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Haydn used to say that melody was the soul of music, without which the most learned and singular combinations are but unmeaning, empty sound. What but the elegant simplicity and pathetic tenderness of the Scotch and Irish airs constitute their charm ? This great composer was so extravagantly fond of Scotch, Irish, and Welsh melodies, that he harmonised many of them, and had them hung up in frames in his room. We remember to have heard some. where of an officer in a Highland regiment, who was sent with a handful of brave soldiers to a penal settlement in charge of a number of convicts; the Highlanders grew sick at heart; the touching strains of “Lochaber nae mair,” heard far from home, made them so melancholy, that the officer in command forbade its being played by the band. So, likewise, with the national melody, the "Rans-desFaches” among the Swiss mountaineers. When sold by their despotic chiefs, and torn from their dearest connections, suicide and desertion were so frequent when this melody was played, that orders were issued in all their regiments, prohibiting any one from playing an air of that kind on pain of death. La Valadie du pays,
-that sickening after home! But Handel's music has received more lasting and general applause than that of any other composer. By Boyce and Battishall his memory was adored ; Mozart was enthusiastic in his praise ; Haydn could not listen (who can ?) to his glorious Messiah* without weeping ; and Beethoven has been heard to declare, that were he ever to come to England he should uncover his head, and kneel down at his tomb!
* Blessings on the memory of the bard, and “Palms eternal
Bishop Ken says,
• Sweet music with blest poesy began,
And he adds in plain prose, that the Garden of Eden was no stranger to singing and the voice of melody. Jubal was the father of those who handled the barp and organ.' Long before the institution of the Jewish church, God received praise both by the human voice, and the • loud timbrel;' and when that church was in her highest prosperity, David, the King of Israel, seems to have been the composer of her psalmo. dy-both poetry and music. He occupied the orchestra of the temple, and accounted it a holy privilege to play before the Lord' upon the harp with a solemn sound.' Luther said, 'I verily think that, next to divinity, no art is comparable to music.? And what a glorious specimen of this divine art is his transcendant • Hymn! breathing the most awful grandeur, the deepest pathos, the most majestic adoration! The Puritans—for devils and Puritans hate music-are piously economical in their devotions, and eschew the principle not to give unto the Lord that which costs us nothing! Their gift is snuffled through the vocal nose- O most sweet voices!'
† A few old amateurs of music and mirth may possibly remember Collins's Even. ing Brush, that rubbed off the rust of dull care from the generation of 1790. His bill comprised • Actors of the old school, and actors of the new; tragedy tailors, and butchers in heroics; ghosts without their lessons, and readers without their eyes ; bell.wethers in buskins, wooden actors, petticoat caricatures, lullaby jinglers, bog. glers and blunders, buffoons in blank verse, &c. &c.' The first of the three Dibdins opened a shop of merriment at the Sans Souci, where he introduced many of his beautiful ballads, and sung them to his own tunes. The navy of England owe lasting obligations to this harmonious Three. It required not the aid of poetry and music flourish round his urn,” who first struck his lyre to celebrate the wooden walls of unconquered and unconquerable Merrie England ! If earth hide him,
“ May angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground, now sacred by his reliques made ;"
if ocean cover him, calm be the green wave on its surface! May his spirit find rest where souls are blessed, and his body be shrined in the holiest cave of the deep and silent sea!'
«« Hark! the lark at Heaven's gate sings.'
'I was not unmindful of the merry chorister, Eugenio! 'Tis a welcome to the bright orb of day; a note of gratitude to the giver of all good. But the lark has made a pause; and I have your promise of a song. Now is the time to fill up the one, and to fulfil the other.'
Sweet is the breath of early morn
That o'er yon heath refreshing blows;
The violet blue, the blushing rose.
Its vanities and wishes close:
Where wounded hearts should seek repose.
‘Short and sad! Eugenio. We must away from these bewitch. ing solitudes, or thy note will belong more to the nightingale than to the lark! Proceed we to those localities where musicians and
(and how exquisitely has Shield set the one to the other !) to stimulate our gallant seamen; but it needed much to awaken and keep alive enthusiasm on shore, and ele. vate their moral character-for landsmen who live at home at ease,' were wont to consider the sailor as a mere tar-barrel, a sca-monster. How many young bosoms have been inspired by the lyrics of the three Dibdins ! how have they soothed the dy. ing hero, and embalmed his memory! What can surpass the homely pathos of I thought my heart would break when I sung, Yo! heave O! • The last Whistle,' and • Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling ? stirring the manly heart like the sound of a trumpet! The last of the three Dibdins has just received a somewhat economical reward—a yearly pension of one hundred pounds. He had done the state some service,' and was descending the downhill of life, destitute of those cheering appliances that the author of · May we ne'er want a friend, nor a bottle to give him!' might have reasonably hoped for.' low sad to cry. Poor Tom's a-cold" and remember the hearts he had warmed with patriotism and humanity! His lyre is not unstrungthere is yet music in the aged minstrel. Let him strike up, and we will ensure him a response ; for Wellington has not conquered, nor Nelson died in vain.
dancers most do congregate.* Let imagination carry thee back to the reign of Queen Anne, when the Spectator and Sir Roger de Co. verley embarked at the Temple-Stairs on their voyage to Vauxhall. We pass over the good knight's religious horror at beholding what a few steeples rose on the west of Temple-Bar; and the waterman's wit, (a common thing in those days, t) that made him almost wish himself a Middlesex magistrate! “ We were now arrived at Spring Garden,” says the Spectator, “ which is exquisitely pleasant at this time of the year. When I considered the fragrancy of the walks and bowers, with the choir of birds that sung upon the trees, and the loose tribe of people that walked under their shades, I could not but look upon the place as a kind of Mahometan paradise. Sir Roger told me it put him in mind of a little coppice by his house in the country, which his chaplain used to call an aviary of nightingales.'
'And mark, in what primitive fashion they concluded their walk with a glass of Burton ale, and a slice of hung-beef!
• Bonnel Thornton furnishes a ludicrous account of a stingy old citizen, loosening his purse-strings to treat his wife and family to Vauxhall. But " Colin's Description to his wife of Greenwood Hall, or the pleasures of Spring Gardens," gives by far the most lively picture of what this popular place of amusement was a century ago.
O Mary ! soft in feature,
I've been at dear Vauxhall ;
Not that they Eden call.
At night such new vagaries,
Such gay and harmless sport ;
At this their monarch's court.
• There were rare dancing doings at Barber's Hall,
in the year 1745 The original dancing.room at the field-end of King Street, Bloomsbury, 1742 Hickford's great room, Panton Street, Haymarket,
1743 Mitre Tavern, Charing Cross,
1743 Richmond Assembly,
1745 Lambeth Wells,
1747 Duke's long room, Paternoster-Row,
1748 The large room 'next door to thc' Hand and Slippers, Long Lane, West Smithfield,
1750 Lambeth Wells, 'where a Penny Wedding, in the Scotch manner, was cele brated for the benefit of a young couple,
1752 Old Queen's Head, in Cook Lane, Lambeth,
1755 Large Assembly Room at the Two Green Lamps, near Exeter 'Change, (at the particular desire of Jubilee Dickey !)
1749 and at Mr. Bell's, at the sign of the Ship, in the Strand, where, in 1755, a Scotch Wedding was kept. The bride to be dressed without any linen; all in ribands, and green flowers, with Scotch masks. There will be three bag-pipes; a band of Scotch music, &c. &c. To begin precisely at two o'clock. Admission, two shillings and sixpence.'
U such were the joys of our dancing days! + What a sledge-hammer reply was Doctor Johnson's to an aquatic wag upon a similar occasion. 'Fellow! your mother, under the pretence (!!!) of keeping a
is a receiver of stolen goods!' I May 20, 1712,
Methought when first I entered,
Such splendours round me shone,
Where rose another sun :
Whilst music, never cloying,
As skylarks sweet I hear;
They'll always soothe my ear.
Where'er our glances fall,
Bedeck this green-wood hall!
There John his doxy loves;
Who steals a pair of gloves!
O'er this enchanted grove ;
All in his proud alcove.
I doft my hat, desiring
He'd tune up Buxom Joan;
Odzooks! a man of stone.
But now the tables spreading,
They all fall too with glee;
Such dainties did I see!
I longed (poor starving rover!)
But none heed country elves;
Love only dear themselves.
As grasshoppers they’re gay ;
The Lady of the May. I
Soft twinkling through the trees,
To taste delights like these.' The days of this modern Arcadia are numbered. The axe is about to be laid to the roots of its beautiful trees; its
green avenues are to be turned into blind alleys; its variegated lamps must give place to some solitary gas-burner, to light the groping inhabitants to their dingy homes; and the melodious strains of its once celebrated vocalists shall be drowned in the discordant dismal drone of some
* Alluding to three pictures in the Pavilions-viz. the King and the Miller of Mansfield—the Sailors in a tippling house in Wapping—and the Girl stealing a kiss from a sleeping gentleman. + The statue of Handel.
Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales sitting under her splendid Pavilion.
ballad-singing weaver out of employ, and the screeching responses of his itinerant and interesting family. What would the gallant, , gay Mr. Lowe, and his sprightly Euphrosyne, Nan Catley, say, could they be told to what ‘base uses,' their harmonious groves are condemned to be turned? Truly their wonder would be on a par with Paganini's, should ever that musical magician encounter on the other side Styx "My Lord Skaggs and his Broomstick !'*
+ This celebrated professor played on his musical broomstick at the Haymarket Theatre, November, 1751. The following song has his portrait at the top, with on one side a bear dancing on a broom, and on the other a French horn.
The famous Skegginelio, that grunts so pretty
And that's a pity!
İn picture shops so grin, O,
At Eh, Eh, Eh, Eh ?
A tragi.comical Dialogue between My Lord Skaggs and his Broomstick,
By H. Howard
(Tune-Biddy over the hopper, fc.)
And I'll bet you a crown
That half the town
(Good morrow, Gossip Joan.)
The Broomstick then replies, “ Sir,
Master Skaggs !
And learn to know your letters,
Master Skaggs !"
“ I know my letters well, sir;