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disgust in any properly constituted mind. Our convivial songs in drinking life are open to other objections; they are mere jingle, there is no melody in them; and instead of rectifying the moral nature, are far more likely to lead it astray:
In asking for a better selection of songs, we proceed upon the assumption that the love of music is natural to all in a greater or less degree—from youth to manhood, and from manhood to old age. We are not asking that the songs selected shall be gems of poetic or musical art. If they were so all at once, they would not be appreciated. But we do ask, that they shall not be thoroughly nonsensical or revoltingly impure ;—that they shall be something above that taste so well described by Blair—“No younker on the green laughs louder or tells a smuttier tale when drunkards meet.' Our concert songs are of a higher class than those we have been describing. They fail, however, as much in maudlin sentiment and fantastical quavering as the others do in poetry and morals. But what is to be the end of all this grumbling? We want such sons, for the most part, as those which have been sung from our local literary platforms – songs which teach something, songs which are free from the leaven of moral evil, songs worth learning, and which can easily be learned by those who stand in need of them for their hours of recreation. There is sense in music as well as sense in poetry, and therefore there is no necessity for one being a mere quavering jingle, any more than the other should be a jingle of words. Oh for a reformer of our music and song, on the principle of making them promote the great purpose of life-the happiness of all! The songs of the Indians answer the purpose intended—that of arousing the courage necessary for daring deeds, and, in defeat, bidding defiance to the victorious foe. It is not because they are beautiful in composition, either metrically or musically, but because they breathe with a purpose. The same may be said of national songs. Our own “Britons never shall be slaves,” utter the sentiment of the national heart, and we all sing heartily
“ The nations not so blest as thee,
Must in their turn to tyrants fall;
The dread and envy of them all."
Would that our abhorrence of slavery extended itself to all its forms !
From the earliest times we have been rich in the element of ballad and song, and they at one time had far more influence upon the popular mind than they have. in our day. Many of our literary men have written regret-. fully of what we may call the decline and fall of the influence of song, and some of our poets have attempted many times to restore that influence, but they have only been successful in a very inconsiderable degree; and yet their námes are great in the world of lyric, epic, and dramatic composition. The man who would deny the influence of sacred song in creating devotional feeling, would be as one whú had not noticed that which had grown up and gone on around him. It is for those who deride or despise the power of song to show that moral feeling, moral aspirations, and moral devotion cannot be nursed, cultured, developed, and maintained by it. They should not despise the day of small things
“ Smallest help, if rightly given,
Make the impulse stronger;
Wait a little longer.” Henry Russell, by the aid of a good publisher, has done much to furnish us with a budget of good songs, adapted chiefly to easily sung tunes ; and nearly the whole of them breathe a purpose.
We do not say that these songs of his are of the highest order either in words or music, but they are quite sufficient for our present purpose, and it will be time enough to depreciate them when we are better in practice than they are in theory. There is in them a fund of moral philosophy wrapped in the garb of rational amusement, that we have never been favoured with by any other collector, singer, or publisher. Russell, we are told, has. made a fortune by his concertist experiments; if so, so much the better. It shows that it will pay as well to improve the public taste as to care nothing about it. It is a collection of which we have long stood in need, and may do for us what Burns has done for Scotland : there is about both a sound and healthy tone of moral feeling. Burns is sung extensively in Scotland, but not to the extent he deserves. Who amongst us feels indisposed to join in “ Auld
Lang Syne,” “John Anderson my Joe,” or “Banks o' Doon? What a fund of mirth we have in “Green grow the Rushes, 0,” “My heart is breaking, dear Tittie,” “O for ane-and-twenty, Tam,” “What can a young lassie do with an auld man,” “Duncan Gray," and others, which might be easily named. If we turn to his other pieces not adapted to music, but used as recitations, the same merry pleasure may be culled, and is even extracted by him from the toothache. All depends upon rendering them in the spirit they are written. Just in proportion to this do they gain or lose in power.
A Cyclopædia of songs selected for the purpose of moral instruction, would be a compendium of moral philosophy far more valuable than the treatises of Paley and Smith, albeit, the phases of the subject might not be so learnedly illustrated. Yet people seem afraid of touching the subject in this form. The books published by the Irish Educational Board are of a very high class in moral purpose, and yet, in the selection of songs, there are only two or three sufficiently adapted for singing in the domestic circle,—“The Mariner's Wife," and the “ Mariners of England,” being almost the only exceptions. The songs of our literary seasons have been always of a harmless, often an improving character, and there has been some to suit all good tastes. Away at once with all perverting songs from the public-house or the workshop! It is moral mischief to have them in our memories, or brought before our notice at any time. 1st. It is clear that the bulk of our popular songs are utterly worthless, and many of them positively pernicious. 2nd. That the means of a much better selection abound on every hand; and were it not so -- if the public taste required larger resources our songmakers would soon supply all that could be required. 3rd. That the taste for song is a thoroughly natural taste, and only errs through misdirection, or the absence of thoughtful tendencies to guide it. 4th. That the remedy is not to be found in denunciation or prohibition of songs, but by selections being made from those worth learning and hearing; dismissing those of a contrary character with contempt.
THE PENNY POWER.—
The magical penny has dethroned the splendid shilling. This is a revolution more important and wonderful in its practical results than many which have been immortalised in history. It is a bloodless convulsion, which has conferred the most substantial benefits on mankind. Mind and matter have alike profited by its triumph. Bodies may travel for a penny-a-mile by the parliamentary train ; and a penny postage stamp gives thought full liberty to travel from one end f the kingdom to the other. The artizan can recruit his strength with penny bowls of soup, and cool his parched thirst with penny ices. The physical understanding of man is rendered lustrous by penny shoeblacks, and his intellectual understanding is polished by penny papers. It is true that there are still some old stagers who cling to the belief that dearness is the test of excellence. These folks are a great blessing to certain tradesmen. They buy with delight at a high price the same goods which they would reject with scorn if they were offered to them for the much smaller amount paid for them by the knowing ones. Their champagne at half-a-guinea a bottle comes out of the same bin as that which the worldly-wise buy at three and sixpence. They insist upon wearing French lawns and muslins, which have been exported from their native Irish looms, and doubled in nominal value by the imposition of a foreign trade-mark; and French gloves from Woodstock, and French ribbons from Coventry, which have derived similar benefit from a trip across the channel. In the matter of literature their prejudices are still more obdurate. The old three-volume novel at a guinea and a-half, with its purling brook of type meandering through a prairie of margin, is, in their sight, the only respectable institution in the shape of fiction. Give them precisely the same matter in a shilling railway volume, and they will suspect that it has been adulterated, and will refuse to have anything to do with it. Newspapers, they hold, must be high-priced, or they are nothing. A leading article at 3d. inspires them with respect--not so fervent, however, as if the daily broadsheet had remained at its primary 7d. ; but a leading article at id. they laugh to scorn. It is vain to demonstrate to them that for the smaller coin they buy as much information, as much ability-and, perhaps, in some cases, a trifle more of some other qualities not altogether worthless. Nothing will shake their devotion to the expensive. These good people do not deserve to be hardly dealt with. They are, for the most part, well-meaning enough ; and their gravest fault is, that they are stupid. They will die out, and the victorious penny will march triumphantly over their sepulchres in its conquering way. Nobody can say what fresh conquests await it in the future. Penny theatres have hitherto been disreputable, and penny concerts have been equally open to legitimate reprobation. But it is by no means impossible that both may come within the pale of respectability. It must have seemed as little likely a century ago that a man would ever be able to buy one of Shakspere's plays for a penny, as it now appears that he will ever have it in his power to see it acted for a similar outlay. But progrees is ever onw
nward, and each year sees developed some new and unlooked-for wonder. But already the penny has become a mighty power. Grave financiers regard it with deserved reverence, and the Chancellor of the Exehequer, who is penny-wise enough to add a coin of that value to the income tax, can scarcely feel pound-foolish enough when, at the end of the year, he finds himself in possession of an additional million sterling.–The Morning Star.
LADY PIGOT ON “EDUCATION.”-A public meeting was lately convened at Cowlinge, Suffolk, by this estimable lady, who earnestly advocated the cause of education in that neglected parish. She observed, that the school was of primary importance, since without education the life of an Englishman would be but slightly removed from that of the savage-she had almost said slave ; but the slave-master had far greater consideration for his slave than in free England a farmer has for his men. A man cannot work unfed. In the North of England wages are 12s. and 14s. a week; a man does work there, but does not altogether neglect his education. I am surprised (said Lady Pigot) we do not follow in these parts the better system of other counties. Education, consistent with the station of life God has seen fit to place him in, must raise a man morally and physically. You give him a power of recreation which will surely, even though slowly, raise him from his animal stupidity