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country, has fubfifted ever fince. The ancient Romans had the fine arts and eminent artists from Greece; and, in return, the modern Romans fupply all the rest of Europe with painting, fculpture, and Mufic. This laft art is a manufacture in Italy, that feeds and enriches a large portion of the people; and it is no more difgraceful to a mercantile country to import it, than wine, tea, or any other production of remote parts of the world. The French have never yet fuffered an opera in the Italian language to be performed in their country fince the time of Cardinal Mazarin; though of late they have invited to their capital, and employed the best Italian compofers; while the English, who tolerate all religions, have manifefled not only a liberal spirit with refpect to the Italian Opera, but good taite and good fenfe. It is univerfally allowed that the Italian tongue is more fonorous, more fweet, and of more eafy utterance, than any other modern language; and that the Mufic of Italy, particularly the vocal, perhaps, for that reafon, has been more fuccefsfully cultivated than any other in Europe. Now the vocal mufic of Italy can only be heard in perfection when fung to its own language and by its own natives, who give both the language and Mufic their true accents and expreffions. There is as muc' reafon for wifhing to hear Italian Mufic performed in this genuine manner, as for the lovers of painting to prefer an origimal picture of Raphael to a copy.

ftanced. Sir Richard Steele had not only an intereft in one of the Englifh theatres, but had let his concert room, in York-buildings, to Clayton, Dieupart, and Haym, who lofing their power and importance at the opera on the arrival of Handel, folicited fubfcriptions for a concert at York-buildings, and were abetted and patronifed by the Spectators, number 158 and 178, both written by Steele.

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Mr Addison had, in a former number of this popular and, in ge neral, excellent periodical work, levelled his chief artillery of ridicule at the abfurdity of going to an opera without unslerflanding the language in which it is performed: furdity," fays he, that fhews itself at firft fight. It does not want any great measure of fenfe to fee the ri dicule of this monftrous practice *.* Now Mr Addifon puts the language of Mufic and excellent acting out of the question, and speaks of this monstrous practice as if it were going to hear a Perfian or Chinefe oration, with out understanding a fingle word that is fad. But he never told the public that it was abfurd to go to concerts of good Mufic; nay, he recommends thofe of Clayton, by the infertion of his letters, to public encouragement. Now it may be asked, what entertainment there is for the mind in a concerto, fonata, or folo ? They are mere objects of gratification to the ear, in which, however, imagination may divert itfelf with the idea, that a fine adagio is a tragical story; an andante, or grazioso, an elegant narrative of fome tranquil event; and an allegro a tale of merriment.

I am as ready to allow the force of Mr Addifon's and Sir Richard Steele's humorous papers on the opera, and to laugh at them as heartily as any one; but as theatrical praife and cenfure are always fufpicious, we should not forget who were the authors of the Tatlers and Specrators, nor how they were circum

- What did the ancient Greeks and Romans understand at their pantomime reprefentations? yet all the admirers of antiquity and claffical knowledge fpeak of the mimes with praife and admiration. An opera, at the worft, is still better than a


See Spectator, No. 18.

concert merely for the ear, or a pantomime entertainment for the eye. Suppofing the articulation to be wholly unintelligible, we have an excellent union of melody and harmony, vocal as well as inftrumental, for the ear. And, according to Sir Richard Steele's account of Nicoli ni's action, it was fo fignificant, that a deaf man might go along with • him in the fenfe of the part he ac' ted *.'

No one will difpute but that understanding Italian would render our entertainment at an opera more rational and more complete ; but without that advantage, let it be remembered by the lovers of Mufic, that an opera is the coinpleteft concert to which they can go, with this advantage over thofe in fill life, that to the most perfect unging, and effects of a powerful and well difciplined band, are frequently added excellent acting, fplendid fcenes and decorations, with fuch dancing as a playhouse, from its inferior prices, is feldom able to furnish +.

The ridicule and reafoning of Mr Addifon, from his high reputation as a writer, has been long and implicitly admitted, and imagined fincere; but befides his want. of knowledge, as well as love for mufic, when it is confidered that his friend Sir Richard Steele was a patentee of the playhouse, and at any rate to down with the opera, and exit the English drama; and that Addion himfelf was not angry at the death of Rofamond, but at the opera being crowded, while his friend Mr Smith's tragedy of Phædra and Hippotitus was neglected; but it has always been neglected, even when no opera


was performed against it; for, as D Johnfon fays, it pleafed the critics, and the critics only. If we put these circumstances together, we fhall afcribe fome part of the Spectator's feverity to want of skill in the art of Mulic; fome to peevishness; and the reft to national prejudice, and thefpirit of party in favour of our domeitic theatre.

London now has a fufficient number of inhabitants to fupply a musical theatre with an audience, and yet not injure our own drama. People will be pleafed their own way; when great talents draw, the opera is crowded; but when only medio crity can be found there, neglected. It is ever fo with the playhoufes nor can it be faid that native excellence has been always robbed of its' fhare of public favour by our partiality to foreigners; though Mr Addifon has faid, that we know_not what we like in Mufic; only in general we are traufported with any thing that is not English: fo it be of foreign growth, let it be Italian, French, or High Dutch, it is the fame thing. But was this the cafe In his own time, with refpect to finging? Were not Mrs Tofts, and Mrs Anantafia Robiníon in very high favour, though English women? And in our own time, has Mrs Sheridan, Mrs Bates, or Mrs Billington, ever experienced neglect? Or have the powers of Garrick, Mrs Siddons, or Mrs Jordan ever been flighted?

Difputable talents frequently remain in obfcurity, but fupreme excellence will burit through all prejudice, indiference, and oppofition, and always fhine with due luftre in the eyes of the grateful public.


*Tatler, No. 1:5.

What do we understand when English is finging on our ftage without a book? The Mufic of the Romish ritual is perhaps the chief part of what effects the people ignorant of the Latin tongue. And the Ruffian is exactly like our own early ope ras, performed in two languages: ancient Greek, of which the generality of the congregation is ignorant, and Sciavonian which they understand.'

Complaints of neglect are generally the croakings of inferiority, which never mended matters, or convinced mankind that they were either deaf, blind, or stupid.

The confiftency of Sir Richard Steele in the Tatler may be estimated by comparing No. 4 with 115. In the one, operas and the public are condemned, because Pyrrhus and Demetrius was performed with great applaufe-in the other, the British Cenfor is furprised to find a thin houfe at fo noble an entertain'ment:" then follows his admirable eloge on Nicolini as an actor, totally apart from his vocal powers as a finger. Yet this fame Nicolini perform ed in the fame troop and band, and in the fame opera, on both these occafions.

people will never be at the trouble and expence of going to a public place for what they can hear or fee at home.

As to the understanding having no part in the pleasure we receive at an opera, it may at leaft be allowed the negative praife which was given it even by the black fanatic Cromwell, that being in an unintelligible tongue, it cannot corrupt the morals of the people.' But who will now fay, if the opera were English, that the moral fentiments of Metaftafio would poifon and deprave the mind? And who, that our own Beggar's Opera which burlesques the other, and comedies of Congreve and Vanbrugh, however excellent in o ther refpects, are immaculate fyftems of ethics, and fit leffons for the

Mr Addison pretends to be fur-fair, the gay, the young,' who prifed that the paffion for operas is chiefly frequent public places? not the taste of the rabble, but of perfons of the greatest politenefs, which has established it.' But he furely did not want to be told, that cultivated ears want cultivated Mufic, and natural ears natural.

Things to be heard or feen, as exhibitions, must be extraordinary :

Indeed, the pleafantry of Addi fon and Steele upon opera abfurdities is often extremely rifible and amufing; but their ferious reasoning on the fubject is unjust, and generally under the guidance of felf-intereft and national prejudice.

A wonderful and tragical Relation of a Voyage from the Indies. In a Letter to Mr D. B. of London, Merchant. Quarto, containing eight pages; printed at London for J. Conyers, at the Black Raven in Duck-Lane, 1684.


CCORDING to promise in my laft, I have enquired into the particulars of that fo tragical a rela tion therein mentioned, the which, without any prologue, I fhall lay down in its naked truth, as I had the fame from the mouth of the furvivors who are now at my house, which, if you please, take as follow: -A gentleman called the Heer van Effell, native of the Low Countries, having had the education of a merchVOL. X. No. 57.


ant at home, was refolved to improve his patrimony in fome foreign parts: To which end, being thereunto the more encouraged by the promise of a ftrict correfpondence with feveral of his countrymen, he undertook a voyage to the Indies, whither he arrived about the year 1670; and, by the induftrious management of his affairs, increased his eftate fo confiderably, that few men in thofe parts lived in greater fplendour; being thus

thus fettled about feven years; a terwards he came acquainted with the daughter of a Dutch merchant of great fortune, a gentlewoman of many worthy accomplishments, and exceeding beautiful." Our merch ant. being much taken with her port and beauty, made his addreffes to her, and, refolving to change his condition, found her not altogether averse to his happinefs; which, by degrees, he raifed to confent, and obtained her for his wife, with whom he lived very happily for feveral years, till he had increafed his eftate to fuch a portion, as made him think to return to his own country, where he first drew breath, and had left his relations; communicating which defign to his lady, the readily affented to the voyage, and accordingly he made preparation to gather his eftate into a bottom, and take leave of the Indies, which in a fhort time he effected; and being fupplied with a veliel that had discharged herself at the faid port, he hired the fame for Rotterdam, and therein imbarked himself, his wife, two children, and one fervant, with all his eftate, which amounted to a very confiderable cargo, and, in Auguft laft, took fhip. ping. The flattering fea, which too often beguiles us to our undoing, promifed him for the first two months a very happy voyage, and filled his heart with hopes of touching the fhore, the long abfence of his friends rendered very defirable to him, and buoyed up with the expectation of a happiness cruel fate had defigned to deprive him of, was on a fudden becalmed; infomuch that, for feveral weeks, they could fcarcely tell whether they were forwarded a league's fpace; in which time, of the fixteen feamen and mafter that was on board, by a disease that increased amongst them, feveral died, and, by degrees their provifion growing fhort, they were forced to deal the fame more fparingly about, hoping, by their

care, they might have enough to ferve them through their voyage, and made the best way they could to their defired port; yet, fuch was their misfortune, that they failed of their expectation, and came to fee the laft of what they had fpent, and for four days lived without any fuftenance; and, the wind being cross, they could not make land, where they might revictual, but were forced to keep on their voyage. Their extremity was fuch, that the two children, not fo well able to bear the hardships as others, both died, on whofe bodies, notwithstanding the tears and intreaties of the merchant and his wife, they were forced to feed; which being in a fhort time confumed, it came to be confidered, having no fight nor hope of any fhore, that they must either all of them fubmit to the fate that threatened them, or contrive fome other method to fave then felves, which at prefent they had not the leaft profpect of, unless, in the common calamity, they confented by lot, or otherwife, to deftroy fome one in the number to fave the reft; which unwillingly they were at length inforced to, and jointly agreed, that, according to the number then on board, they should number fo many lots, and on whom number One fell, he fhould be flain, and number Two fhould be his executioner. But here a difpute arofe, whether the merchant's wife, whofe two children had to her great grief been already eaten, in favour to her fex, fhould not be exempted from the fatal lot; fome were of opinion the ought, and particularly one George Carpinger, a ftout English feaman, used his endeavours to work the company to affent thereunto; but as nothing is fo voracious or cruel as the jaws of hunger, on the one hand, or fo eftimable as life on the other, he could not effect his defign; fo that, the majority having over-ruled his argu ments,

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needlefs to recount, fince none are fo hard-hearted but may in some measure judge; fhe founded and almoft died with grief, and begged to be her own executioner, but the was too narrowly watched by her fervant and arpinger, to effect fo cruel a purpose; their eyes never left her, and their cares were more for her prefervation than their own; but in vain was all their watchfulness against the enemy from without, when the harboured in her own breast a foe fufficient to deftroy a greater ftrength than grief had left her; for no intreaties could perfuade her to feed on that dear corpfe the had fo often cherished, but what share thereof, the hardship of her fate allowed her for her food, fhe embalmed with her tears, and by renewed vows promises to fhare fortunes with it, and be buried in the fame unwonted grave in which that Flesh was diftributed, she once fo much admired; which the had never accomplished, having had no food in that time but two rats, which were fortunately taken, and prefented to her by Carpinger, at fuch time as the fatal lot was to take its fecond round, in which fhe was refolved to share, notwithstanding all the intreaties of Carpinger and her fervant; and, in fhort, the had her with, and drew again a fecond time her own fentence, which the welcomed more than a bridal day; and being just ready to yield her throat to the executioner's knife, the had certainly fell, had not Carpinger, with two more, whom he hired, itepped in, and refolutely withftood the execution; upon which quarrel they drew their faulchions, and four perfons were flain, amongst whom the faithful fervant was one. This was a fufficient morfel for the prefent, and ftaid the bloody hunger of the furvivors, who were now reduced to five or fix perfons befides the lady ; with the bodies of the flain they were then fed more plenteously than for 2 fome


nents, they drew in common, and fuch was their misfortune, that the lot fell on the woman for death, and on her husband for executioner. Miferable was the lamentation of the husband and wife, that fo fatal a mifchance fhould for ever part them; yet tears and intreaties were ineffectual, fo that nothing but fubmiffion was left, though the merchant's fervant and Carpinger food refolutely against the reft, and refolved to spare them; which the merchant perceiving, and knowing their force was too little to accomplish their wishes, with a fettled countenance, fpoke to them to the following purport: Honest friends, for fuch you have approved yourfelyes to me, you have feen the hardihip of my fate; and, fince it is drove to this point, I am refolved never to be ' her executioner, who hath been fo loving and just a wife to me; but ' in her stead am refolved myself to be the facrifice; and therefore what I have to fay to you is, that you ftand her friends, when I am dead; what is in this veffel does, as you know, belong to me; fpare ' nothing of it to serve her, and with 'these notes, if ever that you arrive at Rotterdam, tho' all in this cargo be loft, you fhall be plentifully ' rewarded.' Which after he had faid, and they with tears had heard, being about to answer him, he drew a piftol from his pocket, which he fo unexpectedly difcharged, that they had no time to prevent it, and fhot himself in the head, of which wound he immediately died.

The cry they made at his fall, and the noife of the pistol, were quickly heard by the rest of the thip's crew, which foon called them thither; nor was his wife long abfent, who, poor lady, had been preparing herself for her end, which, by this lefs pleafing difafter the faw prevented. The tears she shed and extravagancies the acted at fo difmal a tragedy, were but


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