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ing is wholly uninfluenced by other things, and music is no exception to this rule. Through all music runs a law no less binding than the Law of Gravitation, -the law of key; that is, the natural tendency of music is to stay in the same key, and any change from that key must be by an effort of something outside of the music itself. And the corollary to that law, as unalterable as the law itself, is that music, when forced out of its original key, follows the path of least resistance, and goes into the key that is most like the one it left. This is seen in a very elementary study of harmony. A large part of that subject is the study of the best and easiest ways to change from one key to another, and, invariably, as the keys differ more radically, the modulation becomes more complicated, till in some cases there is no method of transition which is not forced. But the same fact is just as evident from observation. Listen, for instance, to a crowd of people singing without an instrument to accompany them and set the key, -a crowd more alive to the enjoyment of singing than to the rules by which they are unconsciously guided. No matter what they sing; hymns, college songs, negro melodies, they will all be almost invariably started in the same key, though the act may be absolutely unconscious. But when, by reason of the pitch of a certain tune some change of key is necessary, this change is nearly certain to be to the key a fifth above, the one most like that in which they have been singing. The rule is just as true in the case of a single person. It takes a strong effort of the will to do away sufficiently with the effect of one key to start a tune in another a little higher or lower than before. The tendency is to follow the rule, and as the law of gravitation can be opposed only by physical force, so this requires mental force to overcome its influence.
Now what did Nevin do? Nevin was hampered by two laws; one, this natural one whose force he must have recognized, and the other, a mechanical law belonging to the art of music, which grows out of natural music as legality grows out of natural law. This law is, that a composition must end in the key in which it began, no matter how far astray it may wander during its course. Nevin's gondolier began to sing in E, but his dreamy fancies soon carried him over easily into C. However, it is harder to escape from C to E than to drift the other way, for the new key in this case utterly obliterates all feeling of the old. The skilful manipulation of chords necessary to clear a
passage between the two keys would be too stiff for so semiunconscious a song as that of the gondolier. Nevin is in a dilemma; he must break the rule compelling him to return to his first key, and risk the loss of unity in his composition, or he must violate the law of the nature of music, and jump to his destination regardless. He chooses the latter course, bridges the gulf by sheer force of will, and appears suddenly in his old key. But as a kind of apology to the law that he offended, and to partially cover his action, he makes a distinct break in the line of thought, and cuts off the dreamer in the midst of his regret, that the sudden awakening may account for any erratic thing that he might do. The excuse is plausible, but will scarcely serve. Of all people on earth, a Venetian gondolier, in whose nature music is so closely interwoven that through it his fleeting sensations find their simplest expression, would be least likely to break, by an intellectual act, a law that is almost part of his own being, in order to return to a key that has already passed from his memory. The gondolier is no artist; the laws of art are wholly beyond his comprehension. Nevin tried to kill two birds with one stone, but the birds were too far apart. One indeed he captured, but the other only raised a confusing flutter in its escape.
But if all this is so, why is not this blemish, which violates our natural feelings about music, enough to spoil the song? Perhaps because so large a part of modern music seems to make a point of practicing upon one's feelings, seeing how much deviation from the expected will pass unnoticed or even approved. And it is a quality in our human nature that such things appeal to us, just as we like to watch a dog walk on two legs, or even put his head between his paws, and say his prayers," though we thoroughly realize its artificiality. This feeling, combined with our love for novelty, accounts for many of the strange effects in modern music, and serves to excuse Nevin's action in this song. So, if what people like is the criterion of excellence, Nevin is wholly justified. But the idea that nature will follow the man-made rules of art is false at the bottom, and cannot be made true. We must blame the principle, even while we approve the effect.
LUCY SOUTHWORTH WICKER.
"This marble cross is what he had,
The shadow lying on the ground
Of laughter from the courtiers gay,
He called again a loud "God-speed."
"What power the Church of God doth wield Is as the shadow on the sand.
For me, the power of sword and shield
Is stronger far than prayer's demand)!"
Prince Rupert lay by the dusty way,
Ragged and torn and drunk with wine, He had lost his kingdom and gold at play, And was cast to sleep by the wayside shrine.
And the first clear light of a summer's dawn
As he wakes to learn that his power's gone,
They had sworn their truth, his courtier friends-
No friends to the pauper, south or north!
The shadow attracts his wandering glance,
And he stares aghast at the form it shows, An inky Cross in the morn's advance,
The shade of a Cross that Rupert knows!
He rose and faced the solemn Sign,
Then kissed the feet of the Saviour there"Dear Lord, take thou this life of mine, Let me the white monk's habit wear!
"I'll leave my name, and race,—in faith,
Be all for Him who died the death,
"What power the Church of God doth yield Is as a shadow on the sand.
My life is Thine, so let me yield,
And bow me humble 'neath Thy Hand."
The Prince long years in the convent dwelt,
Before the marble Cross upraised,
And matins finished, he daily passed
He heard a group of gossips say—
"This Friar John has many friendsA holy man, more pure each day,
Whose prayer and fasting never ends!"
When to the chapel he returned,
He prayed-"Dear Lord, in serving thee Which I have done with heart that burned In love, I find that some praise me!
"But, Lord, the praise of man is vain, And to escape, I gave my life
To thee, and knew my truest gain
Was seeking Peace, and leaving strife.
"I would become but shadow, Lord,
For lo, a light most soft and fair
Gleamed 'round about him as he prayed, And Angels bright were standing there.
Then one to him soft-smiling said—
"What is thy wish? For we were sent To grant your prayer, dear brother John!" "The Evil One's bold shafts are spent
In vain on me! Ye fiends, begone!"