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spoke in Italian, and his slaves answered him in English. The lover frequently made his court, and gained the heart of his princess, in a language which she did not understand. One would have thought it very difficult to have carried on dialogues
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 but our great grand-children will be very curious to know the reason why their forefathers used to sit together like an audience of foreigners in their own country, and to hear whole plays acted before them, in a tongue which they did not under-after this manner without an interpreter between stand.
Arsinoe was the first opera that gave us a taste of Italian music. The great success this opera met with produced some attempts of forming pieces upon Italian plans, which should give a more natural and reasonable entertainment than what can be met with in the elaborate trifles of that nation. 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.'
This maxim was no sooner received, but we immediately fell to translating the Italian operas; and as there was no great danger of hurting the sense of those extraordinary pieces, our authors would often make words of their own, which were entirely foreign to the meaning of the passages they pretended to translate; their chief care being to make the numbers of the English verse answer to those of the Italian, that both of them might go to the same tune. Thus the famous song in Camilla :
'Barbara si t'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,' &c.
And it was pleasant enough to see the most refined persons of the British nation dying away and languishing to notes that were filled with a spirit of rage and indignation. 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 ran thus, word for word:
And turn'd my rage into pity;'
which the English for rhyme sake translated,
And into pity turn'd my rage.'
By this means the soft notes that were adapted to pity 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
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 entirely 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 stage; 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, since we do put such an entire 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 wise forefathers, will make the following reflections: In the deginning of the eighteenth century, the Italian tongue was so well understood in England, that operas were acted on the public stage in that language.'
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 sense to see the ridicule of this monstrous practice: but what makes it the 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 a 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? 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 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 it be 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 shall take the same 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.
cuted, 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 secret satisfaction to these malignants; for the person whom they before 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 pieces the supposed writer. When that would not as do, they took great pains to suppress the opinion e, that it was his. That again failed. The next reart fuge was, to say it was overlooked by one man, b- and many pages wholly written by another. An I honest fellow who sat among a cluster of them in w, debate on this subject, cried out, Gentlemen, if -you are sure none of you yourselves had a hand in it, it, you are but where you were, whoever writ it.' eir But the most usual succour to the envious, in cases y. of nameless merit in this kind, is to keep the prous perty, if possible, unfixed, and by that means to ke hinder the reputation of it from falling upon any
s, particular person. You see an envious man clear er-up his countenance, if in the relation of any man's ry great happiness in one point, you mention his uns-easiness in another. When he hears such a one is gs very rich he turns pale, but recovers when you add i-that he has many children. In a word, the only b- sure way to an envious man's favour, is not to de
But if we consider the envious man in delight, it ad is like reading of the seat of a giant in a romance; re- the magnificence of his house consists in the many nd limbs of men whom he has slain. If any who promised themselves success in any uncommon undernstaking miscarry in the attempt, or he that aimed of at what would have been useful and laudable, ni- meets with contempt and derision, the envious man, pt under the colour of hating vain-glory, can smile ns with an inward wantonness of heart at the ill efeir fect it may have upon an honest ambition for the a- future.
-a- Having thoroughly considered the nature of this is! passion, I have made it my study how to avoid the an envy that may accrue to me from these my specuhe lations; and if I am not mistaken in myself, I e; think I have a genius to escape it. Upon hearing r's in a coffee-house one of my papers commended, I all immediately apprehended the envy that would y-spring from that applause; and therefore gave a ill description of my face the next day; being reit solved, as I grew in reputation for wit, to resign us my pretensions to beauty. This, I hope, may give el- some ease to those unhappy gentlemen who do me
a the honour to torment themselves upon the account ir- of this my paper. As their case is very deplorable, a- and deserves compassion, I shall sometimes be his dull, in pity to them, and will from time to time ne administer consolations to them by further discoto veries of my person. In the meanwhile, if any one en says the Spectator has wit, it may be some relief ey to them to think that he does not show it in comce pany. And if any one praises his morality, they eir may comfort themselves by considering that his face is none of the longest.
HOM. 11. i. 225.
ngs which I have
correction of imh at heart. This -rovince as Specce committed by as the offenders pportunity of inEwing letter is a sets forth a tresmand of herself as yet with so much Endignation. The ith the eyes; and ing them in such of others from the even looking up
directions, according to the most exact rules of
acceptable man Ever since the marked a kind of rers; that without modesty, disturb a inent eyes. Specply for a puppetut supplicants and nce one ought to member of a small the north gates of of us indeed are
all be allowed the ad- Another numberless branch of peaceable lawyers he is conscious that he is are those young men who, being placed at the ins Impudent, he may as well of court in order to study the laws of their country, be expected that he frequent the playhouse more than Westminsteraether do it. For Hall, and are seen in all public assemblies, except nt of modesty: within a court of justice. I shall say nothing of those silent and busy multitudes that are employed
It has indeed been, time out of mind, generally.
such chamber practice.
led, when I reflect
remarked, and as often lamented, that this family,RCH 94, 1:10-11. palliate their want of business with a pretence to
ach of them overbur
If, in the third place, we look into the profession of physic, we shall find a most formidable body of men. The sight of them is enough to make a man serious; for we may lay it down as maxim, that when a nation abounds in physicians, grows thin of people. Sir William Temple is very much puzzled to find out a reason why the such prodigious swarms, and overrun the world Northern Hive, as he calls it, does not send out with Goths and Vandals, as it did formerly; but had that excellent author observed that there were At the first we may no students in physic among the subjects of Thor deacons. Among and Woden, and that this science very much flou prebendaries, rishes in the north at present, he might have found The rest are compre a better solution for this difficulty than any of those As for the first class, be has made use of. This body of men in our own f any redundancy country may be described like the British army in g competitors are Caesar's time. Some of them slay in chariots, and
in generals, field
I take an impudent fellow to be a sort of out-
my memory the
able to carry most
There are, besides the above-mentioned, inno merable retainers to physic, who, for want of other patients, amuse themselves with the stifling of cats fawning: as the course of the world now runs, the encumbered within an air-pump, cutting up dogs alive, or impaling impudent Englishman behaves like a surly land-like Virgil's army, of insects upon the point of a needle for microslord, the Scot like an ill-received guest, and then, many of them copical observations; besides those that are emIrishman like a stranger, who knows he is not. This prodigious ployed in the gathering of weeds, and the chase of welcome. There is seldom any thing entertaining lead into the litigious butterflies: not to mention the cockleshell-merton; but that of an Irishman is always comic. A in coach-falls to either in the impudence of a South or North Bri- are comprehended chants and spider-catchers.
how each of
true and genuine impudence is ever the effect of ring in term time, are crowded with multitudes that seek their liveli ignorance without the least sense of it. The best dies of lawyers is hood in them, and how many men of merit there
elves in a regular ble and rapacious; in an Irishman, absurd and
y one whole aisle these monstrous
n any one in the ntage of exposing and commands the at annoyance of ry; for what with on, we can neither our animadversion great favour to,
If, therefore, my the way toward it is easily forgiven.
HOR 1 Ep. v. 28.
bring his friend.
starve one another.
within doors in the drawing up of writings and conveyances; nor of those greater numbers that
are in each of them, who may be rather said to be
and most successful starers now in this town are of
of the science than the profession; I very much
mble servant, 's. c.' his sort of fellows, a greater aggrava
the stature mentioned in the above letter of and anger; that rather choose to place their sons in a way of life the eye of women of fortune; insomuch that Iarding as they are where an honest industry cannot but thrive, than have known one of them, three months after he a quantity of in stations where the greatest probity, learning, came from plough, with a tolerable good air, lead which they receive and good sense may miscarry. How many men erve to the reader, are country curates, that might have made them
correspondent, and generally take their stands in
breed, after four years at Oxford and two at these when I reckon selves aldermen of London by a right improvement heads are only quarrel- of a smaller sum of money than what is usually
sacredness of the out a woman from a play, which one of our own
1 at lave
s committed where y reflections of this eupon this sort of usually a person to
Temple, would have been afraid to look at.
opportunity of laid out upon a learned education? A sober frugal of slender parts and a slow apprehension,
I cannot tell how to account for it, but these people have usually the preference to our own
the thing; and a fools, in the opinion of the sillier part of woman-is may arise, they might have thrived, in trade, though he starves wing an impudent kind. Perhaps it is that an English coxcomb is they may show upon physic; as a man would be well enough I seldom so obsequious as an Irish one; and when the lists, whenever pleased to buy silks of one, whom he would not
ion, and can bear -t so easily rebuked
ae, in the first place, studious, and obliging, but withal a little thick. the several ians of court, skulled; he has not a single client, but might have
venture to feel his pulse. Vagellius is careful,
the design of pleasing is visible, an absurdity in
n me, that within
But those who are downright impudent, and go
rder than a pleader,sion, and therefore desire their sons may be of it;
barbarian does not only, without an -per has promised I have given him
on without reflection that they are such, are more of the law, and are had abundance of customers. The misfortune is, to be tolerated, than a set of fellows among sons of mind that ac- that parents take a liking to a particular profesn, and stare against think to carry off the most inexcusable of all faults their babitations, eat- whereas, in so great an affair of life, they should in the world, with no other apology than saying once a year, for consider the genius and abilities of their children,
who profess impudence with an air of humour, and
Sasate folk, 1666
more than their own inclinations.
in a gay tone, I put an impudent face upon the
It is the great advantage of a trading nation,
Another numberless branch of peaceable lawyers is are those young men who, being placed at the inns ell of court in order to study the laws of their country, he frequent the playhouse more than Westminsteror Hall, and are seen in all public assemblies, except th- in a court of justice. I shall say nothing of those le. silent and busy multitudes that are employed within doors in the drawing up of writings and conveyances; nor of those greater numbers that palliate their want of business with a pretence to such chamber practice.
If, in the third place, we look into the profession of physic, we shall find a most formidable body of men. The sight of them is enough to make a man serious; for we may lay it down as a maxim, that when a nation abounds in physicians, ect it grows thin of people. Sir William Temple is w, very much puzzled to find out a reason why the Northern Hive, as he calls it, does not send out es such prodigious swarms, and overrun the world with Goths and Vandals, as it did formerly; but ld had that excellent author observed that there were no students in physic among the subjects of Thor\ and Woden, and that this science very much flourishes in the north at present, he might have found e- a better solution for this difficulty than any of those he has made use of. This body of men in our own cy country may be described like the British army in re Cæsar's time. Some of them slay in chariots, and some on foot. If the infantry do less execution than the charioteers, it is because they cannot be carried so soon into all quarters of the town, and f- dispatch so much business in so short a time. Be he sides this body of regular troops, there are straga glers, who, without being duly listed and enrolled, be do infinite mischief to those who are so unlucky he as to fall into their hands.
There are, besides the above-mentioned, innuost merable retainers to physic, who, for want of other patients, amuse themselves with the stifling of cats in an air-pump, cutting up dogs alive, or impaling of insects upon the point of a needle for microsin copical observations; besides those that are emus ployed in the gathering of weeds, and the chase of butterflies: not to mention the cockleshell-mered chants and spider-catchers.
to When I consider how each of these professions are crowded with multitudes that seek their livelihood in them, and how many men of merit there are in each of them, who may be rather said to be of the science than the profession; I very much wonder at the humour of parents, who will not at rather choose to place their sons in a way of life where an honest industry cannot but thrive, than of in stations where the greatest probity, learning, ve and good sense may miscarry. How many men are country curates, that might have made themselves aldermen of London by a right improvement el- of a smaller sum of money than what is usually of laid out upon a learned education? A sober frugal person, of slender parts and a slow apprehension, ey might have thrived, in trade, though he starves W upon physic; as a man would be well enough er pleased to buy silks of one, whom he would not venture to feel his pulse. Vagellius is careful, e, studious, and obliging, but withal a little thickrt, skulled; he has not a single client, but might have re had abundance of customers. The misfortune is, that parents take a liking to a particular profeser.sion, and therefore desire their sons may be of it; at- whereas, in so great an affair of life, they should or consider the genius and abilities of their children, more than their own inclinations.
It is the great advantage of a trading nation,
that there are very few in it so dull and heavy, MR. SPECTATOR, who may not be placed in stations of life, which This is to let you understand, that the playhouse may give them an opportunity of making their is a representation of the world in nothing so much fortunes. A well-regulated commerce is not, like as in this particular, that no one rises in it accordlaw, physic, or divinity, to be overstocked withing to his merit. I have acted several parts of hands; but, on the contrary, flourishes by multi-household-stuff with great applause for many years: tudes, and gives employment to all its professors. I am one of the men in the hangings in The EmFleets of merchantmen are so many squadrons of floating shops, that vend our wares and manufactures in all the markets of the world, and find out chapmen under both the tropics. ADDISON *.
N° 22. MONDAY, MARCH 26, 1711.
Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi.
Whatever contradicts my sense
I hate to see, but never can believe.
THE word Spectator being most usually understood as one of the audience at public representations in our theatres, I seldom fail of many letters relating to plays and operas. But indeed there are such monstrous things done in both, that if one had not been an eye-witness of them, one could not believe that such matters had really been exhibited. There is very little which concerns human life, or is a picture of nature, that is regarded by the greater part of the company. The understanding is dismissed from our entertainments. Our mirth is the laughter of fools, and our admiration the wonder
ing is now so managed that you are not to be surprised when I say one or two of them are rational, others sensitive and vegetative actors, and others wholly inanimate. I shall not place these as I bave named them, but as they have precedence in the opinion of their audiences.
peror of the Moon; I have twice performed the
'MR. SPECTATOR, UNDERSTANDING that Mr. Screne has writ to you, and desired to be raised from dumb and still parts: I desire, if you give him motion or speech, that you would advance me in my way, and let me keep on in what I humbly presume I am a master, to wit, in representing human and still life together. I have several times acted one of the finest flower-pots in the same opera wherein Mr. Screne is a chair; therefore, upon his promotion, request that I may succeed him in the hangings, with my hand in the orange-trees. 'Your humble servant,
RALPH SIMPLE.' 'Drury-Lane, March 24, 1710-11.
I SAW your friend the Templar this evening in the pit, and thought he looked very little pleased With the representation of the mad scene of The Pilgrim. I wish, sir, you would do us the favour to animadvert frequently upon the false taste the town is in, with relation to plays as well as operas.
of idiots; else such improbable, monstrous, and incoherent dreams could not go off as they do, not only without the utmost scorn and contempt, but even with the loudest applause and approbation. But the letters of my correspondents will represent this affair in a more lively manner than any discourse of my own; I shall therefore give them to my reader with only this preparation, that they all It certainly requires a degree of understanding to come from players, and that the business of play-play justly; but such is our condition, that we are to suspend our reason to perform our parts. As to scenes of madness, you know, sir, there are noble instances of this kind in Shakspeare; but then it is the disturbance of a noble mind, from generous and humane resentments. It is like that grief which we have for the decease of our friends. It is no diminution, but a recommendation of human nature, that in such incidents passion gets the better of reason; and all we can think to comfort I will not mention that we had an idiot in the ourselves, is impotent against half what we feel. scene, and all the sense it is represented to have, is that of lust. As for myself, who have long taken pains in personating the passions, I have to-night acted only an appetite. The part I played is Thirst, but it is represented as written rather by a drayman than a poet. I come in with a tub about me, that tub hung with quart pots, with a full gallon at my mouth. I am ashamed to tell you that I pleased very much, and this was introduced as a madness; but sure it was not hunan madness, for a mule or an ass may have been as dry as ever was in my life.
YOUR having been so humble as to take notice of the epistles of other animals, emboldens me, who am the wild boar that was killed by Mrs. Tofts, to represent to you that I think I was hardly used in not having the part of the lion in Hydaspes given to me. It would have been but a natural step for me to have personated that noble creature, after having behaved myself to satisfaction in the part above-mentioned. That of a lion is too great a character for one that never trod the stage before but upon two legs. As for the little resistance which I made, I hope it may be excused, when it is considered that the dart was thrown at me by so fair a hand. I must confess I had but just put on my brutality; and Camilla's charms were such, that beholding her erect mien, hearing her charming voice, and astonished with her graceful motion, I could not keep up to my assumed fierceness, but died like a man.
'I am, SIR,
"Your most humble admirer,
'I am, SIR,
'If you can read it with dry eyes, I give you this trouble to acquaint you, that I am the unfortunate king Latinus, and I believe I am the first prince At the close of No 108, he desires his readers to compare that dated from this palace since John of Gaunt. Such is the uncertainty of all human greatness, that
with this what is said there.