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as fair and precious vessels (to borrow an image of St. Augustin *) from which the wine of error might be administered. To those who identify nationality with treason, and who see, in every effort for Ireland, a system of hostility towards England, -to those too, who, nursed in the gloom of prejudice, are alarmed by the faintest gleam of liberality that threatens to disturb their darkness (like that Demophon of old, who, when the sun shone upon him, shivered !;-to such men I shall not deign to apologize for the warrath of any political sentiment which may occur in the course of these pages. But, as there are many, among the more wise and tolerant, wbo, with feeling enough to mourn over the wrons of their country, and sense enough to perceive all the danas od tredressing them, may set think that aliason in the least degree bold a infiamudarat sul be
* “ Non accuso verba, quasi rasa serra este person, so vinum erroris, quod ora 159 utos yrgyros"-Dis! Confess.chap. 16.
+ This emblem of motora bora Tanon 5070105) to Alesaster the fun. Luma Push Hypoth. lib. 1.
avoided in a publication of this popular description-I beg of these respected persons to believe, that there is no one who deprecates more sincerely than I do any appeal to the passions of an ignorant and angry multitude; but, that it is not through that gross and inflammable region of society a work of this nature could ever have been intended to circulate. It looks much higher for its audience and readers—it is found upon the piano-fortes of the rich and the educated-of those who can afford to have their national zeal a little stimulated, without exciting much dread of the excesses into which it may hurry them; and of many, whose nerves may be, now and then, alarmed with advantage, as much more is to be gained by their fears, than could ever be expected from their justice.
Having thus adverted to the principal objection which has been hitherto made to the poetical part of this work, allow me to add a few words in defence of my ingenious coadjutor, Sir John Stevenson, who has been accused of having spoiled the simplicity of the airs, by the chromatic richness
of his symphonies, and the elaborate variety of his harmonies. We might cite the example of the admirable Haydn, who has sported through all the mazes of musical science, in his arrangement of the simplest Scottish melodies; but it appears to me, that Sir John Stevenson has brought a national feeling to this task, which it would be in vain to expect from a foreigner, however tasteful or judicious. Through many of his own compositions we trace a vein of Irish sentiment, which points him out as peculiarly suited to catch the spirit of his country's music; and, far from agreeing with those critics who think that his symphonies have nothing kindred with the airs which they introduce, I would say that, in general, they resemble those illuminated initials of old manuscripts, which are of the same character with the writing which follows, though more highly coloured * and more curiously ornamented.
In those airs which are arranged for voices, his skill has particularly distinguished itself; and,
* The word “ chromatic” might have been used here, without any violence to its meaning.
though it cannot be denied that a single melody most naturally expresses the language of feeling and passion, yet, often, when a favourite strain has been dismissed, as having lost its charm of novelty for the ear, it returns, in a harmonized shape, with new claims upon our interest and attention; and to those who study the delicate artifices of composition, the construction of the inner parts of these pieces must afford, I think, considerable satisfaction. Every voice has an air to itself, a flowing succession of notes, which might be heard with pleasure, independent of the rest, so artfully has the harmonist (if I may thus express it) gavelled the melody, distributing an equal portion of its sweetness to every part. If your Ladyship’s love of Music were not known
I should not have hazarded so long a letter upon the subject ; but as, probably, I may have presumed too far upon your partiality, the best revenge you can take is to write me just as long a letter upon Painting; and I promise to attend to your theory of the art, with a pleasure only surpassed by that which I have so often derived from