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player, must be left to the decision of more competent judges than
Vocal music would be more available than instrumental for national purposes, from its adaptation to the means of all classes ; and its combination of sweet sound and poetic language would give it a superior influence over the mind. The tone of thought and feeling would be heightened, and grosser tastes purified by intimacy with the higher ideas which would arise from such a
It is well known that the ballads of Dibdin did more towards improving the character of the navy, than any other means that were adopted ; and many a man was restrained from the commission of crime by the tone and sentiment of a favourite song, who paid little regard to the “ Articles of War,” and turned an obdurate and defying heart to the only teacher that was vouchsafed him—the “cat. We are not sure whether it was Dibdin * who said, “ that he did not mind who made the laws, if he might make the ballads.” The most powerful and speaking proof that perhaps ever existed, of Music's influence, is the effect of the “Ranz de Vache” on the Swiss exiles ; touched by that strain, their home-sick hearts leave them but one alternative-to return to their dear native scenes, or-die; and perhaps some of us may have had occasionally some faint conceptions of their overwrought feelings, when the forms and faces we no more shall see, seem to live again in those cadences which are so inseparably associated with their now silent voices. In concluding these observations, may we venture on a word of kindly expostulation with those who oppose music on conscientious grounds ? May we ask, worthy friends, (for such many of you are) why you do so? We anticipate your reply? “Because it is so often applied to bad purposes, and connected with sinful pursuits.” Granted: and we lament that it is so ; but if you refuse to coincide with anything save that which is irreproachable, and free from all possibility of abuse, we really do not know where to direct your
dubious investigations ; nay, in such a case, we might even advise you to discountenance the Scriptures, since Satan so often quotes them for his purpose. Perhaps another of your objections may be, that you consider it a waste of time to devote your attention to what you perhaps call so profitless an occupation as “tickling your ear with a few fleeting sounds ;" this proceeds (pardon the assertion) from your imperfect acquaintance with the subject. Would you call that hour wasted in which your heart swelled with joyful affection for a daughter, a sister, or a wife, while her thrilling voice, “ which Music loved and called her own,” unsealed the fountain of deep feelings, and encircled with a sacred halo the dear delights of home? Would you consider that influence worthless, which, at the close of the day, should soften the icy crust which the world's cold breath had spread over your heart's surface, or extract with fairy touch the iron from your careworn soul ?
* No: Fletcher of Saltoun.-Ed.
These remarks do not apply to those who have no natural taste for music, but to those who cannot (despite their endeavours) quite harden their hearts against its appealing voice; and to such we. say, Why try to resist that which is irresistible ? If God has put music in your soul, wherefore should you wish to root it out? When the balmy breath of summer's eve wafts to your ear the rich gushings of the black-bird's notes, do you know the name of that power which then so indescribably stirs your soul ? Its name is Melody; and when the sweet sound of far-off bells awakens the remembrance of the loved and lost, till your spirit seems half released to join them in the skies, do you know what finger it is that then touches those deep-toned chords in your heart? Tis the finger of Music! Oh, divine and exquisite power! we will say no more in thy vindication—it is better that we leave thee to plead thy own cause ; for if thy voice must fail in the attempt, silent indeed may be our own.
HEADS AND TAILS OF FAMILIES.
BY PAUL BELL.
No. IV.--My LAME Bor's TASTES. In the first of my valuable communications to the public, through the medium of your agency, I alluded, Sir, to one of my boys, “who is lame and has a pretty notion of drawing."-He is a great favourite in Halcyon Row: and when the - Christmas Carol” of Mr. Dickens came out, partial neighbours said that Tiny Tim was taken from my Samson, “ only he was not made half good enough."-Let me assure you, Sir, solemnly, that it is
all a mistake~Mr. Disraeli puts his acquaintances -into “ Tancred,”-everyone knows-quite as glibly as the French journalist, who wrote an account of his own wedding on his own weddingday to his own journal--and Mr. Titmarsh has made many a Mrs. Perkins proud they assure me, by telling of the door put under the bed, and of Grundsell, the green-grocer called in to wait at the ball-but Mr. Dickens is not the man to do such things by harmless people : or, if he is, he has never done so by any of my family, or my Mrs. Bell's relations.
Tiny Tim, too, if I recollect right, was a thoughtful little person : who talked about angels and other poetical things. Now my Samson is as rare a dreamer as ever was born : but he has the practical life and activity of twenty workers. He will draw you an Angel with a piece of burnt stick: and an “Angel's antipode" too (as I once heard the Black Gentleman called)—but when he opens his mouth, it is to utter a joke, and not to make tears come into the eyes of anxious parents. You do not suppose I would write about my Lame Boy, Sir, if he were not blithe as a Lark? Ours is not the dullest house in the Row: Miss Le Grand complains that we have permitted our daughter Ann to spoil a very neat mouth, by keeping it always on the broad grin--and my Mrs. Bell, now that, at last, she is willing to believe that housekeeping does not mean the disturbance of men, and that she sit still sometimes—is as cheerful a mother of eight children as you can see. But we are all dull—the brightest of us--compared with Samson. My little Patty who waits on him like his shadow (children mostly go in pairs), and who sits beside him in his Gaza (as he calls his garret), while he draws-has written a book full of his sharp sayings : and “would not let Punch have them,” she declares “if he would give her a house and a garden.” She may say so, and welcome : so long as she refrains from inflicting them on our neighbours :-who might, nevertheless, go further, etcetera.
Well but, though I won't have my wonderful Boy spoiled, or made a bore of—by quoting his sauciness-I cannot but tell the world, how much the wiser he has made us : and happier too. There is no such other eye for form or colour, in Ardwick as his : as the calico printers (not to particularise Mr. Cobden) have long ago found out. When he was quite a child, for years laid up on his little settee--poor thing! nothing kept him still like a basketful of leaves, or poppy-heads, or laburnum pods—or the cones of
the fir tree :—and he used to press these in a book, or mould them in clay, or cut them out in soft wood, or arrange them in borders
- and be happy for a whole day, if only he could get people to look and take an interest. His good mother was afraid of his fancying himself a genius—turning out only like other boys when he got older, and being ruined for life: and so we let him make out as well as he could without much assistance: giving him a drawing-master within the last three years. In the mean time there is not a thing which hands can do, that he has not tried-made models of buildings there could be no building-sewed at tapestry work when he was laid flat: snatching Miss Le Grand's from her in joke, and giving it her back, with a peacock and a vase of flowers, as good as a picture (but this he begs me not to mention, fancying it girlish). He has invented little figures in clay-new mixtures of colours in different materials for carpets, walls, curtains, &c.—While he was shut up in one room, he had painted and stuck together a border round the surbase so rich and pretty, that we would not have it taken away for a ten-pound-note ; if we could find in our hearts on other grounds. We only discovered a week or two since, that the mischievous creature has introduced into it odd profiles of the whole family, and, I am afraid, some of our neighbours. Mrs. Bell says, she shall insist on his adding his own; by way of putting his name to his work—and as a punishment.
Now, I dare say you will call me twaddling :—but I assure you, that our Boy has given us a new sense. Ugly forms” he says "scratch his eyes”-dirty colours put him out of humour when he comes down to breakfast; and partly to please him, and partly because we begin to fancy there may be something in it, we let him choose for us, on the condition that his fancies are not to cost any extra money.
And we must own—my wife and I—that since he began to take matters in hand our house makes thrice the appearance it used to do. Pretty things, it is true, are cheaper now than when we were married : but half the battle lies in knowing how to pick them out, and put them together : and when I hear people out of envy, sneering at us as ambitious and extravagant, because our back parlour, when lighted, looks twenty times as gay as it did with its old deleful drab and green paper-I say to myself, “Well : Beauty costs no more than Ugliness, after all” :-neither money nor time—and think of a transaction of that scrupulous woman, Mistress Priscilla Gotobed—which long ago passed through
Two years is so long a period, that I doubt not but that, since I mentioned her last, you have forgotten the Quaker Lady with her scruples and her splendid garden. It will be enough, however, on the present occasion, to say that, having given some cause of observation to the Elders of “ her persuasion,” (as the rich and the comfortable always will do—being either enviously demolished, or obsequiously courted) her mind became “concerned ” to bear testimony “to Friends' principles ” in the article of a new carpet: and as our house just then had extensive dealings with Messrs. Thrum & Bullett, of Kidderminster, she applied to me to see her wishes carried into effect. Of course, there was no hesitation as to the hue- good, grave-stone colour : but "some,” she said, “had a sense against large patterns, as dissipating: and she herself had been much tried by a figure of beetles in a house where her husband and herself had slept. There were to be no stripes, because stripes do not wear well
, (and Friends are a prudent folk, and consider what is substantial). Her husband inclinable to a shell :”—but it “ had been with her " that “ representation of the Works of Nature might perplex the tender minds of her visitors ;” and, in short, after having weighed things duly, she had “centered down into a little mottle. Would I write to Bartholomew Thrum, and say as much ?
Good Woman! Was no drab-winged Angel at her elbow to whisper, that the avoidance of utter, unbroken monotony in that. "little mottle might be a sin to so scrupulous a person, of far deeper dye than the blazing scarlets and ensnaring yellow fringes which decked the drawing-room of “ Maria Mullins," her partner's wife?
Were the time and the thought spent in fixing the permissible vanity, nothing? Did it never occur to her that so that the heart and brain spend themselves on taking care to procure a luxury, it is of little matter whether the same be chocolate-brown, or gold-green-a gnat in lightness, or a camel for weight? It would seem not: since the Lady, though slow, timid, and narrow-minded, was benevolent, and, according to her consistent inconsistency, sincere. So Thrum & Bullett were taxed to produce the ugliest manufacture on which human eyes ever alighted ; and, after some seven and eight-pence had been spent in their protesting against sending out a piece of work which would do them no credit, home the thing came at last : and was laid down in Mistress Gotobed’s “staid sitting room,” in Acre Lane.
Well—not to wear the story on the carpet threadbare-never NO. XXIX.VOL. V.