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sounds being much enhanced when situated near to water, wants no confirmation, when we recount the case of the sentinel, who was charged with sleeping upon his post on the ramparts of Windsor castle. The life of this man was saved, by the extraordinary circumstance of his having heard, at midnight, St. Paul's clock strike thirteen, when it should have struck only twelve. The fact was proved by several witnesses, although the distance apparently would have rendered the circumstance impossible. * It was supposed that the course of the river, and the stillness of the night, assisted the conveyance of the sound, which, like a miracle, saved the delinquent from death.† The Hollanders exhibit the most enthusiastic fondness for bells—every church and public building is hung round with them in endless variety; and as this music seems to be the national taste, they are never left at rest. They are kept striking and chiming every quarter of an hour the day through; but this is not enough :-on the Stadthouse, a performer is stationed, to play to the market-people a superior sort of bell-music upon the carillons. This is done by a contrivance similar to the keys of a piano-forte, which the carilloneur strikes with all his might, though an Herculean task, often with science and dexterity. In Amsterdam, it is thought, not less than a thousand bells are kept constantly ringing, which create such an incessant jingle, as to be intolerable to strangers. and enough to distract the ears of any one but those of a Dutchman.* It is extraordinary, that a people, so grave and thoughtful, can feel amused with such a senseless jargon as this confusion produces. Fortunately for us, our bells in England are of a more sombre cast, and are found of great use in proclaiming the hour in large and populous cities. St. Paul's has a fine tone upon the chord
* Dr. Clarke, in sailing from Asia Minor to Egypt, heard the sound of a sea fight at the distance of one hundred and thirty miles.
| Captain Parry speaks of the great distance sounds could be heard during intense cold. We often heard people distinctly converse in a common tone of voice at the distance of a mile ;' but may not this striking effect be partly attributed to the even and glassy surface, there being no objects to interrupt the undulations of sound, as well as the density of the atmosphere ?
denominated the note C; our scale having risen so much since that time, as apparently to sink the bell a note below the present C. The finest bell in England is great Tom of Lincoln, considerably older than St. Paul's, so much so, that this bell,
ce the greatest China—as wel probably
* The Dutch, who were once the greatest traders in Europe, imported their tulips and taste for gardening from China—as well as their canals—the form of their pavilions and pagoda roofs, and probably their fondness for bells.
The want of large bells to strike the hour in the modern parts of London, is an inconvenience every one feels. There is not a bell at the west end of the town, that is large enough to be heard at the distance of five hundred yards.
which was originally C, has sunk to A upon the lowest space. The elevated situation of this bell gives it an horizon of nearly fifty miles in every direction. It is never rung, lest it should bring down the steeple in which it hangs, and never tolled but upon the death of a royal personage. When rung in this partial way, its tones roll over the surrounding distance with a sublime effect.
Oft on a plat of rising ground
Swinging slow with sullen roar. * * This famous bell, the note of which was like the chord of A upon a full organ, lately fell from its support and was destroyed:
A bell, similar to Tom of Lincoln, is that which Purcell has celebrated in his catch of • Gabriel John,' some curious remarks upon which, by Dr. Parr, and addressed to the writer, are extracted from a letter written by that learned divine, to Dr. Hill, of Leicester:
• There is a piece of vocal music which I have often joined in singing with minor canons, and other musitianists at Norwich, part of the words, and indeed all I remember, are these :
Under this stone lies Gabriel John,
Who died in the year one thousand and one. We were contented with the sounds, which, to say the truth, were sweet and plaintive; but, like good catholics, we never inquired into their meaning, nor had any notion of history in the choice of the words “ Gabriel John,” nor any metaphysical puzzles whether Gabriel and John implied one person, or more than one. “The Christian baptism and nomination of bells is an old practice. The days of prejudice and ignorance are past, and bells are no longer used for the purposes of craft, or regarded with religious awe.
Though introduced under the frauds of religion, they remain a harmless relic of superstition and folly; and the same sounds which filled the peasant and votary with fear in a dark age, now form the pious and mirthful strains of an enlightened community.
Thus you have heard of Tom of Lincoln, and Bell Harry at Canterbury, which stands on the outside of the middle and highest tower, and which calls together the congregations. And thus, in the plenitude of my antiquarian learning and my ecclesiastical orthodoxy, I have put brazen tablets upon my eight parish bells at Hatton, in the following order :-Philip, James, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul. And now you are prepared for the evolution of the mysterious words “ Gabriel John.” Between Christ Church College, Oxford, and the river Thames, was formerly a celebrated abbey, called Osney Abbey ; and in the tower of the said Osney Abbey were six bells, of which the fifth was named Gabriel, and the sixth John. John being the tenor hell, probably gave the key-note to this piece, upon the principle that D gave the key-note to “ Hark! the bonny Christ Church bells."* In the Encyclopedia, these bells are mentioned as being very famous ; their several names were, Douce, Clement, Austin, Haubiler, Gabriel, John. Tell friend Berry, that I am a faithful and zealous believer in the effects which ecclesiastical history ascribes to the power of these sacred vessels.
Laudo Deum verum, plebem voco, conjugo clerum,
* Here Dr. Parr is mistaken. The key of Christ Church bells is in C, and was composed by the eloquent and learned Dean of that college, Dr. Aldrich; and, no doubt, represents the tone of the bells at that time, 1989,
HAUTBOY, OR OBOE.
In the voices of the wind instruments, we may notice a marked distinction of accent, upon which their character chiefly depends. This is produced by the formation of the mouth-piece with which they are blown. The meek tone of the oboe is unlike the energetic voice of the clarionet, or the soft tones of the flute; and the fire of the trumpet bears no resemblance to the mellow notes of the horn. Hautbois is a French word, signifying high wood, a term describing the pipe which plays the highest part in the band; but since the flute has been called upon to perform its notes in altissimo, this is no longer the case, and, in rank, the oboe takes its station below that of the flute. For a century, the oboe was a mere lackey, or helper,* to the violin; and, in loud music, its biting tones were sensibly heard, and increased the sound, but since it has risen to the rank of a solo instrument-seldom more than two are admitted into the largest bands. Not so joyous as the clarionet, or piercing as the high notes of the flute, it is more adapted to passages of tender expression.
* In the year 1791, forty of these instruments were assembled and performed together in the band at Westminster Abbey.