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produce. The people who denounce all intoxicating liquors are in the habit of
showing that the consumption of barley in breweries and distilleries is an enormous
abstraction from the food of the people for purposes which have no value--nay,
which they assert are positively injurious. What would our correspondent think if
it was proposed to compel him to grow less barley or to sell his barley for other
purposes than brewing or distillation? He would say, and rightly, that it was a
grossly improper interference with his right to make the most of his business; yet
it would really be no worse in principle than what he virtually proposes in the
case of landlords. To say that they must not let their land for sporting purposes,
and that they must let it for agriculture, would be a limitation of their market
exactly the same in principle, and proportionately the same in effect, as a law
preventing farmers from selling their barley to brewers, and compelling them to
use it or sell it only for the feeding of cattle. The mistake of supposing that
landlords ought to have some peculiar economic principles applied to them in the

restricting the use to which they shall put their land is common enough,
but the reasons given are, as a rule, sentimental rather than practical. It may be
said that the complaint of our correspondent as to the abstraction of land from
agriculture, and the consequent lessening of the supply of food, is practical. In
the same sense so is the complaint of the total abstainers as to barley, and so
would be an objection to the sale or feuing of land for building purposes ; but
they are not convincing. In the neighbourhood of every great town many acres
of land that would have produced food have been covered with buildings ; ought
the extension of towns, therefore, to be prohibited by law?

"The depopulation of the country districts is a favourite theme with sentimental people, who will persist in fighting against the inevitable, and speaking of that as a crime which is in fact the operation of a natural law. (!) Like our correspondent, they draw loving pictures of small farms and numerous tenants, giving the impression that when these could be seen, the times were blissful and the nation strong. According to these theorists, not only were the farmers and peasantry numerous, but they were happy, contented, and prosperous; and now they are all gone, to the injury of the country. If the picture were in all respects faithful, it would not show that any action to prevent the change would have been possible or successful. It is as certain as anything can be that so long as better wages and better living are to be got in towns, working people will not stay in the country. Census returns show that while the population of the rural districts is steadily decreasing, that of the towns is as steadily and rapidly increasing ; the reason being that people can earn more in towns than they can in the country. Nor is that all. It cannot be doubted that the tendency to throw several small farms into a single large one, while it has helped the decrease of the population, has largely increased the quantity of food produced. The crofter's life alternated between barely enough and starvation. It was rare that he could get before the world. His means being small, he could not cultivate his land to advantage, and what he did cost him heavily. He had to do wearily and wastefully what the large farmer can do with ease and economically. No doubt many of the crofters clung to their mode of life-they knew no other. But with the spread of railways, the increase of steamboats, the opening of roads, and the accessibility of newspapers, they learned to change their opinions, as they discovered that they could shake off their misery and live comparatively well without half the anxiety or actual labour that accompanied their life of semi-starvation. It would probably be found that, in the cases where changes were made by compulsion and by wholesale, the people who were sent away are now highly grateful for what was done. Whether that be the case or not, however, it is certain that what is called the depopulation of the country districts will go on as long as the towns offer greater inducements to the people. It seems to be thought not only that landlords ought to be compelled to let their land in small farms, but that some people should be compelled to occupy them. That is the logical inference from the complaints that are made, and it is enough to state it to show its absurdity. Nothing of the kind is or ought to be possible. Land and its cultivation must be on a perfectly business footing if there is to be

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real progress and if no injustice is to be done. The people who complain of depopulation are not, as a rule, those whose lot in having to leave their patches of land is thought to be so hard, but theorists and sentimentalists who, if they could have their way, would inflict terrible evils upon the country. It is not meant that our correspondent is one of these. He probably talks of depopulation rather as a fashion of speaking than as advancing a theory, or because he is actuated by a sentiment. He is a farmer, and does not like to see a farm become a forest: that is why he complains. Yet he would no doubt admit that every man is entitled to do the best he can for himself provided he does no injury to others. That is a rule which he would insist upon in his own case, and properly; and he will find it very difficult to show cause why it should not also be applied to crofters and landlords." --Scotsman, 20th June, 1877.

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LETTER 83

HESIOD'S MEASURE 1

1. “Was the leisure of the Greeks not owing to the hard work of the helots and slaves they had ?” asked my old friend, Thomas Dixon, in his letter given last month.”

Yes, truly, good labourer; nor the Greeks' leisure only, but also--if we are to call it leisure--that of the rich and powerful of this world, since this world began. And more and more I perceive, as my old age opens to me the deeper secrets of human life, that the true story and strength of that world are the story and strength of these helots and slaves; and only its fiction and feebleness in the idleness of those who feed on them :-which fiction and feebleness, with all their cruelty and sensuality, filling the cup of the fornication of the kings of the earth now to the lip, must be, in no long time now, poured out upon the earth; and the cause of the poor judged by the King who shall reign in righteousness. For all these petty struggles of the past, of which you write to me, are but the scudding clouds and first wailing winds, of the storm which must be as the sheet lightning—from one part of heaven to the other,—“So also shall the coming of the Son of Man be." 3

Only the first scudding clouds, I say,—these hitherto seditions ; for, as yet, they have only been of the ambitious,

were rejected titles.

1 (See below, $ 5. "Music” and “Story and Fiction
for this Letter.)

2 [See Letter 82, § 33 (p. 253).]
2 (Compare Revelation xvii. 2. 4.]

Compare Psalms lxxii. 2.]
• Matthew xxiv. 27.]
XXIX,

257

R

or the ignorant; and only against tyrannous men: so that they ended, if successful, in mere ruinous license; and if they failed, were trampled out in blood : but now, the ranks are gathering, on the one side, of men rightly informed, and meaning to seek redress by lawful and honourable means only; and, on the other, of men capable of compassion, and open to reason, but with personal interests at stake so vast, and with all the gear and mechanism of their acts so involved in the web of past iniquity, that the best of them are helpless, and the wisest blind.

No debate, on such terms, and on such scale, has yet divided the nations; nor can any wisdom foresee the sorrow, or the glory, of its decision. One thing only we know, that in this contest, assuredly, the victory cannot be by violence; that every conquest under the Prince of War retards the standards of the Prince of Peace; and that every good servant must abide his Master's coming in the patience, not the refusal, of his daily labour.

Patiently, and humbly, I resume my own, not knowing whether shall prosper-either this or that;' caring only that, in so far as it reaches and remains, it may be faithful and true.

2. Following the best order I can in my notes,-interrupted by the Bishop's sermon in last letter, 3 —I take, next, Plato's description of the duties of the third choir, namely that of men between the ages of thirty and sixty ; vii. 316, 9 (812) :

2

We said, then, that the sixty-years-old singers in the service of Dionysus should be, beyond other men, gifted with fine sense of rhythm, and of the meetings together of harmonies; so that being able to choose, out of imitative melody, what is well and ill represented of the soul in its passion, and well discerning the picture of the evil spirit from the picture of the good, they may cast away that which has in it the likeness of evil, and bring forward into the midst that which has the likeness of good; and hymn and sing that into the souls of the young, calling them forth

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to pursue the possession of virtue, by means of such likenesses. And for this reason the sounds of the lyre ought to be used for the sake of clearness in the chords ; * the master and pupil keeping both their voices in one note together with the chord: but the changes of the voice and variety of the lyre, the chords giving one tune, and the poet another melody, and the oppositions of many notes to few, and of slow to swift, sometimes in symphony, sometimes in antiphony, the rhythm of the song also in every sort of complication inlaying itself among the sounds of the lyre,—with all this, the pupils who have to learn what is useful of music in only three years, must have nothing to do: for things opposed, confusing each other, are difficult to learn: and youth, as far as possible, should be set at ease in learning.” †

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I think this passage alone may show the reader that the Greeks knew more of music than modern orchestral fiddlers fancy. For the essential work of Stradivarius, in substituting the violin for the lyre and harp, was twofold. Thenceforward, (A) instrumental music became the captain instead of the servant of the voice; and (B) skill of instrumental music, as so developed, became impossible in the ordinary education of a gentleman. So that, since his time, old King Cole has called for his fiddlers three,' and Squire Western sent Sophia to the harpsichord when he was drunk :? but of souls won by Orpheus, or cities built

Amphion, we hear no more.

3. Now the reader must carefully learn the meanings of the--no fewer than seven-distinct musical terms used by Plato in the passages just given. The word I have translated "changes of the voice” is, in the Greek technical, “ heterophony”; and we have besides, rhythm, harmony, tune, melody, symphony, and antiphony.

Of these terms “rhythm” means essentially the time

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Chord,” in the Greek use, means only one of the strings of the instrument, not a concord of notes. The lyre is used instead of the fute, that the music may be subordinate always to the words.

† Not by having smooth or level roads made for it, but by being plainly shown, and steadily cheered in, the rough and steep.

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[See Vol. XXVIII. p. 261.] 2 Tom Jones, book iv. ch. v.

* [For Orpheus, see Vol. XIX. pp. 66, 178, and Vol. XX. p. 356 ; for Amphion, ibid., pp. 356, 379. On the history of the violin, compare Præterita, iii. § 81 n.]

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