(zu S. 116.)
The Session of Musicians.
In Imitation of the Session of the Poets.
Sic honor et nomen divinis vatibus atque
Carminibus venit; –
HOR. de Arte Poet.
The Strings he touch'd with more than human art,
Which pleas'd the Juge's ear, and sooth'd his heart;
Who soon judiciously the palm decreed,
And to the Lute postpon'd the squeaking Reed.
CROXAL's Ovid. Metam.
Printed for M. Smith, near the Royal-Exchange, in Cornhill. 1724.
[Price 6. d.]
APOLLO (the God both of Musick and Wit)
To summon a court did lately think fit;
No Poets were call'd, the God found, in vain
He hop'd, that a Bard should the Laurel obtain;
Since what was his right he could not dispose
To one noted for sense, in metre or prose;
The Laureat's place to the Court he resign'd,
And the Bays for the best Musician design'd;
AS o'er these twin-arts he's known to preside,
To Sounds he'd allow, what to Wit was deny'd.
THE long-expected day's at last declar'd,
And th' Op'ra House for such a crowd prepar'd;
Just as when H[eide]gg[e]r with pious view,
(Careful of Innocence, to Virtue true)
 All sexes, ranks, and int'rests slyly joins,
Whilst the gay hall with lights the day outshines:
Bright in his glorious rays Apollo came,
And first his Officer of State did name;
Th' Academy-Directors all appear'd,
And equal to their skill in sound's preferr'd;
One waits his nod, his will another writes,
Some give him tea, and some do snuff the lights,
Soon as the God the lovely Swiss1 survey'd,
Master of Ceremonies he was made;
B[ere]nst[at]t and B[o]sc[h]i (who peep'd in for sport)
Were pitch'd upon for Criers to the Court;
In Recitative they roar the God's commands,
Whilst Count V–n–a as the porter stands.
No sooner was the God's dread will made known,
The time and place proclaim'd, and fix'd his throne,
Composers and performers all prepar'd
To shew their skill, and claim the great reward;
Like bodies to their centre swift they ran,
And each, by merit, hop'd to be the man.
But e'er my Muse proceeds, let's view the race,
Whose various tribes did round the spacious place,
Like Brother Homer, tell each hero's name,
Where his abode, or whence his parents came,
And what his rank in the records of Fame:
Masters of various instruments flock here,
The Scottish pipe and British harp appear;
Lutes and guitars do form a beauteous line,
Whilst dulcimers with pipe and tabor join;
From gay Moorfields sweet singers did attend;
Wapping and Redriff did their fiddlers send;
Of my Lord Mayor's choice band there came the chief,
Who whet his Lordship's stomach to his beef;
The Parish Clerks and Waits form one large group,
And Organists swell up that bright, psalm-singing troop;
Each Dancing-master held it wond'rous fit
To flourish thither with his little kit;
 The Play-house bands in decent order come,
Conducted thither by a tragick drum;
Th' Op'ra Orchest them o'erlook'd with pride,
And shew'd superior skill in a superior stride;
Composers next march'd with an air and grace,
Some in a light, Some in a solemn pace;
Various they seem to the beholder's eye,
These Largo walk – and others – Presto fly.
Above the clouds they raise their heads sublime,
They tread on air, and step in tune and time!
None fail'd that e'er set note, or grave or airy,
From Doctor P[e]p[us]ch down to Master C-ry2;
From this promiscuous race such clamour rise
As stun the God and rend the vaulted skies;
In storms tempestuous some did loudly roar,
In sporting waves some wanton'd to the shore;
With vast cascades these thunder'd from on high,
In creeping murmurs others glided by;
Here blushing Boreas with his train did sound,
There milder gales did gently sweep the ground.
Thus voices, Treble, Bass, and Tenor, join
In glorious discord! harmony divine!
With noise tumultuous into court they rush,
Scarce could the God himself their fury hush;
In vain tall B[eren]s[tat]t, gaping o'er the crowd,
With hideous jaws, bawl'd Silence out aloud!
Till from his throne the anger'd God arose,
Whose awful nod the tempest did compose;
Then the Swiss Count proceeds, with comely grace,
To rank each candidate in's proper place.
FIRST P[e]p[us]ch enter'd with majestick gait,
Preceded by a cart in solemn state;
With pride he view'd the offspring of his art,
Songs, Solos, and Sonatas load the cart;
Whose wheels and axletree, with care dispos'd,
Did prelude to the musick he compos'd.
The God's soon own'd that if a num'rous race
Could claim in any art the highest place,
 His quantity would never be despis'd,
But quality alone in sounds was priz'd,
He should be satisfy'd with his degrees,
For new preferment would produce new fees.
HIS fate, soft G[a]ll[ia]rd with care attends,
In sounds and praise they still prov'd equal friends.
Shewing his hautboy and an Op'ra Air,
He gently whisper'd in his Godship's ear:
So oft he was distinguish'd by the town,
That, without vanity, he claim'd the crown.
The God replied – your musick's not to blame,
But far beneath the daring height of Fame;
Who wins the prize must all the rest out-strip,
Indeed you may a conjurer equip;
I think your Airs are sometimes very pretty,
And give you leave to sing 'em in the City.
AMIDST the crowd gay L[eve]r[i]dge did stand,
Smiles in his face, and – Claret in his hand;
The God suppos'd he did not come to ask
The Bays, but rather recommend his flask;
Old friend, says he, if that your wine is right,
Let's talk – d'ye hear? I'll sup with you to-night:
The Laurel, if you hope – to do you justice,
You made – a charming Fiend in Doctor Faustus.
PLEAS'D with their doom, and hopeful of success,
At–l–o3 forward to the bar did press:
The God perceiv'd the Don the crowd divide,
And, e'er he spoke, stopp'd short his tow'ring pride,
Saying – the Bays for him I ne'er design,
Who, 'stead of mounting, always does decline;
Of Ti[tu]s Ma[nli]us you may justly boast,
But dull Ves[pasi]an all that honour lost.
C[o]rb[et]t next him succeeded to the bar,
And hop'd to fix his fame by something rare;
Up to the God, with confidence he made,
And's instrument De Venere display'd.
 How! cries the God (and frowning told his doom),
Am I for such poor trifles hither come?
Pray tickle off your Venery at home,
Or else to cleanly Edinburgh repair,
And from ten stories high breathe Northern air;
With tuneful G[o]rd[o]n join, and thus unite,
Rough Italy with Scotland the polite.
APOLLO'S piercing eye just then espy'd
Merry L–i–lt stand laughing at one side;
He gently wap'd him to him with his hand,
Wond'ring he at that distance chose to stand.
Smiling, he said, I come not here for same,
Nor do I to the Bays pretend a claim;
Few here deserve so well, the God reply'd,
But modesty does always merit hide;
A supper for some friends I've just bespoke,
Pray come – and drink your glass – and crack jour joke.
ILL-fated R[osei]ng[ra]ve approach'd the bar,
With meagre looks, and thrumming a guitar.
Quite out of tune Apollo found his head,
And, if he gain'd the Bays, he'd run stark mad;
So call'd his friends, and said – a little rest,
A darken'd room and straw, would fit him best;
Where, to employ him as he lay perdu,
He might new set Roland le Furieux.
NEXT him Ge[mi]n[ia]ni did appear,
With bow in hand and much a sob'rer air;
He simper'd at the God, as who would say,
You can't deny me, if you hear me play.
Quickly his meaning Phœbus understood,
Allowing what he did was very good;
And since his same all fiddlers else surpasses,
He set him down first Treble at Parnassus.
Gr[ee]n, C[ro]fts, and some of the Cathedral taste,
Their compliments in form to Phɶbus past;
Whilst the whole Choir sung Anthems in their praise,
Thinking to chant the God out of the Bays;
 Who, far from being pleas'd, stamp'd, sum'd, and swore,
Such Musick he had never heard before;
Vowing he'd leave the Laurel in the lurch,
Rather than place it in an English Church.
D[ieu]p[a]rt, well powder'd, gave himself an air,
As if he could not fail of fortune there,
Who always prov'd successful with the fair.
The God his passion hardly could contain,
For spoiling Opera-Songs in Drury Lane:
But hop'd his skill he'd in it's sphere confine,
His fire betwixt the acts would brilliant shine.
As he walk'd off, who stepp'd into his place,
But Signor P[ip]po with his four-string'd Bass:
How far his merit reach'd, the God did know,
And bow'd to him and 's Bass prodigious low;
Vowing to him alone the Bays he'dgrant,
Could the Orchestre but his presence want;
Since that was time and reputation losing,
Keep to your playing, and leave off composing.
THE God turn'd round and found, just seated by him,
His old acquaintance, Nicolino H[a]ym;
With a kind smile he whisper'd in his ear,
But what – no living creature then could hear;
Since that we 're told, the God of 's special grace
Confirm'd him in his Secretary's place.
HAD I a thousand tongues, or equal hands,
I could not speak, nor write the half of their demands;
A blockhead's indignation it would raise,
When C[a]ry, by his ballads, sought the Bays;
Claude Jean Jillier, to his immortal glory,
Danc'd thither with his Chansonettes a Boire;
Big with his hopes small T–p–n4 too repairs,
To claim the crown by thin North British Airs;
 A title King Latinus strongly grounds
Upon his nice anatomy of sounds;
E'en W[a]lsh perks up, and crys – the Laurel's mine,
What are your notes, unless you wisely join
My brighter Dame, in print, to make 'em shine?
Nay, Signor R[o]lli's confidence affords
Some plea – for finding scoundrel Op'ra words.
THE weary'd God the wretched crowd surveys,
And met with nothing equal to the Bays;
His radiant eyes, eclips'd by sullen care,
In vain look'd round, but H[A]N[DE]L, was not there.
How could he hope to fill the vacant throne,
In absence of his sam'd, his darling son?
JUST then grim B[ono]nc[in]i in the rear,
Most fearless of success, came to the bar;
Two Philharmonick Damsels grac'd his train,
Whilst his strong features redden'd with disdain;
Dear A-s–a5 hung upon his arm,
Each lisp, and side-long glance produc'd its charm;
Black P–g–y6 he was forc'd to hawl along,
Humming a Thorough-Base – and he a Song:
Silent, his rolling eyes the God survey'd,
Then one hand soothing Cr[is]po's Airs display'd,
The other held a decent Roman Maid.
But had you seen the vast and suddain change!
Incredible! to easy Faith most strange!
As calms succeed a raging wint'ry flood,
The restless throng like senseless statues stood;
From the dull cell of sloth such vapours rise,
As clap their padlocks on all ears and eyes;
Divinity itself could not withstand
Those peaceful potions from a mortal hand;
O'er active life Stupidity did creep,
The wakeful God of Day fell fast asleep. –
Not long they slept – Fame's Trumpet, loud and vast,
Fill'd the large Dome with one amazing blast;
 Straight were they freed from Sleep's lethargick chains,
And captiv'd Life its liberty regains;
The Goddess, ent'ring, shook the trembling ground,
Her breathing brass from earth to heav'n did sound;
One hand her Trumpet held with beauteous grace,
The other led a Hero to his place;
Whose art, more sure than Cupid's bow gives wounds.
And makes the world submit to conqu'ring sounds.
When he appeard, – not one but quits his claim,
And owns the power of his superior fame:
Since but one Phœnix we can boast, he needs no name.
The God he view'd with a becoming pride,
Determin'd not to beg, and easy if deny'd.
Him Phœbus saw with joy, and did allow.
The Laurel only ought t'adorn his brow;
For who so sit for universal rule,
As he who best all passions can controul?
So spoke the God – and all approv'd the choice,
E'en Ignorance and Envy gave their voice;
Who wisely judg'd, the sentence did applaud,
And conscious shame the poor pretenders aw'd.
THUS when the World in Nature's lap first lay,
In all the charms of youth and beauty gay;
The joyous parent o'er her infant smil'd.
Whilst Satan view'd with spite the faultless child;
With hellish malice frought, he wond'ring stood,
And tho' he curs'd it, – own'd that it was good.
1 Heidegger, geboren in der Schweiz, gewöhnlich der Schweizer Graf genannt.
2 Henry Carey.
3 Attilio Ariosti.
4 William Thomson, welcher im Jahre 1725 »Orpheus Caledonius, or a Collection of the best Scotch Songs« herausgab.
5 Anastasia Robinson.
6 Peggy, d.i. Margherita de l'Epine, die Frau des Dr. Pepusch.
 (zu S. 116.)
An ODE, on receiving a Wreath of Bays from a Lady.
Let him, who, favour'd by the Fair
With glove, or ring, or lock of hair,
Think he's the happy man. –
 The crown, I wear upon my head,
Has energy to wake the dead,
And make a Goose a Swan.
See! how like Horace, I aspire!
I mount! I soar sublimely higher!
And, as I soar, I sing!
Behold, ye earth-born mortals all,
I leave you in your kindred ball,
And heav'nward sweetly spring.
To humble Trophies dully creep,
And in your Urns inglorious sleep,
Ye Roman Cæsars now. –
Your Eagle's flight was all in vain,
Since I've more triumph in my brain,
And greater on my brow!
My Laurel, rival of the oak,
Malignant planets, and the stroke
Of thunder cannot shake!
My thoughts, inspired by Love and Bays
O'er all your boasted lands and seas
Despotic empire take.
Why did great Alexander grieve?
Because no more he could atchieve!
Had I been living then,
I could have taught the Hero how
He might have made, and conquer'd too,
By Fancy, not with Men.
Encircled with my sacred wreath,
I ride triumphant over death,
And, as poetic wheels,
 I draw the seasons of the year,
I charm all Heav'n into my sphere,
And Hell my fury feels!
Avaunt low flights – let us create
New systems, and a new estate,
For Bards and Lovers sit.
No higher, than Elysium,
Have Homer, Horace, Ovid come,
With all their towring wit.
To a new World, my Fair, let's fly,
A Venus Thou! Apollo I!
To raise a race of Gods! –
Attend us, Poets, if you'd have
A subject, proof against the grave,
To eternize your Odes.
Astrologers, your stars despise, –
All Fate lyes in Ophelia's eyes!
From them derive your skill;
Their influence only can undo,
Amend, restore, confound, renew,
Reanimate, and kill.
(zu S. 281.)
An ODE, Occasion of Mr. HANDEL'S great Te Deum, at the Feast of the Sons of the Clergy.
So David, to the God, who touch'd his Lyre,
The God, who did, at once, inspire
 The Poet's numbers, and the Prophet's fire,
Taught the wing'd Anthem to aspire!
The thoughts of men, in godlike sounds, he sung,
And voic'd devotion, for an angel's tongue.
At once, with pow'rful Words, and skilfel Air,
The priestly king, who know the weight of prayer,
To his high purpose, match'd his care;
To deathless concords, tun'd his mortal lays,
And with a sound like heav'ns, gave Heav'n its praise.
Where has thy soul, o Musick! slept since then?
Or, through what lengths of deep creation led;
Has Heav'n indulg'd th'all-daring pow'r to tread?
On other globes, to other forms of men
Hast thou been sent, their Maker's name to spread?
Or, o'er Some dying orb, in tuneful dread.
Proclaiming Judgment, wak'd th'unwilling Dead!
Or, have new worlds, from wand'ring comets rais'd,
Heard, and leapt forth, and into Being blaz'd?
Say, sacred origin of song!
Where hast thou hid thyself so long?
Thou soul of HANDEL! – through what shining way,
Lost to our earth, since David's long past day,
Didst thou, for all this length of ages, stray!
What wond'ring angels hast thou breath'd among,
By none of all th'immortal choirs outsung?
But, 'tis enough – since thou art here again;
Where thou hast wander'd, gives no pain:
We hear, we feel, thou art return'd, once more,
With Musick, mightier than before;
As if in ev'ry orb,
From every note, of God's, which thou wert shown,
Thy spirit did th' harmonious pow'r absorb,
And made the moving Airs of heav'n thy own!
Ah! give thy passport to the Nation's prayer,
Ne'er did Religion's languid fire
Burn fainter – never more require
The aid of such a fam'd enliv'ner's care:
Thy pow'r can force the stubborn heart to feel,
And rouse the luckwarm doubter into zeal.
Teach us to pray, as David pray'd before;
List our thanksgiving to th' Almighty's throne,
In numbers like his own:
Teach us yet more,
Teach us, undying charmer, to compose
Our inbred storms, and 'scape impending woes:
Lull our wanton hearts to ease,
Teach happiness to please;
And, since thy notes can ne'er in vain implore!
Bid 'em becalm unresting faction o'er:
Inspire content and peace in each proud breast,
Bid th'unwilling land be blest.
If aught we wish for seems too long to stay,
Bid us believe, that Heav'n best know its day:
Bid us, securely reap the good we may,
Nor, tools to other's haughty hopes, throw our own peace away.
(zu S. 291.)
To CALEB D'ANVERS, Esq;
I am always rejoiced, when I see a spirit of Liberty exert itself among any set, or denomination of my countrymen. I please myself with the hopes that it will grow more diffusive; some time or other become fashionable; and at last useful to the publick. As I know your zeal for Liberty, I thought I could not address better than to you the following exact account of the noble stand, lately made by the polite part of the world, in defence of their Liberties and Properties, against the open attacks and bold attempts of Mr. H-l upon both. I shall singly relate the fact, and leave you, who are better able than I am, to make what inferences, or applications may be proper.
The rise and progress of Mr. H–ls power and fortune are too well known for me now to relate. Let it suffice to say that He was grown so insolent upon the sudden and undeserved increase of both, that He thought nothing ought to oppose his imperious and extravagant will. He had, for some time, govern'd the Operas, and modell'd the Orchestre, without the least controul. No Voices, no Instruments were admitted, but such as flatter'd his ears, though they shock'd those of the audience. Wretched Scraperswere put above the best Hands in the Orchestre. No Musick but his own was to be allow'd, though every body was weary of it; and He had the impudence to assert, that there was no Composer in England but Himself.
Even Kings and Queens were to be contend with whatever low characters. He was pleased to assign them, as it was evident in the case of Seignor Montagnana; who, though a King, is always obliged to act (except an angry, rumbling song, or two) the most insignificant part of the whole Drama. This excess and abuse of power soon disgusted the Town; his Government grew odious; and his Opera grew empty. However this degree of unpopularity and general hatred, instead of humbling Him, only made Him more furious and desperate. He resolved to make one last effort to establish his power and fortune by force, since He found it now impossible to hope for it from the good will of mankind. In order to this, He form'd a Plan, without consulting any of his Friends, (if He has any) and declared that at a proper season He would communicate it to the publick; assuring us, at the same time, that it would be very much for the advantage of the publick in general, and his Operas in particular. Some people suspect that He had settled it previously with Signora Strada Del Pò, who is much in his favour; but all, that I can advance with certainty, is, that He had concerted it with a Brother of his own, in whom He places a most undeserved confidence. In this Brother of his, Heat and Dullness are miraculously united. The former prompts him to any thing new and violent; while the latter hinders him from seeing any of the inconveniences of it. As Mr. H-l's Brother, he thought it was necessary he should be a Musiciantoo, but all he could arrive at, after a very laborious application for many years, was a moderate performance upon the, Jew's Trump. He had, for some time, play'd a Parte buffa abroad, and had entangled his Brother in several troublesome and dangerous engagements, in the commissions He had given him to contract with foreign Performers; and from which (by the way) Mr. H-l did not disengage Himself with much honour. Notwithstanding all these and many more objections, Mr. H-l, by and with the advice of his Brother, at last produces his Project; resolves to cram it down the throats of the Town; prostitutes great and aweful Names, as the patrons of it; and even does not scruple to insinuate that they are to be sharers of the profit. His Scheme set forth in substance, that the late decay of Operas was owing to their cheapness, and to the great frauds committed by the Door-Keepers; that the annual Subscriberswere a parcel of Rogues, and made an ill use of their Tickets, by often running two into the Gallery; that to obviate these abuses He had contrived a thing, that was better than an Opera, call'd an Oratorio; to which none should be admitted, but by printed Permits, or Tickets of one Guinea each, which should be distributed out of Warehouses of his own,and by Officers of his own naming; which Officerswould not so reasonably be supposed to cheat in the collection of Guineas, as the Door-Keepers in the collectin of half Guineas; and lastly, that as the very being of Operas depended upon Him singly, it was just that the profit arising from hence should be for his own benefit. He added, indeed, one condition, to varnish the whole a little; which was, that if any person should think himself aggrieved, and that the Oratorio was not worth the price of the Permit, he should be at liberty to appeal to three Judges of Musick, who should be obliged, within the space of seven years at farthest, finally to determine the same; provided always that the said Judges should be of his nomination, and known to like no other Musick but his.
The absurdity, extravagancy, and opposition of this Scheme disgusted the whole Town. Many of the most constant attenders of the Operas resolved absolutely to renounce them, rather than go to them under such exortion and vexation. They exclaim'd against the insolent and rapacious Projector of this Plan. The King's old and sworn servants of the two Theatres of Drury-Lane and Covent-Garden reap'd the benefit of this general discontent, and were resorted to in crowds, by way of opposition to the Oratorio. Even the fairest breasts were fired with indignation against this new imposition. Assemblies, Cards, Tea, Coffee, and all other female batteries were vigorously employ'd to defeat the Project, and destroy the Projector. These joint endeavours of all ranks and sexes succeeded so well, that the Projector had the mortification to see but a very thin audience in his Oratorio; and of about two hundred and sixty odd, that it consisted of, it was notorious that not ten paid for their Permits, but, on the contrary, had them given them, and money into the bargain, for coming to keep Him in countenance.
This accident, they say, has thrown Him into a deep Melancholy, interrupted sometimes by raving Fits, in which He fancies He sees ten thousand Opera Devils coming to tear Him to pieces; then He breaks out into frantick, incoherent speeches; muttering sturdy Beggars, assassination, etc. In these delirious moments, He discovers a particular aversion to the City. He calls them all a parcel of Rogues,and asserts that the honestest Trader among them deserves to be hang'd. – It is much question'd whether He will recover; at least, if He does, it is not doubted but He will seek for a retreat in his own Countryfrom the general resentment of the Town.
I am, SIR,
Your very humble Servant,
P.S. Having seen a little Epigram, lately handed about Town, which seems to allude to the same subject, I believe it will not be unwelcome to your readers.
Quoth W-e to H-l, shall We Two agree,
And exise the whole Nation?
H. si, Caro, si.
Of what use are Sheep, if the Shepherd can't shear them?
At the Hay-Market I, you at Westminster.
W. Hear him!
Call'd to order, their Seconds appear in their place;
One sam'd for his Morals, and one for his Face.
In half they succeeded, in half they were crost:
The EXISE was obtain'd, but poor DEBORAH lost.
 (zu S. 376.)
On Mr. Handel's performance on the Organ, and his Opera of Alcina. By a Philharmonick.
Gently, ye winds, your pinions move
On the soft bosom of the air;
Be all serene and calm above,
Let not ev'n Zephyrs whisper there.
And oh! ye active springs of life,
Whose chearful course the blood conveys,
Compose a while your wonted strife;
Altend – 'tis matchless Handel plays.
Hush'd by such strains, the soft delight
Recalls each absent wish and thought;
Our senses from their airy flight
Are all to this sweet period brought:
And here they fix, and here they rest,
As if 'twas now consistent grown,
To sacrifice the pleasing taste
Of every blessing to this one.
And who would not with transport seek
All other objects to remove;
And when an angel deigns to speak,
By silence admiration prove?
When lo! the mighty man essay'd
The Organs heavenly breathing sound,
Things that1 inanimate were made,
Strait mov'd, and as inform'd were found.
Thus Orpheus, when the numbers flow'd,
Sweetly descanting from his Lyre,
Mountains and hills confess'd the God,
Nature look'd up, and did admire.
Handel, to wax the charm as strong,
Temper'd2 Alcina's with his own:
And now asserted by their song,
The rule the tuneful world alone.
Or she improves his wond'rous lay;
Or he by a superior spell
Does greater melody convey,
That she may her bright self excel.
Then cease, your fruitless flights forbear,
Ye3 infants in great Handel's art:
To imitate you must not dare,
Much less such excellence impart.
When Handel deigns to strike the sense,
'Tis as when Heaven, with hands divine,
Struck out the Globe (a work immense!)
Where harmony meets with design.
When you attempt the mighty4 strain,
Consistency is quite destroy'd,
Great order is dissolv'd again,
Chaos returns, and all is void.
1 The dissaffected.
2 An enchantress, Strada.
3 Three great Composers.
4 The Opera.