« ElőzőTovább »
fifty more that I could name, every night of my life, without being weary of them. These, after all, are the strains that come home to our hearts; these are the sounds at which the very falling of a pin is an interruption "grating harsh discord" to our ears— which float around us in our slumbers -which haunt us in our rambleswhich are with us in the woods and by the streams, lapping in an elysium of harmony the discordant and jarring passions of our most unmusical "working-day world." The concertroom, with its "intricacies of laborious song," moves our wonder and charms our ear; but it stirs not our feelings we are no more touched by "Vivi tu," much as we may applaud its execution, than we are by the street-minstrel, whom we bribe with a whole penny to bestow his oft-repeated "All round my hat," on the unsuspecting inhabitants of some more distant locality. I cannot enjoy music, any more than I can read poetry, in a crowd-except it be our own magnificent National Anthem, or some strain which, stirring us as with the sound of a trumpet, summons up at once in a thousand bosoms other and nobler associations than those which music more generally endeavours to awake; strains at which every heart beats more proudly-to which every tongue bursts forth in involuntary choruswhich kindle to a blaze in our bosoms all the pride, and the honour, and the love of our fatherland, which, though they may for a time burn dimly, may never, like the Shebir's fire, be wholly extinguished. To revel in the full
luxury of music, I must have no hired minstrel, no crowded benches, no glare of lamps, no "bustle, squeeze, row, gabbery, and jaw:"-I must have a still calm eve, in some quiet bower far removed from the "hum of human cities," with "one fair spirit for my minister," who needs not to ask or to be told what string to strike-one who loves, as I love, the "auld warld sangs" and simple melodies of a more simple generation-one whose purer taste rejects the
"Shakes and flourishes, outlandish things,
That mar, not grace, an honest English song,"
but clings still to the "merit, not the less precious that we seldom hear it," the pathetic simplicity which nature prompts-whose heart is in the strain she wakens, forgetful for the time of external things, and breathing only in its own created atmosphere of harmony. This is to me a banquet at which there is no chance "that appetite should sicken, and so die." To such a feast I would even be selfish enough to wish no fellow guests. would have no voice to break the spell, to startle the spirit from its trance of enchantment-to mar with the sounds of earth the tones which bless us with dreams of heaven.
Our own Shakspeare, in one of the most exquisite productions of his genius, has drawn a lover of music after my own heart. I love that musicloving Duke of Illyria before he has spoken two lines:
"Now, good Cæsario, but that piece of song,
"Mark it, Cæsario-it is old and plain
Yes! Shakspeare has sought for the standard of taste in music in a quarter which may perchance provoke the sneer of the professor; but he has sought it in the true one, for all thathe has sought for it in the people—in the class to whom music is the only one of the fine arts capable of being thoroughly enjoyed ;-who turn con
fused from scientific and perplexing combinations of sound, to some more simple strain which they can feel, and understand, and remember-whose taste is the taste of nature, and therefore the true one.
Coleridge's "Lines composed in a a host in my Concert-Room" are favour. Truly, indeed, does he say
Byron is on my side, notwithstanding he asserts himself to be "a liege and loyal admirer of Italian music.' The clever stanza which dashes off the "long evenings of duets and trios," wants the feeling-marred as its effect is by the jingling rhymewhich characterises the following one, in which he speaks of
Heart-ballads of Green Erin or Gray Highlands, That bring Lochaber back to eyes that roam
O'er far Atlantic continents or islands;
The calentures of music, which o'ercome
All mountaineers with dreams that they are nigh lands No more to be beheld but in such visions!"
Yes! it is not the grand crash of the orchestra, or the painful effort of the concert-room-it is not your 'Babylon's bravuras" that stir the heart of the wanderer who roams "remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow," among strangers in a strange land; but the honest simple strains of the people-homely things which sink deep into the home-sick heartstrains which have cheered his evening hours among friends far away-remembrances of all that man holds dearest-of friends, of kindred, of love, of home. There is many a hardy Swiss heart that melts at the Ranz des Vaches, to which the overture to Guillaume Tell would be an unintelligible and powerless congregation of sounds.
"Music," says Addison," is to deduce its laws and rules from the general sense and taste of mankind, and not from the principles of the art it self; or, in other words, the taste is not to conform to the art, but the art to the taste. Music is not designed
to please only chromatic ears, but all that are capable of distinguishing harsh from agreeable notes. A man of an ordinary ear is a judge whether a passion is expressed in proper sounds, and whether the melody of those sounds be more or less pleasing."
To these "chromatic ears" it is the fashion now-a-days for John Bull to pretend—and he seems determined to wear them long enough in all con. science: but, though he has forsaken the national muse to attach himself with all the fervour of a renegade to her foreign sisters, I cannot help thinking, and hoping, that we shall yet see the day when he will be pleased to resume the more “ordinary" organs which naturally belong to him-when the strains" which pleased of yore the public ear" shall once more claim their ancient place in his estimation; and the manes of the exasperated mayoress be appeased by the restoration of the long-exiled "simple ballat.”
THE COURT-THE CABINET THE COUNTRY.
REFORM has now completed the first term of its apprenticeship, and, become of legal age, is fast ripening into the unbridled manhood of revolution. To the achievement and practical establishment of the ten-pound suffrage has succeeded the theory of the household brigade, propounded à la galopade by the free-and-easy constitutionmongers of the Molesworth manufactory, shored up by the ballot-box of the mild and miscalculating Grote, and both brought up in the rear with the Anti-Church and Anti-Corn cries, in full concert, of the Hume and O'Connell reserves. Below the deep, however, there is even a lower deep; before the blazing oriflamme of Chartism, the cobweb banner of patchwork Liberals less daring but more dishonest, torn into rags and tatters, has been swept away for ever into the chaos of frauds flimsily fabricated, and impostures palpably detected, by the resistless tempest of popular indignation, lashed into raging madness through the mercenary treachery, yearly repeated, of leaders, by whom a confiding people were goaded and cajoled into the outrageous assertion of the wildest extravagances of "right" supposed, --by whom basely sold and abandoned when the hard money-and-place bargain had been wrung from the terrors of a recreant government. Vainly do pretending patriots now whirl with artful aim the well-known lasso; dearbought experience has warned against the calculated devices of political fortune-hunters and philosophical charlatans; and a people is now no longer entrapped, entangled, and carried unsuspectingly to sacrifice and the shambles, whether of Whig or quasi-Radical venality and ambition.
But, with experience so wholesome in the one sense, the very foundation of national morals has been sapped in another, a larger, and a more vital sense, the dry rot of which is invading, corrupting, and threatening to undermine and disorganize the whole framework of society. Politically, the confidence arising out of the conviction, and the reality of the existence of patriotism and honesty in public men,
NO. CCLXXXVII. VOL. XLVI.
has been the keystone of public morals; but the people, so often betrayed and basely bartered away, are at length becoming deeply impressed with the disastrous conclusion, that public virtue and patriotism is no more than a dream of the olden time, the modern and wholly opposite reading of which they have become profoundly imbued with, by their more intimate intercourse of late with ostentatiously professing patriots and philanthropists, in whom they have ultimately discovered only sophists, selfish and heartless public plunderers, and timeserving traitors. Is there cause for wonder, then-with proofs so patent, and belief so rooted, in the profligacy of principle, and the egotism, absorbing as unfeeling, of the classes above them; of their disdainful disregard for, their utter want of sympathy, or their scandalous traffic, with the interests of the masses-that popular faith should be staggered, and popular traditions scouted? That the masses,. thrust almost without the social pale, like outcast Pariahs of the East, should themselves seek to sever the last remaining bond of relationship-should, justly mistrustful, resolve for the future to concentre their confidence alone in leaders selected from their own condemned caste? The singular spectacle has been presented, in these our times, of an organized Association so vast and comprehensive as to embrace millions in its affiliated ranks, in which the jealousy of an intruder from other classes, thus assumed to be hostile, has been carried to the length of earnest debate and angry discussion, under his eyes and in his presence, whether one of the middle classes could be accepted as a trustworthy member-whether, in fact, goodly raiment and a respectable exterior were not the characteristics indisputable of a possible spy and a prospective Judas. In vain Feargus O'Connor subscribed his hundreds of pounds to the large joint-stock composed of individual pence; the glitter of gold profusely proffered had lost its charm, for the people had before been betrayed by Iscariots for gold, and
tempted into confidence with gold, as prodigally lavished in their cause. The three hundred pieces tendered by O'Connor might be a bidding more magnificent to the National, than the five pounds' subscription of Mr Joseph Parkes to the Birmingham Union-the former with perhaps the same rapacious intent as the latter both carrying their various wares to the same market; with the difference only, that the more free and open hearted Irishman by temperament, could be no match in driving the most economical bargain with the more wary and worldly-wise UtilitarianUnitarian, who had learned that, if you "take care of the pence, the pounds will take care of themselves." The people had before them the magical transformation of the wreck of the Birmingham Union, which, under the pilotage of Joseph, was scuttled, and had foundered into the west-end palace, the glittering equipages, the Pacto lean splendours of the once humble Birmingham attorney;-they feared lest the National Association should be as faithlessly steered on to the same rocks, and the same Oriental creations founded at its cost and on its ruins. Long they hesitated ere Feargus O'Connor was accepted as a member, or trusted as a chief of the league; and even at the last, he owed the distinction, less to the metropolitan than to the overpowering voices of the provincial and manufacturing districts. But the line is not the less rigorously drawn by the operatives betwixt themselves and the other classes, but more broadly still against the middle class; and it will require demonstrations of much more sterling worth, and reparation of past treasons much more signal and sincere, to remove the barriers of excommunication, than the ostentatious hypocrisy of a delegation to Lord John Russell, composed of such liberal deserters and patriotic delinquents as Messrs Warburton, Hume, Scholefield, C. Buller, O'Connell, Hawes, &c., to beseech mercy for the condemned Birmingham Chartists, their own dupes and victims, two days opportunely after it was fully known that mercy had been vouchsafed for life, by a Government as deeply compromised, morally, as the deputation and the convicted culprits themselves, in the mournful events by which life had become forfeit to the laws.
How, indeed, could the sentence of death have been consistently enforced against the more humble instruments of crime, whilst the criminals in chief, seated in the high places, remain, not unscathed only by the terrors of the law for their misdeeds, but elevated amongst those whom Royalty, or the Ministers of Royalty, delight to honour? If it were legal for Lord Fitzwilliam, and the party acting with him, to "stop the supplies" unless the Reform bill, or Charter of the middle classes, as pretended, was passed-if threats of physical force in the Commons' House, and actual resort to physical force out of it, in Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle, and elsewhere, were justifiable means to the end; why should resort to physical force be less defensible in support of the " People's Charter". as a people, not less deluded now than on the Reform Bill, have been taught to view it? Were the pikes and bludgeons of the Birmingham Union less formidable, and more according to law, than the staves, daggers, and arson of the Birmingham branch of the National Association? Are Feargus O'Connor, Bronterre O'Brien, and other Chartist chiefs, greater treason and sedition-mongers than their elder, factious, and fire-breathing brethren of the Reform time ?-than the Fitzwilliam, whose stoppage of the supplies would have been tantamount, as none better knew, to a civil war ?-than the Attwood and Scholefield, M.P.'s now, who then paraded their masses and flourished their weapons of offence ?—than the Baines, M.P., who urged on his furious Reform battalions with frantic shouts of "three groans for the Queen?"than the Muntz, not a Reform leader before only, but a member of the National Association, and its elected Birmingham delegate to the National Convention, since and now, but now also a worshipful justice of the peacehe, the first to counsel an appeal to force, and to recommend the people, according to his own boast, to armhe, the first cowardly bully to desert the ranks, and flee from the perils of the conflict so wantonly provoked-he, holding her Majesty's commission of the peace on the nomination of Lord John Russell himself, with full knowledge of his notorious antecedent-and his then incendiary courses-who, on proposing the health of his gracious Sovereign at a public dinner, prefaced
themselves and friends; more honest, they have volunteered no pledges, and broken none-that for themselves or kindred place and pelf they would accept never! The religion of Mr Baines, all fervent and radiant as it may be, would seem but of the skindeep sort; it does not, we suppose, however, in his creed, require much Jesuitic craft to prove that the public pledge of official abjuration was binding only so long as office was unoffered. The son is actually recorder of Hull; and therein lies the commentary on the broken pledge, and the thrifty conscientiousness of a prudent parent.
it with, "Well, gentlemen, as the farce must be gone through, I give you the Queen ?" We are told, indeed, in the Leeds Mercury, by that dainty critic Mr Baines, now M. P., and still of that paper, in an address to the Chartists, that the National Convention is a "rabble of vulgar, unprincipled, design. ing demagogues-who have been for six months spending your money, only to illustrate how far ignorance, impudence, folly, ay, and cowardice too, can extend. Why, half the Convention has deserted, and the rest are at daggers-drawing among themselves." Truly to speak, this is highly wrought impudence and something more of the journeyman printer that was, andthanks to the purse and the liberality of the Wentworths-proprietor, editor, and M.P. that now is. The imputation of vulgarity comes with winning grace, too, from the smutty-faced com. positor that was, and the greasy-gloved, puritanical, pretending democrat of a member that is. There is something particularly edifying in the exhortations of this sanctimonious person who all his former life has lived, breathed, and had his being, by agitation and revolution-who abetted Luddism covertly if not openly-whose "threeing the weight of public opinion, not groans for the Queen" are on recordwho regarded pikes and bludgeons as integral and legitimate accessories towards a Reform revolution ;-it is edifying, we say, to find him now so furibund against "violence," "confusion," "civil war," and all that; and exhorting the Chartists" that, if their cause be really a good one, it is certain to be carried by peaceable and constitutional means, and therefore the resort to violence is wholly without excuse."
We uphold not Chartism or the Chartists; we are but referring effects to causes, consequents to antecedents. Chartism is the spawn of the Reform mania-Chartists are the offspring, in a right line and by legitimate descent, of Whigs and Radicals; more thorough. going and desperate if you will, but more straightforward and intelligible than either. Chartist pikes and bludgeons, openly brandished, are, after all, less to be dreaded than the silent stab, and the skulking step, of the stilettoarmed Whig-Radical Destructive of appropriation-clauses and freethinking education schemes. Less fortunate than Mr Baines, the Chartist chiefs have as yet accomplished no jobs for
Was there one sane and soberminded man out of the ranks of the infatuated Whigs, who doubted that Reform, once let loose on a field so wide as that of which the gates were unlocked by the Reform Bill, could then, and within the bounds of its dry ditches, be restrained from running riot? There were practicable and prudent modes of reformthere were ways and means "of enlarging the constituency-of infusing a more direct and popular action into the representative system, and bring
of one, but of all orders of society, to bear more urgently and irresistibly upon it-other and far more safe than tampering capriciously and recklessly with the quality of the elective franchise. The new-fledged statesmen of 1831 made it their idle boast, that by the wide and comprehensive scheme of an universal ten-pound suffrage, they had so satiated the voracious cravings of Reform, that appetite farther was for ever stayed-that before the Reform Bill, planted like Canute on the shore, should recede the revolutionary surges, never more to approach and overflow the landmark. Oh, conceit false, frivolous, and self-applauding! Hearken to the inspirations of the truly wise and philosophic De Tocqueville, when treating of changes and constitutions among a younger offshoot of the great AngloSaxon race on the other side of the Atlantic:
"When a nation modifies the elective
qualification, it may easily be foreseen that sooner or later that qualification will be entirely abolished. There is no more invariable rule in the history of society; the further electoral rights are extended, the