lessly to put into action. Moreover, his great power he
derived from a magic whistle, by means of which he made
certain mischievous spirits subservient to his will.
This sorcerer had a disciple, who, becoming acquainted
with the blessings of Christianity, forsook his wicked master,
and seizing a favourable opportunity when the old rogue
was taking a nap, possessed himself of the magic whistle,
and flew from the mountain into the valley to his friends
Now, when the people learnt that the sorcerer had
been deprived of his whistle, they knew that his power
was gone, and that they might venture to approach him
without incurring much danger. So they went up to the
top of the mountain, provided with all kinds of arms, and
soon succeeded in capturing the old pagan. Having securely
bound him, they made a large fire of wood, upon which they
placed him, and solemnly burnt him to death. Meanwhile,
the disciple, who had already received Holy Baptism,
stepped forward and threw the magic whistle into the flame,
that it might be consumed without leaving a trace.
Nevertheless, every year in the spring, on the eve of
Oculi Sunday, the old sorcerer appears on the top of the
mountain, and in the night blows a most frightful shriek
upon his magic whistle. The people who go out at mid-
night to listen for it have not long to wait before they hear
DIABOLIC MUSIC. 37
the awful sound. For, what people are bent upon hearing,
they are sure to hear, especially if it is something
THE RAT-CATCHER OF HAMELN.
In the year 1284, the town of Hameln, situated on the
river Weser, in Germany, became awfully infested with rats
and mice. All kinds of traps, poisons, and other means
employed to destroy the vermin proved of no avail,
and the harassed citizens were actually at their wits' end
what to do. The plague grew daily more formidable until
the people had every reason to fear that before long not only
their victuals but they themselves would all be devoured.
When the misery had reached a height positively fright-
ful, there appeared in Hameln a strange man with a queer-
shaped hat, who offered to deliver the town from the scourge
for a stipulated reward. Some say the reward he demanded
was a round sum of money ; others maintain that he wanted
to marry the burgomaster's pretty daughter. Whatever it
may have been, there is certainly no doubt that it was
readily promised him.
As soon as the bargain had been struck, the strange
man drew from his pocket a small pipe, began to play and
walked through the streets of the town. Presently, all the
rats and mice came running out of their holes and followed
him. Lustily playing he marched with his odd army out
of the town and into the river Weser, where every rat and
mouse was drowned.
Then the inhabitants of Hameln rejoiced greatly, as after
a victory over a powerful enemy. But, when the strange
man came to claim the promised reward, they withheld it
from him, and treated him with derision.
However, a few days afterwards, how sorely were they
punished for their ingratitude !
The enraged rat-catcher unexpectedly appeared, this
time dressed entirely in red. Strange to say, even his face
and hands seemed to be quite red. He took his pipe and
walked through the streets, playing as before. Presently,
38 DIABOLIC MUSIC.
all the little children of Hameln came running out of the
houses and followed him. He marched with them out of
the town into the mountains, where he vanished with them
into a deep hole in a rock.
Some persons believe that the children afterwards came
to light again, very far off in Transylvania. At all events,
there are villages in that country in which the people
speak the same language as in Hameln.
The gate through which the strange man took the chil-
dren is still extant, and there are other evidences of similar
importance to be found in Hameln, which prove to the
satisfaction of certain respectable citizens that the story is
quite true in all its details.
The earliest record of the Rat-catcher of Hameln written
in English is probably the quaint one contained in ' A Res-
titution of decayed Intelligence in Antiquities by the studie
and travaile of Richard Verstegan,' Antwerp, 1605. Verste-
gan concludes his relation with the statement : " And this
great wonder hapned on the 22 day of July, in the yeare of
our Lord one thowsand three hundreth seauentie and six."
The brothers Grimm, however, than whom a better authority
could not be adduced, say that according to the old records
preserved in the town-hall of Hameln the memorable event
occurred on the 22nd of June, Anno Domini 1284, and
that there was formerly on the wall of the town-hall the
following old and oddly-spelt inscription :
Im Jahr 1284 na Christi gebort
Tho Hamel worden uthgewort
Hundert und dreiszig Kinder dasiilwest geborn
Dorch einen Piper under den Koppen verlorn.*
Which means in plain English
In the year 1284, after the birth of Christ,
There were led out of Hameln
One hundred and thirty children, natives of that place,
By a Piper, and were lost under the mountain.
The reader will perhaps be surprised at the smallness of
* * Deutsche Sagen, herausgegeben von den Briidern Grimm ; Berlin,
1816;' vol. I., p. 330.
DIABOLIC MUSIC. 39
the number recorded of the children lost. But, Hameln is
not a large town, and was most likely even less populous
six hundred years ago than it is at the present day.
THE EXQUISITE ORGAN.
The following story is told by the villagers in the
Once upon a time a countryman of the province of
Hainault went on some business matters to the village of
Flobeck, which lies not far from Krekelberg. When he was
crossing the flat and lonely tract of land, some miles south-
east of Flobeck, he heard some distant music, which came
so sweetly through the air that he thought he would just
take a few steps in the direction whence it proceeded to
ascertain its origin.
He had not gone far when he saw a beautiful palace,
from which the fascinating music evidently issued. This
astonished him greatly ; but he was not one of those faint-
hearted men who would have crossed themselves and taken
to their heels. Quite the contrary ; he at once determined
to investigate the matter a little nearer. And so he entered
Having ascended the broad staircase leading to the prin-
cipal rooms, he opened the large door and paced from one
hall to another. All were splendidly decorated, and most
richly furnished. But, nowhere did he meet with any living
being. Soon it became evident to him that the inmates
were feasting and dancing in an interior court of the palace.
Thither he bent his steps.
To be sure, there they were ! a large assemblage of
odd-looking people in high glee dancing to the performance
of a musician, who had on his lap an instrument in appear-
ance not unlike a barrel-organ ; for it had a long handle
which the player turned with all his energy.
Now, when these strange people saw the countryman
peeping in, they beckoned him to come forward. He availed
himself gladly of the invitation, and took his seat by the
40 DIABOLIC MUSIC.
side of the musician ; for, no music he had ever heard in
his life appeared to him comparable to that which the man
produced on the admirable instrument with the long handle.
Sometimes it was very soft and deep-toned ; suddenly it
rose up to a high pitch, like an ^Eolian harp when a gust of
wind passes over its strings ; now it gradually diminished
in power, and its sweetness actually moved our countryman
to tears ; now, again, it grew suddenly so loud, as if a
whole military band was playing, only that it was much
The countryman expressed his admiration in the highest
terms, adding that nothing in the world could delight him
more than to be permitted to turn the handle of the exquisite
organ for a little while. The musician showed himself
quite willing to afford him this pleasure, and placed the
instrument on his lap.
The delighted countryman turned the handle a few
times round : No sound was forthcoming. He turned
again, more vigorously : The delicious music began.
" Oh ! Ever-blessed Mother Mary ! how exquisite !"
exclaimed the enraptured countryman.
Scarcely had he said the words when everything vanished,
and he found himself sitting in a fallow field, having on his
lap a large cat whose tail he had been wrenching so vehe-
mently that poor puss was still mewing from its very heart
in most ear-piercing modulations. On the spot where the
palace had stood lie saw a large dust heap, and that
* 'NiederlandischeSagen,herausgegeben von J. W. Wolf ; Leipzig,
1 843; 'p. 464.
A ROYAL personage being a lover of music possesses
many advantages for attaining proficiency in this art, which
are rarely at the command of a poor musician, however
talented he may be. The young prince has from the begin-
ning the best instruction, excellent instruments, and every
possible assistance in making progress. The most distin-
guished musicians consider it an honour to play to him
whenever he is disposed to listen to them. If it affords
him pleasure to be a composer, whatever he produces,
even if it is a large orchestral work, he can directly have
performed ; and he is thus enabled to ascertain at once
whether it sounds exactly as he contemplated in composing
it, and whether the peculiar instrumental effects in certain
bars, which he had aimed at producing, really answer his
expectation. Repeated rehearsals, and revisions of the
score, with the ready assistance of the most experienced
professional musicians in his service, enable him to
improve his composition as long as he likes. And should
he be inclined to join the musicians with his instru-
ment in a performance, to become for a little while, so to
say, one of them, he may be sure that they will do every-
thing to help him through by covering his mistakes and
giving him, if possible, the opportunity of displaying his
What can be more delightful for an influential amateur
than to join with first-rate professional players in practising
42 ROYAL MUSICIANS.
the classical Quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven !
All this, and more, is at the command of the royal musician;
and the poor striving disciple of the art may have some
excuse for envying him on this account.
However, if the poor disciple is a true artist, he will also
duly appreciate the disadvantage under which the royal
musician labours for attaining proficiency in the art. He
will see how necessary it is for the sake of progress to
know exactly the truth about one's own powers and
requirements, and that in this respect even a musical beggar
enjoys an advantage above the King, or rather, he has it,
whether he enjoys it or not ; a candid opinion as to his
musical accomplishments is gratuitously offered him, and
it is often a just one. If his music is bad, he, instead of
being deceived with fine words of flattery, will simply be
told: "Leave off! Begone!" If it pleases, he will be
rewarded. But the royal musician gets praise, however his
music may be ; there is no distinction made between good
No wonder, therefore, that history records but few good
royal musicians, although many are known to have occupied
themselves with music almost like professional musicians.
As an example of an estimable one may be mentioned King
David "the sweet singer of Israel," who, as a youth,
soothed the evil spirit of Saul by playing upon his kinnor;
and who later, as King, admonished his people in the
psalms : " Praise ye the Lord ! Praise him with the sound
of the trumpet ; praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance : praise him with
stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud
cymbals. Praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals."
And in his religious fervour he joined his royal band in a
procession conveying the ark. On this occasion " David
danced before the Lord with all his might." The band con-
sisted of vocal and instrumental performers. " And David
was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites
that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah, the master
of the song with the singers : David also had upon him an
ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the
ROYAL MUSICIANS. 43
covenant of the Lord with shouting and with sound of the
cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a
noise with psalteries and harps. And it came to pass, as
the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of
David, that Michal, the daughter of Saul, looking out at a
window, saw King David dancing and playing: and she
despised him in her heart." (II. Sam. chap, vi., I. Chron.
chap, xv.) Michal, Saul's daughter, was David's wife ;
nevertheless, after the ceremony she upbraided him : "How
glorious was the King of Israel to-day, who uncovered him-
self in the eyes of the handmaids, as one of the vain fellows
who shamelessly uncovereth himself!" If the musicians
exhibited some vanity, they might, at any rate, be more
easily excused than many of the present day ; for it was an
extraordinary honour for them to perform with a King who
was certainly a noble musician, and of whose companion-
ship they could have been proud even if he had not been a
King. Moreover, he was, as is recorded in the Bible, not
only " cunning in playing," but also " a mighty and valiant
man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a
comely person, and the Lord was with him." There are
not many royal musicians of whom thus much could be said
The German common saying
Wo man singt da lass dich ruhig nieder,
Bose Menschen haben keine Lieder;
is as untenable as Shakespeare's assertion
The man that has no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils ;
considering that the Italian banditti sing hymns to the
Virgin Mary, and that there are kind-hearted Englishmen
who cannot distinguish between the airs of ' God save the
Queen' and the 'Old Hundredth.' Anyhow, it may be doubted
whether certain distinguished royal musicians had really
music in their soul. Take, for instance, the Emperor Nero,
who lived about the middle of the first century of our era.
Some statements transmitted to us, respecting the depravity
of this cruel monarch may be unfounded, such as that
44 ROYAL MUSICIANS.
the large conflagration of Rome, which occurred in his
reign, was the work of incendiaries secretly hired by him,
and that he amused himself with looking at the fire from the
top of a high tower, and singing to the accompaniment of
the lyre the destruction of Troy, of which he had read, and
which he desired to see represented in the spectacle before
him. Some say that he played on the bagpipe. His prin-
cipal instruments, on which he practised assiduously, were
the lyre and the harp. His voice was weak and hoarse ;
nevertheless, in contesting with the best singers of his time,
he always, of course, gained the prize. Foreign musicians
streamed to Rome to hear him, and to flatter him. About
five thousand of them were successful in so far as they
obtained appointments in his service with high salaries. He
undertook a professional tour through Greece, to perform in
public ; and as those of his audience who did not applaud
him ran the risk of losing their life, a brilliant success could
not fail to be constantly the result of his appearance as a
musician. The surest means of obtaining his favour was to
praise his voice, to be enraptured by his singing, and dis-
tressed when he took the whim that he could not sing. It
gratified him to be pressingly implored to sing. In short,
he did not appreciate music for the sake of its beauties, but
because it appeared to him a suitable means for flattering
his excessive vanity.
Such miserable royal musicians would at the present
day, fortunately, not be tolerated. But a rather harmless
vanity like that shown in the following example is still not
uncommon r and may easily be excused, as it is not incom-
patible with a good heart.
Joseph Clemens Cajetan, Elector and Archbishop of
Cologne, sent in the year 1720, the following letter to the
Jesuit Seminary in Munich. It is here translated from the
" Bonn, July 28th, 1720.
Dear Privy Councillor Rauch !
It may perhaps appear presumptuous that an Ignoramus,
who knows nothing at all about music, ventures to compose.
This applies to me, as I send you herewith eleven. Motetts
ROYAL MUSICIANS. 45
and other pieces, which I have composed myself. I have
achieved this in a strange way, since I am not acquainted
with the notes ; nor have I the slightest understanding
respecting the art of music. I am, therefore, compelled,
when anything musical enters my head, to sing it to a
musical composer, and he commits it to paper. However,
I must have a good ear and good taste, because the public,
when they hear my music, always applaud it. The method
which I have prescribed to myself in composing is that
of the bees, which extract the honey from the most
beautiful flowers, and mix it together. Thus also I.
Everything I have composed I have taken from only good
masters whose works pleased me. I candidly confess my
theft, while others deny theirs, as they want to appropriate
whatever they have taken from others. No one, therefore,
dares to be vexed if he hears old airs in my compositions ;
for, as they are beautiful, their antiquity cannot detract
from their value. I have determined to present this work
to the church Sti. Michaelis Archangeli, with the P. P.
Societatis Jesu, wherein my grandparents founded a Semi-
narium Musicale ; and I desire that this memorial of
myself shall be preserved there for eternity, especially for
the reason that I have composed most of this music in the
time of my persecution. The causes which induced me to
compose the several pieces I herewith add, thus :
No. i. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini; I made
when I had to suffer the greatest persecution, anno 1706.
No. 2. Ne nobis Domine ; on account of obtained
No. 3. Tempus est ; on leaving the two towns, Riissel
and Valencien, in gratitude for the many kindnesses which
I and my kindred received from the inhabitants of those
No. 4. Victoria ; after the battle of Belgrade against
the Turks, in 1717.
No. 5. Per hoc vitae spatium ; when I was debating
with myself what pursuit I should follow, whether I should
become spiritual or remain secular.
46 ROYAL MUSICIANS.
No. 6. Quare fremuerunt gentes ; for my own con-
solation at a time when I was unjustly persecuted to the
No. 7. Quern vidistis Pastores; for Christmas.
No. 8. Parce Domine ! at Lent.
No. 9. Maria Mater gratiae ; to the honour of the ever-
blessed Mother of God.
No. 10. When my brother-in-law, the Dauphin, died,
No. ii. On the death of the nephew of the Dauphin and
his consort, in 1712 ; which composition I request the
Seminary to have sung also for me after my death.
I therefore desire you herewith to deliver the com-
positions, with this letter by my own hand, in my name, to
the P. Magister Chori, and at the same time to assure him
and the whole Seminary of my clemency. I attribute all
this to Divine Grace which has enlightened me to accom-
plish thus much. I also assure you of my clemency.
For this present from the Elector, the Inspector of the
Seminary in Munich, the Jesuit Gregorius Schilger, thanked
him in a letter written in Latin, of which the following is a
literal translation :
"Most Exalted and Serene Prince and Elector! Most
Gracious Lord and Master !
With most humble reverence, I kiss your gracious
hand and your most valuable gift of your musical com-
positions, which to the great joy and with feelings of grati-
tude of us all, were handed to me, with your gracious letter,
by your Serene Highness' Privy Councillor, Joannes Rauch.
For, is it not a great blessing, not only to the Gregorian
Institution of the Munich Seminary, but also to those on
whom devolves the direction and management of it, that
you so graciously remember them, and present them with
a musical treasure so precious !
We, therefore, throw ourselves at the feet of your Serene
Highness, and before the Archipiscopal Pastoral Staff, and
ROYAL MUSICIANS. 47
express as well as it is in our power our most dutiful thanks,
with every devotion and reverence, as we are in duty bound
to your sovereign clemency for ever.
This memorial of your highest favour shall be per-
manently preserved in the archives of the Elector's church
at Munich, to the everlasting glory of God, to the honour of
the Holy Virgin and of the Holy Archangel Michael, and in
memory of your gracious condescension.
Moreover, we admire the very great merit of the music
of your Serene Highness not only on account of the high
position of its composer, but also on account of its very
pleasing artistic effect, which has astonished every one,
when the music had been carefully examined by all the
Gregorian musicians we summoned to try it. We all
not only I, who consider myself the most insignificant, but
also the Gregorian disciples we all pray in deep humility
that the kindly blessings of Heaven may for many years
support your Serene Highness in your beneficent functions,
for the advantage of the Church, and for the consolation of
all good people, especially also for the benefit of your
dependants, of whom the Gregorian disciples delight in being
the most humble. Permit me to recommend especially
these, together with myself, your most humble servant, in
our deepest reverence, to your most gracious favour and
benevolence. We thus continually pray with bended knees,
venturing to hope with the most implicit confidence that
Heaven's blessing will result to us from the Archipiscopal
Mitre and Pastoral Staff, which we humbly reverence with
Your Serene Highness'
Most humble Servant,
GREGORIUS SCHILGER, Soc. Jesu,
Inspector of the St. Gregorian House.
Munich, August 7th, 1720.'*
There are some touching instances on record of royal
personages in affliction finding relief and consolation in
studying music. The last King of Hanover had the mis-
fortune of being nearly deprived of his eyesight some time
48 ROYAL MUSICIANS.
before he came to the throne. As Crown Prince he pub-
lished a pamphlet entitled ' Ideas and Reflections on the
Properties of Music,' from which a few short extracts may
find a place here, as they show how soothing a balm this
art was to him :
" From early youth I have striven to make music my
own. It has become to me a companion and comforter
through life ; it has become more and more valuable to me
the more I learnt to comprehend and appreciate its bound-
less exuberance of ideas, its inexhaustible fulness, the more
intimately its whole poetry was interwoven with my whole
being By means of music, ideas, feelings, and
historical events, natural phenomena, pictures, scenes of
life of all sorts, are as clearly and intelligibly expressed as
by any language in words ; and we are ourselves enabled to
express ourselves in such a manner and to make ourselves
understood by others Of all the senses of man,
sight and hearing are those by which most effect is pro-
duced upon mind and heart, and which are consequently the
most powerful springs for the moral and rational feelings,
actions, and opinions of men. But Hearing appears to be
the most influential and operative of the two organs ; for
this reason, that by inharmonious discordant tones our
feelings may be so shocked, even to their deepest recesses,
and so painfully wounded as to drive us almost beside our-
selves ; which impression cannot possibly be produced in us
by a bad picture, a dreary landscape, or a very faulty
poem I have known persons whose spirits were
broken, and their hearts rent by care, grief, and affliction.
They wandered about, murmuring at their fate, absorbed in
meditation, in vain seeking hope, in vain looking for a way
to escape. But, the excess of their inward pangs needed
alleviation ; the heart discovered the means of procuring it :
the deep-drawn sighs of the oppressed bosom were involun-
tarily converted into tones of lamentation, and this
unconscious effusion was productive of relief, composure,
and courageously-calm resignation. Yes, indeed, it is above
all in the gloomy hours of affliction that Music is a soothing
ROYAL MUSICIANS. 49
comforter, a sympathizing friend to the sufferer ; it gives