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COLLECTED BY HIMSELF.
IN TEN VOL U ME S.
EVENINGS IN GREECE.
BALLADS, SONGS, MISCELLANEOUS POEMS,
TO THE FIFTH VOLUME.
In spite of the satirist's assertion, that
“ next to singing, the most foolish thing
Is gravely to harangue on what we sing,” — I shall yet venture to prefix to this Volume a few introductory pages, not relating so much to the Songs which it contains as to my own thoughts and recollections respecting songwriting in general.
The close alliance known to have existed between poetry and music, during the infancy of both these arts, has sometimes led to the conclusion that they are essentially kindred to each other, and that the true poet ought to be, if not practically, at least in taste and ear, a musician. That such was the case in the early times of ancient Greece, and that her poets then not only set their own verses to music, but sung them at public festivals, there is every reason, from all we know on the subject, to believe. A similar union between the two arts attended the dawn of modern literature, in the twelfth century, and was, in a certain degree, continued down as far as the time of Petrarch, when, as it appears from his own memorandums, that poet used to sing his verses, in composing them *; and when it was the custom with all writers of sonnets and canzoni to prefix to their poems a sort of key-note, by which the intonation in reciting or chanting them was to be regulated.
As the practice of uniting in one individual,
* The following is a specimen of these memorandums, as given by Foscolo: _“I must make these two verses over again, singing them, and I must transpose them — 3 o'clock, A. M. 19th October.” Frequently to sonnets of that time such notices as the following were prefixed : — Intonatum per Francum”-“ Scriptor dedit sonum.”