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ascertained by Captain Cook to be the more be explained than we can acaccompaniment of dancing, which, for count for, the inability to discriminate the grace of its movements, would not particular colours, which has been have discredited an Italian opera. ascertained to exist in certain indivi
Pleasures so universally felt as duals, or the insensibility to some those of music, may be inferred to odours, which has been observed in have their foundation in some quality other persons. Admitting them to common to human nature, and inde- exist, they do not warrant the conclupendent of local or temporary circum- sion, that the pleasure derived from stances. It may be inquired, whether music consists solely in the gratifithis pleasure is to be referred merely cation of the organ of hearing. A certo the gratification of the ear as an tain perfection of the physical strucorgan of sense, or whether it is not
ture of the eye is necessary to render entitled to the higher rank of an in- it an inlet to those impressions from tellectual enjoyment ?
the surrounding world, which, when In the discussion of this question, afterwards recalled by the mind, and it must be acknowledged at the outset, variously combined, constitute the that a structure of the ear, distinct pleasures of imagination. But no one from that which adapts it to the quick would contend, that the enjoyment perception of ordinary sounds, proba- derived from a contemplation of the bly exists in those individuals who harms of external nature is a sensual are distinguished by an aptitude to pleasure, of which the eye alone is the derive pleasure from music. The ob- seat and the instrument. servation of children, in early infancy, It appears, moreover, to be consistaffords sufficient evidence of the par- ent with observation, that, even in tial endowment of what has been the same individual, the capacity of called a musical ear. Among children being affected by musical sounds adof the same family it is common to mits of considerable variety; and that meet with the most striking differences it is modified, cspecially by the state in the power of catching and repeating of the nervous system, independently tunes---differences which bear no pro- of the influence of those moral causes portion to the degree of sensibility, which will be afterwards pointed out. as indicated by other circumstances. Dr Doddridge has related a remarkable Nothing is more usual, also, than to instance of a lady, who had naturally find persons who, in the course of a neither ear nor voice for music, but long life, have never been able to ac who became capable of singing, when in quire a relish for music, though fre a state of delirium, several fine tunes, quently thrown into situations where to the admiration of all about her.t to hear it became matter of necessity. And I remember a young gentleman, And this defect is observed, not in the addicted to somnambulism, and radull and insensible only, but in per- ther insensible than otherwise to pleasons alive to all that is excellent in
sure from music, who has repeatedly poetry, in painting, and in other polite found himself leaning from an open arts. Pope, who has perhaps never window during the night, and listenbeen surpassed in the melody of ver- ing (as he imagined till awakened) sification, is recorded by Dr John to delightful music in the street. son to have been incapable of receiving Another fact, which may safely be pleasure from music. And it is still assumed as the basis of our reasoning more remarkable, that the exquisite on this subject, is, that there are cerart of modulating the voice, which tain sounds which are naturally agreeenables it to express all those delicate able to all ears, and others which are shades of emotion and passion, that so naturally unpleasant, independently powerfully affect us in the eloquence of all casual associations. The soft of the stage, the bar, and the senate, tones of a flute, the notes of certain has been practised by individuals insensible even to the charms of a simple melody. Garrick was a striking in
* A friend, to whom this essay was shewn, stance of wonderful command over the pointed out to the author a gentleman distones of the voice in speaking, united, loses, without any degree of deafness, when
tinguished by a fine musical
ear, which he we are told, with the total deficiency ever he is affected with a severe cold in the of a musical ear.
head. These defects of the ear can no of Phil. Transac. for 1747.
birds, the swelling sounds of the and can overcome the painful memory Eolian harp, and the melody of the of the past, or extinguish gloomy forehuman voice, have some quality in- bodings of the future, by inducing a herent in them, which would render frame of mind adapted to the brighter them, even if heard for the first time, visions of hope and cheerfulness. Its universally delightful.* But the creak- powers indeed have not been exaggeing of a door, or the jar produced by rated by the eloquent description of the filing of a saw, can convey plea- the poet : sure to no one, and must excite, on
“ Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise, the contrary, universal antipathy and And bid alternate passions fall and rise; disgust. 56 All the sounds," says While, at each change, the son of Lybian Cowper in one of his letters,
Jove nature utters are agreeable, at least in Now burns with glory, and then melts with this country. I should not, perhaps,
love. find the roaring of lionsån Africa, or of Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow, bears in Russia, very pleasing ; but I Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow. know no beast in England, whose voice Persians and Greeks like turns of nature I do not account musical, save, and And the world's Victor stood subdued by
found, except always, the braying of an ass.
sound.” The notes of all our birds and fowls please me, without one exception; It is to be observed, however, of the and as to insects, if the black beetle, emotions occasioned by music, that and beetles indeed of all hues, will they are referable only to a class ; and keep out of my way, I have no ob- that they have never that distinct apjection to any of the rest ; on the con- propriation which belongs to the creatrary, in whatever key they sing, from tions of the sister arts of poetry and the gnat's fine treble to the bass of the painting. When we listen for the humble-bee, I admire them all. Se- first time to a simple melody, it is its riously, however (he continues), it general character only that we strikes me as a very observable instance able to perceive. We are conscious of providential kindness to man, that that it kindles cheerful or melancholy such an exact accord has been con- feelings, without being able to refer trived between his ear, and the sounds them to any individual object. Now, with which, at least in rural situa- I believe, there is no way in which tion, it is almost every moment visit our sensibility can be thus affected, ed.”
except by the association of certain The source of the pleasure derived ideas with sounds, or successions of from music must be investigated, not sound, which we have formerly heard, by an examination of that which pre- not perhaps precisely the same in vails in polished society, complicated, kind, but belonging to the same class. as it is, with various refinements that And if we seek for the original proare not essential to it; but as it exists, totypes of those tones, which, by their in its simplest form, in those melodies rhythm and cadences, become capable which delight an untutored ear, and of exciting emotions, they will be which powerfully affect the heart, even found, I apprehend, in natural sounds, when they do not recall to the fancy as well as in natural expressions of scenes in which they have been heard, feeling, that were antecedent to all or events with which they have been oral language, and are universal to associated.
human nature. Cheerfulness naturally That music has the capacity of ex- disposes to quick and sudden changes citing lively emotions, must be decid- of tone and gesture; and melancholy ed by an appeal to the experience of has the effect of weakening the voice, those who are sensible to its pleasures. and of producing low and slowly meaFrom minds thus constituted, it can sured accents. The gentle and tender often banish one train of feelings, and feelings of pastoral life find a natural replace them with another of opposite expression, in tones corresponding complexion and character, especially with them in delicacy and softness. when the transition is made with skill And the idea of sublimity is almost and delicacy. It can sooth the an- necessarily annexed to sounds, of guish of sorrow and disappointment, which loudness is one, but not the
only element, and which, though they * See Knight on Taste. + Letter cxvii. may have no strict analogy with the
« Their songs
roll of thunder, or the roaring of the tunes, he adds, so expressive to us cataract, have it yet in common with of religious solemnity, were, in the this impressive language of nature, French court, applied to licentious that they are associated with our first songs; and the fine melody adapted notions of magnitude and power.
to the 100th psalm, was sung to a Hence it is, that music is to be con- popular love ditty. An instance also sidered as an imitative art; but its occurs to my own recollection, of the imitations, to be a source of pleasure, successful adaptation of a fine song of must be extremely general, and must Purcell* to the purpose of a psalm seldom indeed descend from the class tune. Conversions like these could to the individual. All such attempts never (as Mr Jackson has observed) at close resemblance fail of their pur- have succeeded, if the imitations of pose, and even become ridiculous. This music were more than extremely genehas been well illustrated by Mr Avi- ral, and if poetry had not the power son, in his excellent Essay on Musical of determining what idea the music Expression, in which, speaking of com- şhould express. posers addicted to too close imitation, A general accordance, however, be he obseryes, “ Were any of these gen- tween the language of poetry and the tlemen to set to music the following music adapted to it, may in all cases words of Milton
be reasonably required. It is at least
essential, that the air and the poetry Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to should not be at variance—that a heaven”
lively melody, for example, should not It is probable, that on the word divide convey the language of grief or comhe would run a division on half a plaint ; and that a solemn or plaintive dozen bars; and, in the subsequent air should not be associated with gay part of the sentence, he would not or exhilarating verse. Under the guidthink he had risen to the heights of ance of composers of judgment and sublimity till he had climbed to the taste, music and poetry are powerful very top of his instrument, or at least auxiliaries of each other; for while as high as the human voice could fol- music exalts the sensibility of the low him.” This servility of imitation mind, and by its general tendency has been also happily ridiculed by Swift, disposes it to lively emotions, poetry in his “ Proposals for a Cantata, in gives vividness to our impressions, and which the words high and deep have turns to shape the indistinct images of high and deep notes set to them ; a
the fancy. series of short notes of equal length is That music was originally derived introduced to imitate shivering and from the natural language of passion shaking ; a sudden rise of the
voice, and emotion, is rendered highly probafrom a very low to a very high pitch, ble, by inquiring into the history of to denote flying above the sky, with the early melodies of all countries that several other droll contrivances of a possess a national music. All the similar nature.
songs of the Lowlands of Scotland It is on this principle (namely, of a (says Dr Beattie, in his excellent Esgeneral resemblance only between the says on Poetry and Music) are extones of music and those expressive of pressive of love and tenderness, and an ordinary feeling) that we are to of other emotions suited to the tranexplain some facts which have been quillity of pastoral life. The music stated by an ingenious writer, who adapted to them,” he is of opinion, was himself distinguished, both as probably took its rise among men. a proficient in the science of music, who were real shepherds, and who acu and an accomplished judge of its ex- tually felt the sensations and affections cellence. In a work, entitled “ The whereof it is so very expressive." Mr Four Ages,” the late Mr Jackson of Ritson is also of the same opinion. It Exeter has endeavoured to prove, that cannot (he observest) be reasonably there is no natural alliance between doubted, that many, if not most, or poetry and music. He alleges, for even all the celebrated and popular example, that the song and chorus of Scottish melodies now extant, as dis“ Return, O Lord of Hosts,” in the tinguished from the Highland airs, Oratorio of Samson, might with equal success have been adapted to the com * « Come unto these yellow sands." plaints of a lover. The old psalm + In his Essay on Scottish Song.
have been actually composed by the the artificial arrangements of society natives of the Lowlands, speaking and are less frequently the objects of this thinking in the English language ; by definite and unconquerable inclinashepherds tending their flocks, or by tion, than such as are common to man maids milking their ewes; by persons, in the simplest state. These are frein short, altogether uncultivated, or, quently cultivated from the private deif one may be allowed the expression, light they afford, with only a seconduncorrupted by art, and influenced on- ary view to their effects on others, or ly by the dictates of pure and simple in promoting our own fortune or renature. It is a fact, also, in evidence putation ; while these effects are the of the same theory, that the simple primary and ultimate causes for prosemelodies of Scotland have caught the cuting the former. No human being, prevailing spirit of the age in which for example, loves, for its own sake, they were produced. “ During the the study of Scotch law, which only feuds of the borderers (it has been re becomes tolerable after long familiari. marked by the ingenious Mr M`Neill), ty, through means of which time beintestine wars and hostilities, tumult gets a certain fondness for any thing and disorder, midnight plunder, mur not essentially detestable. Poetry, on der, and calamity, were the animating the other side, presents, in many insubjects which furnished these savage stances, a pure specimen of innate par. songsters with materials for their lays. tiality, strengthening in the face of opBut the pastoral songs of the succeede position, and triumphing over every ing age breathe only peace, harmony, species of discouragement. and love ; and incline us to believe, The bias last mentioned, indeed, is that universal safety, combined with generally the best marked, the earliest rural happiness and contentment, were developed, and most obstinate of all. the genuine incitements both of the Situations the most unfavourable, cir. poetry and music.” *
cumstances the most adverse to its (To be continued.)
growth, accumulated around with the ingenuity of apparent design, though they sometimes crush the individual,
seldom divert his course. Natures so OBSERVATIONS ON ORIGINAL GENIUS. highly endowed are not the proper
subjects of chance or fortune. Instead “ Discutitur autem iste torpor triplici of being guided by accidents, they auxilio : aut per calorem, aut per virtutem force them into the service of a prealicujus cognati corporis eminentem, aut per conceived design, and often with so motum vividum et potentem :”
much success, that superficial reason
ers suppose them to have been intendThe fate of ordinary men, or at least ed by providence for those very purthe nature of their pursuits, is gene- poses to which human ingenuity has rally determined by fortuitous circum, reduced them. stances, by the current of which, feeble A poetical mind, indeed, though and irresolute spirits are borne quietly produced in a barbarous age, or in a through life. Of superior minds it rude and backward part of the world, máy be observed, that the spring of meets at first no very alarming obaction is within ; they are impelled by stacles, and may even be seduced into their own energies, and directed by verse by the seeming plainness of the their own will. Besides, a particular way. The materials of pleasure lie determination uniformly accompanies on the surface, the poet therefore genius; for, though a strong mind needs to go little deeper than the thinks strongly on every subject, unic painter ; the passions are best studied versal excellence is never permitted to in our own bosoms, and none describe an individual, and therefore the wis- them well, or control them in others, dom of nature provides against that who draw their knowledge of them mediocrity which arises from diffusing from a more distant source : finally, the forces of great talents, by placing invention is only a new combination them under the management of a rul- from memory, and this is speedily ening passion.
riched with great, agreeable, and surThe professions which originate in prising appearances, derived imme
diately from the workings, agitations, * Notes to tho Lyric Muse of Scotland. and changes, of nature and fortune
around us. Even in the minor quali- retard the fate of inferior productions. fications of diction and style, the diffi- The history of this author affords one culties are not insurmountable. The of the strongest instances I remember imperfections of an infant language of the superiority of nature to fortune: are greater as an instrument of thought of the great length to which perseverthan as a vehicle of feeling; according- ing talents can draw the slenderest ly, when the historian and philosopher means. A few years ago Mr Hogg find it unfit for their purposes, contem was known only as an extraordinary porary poets often exhibit a richness, shepherd, who composed humorous strength, and propriety, which anti- songs for the rustics of Ettrick Forest, cipate the improvements of several or modulated softer love ditties on the centuries.
banks of the Yarrow. About the same But there is a state of society more time Mr Scott was beginning to direct unpropitious, and situations infinitely all men's eyes to the BORDER, and the less inviting, than those now supposed. unequivocal sovereignty he soon esWhen taste has received the last tablished over the public attention, touches of refinement, and composi- rendered any thing like rivalship, in tion its highest graces, should the 'that department, absurd, and emulaspirit of poetry inflame an untutored tion eminently hazardous. But Hogg, and illiterate mind, what are his pros- like every poet born, was an enthusiast. pects of success ? Ease and retirement, Instead of being struck dumb either if not indispensable to the perfection with envy or despair, as some birds of his higher attributes of fancy and are said to be by the voice of the imagination, are clearly so when cor- nightingale,-with modest assurance, rectness and elegance are essential to which he has since vindicated, he his purpose of affording delight. His struck a lower key, and supported no first productions are necessarily es mean accompaniment. The defects teemed coarse and faulty; and though of his education were obviated by applause may predominate, the just se- unremitting attention to the strength verity even of friendly criticism chas- and copiousness of our own language, tens his confidence and self-esteem, and his taste speedily corrected by an and consequently removes half his active admiration of refined writers. strength. Add to these, the effects Hence almost every one of his numeproduced by perpetual descents to the rous publications, up to that just mendead level of vulgar life, the ex- tioned, improves on its predecessor, haustion of strength and spirits by although to all appearance, he had few employments uncongenial to his dis- to teach him, and fewer opportunities positions, or, worse than all, perhaps of learning. His first essays remind the subjection of the mind itself to us of our native poets in the sixteenth some dull monotonous pursuit, and century, The Queen's Wake does honyou will have an idea of the merits our to the present. I am happy to of such resolute persons as have en- learn that another edition of this work countered these difficulties, and, in is at present publishing by subscription defiance of them, attained the highest for the benefit of the author, who, like eminence in the art of which I am most of his brethren, has had cause to speaking, and be disposed to deplore complain of fortune,-and, like to the far greater number who have per- many of them, with but partial reished under them.
The observations accompaOur own times, I take pleasure to nying the proposals, come, I underobserve, are not without one example stand, from a gentleman who has conof the first sort,-of one who, by the tributed much to the reputation of mere force of natural parts, has raised this country and age, and to the dehis name from obscurity to the first light of all the lovers of poetry and rank, and divided the public favour polite letters,-not only by his own with others equally endowed, but pen, but also by an affectionate atmuch more happily circumstanced tention to the rising merit of others. than himself. I allude to the author There is nothing, I think, more pleasof The Queen's Wake, a work of which ing than such cordial friendship and we now judge without finding it no- esteem between men distinguished by cessary to make allowances for the ac- siinilar excellencies, and the rather becidents of education and training, cause the experience of former times which sometimes sinooth, but seldom renders it unexpected,