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a surprise to the tiger to hear a cow talk without fear and anxiety for its life, when it was really in the jaws of death. Moved to pity by the cow's plain-spokenness, the tiger permitted the animal to go to its calf and do all that was needful for its safety but only on the condition that it should swear in the name of Kaveri river as a security for its prompt return. The cow accordingly took an oath and ran after its little one as fast as it could. Giving suck to its babe, and a parting kiss as well, the poor creature returned in great haste, despite the repeated urgings of its friends not to allow itself to be eaten up by the tiger. To it death was indeed preferable to breaking an oath made in the name of the Kaveri river, and without hesitation it announced its arrival to the tiger, with apologies for keeping the tiger so long from appeasing its hunger. It was enough, this excellent character of the cow to send a thrill of fear and terror into the heart of the pitiless brute, and this sufficed more than anything else to prick the morbid conscience of this cruel animal, whose lists of crimes, cowslaughter and manslaughter pictured themselves before its vision in quick succession. It brought to its recollection the wicked misdeeds it committed during its youth, and the thought of impending doom in the hell below after its death made it to desist from killing the cow.
A fight ensued between the tiger and the cow, the one refusing to hurt and the other courting death at the hands of its opponent. To atone for its sins the tiger allowed the cow to go its way, and gathering all its strength it sprang high up to the sky and fell down dead at the feet of the cow. There is not a Hindu household into which the story has not found its way, and grandmothers even to this day, lull mischievous children to sleep, during the hours of evening, by humming occasional snatches from this national ballad so well known in this part of the Canarese country.
T. M. SUNDARAM AIYAR. Tirupatur.
BROWNING AS THE POET OF MUSIC.
BY CLEMENT ANTROBUS HARRIS.
MANY poets have shown appreciation of music on
its emotional side. But their references to the technical side are rare. Were such knowledge attainable only through the medium of verse, mankind would be aware of few instruments but lyres, harps, lutes and pipes; of no harmony but a cadence; of no musicians but
; those of tradition and myth. Hence the peculiar thrill which Browning excites in the musical reader. The author of “ Abt Vogler sees as deeply into the inner meaning of music-so much more definite, as Mendelssohn said, than words—as does any other poet.
Music (which is earnest of a heaven,
I state it thus :
Charles Avison, vi. But in this appreciation of music on its spiritual side Browning is not without rivals among both poets and philosophers. It is his subjects and an aptness of technical allusion possible to none but an expert, which make Browning appeal to a musician as no other poet does. It is somewhat remarkable that a poet quarrying fresh ground should have contented himself with pebbles when great monoliths lay to hand-save that poets are naturally creatures of fancy and caprice! One must also remember that it really mattered little what musician Browning chose as the subject of a poem, for the thought is always his own, and not specially identified with the composer to, or through whom he affects to speak it. Probably Abt Vogler was immortalized because Browning needed for subject some one remarkable for his gift of extemporization. Vogler's "invention," referred to in the heading to the poem,
may be explained, was less a new instrument than improvements on an old one-the organ: they were little thought of in his own day, but are largely adopted now.
The poet's long residence in Venice accounts for his choice of Baldassare Galuppi, especially as a composer whose music was still in use would not have served his purpose so well. Browning himself tells us what it was made him “parley” with Charles Avison-the recurrence to his mind of an old melody he had heard in his childhood.
One at once thinks of “Sound the loud timbrel,” an air from a
• concerto of Avison's which, arranged as an anthem, had an immense popularity in England, and an even more prolonged vogue in the United States. Yet, strangely enough, it was not through this, his best known work, hut by a somewhat feeble March, long since forgotten, that the Newcastle organist renewed his lease of celebrity.
It should not escape notice that all three of Browning's musical heroes have some connection with Italy : Vogler because of his visit in 1773 ; Galuppi as an Italian by birth and residence; and Avison through his three years' sojourn in the country, and a “ little book," as
• Browning calls it, on “Musical Expression
“Musical Expression” in which he warmly espoused the claims of Italian as against German composers, and to which his fame is chiefly due.
Browning's tribute to certain of Music's craftsmen does not exhaust his services to the Art. As a young man he had studied not only practical music under a Mr. Abel, a pupil of Moscheles, but also theory under Relfe, a composer of considerable repute in his day, to whom he makes reference in “Charles Avison":
Great John Relfe,
As a result of his pupilage Browning himself wrote music-said to be very spirited-to Dorme's “Go and catch a falling star,” Hood's “I will not have the mad Clytie" and Peacock's “The mountain sheep are sweeter.” Unfortunately, he appears subsequently to have destroyed his settings. But, as is often the case, actual composition was not the greatest benefit his study of theory conferred on him. For from the laws of musical construction Browning draws a wealth of illustration not to be found in either kind or degree in any other poet. It has, indeed,
, been said that his works hardly contain such another piece of simple perfectness as the definition of a common chord in stanza vii. of “Abt Vogler” :
Consider it well : each tone of our scale in itself is nought :
Readers of Newman's University Sermons will recall a remarkably similar thought in a passage beginning “There are seven notes in the scale-make them fourteen."
Nothing distinguishes the student of harmony from a layman in the science more than the different way in which he learns to use the word “discord.” To the latter it means something harsh, grating and unpleasant. To the former it means something without the frequent occurrence of which music would become intolerable through insipidity; something distinguished from concord chiefly because it lacks the sense of finality. A discord arouses, while concord satisfies ; a discord is something incomplete in itself, which consequently cannot be used as a final chord, but creates a sense of suspense till followed by what is technically termed its “resolution.” Of this Browning shows a keen appreciation. Witness “A Toccata of Galuppi's”:
Hark, the dominant's persistence till it must be
answered to !
So, an octave struck the answer. And “Abt Vogler":
Why rushed the discords in but that harmony
should be prized.
And “Charles Avison":
Quenched in a concord. Again who but a poet well versed in the science of music as well as the practice of it could have introduced a quintet of technicalities into a poetical triplet ?
What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths
diminished, sigh on sigh,
solutions-“ Must we die ?”
-A Toccata of Galuppi's, vii. “Sixths diminished” is a poetic license, or possibly an unconscious but very natural slip, the interval occurring only in major, minor, and augmented forms. If found at all it would only be in such ultra-modern music as that of Debussy and Scriabire.
With the same purpose, one might quote the following lines from “Parleyings with Charles Avison":
What, “stone dead" were fools so rash,
Turns scarlet, purple, crimson ! See also the fourth, fourteenth and fifteenth stanzas of this poem. Or the following from “Flute Music, with an Accompaniment” :
So, 'twas distance altered