24 AUGUST 1850, Page 12


ENGLA.BID is enthralled by foreigners! See how Liverpool greets the parting Lind, with more than royal salutes. The Voice is to cross the Atlantic and be absent for a year, and the Britons pursue it with a fond regret that would be scarcely bestowed on one of "our valued institutions" if it were parting for ever ! She sings, and the very y notes which John Bull has "paid" to hear he accepts as a boon from Heaven. The lovely Lind—lovely to the ear and charming to the eye—sings one of her native melodies, vouchsafes' compliance with an encore' and the Britons, who "never will be slaves," accept the consent as if they were each and all in love with the respectable siren. What 111 the meaning of all this P—It is that Jenny Lind has mastered an art which commands the feel- ings, and therefore she can straightway grasp the heart of whom- soever listens. Her Teutonic conception, temperament, and genius are the perfection of the form in which the great art finds the closest reeipiency among the Teutons : her varied and finished dra- matic painting—which rims upon what we call the " feelinfs " ra- ther than the stronger "passions "—her sweet blonde voice, are gifts of nature thoroughly felt : her surpassing industry—first to seek the rehearsal, last to leave it—is in the true zeal of art ; her obedience to the conductor—who embodies the rule of symmetry—.

is in the proudest spirit of art. She unites in the highest degree the natural shape in which music can best reach the English soul, and the best cultivation of her calling.

The public devotion to Jenny Lind is natural. We are apt to regard singers as transitory beings, who are to pass away and be forgotten: is the name of Orpheus or Timoleen obliterated, or that of Farinelli or Pachierotti ? Surely not : when any large body of the human mice 'receives such impressions, the event is recorded- in history as surely as the dominion of conquering armies. And the greatest stage-singer of our own day, writing to her pupil Parodi, admirably recalls the duty of the artist to do her work well, be- cause it has a permanent influence on the state and develop- ment of her art. It is this devotion which marks the true artist —this postponement of everything to art—from Annibal Canted and Raphael to Purcell and Jenny Lind.

All great influences are reciprocal : the prophet who is inspired is rapt, the artist who possesses is possessed. While this great scene of subjugation is going on at Liver- pool, the stiffnecked Britons bowing in spontaneous prostration to the fair Swede, we chance to see en analogous incident in the quiet county-town of agricultural Bedford. A representative as- sembly of that truly English place is gathered in the great room at the Library: before you is Bedford,--its clergy, its law, its medicine, its trade, its industry, its hale agriculture, its reigning beauty. Bedford sits in pleased expectancy. Suddenly there enters a band of men, with the arms of music in their hands; a dis- tinct race from those around you—an outlandish company, mostly bearded. What are they ?---It is Jullien's band; a vagrant crew, collected from various nations, and wandering about the country to extort subsidies from the inhabitants, as the Sea-kings used to do in times of old. Some perchance are of English birth, ' like that tall and comely young fellow with a sort of vocal blunderbuss in his hand; but he is a renegade in his very aspect, and presently you shall hear that he discourses in the eloquent lingua franca of his art as though he were born to it. Bedford sits passive : the band forms, its chief issues the word of command, the firing be- gins, and the sequel is a career of triumph in which art rides vic- torious, but not rough-shod, over subdued Bedford.

Now why P—Because of all arts music is the one which most holds the feelings in direct grasp, and in all Bedford there are none to cope with this alien band. Not one can do it so well. These men obey another dominion, other laws, more enduring than those of Bedford or our valued institutions : and from that they derive their power. See how atrength and beauty are one, in the blast of that horn which Keen* wields in his jovial potency, now shouting to the woxld with the loudest ring of open brass, now subduing the metal to the angel sweetness of childhood's voice. See how that renegade Winterbottom can wring from the bulky blunderbuss the very voice of "Alice," with all its woman's per- suasive tenderness : he could not do that without the vigour of a giant,—as the superhuman power of the steam-engine, subdued and inspired by art, holds suspended in its fragile beauty the fairy web of dotton flowing from the card. They belong, these men, to the nation wandering like gipsies, and owning the separate rule of art; they go about the world distributing the spirit of the great inven- tors in their art—of Beethoven and Rossini, Meyerbeer and Bel- lini ; awakening the instincts of Bedford, who shouts her response to the call in loud applause. This is a victory where subjugation is a companion victory-.

Like all pirate hordes, the band has its priestess—and see how she is welcomed! To Bedford, dimly perceiving, comes the won- derful elocution of Rossini; but the intelligence is growing. Note the many while the fair Dolby sings "Bonny Dundee," and the artful band, cunningly guided by its chief, keeps up that under- instigation of martial rhythm :, all Bedford nods and sways to the step of the battle-call : if the whole Peace Association were there ,reaching in chorus, would not every one of those highly civil men of Bedford follow Dolby to the wars ? But Peace Associa- tions and other philanthropic bodies know nothing of human pas- sions; leaving them, perhaps with an instinctive sense of fitness, to the control of art. So, while we swear allegiance to Queen Victoria and abjure all foreign powers, these bands of foreigners and renegades are left to wander about the country and take pos- session at every turn; levying taxes from a subdued and willing people, and leaving in the very heart of the nation a garrison of memories not to be driven out. Truly we see that the influence of this alien power has increased, is increasing, and ought not to be diminished.