« PreviousContinue »
he collected his bravest followers, and while his main body fired from the quay, twice threw himself upon the bridge, attempting to seize the guns and force the pass by a headlong charge. But Bonaparte was there in person, and twice repelled him by volleys of grape and musketry. The undaunted zealot, who had been a subaltern in the royal guard, rushed a third time to the charge, and desisted not till the fire of his adversary had by death or terror destroyed his column. At this point and at the church of St. Roch, the loss on both des was considerable. At six o'clock, the insurgents, after an action of an hour and a half, were defeated in all their attacks, and their cannon sent from St. Germain being intercepted, had lost all hope. Bonaparte in taking in his turn the offensive, with a sentiment like that of Cæsar at Pharsalia, ordered blank cartridges only to be fired, justly inferring, that, when such crowds, after the indulgence of confidence and a desperate exertion of courage, were once put to fight, the sound of a gun would keep up their panic. This forbearance saved many lives. During the night he cleared the streets of barricades, patroled the rue Royale and the Boulevards, dislodged a party from the church St. Roch, and surrounded with detachments of infantry and artillery another party in the Palais Royal. The next day it was easily dispersed, as was a body who had collected in the convent at the head of the rue Vivienne. By noon on the 5th of October, the insurrection was suppressed, and tranquillity perfectly restored. The killed and wounded, of which rather the smaller number belonged to the troops of the convention, amounted to between four and five hundred. Bonaparte had a horse shot under him. The deputies Sieyes, Louvet, and Fréron behaved with remarkable firmness."
In general, the evidence of the lima labor in his style is not to our taste. It is artificial in the extreme, as if every word had been weighed before location, and every period scanned. It might be described in his own characteristic phrase, respecting the national festival for the capture of Toulon, as a style “ of careful osten. tation and elaborate pomp.” The reader feels constantly tempted to repeat to him the request of the judge in the “Plaideurs" to the oratorical l'Intimé de votre ton, Monsieur, adoucissez l'éclat. “To soar sublime upon the seraph wings of ecstacy,” is an attempt which he oftener makes than accomplishes, though it cannot be denied that at times he is happy in his rhetoric. The industry and research which his volume exhibits are also justly entitled to praise.
As to his apology for the atrocities of the French Revolution (p. 52), we must allow him to settle that matter with his conscience.
AMERICAN QUARTERLY REVIEW.
ART. I.-NATIONAL MUSIC.
1.--Recueil de Ranz-des-Vaches et Chansons nationales de la Suisse.
Quatrième edition, revue et augmentée. Berne. 4to. 2.- Texte zu der Sammlung Schweizer Kuhreihen, und Volksliedern.
Von Joh. Rud. Wyss, Professor. Bern. pp. 152. 12mo.
WHETHER, as St. Thomas Aquinas supposed, music was given by inspiration to the first human pair; or whether, as Lucretius imagines, men became proficient when they were led “ liquidas avium voces imitarier ore;" one thing is certain, that wherever we discern any advance towards civilization, we find men to have rejoiced and lamented in song. And the further back we go, the more are we astounded by the effects attributed to this potent art. The influence of the Ranz-des-Vaches upon the expatriated Swiss, is proverbial; but this is nothing when compared with the feats of Orpheus and Amphion. We read in Plutarch, that Antigenides, by the use of the Harpatian mode, so wrought upon Alexander the Great, that the monarch leaped, sword in hand, upon his comrades. Terpander modulated the discordant Lacedemonians into unity. The Arcadians were civilized by music. And to come to later times, Ericus, king of Denmark, about 1130, on hearing a musician, was driven to fall upon his attendants, of whom he slew a goodly number; and the harping of Claude le Jeune threw the inflammable Duc de Joyeuse into such a phrenzy, that he swore he must fight with some one of the company. Were we to say more, we should remind our readers of Cornelius, in the exquisite satire of Arbuthnot and Pope: “How can you dignify, (quoth he,) this modern fiddling with the name of music? Will any of VOL. XVII.-NO. 34.
your best hautboys encounter a wolf now-a-days, with no other arms than their instruments, as did that ancient piper, Pythocaris? Have ever wild boars, elephants, deer, dolphins, whales, or turbot, showed the least emotion at the most elaborate strains of your modern scrapers, all of which have been, as it were, tamed and humanized by ancient musicians?
Did not Pythagoras stop a company of drunken bullies from storming a civil house, by changing the strain of the pipe to the sober spondæus? and yet your modern musicians want art to defend their windows from common nickers. It is well known, that when the Lacedemonian mob was up, they commonly sent for a Lesbian musician to appease them, and they immediately grew calm, as soon as they heard Terpander sing. Yet I don't believe that the Pope's whole band of music, though the best of the age, could keep his holiness's image from being burnt on the 5th of November.” To all these challenges, we can only answer with a desponding shake of the head. Or, to be more serious, we are constrained to say, that the whole subject of music has become the prey of cant and mystification. For to this category we must reduce such sayings as that of Sir William Temple, " that the science is totally lost in the world, and that in the room of music and poetry, we have nothing left but fiddling and rhyming;” or that of Vossius, that “the relics of Chinese music yet remaining may impose silence on all Europe.”
Without rambling however into the domain of fable, we may freely acknowledge, that the ancients had remarkable music, signally powerful, and characteristic of the respective tribes and nations
among which it sprang up; and it would be highly interesting if we could descry any of the peculiar traits which discriminated the several genera of primitive melody. This, however, we cannot attain. A certain scepticism comes irresistibly over us, when we examine what purports to be a deciphering and restitution of ancient nomic airs, as exhibited by Dr. Crotch and others; and we must be content to remain without authentic memorials. Of Hebrew and Egyptian music we know just nothing. From Egypt, Greece is supposed to have derived her song; and the Grecian melody is found in close connexion with every thing which could animate the national heart. Domestic intercourse and nuptial ceremonies were enlivened by the lyre and the voice; and elegiac measures were heard at the obsequies of the departed. Love and war both spoke in the language of music, and every religious rite employed the same subduing influences. Homer is full of bards, and of stringed and wind instruments. From the analogy of the other fine arts, and the models which remain in sculpture and architecture, we cannot but infer that Grecian music was not the tame and droning affair which has been pretended. The sister art of verse could scarcely have been isolated, or ham
pered with inharmonious sounds. The music attached to the rhapsodies of Homer was scarcely of this rude character. The symmetrical development of the arts forbids the thought. So much of musical expression depends on rhythm, that the versification of those times seems to imply a corresponding completeness in the accompanying melodies.
It is commonly said, that the ancients were altogether unacquainted with music in parts. That they were not versed in the subtle canons of modern contrapuntists may safely be conceded, but in despite of all the asseverations of scientific critics, we should demand an overwhelming weight of authority to convince us, that all the ennobling and enthusiastic strains of Greece were performed in unison. The natural diversities of pitch in the human voice, and the varying dimensions of instruments, must necessarily suggest the simple concords; and the strings of the lyre and harp, even twanged by accident, or breathed upon by the wind, could not but awaken attention to the pleasing effect of harmony. It is, moreover, said and reiterated, that “ all the ancient modes or keys were minor.” This is as startling a proposition, and as little verified by critical examination of the ancient writers. The truth is, that there is more of arbitrary or conventional arrangement in the
sequence of musical tones than we are ready to own; and mankind are not restricted by organic requisitions to the two grand genera, into which all modern music has fallen. The Grecian modes were neither major nor minor, in the technical understanding of those terms; and the ancients were altogether unacquainted with
any such intervals as the consonant thirds and sixths, which ascertain the genus of modern compositions. To conclude, on this topic, Plato could scarcely have extolled as divine the strains of Marsyas and Olympus, if they had been totally void of pathos and elegance; nor could the cold Aristotle have acknowledged that 'Ολύμπου μέλη ομολογουμένως ποίει τας ψυχάς ενθουσιας ικας.*
But to come more near to our theme, in pursuit of our inquiry concerning national music, it may be observed, that accustomed as we are to separate poetry and music, we must never forget that they were inseparable among the early Greeks. And when we speak of Greece, we must not confine ourselves to Europe, but include the colonies; remembering that Herodotus attributes to a Lycian the ancient hymns of Delos, and that Olympus, the father of Greek music, was a Phrygian. The poet and the musician, among these tribes, were the same individual. This had a strong tendency to produce national music, which cannot be said to exist, where the body of the people are not accustomed sing
* Plato, Minos, p. 318, t. 2.
Μαρσύας και “Ολυμπος ο Φρύξ. Τούτων δή και τα ανληματα θείοτατα εστι, και μόνα κίνει, και ετι και νυν μόνα λοιπά έστιν ως θεια οντο. Αrist. Pol. Ι.4.
the same airs; and this is seldom the case, except with popular songs, so that the glowing sentiments of a favourite bard would have a greater chance of circulation, when conveyed in musical strains which sprang from the same origin. The poets actually sang their own songs to the lyre. Particularly do we read this of Pindar, and we may judge from the discursive and abrupt variety of his measures, how artfully the rhythm of his music must have been conducted. While, on the one hand, the melodies of the Greeks were perhaps never performed without being “married to immortal verse;" on the other hand, the inspiring strains of the early poets were not written to be coldly read, but were poured upon the excited senses of religious multitudes, with all the cunning modulations of song and instrumental symphonies. To this union we must attribute many of the marvellous effects which are said to have resulted from the music of the ancients; for beneath the most violent of their fables, there must still have been a modicum of truth, sufficient to render the story tolerable to the populace. And we cannot doubt, that at the time when such narratives found credence, there were extant songs which reigned over the affections of extensive districts.
It must be a matter of surprise to every classical scholar, that during “ the most high and palmy state of Rome,” so little should be said of music. When luxury of every kind began to break in upon the enfeebled empire, we know indeed that the delights of song were common; but we find few traces of what may be called popular music. The genial climate did not then produce the same effect as upon the modern Italian. The rugged conquerors of the world were engaged in a perpetual self-discipline, of which the object was to repress the inclination for the softer pleasures, and brace every fibre into the posture of resistance or offence. Both Nepos (in Épam.) and Cicero (Tusc. Disp. t. 1.) concede to Greece superiority in this accomplishment, with the air of men who are proud of their want of skill.
When Christianity began to prevail, it necessarily swept away all the popular songs, because throughout their whole texture there ran the subtle threads of gentile mythology. But sacred song became a part of Christian worship, and by degrees ecclesiastical music took its rise. In the earlier ages, we have reason to believe that the Christian hymns were more lyrical than when the Ambrosian chant imposed a lengthened stateliness on the service. In this lighter form, they were more easily circulated, and became in a sort popular or even national. The heresiarch Arius was a poet, and made strong impressions upon the populace by his Greek hymns.
During the dark period when the irruption of northern barbarism was obliterating all the refinements of southern Europe, popular minstrelsy naturally died away. But ecclesiastical harmonies