Saturday morning quotes 4.21: Lutes and Angels
Everyone knows that musicians who play the lute are among the more sensitive, intelligent and refined human beings one may encounter today. We state this boldly and in all sincerity despite the fact that 21st-century lutenists typically limit discussions among themselves to topics that fall into three general categories: 1) Selfies (Look at my new youtube video!), 2) Technical matters (What sort of strings are you using?), and 3) Acquisition (What is the best source of free music?). Nevertheless, it is an established fact that learning the lute will make you smarter.
But the lute has a long history of association with the angelic and, as Mary Burwell’s lute tutor wrote (circa 1660), playing the lute will also make you incline toward the Divine.
If we consider the excellency of the lute…or if we trust piously the Divines, we shall easily believe the the Lute hath his derivation from Heaven; in effect that [it] had the happiness to be present at the birth of the Incarnate Word and that [it] heard the admirable consort of music which the angels made…
The lute is a modest interpreter of our thoughts and passions to those that understand the language. One may tell another by the help of it what he hath in his heart.We may express upon it choler, pity, hatred, scorn, love, grief, joy; we may give hope and despair.
[For] those that have the grace to lift up their mind to the contemplation of heavenly things, this celestial harmony contributes much to raise our souls and make them melt in the love of God. Nothing represents so well the consort of angelical choirs and gives more foretastes of heavenly joys and of everlasting happiness.
For the advantages of marriage, how many bachelors and maids have we seen advanced by this agreeing harmony, when persons of both sexes have neither considered wealth nor beauty of the person, but suffering themselves to be drawn by the charms of this sweet melody. Some hath believed that they should possess an angel incarnate, if they could unite themselves by a marriage to a person that enjoys this rare quality.
Think about it. We need more lutes and fewer bombs.