« ZurückWeiter »
For Hampson, no more shall thy soul-touching finger
Steal sweet o’er the strings, and wild melody pour ;
While strains from thy barp warble soft round the shore.
No more thy harp swells with enraptured emotion,
Thy wild gleams of fancy forever are fled;
That rolls near the green turf that pillows thy head.
Yet vigor and youth with bright visions had fired thee,
And rose buds of health have blown bright on thy cheek The songs
of the sweet bards of Erin inspired thee, And urged thee to wander, bright laurels to seek.
Yes, oft hast thou sung of our kings crowned with glory,
Or, sighing, repeated the lover's fond lay;
Whose wild notes of rapture have long passed away.
Thy grave shall be screened from the blast and the billow,
Around it a fence shall posterity raise;
Her youth shall lament thee and carol thy praise.
FRANCIS LINLEY, who lived near the close of the eighteenth century, though blind from his nativity, was a most excellent performer on the organ. Nor were his abilities confined alone to the science of music. He was a charming companion, a very acute reasoner, and well acquainted with the works of the most eminent authors, ancient and modern. Having completed his musical studies under Dr. Miller, of Doncaster, he went to London, and was the successful candidate, among seventeen competitors, for the situation of organist of Pentonville chapel, and soon after married a blind lady of large fortune. This latter step, however, we by no means approbate, nor do we record it as a worthy example to be followed by other blind persons. True, the afflicted feel for each other a deeper and more enduring sympathy than the mere appearance of misfortune can possibly awaken in others. But the loss of sight begets, in some degree, a physical dependence upon those who possess it. And although a seeing companion may not at once anticipate every want, her highest happiness may be found in guiding the footsteps of her sightless husband, and receiving in return his love and confidence. We have nowhere contended that eyes may be entirely dispensed with in human society; but as there are more eyes than brains in the world, a few of the former may (we think) be dismissed without creating scism among the members of the body politic. Subsequent to the event adverted to, having lost a large portion of his property through the treachery of a friend, Linley came to the United States, where his performances soon brought him into favorable notice. He died at Doncaster, shortly after his return to England, September 13th, 1800, in the twenty-ninth year of his age.
WILLIAM CLEMANTSHAW, organist of the parish church in Wakefield, Yorkshire, which situation he held for upwards of forty years, lost his sight in youth. He died in 1822, and the following significant epitaph, composed by himself, was inscribed on his tomb-stone:
“Now, like an organ rohbed of pipes and breath,
To this list we might add a large number of American blind, who have received thorough instruction in the science of music at our several state institutions, and are at present engaged as successful teachers and organists throughout the Union. But as the most of these are still young in reputation, we leave them for a future enlarged edition of this work. Perhaps one of the most eminent of this number is Professor R. Elder, graduate of the New York Institution for the Blind, who has held for several years the situation as organist in the Sixteenth-street Baptist Church, New York city, and is acknowledged the second best performer on that instrument in the metropolis. He is emphatically a true musical genius; and, notwithstanding his blindness from childhood, his pleasing address and gentlemanly deportment have secured for him extensive patronage as a teacher of the piano forte.
To distinguish man from the lower animals he has sometimes been denominated the tool-using animal. By this is meant, that instead of following the instincts of his nature, he is governed by a higher law of necessity, and he is not only an intellectual, but an inventive creature. Indeed, method is the grand lever of the human mind. It is emphatically the tool
. of thought. Put diligence at the long arm, and let genius direct her labors, and there are but few obstacles, even in the blind man's path, that may not be thrown aside. Another example of mental triumph over physical condition, or in other words, of natural defects overcome by perseverance and proper discipline, may be seen in the life and successes of Lemuel Rockwell, an American musician.
His birth was hail'd by those spirits of song,
Who dance in the torrent's foam,
Or leap from the fountain's home.
As from harps with moonbeams strung,
The shady trees among.
In compliance with our request, Mr. Rockwell has kindly furnished us with a brief sketch of his life,
comprising some of the most important and interesting events of his early history, and clearly demonstrating a fact which we have all along sought to establish, viz: that helplessness and inactivity is not a necessary sequence of blindness—that the lack of sight is only a physical defect, and does not presuppose mental deficiency, or a want of capacity for knowledge—and that there are but few of the active pursuits of life, in which this class of persons may not engage with a confident hope of success.
It seems to have been Mr. Rockwell's maxim, never to hang up the fiddle while a string remains unbroken. Never abandon a favorite project while hope sheds a ray into the future, or at least until defeat is inevitable; never desert hope until she has first deserted you, has been the theme of his life's song. May it find an echo in every aspiring heart.
In Mr. Rockwell we recognize the true American hero. Entirely independent of the special provision made by this and several other of the sister states, for the education of the blind, he has raised himself by his own industry and perseverance, from a very humble station in life, to one of honor and usefulness. The complete victory he has achieved over the difficulties consequent on blindness—his proficiency in thorough bass, and success as a teacher of vocal and instrumental music—it is hoped may serve as an incentive to greater exertions on the part of the blind, generally, and to convince those who still entertain doubts whether the blind can or cannot teach music,