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CHAP. XXXVIII.

MUSIC.

Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And fate's severest rage disarm ;
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please ;
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.

Pope..

To Music we are indebted for one of the purest and most refined pleasures that the bounty of Heaven has permitted to cheer the heart of man. Whilst it softly steals upon our ear, it lulls to rest all the passions that invade our bosom, arrests our roving fancy, or in louder strains excites the soul to rage. Often when wrapped in melancholy, the sweet voice of Music charms away our cares, and restores our drooping spirits, or awakens in us the sentiments of honour and glory. And surely that which can assuage our griefs, pour balm into our perturbed breasts, and make us forget our sorrows, is deserving of some consideration, and should be made use of to glorify our beneficent Creator.

Music is an object of universal love; and from its prevalence in every age, and by its cultivation in every part of the world, it seems as if there were something in the “concord of sweet sounds” congenial with the mind of man. Among rude and unpolished nations, it has ever risen to peculiar importance, and been introduced to aid the expression of joy and grief upon the most serious and the most festive occasions, in the temple and in the theatre, in solemn processions and in the sprightly dance.

The earliest musical instrument of which we have any record, is that on the guglia rotta at Rome, one

of the obelisks brought from Egypt, and said to have been invented by Sesostris, at Heliopolis, about four hundred years before the siege of Troy. This curious relic of antiquity, which is a musical instrument of two strings with a neck, resembles much the calascione still used in the kingdom of Naples, and proves that the Egyptians, at a very early period of history, had advanced considerably in this celebrated art, and, at a time when the world was involved in savage ignorance, possessed musical instruments capable of much variety of expression.

We have said that the history of all rude and uncivilized states establishes the partiality in which music is held. With the New Zealanders, who till within these few years ate the bodies of their prisoners, and amongst whom the foot of civilization had not stepped, it is much esteemed, and cultivated with considerable success. Their instruments are such as afford a pleasing variety of simple notes; and the music of their songs is generally well adapted to the theme. Many of these songs are of a pathetic nature, others amatory, and not a few humorous. Their songs to the rising and setting sun, are peculiarly well adapted to express their feelings. That on the rising of the sun, is a cheerful air; the arms are spread out as a token of welcome, and the whole action denotes a great degree of unmixed joy: while, on the contrary, the setting of the great luminary, is regretted in tones of a most mournful nature; the head is bowed down in a melancholy manner, and every other action denotes their sorrow for his departure. The inhabitants of the Tonga Islands are very fond of music, and have concerts, in which it is combined with dancing. The orchestra is surrounded by a ring of men-singers, while the women sing and dance in a circle round all. In some of their pieces, they practise the diminuendo in the same degrees of gradation, both with respect to time and noise. The whole is full and musical, mostly the minor key, or third, but in so uncommon a style that it is difficult to get their notes.

Music was in great favour among the Saxons and

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Danes, who invaded Britain. Alfred the Great, by his excellent performance on the harp, was enabled in disguise to penetrate the Danish camp, and gain such information as ensured him a most decisive victory. British harpers were famous long before the Conquest. William's bounty to his harper is recorded in Doomsday Book. Richard I. was discoyered, when unjustly imprisoned by the Duke of Austria, through a French song which he and his minstrel had jointly composed. Edward I. when wounded by a poisoned knife in the Holy Land, was rescued by his barper, who rushed into his tent and killed the assassin. Musicians were protected by a series of royal charters, and encouraged by many immunities, so that music has been successfully cultivated in England from the earliest ages. The Irish Orpheus, Carolan, though blind and untaught, had musical attainments of the highest order. Wherever he vent, the gates of the nobility were thrown open to him, and a distinguished place assigned him at table. Carolan thought the tribute of a song due to every house where he was entertained, and he always chose for his subject either the head of the family, or the loveliest of its branches. Indeed, on every occasion, the emotions of his heart, whether of joy or grief, were expressed on his harp.

Music was in such great estimation among the Cambro-Britons, that to sing to the harp was thought necessary to form a perfect prince and complete hero. When Edward conquered Wales, he found that the songs of the 'bards had so powerful an influence over the minds of the people, that, for his own safety, he adopted the cruel policy of putting them all to death.

Even the Cossacks, those unfledged children of the desert, are passionately addicted to music. During the time that the Russians were at Dresden, in 1813, a party of them, attracted by the solemn peal of the organ, entered a church, and while it was playing, they continued fixed in silent attention. Its tones ceased, and the officiating clergyman com

menced his sermon. This address, in an unknown language, soon began to excite symptoms of impatience in the strangers; one of whom, stealing softly up the stairs of the pulpit, unobserved by the minister, startled him not a little by tapping him on the shoulder, in the midst of his harangue, and inyiting him as well as he could, by signs, accompanied with all sorts of grotesque gestures, to descend, and no longer interrupt the gratification which the organist afforded to himself and his companions.

It has ever been the solace and delight of men of genius, and there is no subject which is praised in more ardent expressions, or expatiated upon with more delight, by Homer, Shakspeare, Tasso, and Milton. It cheers the traveller as he pursues the journey of life, and produces a sweet oblivion of his fatigue. For a description of the powers of Music, recourse can best be had to the sister art, to which sound is so frequently indebted for the most pleasing alliance of sense; and perhaps it will not be found easy to produce a short description of its application to various situations of life, and different feelings of the heart, more beautiful and just, than the following lines from Warton's imitation of the Medea of Euripides :— .

Queen of every moving measure,
Sweetest source of purest pleasure,
Music ! why thy powers employ
Only for the sons of joy?
Only for the smiling guests
At natal, or at nuptial feasts?
Rather thy lenient numbers pour
On those whom secret griefs devour :
Bid be still the throbbing hearts
Of those whom death or absence parts ;
And with some softly whisper'd air

Smooth the brow of dumb despair. Let us then be grateful to the God of all love and mercy for the raptures that we enjoy from the impression of sounds pouring Music through our souls; and raise one general song of joy, to celebrate his praises, that shall ascend into heaven, where the

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Danes, who invaded Britain. Alfred the Great, by his excellent performance on the harp, was enabled in disguise to penetrate the Danish camp, and gain such information as ensured him a most decisive victory. British harpers were famous long before the Conquest. William's bounty to his harper is recorded in Doomsday Book. Richard I. was discoyered, when unjustly imprisoned by the Duke of Austria, through a French song which he and his minstrel had jointly composed. Edward I. when wounded by à poisoned knife in the Holy Land, was rescued by his harper, who rushed into his tent and killed the assassin. Musicians were protected by a series of royal charters, and encouraged by many immunities, So that music has been successfully cultivated in England from the earliest ages. The Irish Orpheus, Carolan, though blind and untaught, had musical attainments of the highest order. Wherever he went, the gates of the nobility were thrown open to him, and a distinguished place assigned him at table. Carolan thought the tribute of a song due to eyery house where he was entertained, and he always chose for his subject either the head of the family, or the loveliest of its branches. Indeed, on every occasion, the emotions of his heart, whether of joy or grief, were expressed on his barp.

Music was in such great estimation among the Cambro-Britons, that to sing to the harp was thought necessary to form a perfect prince and complete hero. When Edward conquered Wales, he found that the songs of the 'bards had so powerful an influence over the minds of the people, that, for his own safety, he adopted the cruel policy of putting them all to death.

Even the Cossacks, those unfledged children of the desert, are passionately addicted to music. During the time that the Russians were at Dresden, in 1813, a party of them, attracted by the solemn peal of the organ,,entered a church, and while it was playing, they continued fixed in silent attention. Its tones ceased, and the officiating clergyman com.

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