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under the best of masters. Dr. Boyce came several times to my house to hear him; gave him some of his own music; asked, if the King had heard him, and expressed much surprise when we told him no.
“My brother enriched him with an inestimable present of Dr. Boyce's three volumes of cathedral music.
"It now evidently appeared that his particular bent was to church music. Other music he could take pleasure in, (especially what was truly excellent in Italian,) and played it without any trouble ; but his chief delight was in oratorios. These he played over and over from the score, till he had them by heart, as well as the rest of Handel's music, and Corelli, and Scarlatti, and Geminiani.
“These two years he has spent with his four classical authors, and in composition. Mr. Kelway has made him a player; but he knows the difference betwixt that and a musician; and can never think himself the latter till he is master of thorough-bass.
“ Several have offered to teach it him ; but as I waited, and deferred his instruction in the practical part, till I could get the very best instructer for him, so I keep him back from the theory. The only man to teach him that, and sacred music, he believes to be Dr. Boyce.”
Of Charles's aptitude for learning, some idea may be formed from the remarks of Mr. Kelway, uttered from time to time, while he observed the skill and proficiency of his pupil. The following are selected from several others which occur in the father's notes. They were taken when Charles was about twelve years of age.
“I never saw one carry his hand so well. It is quite a picture. It is a gift from God. How would Handel have t shaken his sides, if he could have heard him!”
“ You will be an honour to me. Handel's hands did not lie on the instrument better than
do.” hade ett barn “ Were you my own son, I could not love
better. Go on, and mind none of the musicians, but Handel. You have a divine gift.” “One cannot hear him play four bars without knowing him to be a genius.”
“I will maintain, before all the world, that there is not a master in London that can play this sonata as he does. The King would eat up this boy. I must carry him some morn
ing to St. James's.” “His very soul is harmony. Not one of my scholars could have learned that in a year, which you have learned in ten lessons."
“He treats me with my own music. I wish Handel and Geminiani were now alive: they would be in raptures at hearing him! Never have I heard any man play with such feeling!”
“ The King has asked after him again. I told His Majesty, he had learned more in four months than any other would in four years. He asked me, if he intended to make music his profession. I answered, no; and that he did not want anything, &c."
“I loved music when young ; but not so well as he does. One would think he had been the composer of this. He gives the colouring; the nice touches, the finishing strokes, are all his own. I love him better and better. He has it from God. He is a heaven-born child. This boy consoles
He raises my spirits whenever I hear him. He has more taste and feeling than all our band. What colouring ! What lights and shades! I could cry to hear him.”
“He is an old man at the instrument. He is not a boy. He is the greatest genius in music I have ever met with."
'They say I cannot communicate my skill: bat I dare maintain, there is not such another player as this boy in England/, nor yet in France, or Spain, or Italy.”
Mr. Charles Wesley adds, “I carried Mr. Russell, the painter, to Mr. Kelway's. He told me afterwards, that he knew the finest passages by the change of Charles's colour. I have seen the tears run down Mr. Kelway's cheeks while Charles was playing out of Handel's lessons.
"If I was without the door,' said he, and did not know he was dead, I should swear it was Handel himself that played.” When Charles was about nineteen years
the father wrote the following particulars respecting him :-"As I am no judge of music myself, I cannot answer for the justness of Mr. Kelway's sentiments concerning the art and its professors. Much less do I subscribe to his high opinion of his pupil. Mr. Kelway's sincerity I do not doubt. His judgment also is unquestionable. Yet he might be under a secret bias. He had lately published his Sonatas. They were ill
received, and even decried, by the masters in general. Charles very highly esteemed them, as next to Handel and Geminiani. This naturally prejudiced Mr. Kelway in his favour, and accounts in some measure for his violent encomiums. I do not yet perceive that Charles is hurt, either by Mr. Kelway's praises or prejudices.
“ Charles has now been some years under Dr. Boyce's tuition, learning composition, and hopes to continue learning as long as the Doctor lives. At the same time he retains the most grateful veneration for his old master, Mr. Kelway, and played to him, while he was able to hear him, every week. He believes he has the two greatest masters in Christendom. Dr. Boyce and he seem equally satisfied. I hope he has caught a little of his master's temper, as well as his skill. A more modest man than Dr. Boyce I have never known. I never heard him speak a vain or ill-natured word, either to exalt himself, or to depreciate another.”
This was written in the year 1777; and early in 1779 Dr. Boyce died. The eulogium which Mr. Charles Wesley here passes upon the character of that very celebrated musician, he afterwards repeated, and even strengthened, in the following fine ode on the Doctor's death, which the poet's son, the grateful pupil of the deceased, set to music :
Father of harmony, farewell!
Translated from the mournful vale ;
Jehovah's flaming ministers
Thy generous, good, and upright heart's
That sigh'd for a celestial lyre,
Symphonious with that warbling quire,
Handel, and all the tuneful train,
Who well employ'd their art divine,
In joyful acclamations join,
Thy brow a radiant circle wears,
Thy hands a seraph’s harp receives,
Thy soul in endless rapture lives,
It is worthy of remark, that in this beautiful ode Mr. Charles Wesley places Handel in heaven, among the glorified worshippers before the throne of God. Considering the nature of his religious principles, it is not likely that he would do this merely because of Handel's musical genius. A secular poet would not indeed hesitate to take such a liberty ; but this was not the manner of Charles Wesley, who was deeply impressed with the solemn truth, that “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” With this truth he never trifled, in compliment to any man.
There is therefore reason to believe that he had more satisfactory ground to hope for Handel's salvation, than the poetic one, that he had composed the sublime oratorio of “The Messiah.” Handel is well known to have been, not indeed an infidel, but ungodly and profane. When irritated, he was accustomed to express the violence of his passion by swearing in three different languages. But during the last few years of his life it is said that he was greatly changed in his spirit, and became a regular attendant upon the public worship of God, in which he showed by his gestures the depth of his feelings. When he quarrelled with the parties connected with the Opera-house, he was accommodated by Mr. Rich with the use of the theatre in Covent-garden, for the performance of his oratorios. Mrs. Rich, as we have seen, was one of Mr. Charles Wesley's most attached friends; and it is highly probable that he met the gifted author of the “Messiah” at her house in Chelsea. The supposition is strengthened by the fact, that three of his hymns were set to music by Handel, and still exist in the handwriting of this great musician, in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. These noble melodies were published a few years ago by Mr. Samuel Wesley, by whom they were discovered. Handel died in London on Good Friday, in the year 1759. .
Mr. Charles Wesley's second surviving son was also trained to music as a profession. If he did not excite so much attention in very early life as a performer, when a mere boy he surpassed Charles in musical composition. In this his precosity was wonderful. The following is the father's own account of this surprising genius :
“ Samuel was born on St. Matthias's day, Feb. 24th, 1766, the same day which gave birth to Handel, eighty-two years before. The seeds of harmony did not spring up quite so early as in his brother; for he was three years old before he aimed at a tune. His first were, 'God save great George our King,' Fischer's Minuet, and such like, picked up from the street organs. He did not put a true bass to them till he had learned his notes.
" While his brother was playing, he used to stand by with his childish fiddle, scraping, and beating time. One observing him, asked me, And what shall this boy do?' I answered, “Mend his brother's pens. But he did not resent the affront as deeply as Marcello did : * so it was not indignation which made him a musician.
“Mr. Arnold was the first who, hearing him at the harpsichord, said, 'I set down Sam for one of my family. But we did not much regard him, coming after his brother, or suspect that the block contained a statue.
“The first thing that drew our attention was, the great delight he took in hearing his brother play. Whenever Mr. Kelway came to teach him, Sam constantly attended, and accompanied Charles on the chair. Undaunted by Mr. Kelway's frown, he went on; and even when his back was to the harpsichord, he crossed his hands on the chair, as the other did on the instrument, without ever missing a time.
“ He was so passionately fond of Scarlatti, that if Charles ever began playing him before Sam was called, he would cry and roar as if he had been beaten. Mr. Madan, his god
• “ Alessandro Marcello dwelt at Venice ; he had a musical academy in his house, held on a certain day in every week. It once happened that the Princes of Brunswick were there, who, being invited to a musical performance in the academy, took particular notice of Benedetto, at that time very young; and, among other questions, asked him, in the hearing of his brother, what were the studies that most engaged his attention. 0,' said his brother, “he is a very useful little fellow to me, He fetches my books and papers : the fittest employ. ment for such a one as he is.' The boy was nettled at this answer, which reflected so much upon his supposed want of genius. He therefore applied him. self to music and poetry.”—Dictionary of Musicians.