Sentimentally I am disposed to harmony; but organically I am incapable of a tune.
Old French & modern harmonie, from Latin harmonia, agreement;
from Greek harmos meaning joint harmozein meaning fit together.
1) combination or adaption of parts, elements or related things, so as to form a consistent and orderly whole.
2) agreement, accord, congruity.
3) the combination of simultaneous or successive musical notes to produce a pleasing effect; the combination of notes to form chords; the structure of a piece of music with regard to its chords; the branch of music that deals with chords.
4) the pleasing combination of sounds, as in music, tuneful sound, poetry; sweet or melodious sound.
5) agreement of feeling or sentiment; accord, peace.
This quote is from Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb, published in 1823, and the particular essay “The Two Races of Men.”
I came to know of Charles Lamb from the wonderful summaries of Shakespeare’s plays that he wrote with his sister, Mary. Tales From Shakespeare were the first “Cliffnotes” or “Sparknotes” and really good!
I read them all the time when I was young and studying the Bard.
The Charles Lamb Society features useful links, sponsors events and publishes a bulletin to keep his work and spirit alive and not forgotten.
The Poetry Foundation describes his life and works more fully here and notes Lamb career as an essayist, noting that he
achieved lasting fame as a writer during the years 1820-1825, when he captivated the discerning English reading public with his personal essays in the London Magazine, collected as Essays of Elia (1823) and The Last Essays of Elia (1833). Known for their charm, humor, and perception, and laced with idiosyncrasies, these essays appear to be modest in scope, but their soundings are deep, and their ripples extend to embrace much of human life—particularly the life of the imagination.
I never knew that, and now I am intrigued to read some of his essays! I am also fascinated to learn that Charles Lamb was a school mate and close friend of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I was shocked to learn that Mary Lamb killed their mother in a fit of insanity.