time into the deepest despondency. He could not rest until
lie had undergone some operations as fruitless as they were
painful. Finding it no longer possible for him to manage
alone, he sent to Mr. Smith to desire that he should play
for him, and assist him in conducting the oratorios."
Mattheson. " He remained blind until his death, a
period of eight years. Nothing is said here of a so-called
monumental column, and of an amazingly large property left
by Handel, although it has been a subject of much gossip."
Mainwaring (P. 141). " His incessant and intense appli-
cation to the studies of his profession, rendered constant and
large supplies of nourishment the more necessary to recruit
his exhausted spirits."
Mattheson. " J. Sirach, chap, xxxviii., v. 34; Phil., chap,
iii., v. 19."
Mainwaring (P. 142). "The design of the foregoing
sheets is only to give the reader those parts of his character
as a Man, that any way tend to open and explain his
character as an Artist."
Mattheson. " If this were done, the arts and the manners
would exhibit not unfrequently striking contrasts."
" Mainwaring (P. 143). " The author has nothing to add
but his sincere wishes that every artist who is truly deserving
in his profession, may meet with a person equally desirous
of doing justice to his memory."
Mattheson. " This wish is as kind as it is reasonable.
It proves the belief of the author that there must be other
people, unknown to him, who, on account of their arts,
deserve quite as much honour as Handel. Alas ! how much
pains has the ' Great-Thorough-Bass School ' taken to show
this, not to mention the ' Triumphal Arch.* . . . Bach,
* Two works by Mattheson.
24 MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
Fux, Graun, Graupner, Griinewald, Heinichen, Reiser, etc.,
have died without experiencing it; perhaps the same will
happen with Hasse, and with several others."
Main-waring (P. 149). "A great quantity of music, not
mentioned in the Catalogue, was made [by Handel] in Italy
and Germany. How much of it is yet in being, is not
known. Two chests-full were left at Hamburg, besides
some at Hanover, and some at Halle."
Mattheson. " We Hamburgians have hitherto heard
nothing of those two chests. In Wich's music-book of the
year 1704 are two minuets and half an air, that is all."
Main-waring (P. 164). " The generality of mankind have
not enough of delicacy to be much affected with minute
instances of beauty, but yet are so formed as to be trans-
ported with every the least mark of grandeur and sublimity."
Mattheson. " That is true."
Main-waring (P. 165). " The taste in music, both of the
Germans and Italians, is suited to the different characters
of the two nations. That of the first is rough and martial ;
and their music consists of strong effects produced, without
much delicacy, by the rattle of a number of instruments."
Mattheson. " Surely this is not phlegmatic, as before
Main-waring (P. 174). " However well some of the
Italians may have succeeded in the management of the
instrumental parts in their song-music, there is one point
in which Handel stands alone, and in which he may possi-
bly never be equalled ; I mean in the instrumental parts of
his choruses and full church-music."
Mattheson. " This is true enough ; but it was all derived
from Zachau and his organ-playing. Germany is the father-
land of all powerful harmony, elaborate compositions for
the organ, fugues and chorales, used in Divine Service.
Italy has melody for her daughter, with songstresses, singers,
and very delicate solo-players on violin-instruments to touch
the heart. France produces its magnificent choruses,
instrumental pieces, dance-music, to cheer the heart ; and
to England we leave the honour of admiring and recom-
pensing these rarities."
MATTHESON ON HANDEL. 25
Mainwaring (P. 179). "But how shall we excuse for
those instances of coarseness and indelicacy which occur so
frequently in the airs of his oratorios ? For, as the melody
is a fundamental and essential part in vocal music, it
should seem that nothing can atone for the neglect of it.
The best painter would be blamed should he draw off the
attention too much from the principal figure in his piece,
however perfect, by the very high and exquisite finishing of
some inferior object ; but, much more would he deserve to
be blamed if he left that figure the least finished which all
the rules of his art required to be the most so. Now, in
music, though there may sometimes be occasion for giving
the instruments the ascendancy over the voices, yet never
should the song-parts be unmeaning or inexpressive, much
less coarse or ordinary."
Mattheson. " Golden words! All this, however, is owing
to the circumstance that Handel was neither a singer nor
an actor. During a period of five or six years, when we had
daily intercourse with each other, I never heard a singing
tone from his mouth. When Earl Granville (at that time
Lord Carteret) was here in Hamburg, and heard me sing
and also play, he said : ' Handel plays also thus, but he
does not sing thus.' In my opinion singing and acting are
of great assistance to a composer of dramatic music. Hasse
knows this well, and has cultivated both earnestly, me teste.
Reiser, likewise, sang very admirably. Both have, there-
fore, extraordinarily charming melodies."
Mainwaring (P. 202). " In his fugues and overtures,
Handel is quite original. The style of them is peculiar to
himself, and in no way like that of any master before him.
In the formation of these pieces, knowledge and invention
seem to have contended for the mastery."
Mattheson. "A certain philosopher recently made him-
self conspicuous by maintaining that the Fine Arts ought
not to be regarded as Sciences, because their systems are
sensuous. Nevertheless, the old adage always stands firm :
Nihil esse in intellects, quod non prius fuerit in sensu. Our
biographer belongs perhaps to that sect, for he scarcely uses
the word science, even when he refers to the science of music,
26 MATTHESON ON HANDEL.
as on the present occasion. He always uses only the word
knowledge or skill. Perhaps this is unintentional. Thus
much, however, is certain : musicians are in need of literary
works, and he who can only write notes, his honour and
reputation are only vox, practeraque nihil. On the second of
March, this year [1761,] we had here, in Hamburg, a sale of
a large number of scarce and valuable books on all sciences;
but the science of music was not represented by a single
work in the comprehensive catalogue. That is surely
neglect of a science ! If any one can show me that I am
mistaken, I shall be happy."
Mainwaring (P. 208). " Little, indeed, are the hopes of
ever equalling, much less of excelling, so vast a proficient in
his own way ; however, as there are so many avenues to
excellence still open, so many paths to glory still untrod, it
is hoped that the example of this illustrious foreigner will
rather prove an incentive than a discouragement to the
industry and genius of our own countrymen."
Mattheson. " Whoever intends to describe accurately the
life of Handel, can hardly do it without a reference to the
following books : ' Musica Critica,' Hamburg, 1722 ; ' The
Musical Patriot,' Hamburg, 1728 ; ' Ehrenpforte,' Hamburg,
Mattheson now quotes an extract from a letter of
Handel's, dated February 24th, 1719, which has already
been given above ;* and he remarks : " To promise, and to
fulfil a promise, are two things." He quotes once more
Handel's complimentary letter, also given above,t which
evidently afforded him great satisfaction ; and he adds :
" Even the most insignificant letters in some degree depict
the writer, in reference to the time and place in which they
were written. Horace is quite right : Coelunt non animum
mutant qui trans mare currunt."
Some writers have blamed Mattheson very much on
account of his vanity and his jealousy of Handel. Still,
it remains a debatable question whether the conceit of his
detractors does not perhaps surpass his own. It is a
common practice with inferior musical authors to assume
* Page 4. f Page 7.
MATTHESON ON HANDEL. 27
an air of superiority, and to endeavour to make themselves
important by rinding fault with others who have distinguished
themselves in the same field in which they are labouring,
and to whom they ought to be grateful.
Mattheson had not only a better scientific education
than most musicians of his time, but his literary productions
are also more readable than those of his modern com-
mentators who censure him.
IT is a suggestive fact that those spirits of the mountains,
rivers, and of lonely places, which delight in music and
dancing, are, according to popular tradition, generally well-
intentioned and harmless creatures. Sometimes, however,
a very evil-disposed spirit resorts to these arts for the
purpose of accomplishing some wicked design. A few stories
from different countries which illustrate the superstitious
notions on the subject will be given here. Although the
stories are still in the mouth of the people, it can hardly be
said that they are still really believed, at least not in
European countries. But there are always ignorant persons
who half believe whatever appeals forcibly to their imagi-
THE AWFUL DECEPTION.
At Arfeld, a small village in Germany, a number of
young lads and lasses were assembled one winter evening in
a warm and comfortable room, the girls spinning and singing,
as they usually do on these occasions.
One of the lads, in silly playfulness, said to the girls he
should like them to try whether they could hang him on a
single thread of their spinning. The novel idea found ready
approval. They made him stand on a chair, and bound a
thin thread around his neck, fastening it on a nail under the
At this moment all were greatly surprised by hearing
strains of exquisitely fine music penetrating into the house.
They directly hastened outside the door to ascertain whence
it came ; but there they neither heard nor saw anything.
DIABOLIC MUSIC. 29
On returning to the room, they found, to their great
astonishment and dismay, that the chair had been drawn
from under the lad, and that the poor fellow was hanging on
the thread and was dead.*
THE INDEFATIGABLE FIDDLER.
The following strange event happened in the parish of
Borne, two miles south of Ripen, in Denmark, and is still
known to the people in all its details.
One Sunday evening, a company of young men and girls
of the village had assembled in a farm-house, and were
indulging in all kinds of frolic and flirting. After they had
enjoyed their nonsense for some time they thought they
should like to have a little dancing. In the midst of much
noisy and useless debating how to procure a musician to
play to them, one of the youths the wildest of the party
cut the matter short by saying boastingly i " Now, my lads,
leave that to me ! I will bring you a musician, even if it
should be the devil himself !" With these words the wicked
youth placed his cap knowingly on one side of his head, and
marched out of the room.
He had not advanced many steps along the road when
he met with an old beggarly-looking man, who carried a
fiddle under his arm. The lad lost no, time in striking a
bargain with the man,, and triumphantly introduced him
into the house.. In a few minutes all the young folks were
wildly dancing up and down the room to the old crowder's
fascinating music ; and soon the perspiration actually
streamed down their faces. They now desired to stop for a
moment to rest themselves a little. But this they found
impossible so long as the old crowder continued playing ;
and they could not induce him to leave off, however
earnestly they implored him*. It was really an awful affair !
Soon they would have been all dead from sheer exhaus-
tion, had it not so happened, fortunately for them, that there
* ' Sagen, Gebrauche, und Marchen aus Westfahlen, gesammelt von
A. Kuhn. Leipzig* 1859.' Vol. I., p. 175.
30 DIABOLIC MUSIC.
resided in the lower part of the house an old deaf woman,
the housekeeper of the farmer, who accidentally becoming
aware of the desperate condition of the dancers, ran as fast
as she could to fetch the parish priest. The holy man was
already in bed, and it took some time to arouse him ; and
then he had to dress himself. But at last he was quite
prepared ; and when he arrived at the farm-house and saw
the fearful scene, he at once took out of his pocket a little
book, from which he read something in Latin or Hebrew.
Scarcely had he read a verse, when the indefatigable fiddler
let his arm sink, and drawing himself gradually up until he
stood merely on the tips of his toes, he suddenly vanished
through the ceiling, leaving no traces behind. Some people
say, however, that there was a sulphurous odour about the
house shortly after this miraculous event.
THE EFFECTUAL EXPEDIENT,
The next story, told by the Manx people, is almost
literally transcribed from Waldron's ' History and Descrip-
tion of the Isle of Man,' London, 1744.
" A fiddler having agreed with a person, who was a
stranger, for so much money, to play to some company he
should bring him to, all the twelve days of Christmas, and
having received an earnest for it, saw his new master vanish
into the earth the moment he had made the bargain.
Nothing could exceed the terror of the poor fiddler. He
found he had engaged himself in the devil's service, and
he looked on himself as already doomed ; but, having
recourse to a clergyman he received some hope. The clergy-
man desired him, as he had taken an earnest, to go when he
should be summoned ; but, whatever tunes should be called
for,to play none but psalm-tunes.
"On the day appointed the same person appeared, with
whom he went, but with what inward reluctance it is easy
to guess. He punctually obeying the minister's directions,
the company to whom he played were so angry that they all
DIABOLIC MUSIC. 31
vanished at once, leaving him at the top of a high hill, and
so bruised and hurt, though he was not sensible when or
from what hand he received the blows, that it was with the
utmost difficulty he got home."
THE OLD CHORALE.
The following is recorded from Oldenburg, North
The sexton at Esenshammer, one day on entering the
church alone, heard the organ playing most charmingly. He
looked up and saw to his great surprise that there was no
player ; it played by itself. He lost no time in running to
the Pastor, to tell him what was going on in the church.
The Pastor quickly put on his gown and hastened with
his sexton to witness the phenomenon. Sure enough ; the
organ was playing wonderfully all kinds of profane airs ;
they both heard it distinctly. But, look where they would,
they could not see any performer.
After having recovered a little from his astonishment,
the Pastor in a solemn tone of voice called out towards the
" If thou up there canst play everything, just play to me
our old Chorale Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten."
In a moment the organ was silent.
THE HAUNTED MANSION.
Diabolic musical performances have often been heard at
midnight in a certain mansion in Schleswig-Holstein. Years
ago, the young and gay daughter of the then lord of the
manor, at a family festivity and grand ball, proved herself so
insatiable in dancing, that, after having danced all the even-
ing, she flippantly exclaimed: "And if the devil himself
appeared and invited me to dance, I should not decline ! "
Scarcely had she said these words, when the door of the
ball-room flew open, and an unknown cavalier entered, went
3 fc DIABOLIC MUSIC.
up to her, and led her to dance. Round and round they
whirled, unceasingly, incessantly faster and faster, until
O, horror ! suddenly she fell down dead.
A long time has elapsed since this occurred ; but the
lady still haunts the mansion. Every year on the day when
the frightful event took place, precisely at midnight, the
mansion resounds with the most diabolic music. The lady
arises from her grave and repairs to the ball-room, where
she anxiously waits for a partner ; for, if any good Christian
should come and dance with her, she afterwards will have
rest. Hitherto no one has had the courage to stay in the
house during the awful hour. A daring young adventurer
once had nearly succeeded. In that case, the mansion
would have come into his possession, according to an old
deed found in the house. But as soon as the diabolic
music began, his courage forsook him, and he made off as
fast as he could. It terrified him so much, that even now
when he hears violins he trembles all over, and imagines the
diabolic noise is recommencing.
THE MODE ASBEIN.
A modern writer on Arabic music, as it is practised in
Algiers and Tunis, mentions among the various Modes used
at the present day a peculiarly impressive one, called Asbein,
which the Mohammedans believe to have been especially
appropriated by Satan for the purpose of tempting man.
They have a long story respecting its origin and demoniac
effects. The writer alluded to, a Frenchman, had the grati-
fication of hearing a piece or two played in this Mode by a
musician, who had the reputation of being one of the best
performers in Tunis, and who used to entertain the
frequenters of a certain coffee-house in a suburb. To this
place the Frenchman repaired, and induced the musician to
play in the Mode Asbein. To surmise from his description
of the performance, there must have been something realiy
frightful in the degree of ecstacy which the player exhibited.
But there is something funny in the Frenchman's mode of
DIABOLIC MUSIC. 33
reasoning, which deserves to be noticed, because it shows how
opinions like the above are sometimes adopted readily
enough even by professed sceptics. The Frenchman was a
sceptic, and had made up his mind before he proceeded to
examine the matter, that the impression of the Arabs respect-
ing the Mode Asbein was due entirely to their religious
enthusiasm. They are, of course, Mohammedans. Now,
after the performance, the Frenchman accidentally learnt
that the musician was a Jew. Then he no longer doubted
the demoniac power of the Mode Asbein.
Respecting the music of witches, a few short remarks
may suffice. Every one knows that witches, at their meet-
ings, amuse themselves especially with music and dancing.
In Germany, the largest assemblages of these objectionable
beings take place in the night of the first of May (Walpurgis),
and the most favourite resort for their festivities is the sum-
mit of the Harz mountain, called Brocken, or Blocksberg.
The musicians sit on old stumps of trees, or on projecting
rocks, and fiddle upon skulls of horses.
Whoever desires to witness these ghastly scenes must
provide himself with the upper board of an old coffin in which
a knot has been forced out, and must peep through the hole.
According to an old superstition, which was widely spread
during the Middle Ages, the elves sometimes steal a hand-
some, new-born child from its cradle, and substitute an
ill-formed, ugly child of their own. The little Irish prodigy
who is the hero of an event which happened in the county of
Tipperary, was such a Changeling. The story told of
him, it will be seen, is stamped with the peculiar wildness
of fancy which generally characterizes Irish fairy-tales.
Mick Flanigan and his wife, Judy, were a poor couple,
blessed with nothing but four little boys. Three of the
children were as healthy and rosy-cheeked as any thriving
34 DIABOLIC MUSIC.
Irish boy you can meet with ; but the fourth was a little
urchin, more ugly than it is possible to imagine ; and, even
worse, he was as mischievous as he was ugly. Innumerable
were the tricks which he played upon his brothers, and even
upon his parents. Although before he was a twelve-month
old he had already grown a formidable set of teeth, and ate
like a glutton, he would nevertheless lie constantly in his
cradle near the fire, even after he had reached the age of five
years. Resting on his back, and half closing his little eyes,
he would observe everything which was going on in the
room, watching for opportunities to annoy the people.
Now, one afternoon it came to pass that Tim Carrol, the
blind bagpiper, an old friend of the family, called in and sat
down near the fire to have a bit of chat. As he had brought
his bagpipe with him, they soon asked him to treat them
with a tune. So blind Tim Carrol buckled on his bagpipe,
and began to play.
Presently the little urchin raised himself in the cradle,
moved his ugly head to and fro, and evidently manifested
excessive delight at the nasal sounds. When the affectionate
mother saw how eagerly the child stretched out both its
hands for the bagpipe, she begged old blind Tim Carrol just
to humour her little darling for a moment ; and as blind Tim
was not the man to say " No," he mildly laid the bagpipe
upon the cradle. But how great was their astonishment when
the urchin took up the instrument, and, handling it like a
practised bagpiper, played without the least effort a lively
jig, then another, even more lively, and several others, in
The first thing the father did was to sell his pig and to
buy a bagpipe for his prodigy. It soon turned out that the
rogue had a peculiar tune of his own, which made people
dance however little they might feel disposed for dancing.
Even his poor mother happening to come into the room one
day with a pailfull of milk, and hearing that bewitching tune,
must needs let the pail drop, spill all the milk, and spin
round like a very top.
About the time when the boy was six years old, the
farmer of the village, by whom Mick Flanigan was employed
DIABOLIC MUSIC. 35
as day labourer, had various mischances with his cattle.
Two of his cows lost their appetite, and gave little or no
milk. A very promising calf stumbled, and broke both its
hind legs. And shortly afterwards one of his best horses
suddenly got the colic and died in no time. The people in
the village had long since settled among themselves that
there was something not right in Mick Flanigan's family ;
so it naturally occurred to the farmer that the imp with the
bagpipe must be the cause of all his misfortunes. He there-
fore thought it wise to give warning at once to Mick
Flanigan, and to advise him to look out for work elsewhere.
Fortunately, poor Mick Flanigan soon succeeded in getting
employment at a farmer's, a few miles off, who was in want
of a ploughman.
On the appointed day the new master sent a cart to fetch
the few articles of furniture which Mick Flanigan could call
his own. Having placed the cradle with the boy and his
bagpipe at the top, the whole family drove off to their new
home. When they had got about half the way, they had to
cross a river. Slowly they drove upon the rickety bridge,
little anticipating the exciting scene which now occurred.
The boy had hitherto remained very quiet in the cradle,
apparently half asleep as usual. But, just when the cart
had reached the middle of the bridge, he raised his head,
looked wistfully at the water, and then suddenly grasping
his bagpipe he jumped down into the river.
His terrified parents set up a cry of distress, and made
some efforts to save him, when, to their unspeakable
astonishment, they saw him swimming, diving and gam-
boling about in the water like a very otter. Nay, he actually
began to play on his bagpipe, shouting lustily all the while
and exhibiting other signs which clearly showed that he was
now in his right element. Soon he disappeared entirely.
Then the poor people became fully convinced that the boy
was a Changeling, and had now gone home to his own
* ' Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, by T.
Crofton Croker ; London, 1862,' p. 22. Compare also ' Hans mein Igel,'
in Grimm's Kinder und Hausmarchen.
36 DIABOLIC MUSIC.
THE VENDISH SORCERER.
The Vends are a Slavonic race inhabiting some districts
in Lusatia, Germany. Although living amidst Germans,
they still preserve their own language, as well as a con-
siderable number of national songs and legends of their
own, some of which are very beautiful.
The Vendish Sorcerer, whose name was Draho, lived
in a mountain, near the town of Teichnitz, at the time
when the Christian religion was just beginning to take root
in Lusatia. He was, of course, a pagan; and every scheme
he could devise to hurt the defenceless Christians living
scattered about the neighbourhood, he did not fail remorse-