n6 Handel and Music
And I have been as far as Hull to see
What clothes he left or other property.
I am told that these lines occur in a poem by Wordsworth.
(Think of the expense !) How thankful we ought to be
that Wordsworth was only a poet and not a musician. Fancy
a symphony by Wordsworth ! Fancy having to sit it out!
And fancy what it would have been if he had written fugues !
There are plenty of them. Take Handel; look at such an
air as " Loathsome urns, disclose your treasure " or " Come,
O Time, and thy broad wings displaying/' both in The Triumph
of Time and Truth, or at " Convey me to some peaceful
shore/' in Alexander Balus, especially when he comes to
" Forgetting and forgot the will of fate/' Who know these ?
And yet, can human genius do more ?
" And the Glory of the Lord "
It would be hard to find a more satisfactory chorus even
in the Messiah, but I do not think the music was originally
intended for these words :
And the glo • ry, the glo • ry of the Lord.
If Handel had approached these words without having in
his head a subject the spirit of which would do, and which he
thought the words with a little management might be made
to fit, he would not, I think, have repeated " the glory " at
all, or at any rate not here. If these words had been measured,
as it were, for a new suit instead of being, as I suppose,
furnished with a good second-hand one, the word " the "
would not have been tacked on to the " glory " which pre-
cedes it and made to belong to it rather than to the " glory "
which follows. It does not matter one straw, and if Handel
had asked me whether I minded his forcing the words a little,