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NO. 30.


Si, MIMNERMUS ati censet, sine amore jocisque
Nil est jucundum; vivas in amore jocisque.

KOR. I EP. vi. 6g.
" If nothing, as MIMNERMus strives to prove,
“ Can e'er be pleasant without mirth and love,
“ Then live in mirth and love, thy sports pursue."



ONE common calamity makes 'men extremely affect each other, though they differ in every other particular. The passion of Love is the most general concern among men; and I am glad to hear by my last advices from Oxford that there are a set of s hers in that university, who have erected themselves into a society in honour of that tender passion. These gentlemen are of that sort of inamoratos, who are not so very much lost to comVOL. II.



mon sense, but that they understand the folly they are guilty of; and for that reason separate themselves from all other company, because they will enjoy the pleasure of talking incoherently, without being ridiculous to any but each other. When a man comes into the club, lie is not obliged to make any introduction to his discourse, but at once, as he is seating himself in his chair, speaks in the thread of his own thoughts, “ She gave me a very obliging glance, she never looked so well in her life as this evening ;" or the like reflection, without regard to any other member of the society ; for in this assembly they do not meet to talk to each other, but every man claims the full liberty of talking to himself. Instead of snuff-boxes and canes, which are the usual helps to discourse with other young fellows, these have each some piece of ribbon, a broken fan, or an old girdle, which they play with while they talk of the fair person remembered by each respective token. According to the representation of the matter from my letters, the company appear like so many players rehearsing behind the scenes; one is sighing and lamenting his destiny in beseeching terms, another declaring he will break his chain, and another in dumb-show, striving to express his passion by his gesture. It is very ordinary in the assembly, for one of a sudden to rise and make a discourse concerning his passion in general, and describe the temper of his mind in such a manner, as that the whole company shall join in the description, and feel the force of it. In this case, if any man has declared the violence of his flame in more pathetic terms, he is made president for that night, out of respect to his superior.passion.

We had some years ago in this town a set of people who met and dressed like Lovers, and were distinguished by the name of the Fringe-glove Club; but they were persons of such moderate intellects, even before they were impaired by their passion, that their irregularities could



our English musicians in admiring PURCELL's compositions, and thinking his tunes so wonderfully adapted to his words ; because both nations do not always express the same passions by the same sounds.

I am therefore humbly of opinion, that an English composer should not follow the Italian recitative too servilely, but make use of many gentle deviations from it, in compliance with his own native language. He may copy out of it all the lulling softness and dying falls, (as SHAKESPEARE calls them) but should still remember that he ought to accommodate himself to an English audience; and by humouring the tone of our voices in ordinary conversation, have the same regard to the accent of his own language, as those persons had to theirs whom he professes to imitate. It is observed, that several of the singing-birds of our own country learn to sweeten their voices, and mellow the harshness of their natural notes, by practising under those that come off from warmer climates. In the same manner, I would allow the Italian opera to lend our English music as much as may grace and soften it, but never entirely to annihilate and destroy it. Let the infusion be as strong as you please, but still let the subject matter of it be English.

A composer should fit his music to the genius of the people, and consider that the delicacy of hearing, and taste of harmony, has been formed upon those sounds which every country abounds with. In short, that music is of a relative nature, and what is harmony to one ear, may be dissonance to another.

The same observations which I have made upon the recitative part of music, may be applied to all our songs and airs in general.

Signor Baptist Lully acted like a man of sense in this particular. He found the French music extremely defective, and very often barbarous. However, knowing the genius of the people, the humour of their language, and the prejudiced ears he had to deal with, he VOL. II,



did not pretend to extirpate the French music, and plant the Italian in its stead; but only to cultivate and civilize it with innumerable graces and modulations which he borrowed from the Italians. By these means the French music is now perfect in its kind; and when you say it is not so good as the Italian, you only mean that it does not please you so well; for there is scarce a Frenchman who would not wonder to hear you give the Italian such a preference. The music of the French is indeed very properly adapted to their pronunciation and accent, as their whole opera wonderfully favours the genius of such a gay airy people.

The cborus in which that opera abounds, gives the parterre frequent opportunities of joining in concert with the stage. This inclination of 'the audience to sing along with the actors, so prevails with them, that I have sometimes known the performer on the stage do no more in a celebrated song, than the clerk of a parish-church, who serves only to raise the psalm, and is afterwards drowned in the music of the congregation. Every actor that comes on the stage is a beau. The queens and heroines are so painted, that they appear as ruddy and cherry-cheeked as milk-maids. The shepherds are all embroidered, and acquit themselves in a ball better than our English dancing-masters. I have seen a couple of rivers appear in red stockings; and Alpheus, instead of having his head covered with sedge and bull-rushes, making love in a fair full-bottomed periwig and a plume of feathers; but with a voice so full of shakes and quavers, that I should have thought the murmurs of a country-brook the much more agreeable music. I remember the last opera I saw in that merry nation

I was the Rape of PROSERPINE, where Pluto, to make the more tempting figure, puts himself in a French equipage, and brings ASCALA Plus along with him as his valet de chambre. This is what we call folly and impertinence; but what the French look upon as gay and polite. I shall add no more to what I have here offered, than


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