Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors]

Chorus * Thy right hand, O Lord' (the first four bars a suggestion

from Erba ; the rest original). Chorus. * And in the greatness' (original). Chorus. • Thou sentest forth' (entirely from Erba). Chorus. * And with the blast' (the phrase to the waters were

gathered ' is Erba's; the rest original). Air.

The

enemy said' (original). Air. • Thou didst blow' (Handel's, but possibly not written

specially for Israel). Chorus. · Who is like unto Thee ?' (original). Chorus • The earth swallowed them' (entirely from Erba). Duet. 'Thou in Thy mercy' (suggested by Erba, and not made

very much of by Handel). Chorus. The people shall hear' (original, and one of his greatest

inspirations). Duet. • Thou in Thy mercy' (original). Chorus. The Lord shall reign' (from here to the end original,

including the repetition of the glorious fugue, ' I will sing

unto the Lord '). It will be seen that everything that makes the epic greatness of Israel is Handel's; the borrowed movements, except perhaps Kerl's canzone, are the dull portions. Why did Handel borrow them at all? I think it was simply because he thought them worth preserving. The man who wrote Messiah, which is all original work, in a little more than a fortnight, could certainly not have been, in Rosalind's phrase, 'gravelled for lack of matter'; and making Kerl’s canzone vocal as a' chorus was really a very interesting experiment. He could never have wished to pass them off as his own; they were not nearly as good work as his own, as he must have known very well. But in those days there was no such thing as a programme analysis to explain matters. Nor did Shakespeare explain to his audiences where he got his plots, or the songs which he introduced into his plays; nor did Beaumont and Fletcher explain that parts of Two Noble Kinsmen were Shakespeare's. Nowadays, no doubt, such proceedings would be 'flat burglary.' But it is nonsense to say that the borrowings in Israel can affect our estimation of Handel's genius. He did not improve it thereby; on the contrary, if he had written it all himself it would have been a still greater work; the borrowings to a certain extent spoil it.

In placing at the head of this article the somewhat drastic comment of the author of Erewhon, I am not inviting the reader to accept it as literally true. But there is a good deal of truth in it. Musicians and critics of the present day are so much occupied with problems of musical construction (a position almost forced on our notice in every programme analysis) that they seem rather to have forgotten that poetic expression, after all, is the real end of music, and that construction is only a means to that end. They find Handel simpler and less recondite in construction than Bach, and jump to the conclusion that he is inferior, or not worth so much serious attention. The truth is possibly that he is above their comprehension, not below it; that they fail to realise the greatness and variety of his poetic conception and expression. My own love for Bach dates from the time when I was still at school, and spent my play-hours in learning his organ fugues; and it is a love that has never altered. But Bach has now become a fashion, and I decline to join in an indiscriminate and sometimes rather ignorant worship of everything, great and small, that he produced. Of course there has been, in times past, an equally undiscriminating and still more ignorant worship of Handel, by people who thought it the right thing; just as many people talk of Shakespeare as our greatest poet, who have hardly read any of his plays. All that is mischievous and absurd, and has done a great deal of harm. But all that does not alter the fact that Handel, in his oratorios, in the wonderful manner in which he has entered into and expressed the most varied feelings and emotions of the human heart, is something more than a mere musician-he is a great poet.

A friend of mine who is an amateur of more than usual acquirements, and whose general sympathies are with modern music (Brahms especially), told me one day he had been to hear Messiah, which he had not heard for twenty years.

I was naturally interested to know how it struck him, on coming back to it after so long an interval. He said, 'I think the production of that work in a fortnight is the greatest achievement of human genius on record.' I think he was right; it may dispute the palm with the Sistine Chapel, at all events. And if those who are fond of pointing out all the things that Handel did not do, would give their minds to trying to understand a little better what he did and what he meant by it, I suggest that it would be a more profitable occupation.

H. HEATHCOTE STATHAM.

A WORD FOR SMALL OWNERSHIP
IN REPLY TO LORD LINCOLNSHIRE

Time and the upward drag of high position have no effect upon the buoyant spirit of the Marquess of Lincolnshire, so long known as Lord Carrington. His article called 'Rival Land Policies,' in the June number of this Review, is in the best vein of his traditional and assiduous cheerfulness. It recalls the most agreeable periods of his gubernatorial gaiety, when all men were at their ease in the presence of the popular and generous Governor of New South Wales. No one could say that as Lord Chamberlain he was misplaced, and no one would suggest that, as a commentator upon the policy of a department which he no longer controls, his present irresponsibility is unsuited to him. Lord Lincolnshire finds matter for mirth in the fact that Mr. Jesse Collings, Mr. Ellis Barker and myself, advocates of small freeholds, are townsmen and are not agricultural experts, and, therefore, the Unionist party must be commiserated on the consequent misdirection of this portionand it is but a portion-of its land and agricultural policy. It was the present Lord Spencer who said that he was not an . agricultural labourer; but Lord Lincolnshire does not need to give the public any such shy assurance : he can be understood without that advertisement. It does not follow, however, that as an agricultural landlord he is a more perfect guide in matters of the land than any other of those owners of land who, according to his own party, never put forward a view that is not selfish and non-progressive. Must one have been born in a stable to understand horses, or brought up in Cork to understand Ireland ? If so, poor Mr. Birrell! Mr. Lloyd George was, I believe, a solicitor; he is now Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Winston Churchill was a soldier; he is now First Lord of the Admiralty. Mr. McKenna was a lawyer; he has been Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Minister of Education, First Lord of the Admiralty, and is now Home Secretary. Mr. Runciman was brought up in shipping circles, he was concerned with the sea; he is now an authority on mangel-wurzels and foot-and-mouth disease, though it might be said by the cynical

that he is still more or less at sea. But no such considerations as these could check the joyous certainty of Lord Lincolnshire's reflections on political fitness, and I am much obliged to him for opening up the question of small ownership with such aplomb. In Australia it was affectionately said by a fellow-Governor of the then Lord Carrington, who admired his availability for the opening of a concert at Woollahra or a bazaar at Wagga Wagga, that he would go a hundred miles to open a tin of sardines; and I am proud to be included in his opening ceremonies. Hearing the report of a back-block wedding, where the bridegroom was taking to himself his seventh wife, another Governor said to me 'There is only one thing necessary to make the thing complete--a telegram of condolence from Lord Carrington with a cheque for five pounds!' Which shows that even in Australia Lord Lincolnshire was regarded as a watchful and well-disposed public servant.

In a few bright sentences he disposes of Lord Dunmore's Small Ownership and National Land Bank Bill, introduced into the House of Lords last year. This is how he speaks of it:

This Bill was pulverised by Lord Belper, speaking on behalf of the County Councils' Association, and by Lord Faber, on behalf of the bankers, and, though it received the barren compliment of a second reading, nothing more has been heard of it.

I think I remember that Lord Lincolnshire also had a Bill which had a second reading, and yet nothing more was heard of it, in its original form. He brought in a measure called 'The Small Holdings and Allotments Bill,' which rescinded the terms of the Acts of 1907 and 1908 that land should not be taken from holders of less than fifty acres. Lord Carrington's Bill made it possible to take from a small farmer of fifty acres half his possessions. When the Bill came to the Committee stage, however, he backed out and down, and was only saved from everlasting confusion by Lord Clinton moving an amendment which removed from the operations of the Act of 1907-8 holders of less than fifty acres in one holding, or of sixty acres in two or more holdings. It was on this occasion that Lord Carrington said that perhaps his Bill went a little too far,' and that ' it might have been misunderstood.' At any rate, Lord Dunmore's Bill has not been operated on and given a new diaphragm.

I took occasion when Lord Dunmore's Bill was criticised by Lord Belper and Lord Faber to reply to them in the public Press. Lord Lincolnshire says that the Bill was ‘pulverised' by Lord Belper and Lord Faber. Let us see. Lord Dunmore's Bill provided that the County Councils should take the administrative responsibility and 20 per cent. of the financial responsibility. Lord Belper objected to this, on the ground that it would throw too much work upon those already overworked bodies. How that could be, when the County Councils now assume the whole of the financial responsibility and do the whole of the administrative work, under the Small Holdings Act of 1908, I am still unable to understand. Lord Belper was not authorised on behalf of the County Councils to say that they would not take that responsibility, and he did not say a single word which would show the proposal to be intrinsically unsound. Lord Faber was a little more definite. His complaint against Lord Dunmore's Bill was that the land bank could not make the business of loaning to small owners pay unless it charged from 41 to 5 per cent. interest, reserving 13 per cent. for the bank charges. I pointed out then, and I point out again, that the Landschaften of Germany borrow money at 3, 3}, and 31 per cent., and their bonds command practically the same price as Government bonds bearing the same interest; and as a rule these banks lend money at about } per cent. more than they pay for it. The Polish Land Banks, which work in rivalry to the Prussian Government's land-purchase schemes, are able to lend money for land purchase on as good terms, and often at more generous terms, than the State banks--namely, 4 per cent., of which 34 per cent. is interest and i per cent. is sinking fund. Again, the Caisse Centrale of the Boerenbond in Belgium issues bonds at 37 per cent., at which price they rank as securities of the first order, and it lends through its subsidiary local banks at 37 per cent. This institution has no Government support, and yet it is able to lend at a profit of } per cent. When Lord Faber said that the British Land Bank could not lend on a less margin than 13 per cent., with a Government guarantee behind it, he was unduly pessimistic. One thing is certain---that nothing said by Lord Belper or Lord Faber, whatever width of prejudice it represented, ‘pulverised' Lord Dunmore's Bill.

Nothing could be more enlivening than the complacent way in which Lord Lincolnshire cites foreign experience in condemnation of small ownership. He quotes M. Leconteux, Professor of Rural Economy, and M. Lafargue, to show that peasant proprietary in France is in a desperate condition. I do not know whether M. Leconteux and M. Larfargue are superior to all prejudice or not, but it will be agreed that Sir Francis Bertie, our Ambassador in France, might be called an unprejudiced commentator. In Despatch 188, Commercial, 1906, Sir Francis Bertie writes thus :

Large regions exist in France, in which large properties would never pay, where the land yields its full return, thanks to the individual and

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »