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74 National Music of the World.
may be rated, the restrictions and inconsistencies to be noted in the being and in the doings of Italian art are as numerous as they are singular.
Overflowing with natural beauty, rich in historical associations, and in relics which set these forth; peopled by those who are brimful of natural aptitude and that quick nervous sensibility which is so important an element of genius, —Italy, compared with the North, has very little national music that does not come within the circle of regular art. Let us inquire, for a moment, whether some explanation of the fact is not to be found.
The authorities of the country early possessed themselves of all the relics of Paganism; these to be converted to the ecclesiastical purpose of subduing the spirits of men. When that most remarkable building, the cathedral of Torcello—now desolate and lonely, by the side of its accessory church, that of Santa Fosca—was built in the weed-grown island far among the Venetian lagoons, transparent slabs of alabaster were brought from afar to fill the windows, without obscuring daylight—glass then having no existence—and with them beautifully carved borders and patterns of Greek marble broken up to encrust the pulpit. The art of mosaic, too,