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Sitting on a bank, Weeping again the king my father's wreck, This music crept by me upon the waters ; Allaying both their fury and my passion,* With its sweet air: thence I have follow'd it, Or it hath drawn me rather.
Tempest. Act i. Scene 2.
Do but note a wild and wanton herd,
air of music touch their ears,
Merchant of Venice. Act v. Scene 1.
* The Poet had probably in his mind the idea of the effect of oil when poured on troubled waters.
Song. In sweet music is such art; Killing care,
and grief of heart Fall asleep, or, hearing, die
King Henry VIII.
Act iii. Scene 1.
MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.
Look, how the floor of heaven
Merchant of Venice. Act v. Scene 1.
Some readers may wonder that the hackneyed passage,
" The man that hath no music in himself
Is fit for,” &c., &c. is left out of this work. My reason for its omission is that it really formed no part of Shakspere's own philosophy, but only of his clap-trap; which, like many a writer, he sometimes introduced to please his audience. Common experience contradicts the passage, and therefore I say no more about it.
The power of music has, in my opinion, been much overestimated by the enthusiasm of its admirers, and much that we read of its miraculous effects in ancient times may perhaps be attributed to fable or poetical licence. It is difficult to obtain from persons uwacquainted with it as a science, any very correct notion of how far it affects them; the task of acquiring similar information from inferior animals is of course doubly arduous, not to say impossible. That persons having a knowledge of music enjoy it much more than those who have it not, and that their enjoyment is of two sorts, (natural and acquired) imperceptibly mingled, also seems probable. Add to this the effect of association, and the question of the extent of the power of music becomes a difficult one to solve. That one style will uniformly excite cheerfulness in the mind, and another melancholy, is a pretty safe assertion ; but I should fear to advance a step further. The effect of martial music, for instance, (which may be thrown in my teeth) appears to me almost, if not entirely, the effect of association ;-the firing of cannon, and the rattle of the side-drum (which can hardly be dignified by the name of music) producing very much the same effect. The soothing power is possessed by waterfalls and other natural sounds, (not strictly musical) and the solemn, devotional feeling, I consider a branch of my second division of melancholy.
On the whole (speaking with some experience) I consider the pleasure of music as less satisfying than that derived from the other arts, such as painting, sculpture, &c.; but sufficiently an enjoyment (and an innocent and rational one) to make us extremely thankful to Providence that we are blessed with it. There are times, indeed, when it admits of no substitute.
The subject of the music of the spheres is, I confess, too transcendental for my poor abilities to cope with.
THE ENGLISH FOND OF STRANGE SIGHTS,
Trinculo, A strange fish! Were I in England now, (as once I was,) and had but this fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver; there would this monster make * a man; any strange beast there makes a man; when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian !
Tempest. Act ii, Scene 2.
FOND OF HAVING TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING,
Falstaff. It was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common.
2nd part King Henry IV. Act i. Scene 2.
THE ENGLISH HOT-BLOODED IN SPITE OF THEIR CLIMATE.
Constable of France. Dieu de Battailes ! where have they
this mettle ?
* "Make a man's fortune," the word is still so used among the vulgar.
+ The English
A drench for sur-rein'd jades, their barley broth,
King Henry V. Act iii. Scene 5.
Ramburos. That islaud of England breeds very valiant creatures : their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.
Orleans. Foolish curs ! that run winking into the mouth of a Russian bear, and have their heads crush'd like rotten apples. You may as well say,—that's a valiant flea, that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.
Constable of France. Just, just; and the men do sympathize with the mastiffs, in robustious and rough coming on, leaving their wits with their wives; and then, give them great meals of beef, and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves, and fight like devils.
Ibid. Act iii. Scene 7,
THE FRENCH, BOASTERS.
K. Henry V.
Yet, forgive me, God, That I do brag thus !—this your air of France Hath blown that vice in me; I must repent.
Ibid. Act iii. Scene 6.
ENGLISH COURAGE SHOULD BE WELL-FED.
Charles, the Dauphin. At pleasure here we lie, near Or
leans; Otherwhiles, the famish'd English, like pale ghosts, Faintly besiege us one hour in a month. Alencon. They want their porridge, and their fat bull