Metropolis, forbid all suspicion that the money could, as to them, have been employed in the way of a bribe ; and there was nothing in the circumstances of the parties who, in the ordinary course, would have been the proper recipients of the money, the poor Dissenting ministers scattered through every part of England and Wales, that could be thought to render it practicable that their suffrages, if thus dishonestly bought, could have been made of any avail to subserve the cause of the committee. In whatever way, then, we consider this charge, it must appear to be wholly unsupported by even the shadow of evidence, and as such I shall dismiss it.

One word, in conclusion, in reference to the “historical argument."

It may be conceded to the adversaries of the grant, that there have been, from the first, persons who have viewed it with disapprobation, as being, in their estimation, a bribe to silence the clamour of the Dissenters for their rights ;-who have regarded the distributors as subservient agents of the Minister in power ;-and who have imputed to them a dishonourable desertion of their duty when the Dissenters have been disposed to press upon the Government and the Legislature an application for a redress of their grievances. But that its most able and zealous opponents have justified such objections to its origin and principle by any direct and credible evidence ;--that they have been able, in a single instance, to prove that the distributors have evinced a corrupt subserviency to men in power, or to establish by indisputable facts that in any movements of the Dissenters for the enlargement of their liberties, they have evinced a want of sympathy with their brethren, and placed impediments in the way of their success, I take leave distinctly to deny; and I am willing to rest the force and validity of my denial on the statements and evidence embodied in my History of the Grant and Vindication of its Administrators.

The origin of the grant is now no mystery: Dr. Calamy's account, representing it as a pure charity, must be received as true until his integrity and veracity as an historian are successfully impeached : and the uprightness and fidelity of the successive trustees must be held to be established until their official purity and honour shall have been impugned and sullied by some more cogent and convincing evidence than the uncharitable surmises and the vague and random imputations by which alone they have hitherto been assailed. November 10, 1848.


CAPRICES OF SYMPATHY. The dog is the very emblem of faithfulness; yet I believe it is found that he will sometimes like the person who takes him out and amuses him, more than the person who feeds him. So amongst bipeds, the most solid service must sometimes give way to the claims of congeniality. Human creatures are, happily, not to be swayed by self-interest alone: they are many-sided creatures; there are numberless modes of attaching their affections. Not only like likes like, but unlike likes unlike.-Friends in Council, p. 166.

ON CHANTING. The custom of chanting Psalms and other religious poetry, has prevailed but little amongst the English Dissenters. It has been thought to savour of the Church, and therefore, we presume, to have some mysterious efficacy in drawing the mind away from Nonconformist principles. The pious Puritans of course proscribed it, as they did all other music except the Psalm tune. And, since their day, wherever it has been introduced, it has been generally regarded as an innovation (just as organs, liturgies, gothic chapels, altars, pictures, stained windows, &c.),

not to be tolerated by those in whose veins the pure blood of the old Dissent still flows, and as a part of the paraphernalia of that Scarlet Lady of whom all loyal Protestants, whatever be their practice, are, in theory, most devoutly afraid.

We trust, however, that the days of prejudice, among the Presbyterians as well as among the orthodox, are fast passing away; and that one of the effects of this will be, the introduction of the Chant into our meetings for social worship. It is venerable from its antiquity, always attractive when well executed, and possessing peculiar beauties, of which no other style of music can boast. We propose briefly to illustrate these points, and also to guard against certain very common errors in its usual mode of performance.

It is well known that the Hebrew Psalms were originally chanted, and that the principal part of the service in the synagogue was performed in the same manner. In fact, the Orientals scarcely understand the art of reading, without adapting the words to a musical intonation. The early Christians naturally adopted a practice to which they were accustomed, and the chanting and singing of Psalms and Hymns became an integral part of their social worship. Ambrose was the first who endeavoured to reduce the music of the church to a regular system; which task was afterwards so well performed by Pope Gregory, that the “ Gregorian Chants," as they are called, are still employed in the Roman Catholic service, especially in the Italian churches. At the time of the Reformation, much of the Roman Catholic music was adopted into the service of the English Church, along with the Ritual and Liturgy; but the Chant, in the form at present used for Psalms in our churches and chapels, has arisen under Protestant influences, and is essentially our own.

The Chant consists of a plain recitative followed by a short melody or cadence. It is, in fact, a musical way of speaking; allowing of emphases, pauses, &c., as in ordinary reading; but giving the benefit of musical intonation and harmony. It differs from Recitative in the simplicity of the music; the latter having a special note to each syllable; the former, one only to any number of syllables. Each recitative, therefore, is adapted only to one set of words; whereas the same Chant is applicable to an endless variety. It further differs from the Anthem, Chorale, and Psalm tune, in not having a regular division of time. It approaches in this respect the Recitative, which allows of much greater freedom in the arrangement of the notes, than is permitted in ordinary compositions.

The simplest kind of Chant is that used in the Catholic and English Cathedral service, in which a prayer is recited on one tone throughout, without any division of bars, till the last few syllables, which turn on a cadence; this being answered by another cadence from the choir. The ordinary Chant, however, to which the Psalms are sung, and to which we shall now direct our exclusive attention, consists of two or of four parts (according as the Chant is single or double), and measures one or two verses of a Psalm ; that is, two or four versicles or lines. This Chant


sung to any words, in which the sense allows of their being arranged in verses of two or four lines each, however long or short these lines may be. The principal part of each line is sung on one chord, which may be of any length to suit the words (provided it be not shorter than a semibreve); but the few last syllables are measured into bars, two in one line, three in another, alternately. These bars have a special melody and harmony allotted to them, differing in each Chant. Any Chant, however, may be sung to any Psalm, only attending to the general feeling of the composition.

The special advantages of Chanting are, 1st, The extreme simplicity of the music. The melody is so short and plain, that it is almost immediately caught, and easily remembered. The harmony also consists in general of simple chords, so that the parts are soon committed to memory. Sunday scholars, and others possessing but very ordinary musical powers, will be found to learn a Chant with great facility, and to retain it without effort.

2. Its attractive character. Almost all those who visit cathedrals are struck with the beauty of this part of the proceedings—in general, more than by the anthems and services. Young people are particularly fond of it, as is shewn by the hearty way in which they join in it when introduced into schools. The slow and measured time of many Psalm tunes is rather tedious to children; while the Chant is lively, without being secular in its character.

3. Its adaptation to the Hebrew poetry, and to other compositions which are not measured with sufficient exactness for the Psalm tune. Every one knows that the Psalms were originally sung; and yet we cannot introduce them into our ordinary musical services without distorting them into metre and rhyme, which completely alter their character. The Chant takes them as it finds them, and expresses them musically in a mode adapted to our modern tastes.

Here we may allude to the value of the Chant, in enabling congregations to sing various Peculiar Metres, to which they could not easily learn suitable tunes; and to make use of hymns which, although professedly metrical, are not sufficiently regular for the exact style of our Psalm tunes. We know how Mrs. Barbauld's beautiful hymns have been altered in different collections, to make them singable. One of them sometimes appears as a Long Metre, sometimes in sevens. the original, it is partly in each. In this state, it cannot be sung to any metrical tune, but it can be chanted easily. Hymns, also, which, from their length, are shut out from our ordinary services (as, e. g., Mrs. Barbauld's Address to the Deity), fall readily within the compass of a Chant. We give an example of a hymn, divided for Chanting :*

“When rising winds and / rain des cending,

A near ap / proaching | storm de / clare,


* Mr. Martineau's Collection, No. 307.

With trembling speed their / wings ex | tending,

The birds to sheltering | trees re 1 pair.
Thy children thus, with | grief op. I pressed,

Their refuge | seek, 0° | Lord, in | thee:
Thy love,-oh hiding | place most 'blest!

From every | evil | covers | me.' The Chant is useful also for hymns which seem to require a more spirited measure than the ordinary Psalm tune: as, e.g.,

“ Christ, the Lord, is | risen to | day,

Sons of men and | angels | say!
Raise your songs and triumphs high;

Sing, ye | heavens, and earth re'l ply.” We may say, from personal experience, that congregations fall very quickly into this way of chanting hymns. It has been followed at St. John's chapel in Warrington for some years; the reason given being, that it enables them to sing a much longer hymn than they could do otherwise.

We must protest, however, against the barbarous practice of turning Chants into Psalm tunes. The essential character of the Chant is, as we have seen, that it is unmeasured. When, therefore, the introductory semibreve (which, as has been stated, is of any length to suit the words) is changed into a number of minims and crotchets, a very good Chant becomes a very bad Psalm tune; and the performance, being of the most mongrel character, is essentially unmusical and offensive. An unfortunate Chant by Dr. Boyce, transformed into a Short-Metre tune known by the name of Westminster, has suffered most from this unhappy taste. Even Lord Mornington's noble Chant in E, has not escaped. That the attempt should have been so often made, shews that a desire has been felt to adopt the Chant into our Dissenting services. How much better to adopt it in its normal state and with its native beauties!

It remains for us to speak of the faults which have so commonly disfigured this mode of singing, as to prejudice the minds of most Dissenters, as well as many Church-people, against it.

1. It is generally supposed that Chanting is a musical way of hurrying over a Psalm so fast that the words cannot be heard, and the performance is in the highest degree irreverend. We have ourselves heard Chanting conducted, even in cathedrals (to say nothing of common country churches), in such a way that no word can adequately express it, except the old Saxon-gabbling. This springs from the erroneous idea that the first bar of each part must always be of the same length, that of the semibreve; in consequence of which we hear sometimes the greatest hurrying, and, occasionally, an equally disagreeable drawl. Thus :

Blessthe Lordall'sworks'nallplacesof his dominion ;
Bless th e Lord,


O my soul. It cannot be too distinctly stated, that the first part of the Chant should be recited distinctly, and in the time that an ordinary slow reader would occupy, however much it be longer than a semibreve. The pauses also, accents and emphases, should be observed exactly as

* Mr. Martineau's Collection, No. 226: to Jones's Chant in D.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

in reading. A little more of musical rhythm must be given in the measured part of the Chant: but even here, the accents and pauses must not be lost sight of, as they frequently are in the ordinary Psalm tune. For those who are learning to Chant, it is not amiss for one of the choir to read the Psalm in a distinct voice, while the others are chanting it. Thus the right time will be preserved.

2. A contrary fault is to drawl out the words. This is common among those who are accustomed to nothing but Psalm-tune singing. They are not satisfied without making a note on each syllable. This not only sounds ill, but it is almost impossible for a choir to keep together, as some are always trying to get the others on. Moreover, it is very fatiguing, and the music is apt to become very flat.

3. It is not uncommon, even among those who chant well in other respects, to make a pause, or rather a drawl, between the unmeasured and the measured parts of the Chant: thus,

And the place the’re ... | of shall | know it no I more, instead of (as the sense naturally shews),

And the pla'ce ... there of shall | know it no I more. So, again, in the first Psalm, it should be,

Therefore the ungoʻdly ... shall not | stand in the judgment,

Nor si’nners ... in the congregation of the / righteous. 4. Most persons divide the measured parts of the Chant according to the number of syllables, and not according to the accents. Thus :

Thou turnest man to | destruc / tion,

And sayest, Return, ye child | ren of men. Instead of counting the syllables, the emphatic words should be noticed, and, as far as possible, the bars should be so arranged that the accented syllables should immediately follow them. Thus:

Thou turnest | ma'n to de stru'ction,

And sayest, Re | tu’rn, ye | chiʻldren of me'n. It is allowable to continue a syllable beyond a bar, if a particular emphasis is laid on it. Thus :

Bless the Lord, I ye his , a'ngels

That ex | cel | - in / strength ;where three musical notes are sung to the syllable cel, in order to avoid accenting the minor word in.

As there is a difference among good readers in the emphases and pauses which they make, there will be a similar difference among good chanters in the distribution of the bars. Therefore it is

very desirable, when a number have to sing together, that there should be a common guide. Books in which the Psalms are divided into versicles, and the bars marked, have been published, but they are not generally accessible. The beautiful work of S. Wesley, like all others designed for the Establishment, includes the whole of the Psalms, but they are given in the Prayer-book Version, and the marks are not sufficiently distinct for

In George Dawson's Hymn-book, there is an excellent selection, divided in the same way as the specimens here given ; but, unfortunately, it cannot be procured apart from the Hymn-book. A Book of Psalms and Anthems has been published for the use of the

common use.

« VorigeDoorgaan »