Page images

I cannot close this paper better than by transcribing, from Shakspeare's Richard the Second, Northumberland's speech:

"Now, afore heaven, 'tis shame such wrongs are


"In him a royal prince, and many more "Of noble blood in this declining land.


is not himself, but basely led By flatterers; and what they will inform, "Merely in hate, 'gainst any of us all, severely prosecute

"That will the

"'Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs. "The commons hath he pill'd with grievous taxes, "And lost their hearts.-And daily new exactions are devis'd.

"But what, o' God's name, doth become of this? "We hear this fearful tempest sing,

"Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm:
"We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,
“And yet we strike not, but securely perish."



WHY is music become an indispensable accomplishment to the fair sex? It pleases

for a moment, and the charm is over; the sweetly soothing sounds now gently die away; the thrill, the rapture, the extasy, have now subsided; the passions, and cares, and anxieties, lulled into insensibility for a short space, again resume their wonted place; and till new strains, yet more lively, yet more rousing, awaken to reiterated and varied enjoyment, we relapse into our former train of ideas, and soon not a trace, not a shadow, of what has been heard, remains to please, to amuse, and to harmonize the gay, the thoughtless, or the care-worn and the desponding. I can admire, and dwell with delight, upon the melody of the harp, the harpsichord, and the guitar; follow the quickly moving fingers of the beautiful performers with eager expectancy; hang upon the mellifluous warblings of their ruby lips with sensations approaching the nature of the fabled enchantment we read of in the Tales of the Genii, the Oriental Poesies, or the Arabian Nights Entertainments. when I consider, that, to attain to this art, they must sacrifice, in their youth, a great portion of that time which is bestowed upon


them, not entirely, I presume, to contribute to an evening's amusement, to tickle the fancy, and to obtain the plaudits of such as are usually congregated upon these occasions, but to enable them to perform duties of a nature much more useful, serious, and important; to be educated so, that, when become mothers, they may exercise the delightful and noble office of themselves rearing up and educating their daughters in the path to honour, to virtue, and to excellence; no longer committing the precious charge to hireling nurses, and mercenary teachers: when I reflect upon the hours devoted to the music-master, wasted in rehearsing and conning over the lessons, and lost beyond retribution in exhibiting before company; not to mention the great deterioration and debasement their young minds suffer, from the misjudged and misapplied praises, and flattering encomiums of their auditors, whether of kind aunts, of fond mothers, of doting grandmothers, or of insignificant fopplings and triflers. I lament and grieve for the mistakes and prejudices which envelope men with so thick and dark a veil, that the few,

whose high, and mighty, and penetrating genius have lifted up but a single corner, or pierced but a single chink, to let in rays of light sufficient to discover the shade and the gloom, have incurred the blame, the censure, and the ridicule of those for whom alone they laboured. But the period is approaching, the day is not far distant, when conviction will lighten, and beam, and flash upon every mind; their names will yet be recorded with undying honour, and their memories be revered by the just, the virtuous, and the enlightened part of mankind. I pretend not to answer the question I set out with, Why is music become an indispensable accomplishment to the fair sex? I wish them to reflect upon it, and to attempt its solution. But I can give it no higher place, no more exalted rank, than that of a pleasing ornament, and elegant accomplishment. I do not class it in the great scale of education, as essential to the vigour of the body, the preserving of health, or to the improvement of the mind. Yet I would not altogether check and discourage my fair readers in an attainment so gratifying and

delightful; I only wish to moderate and circumscribe them in their musical exercitations. As a profession, it is to be cherished with ardour, cultivated with assiduity, and remunerated with liberality. I can listen to the divine melody, in a well conducted concert, with pure and unalloyed delight; my heart throbs with ecstasy, my soul is elevated, and one universal thrill runs through all my veins. This, I hope, will sufficiently convince that my ear is not wholly unattuned to harmony, nor callous to the varied beauties of sound; I only wish the ladies would bestow a less share of their time upon that which can always be purchased for money, and which certainly does not tend to advance them in the dignity of thinking beings. Not so with painting. The young artist gives life to whatever she beholds; all her mental faculties are quickened and invigorated; she observes nature in all her varieties, discovers at a moment's glance what escapes the continued look of a common observer, and stamps a blank and void sheet with beauties almost rivalling the great original, forming with her pencil a new creation,

« PreviousContinue »