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Encircled only by the sky's blue walls,
     Where she would linger, whom we now call dead;
For in the twilight deeper glory falls
     Upon the daisied grass which she was wont to tread.

And she would point me to the well-known hill,
     That, when the sunset tide was in its flow,
Would slowly gather depth of light, until,
     Transfigured in that calm and heavenly glow,
The landscape glistened like another sky;
     And then, beneath the flood, its form would sink,
Remaining visible to mortal eye,
     Like a reflected hill seen from a river's brink.

And, as between two worlds, she lingered where
     The sunlight robed her form in golden sheen,
And, now and then, the breezes moved her hair,
     To show that all was not a painted scene,
She watched that lustre, till the form of Night
     Hid from her view those brighter streaks of red:
Even as travellers watch the haze of light
     That hangs above the city which their feet will tread.

The spectral trees, after the autumn wind,
     Like the dry bones, will gather leaves and live;
And as, when Night is dead, we cease to find
     The lustre that its golden footprints give;
So, in the summer, I shall see the grass,
     With flowers unbent, where they were plucked
And without footprints, where she used to pass;
     And this will keep her memory green for evermore.


IT is a world of highly ancient lineage,
having existed thousands of years ago, "ere
heaving bellows learned to blow." Old
Timotheus was its master (sub Jove), before divine
Cecilia came to invent the vocal frame, and
add length to solemn sounds; to wrest the
lyre from Timotheus, or divide the crown
with him. He could but raise a mortal to
the skies. She drew an angel down.

Thus far (in somewhat different language)
glorious John Dryden in praise of music. I
must not tarry to sing the praises of ancient
music, for I have not Dr. Burney's big book
by me; and who knows where or when I
should stop if I were to touch upon Orpheus
and the beasts, Ulysses and the Syrens,
Nebuchadnezzar with his lutes, and harps,
and sackbuts, and all kinds of psaltery; or if
even I were to get middle-aged in music, and
tell of the troubadours, trouveres, minne-
singers, or glee-maidens; or more modern
yet, and gossip about Stradella, Purcell,
Raymond Lulli and Father Schmidt, Paesiello,
Handel, and Doctor Blow: the harmonious
blacksmith, Cremona fiddles, and the Haarlem

The musical world of England, of to-day,
for to such place and time will I confine
myself, contains in itself three worlds. The
fashionable world of music, the middle-class
world, and the country world.

Fashion first. What so fashionable as the
Opera? whose many tiers of boxes glitter with
bright lights, and brighter eyes, with youth,
and beauty, and high birth; where divinities
in diamonds, and divinities in blue ribbons,
hedge kings and queens (poor hedges! how
wofully tired, and ditchwaterly dull they
look, hedging royalty on one leg, or leaning
wearily against chairbacks or brackets);
where dandies in the stalls, in excruciating
white neckcloths, turn their backs to the
stage between the acts, and scrutinize the
occupants of the grand tier, with their big
lorguettes; where grey-headed peers and
habitu├ęs who can remember Nourri and
Donzelli, Catalani and Pasta, Armand
Vestris and Anatole, crouch in shady pit-boxes,
and hear the music with palled ears, and
watch the ballet with sated eyes; where
dilettanti in the back rows of the pit (mostly
admitted with orders, and cleaned white kid
gloves) are so particular in crying Brava when
a lady is singing, and Bravi, when a duet is
sung; where honest Tom Snugg, who fancies
himself a complete man about town and opera
frequenter, is so proudly delighted in pointing
out, to his friend Nooks, the neophyte, a
respectable stockbroker from Camberwell
Grove, as the Duke of Tiransydon, or the
lady of a Hebrew sheriff's officer, covered
with diamonds, as the Dowager Marchioness
of Memphis; where simple-minded English
people from the provinces, finding themselves
in the amphitheatre stalls and at the opera
for the first time, make desperate efforts to
understand the words of the songs and
recitatives; and failing signally, appeal to the
sixpenny "books of the opera," and find
confusion worse confounded by the librettist of the
theatre; who translates Italian into English
with about the same facility that French
hotel-keepers translate their advertisements
into the same language; where oleaginous
foreigners, in the back settlements of the
gallery, gloat over every bar of the overture,
and every note of the opera, and keep time
with their heads, and lick their lips at a
florid passage, or a well executed cadence,
and grind their teeth savagely at a note too
flat or too sharp, and scowl at you if you
cough, or sneeze, or move your feet. This
English land has not been without its
white daysits high and glorious festivals.
I say has been; for, alas, of the opera as
a grand, glorious, national, fashionable
institution, we may say, as of him whose
sword is rust, and whose bones are dust,
It was. The Grand Opera exists no more. I
know there is an establishment in the vicinity
of Covent Gardena sumptuous, commodious,
brilliant, and well-managed theatre, where
the best operas are given by the best singers
and instrumentalists. But I cannot call it THE
Opera. It can never be more to me than
Covent Garden Theatrethe conquered, but
never to be the naturalised domain of Italian
music. The ghost of Garrick jostles the

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