« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
- resolved to visit Italy, and accordingly accepted an invitation he had received from the Grand Duke of Tuscany to go to Florence. After a year's stay there, he went to Venice, and from thence to Rome, at each of which places he composed some operas. From Rome he went to Naples, and then returned to Germany. He soon fixed on Hanover for his residence, and received particular marks of distinction from the Princess Sophia and her son the Elector, afterwards King George I.
In the year 1710, by permission of his patrons at Hanover, he came to England, and engaged with Mr. Aaron Hill, who had the management, at that time, of the Theatre in the Haymarket, where the opera of Rinaldo was performed, a work composed in a fortnight. It was represented with great success, and the person who printed the music is said to have got £1,500 by it.
Though much solicited to stay in England, he this time resisted the temptation, and returned to Hanover, where he remained two years. He then obtained leave to revisit England, upon condition of his returning within a reasonable time. He arrived in London about the latter end of the year 1712, at which time the negotiations for the Treaty of Utrecht were in great forwardness. On the restoration of peace, he composed a Te Deum and Jubilate, which were performed at St. Paul's Cathedral, her Majesty herself attending the service.
The Queen died in 1714, and the Elector of Hanover came to the Crown. Handel had given offence to his new Sovereign both by his remaining in England, and by exerting his talents in celebrating a peace which was considered as a disgraceful one by the Court of Hanover. To restore him to the King's favour, Baron Kilmansegge conwived a party on the Thames, at which Handel produced his celebrated water music. Inquiry being made concerning the composer, he was soon afterwards introduced to the King, and restored to his former situation.
Being now determined to make England his residence, he accepted an invitation to reside first with Mr. Andrews, of Barn Elms, in Surrey, and afterwards with Lord Burlington. With this nobleman he continued three years: he then received a pressing invitation from the Duke of Chandos to undertake the direction of the chapel at his superb mansion Cannons. He went there in the year 1718, and resided with his Grace until the institution of the Musical Academy for the performance of operas at the Haymarket, under the patronage of the King and most of the principal nobility. Of this exhibition Mr. Handel was appointed director; and in that station he remained until 1726, when disputes arising between him and his employers, the academy was broken up, and a new subscription entered into with a
On this event, Mr. Handel engaged with Heidegger, in opposition to his former friends, and they continued together for three years. At the end of that term, he undertook to perform operas on his own account, and this scheme he persisted in, until he had expended almost the whole property he had acquired; his health, too, suffered in an equal degree. To get rid of that dejection of mind which his repeated disappointments had brought on him, he was advised to use the waters
at Tunbridge, and a regimen calculated to assist their operation; his disorder was, however, too deeply rooted ; his mental powers were even affected; and, to complete his distress, the palsy seized his right arm, and he was rendered incapable of using it in any manner.
Medicines being found ineffectual, he was prevailed upon to try the baths of Aix-la-Chapelle, which soon restored him to his former health, On his return to London, he again tried his fortune with some new operas: but not being satisfied with their reception, he struck out a new mode of entertainments. These were oratorios, which were for some time favourably received ; but on a suspicion that the public were growing indifferent towards them, he determined to try the temper of the people of Ireland. Accordingly he went to Dublin in the year 1741, and gave a performance of the Messiah, for the benefit of the prisoners in that city. He returned to London in the year 1742, and performed Samson, which was received with such applause, as seemed to ensure him success in his future attempts of that kind.
From this period may be dated that almost uninterrupted flow of success which attended him in his oratorios, during the rest of his life. In gratitude for the favour shown him by the public, and actuated by motives of benevolence, he performed the Messiah for the benefit of an institution which then stood in need of every assistance, the Foundling Hospital; and this he continued to do for several years. At the theatre his Messiah was frequently performed to such audiences as he could no otherwise accommodate than by erecting seats on the stage to such a number as scarcely left room for the performers. In this prosperous state did his affairs go on, till he was afflicted with the misfortune of blindness, which, great as it was, did not totally incapacitate him from study, or the power of entertaining the public.
In the beginning of the year 1751, he was alarmed by a disorder in his eyes, which, upon consulting with the surgeons, he was told was an incipient gutta serena. From the moment this opinion of his case was communicated to him, his spirits forsook him; and that fortitude which had supported him under afflictions of another kind, deserted him in this; scarcely leaving him patience to wait for that crisis in his disorder, in which he might hope for relief. He submitted, however, to some operations, but without any beneficial effect.
Towards the beginning of the year 1758, he began to find himself decline apace ; and that general debility which was coming on him was rendered still more alarming by a total loss of appetite. When that symptom appeared, he considered his recovery as hopeless; and resigning himself to his fate, expired on the 14th day of April, 1759. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, the Dean, Dr. Pearce, Bishop of Rochester, assisted by the choir, performing the funeral solemnity
; Over the place of his interment is a monument, designed and executed by Roubiliac, representing him at full length, in an erect posture
, with a music paper in his hand, inscribed, “I know that my Redeemer liveth ;" with the notes to which those words are set in his Messiah. He died worth about twenty thousand pounds, almost the whole whereof he bequeathed to his relations abroad.
Inquiries and Correspondence.
But if it be admitted that we have rightly stated the application of the term, what, we may ask, is contained in the examples adduced? or What inferences are we to make as to the nature of instinct itself, as a source and principle of action? We shall, perhaps, best aid ourselves in the inquiry by an example, and let us take a very familiar one, of a caterpillar taking its food. The caterpillar seeks at once the plant which furnishes the appropriate aliment, and this even as soon as it creeps from the ovum ; and the food being taken into the stomach, the nutritious part is separated from the innutritious, and is disposed of for the support of the animal. The question then is, What is contained, in this instance, of instinct ? In the first place, What does the vital power in the stomach do, if we generalise the account of the process, or express it in its most general terms ? Manifestly it selects and applies appropriate means to an immediate end, prescribed by the constitution; first of the particular organ, and then of the whole body or organisms. This, we have admitted, is not instinct. But what does the caterpillar do: Does it not also select and apply appropriate means to an immediate end prescribed by its particular organisation and constitution. But there is something more : it does this according to circumstances; and this we call instinct. But may there not be still something more involved ?
What shall we say of Hüber's humble-bees? A dozen of these were put under a bell-glass, along with a comb of about ten silken cocoons, so unequal in height as not to be capable of standing steadily; to remedy this, two or three of the humble-bees got upon the comb, stretched themselves over its edge, and, with their heads downwards, fixed their forefeet on the table on which the comb stood; and so with their hindfeet, kept the comb from falling ;—when these were weary, others took their places. In this constrained and painful posturefresh bees relieving their comrades at intervals, and each working in its turn—did these affectionate little insects support the comb for
nearly three days, at the end of which time they had prepared sufficilent wax to build pillars with it; and, what is still further curious, the
first pillars having got displaced, the bees had again recourse to the same mancuvre. What, then, is involved in this case ? Evidently the same selection and appropriation of means to an immediate end as before ; but observe, according to varying circumstances.
And here we are puzzled—for this becomes understanding; at least, no materialist, however predetermined to contrast and oppose instinct to understanding, but ends at last in facts in which he himself can make out no difference. But are we hence to conclude that the instinct is the same, and identical with, the human understanding? Certainly not ; though the difference is not in the essential of the
definition, but in an addition to, or modification of, that which is essentially the same in both. In such cases, namely, as that which we have last adduced, in which instinct assumes the semblance of understanding, the act indicative of instinct is not clearly prescribed by the constitution or laws of the animal's peculiar organisation; but arises out of the constitution and previous circumstances of the animal, and those habits, wants, and that predetermined sphere of action and operation, which belong to the race, and beyond the limits of which it does not pass. If this be the case, I may venture to assert that I have determined an appropriate sense for instinct; namely, that it is a power of selecting and applying appropriate means to an immediate end, according to circumstances and the changes of circumstances, these being variable and varying; but yet so as to be referable to the general habits, arising out of the constitution and previous circumstances of the animal, considered not as an individual, but as a race.
We may here, perhaps, most fitly explain the error of those who contend for the identity of reason and instinct, and believe that the actions of animals are the result of invention and experience. They have, no doubt, been deceived in their investigation of instinct by an efficient cause simulating a final cause ; and the defect in their reasoning has arisen in consequence of observing, in the instinctive operations of animals, the adaptation of means to a relative end, from the assumption of a deliberate purpose. To this freedom, or choice in action and purpose, instinct, in any appropriate sense of the word, cannot apply; and to justify and explain its introduction, we must have recourse to other and higher faculties than any manifested in the operations of instinct. It is evident, namely, in turning our attention to the distinguishing character of human action, that there is, as in the inferior animals, a selection and appropriation of means to ends ; but it is (not only according to circumstances, not only according to vary. ing circumstances, but it is) according to varying purposes. But this is an attribute of the intelligent will, and no longer even mere understanding.
And here let me observe, that the difficulty and delicacy of this investigation are greatly increased by our not considering the understanding (even our own) in itself, and as it would be were it not accompanied with, and modified by, the co-operation of the will, the moral feeling, and that faculty, perhaps less distinguished by the name of reason, of determining that which is universal and necessary, of fixing laws and principles, whether speculative or practical, and of contemplating a final purpose or end. This intelligent will—having a self-conscious purpose, under the guidance and light of the reason by which its acts are made to bear as a whole upon some end in and for itself, and to which the understanding is subservient as an organ in the faculty of selecting and appropriating the means-seems best to account for that progressiveness of the human race, which so evidently marks an insurmountable distinction and impassable barrier between man and the inferior animals; but which would be inexplicable, were there no other difference than in the design of their intellectual faculties.
Man, doubtless, has his instincts, even in common with the inferior
animals ; and many of these are the germs of some of the best feelings of his nature. What, amongst many, might I present as a better illustration, or more beautiful instance, than the stirp, or maternal instinct? But man's instincts are elevated and ennobled by the moral ends and purposes of his being. He is not destined to be the slave of blind impulses,-a vessel purposeless, unmeant. He is constituted, by his moral and intelligent will, to be the first free being, the masterwork and the end of nature ; but this freedom and high office can only co-exist with fealty and devotion to the service of truth and virtue.
And though we may even be permitted to use the term instinct, in order to designate those high impulses which in the minority of man's rational being, shape his acts unconsciously to ultimate ends; and which, in constituting the very character and impress of the humanity, reveal the guidance of Providence; yet the convenience of the phrase, and the want of any other distinctive appellation for an influence, de supra, working unconsciously in and on the whole human race, should not induce us to forget that the term instinct is only strictly applicable to the adaptive power, as the faculty, even in its highest proper form of selecting and adapting appropriate means to proximate ends, according to varying circumstances ; a faculty which, however, only differs from human understanding in consequence of the latter being enlightened by reason; and that the principles which actuate man, as ultimate ends, and are designed for his conscious possession and guidance, are best and most properly named ideas.
THE SPANISH ARMADA.
It was about the lovely close of a warm summer's day,