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zalo, a man of some generosity and openness of mind, and of a chivalrous temper, after having arrived by rebellion to the supreme command in Peru, was betrayed by his followers and executed as a traitor. In these various feuds, most of the original gang of pirates who conquered the country either fell in battle or were executed on the scaffold; their stolen property passed into the possession of others; and even the few who did not die a violent death were under the control of two masters—gambling and licentiousness—which gave them poverty and disease for wages. As their crimes brought no good to themselves, so, also, they laid Peru under a curse from which she has not yet recovered. The seeds of a new empire can never be sown by the outcasts of an old one; and those who look upon a country with the eyes of a pickpocket, will soon ruin everything in it which nature will allow human folly and wickedness to destroy. The history of the conquest of Peru, as presented in the vivid pages of Mr. Prescott, is capable of conveying many lessons on the retribution which follows conquest and rapine, which late events in our own history show that we have incompletely learned. It would seem that every man of common intelligence and common patriotism would rather see the power of his country palsied, than made the instrument of crime. Such a misuse of strength never has and never can be successful. The poisoned chalice will inevitably be returned to our own lips, for the world is ruled by divine, not demoniacal, agencies. Look at the subject in what light we may, from the view of religion or the view of common sense, we must still admit that we cannot balk or elude those eternal laws of the universe, which deny lasting power to the energies of robbery and the schemes of rapine. The laws of God, in their slow, silent, and terrible operation, will still move tranquilly on, turning all our glory to shame, all our strength to weakness; though we, in the mad exultation of our guilt, turn night into day with our bonfires, and rend the skies with our huzzas.
ART. WI.-Sacred Harmony; a Collection of Music adapted to the Greatest Variety of Metres now in Use: and, for Special Occasions, a Choice Collection of Sentences, Anthems, Motets, and Chants. Harmonized, and arranged with an Accompaniment for the Organ or Piano Forte, by SAMUEL Jackson. With an Improved System of Elementary Instruction. NewYork: Lane & Tippett. 1848.
TheRE is no subject within the circle of human science which opens a wider and richer field for discussion and investigation, than that of music. All other sciences are the creatures of the intellect—are the result of study, analytical examination, and reflection. Astronomy, geology, mineralogy, architecture, chemistry, &c., are of this description. The human intellect created them, and history takes note of their origin. All these sciences have distinct and exclusive reference to the outward world,—the visible heavens and earth, their material relations and phenomena. They never, and can never, transcend the circle of the finite and limited. But music belongs not to this category. Before any of the above sciences existed, it was ' and no history can discover to us its origin. It is clearly not the creature of human study, the effect of scientific investigation, however much these may have aided us in comprehending it. Like the religious sentiment itself, it is allied to the unfathomable mystery within us, to the infinite which is above and around us. In this respect it even takes the precedence of poetry, which has also around it the sacred investiture of mystery: for poetry has never been but a lofty and beautiful, though somewhat vague, form of thought, a melodious expression of ideas. Read the fragmentary poems of Hesiod, or the hymns of Orpheus, which are among the oldest extant, and we shall find that these venerable poetic pieces are merely sung philosophy, -carnest attempts to unravel the marvels of the universe, or explain the science of the world. But music was anterior to all this. It filled the soul of man as a divine sentiment, and lighted up the heart of the rudest savage with a wondrous joy, before science illuminated his intellect, or poetry embellished his thoughts. The following dialogic piece of Boileau, which we have hastily translated into English prose, is a clear expression of our thought.
“Yes, by the fountain's brink, you can with me breathe forth a love-burdened sigh, make Thyrsis moan, and gentle Climenes. But when I make gods and heroes speak, your presul.ptuous harmonies and empty cadence give me but little aid, leave then thy ambitious care.
“But I possess the art of embellishing the rarest wonders of thy creation; and long ago, to hear my strains, the rocks, and hills, and woods, found ears!
poetry. “Ah! sister, this is too much, we must separate.
“Let it be so. I shall still know how to please and solace man, and my strains, less trameled, will be more sweetly powerful.
PoETRY. “What strange, mysterious power, binds me to this spot, though glad would I remove 1 What soft, melodious murmurs, float through all these places, and deposit everywhere an infinite sweetness? MUsic. “Ah! sister, it is God's harmony, descending from the heavens!”
Music is, indeed, a divine force or energy sent forth from the eternal throne. It is the most important of sciences, because it is older than any other, and because of the mysterious character of its influence and power. It seizes on our entire soul—it penetrates to the depths of our being, and causes our hearts to swell with emotions of joy or grief, we cannot tell why or how. It speaks not to the head; to the intellect it utters no words—no intelligible ideas or notions of things, like the lecture of the savan, or the speech of the orator, and yet it moves us more powerfully and deeply. We speak here a fact of universal experience. All men are conscious of the power of music, yet no man can define it. We enter our temples of worship, and listen to the lesson and the sermon. We are enlightened, improved, and comforted. But when the solemn organ-tones roll up clear and loud, and fill the sanctuary of the Most High with divine harmony, then it is that we recognize the presence of the unseen Power, and feel that this is indeed “the house of God and the gate of heaven.” As we listen to the joyful anthem, we lose more and more our identity— plunge deeper and deeper into a delicious reverie, until we are completely carried away, floating on a sea of harmony from this outward world, forgetting all its selfishness and sin, its cares and distinctions, its dissensions and its woes. Higher and still higher are we borne, onward and still onward carried, till at length we seem to be marching among the golden stars, or walking the streets of the city of our God!
As music touches thus the deepest mystery of our being, and as it is so closely allied to the religious sentiment, it is not strange that it should have been employed in all ages of the world as an aid to worship. Ages before the Christian era, the music of wor- . ship, or sacred music, was studied as an art. It formed an important feature in the ceremonies of all the ancient religions. The temples of Egypt, of Greece and Rome, in the south, and those of Thor and Odin, and the sacred groves of the Druids, in the north, resounded with the solemn song and hymn of praise. And every reader of the sacred writings knows that the Hebrew worship was almost entirely musical and ceremonial until after the first captivity, when the synagogue was established, and the reading of the prophets and the sermon were introduced. Music formed a part of the Christian worship from the first; yet it is probable that many of the melodies then used were of Grecian or Roman origin, but accompanied with Christian hymns. In the primitive church the singing was sometimes in solo, sometimes antiphonal, or in alternate choruses, as among the Jews in David's time, and sometimes it was congregational. Pope Gregory the Great, (A. D. 590,) was a great patron of sacred music. The Gregorian Chant derives its name from him, and this species of composition was the foundation of all our Christian church music. It has ever been popular in England, where it was early introduced, and also in Germany. The construction of music in four parts was developed through the use of musical instruments, of which the organ took the first rank in the churches. Figured harmony (cantus figuratus) here originated, which, in the fifteenth century, was generally adopted as the method of varying, extending, and embellishing, the several parts assigned to the accompanying voices of a melody; while the chief voices upon which the fundamental melody depended, sung nearly in monotone, (hence it was cantus firmus canto firmo, plain chant.) The invention of measured music caused the choral to be performed in more regular time and method, and gave greater facilities to harmonization. Choirs of skillful singers became necessary, and the art made rapid advances thenceforth. In the Roman and Anglican Churches music has ever held the chief place in the religious exercises, and hence they have always been the unwearied patrons of the science. At first sacred music was simple melody, but as the intellectual began to predominate over the sensual, and men began to act more from reflection than impulse, the need of harmony began to be felt, and the art became more severely scientific. There probably never was a time when music, and especially sacred music, was cultivated with more ardor in this country, than at present. Also abroad, Germany, Italy, and England, have, within
the few last years, produced works which are every way worthy the divine art they aim to elucidate. Among the fruits of this laudable zeal with us, -besides a large number of works which are already in general use among our choirs, and which merit for the most part considerable praise, we have now the pleasure of hailing the advent of a new competitor for public favor;—a new book of Sacred Harmony, which we think peculiarly merits the attention of the musical world. From a careful examination of its contents, we discover abundant proofs that the editor, Mr. Jackson, has brought to this work a fervent and enthusiastic love of the art, experienced judgment, and extensive scientific attainments. We give this work a double welcome, as being the thing particularly needed in our choirs at the present time. We hope to be able to sustain and clearly clucidate this point as we progress. No subject in this country has occasioned a comparatively greater expenditure of words, ink, time, patience, money, in truth, of everything but sound sense,_and to so little purpose, as this of “church music.” And the sole and simple reason of all this is, the whole subject, with some solitary exceptions, has fallén into unskilled hands. Persons with some love of the art, it is true, but without science, or any considerable insight into the nature of the subject, have undertaken to “promote the cause” in its several departments. And undertakers, only, have they proved to it, alas ! in too many instances. We have just said that music touches the shores of the unseen, and deals with the dread verities of eternity. We now say that it is a medium through which we receive much that is noble or exalted. Through it come pure and spiritual impressions, lofty sentiments and thoughts, and a reverence and love of all that is beautiful and lovely. But while its nature is thus profoundly mysterious, like everything else which presents itself to intelligent beings, it must be subject to scientific order, and can only be developed in suitable efficiency and perfection through the operation of fixed laws and definite rules. Persons, therefore, who are unacquainted with these operations, can be of no service in imparting musical knowledge, or in furthering musical effect, however acute may be their latent apprehension of these things. Much has been written and said about “the character of church music,” and yet to this day we have no fixed and acknowledged standard among us, to which we may aspire. Few advances have been made toward the realization of that ideal excellence to which all the laws of harmony tend, and the absence of which is painfully and almost universally felt, where such excellence should most abound—