Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the

sure.

there is little or no variety. It is beauty too, rescued from destruction, yet continually in danger. I don't wonder the Hollanders love their country so much. The very thought, every violent storm may ruin it; the risk of losing it and all their labours together, must endear it to them, like a friend whose frail constitution excites perpetual solicitude. Once, indeed, it was ravished from them. A tremendous storm arose, the sea washed away those banks which seem to partake of the steadfastness of

very earth; and ocean rolled over the land, and it is said that three millions of persons perished. Last February there was another inroad made by this mighty enemy, and terrible destruction followed. To keep the ocean at bay, they have shields which one might suppose would enable them to stand their ground against its mighty blows, and overwhelming pres

They have piled up not mounds, but hills, to check its fury. They scarcely seem the works of men, but indicate the hand of an Almighty master. It may strike you as strange that I should be excited to admiration by the achievements of Dutchmen;

; but were you to see them you would be so too. As yet, all that I have seen of the pomp and circumstance of coronations, palaces, pictures and statues, has not conveyed to my mind any impression comparable to that I received in viewing these noble and useful triumphs of industry, perseverance, genius and hardihood. Yet there is something odd about the situation of these people. They put me in mind of our beavers, of whom the Indians affirm, that the Great Spirit deprived them of speech lest they should get the upper hand of men. hey build dams, and when washed away they rebuild them, with a perseverance that never tires—they live in the midst of the water, and yet have a dry house over their heads--and when the enemy approaches, they let in the waters, and hide themselves in an inundation of their own creation.

You would be pleased in riding through the suburbs here. Each country house is like a little fortified town, with a mound and ditch round it. On those of the richer classes, are shields placed in front, on which, or over the wrought iron gates, making part of their favourite ornaments, are mottos, such as de Rosen en bust,” “ Rust plaets,”—the rose in its freshness-rest yourself here. This last I saw painted in large letters over the door, like a grocer's sign.

But among the things that have seemed to me the most remarkable, is the great organ I saw at Hærlem, and which I heard for the first time yesterday morning. It has the notes of almost every instrument. Sometimes the tones were those of the sweetest and most expressive female voice I ever heard, rising and swelling gradually with all the melodious cadences

of the Æolian harp--then suddenly they resembled the loud abrupt shouts of admiring crowds--then the high, rich, quick notes of gladness, instantly giving place to the low slow tones of distress. After listening almost with rapture to these, there canie the sounds of rushing winds suddenly rising, and roaring furiously, and bearing on their wings the confused uproar of the coming storm. You can imagine the slamming of window shutters--the clouds of dust skirring violently through the mad air—the sky growing every moment blacker, and the atmosphere cooling with the approach of rain—then the murmuring of distant thunder, growing louder as it comes nearer, till at length it bursts in terrible crashes right over our heads. To this succeeds the dull pattering of rain, after a short pause--the thunder gradually is heard in the distance, and at length the storm is over--gay, quick and cheerful music tells you, the blue sky, the sunshine, and the little songsters, are come again. So perfect an imitation I had conceived beyond the powers of art. If nature had been listening, like me, she might have exclaimed, in the moment of delusion, “by heaven, it is my own voice !" It is only now and then that a traveller is blest with such agreeable surprises as this, and whenever I meet with them, I try to let you into a share of my enjoyment. Farewell.

THE UNCERTAINTY OF FORTUNE.

(From Lope de Vega.)
In the compass of a day,
Famous Troy was wrapt in flame;
Rome her laurels saw decay;
Ruin desolating came
O'er the proud Armada’s way.
In a day, who cannot tell,
How the rich from grandeur fell;
And the favourite is displaced;
And the proud man is abased ;
And the sea will shrink and swell.

In a day, the inconstant sky,

;
And the earth is moist and dry;
And the bird, whose pinions failed,
Soars the merriest toward the sky.

Blossoms now the almond fill,
Which to-morrow's frosts shall kill;
Lords shall wear a slavish chain;
Mountains sink into the plain ;
Human favour passeth still.

'Twixt the goblet and the lip,
Wisely spoke a sage of old,
Many a danger, many a slip;
Ere a moment's flight is told,
O'er departed joys we weep.

JUDITH.

(From the same.) Blood dripping, from the couch, upon the floor,

The impious tyrant's headless shoulder falls;

Who girt, with leaguer vain, Bethulia's walls, And bade 'gainst Heaven his idle thunders roar: The tent's red vail, with fearful doubt, before

The eye withdrawn, the unnatural sight enthralls

The gazers' hearts, and every sense appals Of the foul trunk in its congealing gore.

The red wine spilt defiles the shining mail; O’erthrown the tables and the goblets lie;

The slumbering guards in their base service fail; While the chaste Hebrew maiden from on high,

Bids Israel on their turreted ramparts hail, Crowned with her glittering helm's fierce blazonry.

ON THE DEATH OF DON SEBASTIAN, KING OF PORTUGAL.

(From the same.) Oh, desert Afric! 'mid the torrid glow,

Would nature ne'er had stretched thy fatal strand;

Nor through the fields of thy detested land
The rising sun seen fertile Nilus flow;
Nor fate unkind permitted thee to know

A Christian's footstep on thy burning sand;

Nor Portugal won through with valorous brand,
Thy bloody portal to her children's wo!
VOL. II.

30

For, on thy soil, her hopeful flower lies dead, Stretched are her wise, her noble, and her brave;

Her crown has fallen; her wealth, her grandeur fled ; And thou, who dared'st not see his ensigns wave,

Liftest thine heel on the anointed head, Crowned with the sacred laurels valour gave.

ITALIAN OPERA.

SINCE our last, there have been five representations of the Barber of Seville, two of the Amante Astuto, and four of Tancred and Amenaide. Of Signor and Signorina Garcia's performance in the Barber of Seville, we have already given our opinion. It remains for us to say a word or two of the other members of the company who had parts in the first opera, and to offer a few remarks upon Garcia's operetta and Tancredi.

It does not appear to be generally known, that young Garcia had never performed before his appearance in New-York. When this and his early age are taken into consideration, it must be acknowledged that the most distinguished future excellence may be reasonably expected of him. Few bass singers have made so promising a début at the age of twenty-one. At' that time of life, the voice has seldom reached its lowest compass, or attained its greatest strength; and if Sr. Manuel Garcia is able now, with here and there an exception, to make his voice, in our badly constructed theatre, distinctly audible in the part-pieces of the Barber of Seville, there is little doubt but that at the age of twenty-six or thirty, there will be no complaint of its deficiency in fulness, power, variety, or depth. For this reason, we make every allowance for the difference which wecan easily conceive between the cavatina, Largo al factotum, as sung now, and as it will be sung by the same singer four or five years hence. Instead, therefore, of pointing out defects which could not but exist, and which time cannot but remove, we gladly turn to the consideration of the numerous excellencies of young Garcia's voice, and dwell with pleasure on the proofs which he has given already of his uncommon meritand capacity. Through all the restraint of an inexperienced performer, he gives abundant evidence of that accurate and intelligent conception of his part, which alone can bring the artist to the top of his profession. In the duet with Almaviva, as well as in the quintetto, and terzetto of the second act, his action is remarkable for its spirit and propriety. He is the busy, bustling, scheming barber of the Spanish novelists, in whose code of mo

[ocr errors]

rals it is set down, that all tricks are fair against an Argus-eyed duenna, or a jealous old guardian. Figaro's gesticulations may appear to some extravagant; but it should be recollected that a comic opera, in a tongue unknown to seven eighths at least of the audience, is obliged, in addressing itself to the eye, to borrow the strongly marked gesture, and even the caricatured expression, of the pantomime.

In the duet with Almaviva, young Garcia gained a distinguished share of applause; and, although the latter part of it, delle monete il suon già sento," is not sufficiently heard above the brilliant tenor of his father, and the accompaniment of the orchestra, yet the rest is sung with such successful execution and animated action, that all notice of so slight an imperfection is lost in the gratification which the whole duet affords.

The duet with Rosina, “ Dunque io son” and “ Fortunati," was equally well done, and deserved even louder applause than it received, as well from the manner in which it was sung, both by brother and sister, as from the brilliancy of its composition, and the graceful beauty of its leading melody. In the quintet of the second act, Figaro was all that could be wished; and in the terzetto, the manner in which he performed his part materially contributed to the loud applause with which it was received. In short, for one so young and so unpractised, the whole part was surprisingly well done; and by the time his fine baritono has fairly sunk, as we have no doubt it will do, into a sonorous base, Sr. Manuel Garcia will be known in Europe as the celebrated singer who made his first appearance in a country where, two centuries before, the only music which was heard was the howl of the wolf and the yell of the savage.

Signor Angrisani's reputation as a first-rate bass has been long established on the continent; and although he has not for some years past pursued the vocation to which we are glad he has now returned, his name is still familiar to all who take any interest in the modern Italian opera. His firm and powerful voice arrested, from the very first, the attention of the audience; and among the loudest and most hearty applauses with which the pieces of the three operas have been distinguished,we have to mention the reception of the fine bass air, La calunnia è un venticello. Angrisani's voice, as far as we can judge from what we have heard, is much more remarkable for its sonorous force and fulness, than for flexibility or rapid execution; but every body knows that these qualities are nearly incompatible, and are not to be found united, to any extent, in any living singer, with the exception, perhaps, of Galli, De Rivis, and

« ZurückWeiter »