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which expresses the resentments of an angry lover, was translated into that English lamentation,
Frail are lover's hopes, &c.
And it was pleasant enough to see the most refined perfons of the British nation dying away, and languishing to notes that were filled with a spirit of rage and indigna. tion. It happened also very frequently, where the sense was rightly translated, the necessary transposition of words, which were drawn out of the phrase of one tongue into that of another, made the music appear very absurd in one tongue that was very natural in the other. I remember an Italian verse that runs thus, word for word :
And turn’d my rage into pity;
which the English for rhyme's fake translated,
And into pity turn’d my rage.
By this means the soft notes, that were adapted to piry in the Italian, fell upon the word rage in the English; and the angry sounds that were turned to rage in the original, were made to express pity in the translation. It oftentimes happened likewise, that the finest notes in the air fell upon the most insignificant words in the sentence. I have known the word And pursued through the whole gamut; have been entertained with many a melodious The; and have heard the most beautiful graces, quavers, and divisions, bestowed upon Then, For, and From; to the eternal honour of our English particles.
The next step to our refinement was the introducing of Italian actors into our opera; who sung their parts in their own language, at the same time that our countrymen performed theirs in our native tongue. The king or hero of the play generally spoke in Italian, and his flaves answered him in English: the lover frequently made his court, and gained the heart of his princess, in Vol. I,
a language which he did not understand. One would have thought it very difficult to have carried on dialogue after this manner, without an interpreter between the persons that conversed together; but this was the state of the English stage for about three years.
At length the audience grew tired of understanding half the opera; and therefore, to ease themselves intirely of the fatigue of thinking, have so ordered it at present, that the whole opera is performed in an unknown tongue. We no longer understand the language of our own fiage; insomuch that I have often been afraid, when I have seen our Italian performers chattering in the vehemence of action, that they have been calling us names, and abusing us among themselves; but I hope, fince we do put such an intire confidence in them, they will not talk against us before our faces, though they may do it with the same safety as if it were behind our backs. In the mean time, I cannot forbear thinking how naturally an historian who writes two or three hundred years hence, and does not know the taste of his wife forefathers, will make the following reflection : “ In the beginning of the eighteenth century, the ItaS lian tongue was to well understood in England, that " the operas were acted on the public stage in that lan
One scarce knows how to be serious in the confutation of an absurdity that shews itself at the first sight. It does not want any great measure of sense to see the ridicule of this monstrous practice; but, what makes it more astonishing, it is not the taste of the rabble, but of persons of the greatest politeness, which has established it.
If the Italians have genius for music above the English, the English have a genius for other performances of a much higher nature, and capable of giving the mind a much nobler entertainment. Would one think it was possible (at a time when an author lived that was able to write the Phædra and Hippolitus) for a people to be so stupidly fond of the Italian opera, as scarce to give a third day's hearing to that admirable tragedy! Mufc is
certainly a very agreeable entertainment; but if it would take the entire possession of our ears, if it would inake us incapable of hearing fense, if it would exclude arts that have a much greater tendency to the refinement of human nature,-I must confefs I would allow it no better quarter than Plato has done, who banishes it out of his commonwealth.
At present, our notions of music are so very uncertain, that we do not know what it is we like; only, in general, we are transported with any thing that is not English; so be it of a foreign growth, let it be Italian, French, or High-Dutch, it is the same thing. In short, our English music is quite rooted out, and nothing yet planted in its stead.
When a royal palace is burnt to the ground, every man is at liberty to present his plan for a new one; and though it be but indifferently put together, it may furnish several hints that may be of use to a good architect. I Thall take the same liberty, in a following paper, of giving my opinion upon the subject of music; which I. Ihall lay down only in a problematical manner, to he considered by those who are masters in the art. с
No. XIX. THURSDAY, MARCH 22.
Di bene fecerunt, inopis me quodque pufilli
Thank Heaven that made me of an humble mind;
OBSERVING one person behold another who was an
utter stranger to him, with a cast of his eye, which, methought, expreffud an emotion of heart very different from what could be raised by an object so agreeable as the gentleman he looked at, I began to consider, not without some secret forrow, the condition of an envious man. Some have fancied that envy has a certain magical
force in it, and that the eyes of the envious have by their fascination blasted the enjoyments of the happy. Sir Francis Bacon fays, Some have been so curious as to remark the times and seasons when the stroke of an envious eye is moit etfectually pernicious, and have observed that it has been when the perfon envied has been in any circumstance of glory and triumph. At such a time the mind of the prosperous man goes, as it were, abroad, among things without him, and is more exposed to the malignity. But I shall not dwell upon speculations fo abitracted as this, or repeat the many excellent things which one might collect out of authors upon this miserable affection ; but, keeping in the road of common life, consider the envious man with relation to these three heads; his pains, his reliefs, and his happiness.
The envious man is in pain upon all occasions which ought to give him pleasure. The relish of his life is inverted; and the objects which administer the highest fatisfaction to those who are exempt from this paflion, give the quickest pangs to persons who are subject to it. All the perfections of their fellow-creatures are odious ; youth, beauty, valour, and wisdom, are provocations of their displeasure. What a wretched and apostate state is this! To be offended with excellence, and to hate a man because we approve him! The condition of the envious man is the most emphatically miserable; he is not only incapable of rejoicing in another's merit or success, but lives in a world wherein all mankind are in a plot against his quiet, by studying their own happiness and advantage. Will Prosper is an honest tale-bearer ; he makes it his business to join in conversation with envious
He points to such an handsome young fellow, and whispers that he is secretly married to a great fortune; when they doubt, he adds circumstances to prove it ; and never fails to aggravate their distress, by assuring them, that, to his knowledge, he has an uncle will leave him fome thoufands. Will has many arts of this kind to torture this sort of temper, and delights in it. When he finds them change colour, and say faintly they with
fuch a piece of news is true, he has the malice to speak some good or other of every man of their acquaintance.
The reliefs of the envious man are those little blemishes and imperfections that discover themselves in an illustrious character. It is a matter of great consolation to an envious person, when a man of known honour does a thing unworthy himself; or when any action which was well executed, upon better information appears so altered in its circumstances, that the fame of it is divided among many, instead of being attributed to one. This is a fecret satisfaction to these malignants; for the person, whom before they could not but admire, they fancy is nearer their own condition as soon as his merit is shared among others. I remember, some years ago, there came out an excellent poem without the name of the author: the little wits, who were incapable of writing it, began to pull in picces the supposed writer. When that would not do, they took great pains to suppress the opinion that it was his: that again failed. The next refuge was to say, it was overlooked by one man, and ınany pages wholly written by another. An honest fellow, who sat among a cluster of them in debate on this subject, cried out, “ Gentlemen, if you are sure none of you yourselves had
an hand in it, you are but where you were, whoever « writ it." But the most usual succour to the envious, in cases of nameless inerit of this kind, is to keep the property, if poflible, unfixed, and by that means to hinder the reputation of it from falling upon any particular person. You see an envious man clear up his countenance, if, in the relation of any man's great happiness in one point, you mention his uneasiness in another: when he hears such a one is very rich he turns pale, but recovers when you add that he has many children. In a word, the only sure way to an envious man's favour, is not to deserve it.
But if we consider the envious man in delight, it is like reading the seat of a giant in a romance; the magnificence of his house consists in the many limbs of men whom he has fain. If any who promised themselves success in any uncommon undertaking miscarry in the