« AnteriorContinuar »
to school a printed volume of songs, which made all the bodies decidedly bacchanalian. If we had had anything to drink I would not have answered for the consequences. The whole school (at my dictation)
“ Then deign, ye kind powers, with this wish to comply,
May I always be drinking, yet always be dry." The opera of “ Lionel and Clarissa ” about this time fell into my hands. Joe Williams brought it down to school with him. I had not the slightest idea of the proper tunes, so I manufactured my own.
Oh, talk not to me of the wealth she possesses !” I accordingly set to “ Paddy Whack;" and very well it goes to it. Edwin had a sailor's song, about that period, of which the burthen was “ Fal de ral, tit!” varying to “ Tit, fal de ral, my boys!" It began, “ As I was a walking down Thames-street. I went, in the Midsummer holidays, with Jack Oliphant to visit Green, whose father lived in the Tower. We went from Green's father's house, at Walworth, and consequently had to cross London Bridge, and then to turn into the first street on our right. What should it prove to be but Thames-street. “Why, Tom Treble!” exclaimed Oliphant, “ I'll be hanged if this is not the Fal de ral tit street.” I accordingly walked reverently, treading as I did upon classical ground. Edwin died in the year 1790. I saw his funeral; and, as they deposited him in the churchyard of St. Paul, Covent Garden, I could not help singing to myself, from the opera of “ The Farmer,” “Gad-a-mercy! devil's in me,” with a solemnity suitable to the occasion.
Cobb’s “ Haunted Tower" gave a loftier aim to my ambition. I disdained all the chip chows and the fal de rals as trifles unworthy of a songster of any spirit. “ When Time has from your Lordship’s face,” I accordingly managed tolerably well; but when I attempted to mount to “ Spirit of my sainted sire,” I found that saying was one thing, and singing another. It was a decided breakdown. I drilled some of my schoolfeHows in “ By mutual love delighted," and was just exclaiming, “ Sestetto and chorus, gentlemen,” when the entrance of the dominie, with his long cane, drove all the harmony clean out of our respective heads. I should have exclaimed, “Monster, away !” but I had not at that time seen Artaxerxes.” Charles Dibdin, at or about the time in question, opened his entertainment at first, I think, in Beaufort-buildings, and afterwards in a street out of Leicester-square, where he had exhausted his money in erecting a new theatre : the public preferred the shabby old one. In this respect the town is like a hive of bees, who will sometimes stick to their old straw tenement, and disdain the proffered mahogany and glass new one. I have Dibdin now distinctly depicted" in my mind's eye, Horatio,” in his court-dress suit and cannon-curled hair, seated behind his pianoforte, in the centre of his Lilliputian stage, where I have witnessed his “ Whims and Oddities,” written, composed, sung, and accompanied by himself. The double talent of poetry and music, so rarely united in one person, enabled him to give an effect to his verses which I have never seen equalled. 6. While Echo resounds the
my hounds,” in “ Poor Vulcan,” may be cited as an example. He there and elsewhere did what Pope failed to do, by making “ the sound an echo to the sense.” It is not to be supposed that one who had such a singing in his head as I possessed could avoid catching the infec
tion in Beaufort-buildings. Certain it is, that for at least two years I was “ Jolly Dick the Lamplighter," and sailed merrily in the good ship Rover, finding all relations stranded after a most melodious rate—not to mention a most domestic intimacy with “Father and mother and Suke." “Sweet Poll of Plymouth " was my dear, for a very short period—I never quite liked her:
Meg of Wapping.” (I am ashamed to own) was a girl much more to my mind; and she, in her turn, was condemned to wear the willow when I “ looked on the moon and thought of Nancy.”
Songs are like women—when we cease to love them we are too apt to hate them. We recollect in the hour of satiety our moments of former over-fondness, and disgust ensues. I remember being enamoured of · My own dear Somebody,” and “ The little bird then flew away;" and am half disposed to knock my head against the wall for my former inconceivable stupidity. As for Mrs. Jordan's “ O where! and O where!" (as if one “ O where !" would not do,) I mean to brazen it out that I never sang it in the whole course of my life.
Anacreon Moore reated a new sensation in the lyrical world, and turned me into a terrible assassin of the female sex. I then first managed, by the aid of my cousin Anne, to sing to the pianoforte; and most tender looks I cast around me, while chaunting “ The wreath you wove,
,"? “ Fly not yet,” “ I'd mourn the hopes,” and “ Come, tell me, says Rosa.” It seemed to me that thus gifted, like Orpheus, I had only to pick and choose a wife, with “ wit, family, and gold;" but, somehow, I found the sex, like voters in a borough, very ready to cry
s bravo !” but, when it came to polling, the richest candidate carried the day. Sally Partington, with her twenty thousand pounds, actually shed tears at my “ Last Rose of Summer," and the very next day married Dick Discord, with a voice like a raven, merely because he was second partner in a brewhouse. I took refuge in Dibdin’s “Quaker," and revenged myself by singing " Oh Woman's a Will o' the Wisp!” Moore's Melodies certainly soothed my savage breast, by driving away several “ whack fal de rals ” of which the popularity of Irish Johnstone had made me enamoured. I, however, keep constant to the “ Groves of Blarney,” on account of the cadence at the end of each verse, to which I flatter myself I did melodious justice.
I had not hitherto ventured upon duets ; but the popularity of “ Slighted vows,
“ Could a man be secure ?” and “ Together let us range the fields,” fired my ambition, and my cousin Anne's piano was again put in requisition. But here an unexpected difficulty occurred. I had a good ear for a first, but a villanous one for a second ; and many an hour's toil the poor girl had to keep me to my part. When she began “ Together let us range the fields," I always was allowing her to sing“ fields” before I echoed her; whereas I ought to have caught it up, and repeated it when she came to range.
It was the same with “Could a man be secure ?”' it being my business to answer
Could a man ?” the moment she had said the word
As a return for all this toil, on my account, I made Anne a present of a pair of ear-rings, which she acknowledged by the following epigram :
“ A gift like this from you appears
The best you can bestow :
You've bored them long ago !"
When I ventured upon a song in society, I was sadly puzzled as to which I should select. My crack articles of that kind for many years were “ Jolly Dick the Lamplighter," when I was merry, and “ When you tell me your heart is another's," when I was disposed to be killing. But here lay the difficulty. How did I know with which of them to begin ? Put your best leg foremost is a very good rule when you
know you have another to follow; but how can you be sure that you will be called upon to sing another song ? I have missed many a love attachment by beginning (and ending) with “ Jolly Dick.
Things had assumed this shape when Mozart's “Don Giovanni” first appeared at the Opera-house. This wrought a powerful and revolutionary effect upon my vocal efforts. From its great importance it must form the subject of a separate communication.
MARTIAL IN LONDON.
The Union Club versus the College of Physicians,
O COLLEGE of Physicians, rest,
Give o'er your useless labour,
The Union Club, your neighbour.
“ Pulchrum et idem semper;"
Are painted in distemper.
spy a flaw:
To Dr. Quin, on his system of Cure by Minims, or the smallest
possible Doses. Quin, in
I cannot guess what you're at.
De minimis non curat."
On the recent Accident at Hatfield House, whereby the Dowager Marchioness
was thrown down. Conservatives at Hatfield House
Grow very harum-scarum; What worse could the Reformers do
Than overset Old Sarum ?
INHABITANTS OF A COUNTRY TOWN.
BY MISS MITFORD.
No. III.-MRS. DUVAL AND HER LODGERS.—THE OLD EMIGRE'.
The town of B-is, like many of our ancient English boroughs, full of monastic remains, which give an air at once venerable and picturesque to the old irregular streets and suburban gardens of the place. Besides the great ruins of the abbey extending over many acres, and the deep and beautiful arched gateway forming part of an old romantic house which, although erected many centuries later, is now falling to decay, whilst the massive structure of the arch remains firm and vigorous as a rock,—besides that graceful and shadowy gateway which, with the majestic elms that front it, has formed the subject of almost as many paintings and drawings as Durham Cathedral—every corner of the town presents some relique of “hoar antiquity " to the eye of the curious traveller. Here, a stack of chimneys, -there, a bit of garden wall,in this place, a stone porch with the date 1472,-in that, an oakenraftered granary of still earlier erection—all give token of the solid architecture of the days when the mitred abbots of the great monastery of B-, where princes have lodged and kings been buried, (as witness the stone coffins, not long since disinterred in the ruined chapel,) were the munificent patrons and absolute suzerains of the good burghers and their borough town. Even where no such traces exist, the very names of the different localities indicate their connexion with these powerful monks. Friar Street, Minster Street, the Oriel, the Holy Brook, the Abbey Mills,-names which have long outlived not only the individual churchmen, but even the proud foundation by whom they were bestowed, -still attest the extensive influence of the Lord Abbot. If it be true, according to Lord Byron, that“ words are things,” still more truly may we say that names are histories.
Nor were these remains confined to the town. The granges and parks belonging to the wide-spreading abbey lands, their manors and fisheries, extended for many miles around ; and more than one yeoman, in the remoter villages, claims to be descended of the tenants who held farms under the church; whilst many a mouldering parchment indicates the assumption of the abbey property by the crown, or its bestowal on some favourite noble of the court. And amidst these reliques of ecclesiastical pomp and wealth, be it not forgotten that better things were mingled, -almshouses for the old, hospitals for the sick, and crosses and chapels at which the pilgrim or the wayfarer might offer up his prayers. One of the latter, dedicated to “ Our Ladye,” was singularly situated on the centre pier of the old bridge at Upton, where, indeed, the original basement, surmounted by a more modern dwellinghouse, still continues.
By far the most beautiful ruin in B is, however, the east end of an old priory, situate at the entrance of the town from the pleasant village of Upton, above mentioned, from which it is divided by about half a mile of green meadows sloping down to the great river, with its long straggling bridge, sliding, as it were, into an irregular street of cottages,
trees, and gardens, terminated by the old church, embosomed in wood, and crowned by the great chalk-pit and the high range of Oxfordshire hills.
The end of the old Priory forming the angle between two of the streets of B- and being itself the last building of the town, commands this pretty pastoral prospect. It is placed in about half an acre of ground, partly cultivated as a garden, partly planted with old orchard trees, standing back both from the street on the one side, and the road on the other, apart and divided from all other buildings, except a small white cottage, which is erected against the lower part, and which it surmounts in all the pride of its venerable beauty, retaining almost exactly that form of a pointed arch, to which the groined roof was fitted ; almost, but not quite, since on one side part of the stones are crumbling away into a picturesque irregularity, whilst the other is overgrown by large masses of ivy, and the snapdragon and the wallflower have contributed to break the outline. The east window, however, is perfect, -as perfect as if finished yesterday. And the delicate tracery of that window, the rich fretwork of its Gothic carving, clear as point-lace, regular as the quaint cutting of an Indian fan, have to me, --especially when the summer sky is seen through those fantastic mouldings, and the ash and elder saplings, which have sprung from the fallen masses below, mingle their fresh and vivid tints with the hoary apple-trees of the orchard, and the fine mellow hue of the weather-stained grey stone,-a truer combination of that which the mind seeks in ruins, the union of the beautiful and the sad, than any similar scene with which I am acquainted, however aided by silence and solitude, by majestic woods and mighty waters.
Perhaps the very absence of these romantic adjuncts, the passing at once from the busy hum of men to this memorial of past generations, may aid the impression; or perhaps the associations connected with the small cottage that leans against it, and harmonizes so well in form, and colour, and feeling, with the general picture, may have more influence than can belong merely to form and colour in producing the half-unconscious melancholy that steals over the thoughts.
Nothing could be less melancholy than my first recollections of that dwelling, when, a little school-girl at home for the holidays, I used to open the small wicket, and run up the garden-path, and enter the ever-open door to purchase Mrs. Duval's famous brioches and marangles.
Mrs. Duval had not always lived in the cottage by the Priory. Fifteen years before she had been a trim, black-eyed maiden, the only daughter and heiress of old Anthony Richards, an eminent confectioner in Queen Street. There she had presided over turtle-soup and tartlets, ices and jellies,-in short, over the whole business of the counter, with much discretion, her mother being dead, and Anthony keeping close to his territory—the oven. With admirable discretion had Miss Fanny Richards conducted the business of the shop; smiling, civil, and attentive to everybody, and yet contriving,
-in spite of her gay and pleasant manner, the evident light-heartedness which danced in her sparkling eyes, and her airy steps, and her arch, yet innocent speech, a light-heartedness which charmed even the gravest,—to avoid any, the slightest approach to allurement or coquetry. The most practised recruiting officer that ever lounged in a country town could not strike up a flirtation with Fanny Richards ; nor could the more genuine admiration of the raw boy just