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The National Music of America. 81
" Most wretched men, Are cradled into poetry by Wrong; They learn in suffering what they teach in Song,"
can be justly applied to much national music. Schubert once complained that the public seemed to love those songs best which he had written in the greatest agony; the same is often true of national music; the groans of the oppressed become a stirring art-work, and Music is the child of Sorrow, national or individual.
It sometimes occurs, also, that a trivial song becomes the pivot upon which the greatest events may swing. Probably the most remarkable instance of this is found in the English Revolution of 1688, when " Lilliburlero" exerted an influence out of all proportion to its jovial music and its frivolous words.1
1 Hosts of authors have alluded to " Lilliburlero," in fiction. Sterne speaks of it in " Tristram Shandy," Thackeray in " Henry Esmond," Robert Louis Stevenson in " Treasure Island," etc.