Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee, - Thou single wilt prove none."

It is interesting to note that the other great musiclover among poets, Browning, uses almost the same note of praise, in contrasting musical combinations (chords) with simple tones or melodies. The passage is found in "Abt Vogler."

"Here is the finger of God; a flash of the will that can; Existent behind all laws; that made them, and lo! they are. And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to Man, That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a

star.

Consider it well, each note of our scale in itself is naught,
It is everywhere in the world, loud, soft, and all is said.
Give it to me to use: I mix it with two in my thought,

And there! Ye have heard and seen. Consider and bow the head."

"The Passionate Pilgrim" can scarcely be called a Shakespearian work. Printed in 1599, by the unscrupulous publisher, William Jaggard, a man who seized his material wherever he could find it, and gave it to the public under whatever author's name would sell it best, it is one of the most tantalising works in literature,' for we know that our poet wrote some part of it, and cannot of surety say just which numbers belong to him.

'Two similar cases exist among great musical works. Mozart's 12th Mass, and his Requiem were both partially composed by him ; the question still puzzles the commentators, which parts are Mozart's.

There is one sonnet in this collection which has often been quoted (even in Germany) as a proof of Shakespeare's appreciation of the innate relations of poetry and music. It runs :

66

If Music and sweet Poetry agree,

As they must needs, the Sister and the Brother,
Then must the love be great 'twixt thee and me,
Because thou lov'st the one and I the other.
Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch
Upon the Lute doth ravish human sense;
Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such,
As passing all conceit, needs no defence.
Thou lov'st to hear the sweet melodious sound,
That Phoebus' lute, the queen of music, makes;
And I in deep delight am chiefly drowned,
Whenas himself to singing he betakes.

One god is god of both, as poets feign;
One knight loves both, and both in thee remain."

It is a pity to spoil so much of good quotation and comment, but this poem, together with the charming "As It Fell upon a Day" (also frequently attributed to Shakespeare), is probably the work of Richard Barnfield, whose poetical volumes were published between 1594 and 1598. The thought embodied in the verse is, however, very much like that of Shakespeare, and it is not impossible that he had some hand in it.

'John Dowland, was the chief lutenist of the time; he was also an excellent composer for this instrument and in the vocal forms. He was born 1562, died 1626. His son, Robert Dowland, also became famous in the same field as his father.

The close connection between poetry and music, thus voiced in the sixteenth century, has had many echoes in our own time. Wagner has said, "Music is the handmaid of Poetry," and "in the wedding of the two arts, Poetry is the man, Music the woman; Poetry leads and Music follows;" and Herbert Spencer himself, in his essay on "Education," thus arraigns modern compositions where music and poetry disagree:

"They are compositions which science would forbid. They sin against science by setting to music ideas that are not emotional enough to prompt musical expression, and they also sin against science by using musical phrases that have no natural relation to the ideas expressed: even where these are emotional. They are bad because they are untrue, and to say they are untrue is to say they are unscientific."

Robert Franz, in a letter written, just before his death, to the author, says: "I am convinced that there is a much closer relationship between poetry and music than the average mind can comprehend."

The above are not the only instances of Shakespeare's love of counterpoint, or of the combination of poetry and music. In "Richard II.” (Act ii. Sc.1), the dying Gaunt sends message to the king thus:

"Gaunt. O, but they say, the tongues of dying men Enforce attention like deep harmony:

Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain;
For they breathe truth, that breathe their words in pain.

He, that no more must say, is listen'd more
Than they, whom youth and ease have taught to glose;
More are men's ends mark'd, than their lives before:
The setting sun, and music at the close."

In "Henry V." (Act i. Sc. 2) Exeter compares good government to the interlacing of parts in wellconstructed music.

"For government, though high, and low, and lower,
Put into parts doth keep in one consent;
Congruing in a full and natural close,
Like music.

Through many other allusions one might trace this comprehension of the balance and symmetry of music, but the quotations already cited are the most important, although one may question the Shakespearian right to the citation from "The Passionate Pilgrim."

CHAPTER VI.

Musical Knowledge of Shakespeare (continued) - Surer in Vocal than in Instrumental Work - Technical Vocal Terms - "Setting" a Tune Burdens — Division, Key, and Gamut — Plainsong.

THE statement made at the beginning of the preceding chapter, that Shakespeare was surer of his ground in the vocal than in the instrumental field, is borne out by the ease and frequency with which he employs terms taken from the singer's technique. If we may judge by a sentence placed in the mouth of Viola ("Twelfth Night," Act i. Sc. 2), the poet even knew of voices that were seldom heard in England in his time, and the duke, speaking to the heroine, in the fourth scene of the same act, describes her voice with

"thy small pipe

Is as the maiden's organ, shrill, and sound
And all is semblative a woman's part."

One of the scenes that is brimful of musical terms, and one in which almost all these terms belong to the singer's art, is found in "Two Gentlemen of Verona" (Act i. Sc. 2), where Lucetta endeavours, by trickery, to bring the note written by Proteus

« AnteriorContinuar »