Imagens das páginas
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rhythm in slow time, and in the preceding arpeggio strain it appears with singular advantage.

Of all instruments the harp requires to be treated with the greatest tenderness. Its character is not that of force and loudness. It speaks with a lisping tongue, and its greatest excellence is that airy lightness which lies in its pianissimo. Men handle it too roughly; their mode of clawing it destroys its beauty, and it is only by the soft touch of a female hand that its delicate notes are drawn out.

Chapter XXVI.
THE ORGA N.

Of all instruments this is the most noble, possessing powers of the greatest extent and variety. How the sober dignity of its tones harmonizes with the dark massive pile which we walk around and view with wonder! While gazing on the heavy towers on high, its hollow tones within speak of mass and vespers, long gone by, and all the train of superstitious chivalry. And as we pace the long-drawn aisles of light and shade, where the glowing beams of tinted windows fall on the youthful fair, kneeling to ask heaven's grace, so beautifully expressed by the poet,

Rose bloom fell on her hands together prest,
And on her silver cross soft amethyst,

And on her hair a glory like a saint.* How the heavenly tones in solemn grandeur roll along! It is only upon the continent that we can enjoy these sublime sensations. Holland, the Low Countries, and Germany, are spread over with these majestic instruments in profuse variety. At Haarlem there is one of stupendous size; the effect of which surpasses everything the mind can conceive. They are sounds which seem to roll from the skies into the deep abyss of harmony. In the puritanical service of the Dutch, nothing but psalmody is ever performed. For the purpose of leading their immense congregations of not less than three thousand voices singing in unison, these organs are furnished with an enormous pipe called the Vox humana, which so predominates over the rolling thunder of the double diapasons, that you might conceive it to be the voice of a monster, concealed in this mountain of sounds. The grandeur of this organ is much augmented by the vastness of the church in which it stands. Higher than Westminster Abbey, -it fills up the end of the large aisle, reaching from the ground to the roof, and from one side to the other, the pipes having the appearance of vast columns of silver.f The extemporary flourishes which the organist introduces between the lines of

* John Keats' Eve of St. Agnes.

† One hundred and eight feet high, and fifty feet broad, containing five thousand pipes.

the psalm, can only be compared to a commotion of the elements, or the rolling of the surges upon the shore. The largest organs in England are but mere toys, compared to this magnificent instrument, which strikes the senses with awe and wonder.

The writer, on Whitsunday, 1824, was in the organloft at Westminster Abbey, when the king and queen of Owhyee, Sandwich Isles, were introduced by the Dean, and placed near himself in the choir. The king, a vulgar-looking man, perfectly black, dressed in a black coat, white waistcoat, and pea-green gloves, which were not long enough to conceal his sooty wrists, stood up the whole time of the service gazing with amazement at the roof. The queen, a tall, fine, masculine figure, was so struck upon the first burst of the organ, as to be thrown into extreme agitation, so much so, that she would have leaped out of the stall in which she was placed, had not her maid of honor (an English lady) prevented her by laying hands upon her. Every time the organ recommenced with its full volume of sound, this frenzy returned, and caused much confusion. During the sermon she settled down into something like composure, and at the conclusion was led out by the dean and other dignitaries, to view the edifice. Habited in a fashionable morning dress, her majesty was only distinguishable from her attendants by her gaunt and gigantic figure, and the sudden ejaculations of surprise, which she was constantly making. The

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