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Philosophic Reflections.

When a man has a theory of music I suspect his knowledge, when he calls in science for support I am suspicious of his sanity, and when he writes on principle I deny his inspiration.

Music is the noblest of the arts only for an hour or so at the time; when we are most enthusiastic about its high aims and educational powers we are always thinking of others. In the heart of the most learned musician there is a large secret place in which simple tunes are lovingly cherished. When we are talking in our most lofty and loudest tones we imitate the Greek actors, we wear triple-soled shoes and a mask with a resonator in it.

A large number of art lovers, including critics, frequently confound sensuousness with sensuality; they praise like epicures and judge like satyrs.

Sincere appreciation is generally silent; the person who least understands a famous symphony is the one most likely to blister his hands by applauding. It is Mr. Shoddy and not Mr. Wiseman who bows most humbly and most ostentatiously before a prince.

How many concert halls and conservatories of music might be built by the labor expended in striking pianoforte keys. And yet there are cynics who assert that we owe no gratitude to the pianoforte!

Genius is the capacity for labor, but you must have the genius to make the labor productive. Labor without genius will make bricks, but not the Parthenon.

Experience has so modified my youthful ambition that I no longer expect to come out first in the race, but am content not to come out last. I have discovered that what I took for budding wing feathers were only warts, and now instead of trying to fly I purchase an extra strong walking-stick to support me.

In my art tastes I am called an old conservative; it is only young people who make the charge, and they become aged so soon that it is hardly worth the trouble of complaining. The capacity for absorbing is not the sign of broad taste, or a sponge would be the most esthetic animal in existence. The test of a man’s sanity in taste is what he rejects and not what he accepts.

I am told that the world owes me a living, as it owes everybody else. The real value of this fact lies in the statement that the world owes me a living, and not that it has paid its debt.

The man who seriously studies the faults of his own life cannot but be lenient to the faults committed by others. When I think that it is only an accident of locality that prevented me from being a bagpipe player I can only pity those who are less fortunate. But, after all, kind nature always prepares the antidotes to her poisons; if I played the bagpipe I should be enamored of the music of the bagpipe.—Leader.

 

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