Изображения страниц

read, while they admire, may be glad to know that the author is a gentleman of high private character, as well as established literary reputation." This is sufficient to stimulate the curiosity of our readers, which we shall only further excite by two short extracts wherein the author near the close of his brochure, exhibits marked specimens of his style and opinions. He says, in speaking of the Duke's Peninsular


"In these severe campaigns, he had passed through all the trials that could be prescribed by fortune - he had carried on

defensive war, and he had completely

succeeded. He had carried on a war of ambuscades and surprisals, and he had also succeeded; he had assumed the offensive, and still he had succeeded. He had marched boldly forward without incurring any disaster, and he had conducted long retreats without being broken. He had fought with superior numbers at Vimiero, at Oporto, at Vittoria, at Nivelle, and at Toulouse, and in all these cases he had gained the victory. He had engaged with equal numbers at Salamanca, at Pampeluna, at San Marcial, and at others, and here again he had been victorious. He had fought with inferior numbers at Talavera, at Busaco, at Fuentes de' Onoro, and still victory had smiled upon his arms.

[ocr errors]

After having triumphed over generals of middling capacity, he had become steeled for his encounter with men of first-rate ability, and lastly with the stars of the Empire. His successful encounters with Junot, Victor, and Sebastiani, prepared the way for harder won laurels wrested from Soult, Ney, and Massena, the darling child of victory. The following estimate is as just and impartial as if it had been penned by Napier or Alison:

"The horror which Wellington entertained of disorder, pillage, and all excess of any kind, and his inflexible rigour in maintaining discipline, obtained him the name of the Iron Duke.' There is much truth in this expression, but it must not be taken too much au pied de la lettre. It would give a false idea of the character of the man. It is only true when it is applied to a certain order of serious misdemeanours of such a nature as to endanger the public security, or the safety of his army. In other cases, never did a warrior show himself more chary of the lives of his soldiers, and never did a commander mitigate the labour, privations, and fatigues of his troops with more feeling care; in fact, never did a

general take more pains or trouble to secure the well-being and comfort of his army."

Contrast this with the habitual, selfish disregard of Napoleon for dicipline and human life; his utter recklessness of all considerations of humanity which impeded the torrent of his personal ambition, and the two portraits present very opposite pictures, which reflect little to the advantage of the French Emperor. The eulogy of Maurel would be almost suspicious, were it not uttered after the grave has closed on the subject by which it is inspired, and the voice of flattery cannot sooth the "dull cold ear of death.”

Lord Ellesmere's "Discourse" is a delightful tribute from a personal friend and public admirer. We have in this, traits of social benevolence, and many anecdotes of the Duke's private opinions and views with regard to his most brilliant public actions, equally new and interesting. We find now, corroborated from authority, what we have often heard before, that he considered Salamanca his most scientific battle, and was more proud of that brilliant field than even of the last great achievement of his military career, the crowning day of Waterloo. In speaking of the movements which led to the result of Salamanca, the Duke himself would say, "there has been nothing like it since the time of Frederic the Great." Of his failure at Burgos (his only failure), he spoke without reserve, and with full candour. "It was all my own fault," he said to Lord Ellesmere in conversation, "the place was very like a hill-fort in India. I had got into a good many of these, and I thought I could get into this. The French, however, had a dh clever fellow there, one Dubreton, and he fairly kept me out." Lord Ellesmere suggests a parallel between Wellington and the great Spanish captain, Gonsalvo de Cordova, which has already, to a certain extent, been carried out in an article in the Quarterly Review by Mr. Ford, author of the "Handbook of Spain. The subject is fertile, and the selection good, and may admit of still further amplification. But closer and more brilliant comparisons have been, and may still be discovered.

Many lectures have been delivered by orators both lay and clerical, while

the eloquence of the pulpit has been abundantly impressive. Above thirty printed sermons on the Duke's death and funeral are already before the public, including many from high dignitaries of the church, whose worth is equalled by their reputation and abilities. The whole collection would form a valuable study for succeeding generations. In whatever light we contemplate the character of the great chieftain we have lost, whether collected from the homily of the preacher,

the philosophy of the historian, or the affectionate memorial of the personal friend, we see in him, through every phase of his long and active career, a mighty instrument fitted to the work for which he was designed; who having completed his mission with unexampled constancy and success, was finally borne to his rest, to lie by England's Naval bulwark, in the most honoured sepulchre which a nation's gratitude has ever given to departed greatness.




WE now proceed to the considera

which, to the Bible-reader, must altion of that portion of our subject ways appear most interesting-viz.,


LIKE everything else, the music of the Hebrews, and their temple music in particular, developed itself from small beginnings, and for a long time appears to have remained in a state of rudeness and imperfection, for want of peace and patronage from above two things, without which fine art has rarely been known to rise and flourish in any country. There can be no doubt that Moses took the model of his external arrangement of divine worship, as far as regards the musical performance, from the Egyptians. Amongst this ancient nation, music had, from time immemorial, constituted an important and essential element of devotion and public worship; the temples of Osiris resounded from morning till night with hymns and songs, accompanied upon musical instruments, and a special order of the priests (like the Levites of Moses) was appointed to conduct, and properly carry out the musical performance. The instruments, also, which were employed in the temple music of the Egyptians, were the same as those in use amongst the Levites previously to the time of David, and they ascribed to the trombone in particular the same

peculiarly sacred and solemn character as the Jews, whilst timbrels, and other light pulsatile instruments, were only considered fit for women, and not allowed in the temple, except on occasions of public rejoicings-as, e. g., or the celebration of the feast of Diana, when (as at the Jewish feast of the harvest) women and children were permitted to take part in the singing of the hymns of praise and thanks giving.

But, although music was undoubtedly a favourite art with the Jews, and although Moses had made especial provision for its cultivation and proper performance during the service, still the succeeding times of incessant aggressive or defensive war under Joshua and the judges must have interfered with, and effectually prevented its progress. In fact, the want of peace, of proper instruction, and also of a suitable locale, appears to have kept it in a most languishing state, until it received a sudden impulse from that most important religious institution, of which we have already spoken in the general history of Hebrew music, viz., the prophetic schools founded by Samuel.

From this time there was no lack of singers and instrumentalists capable of performing the musical portion of the service in a manner worthy of its high and sacred purpose, or giving instructions to others, if a greater number of performers should be required. Hence, the possibility of such a sudden and astonishing rise to a state of internal excellence and external grandeur, as we see the music of the temple take under David and Solomon. Although the accounts of Josephus, and the tales of the Talmudistical writers are full of palpable and often ridiculous exaggerations, still it is certain, that no nation of antiquity could show anything to equal the music of the temple at the time of these kings, either in point of quality or external grandeur; and that the provisions made for the efficient training of a number of vocal and instrumental performers, and the proper management of the musical portion of divine worship, were more complete and more systematically planned than those of the most musical nations of modern Europe.

We shall hereafter give some account of the organisation of the Levitical body, the rules and regulations of the temple service, and the different established modes of performance; here we will only mention, that King David not only appointed singers, instrumentalists, and masters "skilled in music" (1 Chron. 25), but introduced several instruments in the Levitical orchestra, which had been previously excluded from it, as-e. g., the small triangular harp and the cymbals. It was he who composed the most beautiful of those lyric effusions which will for ever remain the inimitable patterns of holy song; and he did not even deem it beneath his royal dignity, on solemn occasions, to join in the performance, or lead the chorus of singers that went before the ark of the covenant.

Solomon was as great a lover and patron of music as his father had been, and we have already stated what he did towards the improvement of the performances in the temple.

The division of the empire under Solomon's successors, and the consequent internecine struggles, as well as the wars with other nations, must prove injurious to the cultivation of music, no less than of all other arts

and sciences. The temple service not only lost its former splendour but also deteriorated in quality, and as the manners of the Jews grew more corrupt, music found its chief supporters and best performers no longer in the house of God, but in the halls of rich bon-vivants, or public places of revelry. -(Isaiah, v. 12; Amos, vi. 5, 6.)

Under Ahaz, who gave himself up to the worship of idols, and "filled the house of God with uncleanness," the holy song ceased altogether; and although Hezekiah restored for a short time the true form of worship, and made the Levites once more "sing praise with gladness, with the words of David, and Asaph the seer," still his very next successor again erected altars to Baalim; and the desertion of the rulers and people from the service of Jehovah of which the corruption of the temple music was a natural con sequence ultimately caused both to be delivered into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, who "carried away to Babylon all those who had escaped from the sword." Seventy years did they remain in the Babylonian captivity, sighing for the home of their fa thers, and remembering with tears the days of former glory. They had no longer a heart to sing the songs of Zion 66 By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yea, we wept when we thought of Zion; we hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Psa. cxxxvi. 1-4.)

When they were restored to the land of inheritance, they had still two hundred and forty-five singers amongst them, and Ezra did his best to re-establish the service in the house of the Lord as it had been in the days of David. But the glory of former times had departed. The Levites had been called together "to praise the Lord after the ordinance of David, king of Israel;" but "many of the priests and Levites, and chief of the fathers that had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice, so that the people

could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping." (Ezra, iii. 12, 13.)

In the above sketch of the historical development of the Hebrew temple

music, we have purposely confined ourselves to the merest outline, in order to reserve as much space as possible for the examination of the nature of this music, and the manner in which it was performed by the singers and instrumentalists in the temple. Very few expounders of Holy Writ have thought it necessary, or. - for reasons already indicated been in a position to enlighten their readers on this subject, although it is, in reality, one of much greater interest and importance than anything else connected with the history of Jewish art, science, and customs, inasmuch as the Bible itself everywhere represents singing and instrumental music as so intimately and necessarily connected with the true public worship of Jehovah, that the latter appears to have been considered incomplete, imperfect, and almost worthless, without the other. Wher

ever mention is made of the institution or improvement of the temple service, there "the instruments which David invented," "the harp, psaltery, and lute," "the singing of praise in the words of David and Asaph," &c., &c., are specially and emphatically noticed; and it is, therefore, strange not to use a stronger term that whilst authors and teachers devote books and sermons to the examination of the most unimportant details in the life, discipline, and customs of the Jews, or spend a vast amount of time and labour to discover a hidden meaning in the description of the different ornaments or vessels of the temple, the art of sound, which formed an integral part of the public worship of Jehovah, without which, in fact, no real temple service could be performed, should have met with so little attention from those who profess to explain the word of God. Luther says "A minister

who does not know music is not worth looking at." Although not everyone will subscribe to this dictum, still it will appear, even from the following unscientific remarks, that without a knowledge of ancient music, a number of expressions relating to the performance of the psalms and other religious compositions must always remain unintelligible. We, therefore, flatter ourselves that we shall not only please the readers of these pages, but do some service to the cause of Biblical exegesis in general, by throwing as clear a

light upon this much-neglected subject as our present state of knowledge and our limited space will allow. For this purpose we shall divide the subject into five heads, and consider separately-1st, The organisation of the appointed body of performers (the Levites); 2nd, The place of performance; 3rd, The pieces performed; 4th, The instruments employed in the temple; and 5th, The mode of performance.

1. THE LEVITES. The whole management of the musical portion of the Jewish service was confided to the children of Levi, who, as already observed, received a careful musical instruction from masters appointed for that purpose. It is an error to suppose, as some have done, that none but those of the tribe of Levi were allowed to practise music. This may be seen from Exod. xv. 20; 1 Sam. xviii. 67 ; Judges, xi. 34; Neh. vii. 67; Ps. lxviii. 25, and many other passages in the Bible. But all Jewish historians and expounders of the law agree, that none but real Levites were allowed to take a part in the musical performance in the temple, at least not as singers; for there are some doubts respecting the instrumental performers, especially on account of the Zipporeans and Pegareans, and some of the inhabitants of Emmaus, who officiated as instrumentalists after the return of the Jews from Babylon, and which some assert to have been real Levites, whilst others contend that they did not belong to their tribe, but were merely admitted amongst them in order to supply the great want of instrumentalists. In the Talmud (Tract. Erachin. c. ii. sec. 4) they are called servants of the priests.

Moses had ordained that no Levite should be allowed to officiate in the temple before he had attained his twenty-fifth year, and that his functions should cease with his fiftieth year, probably because his voice was supposed to have, by that time, lost its freshness and flexibility. David, however, extended the time of service from twenty-five to thirty years, the Levites being allowed to enter upon their office with the twentieth year of age. The number of Levites appointed by David to sing and play in the temple was four thousand. These were divided into twenty-four classes, each of which had its own leader, who superintended the

instruction and conducted the performers, and who was called Menatzeach, or "chief musician." The menatzeachs of the different classes were again placed under the control of three principal directors, each of which presided over one of the three principal departments of instrumental performance. The first three directors appointed over the Levites were Heman, who managed the department of wind instruments; Ethan, who presided over the stringed instruments; and Asaph, under whose direction stood the performers upon cymbals and other pulsatile instruments. (1 Chron. xxv. 2-6.) The chief of all the Levites (Chenaniah) had the management of the vocal department (1 Chron. xv. 22).

The musical service in the temple was performed by the different classes in a regular order of rotation, each class being on duty for a week, when another took its place.-(2 Kings, xi. 5-7.) Thus every Levite had to be in Jerusalem two weeks in the year, enjoying a rest of twenty-three weeks between each period of service. During the two weeks of service he was, however, not constantly employed in the temple. On ordinary occasions only twelve singers and twelve instrumental performers (viz., nine harp players, two performers upon the nabel orpsaltery, and one cymbalist) were required to attend; for this reason each class of musicians was again divided into companies, who relieved each other by turns, so that every Levite enjoyed some intervals of repose, even whilst on duty, and although the service in the temple never ceased from morning till night. The great number of performers also made it possible, without a hardship to individual Levites, to comply with that remarkable ancient law which prohibited, by penalty of death, the exchange of duty between members of different classes.

The ob

ject of this law was to compel every Levite to appear in Jerusalem at least twice a year. The three great festivals which occupied three weeks of the year were not included in the ordinary time of service, and the attendance at them was not compulsory, but considered as a matter of honour and holy zeal. In addition to these stimulations, the right to a share in the remains of the numerous offerings was held out as an inducement for the Levites to

attend, hence there was never a lack of performers on any of these occasions.

During the week of service, the Levites dwelt in a range of chambers situated between the court of the women and the court of the men (court of Israel). The aspect of these chambers was towards the east, where the altar was situated, and the whole court of the Levites, along which these chambers extended, was fifteen feet higher than the court of the women. On the same level, and in a line with the dwelling-chambers of the Levites, was a large vaulted room where they had to deposit their musical instruments when off duty, as they were not allowed to take them into their own rooms.

2. THE PLACE OF PERFORMANCE.. The narrow court of the Levites which contained their private chambers and the musical store-room, extended across the inner temple, and divided, as already observed, the court of the women from that of the men. Along the western side of the court of the men, opposite to and in a line parallel with the chambers of the Levites, ran a stone wall about four feet high. This wall divided the court of Israel from the innermost temple. The Levites having crossed the court of Israel and ascended the wall on the other side by means of steps cut out at different places, found themselves upon a semicircular platform, whence they looked down into the quadrangular court where the priests ministered at the altar. This platform was the highest and hindermost step of an amphitheatrical gallery which was called Douchan, and which was the appointed place of performance on ordinary oc casions. The douchan consisted of five of such semicircular platforms, each about four feet wide and one foot higher than the one before it, the foremost being the lowest and on a level with the court of the priests. On some occasions, however, the Levites did not perform upon this gallery, but upon the steps which led from their court down into the court of the women. Of these steps there were fifteen, which the Levites ascended during the performance, singing one entire psalm upon each. The psalms selected for these occasions were those from the hundred and twentieth to the hundred and thirty-fourth of our collection, which for this reason were designated

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »