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him. This, perhaps, is the reason why most great songs have not been written by great poets nor set by great musicians, but by lesser artists, oftentimes unknown. It is hard for a creative genius to subvert his mighty personality or to compromise the native scope of his particular art. His very greatness is in being individual, not one of many, but one out of many; and his expressive power is transfused with the technique of his own medium. Beethoven is too deeply a musician, Milton too deeply a poet, to sing with Schubert and Burns. Most of the national hymns, most of the great old songs of love and wine and worship are the work of men forgotten. No one knows who wrote the drinking-song in Gammer Gurton's Needle; but that is no great matter. It is the soul of old Merry England singing itself down the ages; and the Marseillaise was truly written not by Rouget de Lisle but by France.
The merit of a song thus inheres not alone in the beauty of its poetry or of its music, nor even of both; but rather in the communal quality of each and in the perfect mutuality of their union. Annie Laurie is rather conventional in sentiment and phrase, rather obvious in implied harmony. As the modern critic loves to object, it "says nothing not often said before." But it is great precisely because of this obvious quality in its beauty, precisely because while all sing it, each heart recalls a different name. The songs of Tom Moore are neither great music nor great poetry; but because the two mediocrities are one spirit and one flesh, they are great songs. Indeed, the song-writer who, like Moore, is at once poet and musician, has thereby an enormous advantage. He is the less likely to excel greatly in either art; but such genius as he has is likely to be the more communal, and his verse and melody are one creation. Where this is not the case, it is better that, contrary to the almost universal modern procedure, the music be written first. with equal skill it is far easier to set words to music than music to words. A melody already made imposes only an emotion and a rhythm, and the poet has but to express that feeling in that metric form. Whereas the setting to music of a finished poem involves both these restrictions in more concrete rigidity, and a host of irritating details besides. The definite imagery of poetry is a constant temptation to reflect harmonically single phrases at the expense of the whole. In a word, the musician setting a poem is liable to all the vices of a translator, while the poet writing to music is merely adopting rhythm and idea. Nor is this a merely theoretical precept. For the majority of great songs have been written in this way. Burns always wrote so; the airs of many Elizabethan songs antedate the familiar words; and the folk-songs of every land are full of beautiful settings to melodies whose antiquity is unknown.
Partly to this cause, perhaps, is due the rarity of successful songwriting at the present day. More important drawbacks are the ignorance or disregard, by lyrist and composer alike, of each other's technical necessities; and the want of communality in both. To apply Macaulay's theory and say that this is too sophisticated a time for singing is at once evasive and fallacious. The society of Moore was no less remote from Arcadia than is our own. Modern drama has just suffered an eruption of MoralityPlays. It is always jejune to pretend that the present world has outgrown an art-form. Possibly this is not a great age of English poetry, and doubtless what worthy poets we have tend toward a highly personal and introspective refinement of emotion. Modern polyphony, moreover, modern harmonic research and display, the modern tendency to agonize tonality and to explore the uttermost possibilities of music, are all antipathetic to song. But the great difficulty, in our present need of comprehending all things critically, is simple lack of mutual understanding between the arts. Therefore, we have introspective and unpronounceable lyrics fondly written for music, and exotically exquisite compositions neither singable nor communal. While, since the multitude will sing, myriads of vocal vulgarities are circulated which it would be blasphemous to call either music or poetry, but which at least are truly song. Nothing can better illustrate or imply all I have been attempting to say than the pathetic survival of much old music and poetry otherwise forgotten, in these tawdry contemporary pilferings, debased, it is true, but no less popular. For the multitude will always take the best within their reach. Cattle in a land where only flesh is fit to eat must be satisfied with sour hay. Great songs, so they be songs indeed, will now no more than ever fail of appreciation. And the modern intelligent specialization of the arts offers no necessary obstacle to song, but rather the contrary; for thoughtful and willing compromise is not yielding, but union; and conscious popularization in a naturally communal art-form is not baseness but humility. Brian Hooker.
THE ART OF DRINKING
BY LOUIS WINDMULLER
A GOOD cup of coffee has more invigorating strength than almost any other beverage; when we rise from slumber, it braces our spirit, when we finish our dinner, it digests our food. Coffee conquers the natural craving for alcohol and subdues its influence. It accelerates the circulation of blood and expels flatulence. More coffee is consumed in
the United States than anywhere else and Americans have become the strongest nation.
About a billion pounds, twelve pounds of coffee to inhabitant, are brought here annually; the greater part of these beans, small in size, strong in flavor, comes from Brazil. Consumption of the more expensive Java beans, which are larger but milder, ranks next. Since the Spanish war West Indian beans from Porto Rico and Cuba have become fashionable. President Roosevelt drinks Porto Rico; excellent coffee comes from Bogota.
The recipe for making good coffee is in civilized countries practically the same. Procure the best fresh roasted beans; the drum should be agitated while the beans are roasted, to obtain them of a uniform light-brown color and crisp; grind them fine, only as many as you need at the time; the quantity is graduated by the required strength; after you have placed it into a strainer over the pot, let boiling hot water filter twice or thrice slowly through this ground coffee into the pot and you draw all the strength it has. That the same coffee should never be used a second time, and that after every use the strainer must be as carefully cleaned as the pot, goes without saying. Good coffee is recognized by its aromatic fragrance and flavor; the darker the color, the stronger is the liquid. The French want it black, strong and hot for their after-dinner cup— "Chaud comme l'enfer, noir comme le diable." But their "café au lait” is seldom equal to our own. Only the Austrians make "milch kaffee" better than ours; when topped with whipped cream-"kaffee mit obers," Austrians call it-and taken with crisp Viennese rolls, it becomes a royal good breakfast, whether sipped on the Ring, in the "Prater" or railway station.
German women find a weaker concoction more economical and sufficiently palatable. As they sit under a rustic bower exchanging the gossip they call "Kaffeeklatsch," they keep the hostess busy filling cups which they drain with relish.
Coffee originated in Turkey and is still made by Mohammedans in their old-fashioned way. For one good cup, a tablespoon of ground coffee with a teaspoonful of sugar is placed in a small brass kettle and only water enough is added to fill one cup. After this has been boiled and bubbled up twice or thrice over burning charcoal it is poured, grounds and all, into the cup; the grounds are nutritious and apt soon to become palatable. Each cup is made fresh by itself. Before he bids you welcome, indeed, before the Turkish merchant opens his mouth, when you enter, you first must drink and smoke. The Moslem trader will offer his own Tschibouk filled with Persian, the most soothing of all
tobaccos; you draw the blue clouds from the broad mouthpiece and puff them into air, the smoke having first passed through a bowl of fresh water and then through a long leathern tube. If his visit was welcome the parting guest will, before he leaves, receive similar attentions.
The writer has enjoyed these luxuries in the public coffee houses of Smyrna, Constantinople and other oriental cities. If the tobacco was stronger and the coffee weaker, the host showed more interest in his entertainment and made us feel that we were under no obligation to court his favor.
These coffee taverns in Turkey are generally kept by Armenians, who do not seem bloodthirsty; if they have political ambition, it is veiled by the mantle of Christian devotion. But they are after your piasters and know how to get them. They make the best coffee and tell the best stories; one related at a social gathering how the virtue of coffee was discovered. A sheik noticed, when his horse had munched a seed pod from a tree, where he rested, that the steed became fiery. Examination disclosed the seed-pods on one of those pyramidical "qähwe" trees which are indigenous to Arabia and Abyssinia. On their horizontal branches they bear evergreen leaves and fragrant white flowers, which form the clusters containing these seeds. The sheik took some pods home; they appeared sweet and grateful to his taste. When, after several indifferent experiments, he dried them in the sun and roasted the beans they contained, he found that, when ground to the powder, they made a delicious drink. The beverage not alone quenched his thirst but allayed his hunger. News of his discovery soon spread, and as soon as the quality of the berries was appreciated the cultivation of coffee trees became remunerative.
Coffee houses in London, Paris and other cities increased the popularity and induced the planting of coffee trees in other adaptable tropical countries, in Brazil more successfully than anywhere else. Coffee plantations have become in South America the best paying farms in the world. But no coffee has an aroma so fine nor a flavor so delicious as the product of Yemen. This is attributed to a custom Arabians have of allowing the fruit to ripen and of gathering the pods from the ground after they have fallen or been shaken from the trees. Other coffee growers pick the pods before all the beans mature and are not careful to separate the unripe. Of Arabian beans, the choicest are reserved for the Shah of Persia and the Sultan; the harems of other Moslem dignitaries come in for the next best and nearly the entire balance of the crop is consumed by the people of Turkey. What little is left goes to France and to the United States through the port of Mocha. The Turks be
lieve they owe their remarkable strength to coffee. The endurance and courage of their soldiers are attributed to the coffee rations they get. It takes the place of alcoholic beverage, which the Koran prohibits, and moving the bowels, it replaces medicine, which may in hot climates irritate the digestive organs. In coffee Arabians find the consoling comfort they seek in times of grief.
As long as the supply was limited and the demand urgent, high prices prevailed and many substitutes were used; they included acorns. With increased production prices decreased and one adulterant after another was abandoned; now only chiccory remains and that is used to a limited extent. This root was originally cultivated near Magdeburg, in Germany; to discourage the adulteration of coffee, which is free of duty, chiccory was taxed here two and one-half cents per pound, so that the cost of the substitute with duty and freight added equals the cost of some common coffee. Then farmers in Michigan began raising it for home consumption, and they continue to make money by the cultivation, although they furnish it to coffee packers below the cost of imported chiccory. It is chiefly put into packages, the pretentious names of which should induce no good judge to buy for coffee. The man who wants real coffee and has no coffee mill should insist on seeing the roasted beans ground in his presence and take them home himself; then he is sure to get a pure article. Chiccory boomers say that some connoisseurs like the taste and that famous restaurateurs buy it for the sake of its flavor to mix with the coffee of these fastidious customers. But the writer has been unable to find the chef of any fashionable restaurant willing to confirm the slander.
In shape and color the perennial evergreen plant that produces tea resembles a camellia; but the leaves are shaped like broadened eyelashes and the pinkish white flowers emit a balmy odor. Orientals first cultivated the plant for the sake of its beautiful form and delicious perfume. The discovery that a drink concocted from the leaves had a tendency to dispel lassitude and to concentrate thought made a profound impression on the popular mind and originated the following weird legend that continues to find credence in China: "A Buddhist priest made a vow not to sleep till his sermon was completed; when weariness overpowered the strength of his will, he shored his eyelashes from their sockets and threw them to the ground, where they rooted and gave birth to the tea plant. Its virtue was long kept secret and the tea cultivated for the use of literary Celestials.