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Songs of the Sea.
Bryan Waller Procter ("Barry Cornwall"), produced a great variety of literature, but he is most widely known and best appreciated for his exquisite songs. Of these, hia song of "The Sea," is perhaps the best remembered. He was born in London, in 1790, spent a long and outwardly uneventful life there among warm friends and admirers, and there died, October 4, 1874.
The air of this song was composed by a singular musical character, who went to London in 1830, and became very intimate with Procter. This was Sigismoxd Neukomm, Chevalier, a German composer, born at Salzburg, July 10, 1778. He was musically educated by Joseph Haydn, who was his relative. He had opportunities for study and travel, and became so well-informed as to receive, among his friends, the nick-name of " Cyclopaedia." At the house of Ignatz Moscheles, in London, Neukomm and Mendelssohn met frequently. Moscheles, in his diary, tells us, that, although they became friendly, their mutual appreciation was confined to the social virtues; for Neukomm thought Mendelssohn " too impetuous, noisy, and lavish in the use of wind instruments, too exaggerated in his tempo, and too restless in his playing;" while the glorious young musical genius, would turn impatiently on his heel, exclaiming, " If only that excellent man, Neukomm, would write better music! He speaks so ably, his language and letters are so choice, and yet his music— how commonplace!"
Chorley, in his musical recollections, gives us a picture which makes us feel that Mendelssohn's judgment was far too lenient. He says: " Of all the men of talent I have ever known, Chevalier Neukomm was the most deliberate in turning to account every gift, every talent, every creature-comfort to be procured from others; withal, shrewd, pleasant, universally educated beyond the generality of musical composers of his period. A man who had been largely 'knocked about,' and had been hardened into the habit or duty of knocking any one whom he could fascinate into believing in him. Never was any man more adroit in catering for his own comforts—in administering vicarious benevolence. Once having gained entrance into a house, he remained there, with a possession of self-possession the like of which I have never seen. There was no possibility of dislodging him, save at his own deliberate will and pleasure. He would have hours and usages regulated in conformity with his own tastes; and these were more regulated by individual whimsy than universal convenience. He must dine at one particular hour—at no other. Having embraced homoeopathy to its fullest extent, he would have his own dinner expressly made and provided. The light must be regulated to suit his eyes—the temperature to fit his