Imágenes de páginas

High overhead, a solitary sea-bird utters his wild, plaintive cry.

The hurrying steps of the passers in the street grow slower, and fall soft and restful; and from afar some church bell sounds through the quiet evening air, rounding-in the circle of the busy day with thoughts of prayer, and thanksgiving, and peace, in God's protecting care.

The shadows close around the earth, the stars gather in the darkening sky, and the moon pours her white radiance over river, sea, and the hushed city.

To-night she touches the petals of a cereus, as the buds expand and the rich perfume breathes into the room. The white curtains are just lifted by the light air, the shaded lamps are turned low, and now, as the sound of the bell dies away, it is followed by a strain of melody that rises softly on the air like the voice of the flower.

Now the strain changes, other voices join the singer, and the music rises in a triumphant burst of song, then “fades into silence.”

says Es

“How picturesque that song

is !" mond, after a pause—“so grandly suggestive; there are light and color, broad heathy uplands, mountains, and waterfalls, and an eagle soaring in the clear air."

“Did you ever paint pictures of melody ?"

“Yes, many; but I never could satisfy myself. Nor do I believe that my ideas would agree with those of other people-music impresses persons so differently.”

“O, Mr. Esmond,” exclaims Helen,“ do show them to us, and let us try to conjecture the suggesting melody."

There are few things that Esmond would refuse to his favorite pupil, and the sketches are produced.

The first represents the ruins of an ancient castle, crowning the summit of a rock, which descends on one side in an abrupt precipice; on the other, in a green slope to the verge of cliffs overhanging the sea. The atmosphere looks clear and cold above the scene of desolation; ivy grows over the broken walls and ruined battlements; ferns and heath mingle with the grass on the plain. No tree is seen, except a blasted oak at the entrance of the ancient court; no living thing, save a hare sporting fearlessly among the ruins, and a hawk sailing overhead.

This Helen pronounced to be from “The Harp that once through Tara's Halls.”

“You are right,” says Esmond; “ but you will find that many of these are irrespective of the words that have been adapted to the melodies, or of the habitual associations connected with them, and are merely my impressions from the music. For instance, I heard the overture from Le Serment. I never heard the plot of the opera, or any more of the music, but this was the scene I saw in the opening strains."

It was a ruined chapel, on which the lightning shone, and the moon half-obscured by driving clouds.

Weeds and shrubs grew among the broken monuments, a laurel waved above the tomb of a knight, and a wild lily

hung its fragrant bells over the sculptured form of a dead maiden. Before the altar were three persons

persons—a knight and a lady, richly attired, knelt with clasped hands, and an aged priest extended one hand over them in benediction, while his other hand was raised, as lifted suddenly, in listening for some halfheard sound. In the distance, faintly seen in the dim light, a band of armed men were speeding towards the little chapel.

“How you must enjoy Beethoven's music !” exclaimed Cornelia ; "that is the most suggestive of all." " You

may think it strange, but it is not so to me.

I require melody; the harmony must be subordinate—the richer the better, of course, but melody is to me the poetic element in music. Therefore I delight in the Italian music: it is full of glowing tints, of perfume and southern air, of impulsive action and deep emotion. The melodies of Ireland generally convey a wild lamentation, a feeling of desolate grandeur, of deep regret—often of hopeless despair. Even their merriest music has a wailing note here and there, as if the singer was but cheating his sorrow. Those of Scotland speak of bold and stern determination, not rash but resolute."

" And those of Switzerland ?" —

“ They are the very pæan of liberty, soaring and exultant; full of splendid scenery; lofty peaks, shining in clear light, with every shade of blue, and rose, and white; sounding cataracts and ringing echoes. You can see the springing chamois, the eagle's majestic flight. You can hear the horn and the lingering echo fading in the distance, and you feel that none but a free people could have such music.”

But what about the German school ?" “I hardly understand why myself,” he answered, “but I do not like German music. The greater part of it seems to me so heavyalmost stolid. It calls up solemn old burghers, smoking long pipes and drinking beer. Of course, there are some grand and noble exceptions, but

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