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And draw her home with music. 2
[Music plays. Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet
music, Lor. The reason is, your spirits are at
tentive: For do but note a wild and wanton herd, Or race of youthful and unhandled colts, Fetching mad bounds, belļowing, and neigh
ing loud, Which is the hot condition of their blood; If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound, Or any air of music touch their ears, You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
The old reading “ in immortal souls" is certainly right, and the wbole line may be well explained by Hooker, in his Ecclesiastical Polity, B. v. “ Touch
ing musical harmony, whether by instrument or
by voice, it being but of high and low in sounds “ in a due proportionable disposition, such not“ withstanding is the force thereof, and so pleasing “ effects it hath in that very part of man which is “ most divine, that some have been thereby induced “ to think, that the soul itself by nature is or hath “ in it harmony.” For this quotation I am indebted to Dr. Farmer. Mr. Malone observes that “ the “ fifth book of the Ecclesiastical Polity was published
singly in 1597.” STEEVENS.
2 And draw her home with music.] Shakspearę was, I believe, here thinking of the custom of accompanying the last waggon-load, at the end of harvest, with rustic music. He again alludes to this yet common practice, in As you like it. Malone.
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze, By the sweet power of music: Therefore,
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones,
and floods ; Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of
rage, But music for the time doth change his na
ture : The man that hath no music in himself,3 Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
3 The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,] The thought here is extremely fine; as if the being affected with music was only the harmony between the internal (music in himself ] and the external music (concord of sweet sounds ) which were mutually affected like unison strings. WARBURTON.
This passage, which is neither pregnant with physical or moral truth, nor poetically beautiful in an eminent degree, has constantly enjoyed the good fortune to be repeated by those whose in hospitable memories would have refused to admit or retain any other sentiment or description of the same author, however exalted or just. The truth is, that it furnishes the vacant fiddler with something to say in defence of his profession, and supplies the coxcomb in music, with an invective against such as do not pretend to discover all the various powers of language in inarticulate sounds. STEEVENS.
To enter at large on the defence of an art, which some have affected to depreciate, would exceed the
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils ; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus :
compass of a note ; I shall, therefore, content myself with observing, that the tendency of music to soften and humanise the soul, has been always acknowledged not only by the poets of every age, but by legislators also ; and that it is to what Shakspeare calls the concord of sweet sounds, that poetry itself owes its fascinating power. Of the many who have hitherto applauded this celebrated passage, I must acknowledge myself to be one; for I think language truly poetical, and the sentiment founded in truth and nature. I doubt, indeed, whether there be any human being that is totally insensible of the powers of harmony ; but if there be any such, we may naturally suppose, that the same sluggish motion of the blood, the same rigid texture of the nerves, the same hardened construction of body or mind, from whatever cause it may proceed, that makes them incapable of harmony, may also render them unsusceptible of the finer feelings of humanity, and of course more fit, than the rest of mankind, for rapine, premeditated murder, and such horrid crimes as require in the perpetrators a certain degree of hardness and insensibility. J. M. MASON.
Due respect for a person to whose learning, industry, and critical abilities, the memory and writings of Shakspeare are under so many, and such important obligations, would have disposed me to omit altogether, in the present publication, the above intemperate and acrimonious note, (the former I mean of the two last cited) had I not been actuated by a strong inclination to say a few words in reply to it
, and in vindication of the poet; throwing out, at the same time, with the disregard they merit, the opproLet no such man be trusted.-Mark the music.
Enter Portia, and Nerissa, at a distance. Por. That light we see, is burning in
brious and indecent reflections contained in an extract from the letters of a celebrated nobleman deceased, which has been subjoined to it, in not fewer, at the least, than three editions of the dramatic writings of Shakspeare, which have been published in the name and under the authority of the same gentleman; but, to omit, where he himself cannot but heartily disapprove, if it be not always the duty, is, surely, the unquestionable privilege of every editor of selected observations.
Whether any, and if any, what degree of connection or relation may subsist between the faculty of musical perception and the moral qualities of the mind, is an inquiry of too profound a nature to admit of a very easy, or of a very speedy determination. Those however, who are inclined to censure the poet as guilty of promulgating a maxim unsupported either by experience or probability, should not fail to recollect that, to be grossly mistaken in what relates to the human character and manners, is rarely to be numbered amongst the errors of Shakspeare, and that though the doctrine here advanced may, perhaps, be chargeable with something like poetic exaggeration, it may not be altogether unconnected with truth. It may, at least, be with confidence affirmed that the finest spirits, those that were most alive to all the other tender and delicate affections of the human breast, have been rarely, if at any time, known to be insensible to the power of harmony, and that a total incapacity to preceive the gratification which it is calculated to yield is, gene
How far that little candle throws his beams!
see the candle. Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less: A substitute shines brightly as a king,
rally speaking, a mark of no very amiable disposition, if not an indication of a restless and turbulent spirit.
To assert, however, that any thing like a scale of relative proportion can be traced between musical taste and moral sensibility, through their several gradations, would be, I fear, presumptuous in the extreme, since it can hardly be questioned that some persons of excellent hearts, as well as heads, have not been endued with a very lively sensation of the pleasures that result from particular combinations of sound, and some, of even profligate manners, are reported to have been much devoted to the study of the musical art. If the theory advanced by the poet be thought too extravagant, it will, perhaps, be found to be somewhat qualified and moderated by: the following supposition, (for more I will not venture to call it) viz. that he had two distinct objects in view in the two first lines of that part of the speech that has been more particularly the subject of animadversion: The former might be intended to denote a want of that internal harmony of mind wherein consist the sense of moral fitness,' and the better dispositions of the soul ; it may comprehend too that inward complacency, the effect of conscious rectitude, so frequently, and so aptly alluded to under the notion of mental harmony: The latter may relate to an incapability of being affected by audible or external harmony; and it may finally have been only.