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female inmates. And not only in Dublin, but in many workhouses in various parts of Ireland it is well known that procuresses for houses of ill-fame have gone in for the purpose, (in a number of instances only too successfully accomplished,) of recruiting among the young female paupers for the infamous establishments to which they themselves belonged, or by which they were employed!

The conclusion we would come to upon all this is, that Sir George Nicholls has been at least premature in sounding the note of triumph, as he does in the work before us, upon his Poor Law for Ireland. It has not delivered us from beggars, it has increased enormously the exactions from us towards the support of pauperism. It is year after year becoming in itself more costly. It is rearing up in the workhouse young generations without one kindly tie to bind them to society, but rather with rancour towards it in their hearts. It expatriates or demoralizes too many of the young females who are abandoned to its tender mercies. It hardens the hearts of the ratepaying classes, and creates evil feeling between them and the increasing class of recipients of relief. And we almost feel as if mocking the real impoverishment of our people if we allude even in passing, to the total and utter failure of Sir George Nicholls' promises of abounding and overflowing manufacturing, commercial, and agricultural prosperity, all to be brought about by the magical agency of Poor Laws! Truly the "Case of Ireland" is sad, not only as regards the old grievance of Molyneux's time, "her being bound by acts of Parliament in England," but as having one of the most difficult and intricate points of her legislation made over as a hobby, and a matter of rash and random experiment, to a puffed-up, hard-headed theorist and sciolist in political and social economy, like Sir George Nicholls!

ART. V.-THE FRENCH OPERA AT PARIS.

1. Petits Mémoires de l'Opéra. Par Charles de Boigne. Paris, 1857.

2. Histoire du Théatre de l'Académie Royale de Musique en France. A Paris, 1757.

3. Musical History, Biography and Criticism, by George Hogarth, 2 Vols. London, 1838.

4. Memoirs of the Opera, by George Hogarth. Richard Bentley, London, 1851.

In these our days, and amongst this our people of habitués of the Italian opera, when the legitimate drama is at a discount, and Shakespeare is laid aside for the quatrains of Italian improvisatori, it must be a very difficult task to cause to be appreciated, the early efforts of the French to establish a national representation of theatrical music amongst themselves. Notwithstanding the talents of Balfe and Wallace, and numerous others, our own English opera has been completely thrown into the shade; it is not the ton, it does not possess the foreign twang, and must yield to the imperative mandate of fashion. In nothing are the English so slavish to conventionalities, as in their theatre-going; not that we mean to say, the music of these foreign performances may not be superior to many of our own, but out of every hundred spectators there are not perhaps two, who understand the meaning of the words, or can follow the singer through his part. A blind subservience to a public furor hurries them on, and they sit out the evening with open eyes and mouths, catching at the pantomimic gestures of the singers, and now and then recognizing an aria, which they have most probably picked up from the barrel-organ of a strolling Savoyard. There is unfortunately very little encouragement given to the improvement of native talent in this direction, and the consequence is, that we are immeasurably inferior in our musical knowledge, tastes, and capabilities, to every nation in Europe, except, perhaps, the Spaniards. In Germany long since, musical universities and academies have been established, which by a regular system of education, train up professors and develope native talent, while in all parts of the Continent, it is considered as necessary a part of polite learning to be instructed in the first principles of the musical art, as it has been in these countries, to be somewhat

proficient in Greek, Latin, and a little mathematics. It is to be admitted, however, that of late the tastes of our people have been very much improved in this direction, and especially in this our city of Dublin, where so many Concert, Glee, Madrigal, and other musical societies have sprung up, and promise to humanize the rough elements of our national character.

Italy has been the mother of the nations of modern Europe in most of the arts, which embellish the life of man in those ages. Painting, Sculpture, Poetry, Music, the Drama, and finally, the Opera, have all had their infancy in her realms, when the dawn of civilization had dissipated the darkness of the middle ages, and since then they have been propagated from clime to clime, from her as from a centre. As modern comedy and tragedy owe their origin to the representations of sacred mysteries in public, in booths, at fairs, and markets, so the opera was initiated in Florence about the year 1449, by dramatic pieces with musical interludes, in which the lives and actions of the patriarchs and saints were held up to an admiring audience. Subsequently profane subjects were introduced, as for instance, a comedy called La Calandra, which was got up by the Cardinal Bernard de Bibienne for the amusement of the Pope Leo X. at Rome, under the direction of one Balthazar Peruzzi, in the year 1516. The Orfeo of Politian is also referred to somewhat about this date. But these performances only resembled our ballet operas of the present day, with occasional arias introduced, the recitative not being sung. The application of harmonized music to the recitative, has been attributed to two authors, with rival claims to invention, Ottavio Rinuccini of Florence, and Jacopo Peri, who brought out a musical drama. called Dafne, in the same city in the year 1597. At Rome the first operatic performance entirely sung was produced in 1600, entitled "il rappresentazione dell' Anima e del corpo," in which the personages were allegorical. The favorite subject of all the early authors, seems to have been the mythical adventures of Orpheus, as appears by the Orfeo of Politian, Rinuccini, Monteverde, and others, and which was introduced subsequently in various shapes on the French stage. The orchestra of this period was of a most original description, consisting of the viol de gamba, an instrument which approached in construction the violoncello of our days, the harpsichord, ancestor of the piano, and guitars and flutes, all of which were played behind the scenes, forming but a very weak accompaniment to the singers.

The Oratorio also, the progenitor of the opera, was brought to some degree of perfection in this age, particularly by Alessandro Stradella, whose fame as a musician was fully established at Venice by his "San Giovanni Battista," and whose romantic adventures and death deserve some notice here. His renown as a musician caused him to be engaged by a Venetian nobleman, to instruct a young lady named Hortensia, whom the Patrician had inveigled from her family. The lady preferred the professore to the noble, and the pair fled to Naples, and subsequently to Rome. Here they were traced by two assassins, sent by the Venetian to avenge the insult and dispatch Stradella, and who entered a church, where the musician was conducting an oratorio, with the determination of accomplishing their fell purpose. Such, however, was the beauty of the music, and its ascendancy over the minds of the assassins, that they relinquished their design, and even discovered the whole plot to Stradella, advising him at the same time to fly to safer quarters. He repaired to Turin, and put himself under the protection of the Duchess of Savoy. Two other villains, however, were hired, and succeeded in leaving their victim in an apparently hopeless state in the ducal palace. Still he recovered, and the Duchess, in order to remove all further possibility of separating the lovers, had them publicly united at her court, and constantly guarded within its precincts. The vengeance of the Venetian did not yet slumber; he despatched another brace of murderers in pursuit, and after some years, when Stradella was obliged to go to Genoa on some urgent affairs, they succeeded in stabbing to the heart the luckless pair, as they lay sleeping one early morning in each other's arms. This occurred in the year 1670, and is a striking trait both of the Italian love for music, and the Italian love for revenge, still subsisting at the present day.

Rinuccini had come to France in the suite of Marie de Medicis, and laid the foundation of an Italian company at her court, in the year 1577. Ballets were the principal performances at this period, one of which was brought out at the marriage of Monsieur de Joyeuse with Mademoiselle de Vaudemont, under the direction of Balthasarini, the best violin player of his time, in the year 1581. The Cardinal Mazarin was, however, the first to introduce the complete opera, in 1645, by causing to be represented before the King and Queen at the Petit Bourbon an Italian piece entitled, La Festa theatrale de la finta Pazza, and in 1647 another, Orfeo è Euridice, by an Italian company. Three

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years afterwards, Pierre Corneille produced a tragedy called Andromède, in getting up which great expense was gone to in machinery, dresses, &c. It was played before the Queen Anne d'Autriche, and produced an extraordinary sensation. whole piece was not sung, but the recitative was intermingled with airs, somewhat in the style of the ancient tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides. Ballets, however, continued to be the favorite amusement of the Court, the verses of them being composed by some of the best authors, and the characters, divinities, heroes, shepherds, and other personages, represented by the young king, Louis XIV., the princes, and the most noble of the courtiers. The troubles of the Fronde interrupted for some time any further attempts to establish a French opera, until the year 1659, when a pastoral piece in five acts, the words by the Abbé Perrin, and the music by Lambert and Cambert, music masters to the Queen, was played at the village of Issy, in the house of the Sieur de la Haye, and subsequently at Vincennes, at the desire of Cardinal Mazarin, before the whole court. This success induced the Abbé to write several other pieces, and led to his obtaining in the year 1669 a patent for establishing academies of music at Paris, and in the other cities of the kingdom. He and his associates subsequently brought out several operas, amongst the rest Pomone, which was played in 1671 in the Jeu de Peaume de Bel-air, rue Mazarine, of which an author of the times says: "The scenery was regarded with surprise, the dances with pleasure, the singing was heard with delight, the words with disgust."

A great revolution in French music was now about to be effected by the celebrated Jean Baptiste Lulli, a Florentine, who had obtained the place of superintendent of music to the King. He was son of a peasant, and had received some instruction from a cordelier in music and playing on the guitar, which he afterwards abandoned for the violin, his favourite instrument. The Chevalier de Guise brought him to France for the service of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, in whose kitchen he was for some time sous-marmiton, under scullion, until one day the Comte de Nogent, hearing him by chance amusing himself with playing on the violin, recommended to his mistress to have him taught by proper masters. At this time the principal band of the court consisted of twenty-four violins, considered the best in Europe, but Louis XIV. having heard Lulli play,

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