Page images

that if any of our readers have been admiring those passages, they may see how innocent. they are, and how extremely wrong when they are amiable.

** Is not everybody aware,” says the critic, *that female singers are like cats, full of spite to each other, and that they would willingly scratch each other's eyes out? Will anybody persuade us that there is a Signora among them who would not gladly give a fatal squeeze to the throat of any sister warbler of them all, as the notes come gurgling, out, and the audience listen entranced? Who supposes for a moment that Pasta, the Queen of the Opera, who has now reigned in our hearts so long, can bear a rival near the throne? And, if, after all, Pasta's letter of compliments should be said to be nothing more than a puff, it is still more unworthy of her. She has found sufficient favour from the public, and might reckon upon the continuance of a fair proportion of it, without resorting to so vulgar a method of extending notoriety. Puffing is, however, the vice and folly of the age-the established order of the day, and perhaps we are wrong in expecting an opera-singer to be above it : but then, such an opera-singer as Pasta—the Siddons of the Italian stage-she who is associated in our minds with images of such lofty passion and dignified grandeur-why should she be telling a long story about Sontag's engagements, Sontag's unconquerable modesty, and incredible good-nature? why this miserable attempt at feigned candour? why mix up her high reputation with the new wonder of the day, and thus attempt to catch a share of a rival's popularity? why this advertising (for it is nothing else), under false colours ? It is our regard for Pasta, as our constant praise has always proved, which thus speaks out, and which makes us hate anything that would diminish it.”

Now we do not conceive that the writer's regard for Madame Pasta - need be diminished by this letter of her's; especially as, notwithstanding his high opinion of her, he thinks her capable of scratching people's eyes out, and squeezing the throat of any sister warbler. The advertisement is not to be denied. Madame Pasta, we suppose, would not wish to deny it; and if there looks something ordinary and sophisticate in bringing it in after this fashion, the circumstances, with which she is surrounded might be taken into consideration; the influence of advisers; the custom, which she might be taunted for not following; and fifty other things, by which the natural simplicity of her heart would render her liable to be acted upon. But perhaps a doubt of its propriety never entered her head. She might think the public interested (as they are) ia her benefit-night, and willing to hear anything she had to say about it. Her simplicity might mislead her in that way, as well as the other; and if something of an anxiety about the new singer crept in, a good as well as ill construction might surely be put upon the

made in which she evinced it. The Maly pense is a short cut to the reputation of cleverness, which the writer in question need not give into. It is easy to suppose, that because there is a great deal of jealousy and enyy among singers, every singer is jealous, and the best of them so many furies, But there are good as well as bad sides even to our infirmities; and if we are to suppose that Madame Pasta felt jealous and uneasy about the new singer, there might be discerned, in the way in which she speaks of her, a haste to rid herself of so unworthy a feeling, granting even it was nothing higher and more generous; that is to say, provided anything can be higher, than such a determination following upon such a consciousness. But Madame Pasta, especially with her acknowledged superiority to help her, might have felt no such jealousy. It is said of Farinelli, that “ free from every spice of jealousy," he furnished the singers Garducci, Carlani, and others, with an opportunity of shewing their talents in the presence of the King of Spain, “by whom they were richly rewarded.” The jealousy even of an inferior singer can be extinguished in delight; if not for ever, at least during the enthusiasm of the moment; and we feel certain, that there is a love of truth, and a delight in the delightfulness of others, which can put jealousy as much out of the question, as it is when we look at gems or the sunshine. Did the writer never hear the famous anecdote of Senesino (we believe it was), who in the part of a tyrant, before whom Farinelli was pleading, and whose business it was toʻtúrn a deaf ear to the petition, was so transported out of his character, that in the face of the whole house he clasped the singer in his arms ? Has our critic heard of one Robin Hood, who would admit nobody into his crew, unless he had proved himself a better man than the leader? This may be thought out of all question with singers, and a fable in itself; but it shows at any rate what people think of the capabilities of our nature; and for our parts, we can believe, that a singer like Madame Pasta, whose merits arise from an exquisite sense of the true and beautiful, which they could not do if she had not faith in both, can feel truly generous towards a sister warbler, and applaud her with all her heart, as a friend tells us she seemed to be doing the other night at the theatre. Besides, as human

nature is capable of being handsome on these occasions, it ought to be encouraged to be so by all the good opinions we can entertain of it: for as our worst actions sometimes arise from no better cause than people's believing us capable of them, so there is no greater help to our becoming what we ought, than their giving us credit for the reverse, and thus securing our generosity by their own.


Imitated from Moschus.

Love laid aside his torch, his quiver, and his bow,
And like a roguish herdsman, a ploughing he would go.
He took a pair of bulls, so patient and so strong,
And as he went, he look”d to heav'n, and sung this merry song :-
Now mind me, Joye, a harvest, a good harvest ;-or by Jove,
I'll make the bull come plough for me, that plough'd the seas for love.


From the French of Madame Deshoulières.

Iris amidst the fern,

Beside a tender lover,
iri.. . Said, looking very stern,

And colouring all over,
“ Where's that respect, Sir, pray? that niceness, Sir,

Which marks a lover's proper character?”
. “Why,” replied he, “ 'twixt you and me

Moments there are, my dove,
When lovers think, that it might be . .

As well to be in love."

[ocr errors]

LONDON: Published by Hunt and CLARKE, York street, Covent garden: and sold by all

Booksellers and Newsvenders in town and country.--Price 4d.



: No. XIX. WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 1828.

« Something alone yet not alone, to be wished, and only to be found, in a friend."-SiR WILLIAM TEMPLE.



The good that has been done for us by the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts consists in this; that instead of taking a sacramental oath not to injure the reigning Church, and committing the swearer's conscience on a variety of opinions, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, of eternal punishment, and the damnable nature of everybody's opinion but our own (for this is what is meant by “ damnable heresies"), the person who enters upon office makes a simple declaration to that effect“ in the presence of God” and “on the true faith of a Christian.” In other words, the chances of insincerity are diminished, even among the insincere; and office is thrown open to a greater' number of the lovers of truth. The former are rendered not so guilty; the latter find their virtue no longer an obstacle. Worldliness is discountenanced even in a worldly matter.

' It would undoubtedly have been better, had no sort of test or declaration been retained. The chances of insincerity would then have been all done away; and honest men, who may not think themselves justified in subscribing to any construction of the ChrisVOL.1.


tian “ faith,” might have been able to unite with honest men who do, to the advancement of the glorious progress of society in Christian practice. But a great gain has been acquired. The advancement is going on. If Government is not in earnest, society is; and, so much power has been given to its opinion by the press and other circumstances, that Government feels itself under the necessity of not saying it nay. We are not sure, however, that Government is not more sincere than many suppose it. Jealousy of s.; authority is natural and useful; but the tricks of state, and the jo ill opinion they are apt to generate of mankind, do not hinder.,7 statesmen, after all, from partaking of the virtues of humanity. Ambition itself is but the love of esteem in its most violent shape, and therefore partakes of 'the tendencies of a social virtue ; and if once this passion can be drawn round by the voice of the great charmer, intellect, to the common cause of the world, and men can discover that to increase happiness like presiding deities, raises them to a higher degree of the glorified than to commit gorgeous ills like a hero, the hero himself may acquire wings angelical, and rise to that more exalted height. What the world demand, if they demand it with sincerity, the lovers of their applause 'must become; for whatever may have been said of the folly of mankind by those who nevertheless evince the greatest desire for their approbation, has been said, rather in impatience at not having better multitudes to admire, than in contempt of the sympathy of those who do. The wiser the multitude, the nobler the ambition : and therefore it is, that knowledge and a corrected ambition are likely to go hand in hand; and that in despairing of nothing (which should ever be the motto of activity) we despair not even of the philanthropy of the proud. The downfall of Napoleon, who was the representative of the classical glories of antiquity, but who failed to secure victory and esteem, because he was retrospective to those glories only, and not prospective to those of the hopes and efforts of mankind, or in other words, and to use the phrase attributed to himself, because he “ sinded against the liberality of the age,"* will perhaps have • He lied in Spain; he' lied in Poland; and deceived himself, and betrayed the natural truth of his own greatness, in thinking tbat men were deceived any longer, or willing to adore him in spite of his lying. Truth is the greatest and only final greatness.

« PreviousContinue »