« PreviousContinue »
To this Pope returns: 'To answer your question as to Mr. 20 Hughes; what he wanted in genius, he made up as an honest man; but he was of the class you think him.'
In Spence's collections Pope is made to speak of him with still 21 less respect, as having no claim to poetical reputation but from his tragedy?
APPENDIX Z (PAGE 160)
* The first opera, properly so called, was Arsinoe (see The Spectator, No. 18), set to music by Thomas Clayton, and performed at Drury Lane in 1707.' In 1710 Handel arrived, and produced operas such as were performed in Italy.' 'In the adapting English words to the Italian airs' the translator only aimed at 'a correspondence in respect of measure and cadence between the words and the music. Hawkins's Hist. of Music, v. 135, 148.
Dennis in 1706 attacked the Italian Opera as 'barbarous and gothick. ... When once the Italians were fallen so low as to prefer sound to sense they quickly grew to write such sense that sound deserved to be preferred to it.' Select Works, i. 467. In 1707 Tickell described how Britannia
blushes on her injured stage to see Nonsense well tuned, and sweet stupidity.'
Eng. Poets, xxxix. 173. Steele wrote on Oct. 7, 1708 :
-The taste for plays is expired. We are all for operas, performed by eunuchs every way impotent to please.' G. M. Berkeley's Literary Relics, p. 398.
On March 22, 1708-9, Swift wrote :—The vogue of operas holds up wonderfully, though we have had them a year; but I design to set up a party among the wits to run them down by next winter.' Works, xv. 323. Operas are attacked on the following April 18 in The Tatler, No. 4. In March and April 1711 Addison laughed at them in The Spectator, Nos. 5, 18, 28, 29, 31. In No. 18 he writes S'The poetasters and fiddlers laid down an established rule, “That nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense."
In 1712 Pope, in The Rape of the Lock, v. 63, mocks the opera of Camilla by quoting it :
A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast,
“Those eyes are made so killing”_was his last.' He attacked operas also in The Prologue to Cato, and The Dunciad, iv. 45. reference to Horace's Ars Poet. I. * This paragraph is not in the first 372. Mediocrist is not in Johnson's edition. “Hughes was a good humbleDictionary. 'But,' asks Dr. Warton, spirited man, a great admirer of Mr. was the author of such a tragedy as Addison, and but a poor writer, The Siege of Damascus one of the except his play that is very well.' mediocribus?' Pope's Works, 1822, POPE, Spence's Anec. p. 302. ix. 243.
On Aug. 3, 1714, Addison in The Guardian, No. 124, parodied them in such verses as the following:
Oh! the charming month of May !
Full,' &c. In 1733 Fielding described how we sacrificed our own native entertainments to a wanton affected fondness for foreign music.' Works, 1806,
In 1753 Chesterfield wrote :-'Whenever I go to an Opera I leave my sense and reason at the door with my half-guinea, and deliver myself up to my eyes and my ears.' Letters to his Son, iii. 257.
In 1759 Goldsmith, no enemy to operas, wrote :—Some years ago the Italian Opera was the only fashionable amusement among our nobility. The managers of the playhouses dreaded it as a mortal enemy, and our very poets listed themselves in the opposition ; at present the house seems deserted.' Works, iii. 134.
In 1763 Gray wrote :—The truth is the Opera . . . has rather maintained itself ... on the borrowed taste of a few men of condition, that have learned in Italy how to admire, than by any genuine love we bear to the best Italian music.' Mitford's Gray, iv. 18.
The Duchess of Grafton's account-book shows that in 1707-8 'the entrance money was half a guinea.' Hanmer Corres. p. 234. See also Hawkins's Hist. of Music, v. 272, for the subscription of £50,000 ' for the performance of operas at the theatre in the Haymarket, to be composed by Mr. Handel, and performed under his direction.'
Macready, in 1843, in his petition to parliament against the exclusive rights of the patentees of Drury Lane and Covent Garden, said that in 1841 Drury Lane Theatre, with a patent right of preventing elsewhere the performance of Shakespeare and other great poets, was unable to present them itself, having been specially refurnished for musical concerts, announced in a foreign language, and chiefly performed by foreign musicians.' Macready's Reminiscences, ii. 223.
OHN SHEFFIELD, descended from a long series of illus-1
trious ancestors ?, was born in 1649 3, the son of Edmund earl of Mulgrave, who died 1658. The young lord was put into the hands of a tutor, with whom he was so little satisfied that he got rid of him in a short time, and, at an age not exceeding twelve years *, resolved to educate himself. Such a purpose, formed at such an age and successfully prosecuted, delights as it is strange, and instructs as it is real.
His literary acquisitions are more wonderful, as those years in 2 which they are commonly made were spent by him in the tumult of a military life or the gaiety of a court. When war was declared against the Dutch, he went at seventeen on board the ship in which prince Rupert and the duke of Albemarle sailed, with the command of the fleet 5; but by contrariety of winds they were restrained from action. His zeal for the king's service was
• The Works of the Duke of Buck cestors, Edmund, Lord Sheffield, in ingham, 1740, 2 vols., contain his his Catalogue of Noble Authors Memoirs by himself (vol. ii. pp. 1-40), (Works, i. 306). He was made a and A Short Character of him (pp. baron by Edward VI, and had his 321-44).
brains knocked out by a butcher at “The life of this peer takes up an insurrection in Norfolk. He fourteen pages and a half in folio wrote a book of sonnets in the in The General Dictionary, where it Italian measure.' has little pretensions to occupy a He was born on April 7, 1648. couple; but his pious relictwas Dict. Nat. Biog. always purchasing places for him, * Johnson infers the age, incorherself, and their son in every suburb rectly I think, from a passage in his of the Temple of Fame.' HORACE Works, ii. 324. WALPOLE, Works, i. 435.
$ Dryden praised him for "underFor his title see post, SHEFFIELD, 17. going the hazards, and, which was - For his pedigree see his Works, worse, the company of common seaed. 1740, ii. 351. In his epitaph he is men.' Works, v. 193. Buckingham described as Ex illustri Sheffyldio- says that his grandfather (Sir John rum stemmate (quod a Rege Hen. Sheffield, drowned in the Humber, III haeredibus masculis directo sem Dec. 1614] and three of his greatper gradu se invicem excipientibus uncles had been drowned at sea. ad hanc usque aetatem duravit) ori Works, ii. 7. undus.' Atterbury Corres. iv. 315. 6A sudden storm parted the two
Walpole includes one of his an fleets just ready to begin,' Ib. p. 4.
recompensed by the command of one of the independent troops of
horse, then raised to protect the coast". 3 Next year he received a summons to parliament, which, as he
was then but eighteen years old, the earl of Northumberland censured as at least indecent, and his objection was allowed. He had a quarrel with the earl of Rochester, which he has perhaps too ostentatiously related ?, as Rochester's surviving sister, the lady Sandwich“, is said to have told him with very sharp
reproaches. 4 When another Dutch war (1672) broke out, he went again
a volunteer in the ship which the celebrated lord Ossory com
manded ; and there made, as he relates, two curious remarks: 5 "I have observed two things which I dare affirm, though not generally believed.
One was, that the wind of a cannon-bullet, though flying never so near, is incapable of doing the least harm ; and, indeed, were it otherwise, no man above deck would escape. The other was that a great shot may be sometimes avoided, even as it flies, by changing one's ground a little; for, when the wind sometimes blew away the smoak, it was so clear a sun-shiny day that we could easily perceive the bullets (that were half spent) fall into the water, and from thence bound up again among us, which gives sufficient time for making a step or two on any side ; though, in so swift a motion, 'tis hard to judge well in what line the bullet comes, which, if mistaken, may by removing cost a man
his life, instead of saving its. 6 His behaviour was so favourably represented by lord Ossory 6,
that he was advanced to the command of the Katherine, the best second-rate ship in the navy?. 7 He afterwards raised a regiment of foot, and commanded it as colonel. The land-forces were sent ashore by prince Rupert,
• After the Dutch had burnt the 4 The third Earl of Sandwich ships at Chatham. Works, ii. 7. married Rochester's second daughter, ? Ib. p. 8.
not his sister. Burke's Peerage. 3 Ante, ROCHESTER, 3, 16. Dry 5 Works, ii. 16. den perhaps refers to this quarrel in 6 The eldest son of the Duke of his Dedication (ante, DRYDEN, 77), Ormond, who, when he lost him, when, praising Sheffield's courage, said 'he would rather have his dead he continues: 'He who is too lightly son than any living son in Christenreconciled after high provocations dom.' Dryden's Works, ix. 298 n. may recommend himself to the world Dryden, in Absalom and Achitophel, for a Christian, but I should hardly 1.833, described him as trust him for a friend. The Italians snatched in manhood's prime have a proverb to that purpose :- By unequal fates, and providence's “To forgive the first time shews me crime, a good Catholic, the second time a Works, ii. 18. fool." ' Dryden's Works, v. 192.
and he lived in the camp very familiarly with Schomberg". He was then appointed colonel of the old Holland regiment together with his own”, and had the promise of a garter, which he obtained in his twenty-fifth year 3. He was likewise made gentleman of the bed-chamber 4
He afterwards went into the French service to learn the art 8 of war under Turenne", but staid only a short time. Being by the duke of Monmouth opposed in his pretensions to the first troop of horse-guards 6 he, in return, made Monmouth suspected by the duke of York?. He was not long after, when the unlucky Monmouth fell into disgrace, recompensed with the lieutenancy of Yorkshire and the government of Hull 8.
Thus rapidly did he make his way both to military and civil 9 honours and employments'; yet, busy as he was, he did not neglect his studies, but at least cultivated poetry: in which he must have been early considered as uncommonly skilful, if it be true which is reported, that, when he was yet not twenty years old, his recommendation advanced Dryden to the laurel so.
5 lb. ii. 325.
* In 1672 Schomberg was invited the 'great hand' was Sheffield,' who into England to command the new said that “on premeditation Charles raised army on Blackheath. Works, II could not act the part of a king ii. 23. He was at that time in the for a moment."! See Sheffield's French service. Burnet (Hist. i. Works, ii. 81. 384) says that Charles II showed a design to govern by the French
Cunningham's model. A French general was brought Lives of the Poets, ii. 192. over to command our armies.'
Works, ii. 33. Rupert, commander-in-chief of an
Ib. p. 39. expedition against Holland, fired 9 Macaulay describes how Shefupon the colours of Sheffield's regi- field, at the age of seventeen, served ment hung up by Schomberg on his six weeks on a ship, and was then ship 'to show the head quarters. given a troop of horse. Six years In the end Rupert commanded later he was appointed captain of away all the land-forces to Yar a ship of eighty-four guns, reputed mouth, where they lay encamped all the finest in the navy.... As soon as summer by the sea-side.' Works, he came back from sea he was made
colonel of a regiment of foot.' Hist.
of Eng. i. 313. 3 He received the promise of the Sheffield described his ship as the Garter when he was at Yarmouth. best of all the second-rates. Works, The refusal of it at the same time to ii. 18. Schomberg 'contributed to his leav, 10 Ante, DRYDEN, 26. Dryden, in ing us. Ib. p. 30.
his Dedication to Sheffield (Works, Ib. p. 325. It is excellently said v. 191), mentions'the care you have of Charles II by a great hand which taken of my fortune; which you have writ his character, that he was not rescued, not only from the power of a king a quarter of an hour together others, but from my worst of enemies, in his whole reign."' The Spectator, my own modesty and laziness. AcNo. 462. In a note it is stated that cording to Biog. Brit. p. 3653, Dryden