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found to be so influential in the production of that natural temperament and those organs that have carried vocal music to its acme. Whole German companies have since been introduced even upon our nationa. theatres. But Sontag alone has raised a great name. Madame Stockhausen, indeed, contributed even more than this great artiste to naturalizing the melodies of her country amongst us, for they were peculiarly suited to the delicate beauty of her style and voice. Madame Schultz was an artiste of high merit, and it was curious to observe how, by a very slight declination, she just missed the elevation attained by Pasta. Schroeder is also great as an actress and a singer. But with the exception of the national airs, and the quaint but captivating burdenthe Jodeln— little or nothing has been added by the Germans to our vocal science. They have, perhaps, (Sontag alone excepted,) ) assisted to retard the adoption of mere volatile execution, and to keep up the love of plainer and more impassionate expression, the natural employment of the art. What, then, may be estimated to be the actual and positive result of the progression of the science during the third of a century ?—for this is the end-all and the be-all of our inquiry. If the reader has not gathered it as he has gone along with us, we must
almost despair of illuminating the subject further by a summary. But we must, nevertheless, make an attempt at such a concentration.
Vocal art, then, has a little preceded and encouraged the national advance of the mind towards that dissipation of feeling and attention which accompany the indefinite increase and variety of the objects, associations, and emotions imparted by an ever-augmenting fund of knowledge. The facility with which we move from place to place—the voluptuous splendour of public and private entertainments--the enlargement of the circle of connexions—foreign travel—the easy access to books and the concentration of the principles of every
branch of acquirement—are all unfavourable to the depth and intensity of thought and feeling which used to be the characteristics of the English nation. Hence the disposition for lighter amusements. The philosophy of mind is the best explication of this transition; and though it has been already quoted by a writer on this subject, we shall not hesitate to adopt the best explanation, as well as the best description, of the rise, the progress, and incipient decay of fine taste in vocal as in other arts.
“It is evident,” says Dugald Stewart in his ‘Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind,' “ that there is a limit, beyond which the love of simplicity cannot be carried. No bounds, indeed, can be set to the creations of genius; but as this quality occurs seldom in an eminent degree, it commonly happens that, after a period of great refinement of taste, men begin to gratify their love of rariety by adding superfluous circumstances to the finished models exhibited by their predecessors, or by making trifling alterations in them, with a view of merely diversifying the effeci. These additions and alterations, indifferent perhaps, or even in some degree offensive, in themselves, acquire soon a borrowed beauty, from the connexion in which we see them, or from the influence of fashion. The same cause which at first produces them continues, perpetually, to increase their number; and taste returns to barbarism by almost the same steps which conducted it to perfection."
We do not, however, mean to go the length of asserting that musical
taste has "returned to barbarism." Simplicity is, indeed, exchanged for complication, and the great style, properly so called, is all but lost, because the lighter taste of the age does not love to dwell in the lofty and serious affections, and because artists, where they can no longer command, must follow that taste.
We conceive, then, that the fine elocution, the declamatory power, (not force,) the solemn impressions, and the other elements and effects of the great style are rapidly passing away, and that polish, neatness, variety, velocity, and fancy supply the graces of manner now most in esteem. Our description of Mara and of Sontag will supply the two extremes-Pasta the medium. We are not so much laudatores temporis acti that we condemn altogether the perfections of modern science. We have not yet caught the levity which disdains all deep and solemn impulses, or come to regard the pure expression and consequent reflective pleasures generated by the music of the last age as
-the lees And settlings of a melancholy blood,” Our nature, we know, is subject to the two stimulating and controlling powers-novelty and habit,—and we are content, while we survey and mark the progression, to enjoy whatever portions of the good of the one we can assimilate, without giving too severe a shock to the predilections of the other, and perhaps most potent law of our being.
SONGS OF SPAIN.
BY MRS. HEMANS.
In melody flow;
To slumber from woe!
Roll through her dreams;
The kind voice of streams.
Afar on the sound,
Her life's fairy ground:
Of love that is gone. -
Softly flow on! * The name of the Rio Verde (the " Gentle River " of Percy's ballad) will be familiar to every Spanish reader, as associated in song and story with the old romantic wars of the Peninsula.
Dark glassy waters,
So crimson'd of yore,
Know thy green shore,
For Grief's deepest tone.---
Softly flow on!
Around the Zagri Maid,
As it fill'd the olive shade. “ Alas! for her that loveth
Her land's, her kindred's foe! Where a Christian Spaniard roveth,
Should a Zagri's spirit go ? “ From thy glance, my gentle mother !
I sink with shame oppress'd,
Is an arrow to my breast.”
Thus sang the Zagri maid,
In the whisp'ring olive shade. “ And for all this heart's wealth wasted,
This woe, in secret borne,
Should I win back aught but scorn ? By aught but daily dying
Would my love-truth be repaid ?" When summer leaves were sighing,
Thus sang the Zagri maid.
THE BIRD OF EBRO.
Meet in love on shore and sea!
Turn from this cold world to thee.
Hear the sailor's hymn arise !
Lo! to thee the shepherd cries.
If o'erburden'd souls there be,
Aid those captives—set them free!
Where the frozen tears lie deep;
Aid, oh! aid to pray and weep!
OLD SPANISH BATTLE SONG.
Castile ! to the rescue for Spain !"
SOME years since, as I was travelling in the West of England, the following narrative was put into
hands. It struck me that it was not without interest, and, as I knew it to be true, I determined, at some time, to publish it. I now offer it to the Editor of the “ New Monthly Magazine.” The manuscript is exactly in the state in which I received it.
There may be something like vanity in committing to paper a detail of circumstances peculiar to one's own case;" and there may be nothing either amusing or instructive to others in an avowal of the feelings by which a young man was actuated upon his first entrance into what is called life; yet I do think, treacherous as my memory unfortunately happens to be, that a brief detail of the events of past years, if it afford no gratification to other people, will, at least, amuse myself, as I look back upon it in days when the sentiments by which I was then actuated shall have faded away, and the motives to conduct (hardly now satisfactorily explicable) have ceased to operate.
My father, who contrived,- I scarcely understand how,-to maintain his wife (my mother-in-law), myself, and his two children by a second marriage, on the half-pay of a captain in the army, had bred me up, as a boy, with the view, and in the hope of being able to put me into the service from which he had himself retired. The formation of his new matrimonial connexion, however, entirely changed his intentions with regard to me; and, after having imbued my almost infant mind with the desire of military distinction, and the prospect of a laurel-reaping harvest of service, it was found more suitable to his means, and the taste of his wife, to place me at the school, in which I had not yet finished my education, as a sort of half-boarder, from which character it was clearly intended I should eventually emerge in that, of usher to my then present master.
It is impossible to describe the feelings I experienced when it became no longer a matter of concealment or mystery, that all hopes of a commission, or, indeed, an endeavour to procure me one, were abandoned, and I felt myself doomed to the eternal correction of a Latin exercise instead of the superintendence of the manual and platoon; or the utter state of desolation in which I felt myself when I heard from my good old master,-for such he was,—that except marching the boys out for a walk on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I had no chance of commanding a detachment of any sort whatever.
When I quitted home altogther, which I did at seventeen, and took up my residence constantly at the academy, I felt some relief. I neither saw the barefaced cajolery with which my hateful mother-in-law wheedled and bullied my poor father ; nor was I doomed, day after day, to witness the disgusting partiality with which her two fractious, sickly, ill-tempered, ill-favoured brats were treated, and to which system of favouritism my poor deluded parent, with smiles on his countenance and pleasure in his eye, submitted. It is true I was in harness—the tread