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No. 005 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

Before I dismiss this Paper, I must inform my Reader, that I hear there is a Treaty on Foot with London and Wise [5] (who will be appointed Gardeners of the Play-House,) to furnish the Opera of Rinaldo and Armida with an Orange-Grove; and that the next time it is Acted, the Singing Birds will be Personated by Tom-Tits: The undertakers being resolved to spare neither Pains nor Mony, for the Gratification of the Audience.


[Footnote 1: Dryden’s play of ‘Sir Martin Mar-all’ was produced in 1666. It was entered at Stationers’ Hall as by the duke of Newcastle, but Dryden finished it. In Act 5 the foolish Sir Martin appears at a window with a lute, as if playing and singing to Millicent, his mistress, while his man Warner plays and sings. Absorbed in looking at the lady, Sir Martin foolishly goes on opening and shutting his mouth and fumbling on the lute after the man’s song, a version of Voiture’s ‘L’Amour sous sa Loi’, is done. To which Millicent says,

‘A pretty-humoured song–but stay, methinks he plays and sings still, and yet we cannot hear him–Play louder, Sir Martin, that we may have the Fruits on’t.’]

[Footnote 2: Handel had been met in Hanover by English noblemen who invited him to England, and their invitation was accepted by permission of the elector, afterwards George I., to whom he was then Chapel-master. Immediately upon Handel’s arrival in England, in 1710, Aaron Hill, who was directing the Haymarket Theatre, bespoke of him an opera, the subject being of Hill’s own devising and sketching, on the story of Rinaldo and Armida in Tasso’s ‘Jerusalem Delivered’. G. Rossi wrote the Italian words. ‘Rinaldo’, brought out in 1711, on the 24th of February, had a run of fifteen nights, and is accounted one of the best of the 35 operas composed by Handel for the English stage. Two airs in it, ‘Cara sposa’ and ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ (the latter still admired as one of the purest expressions of his genius), made a great impression. In the same season the Haymarket produced ‘Hamlet’ as an opera by Gasparini, called ‘Ambleto’, with an overture that had four movements ending in a jig. But as was Gasparini so was Handel in the ears of Addison and Steele. They recognized in music only the sensual pleasure that it gave, and the words set to music for the opera, whatever the composer, were then, as they have since been, almost without exception, insults to the intellect.]

[Footnote 3: Addison’s spelling, which is as good as ours, represents what was the true and then usual pronunciation of the name of Haendel.]

[Footnote 4: The Pied Piper of Hamelin (i.e. Hameln).

‘Hamelin town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side.’

The old story has been annexed to English literature by the genius of Robert Browning.]

[Footnote 5: Evelyn, in the preface to his translation of Quintinye’s ‘Complete Gardener’ (1701), says that the nursery of Messrs. London and Wise far surpassed all the others in England put together. It exceeded 100 acres in extent. George London was chief gardener first to William and Mary, then to Queen Anne. London and Wise’s nursery belonged at this time to a gardener named Swinhoe, but kept the name in which it had become famous.]