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graces lavishly, as when her dear eyes used to glisten with the effusions of sensibility as they gazed upon them. It is then that affection sighs amidst the smiles of vegetable beauty :
Since not for her the radiant morn returns,
-On my life those people you mention have made a fine return to the kindness of you and yours. Reflection presents few things so painful to an elevated and feeling mind, as the frequency of human ingratitude, by which our confidence in society is unavoidably weakened. The instances you mention excite my indignation. Some years past they would have astonished me; but since my own experience can more than parallel them, wonder is changed into a regretful sigh. But never may the most repeated proofs of this dark depravity in the human heart, petrify ours with joyless selfishness, and listless unconcern for the welfare of our fellow-creatures !
Mr Saville thanks you for the Dandelion panacea. He will resort to it on the first returning symptom of the “yellow-tinging plague," as Dr Armstrong emphatically called that sick distemper the jaundice.
I am not surprised by what you tell me of Miss 's new attachment. Your pale and peevish
nymphs are always amorous. The snow about their hearts resembles that of our English mountains, rather than the snows of Taurus or Mount Jura. Sun-beams from a lover's eye, seldom play in vain upon the white bosom of a prude. Adieu !
Lichfield, April 17, 1787. You know Mr Saville to be a man of sense and a scholar, besides being completely master of his professional science. We have together, and more than once, read, with attention, the passage you quote from Mr Sayary on the music of the Egyptians, and that of the ancient Greeks. Mr Saville affirms, that it is not only impossible to form any rational idea of this writer's meaning in those passages, but that he did not understand himself. It is certain that those languages, which are rendered harsh by being composed of a great number of consonants, are yet better adapted to musical expression than a dialect could be which
was wholly composed of vowels.—Mr Savary's idea of expressing our meaning by sounds formed of vowels chiefly, if not totally, is like that of the farmer, who, when he gave a dinner to the judge on circuit, with his council, insisted that they should eat plumb-cake to their roast-meat instead of bread.
Variety is the soul of pleasure in nature, and in all the arts. Prospects without hills; pictures without a due proportion of shadow ; music without discords, and a language without consonants, must have inevitable monotony, and prove insupportably wearying to those who have been accustomed to the great effects produced by contrast in prospects, in pictures, in music, and in language.
That influence upon the passions, which history boasts of having been produced, in former ages, by the simple melodies of which only they were possessed, was naturally, I think, accounted for in one of my late letters to you. Familiarity with excellence has a prevailing tendency to chill and blunt the sensibility of its graces, and to render the judgment coy and fastidious. Upon two people, whose taste for music was by nature perhaps equally keen, if one of them has been in the constant custom of hearing the best music, and the other has had but seldom opportunity of listening even to the most moderate, probably the
simplest air, of perhaps but indifferent merit, would have more effect upon the passions of the novice, than the sublimest air of Pergolezzi's or Handel's, upon the feelings of him whose ear had been habituated to their admirable compositions.
Every adept in the science of music knows, that it is impossible for melody alone to have produced musical effects, that could, in excellence, bear any comparison with those which she has displayed since her association, in later ages, with the mightier powers of harmony.
The English language may have too many consonants; yet who, that listens to Milton's poetry, finely read, or to Johnson's best prose, or to Handel's oratorio airs, sung with expression, will pronounce it inharmonious ?
In the amoroso style, we have beautiful music from Italy; more voluptuous certainly, but not more tender, more touching, more sweet, than the pathetic songs of Handel. That truth is now pretty universally felt and acknowledged; while none dispute the immense superiority of that great master in the more energetic harmonies. Thus is it proved, that our language, though less soft than the Italian, is yet sufficiently liquid for the most melting purposes of melody and harmony.
To descend from science and its professors, to individuals and their concerns. The world judges
of Mr 's affairs as it does of those of most other people, with very rash decision. So generous, so humane, so affectionate a friend, as Mr Whas long proved himself towards Mr B., is not, I dare assure myself, transformed into the hard and merciless creditor. That business has been misrepresented to you, and is one amongst the daily instances which ought to warn us of the imprudence of lending money, in considerable sums, even to our dearest friends; since, if payment is ever required, it is almost sure to be considered as a cruel hardship; and, what is the strangest thing imaginable, by the public as well as by the individual, who has been, so much in vain, obliged. Mr W. was perfectly right in obtaining every possible security that might oblige his friend to live upon his income, increased to a clear 600l. per ann., by the possession of his new living, and this till he had paid, by instalments, his debt of two thousand pounds to Mr W., contracted full twenty years before ; a debt, the payment of wbich that gentleman, in justice to his own increasing family, ought no longer to neglect.. People in debt will not, if they have right principles, allow themselves more than a maintenance till they are free of all obligations. Wanting those self-impelling principles, it is the kindest thing their friends can do to oblige them to be just.