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little Piazza in Covent-Garden, being at present the two leading diversions of the town, and Mr. Powell professing in his advertisements to set up Whittington and his Cat against Rinaldo and Armida, my curiosity led me, the beginning of last week, to view both these performances, and make my observations upon them.
On the first of April will be performed, at th playhouse in the Haymarket, an opera called Th Cruelty of Atreus.'
N B. The scene, wherein Thyestes eats his o children, is to be performed by the famous Mr. Psa First, therefore, I cannot but observe, that Mr. manazar, lately arrived from Formosa: the who Powell wisely forbearing to give his company a supper being set to kettle-drums.
bill of fare beforehand, every scene is new and] unexpected; whereas it is certain, that the undertakers of the Haymarket, having raised too great an expectation in their printed opera, very much disappoint their audience on the stage.
N° 15. SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 1710-11.
Paroa leves capiunt animos ·
The King of Jerusalem is obliged to come from the city on foot, instead of being drawn in a triumphant chariot by white horses, as my opera-book had promised me; and thus, while I expected Armida's dragons should rush forward towards WHEN I was in France, I used to gaze with great Argentes, I found the hero was obliged to go to astonishment at the splendid equipages and party Armida, and hand her out of her coach. We had coloured habits of that fantastic nation. I was one also but a very short allowance of thunder and day in particular contemplating a lady that sat in lightning; though I cannot in this place omit doing a coach adorned with gilded Cupids, and finely justice to the boy who had the direction of the painted with the loves of Venus and Adonis. The two painted dragons, and made them spit fire and coach was drawn by six milk-white horses, and smoke. He flashed out his rosin in such just pro- footmen. Just before the lady were a couple of loaded behind with the same number of powdered portions, and in such due time, that I could not forbear conceiving hopes of his being one day a beautiful pages, that were stuck among the harmost excellent player. I saw, indeed, but two ness, and by their gay dresses and smiling features, things wanting to render his whole action comlooked like the elder brothers of the little boys plete, I mean the keeping his head a little lower, that were carved and painted in every corner of and hiding his candle.
"The moral of Mr. Powell's drama is violated, I confess, by Punch's national reflections on the French, and king Harry's laying his leg upon the a queen's lap, in too ludicrous a manner before so great an assembly.
'1 observe that Mr. Powell and the undertakers The lady was the unfortunate Cleanthe, who of the opera had both the same thought, and I afterwards gave an occasion to a pretty melanthink much about the same time, of introducing choly novel. She had for several years received animals on their several stages, though indeed with the addresses of a gentleman, whom, after a long very different success. The sparrows and chaf- and intimate acquaintance, she forsook, upon the finches at the Haymarket, fly as yet very irregu- account of this shining equipage, which had been larly over the stage; and instead of perching on offered to her by one of great riches, but a crazy the trees, and performing their parts, these constitution. The circumstances in which I saw actors either get into the galleries, or put out the her were, it seems, the disguises only of a broken candles; whereas Mr. Powell has so well disci-heart, and a kind of pageantry to cover distress: plined his pig, that in the first scene he and Punch for in two months after she was carried to her danced a minuet together. I am informed, how-grave with the same pomp and magnificence; beever, that Mr. Powell resolves to excel his adver- ing sent thither partly by the loss of one lover, and saries in their own way; and introduce larks in his partly by the possession of another. next opera of Susannah, or Innocence Betrayed, I have often reflected with myself on this unac winch will be exhibited next week, with a pair of countable humour in womankind, of being smitten new Elders. with every thing that is showy and superficial; and on the numberless evils that befal the sex from this light fantastical disposition. I myself remember young lady that was very warmly solicited by couple of importunate rivals, who, for severa months together, did all they could to recommen As to the mechanism and scenery, every thing, themselves, by complacency of behaviour and indeed, was uniform, and of a-piece, and the scenes agreeableness of conversation. At length, when the were managed very dexterously; which calls on competition was doubtful, and the lady undeter me to take notice that at the Haymarket, the mined in her choice, one of the young lovers very undertakers forgetting to change the side-scenes, luckily bethought himself of adding a supernume we were presented with a prospect of the ocean rary lace to his liveries, which had so good an ef in the midst of a delightful grove; and though the fect that he married her the very week after. gentlemen on the stage had very much contributed The usual conversation of ordinary women very to the beauty of the grove, by walking up and much cherishes this natural weakness of being taker down between the trees, I must own I was not a with outside and appearance. Talk of a new mar little astonished to see a well-dressed young fellow, ried couple, and you immediately hear whether in a full-bottomed wig, appear in the midst of they keep their coach and six, or eat in plate the sea, and without any visible concern taking Mention the name of an absent lady, and it is ter to one but you learn something of her gown an 'I shall only observe one thing further, in which petticoat. A ball is a great help to discourse, and both dramas agree; which is, that by the squeak of a birth-day furnishes conversation for a twelve their voices the heroes of each are eunuchs: and month after. A furbelow of precious stones, ar as the wit in both pieces is equal, I must prefer hat buttoned with a diamond, a brocade waistcoa the performance of Mr. Powell, because it is in our own language. 'I am, &c.'
For an account of this singular character, see the Gentleman' Magazine, vols. xxxiv. xxxv.
or petticoat, are standing topics. In short, they! I cannot conclude my paper without observing, etconsider only the drapery of the species, and never that Virgil has very finely touched upon this female cast away a thought on those ornaments of the passion for dress and show, in the character of Camind that make persons illustrious in themselves, milla; who, though she seems to have shaken off and useful to others. When women are thus per- all the other weaknesses of her sex, is still described Papetually dazzling one another's imaginations, and as a woman in this particular. The poet tells us filling their heads with nothing but colours, it is no that, after having made a great slaughter of the wonder that they are more attentive to the super-enemy, she unfortunately cast her eye on a Trojan, ficial parts of life, than the solid and substantial who wore an embroidered tunic, a beautiful coat blessings of it. A girl, who has been trained up in of mail, with a mantle of the finest purple. A this kind of conversation, is in danger of every em- golden bow,' says he, hung upon his shoulder: broidered coat that comes in her way. A pair of his garment was buckled with a golden clasp; and fringed gloves may be her ruin. In a word, lace his head covered with an helmet of the same shinand ribbands, silver and gold galloons, with the like ing metal.' The Amazon immediately singled out glittering gewgaws, are so many lures to women this well-dressed warrior, being seized with a woof weak minds and low educations, and, when artifi-man's longing for the pretty trappings that he was cially displayed, are able to fetch down the most airy adorned with: the coquette from the wildest of her flights and rambles.
6----- Totumque incauta per agmen
Foemineo præda et spoliorum ardebat amore.'
Eu. xi. 782. the poet (by a nice-concealed moral) represents to This heedless pursuit after these glittering trifles, have been the destruction of his female hero.
N° 16. MONDAY, MARCH 19, 1710-11.
Quid verum atque decens, curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum.
What right, what true, what fit we justly call,
True Happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise: it arises, in the first its place, from the enjoyment of one's self; and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions: it loves shade and solitude, and naturally haunts groves and fountains, felds and meadows; in short, it feels every thing| it wants within itself, and receives no addition from multitudes of witnesses and spectators. On the contrary, False Happiness loves to be in a crowd, and to draw the eyes of the world upon her. She does not receive any satisfaction from the applauses which she gives herself, but from the admiration which she raises in others. She flourishes in courts and palaces, theatres and assemblies, and has no existence but when she is looked upon. Aurelia, though a woman of great quality, de- I HAVE received a letter, desiring me to be very ights in the privacy of a country life, and passes satirical upon the little muff that is now in fashion; away a great part of her time in her own walks another informs me of a pair of silver garters and gardens. Her husband, who is her bosom buckled below the knee, that have been lately friend and companion in her solitudes, has been seen at the Rainbow Coffee-house in Fleet-Street; a love with her ever since he knew her. They a third sends me an heavy complaint against fringed both abound with good sense, consummate virtue, gloves. To be brief, there is scarce an ornament of and a mutual esteem; and are a perpetual enter- either sex which one or the other of my correspontainment to one another. Their family is under so dents has not inveighed against with some bitterregular an economy, in its hours of devotion and ness, and recommended to my observation. I must, repast, employment and diversion, that it looks therefore, once for all, inform my readers, that it ke a little commonwealth within itself. They is not my intention to sink the dignity of this my ften go into company, that they may return with paper with reflections upon red-heels or top-kno the greater delight to one another; and sometimes but rather to enter into the passions of mankind, ire in town, not to enjoy it so properly, as to and correct those depraved sentiments that give weary of it, that they may renew in them-birth to all those little extravagancies which apres the relish of a country life. By this means pear in their outward dress and behaviour. FopHey are happy in each other, beloved by their pish and fantastic ornament are only indications children, adored by their servants, and are be- of vice, not criminal in themselves. Extinguish te the envy, or rather the delight, of all that vanity in the mind, and you naturally retrench the little superfluities of garniture and equipage. The blossoms will fall of themselves when the root that nourished them is destroyed.
Tres in a
How different to this is the life of Fulvia! she considers her husband as her steward, and looks pon discretion and good housewifery as little do- 1 shall therefore, as I have said, apply my reme Restic virtues, unbecoming a woman of quality. dies to the first seeds and principles of an affected she thinks life lost in her own family, and fancies dress, without descending to the dress itself; though herself out of the world when she is not in the at the same time I must own, that I have thoughts the playhouse or the drawing-room. She of creating an officer under me, to be entitled, The a perpetual motion of body and restless- Censor of Small Wares, and of allotting him one ess of thought, and is never easy in any one place, day in the week for the execution of such his Then she thinks there is more company in another. office. An operator of this nature might act under The missing of an opera the first night, would be me, with the same regard as a surgeon to a physiare afflicting to her than the death of a child. She cian; the one might be employed in healing those Miles all the valuable part of her own sex, and blotches and tumours which break out in the body, alls every woman of a prudent, modest, and re- while the other is sweetening the blood, and rectired life, a poor-spirited, unpolished creature. fying the constitution. To speak truly, the young knew that her setting herself to view, is but ex- shoot out into long swords or sweeping trains, What a mortification would it be to Fulvia, if she people of both sexes are so wonderfully apt to
several other encumbrances of dress, that they
stand in need of being pruned very frequently, lest What I have said under the three foregoing they should be oppressed with ornaments, and heads, will, I am afraid, very much retrench the overrun with the luxuriancy of their habits. I am number of my correspondents. I shall therefore much in doubt, whether I should give the prefer-acquaint my reader, that if he has started any hint ence to a quaker that is trimmed close, and almost which he is not able to pursue, if he has met with cut to the quick, or to a beau that is loaden with any surprising story which he does not know how such a redundance of excrescences. I must there- to tell, if he has discovered any epidemical vice fore desire my correspondents to let me know how which has escaped my observation, or has heard of they approve my project, and whether they think any uncommon virtue which he would desire to the erecting of such a petty censorship may not publish; in short, if he has any materials that can turn to the emolument of the public; for I would furnish out an innocent diversion, I shall promise not do any thing of this nature rashly and without him my best assistance in the working of them up advice. for a public entertainment.
TO THE SPECTATOR.
March 15, 1710-11.
'I am, SIR,
'OHARLES LILLIE. C.
N° 17. TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 1710-11.
There is another set of correspondents to whom This paper my reader will find was intended I must address myself in the second place; I mean for an answer to a multitude of correspondents: such as fill their letters with private scandal, and but I hope he will pardon me if I single out one black accounts of particular persons and families. of them in particular, who has made me so very The world is so full of ill-nature, that I have lam- humble a request, that I cannot forbear complying poons sent me by people who cannot spell, and with it. satires composed by those who scarce know how to write. By the last post in particular, I received a packet of scandal which is not legible; and have a whole bundle of letters in women's hands, 'SIR, that are full of blots and calumnies, insomuch, thatI AM at present so unfortunate, as to have nothing when I see the name Calia, Phillis, Pastora, or the to do but to mind my own business and therefore like, at the bottom of a scrawl, I conclude of beg of you that you will be pleased to put me into course that it brings me some account of a fallen some small post under you. Fobserve that you virgin, a faithless wife, or an amorous widow. I have appointed your printer and publisher to remust therefore inform these my correspondents, ceive letters and advertisements for the city of that it is not my design to be a publisher of in London; and shall think myself very much honourtrigues and cuckoldoms, or to bring little infamous ed by you, if you will appoint me to take in letters stories out of their present lurking holes into broad and advertisements for the city of Westminster day-light. If I attack the vicious, I shall only set and the duchy of Lancaster. Though I cannot upon them in a body; and will not be provoked promise to fill such an employment with sufficient by the worst usage I can receive from others, to abilities, I will endeavour to make up with industry make an example of any particular criminal. In and fidelity, what I want in parts and genius. short, I have so much of a Drawcansir* in me, that I shall pass over a single foe to charge whole armies. It is not Lais or Silenus, but the harlot and the drunkard, whom I shall endeavour to expose ; and shall consider the crime as it appears in a species, not as it is circumstanced in an individual. 1 hink it was Caligula, who wished the whole city of Rome had but one neck, that he might behead them at a blow. I should do, out of humanity, what that emperor would have done in the cruelty of his temper, and aim every stroke at a collective body of offenders. At the same time I am very sensible that nothing spreads a paper like private calumny and defamation; but as my speculations are not under this necessity, they are not exposed SINCE Our persons are not of our own making. to this temptation. when they are such as appear defective or uncome- |· In the next place, I must apply myself to my ly, it is, methinks, an honest and laudable fortitude party correspondents, who are continually teasing to dare to be ugly; at least to keep ourselves from me to take notice of one another's proceedings. being abashed with a consciousness of imperfecHow often am I asked by both sides, if it is tions which we cannot help, and in which there is possible for me to be an unconcerned spectator of no guilt. I would not defend an haggard beau, the rogueries that are committed by the party for passing away much time at a glass, and giving which is opposite to him that writes the letter? softness and languishing graces to deformity: all About two days since, I was reproached with an intend is, that we ought to be contented with our old Grecian law, that forbids any man to stand as countenance and shape, so far, as never to give ourneuter, or a looker-on in the divisions of his coun-selves an uneasy reflection on that subject. It is try. However, as I am very sensible my paper to the ordinary people, who are not accustomed to would lose its whole effect, should it run out into make very proper remarks on any occasion, matthe outrages of a party, I shall take care to keep ter of great jest, if a man enters with a prominent clear of every thing which looks that way. If 1 pair of shoulders into an assembly, or is distincan any way assuage private inflammations, or al-guished by an expansion of mouth, or obliquity of lay public ferments, I shall apply myself to it with aspect. It is happy for a man that has of my utmost endeavours; but will never let my heart these oddnesses about him, if he can be as merry reproach me with having done any thing towards upon himself, as others are apt to be upon that ocincreasing those feuds and animosities, that extin-casion. When he can possess himself with such a guish religion, deface government, and make a na-cheerfulness, women and children, who are at first tion miserable. frighted at him, will afterwards be as much pleas ed with him, Aş it is barbarous in others to rally
A character in the comedy of The Rehearsal
Tetrum ante omnia vultum.
JUV. x. 191.
A visage rough,
him for natural defects, it is extremely agreeable cast of countenance; of which the president and
in this kind, and has drawn many pleasantries II. That a singular regard be had upon exami.
and lean as far as it will go. Falstaff is humor- 'Every fresh member, upon his first night, is to ously called woolsack, bedpresser, and hill of flesh; entertain the company with a dish of cod-fish, and Harry, a starveling, an elves-skin, a sheeth, a bow- a speech in praise of Esop; whose portraiture case, and a tuck. There is, in several incidents of they have, in full proportion, over the chimney; the conversation between them, the jest still kept and their design is, as soon as their funds are suffiup upon the person. Great tenderness and sensi-cient, to purchase the heads of Thersites, Duns bility in this point is one of the greatest weaknesses Scotus, Scarron, Hudibras, and the old gentleman of self-love. For my own part, I am a little unhappy in Oldham, with all the celebrated ill faces of in the mould of my face, which is not quite so long antiquity, as furniture for the club-room.
as it is broad. Whether this might not partly arise 'As they have always been professed admirers from my opening my mouth much seldomer than of the other sex, so they unanimously declare that other people, and by consequence not so much they will give all possible encouragement to such lengthening the fibres of my visage, I am not at as will take the benefit of the statute, though none leisure to determine. However it be, I have been yet have appeared to do it. often put out of countenance by the shortness of "The worthy president, who is their most demy face, and was formerly at great pains in con- voted champion, has lately shown me two copies tealing it by wearing a periwig with an high fore- of verses composed by a gentleman of his society; top, and letting my beard grow. But now I have the first, a congratulatory ode, inscribed to Mrs. thoroughly got over this delicacy, and could be Touchwood, upon the loss of her two four-teeth; contented with a much shorter, provided it might the other, a panegyric upon Mrs. Andiron's left qualify me for a member of the Merry club, which shoulder. Mrs. Vizard (he says) since the smallthe following letter gives me an account of. I have received it from Oxford, and as it abounds with the spirit of mirth and good humour, which is natural to that place, I shall set it down word for
Word as it came to me.
'MOST PROFOUND SIR,
pox, is grown tolerably ugly, and a top toast in the club; but I never heard him so lavish of his fine things, as upon old Nell Trot, who constantly officiates at their table; her he even adores and extols as the very counterpart of Mother Shipton; in short, Nell (says he) is one of the extraordinary HAVING been very well entertained, in the last of and features, so valued by others, they are all works of nature; but as for complexion, shape, your speculations that I have yet seen, by your mere outside and symmetry, which is his aversion. specimen upon clubs, which I therefore hope you Give me leave to add, that the president is a facewill continue, I shall take the liberty to furnish you tious pleasant gentleman, and never more so, than with a brief account of such a one as, perhaps, you when he had got (as he calls them) his dear mumhave not seen in all your travels, unless it was your mers about him; and he often protests it does him fortune to touch upon some of the woody parts of the African continent, in your voyage to or from good to meet a fellow with a right genuine grimace Grand Cairo. There have arose in this university of the French nation); and as an instance of his in his air (which is so agreeable in the generality (long since you left us without saying any thing) sincerity in this particular, he gave me a sight of several of these inferior hebdomadal societies, as the Punning club, the Witty club, and amongst these five years have fallen under his observation, a list in his pocket-book of all this class, who for the rest, the Handsome club; as a burlesque upon with himself at the head of them, and in the rear which, a certain merry species, that seem to have come into the world in masquerade, for some years (as one of a promising and improving aspect.) last past have associated themselves together, and 'SIR, assumed the name of the Ugly club. This ill-faFoured fraternity consists of a president and twelve fellows; the choice of which is not confined by patent to any particular foundation, (as St. John's men would have the world believe, and have therefore erected a separate society within themselves) but liberty is left to elect from any school Great Britain, provided the candidates be within the rules of the club, as set forth in a table, entitled, The Act of Deformity; a clause or two of which I
shall transmit to you.
That no person whatsoever shall be admitted without a visible queerity in his aspect, or peculiar
'Your obliged and humble servant,
Oxford, March 12, 1710.
No 18. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 1710-11/
-Equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure voluptus
This has since been well done by William Hay, Esq. M. P. Ir is my design in this paper to deliver down to in his Essay on Deformity, published in Dodsley's Fugitive Pieces, sro, vol. i. p. 89.
posterity a faithful account of the Italian opera
and of the gradual progress which it has made tongue. The king or hero of the play generally upon the English stage; for there is no question spoke in Italian, and his slaves answered him in but our great grand-children will be very curious English. The lover frequently made his court, and to know the reason why their forefathers used to gained the heart of his princess, in a language sit together like an audience of foreigners in their which she did not understand. One would have own country, and to hear whole plays acted be- thought it very difficult to have carried on dialogues fore them, in a tongue which they did not under-after this manner without an interpreter between stand. the persons that conversed together; but this was Arsinoe was the first opera that gave us a taste the state of the English stage for about three of Italian music. The great success this opera years.
met with produced some attempts of forming pieces At length the audience grew tired of understandupon Italian plans, which should give a more na-ing half the opera; and therefore, to ease themtural and reasonable entertainment than what can selves entirely of the fatigue of thinking, have so be met with in the elaborate trifles of that nation. ordered it at present, that the whole opera This alarmed the poetasters and fiddlers of the town, who were used to deal in a more ordinary kind of ware; and therefore laid down an established rule, which is received as such to this day, That nothing is capable of being well set to music, that is not nonsense.'
formed in an unknown tongue. We no longer understand the language of our own stage; insomuch that I have often been afraid, when I have seen our Italian performers chattering in the vehemence of an action, that they have been calling us names, and abusing us among themselves; but I This maxim was no sooner received, but we im- hope, since we do put such an entire confidence in mediately fell to translating the Italian operas; them, they will not talk against us before our faces, and as there was no great danger of hurting the though they may do it with the same safety as if it sense of those extraordinary pieces, our authors were behind our backs. In the mean time, I canwould often make words of their own, which were not forbear thinking how naturally an historian, entirely foreign to the meaning of the passages who writes two or three hundred years hence, and they pretended to translate; their chief care being does not know the taste of his wise forefathers, to make the numbers of the English verse answer will make the following reflections: 'In the beto those of the Italian, that both of them might ginning of the eighteenth century, the Italian go to the same tune. Thus the famous song in tongue was so well ur lerstood in England, that Camilla : operas were acted on the public stage in that language.'
Barbara si l'intendo, &c.
'Barbarous woman, yes, I know your meaning;'
which expresses the resentments of an angry lover, was translated into that English lamentation:
'Frail are a lover's hopes,' &e.
One scarce knows how to be serious in the confutation of an absurdity that shows itself at the first sight. It does not want any great measure of but what makes it the more astonishing, it is not sense to see the ridicule of this monstrous practice; the taste of the rabble, but of persons of the greatest politeness, which has established it.
If the Italians have a genius for music above And it was pleasant enough to see the most refined the English, the English have a genius for other persons of the British nation dying away and lan- performances of a much higher nature, and capaguishing to notes that were filled with a spirit of ble of giving the mind a much nobler entertainrage and indignation. It happened also very fre- ment. Would one think it was possible (at a time quently, where the sense was rightly translated, when an author lived that was able to write the the necessary transposition of words, which were Phedra and Hippolitus) for a people to be so studrawn out of the phrase of one tongue into that of pidly fond of the Italian opera, as scarce to give a another, made the music appear very absurd in one tongue that was very natural in the other. I remember an Italian verse that ran thus, word for word:
And turn'd my rage into pity;"
which the English for rhyme sake translateel,
And into pity turn'd my rage.'
third day's hearing to that admirable tragedy? Music is certainly a very agreeable entertainment: but if it would take the entire possession of our ears, if it would make us incapable of hearing sense, if it would exclude arts that have a much greater tendency to the refinement of human nature; I must confess 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 un-/ By this means the soft notes that were adapted to certain, that we do not know what it is we like; pity in the Italian, fell upon the word rage in the only, in general we are transported with any English; and the angry sounds that were turned to thing that is not English: so it be of a foreign age in the original, were made to express pity in growth, let it be Italian, French, or High Dutch, the translation. It oftentimes happened likewise, it is the same thing. In short, our English music that the finest notes in the air fell upon the most is quite rooted out, and nothing yet planted in its insignificant words in the sentence. I have known stead.
the word 'and' pursued through the whole gamut, When a royal palace is burnt to the ground, have been entertained with many a melodious every man is at liberty to present his plan for a the,' and have heard the most beautiful graces, new one; and though it be but indifferently put quavers, and divisions bestowed upon then, for, together, it may furnish several hints that may be and from;' to the eternal honour of our English of use to a good architect. I shall take the same 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 hat our countrymen performed theirs in our native
liberty, in a following paper, of giving my opinion upon the subject of music; which I shall lay down only in a problematical manner, as to be considered by those who are masters in the art.