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touches the heart or the passions very sensibly,
must be applied with a very judicious and very sparing hand. The sweetest and fullest chords must be feldom repeated, otherwise the certain effect is fatiety and disgust. They who are best acquainted with the human heart, need not be told that this observation is not confined to mufic.
• On the whole we may observe, that musical genius confifts in the invention of melody suited to produce a defired effect on the mind. Musical taste consists in conducting the melody with spirit and elegance, in such a manner as to produce this single effect in its full force.
Judgment in music is shewn by adapting fuck harmonious accompanyments to the melody as may give it a variety without destroying its simplicity ; in the preparation and resolution of discords, and the artful transitions from one key to another. -Tarte in a performer confifts in a knowledge of the compofer's design, and expresing it in any spiriced and pathetic mannet, without any view of fhewing the dexterity of his own execution. But though all these circumstances of compofition and performance should concur in a piece of music, yet it muft al. ways fail in affecting the passions, unless its meaning and direction be ascertained by adapting it to sentiment and pathetic compofition. It exerts its greatest powers when used as an affiftant to poetry: hence the great fuperiority of vocal to instrumental music: the human voice is capable of more juftness, and a more delicate musical expression, than any instrument whatever; the perfection of an instrument depending on its neareft approach to it.- Vocal mufic is much confined by the language it is performed in. The harmony and fweetness of the Greek and Italian languages gives them great advantages over the English and French, which are harih, unmusical, and full of consonants; and this among other inconveniences occafions perpetual facrifices of the quantity to the modulation. This is one great cause of the flightness and want of variety of the French music, which they in vain endeavour to cover and supply by laboured and complex accompanyments.--As vocal mulic is ihe first and most natural music of every country, it is reasonable to expect some analogy between it and the poetry of the country, to which it is always adapted. The great fuperiority of the Scotch fongs to the English may in a great meafure be accounted for from this principle. The Scotch fongs are simple and tender, full of strokes of nature and passion :So is their music.-Most of the English fongs abound in quaint and childish conceits. They all aim at wit, and sometimes attain it; but mufic has no expression for wit, and the mufic of their songs is therefore flat and infipid, and so little esteemed by the English themselves, that it is in a perpetual fluctuation, and
has never had any characteristic ftile. On the other hand, England has produced many, admirable composers of church mufic. Their great attachment to counterpoint has often led them into a wrong track; in other respects, they have shewn both genius and taste. Religion indeed opens the ampleft field for musical, as well as poetical genius, it produces almost all the variety of subjects, which music can express, the sublime, the joyous, the chearful, the serene, the devout, the plaintive, the forrowful. It likewise warms the heart with that enthusiasm la peculiarly necessary in all works of genius. Accordingly the finest compositions in music we have, are in the church stile. Handel far advanced in life, when his conftitution and spirits seemed nearly exhausted, was fo roused by this subject, that he exhibited proofs of extent and sublimity of genius in his Messiah, superior to any he had shewed in his most vigorous and happy period of life. We have another instance of the same kind in Marcello, a noble Venetian, who set the first fifty psalms to music. In this work he has united the fimplicity and pathos of the ancient music with the grace and variety of the modern. In compliance with the taste of the times he was sometimes forced to leave that simplicity of stile which he loved and admired, but by doing so he has enriched the art with a variety of the most expressive and unusual barmonies. The great object in vocal mufic is to make the music expressive of the sentiment. How little this is usually regarded appears by the practice of singing all the parts of a song to the same music, though the sentiments and passions to be expressed be ever so different. If the music has any character at all, this is a manifest violation of taste and common sense, as it is obvious every different sentiment and paffion should be expressed in a stile peculiarly suited to itself. But the most common blunder in composers, who aim at expreffion, is their mistaking imitation for it.-'
Our Author's design in what he has advanced on this subject is to shew, that the principles of taste in mufic, like those of the other fine arts, have their foundation in nature and common fenfe ; that thefe principles have been grossly violated by those unworthy hands to whose direction alone this delightful art is entrusted; and that men of sense and genius should not imagine they want an ear or a musical taste, because they do not relish much of the modern mufic, as in many cases this is rather a proof of the goodness both of the one and the other.
Having made fome observations on the real objects produced by a cultivated taste in some of the fine arts, he proceeds to confider its influence on the pleasure arising from such works of genius as are in a particular manner addreffed to the imagination and the heart. After this he goes on to consider that principle of human nature which seems in a particular manner the characteristic of the species, viz. the sense of religion. And here he does not enquire into the evidence of religion as founded in truth; he only examines it as a principle founded in human nature, and the influence it has, or may have, on the happiness of mankind. His observations on this subject appear to be very pertinent and instructive; and it is with difficulty we can resist the temptation to enrich our collection with some of them: but we have already extended the article to a length proportionate to so small a volume, though, perhaps, not to the importance of the matter which it contains. With regard to the language of this performance, though it comes from a northern pen, we perceive in it few Scotticisms ; ' presently possest,' p. 4, for polbed at present, being the most material defect of this kind that hath occurred to our notice.
Dialogues of the Dead*. The Fourth Edition, corrected. To which are added, Four new Dialogues. 8vo. 5 s. Sandby,
'E have had occasion, in our account of former Dia
logues t, to take notice of the difficulty of excelling in the colloquial way of writing, which, for reasons there fpecified, has been so little cultivated in our language ; and we expreffed our doubt whether the method of dialogue is well adapted to such subjects as require deep investigation, and a connective chain of reasoning,
The additional dialogues now before us do not remove our doubts in this respect but rather tend to convince us that this mode of composition is not suited to the discussion of grave and weighty points of argument; for, the frequent interruptions necessary to keep up the spirit of dialogue, too often withdraw our thoughts, and do not produce conviction so readily, in minds endued with a habit of attention, as a more close and connected method of writing. In short, the way of colloquy feems better calculated to ridicule error, than to illustrate truth.
With respect to the four additional dialogues under present consideration, they are in no degree inferior to those which precede them. The first contains many just and entertaining reflections. Cæsar being hard pressed by Scipio, who concludes from Cæsar's own relation, that the aim of all his actions was tyranny, makes the following answer :
· Let us not deceive ourselves with founds and names, That great mịnds fhould aspire to sovereign power is a fixed law of
* The author, Lord LYTTELTON.
nature. It is an injury to mankind, if the highest abilities are not placed in the highest stations. Had you, Scipio, been kept down by the Republican jealousy of Cato the Cenfor, Hannibal would have never been recalled out of Italy, nor defeated in Africk. And if I had not been treacherously murdered by the daggers of Brutus and Cassius, my sword would have avenged the defeat of Craffus, and added the empire of Parthia to that of Rome. Nor was my government tyrannical. It was mild, humane, and bounteous. The world would have been happy under it, and wished its continuance : but my death broke the pillars of the public tranquillity, and brought upon the whole empire a direful scene of calamity and confusion.
Scipio. You fay that great minds will naturally aspire to Tovereign power. But, if they are good, as well as great, they will regulate their ambition by the laws of their country. The laws of Rome permitted me to aspire to the conduct of the war against Carthage; but they did not permit you to turn her arms against herself, and subject her to your will. The breach of one law of liberty is a greater evil to a nation than the loss of a province; and, in my opinion, the conquest of the whole world would not be enough to compensate for the total loss of their freedom.'
Cæfar not knowing how to evade the force of these arguments, recriminates on Scipio :
• You talk finely, Africanus-but ask yourself, whether the height and dignity of your mind, that noble pride which accompanies the magnanimity of a hero, could always stoop to a nice conformity with the laws of your country? Is there a law of liberty more effential, 'more sacred than that, which obliges every member of a free community to submit himself to a trial, upon a legal charge brought against him for a public misdemeanour? In what manner did you answer a regular accusation from a tribune of the people, who charged you with embezzling the money of the state? You told your judges, that on that day you had vanquished Hannibal and Carthage, and bade them follow you to the temples to give thanks to the Gods. Nor could you ever be brought to stand a legal trial, or justify those accounts, which you had torn in the senate, when they were questioned there by two magistrates in the name of the Roman people. Was this acting like the subject of a free ftate? Had your victory procured you an exemption from justice ? Had it given into your hands the money of the republic without account? If it had, you were king of Rome. Pharsalia, Thapsus, and Munda, could do no more for me.'
After some altercation, Scipio is brought to the following confeffion : · I acknowledge, my conduct in that business was not abso
lutely blameless: The generous pride of virtue was too ftrong in my mind. It made me forget I was creating a dangerous precedent in declining to plead to a legal accusation, brought, against me by a magistrate invested with the majesty of the whole Roman people. It made me unjustly accuse my country of ingratitude, when she had thewn herself grateful, even bea yond the true bounds of policy and justice, by not inflicting upon me any penalty for so irregular a proceeding. But, at the same time, what a proof did I give of moderation, and respect for her liberty, when my utmost refentment could impel me to nothing more violent than a voluntary retreat, and quiet banishment of myself from the city of Rome! Scipio Africanus offended, and living a private man, in a country-house at Liternum, was an example of more use to secure the equality of the Roman commonwealth, than all the power of its tribunes. •
Cæfar. I had rather have been thrown down the Tarpeian çock, than have retired, as you did, to the obscurity of a village, after acting the first part on the greatest theatre of the world.
Scipio. An ufurper exalted on the higheft throne of the uni, verse is not so glorious as I was in that obicure Retirement. I hear indeed, that you, Cæsar, have been deified by the flattery of some of your successors. But the impartial judgment of history has consecrated my name, and ranks me in the first class of heroes and patriots : whereas the highest praise her records, even under the dominion usurped by your family, have given to you, is, that your courage and talents were equal to the object your ambition aspired to, the empire of the world, and that you exercised a fovereignty unjustly acquired with a magnanimeus clemency. But it would have been better for your country, and better for mankind, if you had never existed. '
This seems to be a very just estimate of Cæsar's character ; but, in our judgment, the instance of Sipio's refusing to anfwer before the judicatory of his country, might have been presel ftronger against him by his antagonist: for, surely, he who refuses to plead before the lawful tribunal of his country, is as great a rebel againft the constitution, as he who attempts to subvert it by force of arms.
The next dialogue, which passes between Plato and Diogenes, conveys some threwd obfervations on the nature and. effect of Aattery; with which Diogenes having charged Plato, the latter replies in the following jult and spirited manner :
. Do you pretend, Diogenes, that, because you were never in a court, you never, flattered? How did you gain the affe&ion of the people of Athens, but by foothing their ruling paffion, the desire of hearing their superiors abused? Your cysic railing was to them the most acceptable fattery. This you well un