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Ten years had passed. Beethoven was forgotten by the Viennese world.
“ He had now completed his ninth symphony, that gigantic musical structure, that colossus of all colossal forms. “ The idea of his ninth symphony was the struggle
conceived in its highest sense
se — of a soul, his own soul, reaching towards light, freedom, and the divine, in contest with the pressure of the earthly, the base, and all that tends to the dust.
" It is the Titanic, agonized wrestling of the solitary soul for that happiness promised to every heart of man in his birth, and the victorious grasping of this happiness, in the winning of the highest and noblest contemplation of life itself."
So does our author express the effect of this grand symphony, with its glorious adagio, a work that stands, per haps, at the culmination of Beethoven's power. It has been heard in Boston but four times. When will it be heard here again?
Our author is not successful in his episodes. The sad story needed something, by way of contrast, brighter than the lower characters to which he introduces us. He has not the power of Victor Hugo, to reveal the human heart that still beats in beings abject with crime, which lifts them up to a glow of interest.
The warmth of heart of the old servants is shown in a pleasing way, and relieves the shadow of the scene. Though often driven away by their master, they returned in constancy to him. To the old housekeeper Beethoven had often made little presents, by way of amends for his frequent brusque treatment of her, which he afterwards regretted. These the faithful servant saved up for Beethoven's own use, at the end of his life, then so sad and forlorn. All the earnings of his later years he had laid aside for the use of his graceless nephew. In his last illness, Beethoven was forsaken by this nephew, for whose sake he was living in straitened circumstances; his old friend, Von Breuning, being with him, however, in his later hours, with the devoted Schindler, and two old trusty servants.
Through all his life it had been hard for him to bring himself down to the cares of “housekeeping,” and an amus
ing record is given of his frequent change of servants. One chapter relates the sufferings of the master when his servants were “moving” him, once, from his town home to his country retreat. The two servants were making ready for their master's reception there, when, to their horror, they saw him appearing, with his friend Schindler, long before they were prepared for him, and in one of his sternest moods. His “ Kyrie,” that he was in the act of composing, had disappeared! Search was made among all the packages, in the midst of all the furniture. The old servant, Kugeler, fled in terror to the cellar, and there determined to console himself with a luncheon of sausages. As he was unfolding them from the packet, a voice interrupted him, that of his master! “ What are you stealing there?” “Ah, pardon, it is only a sausage!” But Beethoven stands transfixed to marble, and holds in one hand the sausage, in the other, the paper in which it had been wrapped, soiled with grease. My Kyrie !”
Frau Schnaps, as Beethoven called his housekeeper, endeavored to exculpate herself,—“The paper was so large, and fit to use, and lay on the floor with the other things."
“ With the zeal with which gold-diggers search through their fields did the two men look among all the things, smoothing and carefully laying aside with anxiety the large sheets of paper, partly whole, partly torn. Finally the work was completed, and, O joy! there failed not a leaf of the missing score.”
The master, at the end, joined in the gay laughter at the comedy of the scene.
Though apparently forgotten by all but these few, in his later hours, and seemingly alone, Beethoven lived absorbed in the ideal world of music that he could create around him, and to which, even in his more prosperous days, he preferred to retire. There, perhaps, he found amends for the solitude of his genius. His life itself, and all the characters that thronged it, give a picture of the deepest interest, – a history that finds expression for its human longings in his own immortal music.
But all lives, all representations of Beethoven, leave a sad impression upon us. They bring him before us, recalling his noble statue that stands in our own Music Hall. On festive
days of music, it looks down in majestic sympathy when true music is consecrated; with a sad, pitying smile when only the name of music is there. But when these festive seasons are over, still nights and lonely days follow; the large hall is deserted, the corridors are silent, the walls built to shut in music shut out all other sound, human or inhuman, and all through the winter's frost and summer's gladness Beethoven stands — alone!
3. Tomes inontie Gasmer
ART. III. - THREE ANCIENT SYSTEMS OF INTUITIVE MORALS.
1. An Essay on Intuitive Morals ; being an Attempt to popularize Eth
ical Science. Part I. Theory of Morals. Part II. Practice of Morals. Book I. Religious Duty. London: John Chapman.
1857. 2. M. Tullii CICERONIS Scripta que manserunt omnia. Recognovit
R. Klotz. 11 vol. Lipsiæ : B. G. Teubner. MDCCCLII. 3. 'Αριστοτέλους Ηθικά Νικομάχεια. Oxonii: Johannes Henricus Parker.
MDCCCLIII. 4. Confucius et Mencius. Les Quatre Livres de Philosophie Morale et
Politique de la Chine. Traduits du Chinois par M. G. PAUTHIER.
Most of our readers are probably acquainted with the ethical treatise entitled “Intuitive Morals." The first volume of the work was republished in this country in 1859, and has had some circulation. The work was favorably reviewed in the Examiner,* and many who may not have met with the treatise itself, will perhaps remember the terms of praise then bestowed upon it. The writer, who is understood to be a lady, makes no pretension to originality. Her book professes to be only an attempt to popularize the theories of Kant. These she disembarrasses of their obscure terminology, and undertakes a development of the scheme into the conclusions to be deduced from the postulates.
The excellence of this work on moral science has been gen
erally admitted. It may seem in one or two chapters to deal more deeply with metaphysics than the subject requires, or at any rate than is judicious in a treatise designed for popular use. Occasionally a position of the writer may seem overstrained, but for the most part the contents of the work are admirable. Its tone is certainly very lofty, and perhaps there is not in our language a consideration of the subject on the whole so satisfactory.
Observe the title of this work, Intuitive Morals. The writer takes for the first principles of her ethics the intuitions of moral truth which the spirit of man universally reaches. It has just been said that the treatise made no pretension to originality, being merely an attempt to popularize the speculations of a great German thinker. It can be shown also that the most essential features of her theory are only reproductions of systems put forth in ancient times. The intuitions which are made the basis of this scheme are universal through-. out the human race, and were taken as the foundation of ethical systems by Gentile sages when the earth was young. The design of this paper is to illustrate this fact. An examination will be made of the speculations of three ancient moralists, who to a large extent anticipated this writer of to-day. Let us take a brief survey of the work “ Intuitive Morals,” that we may understand clearly its positions; then let us see in what degree in Rome, in Greece, and in the East it was anticipated. Such studies ought certainly to be neither uninteresting nor unprofitable to us, tending as they do to vindicate the authority of the spirit in man.
The first part of “ Intuitive Morals” comprises four chapters. The first of these, entitled “What is the Moral Law ?” is taken up with showing that there is an eternal law, through which, right being distinguished from wrong, human beings are bound to choose the right. The second chapter is entitled “Where the Moral Law is Found,” and is taken up with the consideration of conscience. The position of the work is, that man is universally endowed with this faculty ; that the fundamental truths of ethics are to be obtained intuitively through this faculty, as the axioms of mathematics are obtained intuitively. Ethics is an exact science, as mathe
matics is an exact science. The former rests on the primary moral intuitions, as the latter rests on its ultimate axioms. It is impossible indeed, for reasons which the author gives, that in ethics the secondary propositions should proceed from the intuitively perceived truths with the rigid clearness and accuracy with which geometric propositions follow from first principles. But the ground taken is that the axioms of ethics are no less certain than those of geometry, no less universal, and in one case as in the other may be made the basis of an exact science. The third chapter, entitled “That the Moral Law may be Obeyed,” is a metaphysical argument, derived from Kant, for the freedom of the human will to choose the right or the wrong. The fourth chapter is entitled “Why the Moral Law should be Obeyed.” Here the position is that good is to be chosen, not for the sake of profit or happiness or expediency, but solely and simply for itself. Virtue is its own reward, and to pursue goodness is futile and ignoble, if any motive be present but the love of virtue for its own sake.
In the second part, the writer proceeds to develop her theory. Three departments of human duty are distinguished, the Religious, the Social, and the Personal. In regard to religious duty, starting with the precept of Jesus respecting love to God for the fundamental canon, the various obligations are considered by which man is bound through the relation which he sustains to God, then religious faults and offences, or sins of omission and commission. In a third part, it is said our social and personal duties are to be particularly considered. The fundamental canon of social duty is, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Our obligations are to be considered as members of society, then, as in the other case, sins of omission and commission. “ Be ye perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” is the canon for personal duty, and duties, faults, and offences under this head are to be discussed particularly as in the former cases.
It should be said distinctly now at the outset, that the Gentile systems we are to examine fall short more or less of the highest standard, - a deficiency which will be fairly exposed,
* This we believe has never appeared.