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all things"; for morality, "Be not ashamed"; for political wisdom among peoples, "Resist much-obey little." He has no word for art; it is not in her temple that he burns incense. His language, as even a short extract has showed, is strong, vehement, instantaneously chosen; always forcible, and sometimes even rhythmical, like the prose of Plato. Thoughts crowd so thick upon him, that he has no time to seek their artistic equivalent; he utters his thought in any way, and his expressions gain accidental beauty from the glamour of his sympathy. As he speaks, we more than once see a man's face at white heat, and a man's hand beating down emphasis at the end of periods. He is inspired, not angry; yet as even inspiration is not infallible, he sometimes talks rank nonsense.
The second part of the volume," Drum-Taps," is a series of poetic soliloquies on the war. It is more American and somewhat less mystical than the "Leaves of Grass"; but we have again the old cry of democracy. Here, in proportion to the absence of self-consciousness, and the presence of vivid emotion, we find absolute music, culminating once or twice in poetry. The monody on the death of Lincoln-" when lilacs last in the door-yard bloomed"-contains the three essentials of poetic art-perfect vision, supreme emotion, and true music. This, however, is unusual in Walt Whitman. Intellectual self-consciousness generally coerces emotion, insincerities and follies ensue, and instead of rising into poetry, the lines wail monotonously, and the sound drops into the circle of crabbed prose.
For there is this distinction between Walt Whitman and the poet— that Whitman is content to reiterate his truth over and over again in the same tones, with the same result; while the poet, having found a truth to utter, is coerced by his artistic sympathies into seeking fresh literary forms for its expression. "Bawling out the rights of man," wrote Horne Tooke, "is not singing." Artistic sympathies Walt Whitman has none; he is that curiously-crying bird—a prophet with no taste. He is careless about beautifying his truth: he is heedless of the new forms-personal, dramatic, lyrical-in which another man would clothe it, and in which his disciples will be certain to clothe it for him. He sees vividly, but he is not always so naturally moved as to sing exquisitely. He has the swagger of the prophet, not the sweetness of the musician. Hence all those crude metaphors and false notes which must shock artists, those needless bestialities which repel prudes, that general want of balance and that mental dizziness which ustonish most Europeans.
But when this has been said, all blame has been said, if, after all, a man is to incur blame for not being quite another sort of being than nature made him. Walt Whitman has arisen on the States to point the way to new literatures. He is the plain pioneer, pickaxe on The daintier gentlemen will
shoulder, working and "roughing." follow, and build where he is delving.
Whitman himself would be the first to denounce those loose young gentlemen who admire him vaguely because he is loud and massive, gross and colossal, not for the sake of the truth he is teaching, and the grandeur of the result that may ensue. There are some men who can admire nothing unless it is "strong"; intellectual dram-drinkers, quite as far from the truth as sentimental tea-drinkers. Let it at once and unhesitatingly be admitted that Whitman's want of art, his grossness, his tall talk, his metaphorical word-piling, are faults-prodigious ones; and then let us turn reverently to contemplate these signs which denote his ministry, his command of rude forces, his nationality, his manly earnestness, and, last and greatest, his wondrous sympathy with men as men. In actual living force, in grip and muscle, he has no equal among contemporaries. He emerges from the mass of unwelded materials—in shape much like the Earth-spirit in "Faust." He is loud and coarse, like most prophets, "sounding," as he himself phrases it, "his barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world." He is the voice of which America stood most in need-a voice at which ladies scream and gigmen titter, but which clearly pertains to a man who means to be heard. He is the clear forerunner of the great American poet, long longed for, often prophesied, but not perhaps to be beheld till the vast American democracy has subsided a little from its last and grandest struggle. Honour in his generation is of course his due, but he does not seem to solicit honour. He is too thoroughly alive to care about being tickled into activity, too excited already to be much moved by finding himself that most badgered of functionaries, the recognized Sir Oracle.
Musical Critics Criticised,
BY JOHN EDMUND COX.
WERE it possible that the whole musical profession could be polled, and that the honest opinion of every individual member thereof could be obtained, in defiance of the terror which generally prevails amongst them, the verdict would be all but unanimous that the criticism of the present day in this direction is as perverse and mischievous as it is contemptible. This is a straightforward and an unqualified assertion; and having made it, I am bound to offer reasons and to give proofs for having done so.
The great organ of musical criticism in London is "The Times." It is in the columns of "the leading journal of Europe"- as this daily newspaper is termed that the longest and the best written articles, so far as "the English" is concerned, appear. Proceeding from such a source, those articles command public attention, and create, as they are intended to do, an impression which, once fixed, is not easily eradicated.
That this journal is "an institution," I would by no means venture to deny; but were its original articles, whether musical or otherwise, presented to its readers with the names of the various writers appended, opportunity thus being given for ascertaining who and what they are, the terror they inspire, and the countenance and good will which are sought to be obtained, would at once be diminished or disregarded. The musical profession knows well enough upon whom to fix the slashing article or damaging paragraph, which may in a moment lay low the prestige already obtained at home or abroad, and which it may have taken years to gain; but, gnash their teeth as they may, and utter imprecations deep but not loud, as they do, against anonymous assailers, the public-which believes thoroughly in newspaper criticism-is content to accept the omne ignotum pro mirifico, and to judge and act accordingly; so that, in point of fact, were any debutant to sing like an angel, or to play after the same fashion, the chances are as a thousand to one that he or she would never make a reputation, or be believed to be capable of taking or holding the position it is the aim, the study, and the work of a life to attain. The well educated portion of the public-which consists of units, whilst the body is made up of thousands-may appreciate every damaging sentence at its true value, and utterly disregard the opinion of a self-constituted authority; but
the musical profession depends upon the support of the masses for daily bread; and if Mr. This, or Mr. That, in the columns of so powerful an organ as "The Times," or other supposed authorities in any other journals, "damn with faint praise," sneer at their capabilities, or cut up their pretensions with the most unsparing severity, little else but ruin will too often follow as an inevitable consequence. Then it is frequently the case that a bare sustenance, instead of enlarged means, which might easily have been won, becomes the lot of a toilsome and disappointed life. That mere pretenders should be unsparingly handled, few will venture to object. Then, criticism, if it be only honest, would occupy its legitimate sphere, and be-what it ought always to be-the means of exposing charlatanism and of purging out the dross, which, from being "written up" constantly, assumes the colour, without possessing a particle of the substance, of fine gold.
It is not, however, to this journal alone that the criticism of which the musical profession has so long had reason to complain is to be attributed. To some of its prominent features I shall more positively advert before I have concluded my remarks. There is scarcely a metropolitan journal of either daily or weekly publication that does not lie open, more or less, to the same accusation, so constantly preferred against "The Times." The musical critic of that journal is supposed to be a "well-built,"-that is, a thoroughly educated. -musician, one who perfectly understands the theory, and has made himself a master of the science in all its details. Whether he be so or not, I do not pretend to determine. I have not, nor ever have had, nor am I ever likely to have, any personal acquaintance with him. The only means I have of ascertaining whether the reputation he enjoys is well-founded or not, is furnished by a short accompaniment to a song printed in "The Harmonicon" many years ago, with his name attached, and from a set of quadrilles, for which the music of Rossini's "Stabat Mater" was exclusively adapted - an arrangement, speedily withdrawn after publication, but of which a sufficient number of copies are extant to prove the fact of an unpardonable and gratuitous insult having been offered to that eminent composer. I will, however, give the musical critic of "The Times" the benefit of the doubt, and will take it for granted that he really is a musician, and that he not only can read a score, but write a melody, and instrument it after its creation. The smaller fry, however, of musical critics do not possess these acquirements. Any musician may easily detect, from the blunders they are continually making, that whatever knowledge they have, has
been gained at second hand, and that were they to be put through the mere facings of the drill upon which the study of music, like every other science, insists, they would look exceedingly foolish.
There is another point, upon which I can only briefly touch, which, to a large extent, helps to make musical criticism unsatisfactory-the habit, recently adopted, of one individual buying up the services of certain eminent artistes for a stated period, and refusing to permit them to appear anywhere but at his own concerts, or, where he may make the best possible terms for himself, by letting them out upon hire. Against this monopoly, we look in vain for the slightest rebuke through the organs which are supposed to direct public opinion. Indeed, it would be strange if censure were met with, inasmuch as the speculator is sufficiently wise in his generation to employ the critics' services to write analyses and paragraphs. It is not likely, therefore, that he (the critic) will quarrel with a system which "brings grist to his mill." There is also said to be another custom rapidly gaining ground in concert-giving that singers and players are allowed to appear, by purchasing a number of admissions for the performances at which they "assist!" If this be so, the critic, should he write at all, does so as "a wolf in sheep's clothing." So long as such a custom as this obtains, it is selfevident that anything like independent musical criticism is impossible.
But this is not the worst. The "Times" critic does not merely wield the powerful weapon which that journal places at his disposal. He has the credit of controlling no less than three other journals. His lucubrations appear now and then in the " Saturday Review"; frequently does the "Pall Mall Gazette" avail itself of his services; and week after week a publication exclusively devoted to music-the "Musical World "—of which, if the same writer be not the sole proprietor, he is at least its accredited editor and manager— repeats all he has already said, and often (sometimes) more than he has ventured to introduce into the columns of the more important organ at his command. But, as it is with the "head," so is it with the "branches." The musical critic of the "Standard" and "Morning Herald" is also the sub-editor of the "Musical World." It can, therefore, occasion no surprise that as it is with the master, so is it also with the man. A similar arrangement is said to prevail in the case of the critic of the "Telegraph"; the "Observer" and "Sunday Gazette" being regularly supplied by the same gentleman who "does the music" for the newspaper which publicly asserts that it has "the largest circulation in the world!" The "Morning Post" is furnished with