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LA BELLE ASSEMBLÉE;
For JUNE, 1812.
a New and Improved Series.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF ILLUSTRIOUS AND
The Thirty-third Quinber.
In tracing the progress of one who is ,, parts of Europe. It has indeed been ofter now allowed to be the first female Euglish || said, that the changeableness of the English singer on our Stage, it is not our intention climate must always operate against the to enter into in vidious comparisons between || human voice; but then we find that Italian English talent and foreign executiou; |singers preserve their vocal powers midst thongh we have seen as recorded in our all our fogs, and we find that some of our preceding Number) that English talent and || fair countrywomen may be found to rival execution could find even enthusiastic ad I even them. mirers in the native laud of harmouy itself. The superiority then which Italy possesIt must be confessed that for many ages ses (for it cannot be denied that a general Italy has boasted the possession of the finest superiority exists, though there are indivivoices and of the finest execution. It must dual exceptions), must depend upon other also be allowed, that this boast has been causes than the mere ones of climate; and founded on just grounds, and the pre- || we must therefore refer to the second reaeminence may be considered as arising from son already mentioned. two causes; first, from the conformation || Italy and France were long considered of the vocal organs, to which the climate as the only two schools of music; though gives an extraordinary degree of flexibility; || Germany had produced many excellent and secondly, the effect produced on the li composers, and though England had her voice by early discipline, and the habit of | Purcell. Nor was it until the appearance executing the most difficult yet most har of Handel (a German too by birth) that monious compositions, many of which have'England was allowed her station in the been expressly formed in order to elicit the musical world. various powers of the human voice.
Three schools, however, are now allow. Music, therefore, having been cultivated ed to exist. Amongst these Italy claims in Italy long before it became an object of the pre-eminence, and that she owes prise attention to other realms, it is not surpriz- ' cipally to Pergolese, who has been justly ing that it should at least have a kind of called the “Raphael of Music." His great chronological superiority over the other''excellence has been defined as lying in his
power of exciting the passions by sounds | lish composers may be said first to have which at first seem in direct opposition to made their appearance, we find that difthat which they would express ; spiriting ficulty was considered as the greatest beauty the heart to rage by the most solemn ca in their compositions, with the exception dences, and lulling it to the softest melan. of the madrigal, which possessed much choly by rapid chords. In all this, however, harmony when sung in parts, but was yet though much depended upon instrumental, ll too simple to draw out the powers of the yet vocal powers also bore a considerable human voice, though sufficiently instructive part. Much also was performed by his ! of the ear in teaching it to hit the distances, quick transitions of expression, which added and to direct the voice in their choice. But much to the practised flexibility of the Purcell now attempted to accustom English voice; whilst the voice again was kept in voices to Italian trills; yet as he engrafted tuve, as we may say, by his simpler melodies their difficult beauties on the unmelodious where no passion was expressed, yet where i chaunts of English dittics, our singing taste was formed and execution practised. I would have been but a piece of patchSucceeding composers, it has been ackuow- || work had not Handel adopted the English ledged, have taken his style as their ground- | manuer simply, and improved it ; for it is work, so that a kind of traditional mode a musical fact, now well established, that and manner, and even power, bave been | Handel, though boru a Gernian, was a handed down through succeeding genera true Euglish composer, founding his best tions. It must, however, be allowed, that and almost immortal pieces on the Englislı varieties have been introduced ; indeed we manner reduced to musical rules, whilst recollect having heard the Italian style in l bis imitations of the Italian school are now music classically compared to that of Seneca forgotten. in writing, where there are some beautiful I If we were then to characterise the genius starts of thought, yet the whole filled with of the three schools, we would say that the studied elegance and unaffected affecta Italian, as established by Pergolese, exce). tion.
led in the simplicity of passion; that the In France, a peculiar style both of com- French was undoubtedly elegant, but noposing and singing has long prevailed; thing more; but that the characteristic of their music was like the ancient chaunts in the Euolish school, as elicited and illustrat. their sacred worship; and its style has beened by Handel, possessed the true sublime. adduced as an additional proof of a position | For such a school then we would say the apparently paradoxical, that in proportion || English voice is peculiarly fitted, and havto the cheerful or sombre disposition of the ing practised its instructions, has at length inhabitants of any country, so is the genius learned to rival the execution of Italy. of their music in a strong contrast to it. That the subject of our present biography To Lully, however, is France indebted for is peculiarly fitted for a pure English her later improvements, aided indeed much singer, has long been acknowledged ; not, by the additional beauties invented by Ra. however, for the English school in its na. meau. Yet what have they done, as it has | tive simplicity, but as low adorned with been asked, but added noise to dullness? | all the ornaments of art, and guided through Yet we will not press hard upon our is all the intricacies of vocal harmony by the national rivals, but refer them to the senti-rules of musical composition, which are ments of their own admired countryman, the same at all times and seasons, though in Rousseau's Eloise.
their mode of application may, and does That English music was not favourable differ in various periods and in various to the improvement and discipline of the countries. human voice, previous to the time of Eli Mrs. Dickous, late Miss Caroline Poole, zabeth, we believe no one will devy who was born about 1780, and was one of a has ever heard the ditlics of that period, i very numerous family, her parents having either preserved in old collections, or even ten children, of which she was the youngyet traditionally sung in retired parts of the est but two. Her father, we believe, has kingdom. Even in that reign, when Eng- not long been dead, and her mother paid
the debt of nature at Newington, in March, great and well-merited success, it is said 1307, at an advanced age.
that she resolved to give up all public apMidst the unavoidable expences arising | pearance. The reason for this we know from an extensive family estab'ishment, it not; but it appears that soon after she was with singular pleasure that her pa | formed a matrimonial connection, being rents hailed the first dawning of infant lluvited on the 7th of August, 1800, at St. genius, as her 'musical talents began to | Peter's Church, Liverpool, to Mr. Peter unfold themselves at the very early period | Dickons, an opulent Yorkshire manufac. of four years.
turer. Even at that juvenile, or rather infantine | It has been said that this uvion, which æra, a cousiderable degree of musical culti- || for prudential reasons had been, and was vation seems to have taken place; for it is still likely to be deferred, was most agreestill remembered that she could give an ably hastened by a lottery speculation, astonishing degree of execution to some of which brought part of the first 30.0001. the most difficult of Handel's Overtures be
prize ever drawn, into the coffers of the fore she was six years old. Such abilities
lovers; so that Pluius lent his aid to Cupid not only promised future excellence, but to lead this votary of Apollo to the temple imperiously demanded immediate embel
of Hymen. lishment, accordingly she was put under | From this period Mrs. Dickons retired the tuition of Rauzzini, who continued to from public life some years; but the instruct her for some years, until an unbar chances of trade having been unfortunate monious duet with Mr. Poole put a stop | with Mr. Dickous, she found it prudent to his further attendance.
to resume her professional situation at the That her capacity for instruction must || Sacred Oratorios, and soon after to accept have been fully equal to her native powers, of an engagement in 1807, at Covent-Garis evident from the fact of ber being con- || den Theatre. It appeared on this resumpsidered sufficiently qualified for an engage- || tion of her early pursuits, that her musical ment at Vauxhall, at the early age of powers had lost nothing of their excel. thirteen, where the writer of the present || lence, but were even mellowed and imsheet has been often charmed, not only ll proved. with the melodious harmony of her voice, On the 20th of October, 1807, Arlar. but also with the prudent and circumspect erxes was performed at Covent-Garden, in attention and attendance of her pa order to give Mrs. Dickons an opportunity rents.
of making her first re-appearance in the Her powers as a singer were so for character of Mandane, in which sbe electunately displayed, and so favourably re- || trified the audience; nay, it was said that ceived at Vauxhall, that she was imme- il in the combination of great taste with diately after engaged to perform at the powerful execution, she had even surConcerts of Ancient Music, thereby in l.passed Mrs. Arne, for whom the various some measure illustrating our former posi- | airs had been expressly composed. Few tion, of the fitness of English voices for l of the audience, however, could remember English harmony; and from these she was I the original performer, though many had soon called to the stage, having made her beard Miss Brent, and most had heard debut in Ophelia, in Hamlet, when she || Mrs. Billington in The Soldier tird, and could scarcely be fifteen years of age. This in the charming, yet difficult air of Let not early introduction, however, was of great || Rage. use to her, and has no doubt contributed | But it is not in sacred mysic alone, or in to that ease of acting which she possesses, Handel's style, that Mrs. Dickons excels, and which is so seldom enjoyed by pro- for even in the airs of the Beggar's Opera fessed singers.
she has yielded infinite delight: indeed, she In 1795 Miss Poole received an invita- | became in all parts so great a favourite with tion to the Dublin Theatre, which she the public, that when the Covent-Garden acrepted, and retained her engagement Managers proposed the introduction of until 1797, when, notwithstanding her foreigu singers in our national Theatre, we all may recollect the tribute paid to our In private life, Mrs. Dickons has always native excellence by the 0. P. distich : shewn the great advautages resulting from
la prudent education; and those who kuow “ Mountain and Dickons, “No Cats, nor Kittens."
|| her best are, we believe, fully justified in
saying that the unaffected kindness of her Nor has her geuius been confined to the dis; osition, the benevolence of her heart, practical part of music, as may be easily and the easy affability of her manners, rendeduced even from a slight examination of der her in all respects the delight of private her Canzonets, which have been justly de- society, and an example to her sisters on scribed as alike honourable to her taste and the public stage of life. science.
HYMENEA IN SEARCH OF A HUSBAND.
(Continued from Page 231.)
We go to Court to-morrow, my produced amongst us. One or two French dear," said my aunt; “the attendance will ladies, like Madame Stael, Madame Robe very full, and you will have the oppor. l laud, &c. have published their memoirs and tunity of seeing a kind of contest and court their political intrigues to the world, and ship wbich I think you will find amusing. have thus taught our British ladies that The late unhappy catastrophe has render- | there are ways and means by which even ed it necessary to form a new Ministry, | ladies may secure themselves a voice, if not and "
a seat, isi cabinets. Hence a new kind of “Oh, for Heaven's sake!" said I, “ do characters in this country-that of an in. not mention politics. I care nothing about triguant, or of a managing political woman. them, and I should think you as little re- || But these matters, Humeuza, are for gard them as myself."
weightier heads than yours and mine; and “ Certainly," said my aunt; “but you so, with your leave, we will pass to the have not patience to attend to me, or you Court. There is to be an installation of would have heard that though politics were li tlie Knights of the Bath this morning; after the cause they were not to form the sub. l which the company and Knights are to stance of your treat. Politics is a kind of || attend a Ballard Drawing-room." game of Whist, of which every one under Il “I should like the Court infinitely bet. stands, or thinks he understands, enough ter," said I, “if the countenances of all to take an interest in the game, and to || were not as much dressed as their persons. think that in fairness he ought to leave a | But it is impossible to see the features of seat himself. Now both Whist and politics character through that complacent uni. are tou sober games for me, and therefore | forunity in which every one present deems I leave them for the intriguants, or ma- ll it liis duty, or his or her interest, to array nagers."
themselves. This Auctuating smile, that “ What do you mean," said I, “ by in- | April sunshine of the face, is peculiarly triguauts and managers ?"
lai noving to me, who love to see nature in “ Why," replied my aunt,'“ these are li all her sincerity." two kinds of persons, or rather characters, ll “ Nay, Hymenæa," said my aunt, " you which the imitation of French manners, and are now too squeamish. There cannot be the general reading of French works, have l' insincerity without its being intentional; and it is not mischievous, or scarcely cul- , “ He is a nobleman," said my aunt, “ who pable, when it exists without a purpose, or bas persuaded himself of his vast personal with a very harmless one. Now what is importance, and who has been preferred to the purpose of tbis mask, if you will have the honour of com; osing the new Ministry, it so, of pleasantness and compiacancy because his avowed opinions and conduct which are the necessary parts of Court hold a kind of middle place between the dress? They are put on as our hoops, be- | late Ministry and the Opposition, as they cause a part of the etiquette dress; they are termed. It is therefore a shorter step, have no purpose of deception, and do no and an easier sacrifice for the Prince Rc. mischief. They lide only what you have gent to refer himself to this vobleman, than no wish to know, and what they certainly at once to go over to the opposite councils bave no obligation to reveal. It is ridiculous, of this Opposition party. This is the reatherefore, to give into this popular decla- son why this nobleman has received the mation agaiust the insincerity of the fa- commission of making up a Ministry if pos. shionable world. This iusincerity is very sible out of the two, or either party; and often the fortitude of a hero, who smiles in l, such is the subject or those applications ; the midst of pain, and seems to triumph in both parties, however (and from very naagony."
tural and ailowable feelings), concur in “ I only blame these disguises," said I, 1 rejecting him. The one party justly al. “ which they carry to such extravagantleges that he has jusulted them by a late excess as to be equivalent to a gross and to statenient pubiished in all the Newspapers, a mischievous falsehood. Where is the dif- lin wliieh he speaks with contempt of their ference, for example, whether an individual inferior abilities, and in terms the most inrelates a falsehood by his tougue or his judicious, not to say ungenerous, of one of face? Aud the mischief is this, that the his late colleagues, the deceased Minister. habit of suppressing the appearance of The other party asks this very reasonable feeling, leads to the actual suppression of question,--for what public or private reason feeling itself. And for what earthly rea-l should we sacrifice all our own political son, let me be permitted to ask, should the advantages and political superiority, to act unhappy make their appearance in Court? | under you? There is certainly no public The leading error of the fashionable world reasoli, as we deem ourselves to be as (I am very sorry to be compelled to say so) | capable as your Lordship of duly admi. is this want of all natural feelings, and there- uistering the affairs of the kingdom, and fore I have a most pointed objection against there is assuredly no private reason, as all every thing which cherishes it."
the advantages are here upou our own side. On the following day we were again at We have two or three hundred friends in Court, which was unusually bustling and the two Houses of Parliament, and you unusually splendid. The Prince Regent have not thirty." seemed alternately courted by two parties, li “ If such be the situation of affairs," said and the two parties by individuais from I, “ I am afraid this nobleanan has no great amongst each other.
li chance of becoming Premier." “ You see the courtship,” said my aunt. “ No," said my aunt, "absolutely none at
" It is a very curious spectacie," said I, all; and to say the truth, Hymnenæa, I " to see how nearly the great and litile re- am not very sory for it. He is, neverthesemble each other when their pursuits are li less, a pobieman of very good abilities; but the same.- Who is that nobleman," said I, he wants, I am afraid, that portion of pri“ who seems to be alternately moving from vate virtue and persoual moral l'espectaone side to the other, and who shers uobility, which all our late Ministers have so seem to meet with a very gracious recepcion eminently possessed; and which are therefrom either? How eagerly, and yet how fore considered as indispensibie in an Engproudly, he appears to be addressing him- , lish Minister. He is not, in a word, a suit. self to each; and with wbat civil and I able Minister for this country.” courtly coldness does he appear to be suc- ! “Aud who is that nobleman near the cessively auswered by both. Who is that | Prince?" said I. nobleman, aunt?"
“That nobleman," said my aunt, “ may