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deserves the serious attention both of those who perform and those who hear; “ I always think myself blamable, when I am drawn more to the singer than to what is sung.!! But an additional circumstance seems necessary, as a means of bringing back church music to its original dignity and use : we have seen in the course of this dissertation, how the separations follow each other in the decline of the poetical and musical arts.
· And for the sake of the truth, we must here observe, that in the performance of cathedral music, a separation has long taken place, fatal to its truest utility. The higher ranks of the church do not think themselves concerned in the performance. It were devoutly to be wished that the musical education were so general as to enable the clergy, of whatever rank, to join the choir in the celebration of their Creator, in all its appointed forms : the laity would be naturally led to follow so powerful an example.
MADAME VILLACERFE Was a French lady, of noble family, dignified character, and unblemished life, whose death was distinguished by a greatness of mind, not usual in her sex, and when we consider all its circumstances, unequalled by the inost renowned heroes of antiquity.
The short history of this excellent woman, is, I believe, generally known, and will probably be recognized by many of my readers, but she is so striking an example of Christian fortitude, philosophic suffering, generous forbearance, and angelic love, without the least alloy of vanity, selfishness, or sensuality, that the affecting narrative cannot be dwelt on too long, nor repeated too often.
An early, a mutual affection, had taken place between the subject of our present article, and Festeau, an eminent surgeon of Paris; but from the insurmountable ob. stacles which in those days (1700) so strictly guarded superior rank, all further intercourse was prevented than animated civilities, when opportunities offered, and soft but secret wishes.
The lover would have perished, rather than by a rash proceeding, degrade the object of his affections in the
eyes of her family and the world, and his mistress, taught by love, the omnipotent leveller of all distinctions, though she felt too powerfully the merit of Festeau, who, in the scale of unprejudiced reason, far outweigbed a thousand pretenders to frivolous accomplishment and superucial attainment; she nobly resolved
To quit the object of no common choice,
. Several years passed in this honorable contest with the passions ; in which duty and honour triumphed over wild wishes, and selfish appetites. Madame Villacerfe, from an indisposition which contined her to her chamber, but not to her bed, was, by the prescription of a physician, ordered to be bled.
Festeau, as surgeon to the family, being sent for, his countenance as he entered the room, proved the state of his mind. After gently touching her pulse, and a few professional questions, in a low voice, he prepared for the operation, by tucking up that part of a loose dress which covered her arm; an interesting business to a man who had long laboured with the most ardent attachment to his lovely patient, whose illness infused an irresistible softness over her features, and lighted up the embers of an affection, suppressed, but never extinguished.
Pressing the vein, in order to reuder it more prominent, he was observed to be seized with a sudden tremor, and to change his colour: this circumstance was mentioned to the lady, not without a fear, that it might prevent his bleeding her with his usual dexterity. On her observing, with a smile, that she contided entirely in Festeau's skill, and was sure he had no inclination to do her an injury, he appeared to recover himself, and smiling, or forcing a smile, proceeded to his work, which was no sooner performed, than he cried out, “I am the most uniortunate man alive, I have opened an artery instead of a veio.”
It is not easy to describe his distraction, or her conposure; in less than three days, the state of her arm, in consequence of the accident, rendered amputatio i neces. sary, when so far from using her unhappy surgeon with the peevish resentment of a little mind, she requested of him not to be absent from any consultation on the freatment of her case, and ordered her will to be made.
After her arm was taken off, symptoms appearing, > which convinced Festeau and his associates, that less than twenty-four hours would terminate the existence of one who was an ornament to her sex; the voice, the looks, the anguish of her lover, as well as her own feelings, convinced her of the solemn truth.
This opinion, her earnest and solemn entreaties, on a death bed, not to be disregarded, obliged her friends to confirm, and a few hours before that awful moment, which none escape, and which bold bad men only affect to despise, after desiring the attendants to leave the chamber, Madame Villacerfe addressed her disconsolate surgeon in the following words : :
46 You give me inexpressible concern for the sorrow in which I see you overwhelmed, notwithstanding your kind efforts to conceal it, I am removing-to all intents and purposes, I am removed from human life and all that relates to it, it is therefore highly incumbent on me to begin. to think and act like one wholly unconcerned in it.
“ I feel not the least resentment or displeasure on the present occasion. I do not consider you as one by whose error I have lost my life; I regard you rather as a bene. factor, who have hastened my entrance into a blessed jin mortality:
“ But the world may look on the accident, which, on your account alone, I can call unfortunate, and mention at to your advantage, I have therefore provided, in my. will, against every thing you may have to dread from the ill-will, the prejudices, or the selfish misrepresentartion of mankind.”
This pattern for Christians, this example for heroes, soon after expired. A judicial sentence, devoting his fortune to confiscation, and his body to exquisite tortures, / could not have produced keener sensations of misery and horror, than Festeau felt during her address, which was .. an emanation of celestial benignity, an anticipating reves lation, a divine ray from the spirit of that God who in. spired and loved her, and in whose presence she was shortly to triumph and adore.
But when he contemplated her exalted goodness and unparalleled magnanimity in suffering pain and mortal ayonies, inflicted by an unhappy man, who, of all others, lored and doated on her most; when he saw her dying look, and heard that groan which is repeated no more, sick of the world, dispirited with human life and its pursuits, angry beyond forgiveness with hiinself, he
sunk into the settled gloom and long melancholy of despair.
This is one of the many instanees in which a little forethought, and a small share of prudence, would have prevented much serious evil, and irretrievable calamity. As it was impossible that Madame Viliacerfe's relations could be entirely strangers to the partiality of Monsieur Festeau, they should industriously have prevented all intercourse between the young people.
The agitated frame and deranged appearance of her lover, observed previous to the catastrosphe, by a gentleman nearly related to the lady, and from whose letter I derive the materials of my narrative, pointed him out as the most improper man for medical or surgical assistance, which requires coolness, dexterity, a steady hand, and a collected mind.
In the sudden and disastrous accidents to which human life is, on every side, and at every moment, exposed, it will frequently be found, that those connected to us by the nearest and dearest tiez of blood, friendship, or affection, are often, by those very circumstances, disqualified from affording us prompt and effectual relief.
The fond mother, whose infant is a constant source of toil, which only a mother would willingly submit to, and of delight, which all must envy, on seeing it suddenly spring from her arms into a deep and rapid stream, would probably sink to the ground in a fainting fit, or an hysteric convulsion; thus would she be rendered, by the ardor of atlection and the violence of her feelings, wholly unable to snatch her child from death.
A by-stander, perhaps a reprobate and a soundrel, uninfluenced by philanthropy, love, or a sense of duty, and amply repaid by half a crown, would, with all his senses about him, directly plunge in, and, a stranger to the unmanageable ecstacies of a mother, restore the darling to her arms.
C. P. B.
QUOTATIONS FROM OTHER WRITERS.
ESPECIALLY THE ANCIENT GREEK AND LATIN. - In quotations, as in all other things, men have run into extremes. Some writers have quoted most abundantly, in order (as should seem) to make an ostentation of learn
ing; with one of whom La Mothe le Vayer, though him self a great quoter, appears to have been much fatigueda: “ God grant you,” cries he, “ to become less learned"«. Dieu vous fasse la grace de devenir moins scavant. Others have scarcely quoted at all, as Locke and Hoadley, with some of an inferior kind, who perhaps have hence affected to pass for original writers, that needed no extraneous helps : and indeed, in books of mere reasoning, all quotation to many may seem impertinent.
La Bruyere has animadverted upon the former extreme: he complaius of books being crowded so with quotations, as to be hardly any thing else ; of citing Ovid and Tibullus at the bar, Horace and Lucretius in the pulpit: where, says he, “ Latin and sometimes Greek are the languages chosen to entertain the women and churchwardens with *.” And, doubtless, nothing can be more absurd and ridiculous than this: by this an author's sense, if peradventure he has any, is almost oppressed and srnothered under his learning; and, as Ovid said of a girl overloaded with dress and ornament, he is so garnished out with foreign materials, as to be, in truth, the least part of himself. Mean while, as Bayley observes upon Bruyere, “it is to be feared, that the very opposite custom of not citing at all, into which we are fallen, will make learning too much despised, as a piece of furniture entirely useless + :" and he has elsewhere mentioned, as “ one principal cause of neglect in the study of the Belles Lettres, that a great many wits, real or pretended, have, with an air of disdain, run down the custom of citing Greek authors, and making learned remarks, as so much pedantry, and fit only for a college 1."
It is however certain, that many pleasing as well as useful purposes may be served by quotations, judiciously made and aptly applied. It is pleasing to know, while contemplating any subject, what other writers, men of name and abilities, have thought and said upon it: and then the variety, which the frequent introduction of new personages (as I may call them) creates, will greatly contribute to enliven attention, and thereby keep oif weariness and disgust. With the Greek and Latin authors the classical reader is always entertained : “Mr. Clarke's book of coins is much above my pitch,” said the learned
* Charact. De la Chaire. t Dict. BOUCHIN. Note B.
I MEZIRIAC, Note C.