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Music from the South. 123
in the pride of her shameless ascendancy : 'La Belle Bourbonnai.se' being one of the most ferocious airs which later taunted and tormented Marie Antoinette. Though these political and patriotic songs have small musical value, the recurrence of one character in them is remarkable— a character more frank, more distinct, more vulgar (if you please), than in the case of any other French music.
To illustrate this, I will dwell for a moment on the best known one, 'La Marseillaise,' because of the controversy lately raised in respect to its parentage A claim has been put forward from the Lake of Constance by inhabitants of that small village, Meersburg—with its palace on an insulated fragment of rock, not so very unlike a drum, and oddly jammed in between the hill and the lake
Meersburg was, even so late as the close of the last century, an episcopal see, where state was held and music was encouraged; and on the strength of a manuscript that is existing there, we are instructed that 'La Marseillaise' was not made, but borrowed, from a mass at Meersburg.
This might pass, so far as any belief in the integrity of its reputed author is concerned. For the author was Rouget de Lille: in talent, if not in