity with Spohr and Mozart. Indeed, one of the most striking characteristics of the opera is the fullness and beauty of its accompaniments, in which the lighter parts are equally delicate and fanciful, and the deeper powerful without the predominance
of mere noise. Novelty in melody or general style it cannot boast; neither, on the other hand, can it be stigmatized with servile imitation or flagrant plagiarism, although it not unfrequently presents a pleasant reminiscence to our ears. In a word, the “ Siege of Rochelle" appears to be the production of a man of the highest musical acquirement and of refined taste. Its defect is in its construction, in which the interest of the music is not progressive; the first act containing at once the most vigorous and the most pathetic portion of the entire composition. How much of this error is owing to the drama with which Mr. Balfe's work is connected we have not the means of judging; but we must say that a more ill-assorted alliance between good music and bad verse, between mind and matter, we have rarely known. The success which attended the “ Siege of Rochelle was perfect, and, to those who are anxious for the interests of native composition, most cheering. It was delightful music to hear the acclamations with which a crowded theatre acknowledged the triumph of the British composer; and we never thought the calling forth to public gaze and public gratulation of a successful performer more justly and discreetly exercised, than on the occasion of Mr. Balfe having conducted his opera.
In conclusion, let us ask of the literary world, why the good composer should be thrown into alliance with the poorest of dramatists? why his true poetry of music is to be marred by the merest mockery of verseexperiencing a fate most like that of the Phidian statue chiselled from Pentelic marble, but daubed into the mimickry of life ?
Have our poets, worthy the name, yet to learn, or when will they learn that music is not merely a vain, voluptuous art, but one capable of sympathy with all their purest, loveliest strains,—that, sing what they may, music can respond in worthy emulation.
“ Illa modis totidem respondit et artem
Arte refert." It may be that they apprehend the merging of their verse in the more prominent attraction of music. The apprehension is idle. Notwithstanding the absurd habits of indistinctness which singers have occasionally cultivated in this country, they never have, and they never can, slur over good poetry. There is a power in its beauty which compels their deference; worthless jargon may be, and ought to be unceremoniously muffled, and, indeed, by a just dispensation of Providence, it generally invites that doom. You never, on the other hand, get a snatch of Shakspeare's songs or of any genuine lyric, from a singer of pretension, but it is heard distinctly. He, or she, who has the taste or sense to be a good singer must feel instinctively the beauty of fine verse, and feel, also, that as much is due to it as to melody. To exemplify, in one example, the evil of our present system of the disjunction of our high literature and our music, let our poets tell us why such a work as “ Anna Bolena,” one of the most touching tragedies known to the stage, why it is not an English composition ? There is one amongst our poets to whom we would direct a special reproach in this matter-and thou art the man, Thomas Moore. With all your professed enthusiasm for music you should, ere now, have come to the rescue of our lyric drama. You owe your country a debt-an opera. Heaven forbid we should call it a heary debt : but never could you pay it better than at this moment. We will not call on you for interest; the principle alone will be a payment in full, and bring with it abundant future fructifica
tion. Now, when our young school of musicians is entering, with ardour and with hope, upon one more struggle for the honour of English opera, it should be cheered by that alliance, without which it is in vain for it to hope for ultimate and unequivocal success. Let an example of the union of good dramatic poetry and music be now auspiciously set. To conclude, as we have set out, with the words of the greatest genius who ever wrote extensively on music,—words, which we would seriously commend to the memories of our poets and musicians, to the end that they may be taught for once, and for ever, that an opera is a rational thing, rationally meant for the ennobling amusement of rational creatures,-“ En un mot, on doit songer, qu'on parle a des cæurs sensibles, sans oublier qu'on parle à des gens raisonables."
NEW SERIES OF POPULAR FALLACIES. NO. II.
That WHAT EVERY BODY SAYS MUST BE TRUE.
E.-The first of living wits in the world political has admirably remarked, that the Father of Lies himself is worthy of belief, when he proclaims himself a liar. There is no questioning this profound truth; and when our universal acquaintance Everybody shall acknowledge that he is not entitled to credit, we may, on the above principle, put full faith in his admission. As matters stand, Everybody's word is worth Nobody's taking. Social and political life is a Society for the Diffusion of Mendacity. When a story has gone the grand circuit, and travels back to us uncontradicted, we may reasonably begin to relax in our belief of it. If nobody questions it, it is manifestly a fiction; if it passes current, it is almost sure to be a counterfeit. The course of truth never yet ran so smooth. There is an instinct that leads a listener to be very sparing of credence when a fact is communicated; it doesn't ring well in his ears—it has too much or too little gloss; he receives it with a shrug, and passes it on with a huge notch in it, to show how justly it is entitled to suspicion ; he is not to be imposed upon by a piece of truth. But give him a fable fresh from the mint of the Mendacity Society—an on dit of the first water-and he will not only make afidavit of its truth, but will call any man out who ventures to dispute its authenticity. A genuine taradiddle of the gross and palpable kind never fails for want of vouchers. Hundreds know it to be true-hundreds more were all but eye-witnesses of the fact related some actually were ; all can attest it on their personal responsibility. Upon that point everybody has a reputation for veracity to stake-though the same stake had been forfeited fifty times; and everybody can contribute to the original story an unquestionable incident of his own coinage “to make assurance doubly sure.” So it goes round, until the first projector hardly recognizes his own lie; and ends by believing ten times more absurdity than he had palmed upon others. The real Pure, meanwhile, has the door slammed in his face; and to take his part, and assert the genuineness of his pretensions, is to be charged with cheating and convicted of fraud. The only statement which it is safe to pick holes in, is that of whose accuracy you are sure; the only rumour which it is prudent to impeach of falsehood, is that which you know to be true. Tear up a fallacy by the roots, take away the foundation of a piece of scandal, and you are suspected of sinister motives, and exposed to the scurrility
you had endeavoured to check; but only doubt an honourable fact that admits of demonstration, only convey an incredulous expression into the corner of your eye when you hear of an act of generosity which you yourself witnessed, and you are elected by universal suffrage a professor of morality. If you would have your story believed, give it an ill-natured turn, and make it as improbable as you can; if you can slily insinuate an impossibility the better : it is then secure at least of being talked of, and will soon be credited, for Credulity lives next door to Gossip. Rumours confirm themselves when duly circulated. What everybody says, everybody will swear to. As success converts treason into legitimacy, so belief converts fiction into fact, and " nothing is but what is not.” The scarcity of truth is atoned for by the abundance of affidavits; if a rumour be impugned, its veracity is easily strengthened by additional emphasis of affirmation, until at last " everybody says so,” and then it is undeniable. When the error is universal it is supposed to end. The adoption of the foundling establishes its consanguinity. Everybody said that London would never be lit with gas; as everybody had once said that the sun lit the earth by revolving round it. Everybody is still circulating similar truths that cannot be contradicted. Everybody is seldom to be believed. “They say " is no proof that they know. On dit is French for a fib.
THAT, NOBODY KNOWS WHERE THE SHOE PINCHES SO WELL AS HE WHO WEARS IT.--Tight boots are the most perfect inventions that the genius of man ever devised as instruments of torture. St is in the nature of torture to distract the ideas and destroy cool judgment. Cool judgment is essential to the examination of the seat and source of pain. A mantrap is no enlightener of the understanding, though it is undoubtedly a quickener of the feeling. The looker-on in these cases sees most of the game-he observes all the nicety of the nip which the other only feels. It is enough for him who has a tight shoe to take it off; the maker of it, who best sees where it pinches, will provide the remedy. But this is not in human nature. People will comprehend their own complaints, provide their own remedies, and mistake their dropsies for asthmas. So self-sufficient is man, that he will always pretend to understand his own jaundice, and confound a gouty foot with an enlarged liver. He, and he only knows where the shoe pinches, because he is half crazy with pain; his brain is almost turned, and he fancies he can think with his foot. How many sagacious folks annually commit slow suicide, by reason of being so very sure that they know where the shoe pinches. They feel the disease, and therefore must know the remedy. They are intimately acquainted with their own livers, and are certain that the evil is there. This ascertained, they proceed to kill themselves by gentle degrees, and pay the debt of nature by instalments; for every remedy they adopt tends to increase the real grievance, ossification of the heart. Of that they die, or rather assification of the head, just as they had effectually cured a malady they never had. Oh! yes, they know where the shoe pinches, being absolutely mad with anguish. As with individuals, so with masses. Every class of the social body knows where the shoe of England pinches her-only no two classes agree when you come to compare
their convictions. Not one of them but can at any moment put a finger precisely on the point of pressure--but each has his favourite part of the body. The middle classes insist that the shoe pinches in the waist; the