"There is no architect Can build as the Muse can; She is skilful to select Materials for her plan; Slow and warily to choose Rafters of immortal pine, Or cedar incorruptible, Worthy her design.
"She lays her beams in music, In music every one,
To the cadence of the whirling world Which dances round the sun; That so they shall not be displaced By lapses or by wars, But, for the love of happy souls Outlive the newest stars."
The Anglo-Saxon race, as represented by the United States, England and her colonies, have done comparatively little in the way of creative music; in fact, these countries have had the power of expression through many other avenues that would make for world power and riches, yet in the higher idealism and beauty of life, so far, they have largely failed. If an individual or a nation chooses to make material gain and wealth the chief end and purpose of life, and works perseveringly with that end in view, the individual or the nation will succeed. Men cannot worship God and Mammon. The individual or the nation that chooses, first of all, to live its highest ideals to the full, may lose something of worldly riches and power, but will gain infinitely more in what may be termed the true growth and development of life. Perhaps the time will come when, satisfied with the accumulation of material wealth, the Anglo-Saxon people, as represented by the countries referred to, will come to see that mere wealth or power over other people does not compensate for what they are losing in a hundred other ways.
We have had few great prophets of music, because, through materialistic thought and expression, we have made it impossible for a prophet to arise under such conditions. Our civilisation of the present bears no kind of comparison to the civilisation of ancient Greece. We are behind them in everything save in the power to accumulate material riches. And even those seem to serve no good end, because people who own riches are filled with worry and anxiety in their efforts to retain them, and others who are not in possession of them are equally anxious and worried in their desire to gain them. So on every side capital and labor, instead of cooperating, are in a state of antagonistic opposition to each other. Class is arrayed against mass, and mass is arrayed against class. And because of this we can have no true idealism wherein man will work for the good of his fellow-man, or wherein the many will work for the good of the needy ones. How can music, which is the very soul of life, express itself under such conditions? We may give of our wealth and bring the singer or the instrumental musician from other lands to cheer and brighten our lives for a little time, when we are not engaged in a life and death struggle for pounds or for dollars; but we are unable to present the right conditions for the development of our own people who might become great composers, singers, or instrumental musicians. Because London and New York can pay large sums of money for opera and other musical entertainments, both cities have it. But both cities are lacking in a musical or a thoroughly artistic atmosphere of any kind. The consequence of all this is that our people who would like to take up music or art are compelled to go to the countries that still continue to love art for its own sake; and the people who have no desire for art in any form, stay at home and ridicule those who have some little God-given desire to express something of their own soul life. This may seem like a strong indictment; nevertheless it is absolutely true, and no class of people knows it so well as the musicians, painters, and other artists, who are struggling to present higher ideals through their work, and yet are meeting with discouragement on every side.
In the educational world, comparatively little is being done to awaken the inner life so that the imagination may be quickened; all the qua'ities which go to make men and women of true refinement lie dormant in the life of student and teacher alike, and men and women are becoming as automatic as the machinery they have to manipulate. The civilisation of today has given us our railroads, our great steamships, our telephones, wireless telegraphy, and all kinds of mechanical contrivances for labour saving, but it has not given that impulse which makes for happiness or joy of living, nor that idealism which uplifts man above the world and the things of the world, and makes him a Godlike being. This civilisation of today has not kindled that love of beauty so necessary to all true development. The civilisation of to-day has builded structures of iron, stone, brick, and mortar, higher than the ancient tower of Babel; its materialism reaches almost, as it were, to the heavens, as though it were possible for a man to climb heavenward in this way; and the souls and bodies of men have been destroyed in order to establish a civilisation that is utterly without a soul. We often hear people express themselves concerning soulless corporations, but the little corporation only symbolises that vast corporation which we call civilised society. A stream cannot rise higher than its source, and if the source has its rise in iron and stone, mortar and brick, then the. whole structure is of the earth earthy. Deplore it as we will, the facts remain the same and the foundation upon which this structure rests is made up of the souls, and minds, and bodies of men, women, and children. It is really terrible to think of, but it is terribly and awfully true; and if the society and civilisation of to-day be truly a representation of Christian thought, then the sooner we find our way back to the thought and feeling of ancient, pagan Greece, the sooner shall we become Godlike men and women. Even if our eyes and our ears and our minds were opened so that we could see, and hear, and know, it would not be possible for us to lead ideal lives in this present generation. The subconscious mind of society is so steeped in the materialism of the past and present that it would literally be held in bondage to it, whether it wished to or not, and our greatest hope could only be for the rising generation and the generations yet to come. But all this should be no reason why the idealist and the lover of beauty should refrain from trying to bring spiritual uplift to the world. No, the condition of things as presented makes it imperative on the part of those who know to bring all they have of the inner riches of life to overcome the darkness and poverty of materialism and to try to make this world a better place to live in than it is. This is the night of the world, but joy cometh in the morning. The morning of the new day may not come in this generation, but men and women who have the love of humanity at heart may hasten its coming through wisely directed effort to implant idealistic thought and develop musical feeling in the minds and hearts of the little ones; thereby laying the foundation upon which will be erected the real temple of God which shall be a true expression of universal music.