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ON SONGS AND SONG WRITERS.
in their measure, but which are not Every one who has dabbled in verse, intended to be sung, and which canmust have found the difficulty of writ- not be sung without manifest injury ing a tolerably satisfactory song, -I to the effect of the composition. This mean, satisfactory even to the author phrase, however, will probably be bethimself. Most people also, whether ter understood, after considering the writers of verses or not, have some re- laws to the observance of which the membrance of being frequently dis- lyrical author is bound. appointed in songs which seemed good, The greatest difficulty, perhaps, in or pleased, against their judgment, with the composition of a song which is insongs which seemed bad, before they tended to be sung to an expressive air, were sung. These apparent contra- arises from the necessity that every dictions, though a little puzzling at stanza, being sung to the same air, first sight, appear to me to be perfect- shall embody precisely the train of ly susceptible of explanation. Nor is sentiment or passion which the air that explanation difficult, if the as- musically expresses. sumption of certain premises be allow. This necessity is evident, in as much ed. "Hypothesis, however, has gener- as if it does not do so, a discordance ally more or less to do with the illus- between the air and the words necestration of mysterious or contradictory sarily occurs ; the conveying one phenomena; and in attempting to description or degree of feeling, and elucidate those I have described, I the words another, which is destrucshall be under the necessity of involv- tive of lyrical effect. For perfect efing some degree of reference to Re- fect, indeed, it is necessary that the marks on the Nature of Musical Ex. greatest strength of poetical exprespression, and on the Progress of Poe- sion in the song should be so introtical Style, which have had the good duced as to correspond with those bars fortune to appear in former numbers of the music in which the musical exof your Miscellany. It will first be pression is strongest. When this is necessary to enumerate the difficulties not done, although no actual discordand requisites of song writing. Hay- ance may be evident, the song loses ing done this, I shall indulge myself considerably in performance. The exin a few observations on well known pression of the air in some parts is nesongs, in their different classes, and cessarily too strong for the words, and on the obstacles to correct judgment in others too weak, and vice versa. on lyrical composition.
As all lyrical music, which is exA good song may be defined to be a pressive at all, expresses some passion short piece of average metrical and or powerful feeling, by supposition inpoetical merit, adapted to an expres, herent in and exciting the singer, lysive air. It ought to possess poetical rical music may properly be said to be merit equal to that which other ap- essentially dramatic. À song, when proved metrical compositions of the performed, is a passionate “discourse" same length usually comprehend : it in “most eloquent music.” Its lanought also to be truly lyrical, that is guage must be exclusively that of the to say, its fitness for being vocally per- feelings; and being so, must, if it is formed should be evident in the fact true that simplicity is necessary to the of the poetical effect of the song be- pathetic, be also comparatively free ing heightened, rather than other- from every appearance of the artificial. wise, by its being sung. These con- This is a severe restriction upon the ditions certainly comprehend, in their song writer, who is constantly driven performance, considerable difficulties. by it towards common-place. This is The song writer will be found to be an unfortunate dilemma. It seems to limited by laws much more severe be almost undeniable, that poetical than those which are imposed upon originality is becoming every day more the writer of other poetical effusions and more dependant upon far-sought of equal length, whether apparently and artificial combinations of thought. lyrical or confessedly not so. The ex. Now this directly tends to render more pression, “ apparently lyrical," I use and more difficult the original exhias descriptive of poetical pieces, lyrical bition of the pure pathetic, in poetical
murmured, " o William ! what if my laughing between, like persons who father be in the moor? -For if you had known neither danger nor distress. who need care so little about me, have No voice answered from withincome hither, as I suppose, to save my no footstep came to the door, which life, you may be sure that my father stood open as when the father had sat not within doors during the left it in his fear, and now he thought storm.” As she spoke it was calm with affright that his wife, feeble as she below, but the wind was still alive in was, had been unable to support the the upper air, and cloud, rack, mist, loneliness, and had followed him out and sleet, were all driving about in the into the night, never to be brought sky. Out shone for a moment the home alive. As they bore Hannah pallid and ghostly moon, through a into the house, this fear gave way to rent in the gloom, and by that uncer. worse, for there upon the hard clay tain light, came staggering forward floor lay the mother upon her face, the figure of a man. " Father-Fa- as if murdered by some savage blow. ther," cried Hannah-and his gray She was in the same deadly swoon hairs were already on her cheek. The into which she had fallen on her husbarking of the dogs and the shouting band's departure three hours before. of the young shepherd had struck his The old man raised her up, and her ear, as the sleep of death was stealing pulse was still so was her heartover him, and with the last effort of her face pale and sunken-and her benumbed nature, he had roused him- body cold as ice. - I have recovered self from that fatal torpor, and prest a daughter,” said the old man, through the snow-wreath that had I have lost a wife;" and he carried separated him from his child. As yet her, with a groan, to the bed, on they knew not of the danger each had which he laid her lifeless body, The endured,--but each judged of the o- sight was too much for Hannah, worn ther's suffering from their own, and out as she was, and who had hitherto father and daughter regarded one ano- been able to support herself in the dether as creatures rescued, and hardly lightful expectation of gladdening her yet rescued, from death.
mother's heart by her safe arrival.-But a few minutes ago, and the She, too, now swooned away, and, as three human beings who loved each she was placed on the bed beside her other so well, and now feared not to mother, it seemed, indeed, that death, cross the Moor in safety, were, as they disappointed of his prey on the wild thought, on their death-beds. Deliv- moor, had seized it in the cottage, and erance now. shone upon them all like by the fireside. The husband knelt a gentle fire, dispelling that pleasant down by the bed-side, and held his but deadly drowsiness; and the old wife's icy hand in his, while William man was soon able to assist William Grieve, appalled and awe-stricken, Grieve in leading Hannah along hung over his Hannah, and inwardly through tủe snow. Her colour and implored God that the night's wild her warmth returned, and her lover adventure might not have so ghastly for so might he well now be called an end. But Hannah's young heart felt her heart gently beating against soon began once more to beat-and his side. Filled as that heart was soon as she came to her recollection, with gratitude to God, joy in her de- she rose up with a face whiter than liverance, love to her father, and ashes and free from all smiles, as if purest affection for her master's son, none had ever played there, and joinnever before had the innocent maiden ed her father and young master in known what was happiness—and never their efforts to restore her mother to more was she to forget it. The night life. was now almost calm, and fast return- It was the mercy of God that had ing to its former beauty-when the struck her down to the earth, insensiparty saw the first twinkle of the fire ble to the shrieking winds, and the through the low window of the Cot- fears that would otherwise have killed tage of the Moor. They soon were her. Three hours of that wild storm at the garden gate and to relieve the had passed over her head, and she heart of the wife and mother within, heard nothing more than if she had they talked loudly and cheerfully- been asleep in a breathless night of naming each other familiarly, and the summer dew. Not even a dream VOL. VII.
Were death to part us, I could rest
Nor let it dwell with thee-nor pine My sinking head upon thy breast,
That thou hast no adieu of mine;
Ev'n from thyself thy going hide,
Stored deeply in thy memory,
Once more to bid thy wishes live,
And wake that eye's soft ray, serene, Nor faulter a farewell to thine.
Be to thee what I would have been. Thou wast like angel here below,
Give thou to him, with thine, the heart And from me, angel-like, must go,
Thou takest from me, now we part; That, losing, I may know, not how, Give it, and, of that heart possess't, But that thou art no longer now.
He shall be true as well as blest. D. T.
The following touching Verses are taken from a Newcastle Newspaper, the “ Tyne
A WINTER MORNING.
“ Come, mother, come! nor tarry longer,
Now calm, and colder than the stone
Where first he sat, he lies alone.
With her eyes in tears and her heart in flame;
And-God !-how she stood in mute surprise Bent his little, tearful eye
When first the vision met her eyes, Yet of him notice none was taken,
When first his little face she knew He seemed to be by all forsaken,
So chang'd from the last and lovely hue As cold and shivering on the stone,
It wore that morn, when she left him alone,
In tempest and storm, on a damp cold stone.
And clasp'd him round, in her deep distress,
In all his chilling iciness ?Nor e'er again was that sweet boy
The tear at once
forsook her eye,
The last of her knowledge of grief and care.
For madness reigns in her troubled brain, • Alas ! methinks she lingers long- For her boy she calls through day and night; I cannot see her in the throng,
In coldness-in darkness—in pale moonI strain my eyes to look in vain,
lightAlas! she will not come again
“ My boy !--my boy !~have you seen my And yet she promised, when alone She left me sitting on this stone.
Not another thought does her mind employ“ Oh, mother! come to me, for I
Not a gleam of hope from the past can she Am cold and sick-and verily,
borrow, Methinks the night begins to fall,
As she wanders along in the grasp of her For darkness shuts me out from all
sorrow! I saw before I feel not now The damp snow falling on my brow,
Newcastle, Dec. 2. And sure the cold has left this stone, Where I have sat so long alone.
THE SNOW STORM.
“ 'Tis only from the belief of the goodness and wisdom of a Supreme Being, that our calamities can be borne in that manner which becomes a man."-HENRY MACKENZIE. Is Summer there is beauty in the that modify or constitute the existence wildest moors of Scotland, and the of the poor. Wayfaring man who sits down for an I have a short and simple story to hour's rest beside some little spring tell of the winter-life of the moorland that flows unheard through the cottager--a story but of one evening brightened moss and water-cresses, —with few events and no signal catasfeels his weary heart revived by the trophe-but which may haply please silent, serene, and solitary prospect. those hearts whose delight it is to On every side sweet sunny spots of think on the humble under-plots that verdure smile towards him from a- are carrying on in the great Drama of mong the melancholy heather-unex. Life. pectedly in the solitude a stray sheep, Two cottagers, husband and wife, it may be with its lambs, starts half- were sitting by their cheerful peatalarmed at his motionless figure-in- fire one winter evening, in a small sects large, bright, and beautiful come lonely hut on the edge of a wide moor, careering by him through the desert at some miles distance from any other air-nor does the Wild want its own habitation. There had been, at one songsters, the grey linnet, fond of the time, several huts of the same kind blooming furze, and now and then the erected close together, and inhabited Lark mounting up to heaven above the by families of the poorest class of daysummits of the green pastoral hills. labourers who found work among the During such a sunshiny hour, the distant farms, and at night returned lonely cottage on the waste seems to to dwellings which were rent-free, stand in a paradise ; and as he rises with their little gardens won from the to pursue his journey, the traveller waste. But one family after another looks back and blesses it with a had dwindled away, and the turf-built mingled emotion of delight and envy. huts had all fallen into ruins, except There, thinks he, abide the children one that had always stood in the cenof Innocence and Contentment, the tre of this little solitary village, with two most benign spirits that watch its summer-walls covered with the over human life.
richest honeysuckles, and in the midst But other thoughts arise in the of the brightest of all the gardens. It mind of him who may chance to jour. alone now sent up its smoke into the ney through the same scene in the de- clear winter sky-and its little endsolation of Winter. The cold bleak window, now lighted up, was the onsky girdles the moor as with a belt of ly ground star that shone towards the ice-life is frozen in air and on earth. belated traveller, if any such ventured The silence is not of repose but ex- to cross, on a winter night, a scene so tinction-and should a solitary human dreary and desolate. The affairs of dwelling catch his eye half-buried in the small household were all arranged the snow, he is sad for the sake of for the night. The little rough poney them whose destiny it is to abide far that had drawn in a sledge, from the from the cheerful haunts of men, heart of the Black-Moss, the fuel by shrouded up in melancholy, by po- whose blaze the cotters were now sitverty held in thrall, or pining away ting cheerily, and the little Highland in unvisited and untended disease. cow, whose milk enabled them to live,
But, in good truth, the heart of were standing amicably together, unhuman life is but imperfectly discov. der cover of a rude shed, of which one ered from its countenance ; and before side was formed by the peat-stack, we can know what the summer, or and wbich was at once byre, and stawhat the winter yields for enjoyment ble, and hen-roost. Within, the clock or trial to our country's peasantry, ticked cheerfully as the fire-light we must have conversed with them in reached its old oak-wood case across their fields and by their firesides ; and the yellow-sanded floor--and a small made ourselves acquainted with the round table stood between, covered powerful ministry of the Seasons, not with a snow-white cloth, on which over those objects alone that feed the were milk and odi-cakes, the morning, eye and the imagination, but over all mid-day, and evening incal of these the incidents, occupations, and events frugal and contented cotters. T'he
spades and the mattocks of the la- venerated. With gushing tenderness bourer were collected into one corner, was now mingled a holy fear and an and showed that the succeeding day awful reverence.
She had discerned was the blessed Sabbath-while on the relation in which she an only the wooden chimney-piece was seen
child stood to her poor parents now lying an open Bible ready for family that they were getting old, and there worship
was not a passage in Scripture that The father and the mother were spake of parents or of children, from sitting together without opening Joseph sold into slavery, to Mary their lips, but with their hearts over- weeping below the Cross, that was flowing with happiness, for on this written, never to be obliterated, on Saturday-night they were, every mi- her uncorrupted heart. nute, expecting to hear at the latch The father rose from his seat, and the hand of their only daughter, a went to the door to look out into the maiden of about fifteen years, who was night. The stars were in thousands at service with a farmer over the hills. --and the full moon was risen. It This dutiful child was, as they knew, was almost light as day, and the snow, to bring home to them “her sair that seemed encrusted with diamonds, worn penny fee," a pittance which, in was so hardened by the frost, that his the beauty of her girl-hood, she earn- daughter's homeward feet would leave ed singing at her work, and which, in no mark on its surface. He had been the benignity of that sinless time, she toiling all day among the distant Caswould pour with tears into the bosoms tle-woods, and, stiff and wearied as he she so dearly loved. Forty shillings now was, he was almost tempted to go a-year were all the wages of sweet Han- to meet his child—but his wife's kind nah Lee-but though she wore at her la- voice dissuaded him, and returning to bour a tortoise-shell comb in her au- the fireside, they began to talk of her burn hair, and though in the kirk none whose image had been so long passing were more becomingly arrayed than before them in their silence. she, one half, at least, of her earnings “She is growing up to be a bonny were to be reserved for the holiest of lassie,” said the mother, “her long all purposes, and her kind innocent and weary attendance on me during heart was gladdened when she looked my fever last spring kept her down on the little purse that was, on the awhile—but now she is sprouting fast long-expected Saturday-night, to be and fair as a lily, and may the blesstaken from her bosom, and put, with ing of God be as dew and as sunshine a blessing, into the hand of her father, to our sweet flower all the days she now growing old at his daily toils. bloometh upon this earth.” Aye,
Of such a child the happy cotters Agnes,” replied the father, were thinking in their silence. And not very old yet-though we are getwell indeed might they be called hap- ting older—and a few years will bring py. It is at that sweet season that her to woman's estate, and what thing filial piety is most beautiful. Their on this earth, think ye, human or own Hannah had just outgrown the brute, would ever think of injuring mere unthinking gladness of child- her® Why, I was speaking about her hood, but had not yet reached that yesterday to the minister as he was time, when inevitable selfishness mixes riding by, and he told me that none with the pure current of love. She answered at the Examination in the had begun to think on what her af- Kirk so well as Hannah. Poor thingfectionate heart had felt so long; and I well think she has all the bible by when she looked on the pale face and heart-indeed, she has read but little bending frame of her mother, on the else-only some stories, too true ones, deepening wrinkles and whitening hairs of the blessed martyrs, and some of of her father, often would she lie the auld sangs o' Scotland, in which weeping for their sakes on her there is nothing but what is good, and midnight bed—and wish that she which, to be sure, she sings, God bless were beside them as they slept, that her, sweeter than any laverock.” “ Aye she might kneel down and kiss -were we both to die this very night them, and mention their names over she would be happy. Not that she and over again in her prayer. The would forget us, all the days of her parents whom before she had only life. But have you not seen, husband, loved, her expanding heart now also that God always makes the orphan