« AnteriorContinuar »
Musick no improper part of an UNIVERSITY
The man that hath no mufick in himself,
S an University is or ought to be esteem’d a nursery
from which men are to be hereafter transplanted into the larger field of life, nothing that accomplishes the gentleman can be deem'd unworthy the attention of the scholar. MusicK has always been look'd upon as one of these politer accompli hments, and with justice ftyl’d the fifter, of poetry and painting. For to what are we indebted for the chief beauty of the one, but to the harmony of verse ? And what constitutes the principal excellence of the other but the harmory of features ? Since therefore these arts are so closely connected, I observe with pleasure that a taste for them is at last so happily establish'd in this University, and that we have in kome measure shook off the chains of disputation and the dominion of ARISTOTLE and BURGERSDICIUS.
If examples have any weight, we are told that two of the greatest heroes of antiquity, ACHILLES and ALEXANDER, thought it not beneath thein to unbend their minds with playing on the harp. And in our own country can it be thought that SHAKESPEARE could fo strongly have descanted on the power of Musick, if he had not previously found it in his own soul? MILTON, we are assurd, before he apply'd himself to his divine compositions, us’d to elevate and sublime his ideas, and awaken the spirit of enthusiasm by
playing playing on the organ. And as we find in the Iliad the heathens entertained at their feasts by the lyre of APOLLO and the songs of the Muses, so HARMONY in the Paradise Loft is introduc'd so charmingly smoothing her tones as to delight even the ear of God himself.
But tho' I would recommend this as an amusing science and enforce the moderate use of it, let it not be thought that I would have it the only one. Our mornings, I hope, are devoted to more folid and interesting studies'; and whatever variety of instruments may be heard in our courts in the afternoons, I flatter myself that no one can complain of this in the former part of the day. And if such is the case, I see no reason why our schools may not be frequented as well as our musick-meetings, and NEWTON and Locke still have their followers as well as HANDEL and CORELLI.
In an University, how much more agreeably is an evening laid out by a select company of friends composing a concert, than in carousing over a bottle, and joining, to say no worse, in an unprofitable converfation? As to the concerts we frequently have in our halls, do they not in fome measure contribute, by bringing us into company, to the wearing off that ruit and moroseness which are too often contracted by a long continuance in college ? And though these meetings are frequented by some so entirely on account of the company and conversation, that it has been declared that the concert would have been excellent if there had been no Musick in it, yet in general we shall find it otherwise. If these were abolish'd, what a mortification would many of our smart fellow-commoners undergo, to be deprived of the pleasure of presenting tickets to the ladies, and ushering them into the hall! Add to this, that the banishment of MUSICK from our rooms must necessarily be attended with the expulsion of the harpsichord, no inconsiderable part of our furniture. Not to mention the number of ingenious artists, that must by this means be reduc'd to a sçanty fublikance, and
that TIREMAN and RANDAL must then only rely on the the organs of Trinity and King's College chapels.
As to Fiddling in particular, for my part I see no absurdity in attracting the eyes of the fair by displaying a white hand, a ring, a ruffle, or a sleeve to advantage. Nor could
any one, I imagine, blame the performer, nor could he himself be displeas’d with his art, if he was so successful as to fiddle himself into a good fortune. This would fufficiently recompence all the pains he took in learning it; and, whatever the rigid and austere may think, the approbation of the ladies is no small spur to a proficiency in this. and many other sciences. Dancing, painting, and poetry itself, as well as Musick, are doubly estimable on account of their sometimes procuring us the praises of the fair ; and I question whether Achilles himself (tho' Homer is filent on this head) would have taken so much pleasure in his harp, if he had not found it agreeable to DEIDAMIA or BRISEIS.
In short whether we look upon Musick as a relaxation from graver studies, or as an innocent amusement and filling up of time that might be worse employ'd, no one fure can think that improper to be admitted into a British University, which was look'd upon as essential to a genteel education in ancient Greece.
To the S T UDEN T.
publishing any thing that has been printed before, should have prevented me from troubling you with the following Scheme; as the first rude sketch of it was inserted about a twelvemonth
But as newspapers are things of short duration, read chiefly in coffeehouses by perfons who overlook every thing that does not relate to politicks or business ; some of my friends, who from
*the good opinion they have of this scheme are very desirous
to see it carried into execution, have sollicited me to ask you to give it a place in your Miscellany ; in hopes thro'
your patronage it may gain admittance to the closets of men of sense, where it will be considered coolly, and if it has any merit at all, will be set in it's proper light; from whose hands it may expect to meet with encouragement and improvement. Therefore what I would propose to you is
ASCHEME to raise a FUND for the maintenance of
the Widows and CHILDREN of the inferiour CLERGY,
HIS project came into my head from the following
incident. Some time ago I went with a friend of mine to visit the widow of an officer, who for the sake of living cheap is settled in our neighbourhood. She has a boy about eight and a girl about ten years old, and I think a fonder mother or more dutiful or lovelier children I never saw. When we came in, the little boy was saying his catechism to his mamma, while miss was working by her; and, as Į afterwards learn'd, they had no other instructor. I was so charm'd with the obliging behaviour of the mother, and the pains that the little ones took to imitate their mamma, that I could not help saying, I thought her quite happy in having such sweet children. She answer'd with a smile mixt with concern, “ Poor things, if they had not lost their
рара, , it had been happier for them ; but now they have
no friend but me. However, if it please God to preserve " me till they are grown up, I hope, tho? I have nothing “ but my pension to live on, I shall be able to give them
a virtuous education ; and all I desire, is to see them get so a living in an honest way, tho' a. mean one.'
Here I could not help reflecting, how happy it was, that women, left deftitute fo often as officers widows are, should have such provision for them, as prevents both them and their children from falling into those vices, to which necessity is so
irresistable a temptation ! She went on with saying, that “ if she was to begin life again, she would not marry an “ officer; for besides the inconvenience of their frequent ab<< sence from their families, they seldom left any thing k behind them but children : yet still she thought them hap“ pier than the widows of the clergy in general, especially Bo the inferiour ones ; who very often leave a numerous issue 66 behind them, to be maintain’d by the charity of well“ dispos'd people; a meagre fubfiftance indeed!”
This put me upon thinking, if the same thing was done in the church as in the army, distresses of this nature would be easily remedied. The pensions of officers widows are paid out of a fund rais’d by their giving one day's pay in the year for that purpose. Now if every ecclesiastick from the archbishop to the curate was to do the same, it would raise a fund large enough not only to maintain the widows but likewise to provide for many of the children.
I have mention'd this scheme to every clergyman I have · seen for these three years last past, which they all to a man approv'd: and as it would be a trifle of expence to every individual of this fociety, yet of such infinite advantage to the whole, if you would confidcr, improve, and recommend this design, it would, I believe, be soon carried into execution.
To make this succeed, it must, I know, be encouraged and protected by those who have the least interest in it; I mean, the heads of the church, whose families are too well provided for to need any such aslistance: and as self-interest is the main spring of human actions, this may appear a difcouraging circumstance : but there never was a more favourable opportunity of putting this design in execution than the present, while the church has the happiness to be govern’d by men, whose learning, piety, charity, and benevolence do honour to their profeffion.
That something of this fort has been and is still necessary, may appear from the many private provisions made by welldisposed people for clergjinens widows, as well as from