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It is not without very sound and good reasons that Mr. Stephens comes to this conclusion, and we feel convinced that all who peruse these volumes will agree with the views he takes. He supplies his readers with most ample and satisfactory data, so that all who choose to exercise their judgment on the matter may decide the question as fully as though they had been the companions of Mr. Stephens in his interesting journey
It was a great advantage to Mr. Stephens to have for a companion su talented an illustrator as Mr. Catherwood; without whose aid, it is but just to say, the work would have lacked a very large share of its interest and value. Mr. Stephens's pen, graphic as it is, is far outdone by Mr Catherwood's pencil; and it would have been absolutely impossible to form anything like a correct idea of the ruins, had the illustrations been absent.. As it is, the work is, in every sense, a most complete one, and will reflect lasting honour upon both author and artist. It should be read by everybody. The airs Adeste Fideles, and Hayden's God Preserve the Emperor, arranged,
with variations for the Piano-forte, by Mr. W. BAYLEY; Monro and
May, Holborn Bars. The practice of writing variations to popular melodies is a very old one, and to it have been devoted the talents of the greatest composers. To the lover of Music, nothing is so delightful as taking up some favourite air, connected, perhaps, by ties of association with many a dear and cherished object, and of viewing it through every possible medium. A musical phrase is like any proposition tangible by the mind, and is suggestive of a variety of sentiments and ideas which spring up at its magic touch. This is what we should call the philosophy of variation writing.
It frequently happens, however, that the composer, not being directed by a temperate or judicious taste, has recourse to all manner of impossible combinations; and amidst the noise and clatter thus created, we not uncommonly lose sight of the original melody altogether. Such is not the case in the compositions before us. They display in their construction considerable ingenuity; but Mr. Bayley's good sense and musician-like science has prevented him from desecrating his subjects by the introduction of any foolish and ungraceful addenda. They contain no mechanical difficulties but what, with a little practise, can be overcome; and to all who practise the delightful art of piano-forte playing, we most cordially recommend these very tasteful compositions. The Young Vocalist's Cabinet : the Words and Music by C. G. Rowe. Ewer
and Co., Newgate Street. Album de Chant, for the use of Singing Classes: by the same Author.
Francis, St. John's Square. Across the Sea, a Song: by the same Author. Williams & Son, Cheapside. Oh! where have ye flown ? a Duet: by the same Author. Ewer & Co.,
Newgate Street. Mr. Rowe seems to possess all that energy and enthusiasm which are so requisite in a teacher of singing-classes. The first two of the above-named works form a collection of Songs, Duets, and Catches, well adapted to beginners on account of their simplicity. Surely Mr. Rowe might have found a better title than that of “ Album de Chant" for the second work on our list. This is the only salient point open to our attack, the compositions contained in the work displaying much skill and tastefulness. Both the Song and Duet contain many pleasing passages, but the latter composition is our favourite. It is characterised by much sweetness of expression; and the two voice parts are blended together with much skill, whilst the accompaniment is simple and unaffected.
Institutional Intelligence. CITY OF LONDON LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTION.-Discussion Class. The questions lately under consideration in this class were, “Is Mr. Charles Dickens more successful as a serious than as a comic writer?'' and “ Were the Crusades beneficial to mankind ?" On the first, which was opened by Mr. R. Peckham, a warm debate of two nights ensued; and the question was decided in the negative. The other question, which was opened by Mr. SULLIVAN, in the affirmative, gave rise to an extremely animated and interesting debate, which occupied the Class during three evenings of meeting. The speakers on the opener's side were, Mr. EvANS, Mr. GANDAR, Mr. C. WARWICK, Mr. Tuck, Mr. OPPENHEIM, Mr. F. Rowton and Mr. W. S. Hinton; whilst Mr. GATHERER, Mr. Everest, and others supported the negative. The affirmative of the question was carried by a large majority.
The question now under consideration is, “ Would the immediate and total abolition of Capital Punishment be beneficial to the community ?" We shall present our readers with a report of the discusssion in our
Lecture Class. Lectures have recently been delivered in this Class by Mr. H. Smith on “The Genius and Writings of Carlyle :" by Mr. E. N. Dennes, on “Ben Jonson," and by Mr. W.R. Hillier on “Domestic Music, with Illustrations "--all with very great success. It was our intention to have given an outline of Mr. Smith's truly eloquent Lecture on Carlyle, but we are unable to do so at present; we trust, however, to present it to our readers next month. Of Mr. Dennys's Lecture we cannot speak too highly. Ben Jonson never met with a more hearty or discerning admirer; and the warm plaudits of the audience must have convinced Mr. Dennys that he was fully appreciated. Mr. Hillier's Lecture on Music was signally successful. He drew together the largest audience ever yet assembled in the Lecture Class, and sent them away thoroughly delighted. We trust that this Class will prosper, for it is a most interesting and honourable feature in the Institution that has reared it.
Classe d'Elocution Française. On Monday, March the 20th, Mr. F. de YRIGOYTI gave his concluding lecture on RACINE, which attracted a very numerous audience, with a large proportion of Ladies. The Lecturer commenced by reciting some French verses, composed expressly for the occasion by a Member of the Class, a copy of which was presented to each Lady. We feel much pleasure in inserting this poetic effusion, as it contains great merit, and will, we are sure, be highly admired by the numerous French Scholars of this Institution, reflecting as it does the utmost honour on one of their Brother Members.
PHEDRE de son regard, l'inspire et le domine
A côté de son Cid couronna ATHALIE. This truly poetic and beautiful comparison between the two greatest tragic writers that France ever produced, CORNEILLE and Racine, was much appreciated by the audience; and these lines were received with loud applause. Mr. F. DE YRIGOYTI then proceeded to analyse Racine's finest production ATHALIE, the chef-d'æuvre of all the French tragedies extant, reading several passages, especially portions of the Lyric poetry contained in that piece. After a very judicious criticism of this tragedy, the Lecturer commented at some length on the only comedy which RACINE ever gave to the world, “ Les Plaideurs," remarking that it showed such infinite talent that it must be regretted that we have no other comedy of this author. The Lecturer conceived that the object of the piece was to satirize the Lawyers of the time, and the exquisitely ludicrous mock trial, in which there are five characters represented on the scene, namely, the Sham Judge, the two Sham Barristers, a man representing the Andience, and the Prompter, was given in the most spirited manner, the variations in the Lecturer's voice being so admirably well-managed, that each character was readily discernable. The Lecturer stated that several of the sentences in this comedy had been so much appreciated that they have become French proverbs. The Lecturer concluded by a very feeling and well placed appeal to the sympathies of his English audience in favour of French literature and Frenchmen, and he said, he hoped, the day was not far distant when every man in each nation would have on his shelf Shakspere aside of Racine! Milton aside of Corneille! A vote of thanks to the Lecturer, moved by Mr. F. Evans, and seconded by Mr. Robert Minton, was carried with loud acclamation. In addition to the lecture three French recitations, followed by criticisms, were delivered, and the meeting broke up evidently gratified with the proceedings.
Select Discussion Society.-This Society has lately been occupied in discussing the merits of the Scotch Church Question, which was treated in a very able and excellent manner. The spirit and talent with which the discussions are carried on in the meetings of this Society are remarkable, and we are most happy to learn that it continues to increase the number of its members.
GREENWICH SOCIETY FOR THE ACQUISITION AND DIFFUSION OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE.-This flourishing Society now numbers upwards of one thousand members. Its Classes and Reading-room continue to be well attended; its library and readers are steadily and rapidly increasing, and its large Hall is crowded every Tuesday evening by an audience of from eight hundred to one thousand persons. Full the latter number assembled on the two last evenings of meeting to listen to the Lectures, of which we shall present our readers with an outline, the subject being “Dramatic Literature," the Lecturer SHERIDAN KNOWLES.
What are the elements in a Drama which most powerfully conduces to
secure its successful appeal to the feelings of its hearers or readers? The principal one is the excellence of its plot, some will at once answer. Yet, examine the plots of some of the greatest productions of the greatest writers in this department of literature! Is that of “ Julius Cæsar" perfect ? How does the quarrel of Brutus and Cassius tend to develope it? How is this scene connected with the main action? Yet who would dare to wish that this excresence should be removed ?-to say, “ the effect will not be lessened by a loss which improves the plot ?" Turn to “Hamlet." May we not say, that in the central scenes the action drags; that in the catastrophe the king falls rather an expiation of the death of those falling around him than of him whose throne he presses through; the avenging the murder of the father by the son be that on which hinges the main interest of the play?
What is the distinctive character of Dramatic Poetry? The answer to this will include that of the former question. History and narrative poetry relates the actions of the past-the drama calls up the actors themselves. The former tells what man has done, or felt, or known—the latter breathes life again into the dead-they move, they feel, they act before us. We know them better than if in life they had been our associates. The former is narrative-the latter action; the one words the other life. The Historian but paints in words—the Dramatist re-creates. Life long past -forms long dust, at his summons again tread the earth. Before our eyes once more they breathe, and move, and have their being. All which may remind us of that which separates the imaginary world from the real-the creatures of the brain from the flesh and blood of earth-the ideal from the existing, is unseen. The life-like and the life become separated by a line scarcely perceptible to the imagination. In this lies the mystery we would unveil. It is this which gives the Drama a power over the feelings wielded with equal strength by no other kind of literature.
And have we not here, too, the reason clearly disclosed of the failure of so many would-be Dramatists? Look on the world and the dwellers in it. How many are there not having a distinct character !-a bias of particular passions influencing their actions in a way in which they influence those of few or no others around them. In the Drama, the reflex of life, if the author be fitted for his calling, this must also necessarily be the case. In the fabric of his brain-in his world, the inhabitants will thus appear, each, as in the actual one, isolated from all others, by the development in action of varying wishes, and fears, and passions. Truth to nature is absolutely required of the Dramatist. Those he calls up must be life-like; each obedient to the law of his nature to the bias of those feelings which sway him most powerfully. Each, as in reality, must by these be governed in his every word and action, in every situation into which he may be thrown.
Look at Shakspere's universe. Look at those dwelling in it. Do they not exist as in our world-approaching, but never blending; resembling it may be, but never merging into each other, in character or act ? Near they may approach-for the same passions are felt by all—but the differing degrees in which they are felt by each, shade, as it were, with a different hue, individuals sketched in the same colours. Here is truth to nature; the resemblance and the thing resembled are one. Life is mirorred so faithfully that we stand between scarcely distinguishing the copy from the model-the ideal from the real.
Here fails the pretender to the sceptre of Dramatic power,
He will not hide himself-content with speaking for the time the thoughts of others. No, his own presence must be seen. Every character must put aside its own nature to display his thoughts, his knowledge, and his words. Hence all become hollow puppets, out of whom speaks the same voice, aping successfully the character of each. But man will not thus be duped. The feelings bow down but to the true ruler. Tears and smiles
breathless Pity and tear-eyed Laughter no counterfeit may call up from the recesses of the human heart, for the deepest feelings of humanity scorn to be made the dupes of the vanity of ignorance.
And what should the language be of these creatures of the imagination? Ask the majority of critics. They will answer you unhesitatinglyPoetical ; that is, it must have trope, and simile, and allegory; it must be sonorous and swelling, or let it not lay claim to their approbation. To the false praise and false blame of these preferrers of the shell to the kernelof the form to the life—may in some measure be attributed the want of guccess in so many young writers, who are driven to forsake Nature to follow these would-be improvers upon her. Their language henceforth becomes what critics praise and Nature abhors. In the midst, in the whirlwind of a passion, their characters will pause to pick up a trope; in the utter agony of despair they will utter you a sweet conceit. Even character must, too, indiscriminately be gifted with the same love of flowery language, and the same power of pouring it forth ad nauseam. The rude rustic and the educated thinker—the digger and delver, and the haunter of courts,-nay, the very infant who waddles across the stage, must be loaded with these flowers of poesy—must be equally manufacturers of witty conceits and poetical prettinesses. Have these dictators of public taste other infallible rules for making a Shakspere? Oh yes! Thou shalt not be monosyllabic! Small words shalt thou abhor! How can so small a body be a fit dwelling for the soul it should contain! Yet Milton and Shakspere use, in many of their finest passages, these persecuted monosyllables—and so should all. Speak as Nature prompts, and you speak well. Both Lectures elicited great applause.
LINES, Suggested by a visit to the New Room, intended for the Library of the Greenwich
Society for the Acquisition and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.
Tread, with awe, its lowly floor,
Though no signs of greatness tell,
Thoughts immortal, there shall dwell.
Not bedecked with gold or stone-
Hold the great of earth alone.
Who the great wbo there abide ?
Names the nations own with pride.
Dust is all that e'er can die,
Their's is Immortality!
Fancies born in ages fled,
Deeds, whose doers are the dead.
Athens to be free-that stirred
Words that kingless Romans heard,
Tempe's vale, Ilyssus' stream,
In the groves of Academe.