« VorigeDoorgaan »
not covered with dense masses of climbing plants, him that some of the patients of that like those in moister eastern climates, there is institution were remarkable for their musicstill the idea conveyed that most of the steep al talent, and that their songs and chosides are fertile, and none give the impression ruses had been received with much faof that barrenness which, in northern moun vour by the public; but that he was anx. tains, suggests the idea that the bones of the ious for the opinion of a really competent world are sticking through its skin."
musician, both on the abilities and the perSpace alone forbids our touching on Zum- formance of his pupils. I have refused bo and its ruins, with all the associations all other invitations,' said Mendelssohn, which are linked around it, but we com
but to your blind people I will come. mend the subject to those who wish a fresh And come he did. The spectacle of the field of thought. In his description of the sightless assembly struck him, and he adgreat Victoria Fall, where, into" a chasm dressed them in the kindest terms. Some twice the depth of the Niagara Fall, the of their compositions were then performed. river, a full mile wide, rolls with a deafen- Score in hand, he listened, evidently intering roar," he has made figures alone elo- ested and touched. He was especially quent, and retires in self-imposed insignifi- pleased by a chorus of more pretension cance behind bis measuring rod. Why
than the rest. He said something in its waste words when the imagination hears praise, particularly commending certain only the roar of many waters? It is always passages, and then told the director that thus with this man; he himself forgets there was no doubt as to the ability of the the discoverer in the discovery, and we rec- writer - that he hoped he would go on ognize him the more eagerly.
working, and compose to words of more importance. Seeing a correction in the score, he asked whose it was : and on being told, said, laughing and in the kindest way, • The alteration is quite right, and makes the passage more strictly correct, but it was better and more striking before;' and then, turning to the blind man, he said, "Take care that your corrections are always im
provements - a cultivated ear wants MENDELSSOHN.
rules, but is its own rule and measure.' At
length, to complete the delight of the party Whilst waiting for the life of Mendels- not one of whom had had the courage to sohn, which is understood to be in prepara- ask such a favour – he himself begged pertion by his son, such an anecdote as the fol- mission to play them something on the lowing cannot fail to be welcome. It ap- piano. He sat down, and played one of peared originally in a recent number of the those wonderful free fantasias of his, with Gartenlaube, with the signature “Sch, B.” which he used so often to enchant his and has all the air of being authentic :- friends. Imagine how the countenances of
“ The object of these lines is not to speak his blind hearers lighted up, when in the of Mendelssohn as a composer, but to pre- midst of the piece they heard him introserve from oblivion a little passage in his duce the chief subject of the chorus they life ; and thus to lay a late though not un- had just been singing! We could all of us availing garland on his grave. It was in have taken him in our arms and pressed the hot summer of 1842 that he arrived at him to our hearts ! He took his leave with the Zurich on his way from the Alps. No warmest wishes for the success of the instisooner was his name announced in the Tage- tution and the prosperity of the patients. blatt than his hotel was besieged by a crowd None of us ever met him again, and in a of the most prominent musicians and ama- few years he was removed by death; but teurs of Zurich, eager to invite him to their he lives, and will live, in his splendid works, houses. To all, however, he returned a no less than in the memory and affection of courteous but firm refusal. The object those who saw and heard him. of bis journey to Switzerland was the res- “ The blind man to whom he spoke so toration of his health, already severely men- kindly is still an inmate of the asylum. He aced; and the physicians had absolutely has preserved the chair which the compoforbidden him all exertion or excitement ser used, as a precious relic; and calls it Amongst his visitors was the director of the Mendelssohn chair.” the Blind Asylum, who represented to
From the Reader.
THE MOSES OF FREEDOM.
BY A. J. H. DUGANNE.
[“I, Andrew Johnson, hereby proclaim liberty, full, broad, and unconditional liberty, to every man
Tennessee! I will be your Moses, and lead you through the Red Sea of struggle and servitude to a future of liberty and peace! Rebellion and Slavery shall no more pollute our State. Loyal men, whether white or black, shall alone govern the State.” — Andrew Johnson, Nashville, Oct. 24, 1864, and April 3, 1865.)
'Twas a brave day in Nashville,
And brave it well might be,
Came up froin Tennessee;
Bless God that they were free !
Were sweet as life could be,
In wondrous Galilee :
Proclaim ” (so thundered he),
The rights of liberty
In the land of Tennessee!
And lead you through the sea,
To a future of liberty !”
A thing to make you weep,
Like Samson from his sleep,
Like children dance and leap !
As up from Slavery's rack
Arose the bended back,
Beyond its temple black
Proclaim, with voice so free,
“ True men alone, whether white or black,
Shall govern Tennessee ! And I will be your Moses !
And lead you through the sea —
To a future of liberty!
Thrilled up from Tennessee,
With shouts of childlike glee, Cried out to Andrew Johnson,
Our Moses thou shalt be!" Oh, what a sound of gladness !
A crash, like breaking chains, A flash, as of fire electric,
That flooded heart and veins ! When Andrew Johnson answered,
“ So be it! as God ordains ! No longer shall rebellion,
No more shall slavery (Thus spoke bold Andrew Johnson),
Pollute our Tennessee ! For I will be your Moses !
To lead you through the sea, Through the Red Sea of servitude,
To a future of liberty !”
Back to their homes deserted,
And back to life-long toil, The branded brows, the bending necks,
The yearning souls, recoil ; They wait for Andrew Johnson
On all the Southern soil. Behind them lies their bondage,
And there the Red Sea rolls; The Wilderness before them
Unwinds its desert scrolls; They wait for Andrew Johnson,
With dumb and tearful souls !
They wait on weary knee
“ Be free! And I will be your Moses,
To lead you through the sea, Through the Red Sea of servitude, To a future of liberty !”
-From the Right Way.
LITTELL'S LIVING AGE. – No. 1130.- 27 JANUARY, 1866.
From the North British Review. the whim of a monarch, the eccentricity of ON THE “ GOTHIC" RENAISSANCE IN a student may give birth to it; but in such
ENGLISH LITERATURE, AND SOME OF cases it is seldom either wide or enduring ITS EFFECTS ON POPULAR TASTE.
in its reign. Literary taste worthy of the 1. British Essayists of the Eighieenth Cen- name, is an affair of growth and education ; tury.
a result of gradually converging influences, 2. Works of H. WALPOLE, W. Scott, and of intelligible human sympathies. It
CHARLES LAMB, CHARLES DICKENS, must have learned to eliminate out of the etc.
complex aspects of the world and its affairs,
certain features to which men's fancy will In most cultivated countries and ages, be ready to attach the sense of beauty there has existed, in more or less prominent and fitness, and from these work out relation to other modes of mental develop- its own results, cause and effect at the same ment, a certain literature of fancy and hu- time. So founded and so trained, it will mour, which, growing up side by side with give a character to the notions and feelings the more ideal or scientific productions of of whole generations of mankind, and influthe time, aims at no extended flight, but ence in no small degree even the moral rests on given results, established fashions, judgments of the many who do not seek beand such general views of life and its bear- low the surface of the social current for ings as are already familiar to the public to their views of propriety in conduct. which it addresses itself. Such literature Glancing, then, historically, at the rise may be various in its modes of utterance. and progress of literary taste, we shall be It may choose the language of satire or of brought to infer, as it seems to us, that in sentiment. It may aim at reforming the every fresh development science and reactual state of men's notions and habits, search first make solid acquisitions; that and pointing out anomalies which prescrip- imagination then seizes on certain charactive conventionalism has partially disguis- teristic features of the new material as ed; or, on the other hand, it may dwell on groundwork for romance; and that huthose portions of prevailing thought with mour, lastly, weaves her light and airy fabwhich the writer is in sympathy, and emit ric out of the familiar substance. Or, to tenderness or humour, in reference, half vary the metaphor, science heaps up the expressed and half umderstood, to certain pyre; imagination fires it with the torch of conspicuous tendencies of the day. In ei- romance; lastly, humour sports in the lamther case, it is on the traditional, and often bent glow and brightness of the pervading superficial ways of thinking of the educat- illumination. Now, in the first two of these ed men and women around, that the basis processes, some amount of mental exertion of allusion rests; and the writer's turn of is implied in the recipient as well as in the fancy implies observation of human nature, agent. The student labours with the ambinot so much in its abstract principles, as in tion of discovery as well as with the stimu-its connection with temporary conditions of lus of curiosity. The poet or romancer society and mental training.
creates in his readers that expansion of the It follows that this literature, though imaginative faculty which, when the style readily enough appreciated, for better or and subject possess novelty, gives effort worse, by contemporaries, requires for its as well as pleasure to the mind. But the due estimate by the enquirer who loves to humorist's task requires no effort, no exerknow the why and the how of fancy's pref- tion for its comprehension. Whatever fanerences, some insight into those preliminary ciful patterns he may trace on his canvas, stages of mental development which have whatever freshness his quaint unexpected led, in the order of history, to its formation. treatment may give to his topics, the groundTrue it is, indeed, that fashion in letters, as work must be familiar, and the allusions in other things, would sometimes appear to comprehensible at the merest glance. The be a matter of almost accidental caprice ; taste of his day bas been already built up THIRD SERIES.
by a regular process of education, and he But Milton, in his more elaborate and has only to work with it at his will, avoid- learned style, does fairly represent apart ing in the license of his conceptions any from mere mannerisms of affectation, of such innovation as would startle or confuse which he had none, or obsolete quaintness his readers, if he would not fail in his ob- es of diction, of which he had not manyject. Facility is the essence of his task ; differences of artistic touch between his facility, that is, as far as concerns the im- times and our own, which are real and palpression made by his work; but assuredly pable. We select, as an instance of our it requires some quality very different from meaning, a passage of stately measure, and the facility of an ordinary scribbler to blend lively and varied illustration, and we only the familiar with the unfamiliar, the fortui- ask the reader to divest his mind of all pretous with the permanent, in such guise as vious association with the renown of Milto secure a lasting reputation for his pro- ton's verse, and with the incomparable porductions when temporary fashions shall have traiture of the archangel ruined,” to which passed away. Even while he dallies with this is a prelude, and say, Would the alluthe familiar stock of ideas, the ground may sions in the following short passage be at be shaking under his feet; and if he has not all to the purpose, in kindling the imaginaallied his humour with something more than tive enthusiasm of a nineteenth century mere conventionalism, he may be doomed reader? Would they be such as would octo sink into the most ignoble of all limbos, cur to any save a very fantastic nineteenth the limbo of vapid triflers, before the next century poet as pre-eminently appropriate generation shall have winged its flight. to his theme? Saturn is reviewing his
For taste is evanescent in literature as in troops in hell :other things; and this is true notwithstanding the vital hold which the great poten
“ And now his heart tates of genius have retained over human Distends with pride, and hard’ning in his sympathies from generation to generation. strength “What !" it may be asked, “can taste ever Glories : for never since created man change its verdict in respect of such writers Met such embodied force, as named with these, as a Milton or a Shakspeare?” Within Could merit more than that small infantry certain limits, and to a certain extent, un- Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant
brood questionably it can do so, and has done so. Even the genius of Shakspeare and Mil- of Phlegra with th' heroic race were join’d, iton expressed itself under conditions which Mix'd with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side were suited only to the stage of civilization In fable or romance of Uther's son, i and opinion attained by their own contem- Begirt with British and Armoric knights ; poraries. Unbounded as is an Englishman's And all who since, baptized or infidel, worship of the one, profound as is his admi- Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban, ration for the other, would any one at- Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond, tempting a work of genius now, choose ei- Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore, ther the topics or the treatment of these When Charlemain with all his peerage fell great masters of the art divine ? Preju- By Fontarabia.” dice apart, can we affirm that either Hamlet or The Paradise Lost, masterpieces
It is not that the allusions here are to obthough they are, accord thoroughly with scure or unknown subjects, but simply that the canons of taste now accepted for all they magnify a set of ideas whose vividness practical purposes by the educated world ? is of the past; and that the progress of We question the fact on different grounds, thought and restlessness of inquiry have and to a different extent; for this we feel opened up new departments of knowledge glory in confessing, that Shakspeare's im- and new aspects of old facts, since the days mortal verse presents far rarer instances of when Milton's mind was stored, which have superannuation, so to speak, than that of had the effect of stimulating fancy in a fresh Milton, or any other poet of past days we direction. can name. It is in his dramatic plots and Taste, then, we repeat, is evanescent in situations, matters in which he cared not to literature as in other things; and learning to be original or consistent, that we find may be at work preparing a revolution, him frequently out of harmony with our mod- while the established code of æsthetics still ern systems of theatric law. His higher flights governs the workings of imagination and of of poetry, his portraitures of strong emo- humour. This was the case during the latition, express the workings of the hu- ter half of the eighteenth century in Engman heart in imagery suited for all time. land; and the purpose of our present paper will be to note the formation of the new taste, or, as some would call it, the subjective style which then set in, glancing at it first in its of composition, is distinctly outlined in varudimental stages, and then in its later de- rious sketches and narratives contained in velopments; and to indicate some charac- the essays of the “ Man of Feeling.” With teristic points in which the humour and Mackenzie and Sterne, indeed, the transifancy of this our later age differ from those tion to the modern novel of sentiment may of the century preceding.
be said to have been fully made, in all parThe parents of the elder generation living ticulars, save that one of reference to preamongst us, were born into a world, the vious conditions of social history, to which choicest mental recreation of which still con- we desire now to direct more especial attensisted mainly of the numerous Essays, which tion. now, in their attire of sober brown calf, fill Now, in all the discursive belles-lettres of some of the least frequented corners of a the eighteenth century, there is more or “gentleman's library," and to the practised less, it cannot fail to be perceived, a cereye are to be recognized almost instinctively tain tone derived from the traditions of by their dimensions, their colour, and their classical literature, shown in a constant honoured but not solicited place on the allusion to ancient poets, historians, and shelves. A complete collection of the best philosophers, an implied admission of their known and most popular of these essays authority as supreme in all disputed: points, would extend to not less than forty volumes. and often a direct imitation of their style Historically, they are distributable into three and method. It is no doubt a formal kind cycles: the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian of adhesion throughout. There is someof the close of Queen Anne's and beginning thing stilted and unreal about it. It is the of George I.'s reign; Dr. Johnson's Rambler loyalty of the trained pupil, not of the and Idler, Hawkesworth's Adventurer, Gold- enthusiastic votary. It seldom makes very smith's Citizen of the World, Moore's World, active demands on the imagination, or even Colman's Connoisseur, all in the last decade on the minor quality of fancy. The truth of George II. ; and the Mirror and Lounger is, that to understand the Past as past, was of Henry Mackenzie, the Observer, and not the curiosity or the relaxation of that many others besides, which made their ap- day. Moral and metaphysical inquiries pearance from 1779 onwards to near the were the real stimulus to thought; and the end of the century. In these essays, ac- classic allusions which blended with them, cordingly, we may expect to find, partly by however graceful and apposite, were essenthe proof positive of constant citation, partly tially of a conventional type.* Still, as we by the proof negative of marked omission, have said, they constituted the one standard what were the sort of references and allu- of appropriate illustration and indisputable sions in matters of taste which were current authority. The poetic art of Virgil, the among our ancestors, — the standards which they accepted as orthodox; the class of ideas
* There is an eloquent passage in one of Sir Ed. which they rejected ag uncouth, or passed ward Lytton's novels upon the literary character of
the eighteenth century. " At that time," he says, over as unobserved or irrelevant. And we
“ reflection found its natural channel in metaphysicite these periodical writings, and not nov. cal inquiry or political speculation,- both valuable,
rofound. It was a bold, and els or tales, as the true representatives of perhaps, but neither
a free, and an inquisitive age, but not one in which the dilettante literature of their day, first, be thought ran over its set and stationary banks, and cause novels, properly so called, were of la- watered even the common flowers of verse; not
one in which Lucretius could have embodied the ter date than many of them; secondly, be- dreams of Epicurus ; Shakspeare lavished the cause novels, in Fielding's and Richardson's mines of a superhuman wisdom upon his fairy time were simply delineations of character palaces and enchanted isles; or the beautifier of
this common earth” (Wordsworth) “have called and adventure, not as they now are, over forthand above this, the vehicles of speculative
· The motion of the spirit that impels generalities; and, thirdly, because these es
All thinking things, all objects of all thought; says themselves frequently contained certain germs of the fanciful or philosophical novel or disappointment and satiety” (Byron) "have characteristic of later times. Thus in the hallowed their human griefs by a pathos wrought
iticent, and grand, and loveSpectator we have the half-burlesque, half- ly in the unknown universe; or the speculations of sentimental description of Sir Roger de Cov- a great but visionary mind” (Shelley) have raised, erly and his doings and sayings, in which of verse, full of dim-lighted cells and winding galAddison, by one of those sympathetic strokes leries, in which what treasures lie concealed! That which mark true genius, anticipated the pic- templation another those who were addicted to turesque old-world likings which are now so the latter pursued it in its orthodox roads; and commonly taken for granted.
At a later many, whom Nature, perhaps, intended for poets,
the wizard Custom converted into speculators of date, the purely sentimental cast of fiction, critics.” – The Disowned, chap. xiv.