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Jackson party do not consider themselves insulted — even when there is not the remotest allusion to affairs of party.
We heartily commend Mr. Parson's address to the attention of all thinking men : for much good would arise from an observance of the precepts which it so eloquentby enforces.
The Boston Book. Boston ; Light and Horton.
And this is the Boston Book !' Well! for want of a better, we are willing to say it deserves its name. Yet think with us a moment, Mr. Editor, whomsoever you are -- think what an incomparable volume might be made up from the efforts of Boston boys and sent proudly forth to the world with your happily-conceived title! We will not say that your work has been indifferently done — by no means ; there are many admirable selections ; still, a juster estimation of the best things of your authors might have been evinced. “The Bugle' is undoubtedly the very best production of GRENVILLE MELLEN, but the • Bird of the Bastile' does no especial credit to B. B. THATCHER. It is a mere imitation of Mrs. Hemans. His lines commencing
• Bury me by the Ocean's side !' are far superior.
Of all our poets, Charles Sprague stands indisputably first, and yet the Boston Book does not present us with the most favorable specimens of his muse. When we assign to Mr. Sprague this high rank, we do not mean that he exceeds all in original genius ; but that the great cultivation of his powers, bis happy expression, his melodious versification, and the remarkable care with which he polishes every line, combine to render his poems the most perfect of any which have been preduced among us.
Both Willis and Holmes, in our estimation, transcend him in the play of wit and fancy. Neither are the most charming lines of these last to be found in the elegant volume before us. Mr. Willis's poems have been so universally read and admired, that we need not dwell on their merits at this time ; but the productions of O. W. Holmes, though circulating all over the Union and in England, in the newspapers and literary journals, have not won for their author that meed of fame which he so eminently deserves ; simply because they were published under different signatures and at different times — and without the slightest care for their preservation. Deeply engaged in the study of an arduous profession, their author placed but little value on his genius for poetry ; his verses were writ the amusement of leisure hours : and we will venture to assert that, so indifferent is he with regard to their destiny, he is utterly unconscious at this moment whether they are still afloat or have vanished, like other gilded bubbles, on the surface of popular regard.
It is a curious fact that his pieces, never claimed nor even marked by their owner, have been appropriated by various poetasters, and palmed off on the simple editors of new journals as first-hand articles, and we think it not improbable that they have made a reputation for many a starveling bard. We often see his old verses, written perhaps five years ago and then copied into all the Boston newspapers, printed again in the self-same journals, as“ remarkably pretty lines,' and credit given for their authorship to some brown-paper hebdomadal, issued to subscribers VOL. IX.
whenever the editor has nothing more important to transact, somewhere between this and the Rocky Mountains. And such transformations as they are compelled to undergo ! We fancy their gifted father would be amused to see and somewhat puzzled to recognize the bright little offspring of his muse, under the dirt, rags and patches bestowed by their present self-constituted sponsors ! We have beheld even our own children — little darlings, whom we had sent into the world of letters with such smiling morning faces,' and so tastefully dressed that we hoped every one would fall in love with them —— returned to our sight so bedizened and bedevilled, that, bad it not been for a sort of paternal instinct, we should never have imagined them our own! There should be some vagrant law for these gipsies of literature, who steal the babies of respectable people, make way with their muslin bib and tucker, and, in old rags, pass them off for their illegitimate brats. We are seldom betrayed into wrath, but cannot restrain a wholesome indignation at such nefarious conduct.
The former volumes of this Magazine owe their best poetical pieces to 0. W.H. the signature most frequently adopted by our friend, Oliver Wendall Holmes. “The Amateur,' - a periodical which contained many capital papers, was also made brilliant by the ready sparkle of his wit : and he was also the chief ornament of a journal, formerly conducted by a club of students in Harvard University, under the title of the Collegian,'— six numbers only of which were issued, but which deserve to be bound and placed on the shelves of libraries by the side of the Etonian '-- without comparison the best manifestation of youthful wit and fancy in the English language.
Had we space, we might extract from our copy of the Collegian' (which we would have cheerfully loaned to the editor, under promise of its being returned with great care) several verses, which, though the productions of very young men, would have adorned the pages of the Boston Book. Other sources, such, for instance, as the old Literary Gazette, to which the editor does not appear to have had access, might have been resorted to with great advantage. Nevertheless, where such a mass presented itself, it was absolutely next to impossible to discriminate unerringly, and to have made such a selection as would have gratified either the authors or critics. The public will have just as good reason to be pleased with the work as it is, as if the articles had been chosen according to our individual taste. The publishers deserve the highest credit for their part of the book. It is an exceedingly handsome volume - printed with beautiful type and clear paper, and adorned by a title page, on, which is very neatly engraved, a view of the old elm tree, and the pond on Boston Common.
We regret to notice one or two errors which are chargeable to the proof-reader. Mr. Everett, in his lines To A SISTER,' is thus made to write nonsense :
• But when the waning moon-beam sleeps
At moonlight on that lonely lea,'
At midnight, would have been less tautological. Nothing doubting however, that the volume will be as generally acceptable as if a different judgment had been displayed in the selections, we confidently recommend it, as containing more beauties and fewer faults, than any annual which owes its "popularity rather to fine looks thản good qualities.
Third Annual Report of the Boston Academy of Music. Read
at the Anniversary Meeting, May 27th, 1835. Address before the Boston Academy of Music, on the opening of
the Odeon, August 5, 1935. By Samuel A. Eliot.
Every civilized nation, except England and the United States, has its own music, as distinctly marked, as strongly characteristic, and as truly national as its literature. The Scotch, Irish and Welsh have their own wild and grand strains, in general incomprehensible to the Southern ear, yet occasionally swelling beyond their native hills in bursts of passion, or breathing notes of the deepest pathos, to which the Switzer and the Italian listen in silence and tears. The French still rejoice in the grand national airs of the young Henry, the Marseilles Hymn and the Parisienne, while their musical literature is increased by the graceful strains of Boildieu and Aube so fitted to the exquisite pantomime of Taglioni, or by the more grand and romantic measures of their adopted Meyerbeer.
What shall we say, too, of the music of Germany — deep and metaphysical as the thoughts of her sages and her poets! The dreamy grandeur, the profound pathos, the rich ornament, the romantic and lofty style of her national music, are in fine keeping with the solemn splendor of her ancient feudal castles, her vast cathedrals, and her matchless ruins.
Spain, too, is not wanting: the voice of her high-souled chivalry, not unmingled with tones of Moorish gallantry, comes to us in the delicious romances with which the land is filled.
Yet, from all these we turn with delight to the land of song — the fair, the glorious Italy. Music is national in Italy, as painting and sculpture are national they are born there. In variety and compass, the music of Italy seems to embrace, in a degree, the music of all nations. In the wild and heart-moving tones of the Miserere, the poetry of Ossian seems to be embodied : in depth of pathos, there are passages which rival the deep sentiment of Spain and Germany, in the compositions of Donizetti, and in grace and sprightliness, Rossini hardly finds a rival in France.
Why is it, then, that England has no national music? Why are her performers ever foreigners? Why are the compositions of her doctors, of Oxford and Cambridge, of so short a life? The nearest approach to a national music is the Cathedral Chant? – the grandeur and beauty of which, we are ready to acknowledge ; but the opera and the oratorio have never been carried to any degree of perfection in England by native composers.
The great secret of a want of a national music in England, we believe to be the want of general taste in the art. It is not enough that the rich and the great should Javish their thousands upon successful performers ; that they should build their costly theatres, and import their southern singers by hundreds : the taste must be spread among the people ; it must be found in the cottage, rather than in the palace; the peasant must sing at his labors ; the midnight chorus must ring in the streets ; the public singer must chant the lays of the people, if we would have a truly indigenous music.
Now these are precisely the effects to be expected from that admirable institution, the Boston Academy of Music. Its grand object seems to be the general diffusion of musical taste and knowledge ; and though its effects must be slow in be
coming visible, still we have no doubt - if the plan of the founders be persevered in — the result will be, in the course of two or three generations, that we shall be essentially a musical people. In the third annual report of the academy, the ob jects of its foundation are recapitulated. The first and most important of these, is the general cultivation of musical taste :
• The Boston Academy of music is not a musical society in the common acceptation of the term. It is not the object of this association to promote among its members a knowledge of music, or to gratify their taste, or acquire skill in the performance of it. With these matters,
as a society, we have nothing to do. The only end and aim of those who compose it, is to raise music, as a branch of education, to the rank which they think it entitled to hold ; to diffuse a knowledge of its principles among all classes, and, as subsidiary to this end, to endeavor to remove the prejudices which impede its progress, and to correct the abuses to which it is liable. In doing this, they use the same means which other societies adopt in advancing their objects. The only personal advantage which they expect to secure by their efforts, is to partake in the gratification which will be common to all, when the art is more justly appreciated, and more generally and successfully cultivated.'
The report goes on to state that, although the Academy consider church music the most important department of the art, their object is not bounded by any single branch, but extends to all in which instruction may be desired. They are desirous of rendering music a part of the system of popular education in the country, which we deem to be the surest way of diffusing the taste in the community at large. Another very important object of the Academy is to publish collections of music, both sacred and secular. The remarks upon this point in the report are admirable :
* But in order that the art may produce its proper effect upon mankind, it is necessary to provide music which is of a pure character, as well as to cultivate the voice; to select that which is suitable to be sung, as well as to sing it in a suitable
A correct musical taste, in its extended sense, comprises something more than an ear capable of appreciating sounds and their distinctions. Something of a more intellectual nature enters into its composition. He who desires to make any great proficiency in the art, should become in some degree a philosopher, and be able to tell, not only one sound from another, but what sounds are suited to espress or arouse different states of feeling. To do this with accuracy, supposes an acquaintance with the depths of the human heart — the fountains of thought and feeling - to which the mere casual observer never attains. There must be likewise an intimate knowledge of the nature of the human voice ; its capacity as it respects modulation, inflection, intonation, etc. As the eloquence of the orator consists in felicity of thought, combined with felicity of expression, so when deep emotion is expressed in appropriate musical sounds, we have the eloquence of music. But if those who have excelled as orators, have found it necessary or profitable to study the productions of the masters who preceded them, it will be found equally necessary for those who would form a correct musical taste, to cultivate an assiduous acquaintance with the works of the best composers. To assist them in this ob ject, the Academy hope to be able, from time to time, to publish collections or pieces of music in various styles, both sacred and secular.'
Much has already been accomplished by this excellent institution. The school for gratuitous instruction, open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, has been crowded ; between eight hundred and one thousand children, and from four hundred to five hundred adults have been enrolled in the classes ; besides which, the professors have taught large classes in numerous schools in the city, the principals of which give abundant testimonials of the success of their efforts. A class has also been formed of teachers of music, whose qualifications will un
doubtedly be improved by the assistance of the Professors of the Academy; and a most important and valuable aid has been afforded to them by the ‘Manual ’ of musical instruction, prepared by Mr. Mason. We have ourselves examined this little work, with great interest and satisfaction, and believe that it will be found to answer the ends proposed better than any work of the kind that has yet appeared ; but we will cite higher authority in praise of it. Mr. William Gardiner, of Leicester, England, the author of that beautiful work, the ‘Music of Nature,' speaks of the Manual' in the following letter, addressed to James A. Dickson, Esq., of Boston :
* Leicester, February 26, 1835. •MY DEAR SIR, - I have duly received your letter, also the parcel, for which I am truly obliged to you. I beg of you to make my acknowledgments to the author, Mr. Mason, and thank him for the very ingenious little book he has sent me, and the valuable collection of psalmody. It is remarkable, that in this country, though we have works upon music as far back as Thomas Morley, certainly we have not a book, as yet, comparable with the Manual, printed at Boston. It is highly creditable to the new world, to set us such a pattern.
Under the auspices of the Academy, a choir has been formed, consisting of about one hundred members, of both sexes, who meet once a week with the professors, for instruction and practice ; their advance is very great ; they have already given six oratorios, which, though unaccompanied by any other instrument than the organ, were truly delightful; and we believe that the large audiences who have been assembled to hear them in the Bowdoin Street Church, have never listened to them but with feelings of astonishment at their proficiency, mingled with pleasure at their harmony. The juvenile classes have, during the past year, given three concerts, which have satisfied all who were skeptical, that the plan of giving general instruction in music, is entirely practicable. Many pupils in these classes read music more readily, and perform it with greater correctness and taste, than the leaders of choirs ; many of whom have held the highest places as performers in our churches.
Lectures on the subject of music, accompanied occasionally with illustrations by the choir, have been given in Boston, Hartford, and the city of New-York, and have universally excited attention and interest, showing how much might be done, if the efforts of the Academy could be more widely extended.
The influence of the Academy is already great, and is selt far beyond the precincts of its establishment. A few facts, mentioned in the report, will show this :
• It is gratifying to the friends of music, and especially to the members of this Academy, to know that the cause which they have espoused is gaining strength in the United States. The apathy which has heretofore existed in relation to it, is gradually giving way in proportion as information is disseminated. The influence which this institution is exerting at the present time upon the subject of musical education and taste is extensively felt. Their reports have been much sought after, and read with avidity. The works which they have put forth for the proznotion of the art, have met with a ready sale. Inquiries have been made respecting the mode of our operations, from various quarters. Letters have been received from persons in Georgia, South-Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland, New-York, Connecticut, Vermont, New-Hampshire, and Maine, besides many individuals and societies in Massachusetts, asking for information relative to measures which they ought to adopt, in order to introduce music as a branch of education into the community where they live. In Portland, they have formed an academy for this purpose, which is doing considerable for that object. Mr. Ilsley,