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Music from the West. 225
and most agreeably written book represents English music, it is therein represented as eminently eclectic.
I think we get from it the measure of ' Sir Roger de Coverley,' and a hornpipe tune—with that shuffle on the floor which is not dancing so much as getting over the ground; but I find among the English tunes nothing in the least equivalent to Welsh or Irish or Scotch melodies, as regards freshness or strangeness, or the character which distinguishes the little woman in the red cloak and hat from the Highlander in his kilt.
Let us see, if we can, if there be originating causes for this. A nation of shopkeepers, as we have been contemptuously called, we are still a nation of travellers, gentle and simple; and travellers who, while curious as to things abroad, are wondrously constant to our home notions. With all our good faith, there may be some pertinacity in us; some inaptitude to digest impressions alien to those of nature and education.
The author of ' Tremaine' called us ' slow to
move,' and this long after one Shakspeare had put
into the mouth of a certain Portia a character in
which there was more of Shakspeare's own intuition
than the perception of the Italian heiress of Belmont,