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if he could not read music at sight; and
in the public schools it was compulsory
on every boy, and a necessary portion of
his studies, to learn part-singing. The
English glees, catches, rounds, canons,
and madrigals, are thoroughly national,
and are admired by musicians of every
country for their graceful complications,
both of melody and harmony. The dance-
music of England is equally spirited, and
English country jigs and sailors' hornpipes
are known all over the world. Some of
the most ancient popular melodies of the
English are fortunately preserved in a
manuscript, of the age of Queen Eliza-
beth, called “Queen Elizabeth's Virginal
Book," containing airs that are still popu-
lar among the peasantry. The exquisitely
mournful tunes and fragments of tunes,
sung in "Hamlet," by Ophelia, are ad-
mired by all musicians, and are far older
than even Mr. Chappell can trace.
famous were our ancestors for their pro-
ficiency in singing, that before the Refor-
mation, the churches of Belgium, Hol-
land, and France sent to England for
choristers; and one of the most valuable
collections of popular English music that
exists was published in Amsterdam, at
the commencement of the seventeenth
century. Such noble tunes as "The King
shall enjoy his Own again," "The
Girl I left behind Me," "Farewell Man-
chester!" "Balance a Straw,'
"Pack-

So

credit for having blundered into the expression of a partial truth; and his general criticism was ludicrously wrong. He did not stand alone in his ignorance. Even now, we hear of English ladies and gentlemen who know nothing of the beautiful melodies of their native land. Not content with shutting their ears against the sweet sounds, they affirm that there is no music in British nature, that it is an exotic grown only in Italy and Germany. In days when the popular melodies of England had not been collected-as those of Ireland had been by Sir John Stevenson and Thomas Moore, or as those of Scotland had been by Johnson, in his wellknown "Musical Museum,' "and afterwards by George Thomson and Robert Burns-there was some excuse for Englishmen who did not know their own wealth in this respect. But now, when their melodies have been collected by Mr. Chappell, and shown to be equal to any in Europe, there is no excuse for ignorance. "What a beautiful melody," said Rossini to an Englishman (who agreed with him) is "The Girl I left behind Me!' It does honour to Ireland." But Rossini was wrong. That beautiful melody is pure English-published in England long before it was first played in Ireland by the soldiers of William III. "How sweet,' said an English lady, "is the air of 'My Lodging is on the cold Ground!' England has no tunes so tender and so touch-ington's Pound," "The British Grenaing." In this case also, the fair critic was diers," "Drink to Me only with thine as much at fault as the great Napoleon. Eyes," "Down among the Dead Men, The tune is Old English; and Ireland has "The Vicar of Bray,' "The Man who no other claim to it than the assertion of will not merry be,' "The Miller of Dee," Thomas Moore, unsupported by a tittle of "Be gone, Dull Care!"""Tis my Deevidence. Thus it would appear that, so light on a Shiny Night," the "Sailor's far from being an unmusical, the English Hornpipe," and others, may be cited as are pre-eminently a musical nation. Long fair specimens of English popular and before the invention of printing-long traditional music. Its general characbefore the age of Chaucer-England, from teristics are strength and martial energy. the love of the people for singing and It has a dashing, impulsive, frolicsome music, was called "Merry England" by spirit, occasionally overshadowed by a all the bards and minstrels. Chaucer in touch of sadness. It has not the tender his " Canterbury Tales," makes frequent melancholy of the music of Ireland, nor allusions to the love of the English of that the airy grace and pathos of the songs of period for music and song. At and before Scotland; but it has a lilt and style of its Chaucer's time the education of an Eng- own. In one word, the ancient music of lish gentleman was held to be incomplete England may be described as "merry;"

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and English national songs partake of the same character, and are jovial, lusty, exultant, and full of life and daring.

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While we have, in ancient times, the names of such composers as Dowland, Wilbye, Lawes, Carey, Purcell, Arne, and Jackson, and in more modern days such names as Davey, Hook, Dibdin, Bishop, Barnett, Lee, Loder, Linley, Macfarren, Charles E. Horn, Sterndale Bennett, and a whole host of others almost equally eminent, to disprove the assertion, it cannot be said that England is deficient in musical genius. Yet it may be said that most of the English songs which issue from the music-shops in our day are exceedingly bad; a result which seems to be due to the inappropriateness of the poetry, and to the silliness of the mere 66 words to which the music is adapted. Some of the greatest of our poets, not being musicians, have published compositions under the name of songs, which cannot be sung, unless a different tune be adapted to every stanza. Attending solely to the claims of the sense, they have forgotten the claims of the sound; and have thus rendered some of their noblest effusions unfit for the purposes of the composer. But all the best song-writers, whose songs live either in the ear or the heart of the people, have been musicians. Carey, Dibdin, Moore, even Burns -who could not read musical notations, but who "crooned" over in the fields, or rocking himself in his chair, the melodies to which he was to give a new lease of fame, had either a natural or an acquired knowledge of music. Burns had less than Moore, Carey, or Dibdin! but he had an excellent ear, which was more than an equivalent for the defects of his musical education. But the ignorance, in this respect, of the great mass of lyrical writers, is doubtless the main cause why the musical composers of past and present times have descended to the lowest walks of literature in search of songs. The musician knows, though the poet is sometimes ignorant of the fact, that the song which is beautiful to read may be harsh to sing, from the multiplicity of consonants, each tripping up the heels of the other, and from the constant and disagreeable

sibilations of the English language. To the composer, the Italian language, with its abundant terminal vowels, is the perfection of human speech. For the same reason the Scottish dialect, which has a far greater number of vowels than the more classical speech of England, is more suited to music than many effusions of the best English poets. The lines of the wellknown negro song

"Oh, Susannah, don't you cry for me,
I'm going to Alabama,

With my banjo on my knee,"almost every word of which ends with a vowel, are more available for vocal music than sound sense and high philosophy, or than the choicest flights of Wit or Fancy, expressed by words encumbered with many

consonants.

It was Madame de Staël who averred

that music was "a glorious inutility,” and musicians have but too often endeavoured to verify the saying, when they have ignored or despised the aid of what they call "words." Our modern composers do not always consider that a song without meaning is like a body without a soul; and our modern vocalists, private and public, add to the mischief, and sing songs, both in the drawing-room and on the stage, without giving their listeners the remotest chance of discovering whether they are singing English, Italian, Hebrew, or Chinese; and as if it were part of their purpose to conceal both the meaning and the language of the poet. But in spite of such drawbacks as these, aided by the favour in which Italian music is held in all courtly and aristocratic circles, no one who pays any attention to passing events can avoid seeing that the love of music has very greatly extended itself in England of late years; and that, next to Germany and Italy, England is fast becoming the most musical country in Europe.-Ibid. Robin Goodfellow.

POETRY AS DISTINGUISHED FROM VERSE-AND WORSE. THE Greeks called the poet a MAKER, because he made or constructed a story or

a song. The Germans in the middle ages gave the poet the same title. But in our time the ancient derivation of the word scarcely expresses the meaning. The poet is not a maker, any more than the historian or the romance writer. In the highest sense of the word, no man can make, though he can remodel, and use up old materials. In another sense the poet is more than a maker. In the days of Provençal and Italian poetry, he was called a troubadour, or FINDER, because he found beauties, sublimities, graces, and grandeurs where common men could find nothing. When Burns apostrophized the Daisy, in that little poem which is alone sufficient to endear his memory to countless generations, he found what any other ploughman would have called a daisy, and no more; but in its leaves and petals he found jewels-jewels of sympathy, and love, and tenderness, and pity-which he encased in golden words, and set in the crown of British literature to shine for

ever.

The true poet is even more than a finder, or troubadour; he is a seer, a prophet, and an interpreter between the divine and the human. If one word more than another expresses his function, it is that of an INTERPRETER; not alone of the deepest emotions and most inscrutable passions of the human heart, but of the inlying secrets of Nature, which partially unfold themselves by their sympathies and affinities to the soul of him who sits within the shrine, and utters the oracles of the divinity. The poet may have much to find, but he has nothing to make, in our days, for the making of poems may be a nuisance. If the poet have nothing to interpret and reveal, it is better that he remain silent. It is his function to keep before the minds of the people not only the underlying truths and beauties of all Nature, but the high and pure ideal of humanity which all should strive to attain. We have all heard and read of the Golden Age; but when did it exist, except in the dreams and in the findings of poets? It was thus that they helped to inaugurate the reign of chivalry. They continually harped upon the imaginary glories and

beauties of the past, in order that they might improve the present. If we go back to any particular period of history, and judge of it by its reality and not by its poetry, we shall find that the men and women-take, for instance, the period of the Crusades-had no more true chivalry of feeling than the men and women of our own. The knights and squires, and preux chevaliers of that Golden Age, were cruel, ignorant, and barbarous. Might was Right. The will of the strongest was law. Lust, Murder, and Rapine were the lords of the earth. Chivalry was originally the dream of poets-their vision of what Christian knights and Christian ladies ought to be. The Golden Age vanishes into remotest antiquity as we look for it; just as the West or the East is always receding before the steps of the adventurous traveller-who has but to travel long enough to find himself back at his starting-point. In what we now call the days of chivalry, Chivalry itself—as the poets taught it was as much a thing of the dark antiquity as King Arthur, the Knights of his Round Table, or the Enchanter Merlin are to us in the days of Steam and Electricity. The poet's Arcadia was in the clouds of the past, and there alone can we find it.

But the poet is not only a maker, a finder, a seer, and an interpreter: he is, over and above all, a LOVER, if he be worthy of the name of a true poet. He must be a lover of God, of Nature, of Humanity, of Women and little Children, of the Beautiful, of the Good, and of the True. Love must be the ever-recurring burden of his song, the source of his highest inspiration. Of all great poems Love is the absolute and the essential foundation. Even the poet who satirizes his fellows, and holds them up to scorn and ridicule, can only do so because they are vicious, and because he would inculcate Virtue-which is Love-by combating Vice, which is but another name for Hatred-or for that abused Self-Love which takes no account of the feelings, wishes, and rights of others.

The outward form and apparel of poetry or poesy differ with the forms and apparel

of civilization, and are dependent on manners, religion, and government. But the spirit of poetry is always the same. The human heart beats in the bosom of the naked savage much as it does under the purple of the emperor, the ermine of the judge, the lawn of the ecclesiastic, or the silk of the fine lady. The earliest, the simplest, the most passionate form of poetry is the lyrical. The pure, uncontrollable, and divine frenzy of the poet takes that expression. And this earliest form of poetry is the most enduring. Nations may pass through every phase of civilization; literature may be affected by revolutions in government, by law, by change of manners or fashion, or by mere caprice but the lyrical poem never goes out of date; for it is that form of poetry which stirs the heart, and does not depend upon pleasing the fancy or exciting the imagination, though it does not disdain to do either. But its main object is to touch the heart; and the heart, unlike the fancy and the imagination, is not complex, and may be reached by the same weapons of thought in the most luxurious court of Christendom as in the tent of the Arab or the wigwam of the Cherokee.

As civilization increases, literature takes new developments, and men begin to tell tales of the great deeds of their ancestors. They look at them through the haze of antiquity. The hero swells to the dimensions of a god, his virtues and his vices | become superhuman, and all the powers of heaven and hell, of earth, air, and ocean, are occupied with his affairs and fortunes, with his joys and sorrows, his loves and hates, his triumphs or reverses. This is the age of the epic, the age when the poet becomes the historian, and builds up unwittingly the mythology of his people. All critics profess to reverence the epic poet, and to exalt him above all others. It is this which often causes modern poets to mistake the character of their time, and give their poetry a form that makes it distasteful and unpopular. Epic poems have been written since Dante and Milton. But who has time or inclination to read a new epic in our day? Not one man in a million! Were a new epic grander than

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Homer, more musical than Virgil, more stupendous than Dante, more sublime than Milton, to be published, it would fall dead upon the ears of a generation like ours. The great mass of the people have not read, and never will read, the old epics. They only know "Paradise Lost" by name and a few extracts. They have lost their faith in demigods and heroes. They see the art and accomplishment of epic poems, but not the nature and the frenzy. They admire them as they do the pyramids; but he who would write the one, or build the other, is not a man of his age. He is a living anachronism, and must pay the penalty. Happy for him if it be no worse than neglect!

To epic poetry succeeds the dramatic. This comes nearer to our sympathies: the epic is for the few, but the dramatic for the many. Shakspeare appeals to us more strongly than Homer. The glorious pageant of his poetry includes all humanity. King Lear is closer to our hearts than Achilles. Agamemnon gives us a stately pleasure; but Hamlet or Macbeth takes possession of our whole being. We can but dimly trace the form of Priam, or Paris, or Hector; but King John stands palpably before us; Wolsey walks with us through the ruins of palaces and cathedrals; and Henry VI. sheds such visible tears that we could weep with him. Falstaff may be met in Fleet Street, and the buxom wives of Windsor show their cherry cheeks and their white teeth, and their laugh rings merrily in our ears. The wisdom is the wisdom of every day; the truths are the truths of all men; the laughter is full of genial sympathy; and the tears are tears that it is delicious to shed. But this form of poetry, grand and comprehensive as it is, depends too much upon its accessories and aids to be equally fitted for all times. When there were few books and no newspapers the dramatic form of poetry flourished above all other. Even in a rude, barn-like theatre, uncomfortable and dark, without the adjuncts of music and scenery, and denounced by religion and fanaticism, it almost monopolised the public favour. But not so as

literature extended, and as luxury increased. The theatre has rivals in the printed romance, in drawing-room music, in the newspaper, and in the book generally. The greater works of the dramatic poets will always be read; but it is a question whether they will always continue to be acted. And it is more than doubtful whether any new dramas equal to the old will ever be produced. Shakspeare blocks the way. Were it possible for a greater than Shakspeare to arise, would he become a dramatic poet? Scarcely. His plays would not be accepted, Managers and critics, and the lazy public, which has no opinions but such as are foisted upon it, would have no faith in him. Shakspeare would occupy his place. "I love Shakspeare," said a great manager, "and I detest modern writers of tragedies. Shakspeare is so excellent that none can approach him; and, besides, he never troubles me for money. He never comes to rehearsals to quarrel with the performers, and find fault with them for omitting some portions of the dialogue, and misrendering and spoiling other portions. Oh no! I stand up for Shakspeare-the cheapest and the best of poets." And who shall say this manager was wrong? Half a dozen writers of plays, perhaps, who fancy themselves almost, if not quite, as good as Shakspeare; but few others. Dramas to be read in the closet will continue to be written; but great dramas for the stage will be produced no more. Our manners have outgrown them: and the stage is no longer the principal teacher of the people.

passionate. Art is to conceal art; and the noblest and most eloquent writing is the most unaffected and clear.

All great poets, whether classic or romantic, are clear as sunshine. There is not the least obscurity about their writings. The uneducated man can understand them as well as the educated. If they have a meaning, they express it; and, if oracular, they are never dark. And, whether a poet write in the classic or the romantic style, the world will not object, for both styles are good and legitimate. All that is required is that the poet shall have the frenzy or the art, or both in combination; and that before he speaks he shall have something to say.

Misty verse-in which the writer has a meaning, but is unable to convey it-is but too abundant in our day, and swarms about the heads of the reading public like a plague of mosquitoes. It is the poetry of disease, not of health, and seems to have a charm for the sickly and the silly. But most people prefer the sun to the mist, and a statue fully formed to a rude unhewn block of marble. A true, sharp, precise thought is preferable to a cloudy fancy; and a hundred acres of solid earth are far more valuable than a million acres of cloud and vapour. All the poetry that lives in the world is intelligible. There is no obscurity in Shakspeare, except such as the printer or his commentators have given him: and Milton's meaning is always as transparent as his thoughts are grand and beautiful.

The Inane school is the most popular of all among its own particular disciples, But the lyrical form of poetry is subject though it be disregarded by the public. to no such changes, caprices, or modifi- Fortunately for printers, papermakers, cations. It endures as long as language; and publishers, the inane versifiers pay and, though often perverted, corrupted, their own expenses, and cannot enjoy the and over-adorned-in times when the pub- luxury of publication without becoming lic taste is vitiated by bad examples-it responsible for the cost. These are the continually reasserts itself. Percy's Re- persons who weary the public ear with liques of Old English Poetry-so pure, vain babble, and who, if they could see simple, and bold-extinguished the mere- their own compositions in plain prose, tricious, half-heathen poetry of the days of might, perhaps, stand aghast at their own Queen Anne; and lyrical poetry since stupidity. They have to learn that nonthat time has been built more and more sense is none the less nonsense because it upon the model prescribed by Milton-the is in rhyme; and that rhyme without a model of the simple, the sensuous, and the purpose or a thought that has not been

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