صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

· LORD BYRON, in his Beppo, glances at the Carnival in 1818:

And there are songs and quavers, roaring, luumming,
Guitars, and every sort of strumming.
And there are dresses splendid, but fantastical,

Masks of all times and nations, Turks and Jews,
And Harlequins and Clowns, with feats gymnastical,

Greeks, Romans, Yankee-doodles, and Hindoos;
Allamus of dress, except the ecclesiastical".

.*7. 1758.—ALLAN RAMSAY DIED, Best known as the author of a Pastoral Comedy, called the 'Gentle Shepherd,' universally read and admired; and though it presents only that mode of country life which belongs to the corner of Scotland where he himself was born, yet is everywhere filled with such just sentiments and general imagery, as will insure it approbation in every country where its language can be either understood or translated.

8.-SAINT LUCIAN. Lucian, a native of Syria, was celebrated in his youth for his eloquence, and intimate acquaintance with polite literature. After the death of his parents, he gave all his fortune to the poor, and confined himself to the study of the scriptures. He was a proficient in the Hebrew, and revised the Septuagint version of the Bible. He wrote an apology for the Christians, and presented it to Maximinus II. After having undergone various torments at the instigation of this emperor, he was martyred in the year 312.

8.- PLOUGH MONDAY. " > On this day, or about this time, in the north, in Cambridgeshire, and in some of the midland counties, the fool-plough goes about, a pageant that consists of a number of sword-dancers, dragging a plough, with music, and one, sometimes two, in a very fantastic dress; the Bessy, in the grotesque ha

with polite lite eloquence, and was cele

:For a spirited description of the Carnival at Rome, see T. T. for 1815, p. 18.

bit of an old woman, and the fool, almost covered with skins, wearing a hairy cap, and the tail of some animal hanging from his back. The office of one of these characters is, to rattle a box among the spectators of the dance, in which he collects their little donations.

13.-SAINT HILARY. Hilary was born at Poictiers in France, of an illustrious family; and of this place he was chosen bishop in the year 353. Having taken an active part against the Arians, he was banished to Phrygia, by order of the Emperor Constantius, in 356, where he remained for three years. After various travels in different parts, and many sufferings, Hilary died at Poictiers in 368. He was an excellent orator and poet; his style abounds with rhetorical figures.

*17. 1756.— MOZART BORN. When only three years old, his great amusement was finding concords on the piano; and nothing could equal his delight when he had discovered a harmonious interval. At the age of four, his father began to teach him little pieces of music, which he always learnt to play in a very short time; and, before he was six, he had invented several small pieces himself, and even attempted compositions of some extent and intricacy.

The sensibility of his organs appears to have been excessive. The slightest false note or harsh tone was quite a torture to him; and, in the early part of his childhood, he could not hear the sound of a trumpet without growing pale, and almost falling into convulsions. His father, for many years, carried him and his sister about to different cities for the purpose of exhibiting their talents. In 1764 they came to London, and played before the late King. Mozart also played the organ at the Chapel Royal ; and with this the King was more pleased than with his performance on the harpsichord. During

this visit he composed six sonatas, which he dedicated to the Queen. He was then only eight years old. A few years after this, he went to Milan; and, at that place, was performed in 1770 the opera of Mithridates, composed by Mozart, at the age of fourteen, and performed twenty nights in succession. From that time till he was nineteen, he continued to be the musical wonder of Europe, as much from the astonishing extent of his abilities, as from the extreme youth of their possessor.

Entirely absorbed in music, this great man was a child in every other respect. His hands were so wedded to the piano, that he could use them for nothing else: at table, his wife carved for him; and, in every thing relating to money, or the management of his domestic affairs, or even the choice and arrangement of his amusements, he was entirely under her guidance. His health was very delicate; and, during the latter part of his too short life, it declined rapidly. Like all weak-minded people, he was extremely apprehensive of death; and it was only by incessant application to his favourite study, that he prevented his spirits sinking totally under the fears of approaching dissolution. At all other times, he laboured under a profound melancholy, which unquestionably tended to accelerate the period of his existence. In this melancholy state of spirits, he composed the Zauber Flöte, the Clemenza di Tito, and his celebrated mass in D minor, commonly known by the name of his Requiem. The circumstances which attended the composition of the last of these works are so remarkable, from the effect they produced upon his mind, that we shall detail them; and, with the account, close the life of Mozart.

One day, when his spirits were unusually oppressed, a stranger of a tall, dignified appearance, was introduced. His manners were grave and impressive. He told Mozart, that he came from a

person who did not wish to be known, to request he would compose a solemn mass, as a requiem for the soul of a friend whom he had recently lost, and whose memory he was desirous of commemorating by this solemn service. Mozart undertook the task, and engaged to have it completed in a month. The stranger begged to know what price he set upon his work, and immediately paid him one hundred ducats, and departed. The mystery of this visit seemed to have a very strong effect upon the mind of the musician. He brooded over it for some time; and then suddenly calling for writing materials, began to compose with extraordinary ardour. This application, however, was more than his strength could support; it brought on fainting fits; and his increasing illness obliged him to suspend his work.

I am writing this Requiem for myself !' said he abruptly to his wife one day; it will serve for my own funeral service;' and this impression never afterwards left him. At the expiration of the month, the mysterious stranger appeared, and demanded the Requiem. “I have found it impossible,' said Mozart, 'to keep my word; the work has interested me more than I expected, and I have extended it beyond my first design. I shall require another month to finish it.' The stranger made no objection; but observing, that for this additional trouble it was but just to increase the premium, laid down fifty ducats more, and promised to return at the time appointed. Astonished at his whole proceedings, Mozart ordered a servant to follow this singular personage, and, if possible, to find out who he was: the man, however, lost sight of him, and was obliged to return as he went. Mozart, now more than ever persuaded that he was a messenger from the other world sent to warn him that his end was approaching, applied with fresh zeal to the Requiem; and, in spite of the exhausted state both

of his mind and body, completed it before the end of the month. At the appointed day, the stranger returned ;-but Mozart was no more'!

18.-SAINT PRISCA. Prisca, a Roman lady, was early converted to Christianity; but refusing to abjure her religion, and to offer sacrifice when she was commanded, was horribly tortured, and afterwards beheaded, under the Emperor Claudius, in the year 275,

20.-SAINT FABIAN. St. Fabian succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate, in the year 236. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, the promoter of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. $t. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerom bear witness.

21.-SAINT AGNES Has been always considered by the Catholics as a special patroness of purity, with the immaculate Mother of God and St. Thecla. Rome was the theatre of the triumph of St. Agnes; and Prudentius says, that her tomb was shown within sight of that city. She suffered not long after the beginning of the persecution of Dioclesian, whose bloody ediets appeared in March in the year of our Lord 303. She was only thirteen years of age at the time of her glorious death.

. 22.-SAINT VINCENT Vincent, a deacon of the church in Spain, suffered martyrdom in the Dioclesian persecution, about the year 303. A full description of the dread. ful cruelties which he bore may be seen in T.T. for 1815, p. 12.

Lives of Haydn and Mozart, in Letters, 8vo; Busby's History of Music ; and Edinburgh Review, vol. xxxiii, p. 380.

« السابقةمتابعة »