While residing at Providence, and during her visits to Boston, in her vacations, Margaret’s mind was opening more and more to the charms of art.
‘The Ton-Kunst, the Ton-Welt, give me now more stimulus than the written Word; for music seems to contain everything in nature, unfolded into perfect harmony. In it the all and each are manifested in most rapid transition; the spiral and undulatory movement of beautiful creation is felt throughout, and, as we listen, thought is most clearly, because most mystically, perceived. * *
I have been to hear Neukomm’s Oratorio of David. It is to music what Barry Corn wall’s verses and Talfourd’s Ion are to poetry. It is completely modern, and befits an age of consciousness. Nothing can be better arranged as a drama; the parts are in excellent gradation, the choruses are grand and effective, the composition, as a whole, brilliantly imposing. Yet it was dictated by taste and science only. Where are the enrapturing visions from the celestial world which shone down upon Haydn and Mozart; where the revelations from the depths of man’s nature, which impart such passion to the symphonies of Beethoven; where, even, the fascinating fairy land, gay with delight, of Rossini? O, Genius! none but thee shall make our hearts and heads throb, our cheeks crimson, our eyes overflow, or fill our whole being with the serene joy of faith.’ * *
I went to see Vandenhoff twice, in Brutus and Virginius. Another line specimen of the conscious school; no inspiration, yet much taste. Spite of the thread-paper Tituses, the chambermaid Virginias, the washerwoman Tullias, and the people, made up of half a dozen chimney-sweeps, in carters’ frocks and red night-caps, this man had power to recall a thought of the old stately Roman, with his unity of will and deed. He was an admirable father, that fairest, noblest-part,—with a happy mixture of dignity and tenderness, blending the delicate sympathy of the companion with the calm wisdom of the teacher, and showing beneath the zone of duty a heart that has not forgot to throb with youthful love. This character,—which did actual fathers know how to be, they would fulfil the order of nature, and image Deity to their children,—Vandenhoff represented sufficiently, at least: to call up the beautiful ideal.’
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