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music. And a learned historian of that people, went so far as to believe that the cultivation of music would have power to counteract the effects of a harsh and wintry climate upon the character. Had the Romans been lovers of music, had it been a national taste, is it possible their early traits of barbarism should have clung to them as they did, even to the last? Would a people with music in their souls have delighted in the savage spectacles of the circus, in the fights of gladiators, and the destruction of captives and malefactors, by wild beasts? In modern times, we have the well-attested story-remarkable for the testimony it bears to the moral power of music-of the hired assassins, sent in pursuit of the unfortunate Stradella, melted to tears, and changed to very women in their purposes of blood, by the moving strains of their victim. And do we not notice effects in ourselves, upon our own dispositions and affections, wrought by the sorcery of this art of arts, which render perfectly credible every account that has reached us of its almost miraculous influences? Who so callous, that he is proof against the melting pathos of many of the ancient ballads? Who can hear the touching melody of "Auld Robin Gray," from the lips of one whose soul glows with sensibility, and who can throw that sensibility into the voice, and not confess himself a very child, to be moulded at will, by the power of this siren muse? The effects of music through the national airs of different countries are not less astonishing. The exile of Switzerland, never hears, without tears, the song of his native valleys; and so potent has been its spell upon her soldiery when engaged in foreign service, filling their minds with sweet images of home, that it has been found necessary to forbid the. singing of it, under the severest penalties. The streets of Paris have again and again borne witness to the moral power of her songs of freedom. What Frenchman, whose patriotism during the "three days," did not leap to the barricades, roused by the spirit-stirring notes of the sacred hymn of the Marsellois? Even here, in this land of political safety, and seclusion, and peace, whose pulse beats not quicker as he hears, now the low and wailing tones which speak of sons, and daughters, and wives, slain by tyranny, and anon the triumphant shout, which calls upon the sons of freedom to march to victory or death? Let the metaphysician ascribe as much of this power as he may to the principle of association, and the charms of verse; enough will be left to prove the residence of an immense moral power, a beautiful and a sacred power, in the art we love.
Music has ever been in close alliance with religion. In the Pagan and the Hebrew religions, the power of music was well understood by the priest, and acknowledged by the worshiper; and in Christianity, from the first hymn sung by the Savior of the world, in company with the chosen twelve, to the present moment, music has boasted a divine power to cheer, to comfort, to support, and excite the minds of the pious. It was to the church that music fled for shelter, during those ages of uproar and barbarism, which succeeded the first establishment of Christianity upon the throne of the world, and the subsequent overthrow of that throne; and it was there, in the quiet of monastic seclusion, that her lost honors were gradually restored, and the foundations laid for those grand developments of musical genius, which have conferred an enduring celebrity upon the last century. Were not the
investigation too extensive for these pages, it would be equally interesting and instructive, to trace this art from its first dawnings in the discoveries of Flavianus, bishop of Antioch, in the fourth century, through Ambrose of Milan, in the fifth, Pope Gregory the seventh, Guido Aretino, in the eleventh,-the supposed inventor of counterpoint,-the monk Hubald, John de Muris, and others, to the meridian splendor of the close of the eighteenth, when the works of the great modern composers broke upon the world, and the art seemed to have reached the very limits of improvement.
But if music owes something to the church, the church owes more, infinitely more, to music. It makes a large part of the religion of Christians of almost every communion; and it is the religious power of music, its power to kindle the feelings, to raise devotion, to calm the passions, to subdue the will, for which the Christian will ever chiefly honor and love it. That vast religious power is lodged in this art, no one can doubt who is familiar with its history. The Catholic church has long known how to avail herself of the services of this potent ally. That church has not been more famous for the gorgeous pomp of her numerous rites, the magnificence of her temples, her painted ceilings, her sculptured marbles, than for the unrivalled excellence of her music,-unrivalled for its power to melt and subdue the heart. Other communions have by no means kept pace with that of Rome in this department of worship. Yet, even in our own churches, imperfect as this part of the service is, there goes forth from it an influence which, as religion could ill spare, so she longs to see clothed with all that power which of right belongs to it. For I would say that, if there are
tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones," so there are homilies of surpassing eloquence, read to the feeling heart, in those solemn strains of vocal harmony which rise from the assembled congregation, or flow from the well instructed choir. I have often thought and I believe my own is the experience of many-that I have received a more salutary impression from the music of the choir, than from the wisdom of the pulpit. The young are particularly open to these influences. How much then is not lost to religion by the very imperfect, nay, almost rude and barbarous style in which the music of the church is so often performed?
But how much soever may be said in commendation of music, as an innocent amusement, a principle of refinement, a useful art, and even a handmaid of religion, I am aware that by many* moralists, it has been condemned, with the other fine arts, as unworthy the man whose mind is influenced by the high considerations of philosophy, much more penetrated with a sense of his religious duties and relations. But, for myself, I cannot subscribe to a judgement so indiscriminating and sweeping. I would not, indeed, contend that to all or either of them, the same rank should be assigned, in which we place, by common consent, the pursuits of literature and science, philosophy and religion; nor allow that the mind is innocent which finds, in either of them, its chief and only good. But then, on the other hand, they are neither of them in opposition to Heaven, or Heaven's will. They all spring, as necessary results, from tastes, desires, and capacities, which the Creator
* Hartley, e. g.
has implanted. And they cannot be condemned by the reasonable man-except in their abuse-till HE is condemned, who paints the rose, gilds the brilliant butterfly, spreads over the heavens the purple hues of sunset, and tunes the voice of the nightingale. Where Heaven has originated, man surely may imitate without guilt.
As a people, it may be regretted that we have displayed no musical genius, and not much musical taste. We not only have no national music,-we have scarcely a single composer. Thus far we have done nothing in this art, to correspond with what has been achieved in the related arts of poetry and painting, or even in architecture and sculpture. We have poets whom we are proud to call ours, and whose genius the literary world of Europe as well as of America, has not been slow to acknowledge. We have produced, and do still produce, painters, whose works are esteemed and sought wherever there is a taste for art. But the niche of music is vacant. We have no composers whose names are familiar household terms, like those of West and Copley and Trumbull, Newton and Leslie and Alston, Halleck and Bryant. Yet I know not that there is reason for mortification or discouragement. In other lands, the birth and growth of this art has been almost equally late and slow. If Germany, that land where music now springs indigenous from the soil, had nothing that could be called music before the time of Keyser, if France had none before Lulli, or England before Purcell, we surely need not blush for the state of the art among ourselves, however low it may be. As for Italy, that home of brilliant genius, it seems always to have been in advance of the rest of the world, in all that relates to the elegant arts. If Petrarch and Dante were the fathers of modern poetry; if Da Vinci and Raffaelle have given lessons to the world in painting, Bramante and Palladio in architecture, M. Angelo and Canova in sculpture, Scarlatti, Cavaliere, and Pergolese have, in the same way, been our masters and guides in music. The opera, and sacred oratorio, both belong to Italian genius. And although the first opera,-the Euridice of Rinuccini-was not performed till the year 1600, yet so rapid was the progress of the art among this gifted people, that, in Venice alone, in the space of a little more than twenty years, a hundred original operas were performed; and, throughout Italy, in the period of less than a century, the seventeenth,-more than seven hundred.
Still I would not exchange our own national character for that of the Germans, or that of the Italians. But I wish we had more of the passion, which distinguishes them for that delightful and I must add, useful art, in whose praise I have said these few things.
LITERARY AND INTELLECTUAL STATISTICS.*
See page 415.
THE general intention of this work has been already stated. The author divides it into fifteen lectures, and the space of time it embraces, into four periods, of fifty years each. Of this arrangement as to time, he gives the following explanation:
"I shall divide our history into four periods, of half a century each, for the sake of more easily managing my subject. These periods are, indeed, arbitrary, it may be said, and will not correspond with any remarkable events in politics or literature. This is very true; but still the division may aid my labors. The skilful painter of a panorama divides his canvass into portions, before he takes up the pencil; but these mechanical arrangements are not seen, when the whole canvass glows with life. A writer may profit by such an example."
LECTURE I. This lecture abounds in matter of great interest to the philologist and scholar. It treats of language in general, as affected by various causes, some of the most powerful of which are climate, and the state of advancement in knowledge. warm climate gives a softness and delicacy of tone and manner to the speech of the inhabitants. It is also a source of words expressive of softness, mildness, and enjoyment. Is knowledge far advanced? language is copious; and the reverse, of the English language, its origin and improvement-enriched from various sources-its copiousness and strength, its beauty, sweetness, and majesty-all which properties are illustrated by well selected examples; the invention of the Cherokee alphabet. Of this fact in Indian history, which has attracted of late its full share of attention and commendation, and been made the subject of no little speculation, our author gives the following interesting account :
"In the winter of 1828, a delegation of the Cherokees visited the city of Washington, in order to make a treaty with the United States, and among them was See-quah-yah, the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet. His English name was George Guess; he was a half-blood; but had never, from his own account, spoken a single word of English up to the time of his invention, nor since. Prompted by my own curiosity, and urged by several literary friends, I applied to See-quah-yah, through the medium of two interpreters, one a half-blood, Captain Rogers, and the other a full-blood chief, whose assumed English name was John Man, to relate to me, as minutely as possible, the mental operations, and all the facts of his discovery. He cheerfully complied with my request, and gave very deliberate and satisfactory answers to every question; and was all the time careful to know from the interpreters if I distinctly understood his answers. No stoic could have been more grave in his demeanor than was See-quah-yah; he pondered, according to Indian custom, for a considerable time after each question was put, before he made his reply, and often took a whiff of his calumet, while reflecting for an answer. The details of the examination are too long for the closing paragraph of this lecture; but the substance of it was this: That he, Seequah-yah, was now about sixty years old, but could not precisely say; that in early life he was gay and talkative; and although he never attempted to speak in council but once, yet he was often, from the strength of his memory, his easy colloquial powers, and ready command of his vernacular, story-teller of the convivial party. His reputation for talents of every kind gave him some distinction when he was quite young, so long ago as St. Clair's defeat. In this campaign, or some one that soon followed it, a letter was found on the person of a prisoner, which was wrongly
* Lectures on American Literature, with remarks on some passages of American History, by Samuel L. Knapp.
Sketches of Public Characters, drawn from the living and the dead, with notices of other matters, by Ignatius Loyola Robertson, LL. D. a resident of the United States.