134 Handel and Music
crossed when he went into Italy. What time of the year was
it ? What kind of weather did he have ? Were the spring
flowers out ? Did he walk the greater part of the way as we
do now ? And what did he hear ? For he must sometimes
have heard music inside him—and that, too, as much above
what he has written down as what he has written down is
above all other music. No man can catch all, or always the
best, of what is put for a moment or two within his reach.
Handel took as much and as near the best, doubtless, as
mortal man can take ; but he must have had moments and
glimpses which were given to him alone and which he could
tell no man.
I saw the world a great orchestra filled with angels whose
instruments were of gold. And I saw the organ on the top
of the axis round which all should turn, but nothing turned
and nothing moved and the angels stirred not and all was as
still as a stone, and I was myself also, like the rest, as still as
Then I saw some huge, cloud-like forms nearing, and
behold ! it was the Lord bringing two of his children by the
" O Papa I " said one, " isn't it pretty ? "
" Yes, my dear/' said the Lord, " and if you drop a penny
into the box the figures will work/'
Then I saw that what I had taken for the keyboard of the
organ was no keyboard but only a slit, and one of the little
Lords dropped a plaque of metal into it. And then the angels
played and the world turned round and the organ made a
noise and the people began killing one another and the two
little Lords clapped their hands and were delighted.
Handel and Dickens
They buried Dickens in the very next grave, cheek by
jowl with Handel. It does not matter, but it pained me to
think that people who could do this could become Deans of