Obrázky stránek

ness and 'dying falls' (as Shakspeare calls and Alpheus, instead of having his head them,) but should still remember that he covered with sedge and bull-rushes, making ought to accommodate himself to an Eng- love in a full-bottomed periwig and a plume lish audience: and by humouring the tone of feathers; but with a voice so full of shakes of our voices in ordinary conversation, have and quavers, that I should have thought the the same regard to the accent of his own murmurs of a country brook the much more language, as those persons had to theirs agreeable music. whom he professes to imitate. It is ob- I remember the last opera I saw in that served, that several of the singing birds of merry nation was the Rape of Proserpine, our own country learn to sweeten their where Pluto, to make the more tempting voices, and mellow the harshness of their figure, puts himself in a French equipage, natural notes, by practising under those that and brings Ascalaphus along with him as come from warmer climates. In the same his valet de chambre. This is what we manner, I would allow the Italian opera to call folly and impertinence: but what the lend our English music as much as may French look upon as gay and polite. grace and soften it, but never entirely to I shall add no more to what I have here annihilate and destroy it. Let the infusion offered, than that music, architecture, and be as strong as you please, but still let the painting, as well as poetry and oratory, are subject-matter of it be English.

to deduce their laws and rules from the A composer should fit his music to the general sense and taste of mankind, and genius of the people, and consider that the not from the principles of those arts themdelicacy of hearing, and taste of harmony, selves; or, in other words, the taste is not has been formed upon those sounds which to conform to the art, but the art to the every country abounds with. In short, that taste. Music is not designed to please only music is of a relative nature, and what is chromatic ears, but all that is capable of disharmony to one ear, may be dissonance to tinguishing harsh from disagreeable notes. another.

A man of an ordinary ear is a judge whether The same observation which I have made a passion is expressed in proper sounds, and upon the recitative part of music may be whether the melody of those sounds be more applied to all our songs and airs in general. or less pleasing.

C. Signior Baptist Lully acted like a man of sense in this particular. He found the French music extremely defective, and No. 30.] Wednesday, April 4, 1711. very often barbarous. However, knowing the genius of the people, the humour of

Si Mimnermus uti censet, sine amore jocisque

Nil est jucundum; vivas in amore jocisque. their language, and the prejudiced ears he

Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. vi. 65. had to deal with, he did not pretend to ex

If nothing, as Mimnermus strives to prove, tirpate the French music, and plant the Can e'er be pleasant without mirth and love, Italian in its stead; but only to cultivate Then live in mirth and love, thy sports pursue. and civilize it with innumerable graces and modulations which he borrowed from the One common calamity makes men exItalians. By this means the French music tremely affect each other, though they difis now perfect in its kind; and when you fer in every other particular. The passion say it is not so good as the Italian, you only of love is the most general concern among mean that it does not please you so well; men; and I am glad to hear by my last adfor there is scarce a Frenchman who would vices from Oxford, that there are a set of not wonder to hear you give the Italian such sighers in that university, who have erecta preference, The music of the French is ed themselves into a society in honour of indeed very properly adapted to their pro- that tender passion. These gentlemen are nunciation and accent, as their whole opera of that sort of inamoratos, who are not so wonderfully favours the genius of such a very much lost to common sense, but that gay airy people. The chorus in which that they understand the folly they are guilty opera abounds, gives the parterre frequent of; and for that reason separate themselves opportunities of joining in concert with the from all other company, because they will stage. This inclination of the audience to enjoy the pleasure of talking incoherently, sing along with the actors, so prevails with without being ridiculous to any but each them, that I have sometimes known the other. When a man comes into the club, performer on the stage to do no more in a he is not obliged to make any introduction celebrated song, than the clerk of a parish to his discourse, but at once, as he is seatchurch, who serves only to raise the psalm, ing himself in his chair, speaks in the and is afterwards drowned in the music of thread of his own thoughts, "She gave me the congregation. Every actor that comes a very obliging glance, she never looked so on the stage is a beau. The queens and well in her life as this evening;' or the like heroines are so painted, that they appear as reflection without regard to any other ruddy and cherry-cheeked as milk-maids. member of the society; for in this assembly The shepherds are all embroidered, and they do not meet to talk to each other; but acquit themselves in a ball better than our every man claims the full liberty of talking English dancing-masters. I have seen a to himself. Instead of snuff-boxes and couple of rivers appear in red stockings; canes, which are the usual helps to dis


132 to

course with other young fellows, these have runs counter to that of the place wherein each some piece of riband, a broken fan, we live: for in love there are no doctors, or an old girdle, which they play with and we all profess so high a passion, that while they talk of the fair person remem- we admit of no graduates in it. Our prebered by each respective token. Accord-sidentship is bestowed according to the ing to the representation of the matter dignity of the passion; our number is unfrom my letters, the company appear like limited; and our statutes are like those of so many players rehearsing behind the the Druids, recorded in our own breasts scenes; one is sighing and lamenting his only, and explained by the majority of the destiny in beseeching terms, another de company: A mistress, and a poem in her claiming he will break his chain, and an- praise, will introduce any candídate. Withother, in dumb-show, striving to express out the latter no one can be admitted; for his passion by his gesture. It is very ordi- he that is not in love enough to rhyme, is nary in the assembly for one of a sudden to unqualified for our society. To speak disrise and make a discourse concerning his respectfully of any woman is expulsion passion in general, and describe the tem- from our gentle society. As we are at preper of his mind in such a manner, as that sent all of us gown-men, instead of duelthe whole company shall join in the de- ling when we are rivals: we drink together scription, and feel the force of it. In this the health of our mistress. The manner case, if any man has declared the violence of doing this sometimes indeed creates deof his flame in more pathetic terms, he is bates; on such occasions we have recourse made president for that night, out of re- to the rules of love among the ancients. spect to his superior passion.

"Nævia sex cyathis, septem Justina bibatur." We had some years ago in this town a

Mart. Epig. i. 72 set of people who met and dressed like

“Six cups to Navia, to Justina seven.” lovers, and were distinguished by the name of the Fringe-glove club; but they were her name, occasioned the other night a dis

This method of a glass to every letter of persons of such moderate intellects, even before they were impaired by their pas- who is in love with Mrs. Elizabeth Dim

pute of some warmth. A young student sion, that their irregularities could not furnish sufficient variety of folly to afford ple, was so unreasonable as to begin her

health under the name of Elizabetha ; daily new impertinences; by which means that institution dropped. These fellows which so exasperated the club, that by their dress; but the Oxonians are fantasti- We look upon a man as no company that could express their passion in nothing but common consent we retrenched it to Betty. cal now they are lovers, in proportion to does not sigh five times in a quarter of an their learning and understanding before hour; and look upon a member as very abthey became such. The thoughts of the surd, that is so much himself as to make a ancient poets on this agreeable frenzy are whole assembly is made up of absent men,

direct answer to a question. In fine, the translated in honour of some modem beauty; and Chloris is won to-day by the same

that is, of such persons as have lost their compliment that was made to Lesbia a

locality, and whose minds and bodies never thousand years ago. But as far as I can

keep company with one another. As I am learn, the patron of the club is the renown

an unfortunate member of this distracted ed Don Quixote. The adventures of that society, you cannot expect a very regular gentle knight are frequently mentioned in will pardon me that I so abruptly subscribe

account of it; for which reason I hope you the passion and themselves: but at the myself, Sir, your most obedient humble

T. L. same time, though they are sensible of the servant, extravagancies of that unhappy warrior, "I forgot to tell you, that Albina, who they do not observe, that to turn all the has six votaries in this club, is one of your reading of the best and wisest writings into readers.' rhapsodies of love, is a frenzy no less diverting than that of the aforesaid accomplished Spaniard. A gentleman who, I No. 31.] Thursday, April 5, 1711. hope, will continue his correspondence, is lately admitted into the fraternity, and sent

Sit mihi fas audita loqui- Virg. Æn. vi. 266. me the following letter:

What I have heard, permit me to relate.

Last night, upon my going into a coffeeSIR---Since I find you take notice of house not far from the Haymarket theatre, clubs, I beg leave to give you an account i diverted myself for above half an hour of one in Oxford, which you have no where with overhearing the discourse of one, who, mentioned, and perhaps never heard of. by the shabbiness of his dress, the extraWe distinguish ourselves by the title of the vagance of his conceptions, and the hurry Amorous Club, are all votaries of Cupid, of his speech, I discovered to be of that and admirers of the fair sex. The reason species who are generally distinguished by that we are so little known in the world, is the title of Projectors. 'This gentleman, the secrecy which we are obliged to live for I found he was treated as such by his under in the university. Our constitution audience, was entertaining a whole table


of listeners with the project of an opera, elephant, and is to be encountered by which he told us had not cost him above two Powell, representing Alexander the Great, or three mornings in the contrivance, and upon a dromedary, which nevertheless which he was ready to put in execution, Mr. Powell is desired to call by the name provided he might find his account in it. of Bucephalus. Upon the close of this He said that he had observed the great great decisive battle, when the two kings trouble and inconvenience which ladies are thoroughly reconciled, to show the were at, in travelling up and down to the mutual friendship and good corresponde several shows that are exhibited in differ- ence that reigns between them, they both ent quarters of the town. The dancing of them go together to a puppet-show, in monkeys are in one place; the puppet- which the ingenious Mr. Powell, junior, show in another; the opera in a third; not may have an opportunity of displaying his to mention the lions, that are almost a whole art of machinery, for the diversion whole day's journey from the politer part of the two monarchs. Some at the table of the town. By this means people of figure urged, that a puppet-show was not a are forced to lose half the winter, after suitable entertainment for Alexander the their coming to town, before they have Great; and that it might be introduced seen all the strange sights about it. In or- more properly, if we suppose the conder to remedy this great inconvenience, queror touched upon that part of India our projector drew out of his pocket the which is said to be inhabited by the pygmies. scheme of an opera, entitled The Expe- But this objection was looked upon as fridition of Alexander the Great;' in which volous, and the proposal immediately overhe had disposed all the remarkable shows ruled. Our projector further added, that about town, among the scenes and decora- after the reconciliation of these two kings, tions of his piece. The thought, he con- they might invite one another to dinner, fessed, was not originally his own, but that and either of them entertain his guest with he had taken the hint of it from several the German artist, Mr. Pinkethman's heaperformances which he had seen upon our then gods, or any of the like diversions, stage: in one of which there was a raree- which shall then chance to be in vogue. show; in another a ladder-dance; and in This project was received with very others a posture-man, a moving picture, great applause by the whole table. Upon with many curiosities of the like nature. which the undertaker told us, that he had

This Expedition of Alexander opens not yet communicated to us above half his with his consulting the oracle at Delphos, design; for that Alexander being a Greek, in which the dumb conjuror, who has been it was his intention that the whole opera visited by so many persons of quality of should be acted in that language, which late years, is to be introduced as telling his was a tongue he was sure would wonderfortune. At the same time Clinch of Bar- fully please the ladies, especially when it net is represented in another corner of the was a little raised and rounded by the Ionic temple, as ringing the bells of Delphos, for dialect; and could not but be acceptable joy of his arrival. The tent of Darius is to to the whole audience, because there are be peopled by the ingenious Mrs. Salmon, fewer of them who understand Greek than Where Alexander is to fall in love with a Italian. The only difficulty that remainpiece of wax-work that represents the ed was how to get performers, unless we beautiful Statira. When Alexander comes could persuade some gentlemen of the uniinto that country, in which Quintus Cur- versities to learn to sing, in order to qualify tius tells us the dogs were so exceeding themselves for the stage; but this objection fierce, that they would not loose their soon vanished, when the projector informhold, though they were cut to pieces limb ed us that the Greeks

were at present the by limb, and that they would hang upon only musicians in the Turkish empire, and their prey by their teeth when they had that it would be very easy for our factory nothing but a mouth left, there is to be a at Smyrna to furnish us every year with a scene of Hockley-in-the-Hole, in which is colony of musicians, by the opportunity of to be represented all the diversions of the Turkey fleet; besides, says he, if we that place, the bull-baiting only excepted, want any single voice for any lower part in which cannot possibly be exhibited in the the opera, Lawrence can learn to speak theatre, by reason of th lowness of the Greek, as well as he does Italian, in a fortroof. The several woods in Asia, which night's time. Alexander must be supposed to pass The projector having thus settled matthrough, will give the audience a sight of ters to the good-liking of all that heard monkeys dancing upon ropes, with many him, he left his seat at the table, and other pleasantries of that ludicrous spe- planted himself before the fire, where I cies. At the same time, if there chance to had unluckily taken my stand for the conbe any strange animals in town, whether venience of overhearing

what he said. birds or beasts, they may be either let Whether he had observed me to be more loose among the woods, or driven across attentive than ordinary, I cannot tell, but the stage by some of the country people

of he had not stood by me above a quarter of Asia

. In the last great battle, Pinketh- a minute, but he turned short upon me on man is to personate King Porus upon an la sudden, and catching me by a button ot

Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. v. 64. He wants no tragic vizor to increase

my coat, attacked me very abruptly after world his sincere desire to be a member, the following manner. •Besides, Sir, I have with a recommendatory description of his heard of a very extraordinary genius for phiz; and though our constitution has made music that lives in Switzerland, who has so no particular provision for short faces, yet strong a spring in his fingers, that he can his being an extraordinary case, I believe make the board of an organ sound like a we shall find a hole for him to creep in at; drum, and if I could but procure a sub- for I assure you he is not against the canon; scription of about ten thousand pounds and if his sides are as compact as his joles, every winter, I would undertake to fetch he need not disguise himself to make one of him over, and oblige him by articles to set us.” I presently called for the paper, to every thing that should be sung upon the see how you looked in print; and after we English stage.' After this he looked full in had regaled ourselves awhile upon the pleamy face, expecting I would make an an- sant image of our proselyte, Mr. President swer, when, by good luck, a gentleman told me I should be his stranger at the next that had entered the coffee-house since the night's club; where we were no sooner projector applied himself to me, hearing come, and pipes brought, but Mr. Presihim talk of his Swiss compositions, cried dent began a harangue upon your introducout in a kind of laugh, 'Is our music then tion to my epistle, setting forth with no less to receive further improvements from Swit-volubility of speech, than strength of reazerland!' This alarmed the projector, who son, "That a speculation of this nature was immediately let go my button, and turned what had been long and much wanted; and about to answer him. I took the opportunity that he doubted not but it would be of inof the diversion which seemed to be made estimable value to the public, in reconciling in favour of me, and laying down my penny even of bodies and souls; in composing and upon the bar, retired with some precipita- quieting the minds of men under all cortion,

C, poral redundancies, deficiencies, and irre

gularities whatsoever; and making every

one sit down content in his own carcass, No. 32.] Friday, April 6, 1711. though it were not perhaps so mathemati

cally put together as he could wish.” And Nil illi larva aut tragicis opus esse cothurnis.

again, “How that for want of a due con

sideration of what you first advance, viz. His natural deformity of face.

That our faces are not of our own choosing, The late discourse concerning the sta- people had been transported beyond ali tutes of the Ugly club, having been so well good breeding, and hurried themselves into received at Oxford, that contrary to the unaccountable and fatal extravagancies; as strict rules of the society, they have been been censured and calumniated, nay, and

how many impartial looking-glasses had so partial as to take my own testimonial, and admit me into that select body; I could sometimes shivered into

ten thousand splinnot restrain the vanity of publishing to the ters, only for a fair representation of the world the honour which is done me. It is

truth? How many head-strings and garters no small satisfaction that I have given oc

had been made accessary, and actually forcasion for the President's showing both his rel with their own shadows? And who,

feited, only because folks must needs quarinvention and reading to such advantage as continues he, “but is deeply sensible, that my correspondent reports he did: but it is one great source of the uneasiness and not to be doubted there were many very misery of human life, especially amongst proper hums and pauses in his harangue, those of distinction, arises from nothing in which lose their ugliness in the narration, the world else, but too severe a contemplaand which my correspondent (begging his tion of an indefeasible contexture of our expardon) has no very good talent at repre- ternal parts, or certain natural and invincisenting. I very much approve of the con- ble dispositions to be fat or lean? when a tempt the society has of beauty. Nothing little more of Mr. Spectator's philosophy ought to be laudable in a man, in which his would take off all this. In the mean time will is not concerned; therefore our society let them observe, that there is not one of can follow nature, and where she has their grievances of this sort, but perhaps, thought fit, as it were, to mock herself, we in some ages of the world, has been highly can do so too, and be merry upon the oc- in vogue, and may be so again; nay, in some casion.

country or other, ten to one, is so at this day. • MR. SPECTATOR,-Your making public My Lady Ample is the most miserable the late trouble I gave you, you will find to woman in the world, purely of her own have been the occasion of this. Who should making. She even grudges herself meat I meet at the coffee-house door the other and drink, for fear she should thrive by night, but my old friend Mr. President! I them; and is constantly crying out, ." In a saw somewhat had pleased him; and as quarter of a year more I shall be quite cut soon as he had cast his eye upon me, “Oho, of all manner of shape!” Now the lady's doctor, rare news from London,” says he; misfortune seems to be only this, that she “the Spectator has made honourable men- is planted in a wrong soil; for go but to the tion of the club (man,) and published to the other side of the water, it is a jest at Haerlem to talk of a shape under eighteen stone. your own certificate, it was every body's These wise traders regulate their beauties business to speak for themselves.” Mr. as they do their butter, by the pound; and President immediately retorted, “A handMiss Cross, when she first arrived in the some fellow! why he is a wit, Sir, and you Low Countries, was not computed to be so know the proverb:” and to ease the old handsome as Madam Van Brisket hy near gentleman of his scruples, cried, “That. half a ton. On the other hand, there is for matter of merit it was all one, you might Squire Lath, a proper gentleman of fifteen wear a mask.” This threw him into a hundred pounds per annum, as well as of pause, and he looked desirous of three days an unblamable life and conversation; yet to consider on it; but Mr. President imwould I not be the squire for half his estate; proved the thought, and followed him up for if it was as much more, he would freely with an old story, “That wits were privipart with it all for a pair of legs to his leged to wear what masks they pleased in mind. Whereas in the reign of our first all ages; and that a vizard had been the Edward, of glorious memory, nothing more constant crown of their labours, which was modish than a brace of your fine taper sup- generally presented them by the hand of porters; and his majesty, without an inch some satyr, and sometimes of Apollo himof calf, managed affairs in peace or war as self:” for the truth of which he appealed to laudably as the bravest and most politic of the frontispiece of several books, and parhis ancestors; and was as terrible to his ticularly to the English Juvenal, to which neighbours under the royal name of Long- he referred him; and only added, “ That shanks, as Cæur de Lion to the Saracens such authors were the Larvati, or Larva before him. If we look further back into donati of the ancients.” This cleared up history, we shall find that Alexander the all, and in the conclusion you were chose Great wore his head a little over the probationer; and Mr. President put round left shoulder, and then not a soul stirred your health as such, protesting, “That aut till he had adjusted his neck-bone; the though indeed he talked of a vizard, he did whole nobility addressed the prince and not believe all the while you had any more each other obliquely, and all matters of in- occasion for it than the cat-a-mountain;" so portance were concerted and carried on in that all you have to do now is to pay your the Macedonian court, with their polls on fees, which are here very reasonable, if one side. For about the first century, no- you are not imposed upon; and you may thing made more noise in the world than style yourself Informis Societatis Socius; Roman noses, and then not a word of them which I am desired to acquaint you with; till they revived again in eighty-eight. * and upon the same I beg you to accept of Nor is it so very long since Richard the the congratulation of, Sir, Third set up half the backs of the nation; • Your obliged humble servant, and high shoulders, as well as high noses, •Oxford, March 21.'

'A. C.' were the top of the fashion. But to come R. to ourselves, gentlemen, though I find by my quinquennial observations, that we shall never get ladies enough to make a party in No. 33.] Saturday, April 7, 1711. our own country, yet might we meet with

Fervidus tecum puer, et solutis better success among some of our allies. Gratis zonis, properentque nymphæ And what think you if our board sat for a Et parum comis sine te juventas, Dutch piece? Truly I am of opinion, that

Mercuriusque. as odd as we appear in flesh and blood, we

The graces with their zones unloos'd; should be no such strange things in mezzo

The nymphs their beauties all exposd;

From every spring, and every plain; tinto. But this project may rest till our Thy pow'rful, hot, and winged boy; number is complete; and this being our

And youth, that's dull without thy joy; election night, give me leave to propose

And Mercury compose thy train. Mr. Spectator. You see bis inclinations, A FRIEND of mine has two daughters, and perhaps we may not have his fellow.” whom I will call Lætitia and Daphne; the

I found most of them (as is usual in all former is one of the greatest beauties of the such cases) were prepared; but one of the age in which she lives, the latter no way seniors (whom by the by Mr. President had remarkable for any charms in her person. taken all this pains to bring over) sat still, Upon this one circumstance of their outand cocking his chin, which seemed only ward form, the good and ill of their life to be levelled at his nose, very gravely de- seems to turn. Lætitia has not, from her clared, “That in case he had had sufficient very childhood, heard any thing else but knowledge of you, no man should have been commendations of her features and commore willing to have served you; but that plexion, by which means she is no other he, for his part, had always had regard to than nature made her, a very beautiful outhis own conscience, as well as other peo- side. The consciousness of her charms has ple's merit; and he did not know but that rendered her insupportably vain and insoyou might be a handsome fellow; for as for lent towards all who have to do with her.

Daphne, who was almost twenty before one caused Fineas to be represented with a Roman nose, in self obliged to acquire some accomplish

a Dryden in his plates to his translation of Virgil, civil thing had been said to her, found hercoinpliment to King William III

Hor. Lib. 1. Od. xxx. 5.


« PředchozíPokračovat »