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HEBREW MELODIES.

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THE subsequent poems were written at the request of my friend, the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird, for a Selection of Hebrew Melodies, and have been published, with the music, arranged by Mr Braham and Mr Nathan.

January 1815.

Introduction to the Hebrew Melodies.

THE distinct inferiority of those compositions which Lord Byron wrote to order is noticeable in a large number of the "Hebrew Melodies." They were written at the request of his friend, Mr Douglas Kinnaird, and set to music by Braham and Nathan. Lord Byron was not so fortunate as Moore, whose Irish melodies were wedded to national music, which will always keep them popular. But it is rare indeed to meet with any of the "Hebrew Melodies" in a modern collection of vocal music. The merit of the poetry is very irregular, in one or two instances rising to sublimity, as in "The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold," which few persons can read without their blood being stirred, and sometimes almost sinking to the level of Nahum and Tate. Lord Byron was not very proud of these lyrical effusions, and seldom alluded to them, unless bantered by some of his friends about the music to which they were set. Jeffrey's criticism was that "The 'Hebrew Melodies,' though obviously inferior to Lord Byron's other works, display a skill in versification which would have raised an inferior artist to the very summit of distinction." This may be true, but what we miss are Lord Byron's powers of imagery and description which he displays when inspired to write.

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