페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

of Christianity, the result of diligent those deep feelings, and that peculiar and profound research. He frequenta language which are all remarkable in ly devoted a portion of his leisure savage life. We come now to speak of time in summer to the study of the it in the second step of its progress. Scriptures, and during the winter pre A very early connection appears to ceding his decease, was engaged in have taken place between poetry and writing a dissertation on the book of music. Music, produced both by the Job. He always possessed the deepest human voice and by instruments of reverence for the Deity, and the most rude construction, is common to all animating views of a future state ; nations. In times of war, every saand he died with the full impression vage tribe, when they go to battle, is of these great realities on his mind.- anxious to strike terror into its eneAs a teacher his excellencies were mies, by art as well as by valour. transcendent. His translations of the They have themselves experienced, Latin classics represented the origi, that the dreadful music of nature, the nals, as nearly as a translator could do, voice of the thunder, or the roaring in their native beauty and force. The of the storm, is capable of inspiring most elegant and energetic expressions the feeling of terror. They imitate in English were always at his com- this, therefore, in those instruments mand, to convey the true meaning of of warlike music which are intended the Latin idiom, without circumlocu- to strike terror into their enemies, the tion, and without suffering the grace hoarse toned trumpet, the deep holof the original idea to be impaired. low sounding drum; and adding to In reading his translations of Horace, these their own dissonant shouts, they the scholar may catch the fire and anticipate the same effects from them spirit of that truly elegant poet. Ano- which they themselves have experienther talent, which he possessed in an ced. Man, also, in listening to the eminent degree, was that of opening melody of the birds, would probably the minds of his pupils to the percep- derive from the same source, the mution of the beauties of the Latin clas- sic of nature, the first hint of theinvensics. The interesting views which tion of those softer instruments which he unfolded of the subject of these accompany the human voice. He writings, united with the attractions would be led to this by the strong and of his diction, inspired the youth in- universal principle of imitation which structed by him with a degree of en we see every day so powerfully exhithusiasm, which insured their atten- bited by children. Every one must tion to what he delivered. There was have observed, that the imitation of a charm in his voice, in his pronun- the notes and cries of different anieiation, and manner of address, which mals, and particular birds, is one of was irresistible, and which gave effect the first and most favourite games of to every word he uttered. Added to children, and one in which, even bethis, the warm interest he took in the fore they have acquired the use of lanproficiency of his students, and the guage, they appear anxious to display conviction with which he impressed them, that their improvement was the * L'imitation de la Nature par le chant object nearest his heart, filled them

a du etre une des premieres qui se soient with respect, and commanded their offertes à l'imagination. Tout etre vivant attention to his prelections.”

est sollicité par le sentiment de son existence à pousser en de certains momens des accens plus ou moins melodieux suivant la nature de ses organes : Comment au milieu de tant de chanteurs l'homme seroit il resté dans le silence ?

ENCYCLOPEDIE, Art. Poeme Lyrique. HITHERTO we have spoken of poe

At liquidas avium voces imitarier ore try." in its simplest form, as the off- Ante fuit multo, quam levia carmina cantu spring of that ardent imagination,

Concelebrare homines possent, aurisque

juvare.

Et Zephyri, cava per calamorum, sibila See Essay on the Causes of the Excel primum lenice of Early Poetry, p. 3 of the present Agrestis docuere cavas inflare cicutas. volume.

LUCRETIUS, B. V. v. 1382.

ON THE CONNECTION BETWEEN

POETRY AND MUSIC.

their infant ingenuity. The music of tle, we are certain that the tones of the North American Indians appears the voice with which these would be to confirm this conjecture. Travellers accompanied, would be expressive have given us an account of it in that and imitative of the feelings they instate which appears to have been al- volve; would, therefore, in the one most immediately subsequent to its case, be deep and solemn, in the other invention. Its only instruments were soft and plaintive. then the drum and the flute, and in This seems to be the first and naplaying upon this species of flute, the tural approach to the music of song, performer could accomplish nothing and we see this opinion every day like a regular tune. Unconnected, verified by children, who, in the soft but not unharmonious notes, as chance tones of their voice when they wish to led their fingers to one stop or to ano. please, or the plaintive notes they utter ther, was all which they ever attempt- in distress, or the harsh accent they ed. They could not even elicit froin assume when their passions are rousthe instrument any thing like the ed, exactly suit their voices to the feelsongs which they sung, and yet suchings they experience at the moment. seems to have been their fondness for According to this idea, the earliest vocal this art, that we are told they would music would at first be nothing more sit for hours together beside the cabin perfect than a few disjointed but exfire, playing over a few wild melan- pressive notes, thrown together withe choly notes, and that every one who out any regular order, but as they could direct his fingers to the stops, were drawn forth by the poetical lanand produce a sound by breathing in-guage which they accompanied. It to it, imagined himself master of the would therefore have little of what instrument.

we are accustomed to admire in mo. Such is the origin of the music of dern music, a regular song or burden, instruments, and as it owed its in- but would approach nearer to the bold vention to an imitation of the melo, and expressive style of Italian recitadies of nature, so vocal music, it is tive, and it is from this great irregulaprobable, was also entirely an imi- rity of structure, and from being subtative art, and was employed at first ject to no precise or definite rules, that to give an additional effect by the those who have accompanied travellers variety of tone and modulation, to the to savage nations have found it so exlanguage of passion. We mean it was tremely difficult to acquire any knowimitative, because men not only in the ledge, or convey any idea of their musavage state, but in all situations, at- sical compositions. tempt to modulate the tones of the Every thing, however, which we voice to the feelings which they are have learnt of the vocal music of saanxious to inspire, whether in com- vage tribes, confirms this idea of its mon discourse or in recited poetical origin. It is never sung without composition, by the sounds with words, and its greatest efforts are gewhich they accompany them. It is nerally when it accompanies the most in this manner that every passion has solemn language on the gravest occaits own particular note, and that so sions. In offering up praises, or in universal is this feeling, that even conciliating the favour of the Great those utterly ignorant of the science Spirit, in the solemn burial of their of music adapt these notes to the deal, at the hour of death, in going to feelings which they mean to convey, battle, or rejoicing after a victory, nearly as skilfully as the most learned these are the occasions on which this performer. If the subject was a war earliest species of vocal music was harangue, and the words were expres- first employed. We are told by Adair, sive of the feelings of determination in his History of the North American or revenge, the sounds would be loud, Indians, that an Indian captive, even harsh, and discordant. If the subject anidst all the horrors of that cruel of the poem or harangue was devo- death to which he is doomed, is “netional, in praise of the Great Spirit, ver dismayed, but with an insulting or if it was melancholy, as a lamenta- manly voice, sings his war song.'

."* In tion for those who had fallen in bat

See Adair's History of the North Ame. Weld's Travels, p. 359.

rican Nations, p. 46.

one of their most sacred and devo- language of feeling and expression, tional ceremonies, the hymn which and its being more intimately connectthey sing is composed of only three ed with dramatic gesture in those days words, which, according to their lan- than it is now. A fine piece of mů. guage, are significant of the Divine sic would thus, even when sung withperfections. These words are slowly out words, have more or less the efrepeated to certain full deep-toned fect of a fine piece of oratory, and, notes, used as an accompaniment to when connected with expressive words, those grave and solemn gestures which and rendered more powerful by their constitute their religious dance. It simple instrumental accompaniment, will be seen, by perusing the account the effects must have been wonderful. of this ceremony, that the song is al. At the present day, performers are together a species of rude recitative, more anxious to display their execuaccompanied by an expressive gesticu- tion, and their knowledge of what is lation. After some time, however, the termed the Science of music. We notes which were used as expressive are often, therefore, altogether unconof particular feelings, and connected cerned in hearing an intricate concerwith certain words, would, from the to, because in it the main object of all mind associating with them, these music is lost sight of, whilst we are feelings, whenever they were struck deeply moved by those simple meloon the instrument, or sounded by the dies which have arisen in what is voice, become in some measure inde- imagined to be the infancy of this pendent of the words. The soft notes art. But we must return to our subof kindness or affection would be- ject. Here, then, we have traced music come sufficiently expressive, without to that step which was necessary for being sung to any words indicative of our purpose. As an accompaniment the same feelings. Proceeding in this to the language of poetry, both by the manner, short pieces of music would invention of instruments and by the come to be sung by the unassisted voice, human voice. Let us look to the and these first tunes or songs would important effects which resulted from be imitated by their first instruments, this early connection between these the flute and the pipe. Man would two sister arts. no longer sit beside his cabin fire de We have above seen, that poetic lighted by bringing from the instru- language and imagery was employed ments only such inartificial notes as by man in his most uncivilized state, he had been taught by the sweet pipes and the causes which led to this have of the birds which frequented his so- been pointed out.--This poetry, howlitude, but would begin to imitate ever, was without any rule or meathat vocal music to the discovery of sure, and subject to no certain or rewhich Nature had led him, and would gular construction. It was, in short, be delighted to find that, in progress nothing more than poetic prose. It was of time, he could make this instru- not subjected to that regular rhythm ment almost as expressive as his own which the ancients believed essential language. Having once begun to play to true poetry.-Rhythm seems to the same tunes on the instrument include two separate objects the which they performed with their division of poetry into lines and verses, voice, a second step was natural, and and the division of these lines into almost inevitable. They would begin certain measured feet. These two speto accompany the music of song with cies of rhythm arose from two differthe same music on the instrument, ent causes. Whenever the poetic prose and they would feel that this, when we have spoken of began to be sung accompanied by the words, would pro- to music, and accompanied by instruduce a greater effect than either the ments, it would soon be discovered words or music taken singly on the that neither the voice nor the hands minds of those who heard them. It could continue for the same indefinite wonld not be difficult here to show, that time in singing or accompanying, as those surprising accounts which we the tongue does in speaking. It would meet with in some Grecian writers, of be necessary for the performer, at the the wonderful effects of the ancient end of a certain number of words, to music, are to be ascribed to this strict have a pause to breathe if he sung, adaptation of its tones to imitate the and still more if this song was accom

panied by gesticulation. Here, then, should in all ages be found thus inti. was the first and immediate effect of mately connected, since we see they the connection between Music and have been mutually indebted to each Poetry-the division of the words other for their very existence the sung into lines of a certain length or tones accompanying poetic expression measure, which is what has been terme giving birth to music, and music in ed the Rhythm of Poetry; and this its turn introducing the divisions of would, for the same reasons, be fol- poetic verse. lowed by the division of the song into The above reasoning accounts for verses of a certain length, and which in the invention of rhythmus, so far as themselves formed perfect sentences, concerns the division into lines and after which the performer, without in- verses. But we know that rhythm terrupting the sense, and thus diminish- also includes the division of these ing the effect, might ropose for a while particular lines into separate feet, or to rest his voice and recover his vigour. certain smaller measured divisions, It is evident that the more fully the the preservation of which in poetical notes were sung, and the more violent composition constitutes the prosody the gesticulation with which they of the language. This other species were accompanied, the sooner would of rhythm may have originated in a it be necessary for the singer to stop, different manner. and the shorter would the line be It was said before, that every pascome. The North American Indians sion or emotion of the mind had its sing out their notes powerfully and own peculiar tone. In the same manstrongly, at the highest pitch of their ner, every passion has its own approvoice, and accompany it by compli- priate measure. When a man is ancated and often violent gesticulation. gry, the words are pronounced rapida It is owing to this that the solemnly and impetuously. The phrases we hymn above mentioned, and particu- employ are not those studied expreslarly described by Adair, although it sions used in our cooler moments, but occupies a considerable time in sing- consist of words of short but expresing, consists of one short line, com- sive construction. The measure of posed of four separate words. The anger, therefore, is rapid, and the greater the gesticulation required, and words with which it expresses its emothe music necessary as the accompani- tions are composed of many harsh ment, the greater would be the ex- short syllables, which admit of a rahaustion of the performer, and the pid articulation. In the same manshorter the measure of the lines. ner, the other passions, Pity, Love, May it not be for this reason, that, in Hope, Joy, Fear, all have within the Grecian drama, the short iambics themselves their own measure of exare employed, whilst in their epic poet- pression, and point (if we may use ry they use the sounding hexameter; the phrase) to their own quantiand that the choruses, which scholars ty. To these different measurements suppose to have been sung, whilst the of verse, in its division into long or rest was only spouted in a kind of short, grave or lively, syllables, the recitative, are composed in metres of poets of Greece and Rome have given much shorter lines than the dialogue ? those different names which are so

Such is our conjecture as to the hard to learn, and with which our origin of that natural rhythmus, or grammar-schools have given us so measure of verse, of which we hear many unpleasant associations. All so much in the Grecian writers, these different feet carry evidently upand of which so many contradic- on them the marks of their origin, by tory accounts are given. It arose their being proverbially quoted as exnaturally from the connection which pressive of the several passions of the took place between music and poet- mind, according as they consist of long ry; and its first effect

or short syllables. We hear of the transform what had been formerly bounding Pyrrichius, the grave Sponnothing more than poetic prose into dee, the majestic Molossus, the beauverses of a certain definite length. tifuland gentle Dactyl;* and the verses From this tine music became, according to the expression of Milton, “ married to immortal verse." It is Sec Vossius de Poematum Cantu et no wonder, then, that these two arts Viribus Rythmi.

was

to

we

owe

of Virgil and Homer afford us many cate and unintelligible performances instances of the power possessed by .“ which play round the head but the poet in availing himself of this never reach the heart.” It is this imitative species of rhythm. It which has led to that Gothic taste in may be owing, therefore, to the cir- foreign gardening, which ended in the cumstance of every passion having a- destruction of all that is expressive dopted in every age and country and beautiful in rural nature, and the the same measure of expression, introdluction of a system from which that

the invention of England has at last happily got free, this second species of rhythm, the and, finally, it seems to have been this division of the lines of poetry into same principle which has substituted, words, consisting of a certain mea, in place of that system of natural sure, which measure was regulated rhythm, whose only fault seems to have by the nature of the passions which been, that it was too easily discovered, the poet meant his audience to feel. that invention of artificial metres, and

Such appears to have been the those multifarious kinds of verse, upon invention of these two species of the imaginary beauties of which so marhythm as dictated to man by na- ny learned volumes have been written. ture. It arose, we see, out of the It has been customary to give such unpassions themselves, which found limited admiration to the structure of their own

measure of expression, Greck and Roman prosody, that it may and in that early connection which be deemed sacrilege to say any thing took place between music and poet- against them. But we shall, if we ry, and between poetry and ges- attend to this progress from natural to ture. But man, not contented with artificial rhythin, be induced, perhaps, this species of rhythm given him by to entertain of this invention à differnature, and which, as it had arisen ent opinion. The one, the rhythm necessarily in the progress of poetry, dictated by nature, invariably suits was beautifully adapted to increase its the language to the feelings it is inpowers, by an effort of ingenuity, tended to convey, and thus possesses created from these simple materials, the master key to every heart; the that system of artificial metres, by other lays down a systein of strict and which the genius of true poetry has arbitrary rules, by which, whatever perhaps been too much confined may be the emotions which are to be in the trammels of arbitrary rule. excited, or the passions to be roused, This perverted addition to natural the measure of the words of a language rhythm arose from that singular but must be unalterably the same. In the universal principle in our nature, by one, passion dictates the law to lanwhich man becomes so often tired of guage, in the other, language dictates those simple and beautiful inventions the law to passion. Canany thing more to which he has been conducted by strongly point out the powerful hand nature, and creates to himself some of nature, and the contracted worknew and more intricate method of ac- manship of man? complishing the same end, associating Were we to go on to consider the inthe idea of beauty with that of diffi- troduction of rhyme in the progress culty. Apprehending that what is of the history of poetry, we should see beautiful or perfect cannot be the sub- that this modern invention, unknown ject of such easy execution, he re, in early times, arose in a great meamoves from the free and liberal school sure from the operation of the same of nature, to initiate himself into all principle. Here, then, we have adthe intricate puerilities of art. It is vanced so far in the progress of poetthus, that, nút contented with those ry. We have seen that it is the first perfect and admirable proportions with art in the history of human knowwhich nature has clothed the human ledge, in which the human mind shews frame, he distorts his limbs and dis the vigour even of its infant powers. figures his features into what he ima That in this earliest step it arrives at gines more beautiful. It is thus that a perfection which would be astonishmusic, instead of offering those sim- ing, did we not discern the causes ple and expressive airs which consti- which necessarily lead to this, and tute its perfection in its early state, which operating equally powerfully changes gradually into those intric in every nation emerging from bar

VOL. 111.

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »