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violin that brings the tears. And with them too they carried in little cages of manuscript the singing souls of the great composers of old time, whom tonight they would re-embody -they would open the dark manuscripts and the souls would fly forth among the strings-re-embody-that Beethoven might once more utter his soul's agony, and the rich man's evening pass pleasantly by.

There were many women seated in the hall, some beautiful; they wore many garments of great costliness, some beautiful; and upon their necks and in their hair glittered many jewels, some beautiful. But I noted that the fairest jewels were upon the necks least fair-yet maybe kindly so, for thus were they not upon the necks that most needed them?

"Yes," but in that fantastic mood which music induces, I pursued the question a step further: "Have the beautiful stones themselves no feelings, no preferences? How can those diamonds glitter so in that terrible old lady's hair? And are those pearls really happy round yon yellow neck? They used to live once, rocking and shimmering, deep down in a wonderful ocean. * * *""

And as I mused, methought the pearls answered:

"We pearls are never happy," they said, "but there is a neck seated next to you where indeed it would be a joy to live; * **" and a great tear stole down from the necklet and fell into the lap of its mistress, who caught it and remarked to her neighbor that one of her pearls had been trying to escape.

There seems to me a certain indecency, even immorality, in performing great music to so trivial and commonplace a company of men and women as that among which I was seated. It is, of course, but a part of the general profanation of the holy arts by the vulgar, a profanation, however, in which perhaps music suffers most, from the intense intimacy of its noblest and most attractive inspirations. Architecture for the most part shields itself by building ugly buildings for most possible purposes, but even when it builds beautifully for base uses, it is not, after all, a sensitive personal art, and though the soul of the architect passing by and beholding the money changers in his beautiful halls cannot but suffer, the marble is not so acutely himself as the notes of a requiem or

the words of a lyric are the very flesh of the composer or the poet. The painter too may hide his soul away behind some impersonal subject, or in some corner of a picture where few eyes are likely to seek it. The poet escapes through the sheer indifference of the vulgar. Great poetry is of no use to amuse a crowd, nor will it soothe the savage breast of the diner, as he sits ruddy at evening, with napkin hanging from his neck and his champagne laughing at his side. Poetry has to be read to be understood-music needs only to be played.

But music, like Latin or Greek, has an aural decorative quality, a patter-surface of amusing sound, accidental to its serious messages of joy or sorrow. It is autobiography suitable for framing-it is a tragic utterance of the human soul which you may use as you use tortoise-shell, without a thought of the tortoise. Music is a beautiful woman singing in an unknown tongue-some few love what she sings, but most see only one more woman to desire.

It has been suggested that the favorite music of the gods is the picturesque murmur of human agony, as, deprived by distance of intelligible and responsible meaning, it mounts on high, just as the desperate buzzings of imprisoned and bewildered insects, actually full of pain, strike rich chords of frenzy and humorous rage to the ear of man. Play us the "Crucifixion!" "Eloi Eloi, lama sabacthani"-what exquisite anguish is there! And it is in some such mood of purely aesthetic detachment that we listen to the music of the great German and Italian masters. The swan is dying, in great agony of spirit but alas! for our pity, it is dying so beautifully! It is singing so wonderful a song!

"Adelaida! Adelaida!" cries Beethoven, and his heart breaks in the cry-ah! but the cry is so beautiful! Go on breaking forever, great heart of music, so that sometimes after dinner we may hear again that beautiful cry!


I had not noticed that among musicians had been brought in a wonderful woman, very tall and lovely, and regally simple. It was she who was singing. She was like a Greek temple to look upon, faultlessly built of white marble; or like some moonlit tower of Italy which sways like a lily from afar. There was in that great hall one other thing as beautiful as

she-a little vase of unfathomable blue, with smooth simple sides, which at the same moment I caught sight of, cloistered and calm in a niche high above us: simple in shape as a maid, simple in color as a violet, and all mysterious as a star.

At last the evening had succeeded. Down upon our troubled sea of incongruities, upon mediocrity absurdly arrayed as magnificence, upon pretentious plainness foolish with gems, down upon the idle chatter and cheat of it all shone the steady unflinching blue of that little blue jar. Here at last was something sufficient, complete, elemental, eternal. I know nothing of pottery, and I knew as little of the history of my jar as of the beautiful Greek Temple who was singing. It was but two curves, like the neck and breast of a girl, enclosing a whole heaven of blue. But it was perfect, perfect with the simplicity of eternal things. It was complete in perfection. as a great line of poetry, as the flight of a bird, as the curve of a falling wave. It was all.

From that night I remember no woman's face, no splendid lady, no single particular of all that lavish magnificence. I remember only that little blue jar.


ALFRED AUSTIN was born in 1835, at Headingley. In 1857 he was admitted to the bar and practiced law for four years. Upon the death of his father he gave up his profession and turned to journalism and literary work. He has written many poems and some novels. In 1896 he was appointed by Queen Victoria to succeed Lord Tennyson as poet laureate.


The last warm gleams of sunset fade
From cypress spire and stone-pine dome,
And, in the twilight's deepening shade,
Lingering, I scan the wrecks of Rome.

Hushed the Madonna's evening bell;

The steers lie loosed from wain and plough;
The vagrant monk is in his cell,

The meek nun-novice cloistered now.

Pedant's presumptuous voice no more
Vexes the spot where Cæsar trod,
And o'er the pavement's soundless floor
Come banished priest and exiled God.

The lank-ribbed she-wolf, crouched among
The regal hill-side's tangled scrubs,
With doting gaze and fondling tongue,
Suckles the vestal's twin-born cubs.

Yet once again Evander leads

Eneas to his wattled home,

And, throned on Tiber's fresh-cut reeds,
Talks of burnt Troy and rising Rome.

From out the tawny dusk one hears

The half-feigned scream of Sabine maids,
The rush to arms, then swift the tears
That separate the clashing blades.

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