« AnteriorContinuar »
To those who have studied the character of Byron's disposition, it will be evident that he was not of that cast of genius likely to excel as a convivial song writer. He was never selfabandoned; he loved, too much, to mark the stream of life as it flowed, and his cynicism was more powerful than his bonhommie-a mind thus constituted, can never be convivial; it may enjoy mad orgies, where passion holds its awful sway, and where, in the wild whirl of excitement, the senses rule, and reason is dethroned. But, of the pleasures of a genuine convivial hour, such dispositions must be for ever ignorant; and yet, it was this same faculty of social enjoyment, exaggerated, that has rendered the songs of Thomas Moore so devoid of real conviviality. We assert, that in all Moore's works, there are but three convivial songs. Drink of this Cup, is not a convivial song. Wreath the Bowl, is not a convivial song. Come send round the Wine, is not a convivial song-in these, in all Moore's songs, excepting the three which we shall just now give, the convivial character is spoiled, by the introduction of some subject which renders them anacreontic and pretty. We know that Moore is the poet of love, and of beauty, and of patriotism, but he is not the laureate of Bacchus. His songs, called convivial, are not for the board where wit, and thought, and humor are flowing; where the hoarded stores of reading and of lore are unfolded; where Horace is bandied against Juvenal, and Tom Moore is pitted against Byron; where bons mots, and quips, and fancies are provoking laughter, and where more thought is suggested in an evening, where more insight into the world, and its heart, is gained, than in months of lonely study. For such gatherings as this, Moore is not the convivial lyrist; he is, we admit, the lyrist of that assembly where sweet smiling faces are ranged around -where fair forms are flitting, and gay laughter is rising above the silver sound of such gentle voices as might have beguiled Anthony (the Saint, not the Hero); where quiet flirtations, and pink champagne, make bright eyes look yet more bright, and tender words make coral lips seem still more rosy. Moore's convivial songs disappoint; for our parts, we would much rather sing, or hear sung, The Cruiskeen, with its soft flowing chorus, than any of his so called convivial lyrics, with the exception of the following,-which is of that class referred to by Sir Walter Scott, when he wrote that our fellow citizen, Terry Magrath, sung the best after-supper song he had ever heard:
HIP, HIP, HURRA.
Come, fill round a bumper, fill up to the brim, He who shrinks from a bumper I pledge not to him;
"Here's the girl that each loves, be her eye
Or lustre, it may, so her heart is but true."
Come, charge high again, boys, nor let the full wine
Leave a space in the brimmer, where daylight may shine;
"Here's the friends of our youth-though of some we're bereft,
May the links that are lost but endear what are left!"
Charge! (drinks) hip, hip, hurra, hurra!
Quick, quick, now I'll give you, since
"Here's the poet who sings-here's the warrior who fights
Here's the statesman who speaks in the cause of men's rights!"
Charge! (drinks) hip, hip, hurra, hurra! Once more fill a bumper-ne'er talk of the hour,
On hearts thus united old Time has no power.
"May our lives, tho', alas! like the wine of to-night,
They must soon have an end, to the last flow as bright."
Charge! (drinks) hip, hip, hurra, hurra!
Come, once more, a bumper!- then drink as you please,
Tho', who could all half-way to toasts such as these?
"Here's our next joyous meeting-and ob when we meet,
May our wine be as bright and our union as sweet!"
Charge! (drinks) hip, hip, hurra, hurra!
This we consider a very good convivial song, and in Moore's best style, and very much superior to that spooney lyric, Take hence the Bowl, which is a dirge rather than a song, and suited only for the last strong-stomached man who can keep his seat, head, and voice, when "all his lovely comthe panions" lie sleeping under the table, "down among dead men."-Jaques, who could "suck melancholy out of a song, as a weazel sucks eggs," would find it well fitted to his taste. Not so the following, which are joyous and hearty :
"Tis the vine! 'tis the vine!" said the cup-loving boy,
And call'd the young Genii of Love, Wit, and Joy,
To witness and hallow its birth.
The fruit was full grown, like a ruby it flam'd
First, fleet as a bird, to the summons Wit flew,
"Tis the Vine! 'tis the Vine!" hills and valleys reply,
Next, Love, as he lean'd o'er the plant to admire
Each tendril and cluster it wore,
From his rosy mouth sent such a breath of desire,
As made the tree tremble all o'er.
Oh, never did flow'r of the earth, sea, or sky,
""Tis the Vine! 'tis the vine !"' all re-echo the cry,
Last, Joy, without whom even Love and Wit die,
And scarce had that mirth-waking tree met his eye,
A laugh of the heart, which was echoed around
"Tis the Vine! 'tis the Vine!" laughing myriads resound,
UP WITH THE SPARKLING BRIMMER.
Up with the sparkling brimmer,
When hath the world set eyes on
Truth in a deep well lieth--
No, her abode's in brimmers,
The following exquisite songs, by Barry Cornwall, are in the true mould of convivial lyrics. Sung, as we have heard them, they are worthy of the highest place amongst the songs of the age. They require an audience cultivated, and capable of appreciating the fancy, thought, and classic beauty of their composition:
I love Wine! Bold bright Wine!
That maketh the Spirit both dance and
What can scare
O brave Wine! Rare old Wine!
Bad are the rhymes,
And bad the times,
So, brave Wine! Dear old Wine!
The next is still more poetical :
To her who weareth a hundred rings?
Ah, who is this lady fine?
The mother of mighty Wine.
O'er wall and tree,
And sometimes very good company.
To her who blusheth and never thinks?
The GPAPE, boys, the GRAPE!
Until she be turned to Wine!
For better is she
'Than Vine can be,
And very very good company!
Of the God who governs a thousand streams?
We have almost concluded our
Ah, who is this Spirit fine?
O better is he
Than grape or tree,
And the best of all good company!
essay; but it is right that we should refer to Dr. Rimbault's volumes. The first on our list is most valuable to all who love the music of these kingdoms. It is a full and perfect analysis of all the rare and valuable, but little known, music of England, from the year 1588, to the year 1638. It is one of that class of works, the compiler of which, as Johnson said, "mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths through which learning and genius
press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress"and though many a scholar and many a dunce must derive advantage from this labor of Dr. Rimbault, yet no man can ever consider him a drudge, he is too well known as a learned antiquary, and as a profound musician of consummate taste— his industry is evidenced by this small, but most useful volume.
The second of his books* contains the words of seventyfour most charming songs, with introductions and illustrative notes. The earliest of these songs is dated 1501-Song in Praise of Arthur, Prince of Wales. The latest is dated 1640The Triumph of Tobacco. The introductions and notes to both volumes are neither the least interesting, nor the least valuable portions of the contents. We recommend these works to the attention of our various musical societies. For those who wish to add beautiful words to charming madrigal melodies, they must prove supereminently valuable. We particularly recommend them to the College Choral Society.
Our selection of songs has been almost exclusively from English writers, and could be much farther extended, did we wish to present those convivial lyrics which have wildly run to seed, and degenerated into bacchanalian. For the present we conclude, but in other papers we shall display the glories of our amatory, of our comic, of our political, and of our patriotic song writers. However, before we close this article, we must place on record two songs worthy of being sung before Ben Jonson at the Mermaid, or chaunted, at some high festival of Bacchus, by the Monks of the Screw. The first is from the pen of "Honest Dick Milliken," the writer of The Groves of Blarney. Having been attorney, he may well recal Brome to our recollection :
HAD I THE TUN WHICH BACCHUS USED.
Had I the Tun which Bacchus used,
I'd sit on it all day;
For, while a can it ne'er refused,
I'd turn the cock from morn to eve,
My friend should sit as well as I,
For he who drinks-although he's dry-
But since the tun which Bacchus used
And let that churl, old Bacchus, sit,
* From this volume we have extracted two songs, see p. 137.
We here insert the following song, as we are anxious to preserve
The following song from Samuel Lover's Irish Evenings, is in praise of Bacchus, as compared with Cupid. Lover has never, than in this, been more happy in his flowing-rhyming metre. It is one of those joyous compositions which only
so good and humorous a production. It was written fourteen years ago by the late T. Hughes, the author of Revelations of Spain, and The Ocean Flower. He was a genuine Irishman, well known upon the London press-and was for many years the Spanish correspondent of The Morning Chronicle. He died about four years since of consumption, regretted by all who enjoyed the pleasure of his acquaintance. The song brings forward all O'Connell's arguments against the Unionand we remember well the rapturous encores with which it was greeted night after night, or rather morning after morning, at The Cyder Cellars. Tory and Whig-Repealer and Orangeman-all applauded its grim, hard-hitting truths, and poor Dillon Browne is before us, looming over the steam of deviled kidneys, and leading the cheers. Vic, in this song, is the abbreviation of Victoria.
Air-Love's Young Dream—with a twist in it.
Oh! the Devil a wink I slept last night
Sure a purtier, by this blessed light,
'Twas Father Karney from Killarney,
My blessin's on your purty face,
Her faytures all is like a doll,
So genteel, an so nate;
If there's deception in her at all,
She has such schoolin' in her rulin,'
There's Melbourne, Peel, and Wellington,
But troth there's not a mother's son,
That glory of the Emerald Gim-
How it would grace your diadem,
Don't mind the theivin' Parlamint
But the Liberathor's speeches
'Tis they will inthroduce to you
Oh! read them at your coffee too,