The two leading ministers, the government in effect, are Metternich and Kollowrath; the former the Foreign Minister, the latter the Minister of the Interior. They are understood to be of different principles; the latter leaning to the "Movement," or, more probably, allowing himself to be thought to do so, for the sake of popularity. But Metternich is the true head. A Conservative from the beginning, sagacious enough to see through the dupery of the pretended friends of the human race, and firm enough to crush their hypocrisy—Metternich is one of those statesmen, of whom men of sense never could have had two opinions—a mind which stamped itself from the beginning as a leader, compelled by circumstances often to yield, but never suffering even the most desperate circumstances to make it despair. He saw where the strength of Europe lay, from the commencement of the Revolutionary war; and, guided by the example of Pitt, he laboured for a general European alliance. When he failed there, he husbanded the strength of Austria for the day of struggle, which he knew would come; and when it came, his genius raised his country at once from a defeated dependency of France, into the arbiter of Europe. While this great man lives, he ought to be supreme in the affairs of his country. But in case of his death, General Fiquelmont, the late ambassador to Russia, has been regarded as his probable successor. He is a man of ability and experience, and his appointment to the court of St Petersburg was probably intended to complete that experience, in the quarter to which Austria, by her new relations, and especially by her new navigation of the Danube, must look with the most vigilant anxiety.
The Austrian army is kept up in very fine condition; but nearly all the officers distinguished in the war are dead, and its present leaders have to acquire a name. It is only to be hoped that they will never have the opportunity. The regimental officers are generally from a higher class than those of the other German armies.
After remaining for a fortnight at Vienna, the Marquis paid a visit to his friend Prince Esterhazy.
This nobleman, long known and much-esteemed in England, is equally well known to be a kind of monarch in Hungary. Whatever novelist shall write the "Troubles of rank and riches," should take the prince for his hero. He has eight or nine princely mansions scattered over the empire, and in each of them it is expected, by his subjects of the soil, that his highness should reside.
The Marquis made a round of the principal of those mansions. The first visit was to a castle in the neighbourhood of Vienna, which the prince has modernized into a magnificent villa. Here all is constructed to the taste of a statesman only eager to escape the tumult of the capital, and pining to refresh himself with cooling shades and crystal streams. All is verdure, trout streams, leafy walks, water blue as the sky above it, and the most profound privacy and seclusion.
After a "most exquisite entertainment" here, the Marquis and his family set out early next morning to visit Falkenstein. Every castle in this part of the world is historical, and derives its honours from a Turkish siege. Falkenstein, crowning the summit of a mountain of granite, up which no carriage can be dragged but by the stout Hungarian horses trained to the work, has been handsomely bruised by the Turkish balls in its day; but it is now converted into a superb mansion; very grand, and still more curious than grand; for it is full of relics of the olden time, portraits of the old warriors of Hungary, armour and arms, and all the other odd and pompous things which turn an age of barbarism into an age of romance. The prince and princess are hailed and received at the castle as king and queen. A guard of soldiers of the family, which the Esterhazy have the sovereign right to maintain, form the garrison of this palatial fortress, and it has a whole establishment of salaried officials within. The next expedition was to two more of those mansions—Esterhazy, built by one of the richest princes of the house, and Eisenstadt. The former resembles the imperial palace at Schonbrun, but smaller. The prince is fitting it up gorgeously in the Louis XIV.th style. Here he has his principal studs for breeding horses; but Eisenstadt outshone all the chateaus of this superb possessor. The splendours here were regal: Two hundred chambers for guests—a saloon capable of dining a thousand people—a battalion of the "Esterhazy Guard" at the principal entrances; all paid from the estate. To this all the ornamental part was proportioned—conservatory and greenhouses on the most unrivalled scale—three or four hundred orange-trees alone, throwing the Duke of Northumberland's gardens into eclipse, and stimulating his Grace of Devonshire even to add new greens and glories to Chatsworth.
On his return to Vienna, the Marquis was honoured with a private interview by the emperor—a remarkable distinction, as the ambassador was informed "that the emperor was too well acquainted with the Marquis's services to require any presentation, and desired that he might come alone." He was received with great politeness and condescension. Next day he had an interview with Prince Metternich, who, with graceful familiarity, took him over his house in Vienna, to show him its improvements since the days of Congress. He remarks it as a strange point in the character of this celebrated statesman, how minutely he sometimes interests himself in mere trifles, especially where art and mechanism are concerned. He had seen him one evening remain for half an hour studiously examining the construction of a musical clock. The Prince then showed his cabinet de travail, which he had retained unchanged. "Here," said he, "is a spot which is exactly as it was the last day you saw it." Its identity had been rigidly preserved, down to the placing of its paper and pencils. All was in the same order. The Prince evidently, and justly, looked on those days as the glory of his life.
We regret that the conversation of so eminent a person could not be more largely given; for Metternich is less a statesman than statemanship itself. But one remark was at once singularly philosophical and practical. In evident allusion to the miserable tergiversations of our Whig policy a couple of years since, he said, "that throughout life, he had always acted on the plan of adopting the best determination on all important subjects. That to this point of view he had steadfastly adhered; and that, in the indescribable workings of time and circumstances, it had always happened to him that matters were brought round to the very spot, from which, owing to the folly of misguided notions or inexperienced men, they had for a time taken their departure." This was in 1840, when the Whigs ruled us; it must be an admirable maxim for honest men, but it must be perpetually thwarting the oblique. To form a view on principle, and to adhere to it under all difficulties, is the palpable way to attain great ultimate success; but the paltry and the selfish, the hollow and the intriguing, have neither power nor will to look beyond the moment; they are not steering the vessel to a harbour; they have no other object than to keep possession of the ship as long as they can, and let her roll wherever the gale may carry her.
After all, one grows weary of every thing that is to be had for the mere act of wishing. Difficulty is essential to enjoyment. High life is as likely to tire on one's hands as any other. The Marquis, giving all the praise of manners and agreeability to Vienna, sums up all in one prodigious yawn. "The same evenings at Metternich's, the same lounges for making purchases and visits on a morning, the same idleness and fatigue at night, the searching and arid climate, and the clouds of execrable fine dust"—all conspiring to tell the great of the earth that they can escape ennui no more than the little.
On leaving Vienna, he wrote a note of farewell to the Prince, who returned an answer, of remarkable elegance—a mixture of the pathetic and the playful. His note says that he has no chance of going to see any body, for he is like a coral fixed to a rock—both must move together. He touches lightly on their share in the great war, "which is now becoming a part of those times which history itself names heroic;" and concludes by recommending him on his journey to the care of an officer of rank, on a mission to Turkey—"Car il sait le Turc, aussi bien que nous deux ne le savons pas." With this Voltairism he finishes, and gives his "Dieu protge."
We now come to the Austrian steam passage. This is the boldest effort which Austria has ever made, and its effects will be felt through every generation of her mighty empire. The honour of originating this great design is due to Count Etienne Zecheny, a Hungarian nobleman, distinguished for every quality which can make a man a benefactor to his country. The plan of this steam-navigation is now about ten years old. The Marquis justly observes, that nothing more patriotic was ever projected; and it is mainly owing to this high-spirited nobleman that the great advantage is now enjoyed of performing, in ten or twelve days, the journey to the capital of Turkey, which some years ago could be achieved only by riding the whole way, and occupying, by couriers, two or three weeks. The chief direction of the company is at Vienna. It had, at the time of the tour, eighteen boats, varying from sixty to one hundred horse-power, and twenty-four more were to be added within the year. Some of these were to be of iron.
But the poverty of all foreign countries is a formidable obstacle to the progress of magnificent speculations like those. The shares have continued low, the company has had financial difficulties to encounter, and the popular purse is tardy. However, the prospect is improving, the profits have increased; and the Austrian archdukes and many of the great nobles having lately taken shares, the steam-boats will probably become as favourite as they are necessary. But all this takes time; and as by degrees the "disagreeables" of the voyage down the Danube will be changed into agreeables, we shall allude no more to the noble traveller's voyage, than to say, that on the 4th of November, a day of more than autumnal beauty, his steamer anchored in the Bosphorus.
Here we were prepared for a burst of description. But the present describer is a matter-of-fact personage; and though he makes no attempt at poetic fame, has the faculty of telling what he saw, with very sufficient distinctness. "I never experienced more disappointment," is his phrase, "than in my first view of the Ottoman capital. I was bold enough at once to come to the conclusion, that what I had heard or read was overcharged. The most eminent of the describers, I think, could never have been on the spot." Such is the plain language of the last authority.
"The entrance of the Tagus, the Bay of Naples, the splendid approach to the grand quays of St Petersburg, the Kremlin, and view of Moscow, all struck me as far preferable to the scene at the entrance of the Bosphorus."
He admits, that in the advance to the city up this famous channel, there are many pretty views, that there is a line of handsome residences in some parts, and that the whole has a good deal the look of a "drop-scene in a theatre;" still he thinks it poor in comparison of its descriptions, the outline low, feeble, and rugged, and that the less it is examined, probably the more it may be admired. Even the famous capital fares not much better. "In point of fine architectural features, monuments of art, and magnificent structures, (excepting only the great Mosques,) the chisel of the mason, the marble, the granite, Constantinople is more destitute than any other great capital. But then, you are told that these objects are not in the style and taste of the people. Be it so; but then do not let the minds of those who cannot see for themselves be led away by high-wrought and fallacious descriptions of things which do not exist." The maxim is a valuable one, and we hope that the rebuke will save the reading public from a heap of those "picturesque" labours, which really much more resemble the heaviest brush of the scene-painter, than the truth of nature.
But if art has done little, nature has done wonders for Constantinople. The site contains some of the noblest elements of beauty and grandeur; mountain, plain, forest, waters; its position is obviously the key of Europe and Asia Minor—even of more, it is the point at which the north and south meet; by the Bosphorus it commands the communication of the Black Sea, and with it, of all the boundless region, once Scythia, and now Russia and Tartary; by the Dardanelles, it has the most immediate command over the Mediterranean, the most important sea in the world. Russia, doubtless, may be the paramount power of the Black Sea; the European nations may divide the power of the Mediterranean; but Constantinople, once under the authority of a monarch, or a government, adequate to its natural faculties, would be more directly the sovereign of both seas, than Russia, with its state machinery in St Petersburg, a thousand miles off, or France a thousand miles, or England more nearly two thousand miles. This dominion will never be exercised by the ignorant, profligate, and unprincipled Turk; but if an independent Christian power should be established there, in that spot lie the materials of empire. In the fullest sense, Constantinople, uniting all the high-roads between east and west, north and south, is the centre of the living world. We are by no means to be reckoned among the theorists who calculate day by day on the fall of Turkey. In ancient times the fall of guilty empires was sudden, and connected with marked evidences of guilt. But those events were so nearly connected with the fortunes of the Jewish people, that the suddenness of the catastrophe was essential to the lesson. The same necessity exists no longer, the Chosen People are now beyond the lesson, and nations undergo suffering, and approach dissolution, by laws not unlike those of the decadence of the human frame; the disease makes progress, but the evidence scarcely strikes the eye, and the seat of the distemper is almost beyond human investigation. The jealousy of the European powers, too, protects the Turk. But he must go down—Mahometanism is already decaying. Stamboul, its headquarters, will not survive its fall; and a future generation will inevitably see Constantinople the seat of a Christian empire, and that empire, not improbably, only the forerunner of an empire of Palestine.
The general view of Constantinople is superb. A bridge has been thrown across the "Golden Horn," connecting its shores; and from this the city, or rather the four cities, spread out in lengthened stateliness before the eye. From this point are seen, to the most striking advantage, the two mountainous elevations on which Constantinople and Pera are built, and other heights surrounding. A communication subsists across the "Golden Horn," not only by water and the bridge, but also by the road, which by the land is a distance of five or six miles. Viewing Constantinople as a whole, it strikes one as larger by far than Paris or London, but they are both larger. The reason of the deception being, that here the eye embraces a larger space.
The Turks never improve anything. The distinction between them and the Europeans is, that the latter think of conveniences, the former only of luxuries. The Turks, for example, build handsome pavilions, plant showy gardens, and erect marble fountains to cool them in marble halls. But they never mend a high-road—they never even make one. Now and then a bridge is forced on them by the necessity of having one, or being drowned; but they never repair that bridge, nor sweep away the accumulated abomination of their streets, nor do any thing that it is possible to leave undone.
Pera is the quarter in which all the Christians even of the highest rank live; the intercourse between it and Constantinople is, of course, perpetual, yet perhaps a stone has not been smoothed in the road since the siege of the city. From Pera were the most harassing trips down rugged declivities on horseback, besides the awkwardness of the passage in boats.
One extraordinary circumstance strikes the stranger, that but one sex seems to exist. The dress of the women gives no idea of the female form, and the whole population seems to be male.
The masses of people are dense, and among them the utmost silence in general prevails. About seven or eight at night the streets are cleared, and their only tenants are whole hosts of growling, hideous dogs; or a few Turks gliding about with paper lanterns; these, too, being the only lights in the streets, if streets they are to be called, which are only narrow passes, through which the vehicles can scarcely move.
The dogs are curious animals. It is probable that civilization does as much injury to the lower tribes of creation, as it does good to man. If it polishes our faculties, it enfeebles their instincts. The Turkish dog, living nearly as he would have done in the wilderness, exhibits the same sagacity, amounting to something of government. For instance, the Turkish dogs divide the capital into quarters, and each set has its own; if an adventurous or an ambitious dog enters the quarters of his neighbours, the whole pack in possession set upon him at once, and he is expelled by hue and cry. They also know how to conduct themselves according to times and seasons. In the daytime, they ramble about, and suffer themselves to be kicked with impunity; but at night the case is different: they are the majority—they know their strength, and insist on their privileges. They howl and growl then at their own discretion, fly at the accidental stranger with open mouth, attack him singly, charge him en masse, and nothing but a stout bludgeon, wielded by a strong arm, can save the passenger from feeling that he is in the kingdom of his four-footed masters.
The Marquis arrived during the Ramazan, when no Turk eats, drinks, or even smokes, from sunrise to sunset. Thus the Turk is a harder faster than the papist. The moment the sun goes down, the Turk rushes to his meal and his pipe, "not eating but devouring, not inhaling but wallowing in smoke." At the Bajazet colonnade, where the principal Turks rush to enjoy the night, the lighted coffee-houses, the varieties of costume, the eager crowd, and the illumination of myriads of paper lanterns, make a scene that revives the memory of Oriental tales.
Every thing in Turkey is unlike any thing in Europe. In the bazar, instead of the rapid sale and dismissal in our places of traffic, the Turkish dealer, in any case of value, invites his applicant into his shop, makes him sit down, gives him a pipe, smokes him into familiarity—hands him a cup of coffee, and drinks him into confidence; in short, treats him as if they were a pair of ambassadors appointed to dine and bribe each other—converses with, and cheats him.
But the Marquis regards the bazars as contemptible places, says that they are not to be compared with similar establishments at Petersburg or Moscow, and recommends whatever purchases are made, to be made at one's own quarters, "where you escape being jostled, harangued, smoked, and poisoned with insufferable smells."
One of the curious features of the sojourn at Constantinople, is the presentation to the Ministers and the Sultan. Redschid Pasha appointed to see the Marquis at three o'clock, la Turque—which, as those Orientals always count from the sunset, means eight o'clock in the evening.
He was led in a kind of procession to the Minister, received in the customary manner, and had the customary conversation on Constantinople, England, the war, &c. Then, a dozen slaves entered, and universal smoking began. "When the cabinet was so full of smoke that one could hardly see," the attendants returned, and carried away the pipes. Then came a dropping fire of conversation, then coffee; then sherbet, which the guest pronounced good, and "thought the most agreeable part of the ceremonial." The Minister spoke French fluently, and, after an hour's visit, the ceremony ended—the pasha politely attending his visiter through the rooms. The next visit was to Achmet Pasha, who had been in England at the time of the Coronation—had been ambassador at Vienna for some years—spoke French fluently—was a great friend of Prince and Princess Metternich, and, besides all this, had married one of the Sultan's sisters. The last honour was said to be due to his immense wealth. It seems that the "course of true love" does not run more smoothly in Turkey than elsewhere—for the young lady was stated to be in love with the commander-in-chief, an older man, but possessing more character. Achmet was now Minister of Commerce, and in high favour. He kept his young wife at his country house, and she had not been seen since her marriage. When asked permission for ladies to visit her, he always deferred it "till next spring, when," said he, "she will be civilized." The third nocturnal interview was more picturesque—it was with the young Sultana's flame, the Seraskier, (commander-in-chief.) His residence is at the Porte, where he has one of the splendid palaces.
"You enter an immense court, with his stables on one side and his harem on the other. A regiment of guards was drawn up at the entrance, and two companies were stationed at the lower court. The staircase was filled with soldiers, slaves, and attendants of different nations. I saw Greeks, Armenians, Sclavonians, Georgians, all in their native costume; and dark as were the corridors and entrance, by the flashes of my flambeaux through the mist, the scene struck me as much more grand and imposing than the others. The Seraskier is a robust, soldier-like man, with a fierce look and beard, and an agreeable smile." The Minister was peculiarly polite, and showed him through the rooms and the war department, exhibiting, amongst the rest, his military council, composed of twenty-four officers, sitting at that moment. They were of all ranks, and chosen, as it was said, without any reference as to qualification, but simply by favour. The Turks still act as oddly as ever. A friend of the Marquis told him, that he had lately applied to the Seraskier to promote a young Turkish officer. A few days after, the officer came to thank him, and said, that though the Seraskier had not given him the command of a regiment, he had given him "the command of a ship." The true wonder is, that the Turks have either ships or regiments. But there is a fine quantity of patronage in this department—the number of clerks alone being reckoned at between seven and eight hundred.
The opinions of the Marquis on Mediterranean politics are worth regarding, because he has had much political experience in the highest ranks of foreign life—because from that experience he is enabled to give the opinions of many men of high name and living influence, and because he is an honest man, speaking sincerely, and speaking intelligibly. He regards the preservation of Turkey as the first principle of all English diplomacy in the east of Europe, and considers our successive attempts to make a Greek kingdom, and our sufferance of an Egyptian dynasty, as sins against the common peace of the world. Thus, within a few years, Greece has been taken away; Egypt has not merely been taken away, but rendered dangerous to the Porte; the great Danubian provinces, Moldavia and Wallachia, have been taken away, and thus Russia has been brought to the banks of the Danube. Servia, a vast and powerful province, has followed, and is now more Russian than Turkish; and while those limbs have been torn from the great trunk, and that trunk is still bleeding from the wounds of the late war, it is forced to more exhausting efforts, the less power it retains. But, with respect to Russia, he does not look upon her force and her ambition with the alarm generally entertained of that encroaching and immense power. He even thinks that, even if she possessed Constantinople, she could not long retain it. As all this is future, and of course conjectural, we may legitimately express our doubts of any authority on the subject. That Russia does not think with the Marquis is evident, for all her real movements for the last fifty years have been but preliminaries to the seizure of Turkey. Her exhibitions in all other quarters have been mere disguises. She at one time displays a large fleet in the Baltic, or at another sends an army across Tartary; but she never attempts any thing with either, except the excitement of alarm. But it is in the direction of Turkey that all the solid advances are made. There she always finishes her hostility by making some solid acquisition. She is now carrying on a wasteful war in the Caucasus; its difficulty has probably surprised herself, but she still carries it on; and let the loss of life and the expenditure of money be what they will, she will think them well encountered if they end in giving her the full possession of the northern road into Asia Minor. Russia, in possession of Constantinople, would have the power of inflicting dreadful injuries on Europe. If she possessed a responsible government, her ambition might be restrained by public opinion; or the necessity of appealing to the national representatives for money—of all checks on war the most powerful, and in fact the grand operative check, at this moment, on the most restless of European governments, France. But with her whole power, her revenues, and her military means completely at the disposal of a single mind, her movements, for either good or evil, are wholly dependent on the caprice, the ambition, or the absurdity of the individual on the throne. The idea that Russia would weaken her power by the possession of Constantinople, seems to us utterly incapable of proof. She has been able to maintain her power at once on the Black Sea, seven hundred miles from her capital; on the Danube, at nearly the same distance, and on the Vistula, pressing on the Prussian frontier. In Constantinople she would have the most magnificent fortress in the world, the command of the head of the Mediterranean, Syria, and inevitably Egypt. By the Dardanelles, she would be wholly inaccessible; for no fleet could pass, if the batteries on shore were well manned. The Black Sea would be simply her wet-dock, in which she might build ships while there was oak or iron in the north, and build them in complete security from all disturbance; for all the fleets of Europe could not reach them through the Bosphorus, even if they had forced the Dardanelles—that must be the operation of an army in the field. On the north, Russia is almost wholly invulnerable. The Czar might retreat until his pursuers perished of fatigue and hunger. The unquestionable result of the whole is, that Russia is the real terror of Europe. France is dangerous, and madly prone to hostilities; but France is open on every side, and experience shows that she never can resist the combined power of England and Germany. It is strong evidence of our position, that she has never ultimately triumphed in any war against England; and the experience of the last war, which showed her, with all the advantages of her great military chief, her whole population thrown into the current of war, and her banner followed by vassal kings, only the more consummately overthrown, should be a lesson to her for all ages. But Russia has never been effectually checked since the reign of Peter the Great, when she first began to move. Even disastrous wars have only hastened her advance; keen intrigue has assisted military violence, and when we see even the destruction of Moscow followed by the final subjugation of Poland, we may estimate the sudden and fearful superiority which she would be enabled to assume, with her foot standing on Constantinople, and her arm stretching at will over Europe and Asia. Against this tremendous result there are but two checks, the preservation of the Osmanli government by the jealousy of the European states, and the establishment of a Greek empire at Constantinople: the former, the only expedient which can be adopted for the moment, but in its nature temporary, imperfect, and liable to intrigue: the latter, natural, secure, and lasting. It is to this event that all the rational hopes of European politicians should be finally directed. Yet, while the Turk retains possession we must adhere to him; for treaties must be rigidly observed, and no policy is safe that is not strictly honest. But if the dynasty should fail, or any of those unexpected changes occur which leave great questions open, the formation of a Greek empire ought to be contemplated as the true, and the only, mode of effectually rescuing Europe from the most formidable struggle that she has ever seen. But the first measure, even of temporary defence, ought to be the fortification of Constantinople. It is computed that the expense would not exceed a million and a half sterling.
The Marquis, by a fortunate chance for a looker-on, happened to be in the Turkish capital at the time when the populace were all exulting at the capture of Acre. It was admitted that the British squadron had done more in rapidity of action, and in effect of firing, than it was supposed possible for ships to accomplish, and all was popular admiration and ministerial gratitude. In addition to the lighting of the mosques for the Ramazan, Pera and Constantinople were lighted up, and the whole scene was brilliant. Constant salvoes were fired from the ships and batteries during the day, and at night, of course, all was splendour on the seven hills of the great city.
On the "Seraskier's Square," two of the Egyptian regiments taken at Beyrout defiled before the commander-in-chief. The Turkish bands in garrison moved at their head. The prisoners marched in file; and, having but just landed from their prison-ships, looked wretchedly. Having a red woollen bonnet, white jackets, and large white trowsers, they looked like an assemblage of "cricketers." The men were universally young, slight made, and active, with sallow cheeks, many nearly yellow, orange, and even black; still, if well fed and clothed, they would make by no means bad light troops. The Turks armed and clothed then forthwith, and scattered them among their regiments; a proceeding which shows that even the Turk is sharing the general improvement of mankind. Once he would have thrown them all into the Bosphorus.
From this professional display, the Marquis adjourned to the "Grand Promenade," where the sultanas see the world, unseen themselves, in their carriages. "Though," as he writes, "I never had an opportunity of verifying any thing like Miss Pardoe's anecdote of the 'sentries being ordered to face about when presenting arms,' rather than be permitted to gaze on the tempting and forbidden fruit; but, on the contrary, witnessed soldiers escorting all the sultanas' carriages: it is nevertheless true, that a gruff attendant attacked and found fault with me for daring to raise my eyes to a beautiful Turkish woman, whom it was quite impossible I could admire beyond her forehead and two large black eyes, eyebrows, and lashes, which glanced from under her yashmack." But the Marquis has no mercy on the performances of poor Miss Pardoe.
The sultana-mother was a personage of high importance at this time, from her supposed influence over her son. Her equipage was somewhat European—a chariot, with hammer-cloth, (apparently lately received from Long-Acre.) The coachman drove four large bay horses, with a plurality of reins. There were attendants, running Turks, and guards before to clear the way. Two open barouches, ornamented after the manner of the country, followed, and the rear of the sultanas' procession was closed by arebas (or covered and gilded vans) full of women and slaves.
But the most characteristic display of all is the "Cabinet." "On the side of this drive is a long colonnade of shops; and, at the bottom of it, a barber's, in which all the ministers of the divan and the pasha assemble! They sit on cushions in grand conclave and conference; and, while affecting to discuss the affairs of the state, the direction of their eyes, and their signs to the recumbent houris in the carriages, show their thoughts to be directed to other objects."
What should we think of the chancellor, the premier, and the three secretaries of state, sitting in council at a fruiterer's in Regent Street, and nodding to the ladies as they pass? But this is not all. The sultan, in his kiosk, sits at one end of the drive, inspecting the whole panorama. Still, it is not yet complete; at the lower end of the colonnade there is a woman-market, where each slave, attended by a duenna, passes and parades, casting her languishing eyes through the files of lounging officers and merchants, who crowd this part of the promenade. All this is essentially Turkish, and probably without any thing like it in the world besides.
The beauty of the Turkish women is still a matter of dispute. When beauty is an object of unlimited purchase, its frequency will be probably found a safe admission. But Turkish women occasionally unveil, and it is then generally discovered that the veil is one of their principal charms. They have even been described as merely good-humoured looking "fatties"—a sufficiently humble panegyric. Lord Londonderry gives it as his opinion, that they are "not generally handsome, but all well-built and well-grown, strong, and apparently healthy. Their eyes and eyebrows are invariably fine and expressive; and their hair is, beyond measure, superior to that of other nations. The thickness of its braidings and plaits, and the masses that are occasionally to be seen, leave no doubt of this."
Long and luxuriant tresses belong to all the southern nations of Europe, and seem to be the results of heat of climate; and there are few facts in physiology more singular than the sudden check given to this luxuriance on the confines of Negroland. There, with all predisposing causes for its growth, it is coarse, curled, and never attains to length or fineness of any kind. The Georgians and Circassians were once the boast of the harem; but the war and the predominance of the Russian power in the Caucasus, have much restricted this detestable national traffic—a circumstance said to be much to the regret of both parents and daughters; the former losing the price, and the latter losing the preferment, to which the young beauties looked forward as to a certain fortune. But later experience has told the world, that the charms of those Armidas were desperately exaggerated by Turkish romance and European credulity; that the general style of Circassian features, though fair, is Tartarish, and that the Georgian is frequently coarse and of the deepest brown, though with larger eyes than the Circassian, which are small, and like those of the Chinese. The accounts written by ladies visiting the harems are to be taken with the allowance due to showy dress, jewels, cosmetics, and the general effect of a prepared exhibition, scarcely less than theatrical. It is scarcely possible that either the human face or form can long preserve symmetry of any kind in a life almost wholly destitute of exercise, in the confined air of their prison, and in the full indulgence of their meals. Activity, animation, and grace—the great constituents of all true beauty—must soon perish in the harem.
The Marquis (an excellent judge of a horse) did not much admire the steeds of the pashas. On a visit to the Seraskier's stables, the head groom brought out fourteen, with light Tartars on them to show their points. Their stables were miserable. The horses were without stalls or litter, in a dark, ill-paved barn. They were heavily covered with rugs. Three or four were very fine Arabs; but the rest were of Turkish blood, with large heads, lopped ears, and thick necks, of indifferent action, and by no means desirable in any shape.
The interview with the Sultan was the last, and was interesting and characteristic. The Marquis had naturally expected to find him in the midst of pomp. Instead of all this, on entering a common French carpeted room, he perceived, on an ordinary little French sofa, the sovereign crosslegged, and alone; two small sofas, half-a-dozen chairs, and several wax-lights, were all the ornaments of this very plain saloon. But the Sultan was diamonded all over, and fully made amends for the plainness of his reception-room. As to his person, Abdul-Mehjid is a tall sallow youth of nineteen or twenty, with a long visage, but possessing fine eyes and eyebrows, so that, when his face is lighted up, it is agreeable and spiritual.
We must now close our sketch of those diversified and pleasant volumes. We regret to hear that their distinguished and active author has lately met with a severe accident in following the sports of his country; but we are gratified with the hope of his recovery, and the hope, too, of seeing him undertake more excursions, and narrate them with equal interest, truth, and animation.
* * * * *
THE CURSE OF GLENCOE.
BY B. SIMMONS.
 The tale that follows is founded upon an incident that occurred some little time before the American War, to Colonel Campbell of Glenlyon, whose grandfather, the Laird of Glenlyon, was the officer in King William's service who commanded at the slaughter of the Macdonalds of Glencoe. The anecdote is told in Colonel David Stewart's valuable history of the Highland Regiments. Edin 1822.
The fair calm eve on wood and wold Shone down with softest ray, Beneath the sycamore's red leaf The mavis trill'd her lay, Murmur'd the Tweed afar, as if Complaining for the day.
And evening's light, and wild-bird's song, And Tweed's complaining tune; And far-off hills, whose restless pines Were beckoning up the moon— Beheld and heard, shed silence through A lofty dim saloon.
The fruits of mellow autumn glow'd Upon the ebon board; The blood that grape of Burgundy In other days had pour'd, Gleam'd from its crystal vase—but all Untasted stood the hoard.
Two guests alone sat listlessly That lavish board beside; The one a fair-haired stripling, tall, Blithe-brow'd and eager-ey'd, Caressing still two hounds in leash, That by his chair abide.
Right opposite, in musing mood, A stalwart man was placed, With veteran aspect, like a tower By war, not time, defaced, Whose shatter'd walls exhibit Power Contending still with Waste.
And as the ivy's sudden veil Will round the fortress spring, Some grief unfading o'er that brow Its shadow seemed to fling, And made that stalwart man's whole air A sad and solemn thing.
And so they sat, both Youth and Years, An hour without a word— The pines that beckon'd up the moon Their arms no longer stirr'd, And through the open windows wide The Tweed alone was heard.
The elder's mood gave way at last, Perhaps some sudden whine Of the lithe quest-hounds startled him, Or timepiece striking nine; "Fill for thyself, forgotten Boy," He said, "and pass the wine."
"A churlish host I ween am I To thee, who, day by day, Thus comest to cheer my solitude With converse frank and gay, Or tempt me with thy dogs to course The moorlands far away.
"But still the fit returns"—he paused, Then with a sigh resumed, "Remember'st thou how once beneath, Yon chestnut, when it bloom'd, Thou ask'd'st me why I wore the air Of spirit disentomb'd;
"And why, apart from man, I chose This mansion grim and hoary, Nor in my ancient lineage seem'd, Nor ancient name, to glory? I shunn'd thy questions then—now list, And thou shalt hear the story—
"With a brief preface, and thro' life Believe its warning true— That they who (save in righteous cause) Their hands with blood imbrue— Man's sacred blood—avenging heaven Will long in wrath pursue.
"A curse has fallen upon my race; The Law once given in fire, While Sinai trembled to its base, That curse inflicted dire, TO VISIT STILL UPON THE SON, THE OFFENCES OF THE SIRE.
"My fathers strong, of iron hand, Had hearts as iron hard, That never love nor pity's touch, From ruthless deeds bebarr'd. And well they held their Highland glen, Whatever factions warr'd.
"When Stuart's great but godless race Dissolved like thinnest snow Before bright Freedom's face, my clan, The Campbells, served their foe. —Boy—'twas my grandsire" (soft he said) "Commanded at Glencoe."
The stripling shrank, nor quite suppress'd His startled bosom's groan; Forward and back the casements huge By sudden gust were blown, And at the sound one dreaming hound Awaken'd with a moan.
"Glencoe—ay, well the word may stir, The stoutest heart with fear, Or burn with monstrous shame the face Of man from year to year, As long as Scotland's girdling rocks The roar of seas shall hear.
"Enough—Glenlyon redly earn'd The curse he won that night, When rising from the social hearth He gave the word to smite, And all was shriek and helplessness, And massacre and flight.
"And such a flight!—O, outraged Heaven, How could'st thou, since, have smiled? A fathom deep the frozen snow Lay horrid on the wild, Where fled to perish youth and age, And wife and feeble child.
"My couch is soft—yet dreams will still Convert that couch to snow, And in my slumbers shot and shout Are ringing from Glencoe." That stalwart man arose and paced The chamber to and fro, While to his brow the sweat-drop sprung Like one in mortal throe.
* * * * *
"Glenlyon died, be sure, as die All desperate men of blood, And from my sire (his son) our lands Departed sod by sod, Till the sole wealth bequeathed me was A mother fearing God.
"She rear'd me in that holy fear, In stainless honour's love, And from the past she warned me, Whate'er my fate should prove, To shrink from bloodshed as a sin. All human sins above.
"I kept the precept;—by the sword Compell'd to win me bread, A soldier's life of storm and strife For forty years I led, Yet ne'er by this reluctant arm Has friend or foeman bled.
"But still I felt Glencoe's dark curse My head suspended o'er, —Look, this reluctant hand, for all, Is red with human gore!" Again that white-lipp'd man arose And strode the echoing floor.
* * * * *
"A prosperous course through life was mine On rampart, field, and wave, Though more my warrior skill than deeds, Command and fortune gave. Years roll'd away, and I prepared To drop the weary glaive.
"'Twas when beyond th' Atlantic foam, To check encroaching France, Our war spread wide, and, on his tide, In many a martial glance, St Lawrence saw grey Albyn's plumes And Highland pennons dance.
"E'en while I waited for the Chief, By whom relieved at last, Heart-young, though time-worn, I was free To hail my country's blast— That on a sentry, absent found, The doom of death was pass'd.
"POOR RONALD BLAIR! a fleeter foot Ne'er track'd through Morvern moss The wind-hoof'd deer; nor swimmer's arm More wide the surge could toss Than his, for whom dishonour's hand Now dug the griesly fosse.
"Suspicion of those hunter tribes, Along whose giant screen Of shadowy woods our host encamp'd, The early cause had been Of rule, that none of Indian race Should come our lines within.
"The law was kept, yet, far away, Amid the forests' glade, The fair-hair'd warriors of the North Woo'd many a dusky maid, Who charm'd, perhaps, not less because In Nature's garb array'd.
"And warm and bright as southern night, When all is stars and dew, Was that dark girl, who, to the banks, Where lay her light canoe, Lured Ronald's footsteps, day by day, What time the sun withdrew.
"Far down the stream she dwelt, 'twould seem, Yet stream nor breeze could bar Her little boat, that to a nook, Dark with the pine-tree's spar, Each evening Ronald saw shoot up As constant as a star.
"Alone she came—she went alone:— She came with fondest freight Of maize and milky fruits and furs Her lover's eyes to greet; She went—ah, 'twas her bosom then, Not bark, that bore the weight!
"How fast flew time to hearts like theirs! The ruddy summer died, And Arctic frosts must soon enchain St. Lawrence' mighty tide; But yet awhile the little boat Came up the river-side.
"One night while from their northern lair With intermittent swell, The keen winds grumbled loud and long, To Ronald's turn it fell Close to the shore to keep the lines, A lonely sentinel.
"'Twas now the hour was wont to bring His Indian maid; and hark! As constant as a star it comes, That small love-laden bark, It anchors in the cove below— She calls him through the dark.
"He dared not answer, dared not stir, Where Discipline had bound him; Nor was there need—led by her heart The joyous girl has found him; She understands it not, nor cares, Her raptured arms are round him.
"He kiss'd her face—he breathed low Those brook-like, murmuring words That, without meaning, speak out all The heart's impassion'd chords, The truest language human lip To human lip affords.
"He pointed towards the distant camp, Her clasping arms undid, And show'd that till the morrow's sun Their meeting was forbid; She went—her eyes in tears—he call'd, And kiss'd them from the lid.
"She went—he heard her far below Unmoor her little boat; He caught the oars' first dip that sent It from the bank afloat; Next moment, down the tempest swept With an all-deafening throat.
"Loud roar'd the storm, but louder still The river roar'd and rose, Tumbling its angry billows, white And huge as Alpine snows; Yet clear through all, one piercing cry His heart with terror froze.
"She shrieks, and calls upon the name She learn'd to love him by; The waves have swamp'd her little boat— She sinks before his eye! And he must keep his dangerous post, And leave her there to die!
"One moment's dreadful strife—Love wins; He plunges in the water; The moon is out, his strokes are stout, The swimmer's arm has caught her, And back he bears, with gasping heart, The Forest's matchless daughter!
"'Twas but a chance!—her life is gain'd, And his is gone—for, lo! The picquet round has come, and found, Left open to the foe, The dangerous post that Ronald kept So short a time ago.
"They met him bearing her—he scorn'd To palter or to plead: Arrested—bound—ere beat of drum, The Judgment-court decreed That Ronald Blair should with his life Pay forfeit for his deed.
"He knew it well—that deed involved Such mischief to the host, While prowling spy and open foe Watch'd every jealous post, That, of a soldier's crimes, it call'd For punishment the most.
"On me, as senior in command, The charge I might not shun Devolved, to see the doom of death Upon the culprit done. The place—a league from camp; the hour— The morrow's evening sun.
"Meanwhile some touches of the tale That reach'd the distant tent Of Him who led the war in Chief, Won justice to relent. That night, in private, a REPRIEVE Unto my care was sent,
"With secret orders to pursue The sentence to the last, And when the prisoner's prayer was o'er, And the death-fillet past, But not till then, to read to him That Pardon for the past.
"The morrow came; the evening sun Was sinking red and cold, When Ronald Blair, a league from camp We led, erect and bold, To die the soldier's death, while low The funeral drum was roll'd.
"With arms reversed, our plaided ranks The distance due retire, The fatal musqueteers advance The signal to require: 'Till I produce this kerchief blue, Be sure withhold your fire.'
"His eyes are bound—the prayer is said— He kneels upon his bier; So dread a silence sank on all, You might have heard a tear Drop to the earth. My heart beat quick With happiness and fear,
"To feel conceal'd within my vest A parting soul's relief! I kept my hand on that REPRIEVE Another moment brief; Then drew it forth, but with it drew, O God! the handkerchief.
"He fell!—and whether He or I Had died I hardly knew— But when the gusty forest breeze Aside the death-smoke blew, I heard those bearing off the dead, Proclaim that there were two.
"They said that as the volley ceased, A low sob call'd them where They found an Indian maiden dead, Clasping in death's despair One feather from a Highland plume And one bright lock of hair.
"I've long forgot what follow'd, save That standing by his bier, I shouted out the words some fiend Was whispering in my ear— 'My race is run—the curse of Heaven And of Glencoe is here!'
"From that dark hour all hope to me, All human hope was gone; I shrank from life a branded man— I sought my land alone, And of a stranger's purchased halls I joy'd to make my own.
"Thou'st known me long as Campbell—now Thou know'st the Campbell's story, And why, apart from man, I chose This mansion grim and hoary, Nor in my ancient lineage seem'd, Nor ancient name, to glory.
"Though drear my lot, yet, noble boy, Not always I repine; Come, wipe those watery drops away That in thine eyelids shine; Fill for thyself," the old man said, "Once more, and pass the wine."
 Such was his exclamation, as repeated in the History before referred to. Colonel Campbell always imputed the unfortunate occurrence that clouded the evening of his life to the share his ancestor had in the disastrous affair of Glencoe.
* * * * *
THE MARTYRS' MONUMENT.
Now glory to our Councillors, that true and trusty band— And glory to each gallant heart that loathes its fatherland; And glory evermore to those who the battle first began, For the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man.
Ye citizens of Mary-le-bone! 'twas yours to point the way How freemen best might mock the laws which none but slaves obey; How classic fanes should rise to mark the honour that we owe To all who hated Church and King, and planned their overthrow.
O fresh and bright shone reason's light through superstition's gloom, When one and all ye heard the call of honest Joseph Hume; When listening to his flowing words, than honey-dew more sweet, Ye sate, dissolved in holy tears, at that Gamaliel's feet!
How touchingly he spoke of those now gather'd to their rest, By knaves and laws upbraided, but by righteous patriots bless'd; How brightly gleamed his eagle eye, as he poured his ancient grudge On that foul throng that wrought them wrong—on Jury and on Judge!
Well may ye boast among the host of patriots tried and true, That to your bold humanity the foremost place is due; Yet others follow fast behind, though ye have led the van, In the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man!
Dun-Edin's civic Councillors come closely in your wake, They, too, can feel for injured truth, and blush for Scotland's sake; Well have they wiped the stain away, affix'd in former years Upon the citizens of France, and on their bold compeers.
Let women moan and maunder against the glorious time, When France arose in all her might, when loyalty was crime; When prison shambles stream'd with blood, and red the gutters ran, In the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man!
When piled within the crazy boats, chain'd closely to the beam, By hundreds the aristocrats sank in the sullen stream; When age and sex were no respite, and merrily and keen, From morning until night, rush'd down the clanking guillotine.
'Tis ours to render homage, where homage most is due— Now glory be to DANTON, and to his valiant crew— And glory to those mighty shades, who never stoop'd to spare, The virtuous regicides of France, and the hero, ROBESPIERRE.
But greater glory still to those, who strove within our land, To hoist the cap of liberty, and bare the British brand, To drag our ancient Parliament from its place of honour down, To ride rough-shod upon the Lords, and spit upon the Crown.
What though the bigots of the bench declared their treason vile— What though they languish'd slowly in the felon's distant isle— Shall we, the children of Reform, withhold our just applause From those who loved the people and, of course, despised the laws?
We'll rear a stately monument—we'll build it fair and high, And on the porch this graven verse shall greet the passers-by— "IN HONOUR OF THE MARTYRS WHO THE BATTLE FIRST BEGAN FOR THE CAUSE OF JUST FRATERNITY, AND THE EQUAL RIGHTS OF MAN!"
'Twill be a proud memorial, when we have pass'd away, Of old Dun-Edin's loyalty, and the Civic Council's sway; And it shall stand while earth is green and skies are summer blue, Eternal as the sleep of those who fell at Peterloo!
Were I a chosen Councillor—a tetrarch of the town, I'd drag from off their pedestals these Tory statues down; I'd make a universal sweep of all that serves to show How vilely the aristocrats have used us long ago.
The column rear'd to victory in that detested war, When the Tricolor went down before our flag at Trafalgar, The column that hath taught our sons to mutter Nelson's name, I'd level straightway with the dust, and with it sink our shame.
Yes! in that place a classic fane should stand where Nelson's stood, With new baptismal cognizance from famous THISTLEWOOD; His bust should in the centre shine, and round it, placed on guard, The effigies of HATFIELD, INGS, and of the good DESPARD.
There's Pitt, the Lar of Frederick Street—O shame to us and ours! Was it not he whose policy struck back the Gallic powers? Was it not he whose iron hand so ruthlessly kept down The tide of bold democracy, and saved the British crown?
I'd fetch him from his lofty perch; I'd dash him on the stones; I'd serve the lifeless bronze the same as I'd have served his bones; And on the empty stance I would in radiant metal show, A bolder and a braver man—the patriot PAPINEAU.
Down, down, I say, with George the Fourth!—for him there's no delay; Let all askance direct their glance, for virtue's sake, we pray; So says our new Pygmalion, the purist of the town, 'Twere shame that he compelled should be, in passing, to look down.
Let's find another statue of the brave old English breed, A worthy of an earlier age—a champion good at need; No cause were then to seem ashamed, though slaves might feel afraid, When emancipated bondsmen bow'd to the image of JACK CADE.
There's room enough where Royal Charles sits stiffly in the Square, To rear a double effigy—Why not of BURKE and HARE? Though not in freedom's cause they died, remember'd let it be, That science has its martyrdom, as well as liberty.
A monument to Walter Scott!—A monument forsooth! What has that bigot done for us, for freedom, or for truth? He always back'd the Cavalier against the Puritan, And sneer'd at just fraternity, and the equal rights of man.
What good to us have ever done his Legends of Montrose, Of Douglas and of dark Dundee, the fellest of our foes? What care we for the Border chiefs, or for the Stuart line, Or the thraldom of the people in "the days of auld langsyne?"
Men dream'd not of equality in days so darkly wild, Nor was the peasant's bantling then mate for the baron's child; But we've learn'd another lesson since the golden age drew near, And working men may keep the wall, and jostle prince and peer.
Ye fools! take down your monument—or rear it, if ye will, But choose another effigy that lofty niche to fill. None better, say ye? Pause awhile, and I will tell you one, Who never bent the servile knee at altar or at throne.
No fond illusions dull'd his eye, no tales of wither'd eld; No childish faith was his to trust aught save what he beheld; No sovereignty would he allow save Reason's rightful reign; No laws save those of Nature's code—and such was THOMAS PAINE.
Place him within your Gothic arch, the only fit compeer Of those whose martyr monument the Council seek to rear; Since traitors to the laws of man may boldly look abroad, Towards the image of their friend who broke the laws of God.
Since anarchy must have its meed, let's leave no statue here, That might from other lips than ours provoke a cynic sneer: If temples must be built to crime, we'll worship there alone, Nor leave a mark of loyalty or honour in the stone.
Then glory to our Councillors, that true and trusty band— And glory to each gallant heart that loathes its fatherland; And glory evermore to those who the battle first began, For the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man!
* * * * *
TASTE AND MUSIC IN ENGLAND.
The heart of an Englishman must ever swell with pride as he contemplates his country's greatness. He looks around him, and his eye every where meets with the signs of increasing opulence and prosperity, while his ear is filled with the busy hum of an industrious, and, despite the idle babblings of the ignorant, and the empty declamation of interested, selfish, and disappointed men, a contented population, happy in the enjoyment of comfort, beyond that of the labouring classes of most other countries. He visits her marts, her harbours, and her ports—men of all nations are met together there—fleets of rich argosies are ever arriving and departing—and myriads of steamers flit to and fro, happily now engaged in promoting the arts of peace, but ready at a moment's notice to become the defenders of his country's shores, and, as recent events have shown the world, able also to carry war and devastation along the coasts of her enemies, even to the uttermost parts of the earth. He explores the seats of her manufactures; there he beholds vast edifices teeming with crowds of work-people, occupied in supplying the wants of mankind. In short, wherever he bends his steps, all are usefully employed—industry, enterprise, and perseverance, are found throughout the land. He also feels it no vain boast to be a denizen of that small isle, whose inhabitants, by their own proper energy, have extended their dominion over a territory on which the sun never sets— peopled by upwards of two hundred million souls—consisting of colonies, nations, and people, differing from each other in form of person, complexion, habits, manners, and in language—elements apparently the most discordant and heterogeneous, yet firmly knit and bound into one vast glorious empire, which, successfully resisting the rudest shocks, often assaulted, ever victorious, and, thanks to the bravery of her warriors, and the wisdom of those who now guide her councils, having defeated alike the open attacks and the secret machinations of her enemies, at this moment constitutes the most powerful state of ancient or modern times—abounding in wealth, and rejoicing in freedom, beyond all other nations of the earth.
He glories also in the intellectual pre-eminence of his country. Her victories by sea and land attest the genius of her captains; her institutions bear witness to the sagacity of her lawgivers and her statesmen. Her railroads, docks, canals, and other public works, bear the marks of superior intelligence acting for the general good. His countrymen were the first to press steam into the active service of mankind. By the genius of Watt and his successors, a power, before destructive and uncontrollable, has been rendered the mighty agent of man's will, the supplier of his wants, and the minister of his convenience. Through their inventions, steam has become, as it were, the breath, the life, of a noble animal of man's creation, untiring in its ceaseless labours, irresistible in its tremendous strength; and, when its maker chooses to endow it with powers of motion, fleeter also than the wind, but of imposing might and majesty as it pursues its headlong course; and yet, withal, checked by a single touch, yielding a perfect obedience to the hand of its ruler, and submissive to the slightest intimation of his will. In the walks of science, literature, and philosophy, he finds equal reason to be proud of his country. Splendid discoveries in every branch of science meet him as he enquires, and but a few years have passed away since the death of one—Sir Humphry Davy—of whom it is scarce too much to say, that he revolutionized a great science by his discoveries, or that, by the power of his single intellect, he dived deeper into the hidden mysteries of the material world than all preceding generations had been able to penetrate. In short, an Englishman finds his country possessed of warriors, statesmen, philosophers, historians, poets, and authors, in every branch of literature, who are the admiration of the whole civilized world. In all these, England stands proudly pre-eminent, the first, the very first, among the nations. It is much to be able to feel this, but an Englishman would fain feel even more than this; his noble ambition is to see his country first in every thing; he would have her pre-eminent alike in the fine arts and those pursuits which distinguish the recreations and amusements of a refined and polished people, as in the more useful arts of life.
But here the pleasing portion of the picture ceases—
"Ogni medaglia ha il suo rovescio,"
every medal has its obverse, says the Italian proverb; and the comparatively low rank which his country occupies in this new field of view, is a melancholy contemplation for an Englishman. He finds that, in general, things are judged of only by the measure of their practical utility, and that the beautiful and the useful are usually deemed to be incompatible; thereby affording, however reluctantly we may admit it, at least some justification of Napoleon's celebrated and bitter reproach, that we are a nation of shopkeepers. It would seem, in truth, that we do not possess that quick perception of the beautiful which is enjoyed by the more excitable and imaginative sons of the south. In painting, we believe we possess a school second to none of modern art. But, beautiful as their works may be, can we place our Reynolds, Lawrence, Hogarth, and Gainsborough in competition with Raphael, Correggio, Rubens, or Claude? In sculpture also, can Westmacott, or even Chantrey—we speak with reverence of the illustrious dead—be compared with Michael Angelo or Giovanni de Bologna? When pressed on these topics, the candid Englishman must, with a sigh, confess his country's inferiority. Architecture also, with few exceptions, has long been our reproach. We judge of the degree of civilization and refinement to which ancient Greece and Rome attained, by the beauty and elegance of their mutilated remains. We find their temples, even in ruins, beautiful beyond the day-dream of our modern architects; some of them, till bold and sacrilegious hands despoiled them, adorned with sculptures which, surviving the destruction of the people who raised them, the wanton rage of barbarous enemies, and the inroads of the elements for near two thousand years, sill remain, in their decay, the wonder and admiration of the world, the models of modern sculptors, and the greatest treasure of art a nation can possess.
In the lapse of ages, perhaps, England, in her turn, may be deserted, her mines exhausted, her edifies ruined, her existence as a nation terminated. The site of her vast metropolis may once more become an undulating verdant plain, intersected by a tidal river; and, perhaps, nothing may remain outwardly to show the curious traveller where the ancient city stood. The pristine abode of man upon the earth, may again be thickly peopled, and civilization may have rolled back to the south, its ancient source. Then may history or tradition vaguely tell of powerful nations who once flourished in the north; their very existence doubted, perhaps, by all, and by many disbelieved. Some day, perchance, one whom accident or curiosity may have brought to the shores of ancient Britain, may wend his weary way along the bank of the noblest river of the land. On a mound a little higher than the rest, something on which the hand of man had evidently been employed may attract his attention, and stimulate him to search among the tangled weeds and brushwood which grow around. The discovery of a marble fragment may, perhaps, eventually lead to the uncovering of one of those statues which now grace the interior of our St Paul's, on the site of which the stranger had unconsciously been exploring. Or, suppose the traveller to have bent his steps in a north-easterly direction, towards the foot of that gentle slope which terminates at the base of the heights of Highgate and of Hampstead. Suppose him, by some strange chance, to stumble upon that incomparable specimen of modern sculpture which stands on high at King's-Cross, lifted up, in order, we presume, to enable the good citizens duly to feast their eyes upon its manifold perfections, as they daily hie them to and fro between their western or suburban retreats and the purlieus of King Street or Cheapside. What estimate would the stranger form of the taste or skill of those who placed on its pedestal the statue we have first supposed him to have found? It avails not to disguise the truth. What that truth may be, we leave to the intelligence of the reader to divine. But what would be the effect of the other discovery we have imagined? The traveller would turn away, convinced that history or tradition gave false accounts of the power and genius of the ancient inhabitants of the land on which he trod, that their glory was a dream, their civilization a delusion, their proficiency in the arts a fable. For the honour of our country, let us hope that the figure of which we speak may not be suffered much longer to disgrace a leading thoroughfare of our metropolis. It has already stood some eight or ten years, a melancholy monument of English taste and English art in the nineteenth century.
For the attainment of excellence in the higher branches of art, as has been well observed by an intelligent foreigner, M. Passavant, it is requisite that a people should possess deep poetic feeling, and that art should not be considered among them as a thing of separate nature, but that it should interweave itself with the ties of social life, and be employed in adding beauty to its nearest, dearest interests. Now, the English, he continues, are more disposed to an active than to a contemplative life. They possess, it must be owned, a character of much earnestness and energy; yet, from the earliest times, their attention has been more directed to the cultivation of the mechanical arts and the sciences appertaining to them than to those nobler branches of art which flourish spontaneously in a more contemplative nation. This characteristic disposition, and the physical activity necessarily connected with it, have been by some ascribed to the influence of our climate, to our moist and heavy atmosphere, and clouded skies, to counteract the influence of which, and to preserve a counterbalancing buoyancy of mind and body, an active habit of life is requisite. But this hypothesis is untenable; for Flanders, with a similar climate, and flourishing likewise by means of its native industry, affords sufficient proof how little these circumstances are prejudicial to the cultivation of the fine arts. Perhaps a better reason may be found in the wide difference which is observable between the national habits of our countrymen and those of the people among whom the arts have been cultivated with the greatest success. In those countries where the beautiful was felt, where the arts were objects of national importance, where a people assembled to award the palm between rival sculptors; and also, in comparatively modern times, when a reigning monarch did not disdain to pick up a painter's pencil, and a whole city mourned an artist's death, and paid honours to his remains; all the rank, wealth, genius, talent, taste, and intelligence of the people were concentrated in one grand focus. Among the states of ancient Greece and modern Italy, the city was in fact the nation; and at Athens, Rome, Venice, and Florence, was collected all of genius, taste, and talent, the people as a body possessed. The mental qualities were thereby rendered more acute, and the tastes and manners of the people more refined and cultivated, by constant intercourse and communication with each other. This refinenent was shared by all classes, and the lower taking pattern from the higher, the whole mass was learned. In England, the very reverse of this takes place. Here, for the most part, those alone frequent our towns, whose doom it is to labour for their bread, they have no leisure from the engrossing pursuits of wealth; business, like a jealous mistress, leaves them no time for other objects. In spite of various disadvantages of soil and climate, the taste for rural pursuits seems part and parcel of our nature, and that species of the genus homo, the country gentleman, seems peculiar to our island. Till within a few years, the great majority of this class, whose abundant wealth and leisure might seem to constitute them the peculiar patrons of the arts, seldom or never frequented even the metropolis, but for generations remained fixed and immovable in the place of their forefathers, rooted to the soil as one of their old oaks. "His guns, dogs, and horses, were the things the squire held most dear." Hunting, shooting, and other sports, formed not only the amusements of his leisure hours, but the business of his life. His intercourse with the world confined to a narrow circle of acquaintance, all of the same tastes and pursuits with himself, he could learn or know no others. Generous pursuits, hospitable, liberal, and open hearted, hating alike poachers and dissenters, possessed of many virtues, avoiding many a crime, discharging the duties, as well as exercising the rights of property; exemplary in all the relations of life, a good father, a tender husband, a kind master, an indulgent landlord, a blessing to himself and those around him, he lived and died the Squire Western of his day, without that refinement and cultivation of the tastes and mental powers which the more polished inhabitants of the metropolis insensibly contract. Sure there were many to whom this does not apply, many who combined the "gifts" of both a town and country life. But, nevertheless such was the great bulk of that class, among whom, had London been England, as even in our own time Paris is or was France, the beautiful would not probably have been so much neglected.
So occupied have the great mass of our countrymen been in the pursuit of wealth, that all that did not directly contribute to this end has been uniformly rejected as useless. A familiar example of the truth of this observation may be seen in the numerous factories and other buildings erected for commercial purposes, in the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire. In buildings of this class, all embellishment and ornament, however simple, which good taste, had it been consulted, might have suggested, to relieve the wearying straightness of outline, or the plain dull flatness of these large ponderous masses of brick and mortar, have been neglected, or rejected, probably as not increasing its productive powers, and therefore unworthy of consideration. Such has been the general principle. But this neglect has at length recoiled upon the heads of its promoters. As long as the world was content to take our manufactures as we chose to make them—when, no other nation having entered the lists with us, we were without competitors, and absolute masters of the commerce of the world, this make-all save-all principle was undoubtedly the most effective. But now, when our manufacturers meet with the keenest competition in every market; when a suicidal export of machinery enables the foreigner immediately to benefit by every mechanical discovery, or improvement in machinery, that is made by our engineers, the case is wholly altered, and the English manufacturer finds out the grievous mistake that he has made. Beauty of design has at length become of paramount importance, and the beautiful, so long neglected, is now avenged. The public taste has advanced too fast. Since the introduction of foreign goods, such as silks and other ornamental fabrics, the inferiority of our native designs for these materials has become manifest to all. We are credibly informed, that there now exists a regular organized system, viz. supply of French designs to our manufacturers; that from these designs all their ideas are borrowed and all their patterns taken, and that, in fact, scarcely a single pattern of purely home invention is worked in a season. The manufacturers are, however, now roused from their lethargy, and great efforts are made to remedy the evil. Schools of design are established, and copyright of design has just been conferred by act of parliament. In some of our commercial towns, large rooms or galleries are opened to the mechanic, where he may study the beautiful and ideal from casts and models of the antique. Pictures also are occasionally exhibited for his instruction. These are indeed great and praiseworthy efforts, in which utilitarianism has assumed a new character, and found a new field of action. These novel institutions, not organized and supported from a pure abstract love of the arts ostensibly promoted by them, but from dire necessity created by successful competition in the more elegant branches of manufacture, in which the exercise of taste and fancy is required, may eventually produce great general results; years, however, must necessarily elapse before their benefits can be felt.
We have hitherto purposely abstained from any allusion to music and musical taste, for the purpose of showing, that music is not the only fruit of civilization which has not as yet arrived at maturity among us; and also for the purpose of ascertaining, whether there might not be some general causes in operation, which affect, in an equal degree, every branch of the more intellectual refinements of civilized life. In this case, the low standard of musical taste and science which will hereafter become the subject of more particular observation, cannot be attributed solely to causes which relate exclusively to music, but must be considered as one amongst other results of general principles. If there be any truth in the foregoing speculations, they apply more particularly to music, and musical taste and science, than to the fine arts, to which we have hitherto confined our observations. Music is peculiarly a social pursuit. It can be cultivated only among the haunts of men. The taste deteriorates, and the mental standard of excellence which each possesses, is lowered when really good music is seldom or never heard. By "the million," it can be heard only while mixing with the world at large; the performer can acquire his mastery over the instrument, at the cost of much time and labour, and he can maintain this mastery, and the purity of his style, only where he can compare himself with others of acknowledged excellence. This can be done only where men congregate in large and populous cities, where the want of amusement is best supplied; the recluse or the solitary man can be no musician.
It may seem anomalous at first sight, and we can well conceive it to be objected to our argument, that it is impossible, that while architecture, sculpture, painting, and music, should have been comparatively neglected, that literature, in all its branches, should be so highly esteemed among us. Milton, and more especially Shakspeare, have never lost one tittle of their value; nay, even at this moment, there are three rival editions of Shakspeare's works in the course of publication. Many volumes of poetry put in their claim to immortality every year. Novel after novel appears each to elbow its predecessor out of the public mind, and be in its turn forgotten. It is easy to imagine, that to many it may appear a paradox in the history of the human race, that a people should exist, endowed by nature with a high degree of poetic feeling, having, as Mr Hallam observes, produced more eminent original poets than any other nation can boast, and attaching a high value to literary talent of every description, but, nevertheless, whose attainments in the fine arts during a thousand years of national existence, should never have passed mediocrity. This apparent inconsistency, however, lies only on the surface. The language of true poetry is understood by all; it strikes home: however rude the thoughts, however uncultivated the understanding, the heart can feel; and it is to the heart the poet speaks; and even in the rudest ages of mankind his power was acknowledged. Voltaire has remarked, that "amusement is one of the wants of man".
Novels are taken up to amuse the vacant hour—in this consists their use. They are read without effort—the mind lies fallow as they are perused, and no study is required, no cultivation of any taste is necessary, to place this amusement within reach. With music and the fine arts, this is not so. The taste for these pursuits requires cultivation; and in order to estimate and appreciate them correctly, the judgment must be formed by a process of education, far different from that which enables all who read to value our poets and authors in the various departments of literature.
On examining the records of mankind, it will be found that this has been the ordinary succession of events in the history of civilization; and that poetry and oratory, the more independent efforts of the human mind, appear in the earlier stages of society, and that by them man is first distinguished as an intellectual and rational creature.
Of Egyptian literature, we know nothing. The destruction of the library of the Ptolemies may be the principal cause of our ignorance. The gigantic remains of this people, and the manner in which they worked in a stone which no modern tool will touch, show that among them the useful arts were considerably advanced. We have, however, abundant evidence of the small degree of proficiency in the fine arts. Their sculptors are characterized by Flaxman as "mere beginners," or "laborious mechanics;" their works as "lifeless forms, menial vehicles of an idea." When Egyptian art ended, then Grecian art began. It appears, however, to have made but little progress down to the time of Homer; and Ddalus and his disciple Eudus are, we believe, the only artists of that early period whose fame has survived. These sculptors worked in wood, and by their proficiency we may form a pretty accurate idea of the state of art in Greece when Homer wrote. The works of Ddalus are described by Pausanias as rude and uncomely in aspect. In his Grecian tour, Pausanias twice makes mention of a statue of Hercules by Ddalus, from which circumstance it would appear to have been held in high estimation. On this statue Flaxman observes—"In the British Museum, as well as in other collections in Europe, are several small bronzes of a naked Hercules, whose right arm, holding a club, is raised to strike; whilst the left is extended, bearing a lion's skin as a shield. From the style of extreme antiquity in these statues—from the rude attempt at bold action, which was the peculiarity of Ddalus—the general adoption of this action in the early ages—the traits of savage nature in the face and figure, expressed with little knowledge, but strong feeling—by the narrow loins, turgid muscles of the breast, thighs, and calves of the legs, will all find reason to believe they are copied from the above-mentioned statue." Greece, it must be owned, possessed musicians long anterior to Homer: Chiron the Centaur, regarded by the ancients as one of the inventors of medicine, botany, and chirurgery, who, when eighty-eight years of age, formed the constellations for the use of the Argonauts; Linus, the preceptor of Hercules, who added a string to the lyre, and is said to be the inventor of rhythm and melody; Orpheus, who also extended the scale of the lyre, and was the inventor and propagator of many arts and doctrines among the Greeks; and Musus, the priest of Ceres, are all remembered as musicians, as well as poets, historians, and philosophers; characters which, in those days, were all combined in the same individuals. The ancients, indeed, appear to have used the term music in a much more extended sense than has been attached to it in modern times, and to have applied it to all the arts and sciences. But even if the ancient meaning of the term were identical with its modern signification, there may be good reason to suppose that their fame as musicians would principally survive. The memory of these first preceptors of mankind was long preserved as the general benefactors of their species. But while the other arts they taught advanced, it does not appear that music made any progress. Thus, they came chiefly to be remembered for that talent in which posterity had produced no equals. As poets they were once celebrated; but, eclipsed by the glory and splendour of the great historian of Troy, their poetical productions were forgotten; whilst, as musicians, unrivalled through many centuries, their skill was long remembered as the most excellent the world had ever known. The arts of sculpture and painting appear to have remained even more stationary than music. For, while about the middle or latter end of the seventh century, B.C., the names of Archilochus and Terpander adorn the page of musical history, followed by many others, including Alcus, Sappho, and Simonides, down to Pindar and his rival Corinna, the former of whom, according to the chronology of Dr Blair, died in 435 B.C. aged 86, it is evident, says Flaxman, "that sculpture was 800 years, from Ddalus to the time immediately preceding Phidias, in attaining a tolerable resemblance of the human form." It appears, therefore, that the greatest epic poem ever written had been read, appreciated, and admired, for nearly five centuries before the arts arrived at perfection. Then, indeed, there burst a flood of glory over ancient Greece, and names never to be forgotten were borne upon the tide. Contemporary with Pindar and Corinna were Phidias, Alcamenes, and many other sculptors, together with poets, philosophers, warriors, and statesmen; men whose names will rise superior to the lapse of time, and whose fame, like the rocky barriers of the ocean, on which the elements in vain expend their fury, will be of equal duration with the world itself.
Ancient Rome was indebted to others for all of the liberal arts and sciences she possessed. In the earlier periods of her existence, and before Greece had become known in Rome, Etruria was the instructress of her sons. When Greece had been subdued, and rendered a tributary province of the all-conquering city, her polished people, nevertheless, exercised an intellectual sovereignty over their masters. In the streets of Athens a singular spectacle was exhibited; there might be seen the conqueror learning of the vanquished; Romans, of exalted rank and unbounded power, had become the disciples of Grecian philosophers. Nevertheless, when Rome possessed orators and poets, each of whom has raised
"Monumentum re perennius,"
in that the golden age of her existence, it does not appear, says Dr Burney, that "except Vitruvius, the Romans had one architect, sculptor, painter, or musician; those who have been celebrated in the arts of Rome having been Asiatics or European Greeks, who came to exercise such arts among the Latins, as the Latins had not among themselves. This custom was continued under the successors of Augustus; and those Romans who were prevented, by more important concerns, from going into Greece, combined, in a manner, to bring Greece to Rome, by receiving into their service the most able professors of Greece and Asia in all the arts." Vitruvius, in the chapter on music inserted in his treatise on architecture, complains that "the science of music, in itself obscure, is particularly so to such as understand not the Greek language." This observation shows the low state of music at Rome at that time; indeed Vitruvius is said to be the first who has treated of music in the Latin tongue.
Modern Europe also furnishes another illustration and example of the truth of our proposition. When the mists of ignorance and superstition which had for centuries enveloped the world, had begun to clear away, and when Europe first attempted to throw off the errors of the Dark Ages, the arts were dead, and the only music known was that cultivated by the monks and clergy, as necessary to their profession, and the songs of the Troubadours. "The fame of the Troubadours," remarks Mr Hallam, "depends less on their positive excellence than on the darkness of preceding ages, the temporary sensation they excited, and their permanent influence on the state of European poetry." The intrinsic merit of the music of this period may be collected from the following observation of Dr Burney:—"However barbarous and wretched the melody and harmony of the secular songs of this period may have been, they were in both respects superior to the music of the church." The Troubadours flourished from the middle of the twelfth century till the latter end of the fourteenth century, when their dissolute and licentious habits caused them to be universally banished and proscribed. During the barbarism of these times, not only had the arts themselves been lost, but even the principles on which they rest had been forgotten. Italy, indeed, possessed many ancient marbles, but they seemed to have lost their value; and it was not till the thirteenth century that any attempt to imitate these remains of antiquity was made. Nicola Pisano, about the year 1231, taking for his model an ancient sarcophagus at Pisa, which contained the remains of Beatrice, mother of the Countess Matilda, sculptured an urn—a feat in those days so extraordinary, as to have conferred upon him the title of Nicolas of the Urn. This artist, in the words of Lanzi, "was the first to see and follow light." He was, however, more ambitious than successful, and was followed by his sons and others, in whose hands the art seems to have no very rapid progress. The art of painting, in which there were no models in existence, was later in manifesting any improvement. It was not till after the year 1250 that, according to Vasari, some Greek painters were invited to Florence by the rulers of the city, for the express purpose of restoring the art to Florence, where it was rather wholly lost than degenerated. Cimabue, the reviver of painting, received instruction from the Greeks. He died in 1300. Fierce as the age in which he lived, says Lanzi, his Madonnas were without beauty, and his angels, even in the same picture, were all in the same attitude. To Cimabue succeeded his pupil, the famous Giotto, who died in 1337. With him the ruggedness of his master's manner was softened down, and considerable advances made towards a better style. He was honourably received at many of the principal towns and cities of Italy, and may, perhaps, be considered as the real founder of their several schools; at all events, painters every where were long the imitators of Giotto. His faults partook also of the character of the age, and among other defects, the dry hardness of his works has given rise to an opinion, that he partly formed his style upon the works of the Pisani. Giotto and his school, indeed, conducted the art through infancy, but it still exhibited many signs of childhood, especially in chiara-oscuro, and even more so in perspective. Figures sometimes appeared as if sliding from the canvass—buildings had not the true point of view, and foreshortening was only rudely attempted. Stefano Fiorentino, a grandson of Giotto, was the first and only one of the school who endeavoured to grapple with this last difficulty, which he may be said to have perceived rather than overcome; his contemporaries, for the most part, evaded it, and concealed their deficiency as they could. Such is the summary of the merits of this school of art given by Lanzi, who dates the commencement of the first epoch of modern painting from the death of Giotto. In further illustration of the low state of art in the early part of the fourteenth century, it may be observed, that Lanzi also describes a great work of Masaccio, who flourished in the succeeding century, as "beautiful for those times;" and that it was not till the year 1410 that oil-painting was invented or improved by Van-Eyck.
From this sketch of the history of the arts of music, sculpture, and painting during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, will be seen their state and condition, when the great work of the immortal Dante took his country by surprise. The Divina Comedia was written about the year 1300. Its illustrious author, the creator of the national poetry of his country, died in 1321, leaving behind him Petrarch, who was crowned in the Capitol in 1341, and Boccaccio, who—though, as Byron said of Scott, he spoiled his poetry by writing better prose—was nevertheless a poet of no mean merit, and the probable inventor of the ottava rima. Two centuries after the last of these parents of modern literature had nearly elapsed, ere he who has been styled the Dante of the arts, Michael Angelo, and his contemporaries, among whom were Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, appeared upon the stage. Thus language, the first great want of man, the necessary instrument of reason, by which its possessor is distinguished from the rest of creation, the vehicle of human thoughts, the means by which man's wants, desires, griefs, and joys, are communicated and made known, would seem to form the earliest object of his attention. He enriches and improves it, till it is rendered capable of expressing all the workings of his reason. This done, genius and invention are applied to other pursuits; and in many instances it may be, that the poet and the artist were but the creatures of the age which produced them. Had he lived at a later period, Homer, the great sire of song, might perhaps have shone the Phidias or the Zeuxis of his day; or, had his birth been anticipated two hundred years, the genius of "the Dante of the arts" might possibly have been displayed in works like those which have immortalized Dante Alighieri. It is, therefore, no inconsistency in the character of a people amongst whom poetry is passionately admired, and books of all kinds eagerly devoured, that the arts should be generally uncared-for and unknown. When another century has passed away, their history may tell another tale, and the powers of mind hitherto employed principally upon the physical sciences, may have achieved like triumphs in the liberal arts. That this may be the case, the past history of other nations affords every reason to hope. What man has done, man may, and doubtless will, do again.
In the earlier ages of the world, music, in its rudest, simplest form, is said to have stopped the flow of rivers, to have tamed wild beasts, and to have raised the walls of cities; allegories which at least show the prodigious influence the art possessed over the inhabitants of infant Greece. In the course of time, love of the art was a national characteristic of this people; and music became a specific in the hand of the physician, a fundamental principle of public education, and the medium of instruction in religion, morals, and the laws. The lyre may be said to have ruled Greece, the glorious and the free, with the same despotic sway with which the iron hand of tyranny has in our own day governed her. Discord, and civil commotions arose among the Lacedmonians; Terpander came, and with his lyre at once appeased the angry multitude. Among the Athenians it was forbidden, under pain of death, to propose the conquest of the isle of Salamis; but the songs of Solon raised a tumult amongst the people; they rose, compelled the repeal of the obnoxious decree, and Salamis straightway fell. Was it found necessary to civilize a wild and extensive province? Music was employed for this desirable object; and Arcadia, before the habitation of a fierce and savage people, became famed as the abode of happiness and peace. Plutarch places the masters of tragedy—to which the modern opera bears a great resemblance—on a level with the greatest captains: nor did the people fail in gratitude to their benefactors; they held their memory in veneration. The lyre of Orpheus was transplanted to the skies, there to shine for countless ages; and divine honours were paid to the name of Sappho.
The Greeks, although perhaps excelling all other nations in this, as in the other arts, are not the only people among whom music was cultivated and esteemed. Both China and Arabia are said to have felt its influence upon their customs, manners, and institutions. The musical traditions of China might seem to be but repetitions of the marvels of the Greeks. King-lun, Kovei, and Pinmonkia, are said to have arrested the flow of rivers, and to have caused the woods and forests, attracted by the melody of their performance, to crowd around. The Chinese are said to believe, that the ancient music of their country has drawn angels down from heaven, and conjured up from hell departed souls: they also believe that music can inspire men with the love of virtue, and cause them faithfully to fulfil their several duties. Confucius says "to know if a kingdom be well governed, and if the customs of its inhabitants be bad or good, examine the musical taste which there prevails." There is still extant a curious document, which shows the importance which a ruler of this people attached to music, as a moral and political agent. We allude to a proclamation of the Emperor Ngaiti, who ascended the throne of the Celestial Empire in the year of the tenth ra 364. After complaining, that tender, artificial, and effeminate strains inspire libertinism, he proceeds, in severe terms, to order a reformation in these matters; the first step to which, is a prohibition of every sort of music but that which serves for war, and for the ceremony Tido. The Arabs also appear to have held similar opinions as to the power of music. They boast of Ishac, Kathab Al Moussouly, Alfarabi, and other musicians, whom they relate to have worked miracles by their vocal and instrumental performances. With the Arabs, music was interwoven with philosophy; and their wise men imagined a marvellous relation to exist between harmonious sounds and the operations of nature. Harmony was esteemed the panacea, or universal remedy, in mental and even bodily affections; in the tones of the lute were found medical recipes in almost all diseases. Upon one occasion, in the presence of the grand vizier, Alfarabi, accompanying his voice with an instrument, is related to have roused a large assembly to an extreme pitch of joyful excitement, from which he moved them to grief and tears, and then plunged all present into a deep sleep, none having the power to resist the enchantment of his performance.
The children of Israel cultivated music in the earliest periods of their existence as a people. After the passage of the Red Sea, Moses, and his sister Miriam, the prophetess, assembled two choruses, one of men, and the other of women, with timbrels, who sang and danced. The facility with which the instruments were collected on the spot, and with which the choruses and dances were arranged and executed, necessarily implies a skill in these exercises, which must have been acquired long before, probably from the Egyptians. We have abundant evidence in Holy Writ, of the high estimation in which music was held among the Hebrews at a later period of their history. They also appear to have successfully applied it to the cure of diseases. The whole of David's power over the disorder of Saul may, without any miraculous intervention, be attributed to his skilful performance upon the harp. In 1st Samuel, c. xvi., we read that Saul's servants said unto him, "Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee: Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well." Saul having assented to this proposal, the son of Jesse the Bethlemite was sent for, and stood before him. "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." So great were the esteem and love for music among this people when David ascended the throne, that we find that he appointed 4000 Levites to praise the Lord with instruments, (1. Chron. c. xxiii.;) and that the number of those that were cunning in song, was two hundred four score and eight, (c. xxv.) Solomon is related by Josephus to have made 200,000 trumpets, and 40,000 instruments of music, to praise God with. In the 2d chapter of Ecclesiastes, music is mentioned by Solomon among the vanities and follies in which he found no profit, in terms which show how generally a cultivated taste was diffused among his subjects. "I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts." Many other passages of similar import might be quoted from the sacred writings, and among others, some from which it would appear that musicians marched in the van of the Jewish armies, and not unfrequently contributed to the victory by the animation of their strains; and that music was the universal language of joy and lamentation. There is, however, one portion of Holy Writ, which, from the highly interesting testimony it incidentally bears to the love of music which prevailed in Jerusalem, and the skill of her inhabitants, we cannot forbear to notice. We allude to the 137th Psalm, "By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered thee, O Sion. As for our harps, we hanged them up upon the trees that are therein. For they that led us away captive required of us there a song and melody in our heaviness: Sing us one of the songs of Sion." From the facts here narrated, we may judge how great was the attachment of the Jewish people for the musical art; their beloved city sacked, their temple plundered and destroyed, their homes desolate, in the midst of danger and despair, deserted by their God, surrounded by infuriated enemies, (Isaiah, xiii. 16.,) nevertheless their harps were not forgotten. From this beautiful and pathetic lamentation, it would also appear that the repute of Hebrew musicians was far extended. No sooner had they arrived in the land of their captivity, than the Chaldean conqueror required of them a song and melody in their heaviness, demanding one of the songs of Sion. The fame of the captives must have long preceded them, for, according to Dr Burney, the art was then declining in Judea.