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this is not always practised, nor in every year. For an account of some curious ceremonies on this day in the south of France, see T. T. for 1818, p. 87. · Mr. Evelyn's description of the manner in which Ascension Week was passed in Venice, in his time, (1645) is extremely curious, as affording a faithful picture of the then flourishing state of this once emporium of commerce, and a vivid delineation of the strange and fantastic costume of the Venetian ladies of that period. It was now Ascension Weeke, and the great mart or faire of ye whole yeare was kept, every body being at liberty and jollie. The noblemen stalking with their ladys on choppines; these are high-heel'd shoes, particularly affected by these proude dames, or, as some say, invented to keepe them at home, it being very difficult to walke with them; whence one being asked how he liked the Venetian dames, replied, that they were mezzo carne, mezzo ligno, half flesh, half wood, and he would have none of them. The truth is, their garb is very odd, as seeming allwayes in masquerade; their other habits also totaly different from all nations. They weare very long crisped baire, of severall strakes and colours, which they make so by a wash, dischevelling it on the brims of a broade hat that has no head, but an hole to put out their heads by; they drie them in the sunn, as one may see them at their windows. In their tire they set silk flowers and sparkling stones, their peticoates coming from their very arme-pits, so that they are neere three quarters and an half apron; their sleeves are made exceeding wide, under which their shift sleeves as wide, and commonly tucked up to the shoulder, shewing their naked armes, thro'false sleeves of tiffany, girt with a bracelet or two, with knots of points richly tagged about their shoulders and other places of their body, which they usually cover with a kind of yellow, yaile of lawn very transparent. Thus attir'd they set their hands on the heads of two maa tron-like servants or old women, to support them,

Tis of their warfs

who are mumbling their beades. 'Tis ridiculous to see how these ladys crawle in and out of their gondolas by reason of their choppines, and what dwarfs they appeare when taken down from their wooden scaffolds; of these I saw near thirty together, stalking halfe as high again as the rest of the world, for courtezans or the citizens may not weare choppines, but cover their bodies and faces with a vaile of a certaine glittering taffeta or lustree, out of which they now and then dart a glaunce of their eye, the whole face being otherwise entirely hid with it; nor may the common misses take this habit, but go abroad barefac'd. To the corners of these virgin-vailes hang broad but flat tossells of curious Point de Venize; the married women go in black vailes. The nobility weare the same colour, but of fine cloth lin'd wth taffeta in summer, with fur from squirrells in ye winter, which all put on at a certaine day girt with a girdle emboss'd with silver; the vest not much different from what our Bachelors of Arts weare in Oxford, and a hood of cloth made like a sack, cast over their left shoulder, and a round cloth black cap fring'd with wool which is not so comely; they also weare their collar open to shew the diamond button of the stock of their shirt. I have never seene pearle for colour and bignesse comparable to what the ladys wear, most of the noble families being very rich in jewells, especially pearles, which are always left to the son or brother who is destined to marry, which the eldest seldome do. The Doge's vest is of crimson velvet, the Procurator's, &c. of damasc, very stately. Nor was I lesse surprised with the strange variety of ye severall nations which were seen every day in the streetes and piazzas; Jews, Turks, Armenians, Persians, Moores, Greekes, Sclavonians, some with their targets and boucklers, and all in their native fashions, negotiating in this famous emporium which is allways crowded with strangers.'-(Ēvelyn's Memoirs, vol. i, pp. 190-91.)

Some beautiful reflections on the fallen state of Venice are given by Lord Byron, at the opening of the fourth Canto of Childe Harold, when he represents himself as standing upon a bridge, and indulging in the following train of meditations, naturally excited by the decaying splendour, unexpected desertedness, and antient glories of this romantic city:

I stood in Venice on the bridge of sighs ;
A palace and a prison on each hand :
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand :
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!
She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion,
A ruler of the waters and their powers :
And such she was ;-her daughters had their dowers
From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
Poured in her lap all gems in sparkling showers.
In purple was she robed, and of her feast
Monarchs partook, and deemed their dignity increased.
In Venice, Tasso's echoes are no more,
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear;
Those days are gone—but Beauty still is here.
States fali, arts fade--but Nature doth not die,
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy.

*31. 1786.-HANDEL COMMEMORATED. Exactly a century from the birth of this great musician, a splendid musical festival was held in Westminster Abbey, in commemoration of his genius. It consisted of selections from his works, which were performed by a band of 563 instrumental and 514 vocal performers. These were stationed at the west end of the broad aisle; the Court and the rest of the audience, to the amount of nearly four thousand per

sons, were accommodated at the east end, and in gal·leries arranged along the body of the aisle. A striking proof of the great excellence of the performers is, that there never was more than one general rehearsal for each day's performance:--this appears truly wonderful, when we recollect that vast numbers of the band, both vocal and instrumental, had never performed together before, many being amateurs, who volunteered their services. The whole money received amounted to twelve thousand eight hundred and fifty pounds,--a prodigious sum, and showing, perhaps better than any thing else, the eagerness with which people from all quarters flocked to this splendid exhibition of musical talent, to do honour to the memory of abilities so superior to the common standard of human excellence.

Handel was only fourteen when he played the second harpsichord at the Hamburgh opera; and the same year he produced an opera, which had a run of thirty successive nights. After passing a few years in Italy, he returned to Germany, and settled at Hanover, where he was much encouraged by the Elector. The connexion between the courts of England and Hanover tempted him, in 1710, to accept an invitation from some amateurs in London, who had known him at Hanover. His first visit was only for a year; but he got leave from the Elector to repeat it, shortly after his return. The tempting offers made him in London induced him to settle there, in spite of his engagement to the Elector, who chose to resent this neglect when he became King of England. Handel however contrived, by a little artifice, to get again into favour. A royal party of pleasure upon the Thames had been announced, and directions given at Court to have a barge of musicians in attendance. Handel got notice of this; and composed for the occasion those celebrated pieces, which, from the circumstance, have been called his Water Music. He conducted the performance himself; disguised, so as not to be de

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tected. The King, who really had a German ear for music, was very much delighted, and begged to know who the composer was. A German baron, who was á friend to Handel, and in the secret, told him that it was written by a countryman and faithful servant of his Majesty ; but who, fearing he had incurred the displeasure of so gracious a patron, dared not, in a more open manner, contribute to the amusement of his sovereign. Upon which the King dcclared, that if Handel was the culprit, he had his entire forgiveness; and, moreover, substantiated his gracious pardon by the donation of 2001. a year. Handel's chief excellence is in his sacred music. Yet, of all his Oratorios, only a few have stood the test of time. Even when they were first produced, several were very unsuccessful; and very often were performed to such empty houses, that the king (George II), who was a constant attender, composed nearly the whole audience. Lord Chesterfield, one evening coming out of the theatre, was asked by a friend if the Oratorio was over? • Oh! no,' said he, they are now singing away; but I thought it best to retire, lest I should disturb the king in his privacies. Handel would often joke upon the emptiness of the house, which he said would make de moosic sound all de petter. During the latter years of his life he was afflicted with blindness, but still continued to superintend the performances of his Oratorios. But it must have been a melancholy sight to see him led to the organ, and afterwards, in front of the audience, to make his accustomed obeisance. It was observed, that with many parts of his own music he was unusually agitated ;-more particularly with that affecting air in Samson,

Total eclipse,-no sun--no moon,which so peculiarly applied to his own situation. He died on Good Friday, 1759; and had, for many days before his death, expressed a wish to his physician,

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