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THE LATE DOUGLAS JERROLD.
As to terms, Murray will, I dare say, either little human compunctions and kindnesses, just halve the profits with you, or give a price which like the rest of the world. will be something less than the half would amount to; and this, in either case, when you come to re-halve it, will be little enough. Nobody knows better than myself what cuttings, and parings, and
THE LATE MR. DOUGLAS JERROLD. clippings, and loppings, and shearings, and clearings there are, before the poor author's share is Mr. Hepworth Dixon said, in the Atheneum, that to be measured off."
if every one who had received a kindness from the I use this little extract, one of many similar that hand of Douglas Jerrold flung a flower on his grave, might be quoted, to introduce a word for the book the spot would be marked by a mountain of roses. sellers. i firmly believe that they are slandered within these three years, I have been once or in this sort of writing, that they are no worse twice his debtor for kind and encouraging words, than any other class of tradesmen. It is not from and I would willingly throw my little flower
. On the dishonesty of the publisher, so much as from the very few occasions upon which I saw him perhis ignorance and bad taste, that authors suffer; sonally, — not more than twice or thrice, and under and he is only a middleman between them and the his own roof,-I found him the most genial, sinpublic, and reflects the public vulgarity and injudi- cere, and fatherly of men ; perfectly simple, a man ciousness pretty accurately.
who looked straight at you, and spoke without arThere is one thing, apart from direct dishonesty, riere pensée,-- without any of that double confrom which, in the present machinery by which sciousness which makes the talk of some men of the public is supplied with books, the book-pro- talent disagreeable, and most thoroughly human, ducers do really suffer, and sometimes cruelly. I That “ abounding humanity" which I once said mean the “STAR-SYSTEM." I know enough of elsewhere is the distinguishing characteristic of theatrical matters to know that this has been the Mr. Jerrold's writing shone out conspicuously in ruin of many a manager ; and under my eyes I all his behaviour. It was never necessary, as it see it daily hampering, and sometimes ruining, book is in conversing with too many, to say, by implisellers. To pay some comparatively extravagant cation, “Never mind the book, and the reputation, price to a writer who has a name—a selling name and the wit, and the wits, and what I am think--and send the one who is comparatively unknown ing of you—am I not a man and a brother?" to the wall, is, everybody knows, the actual system. Mr. Jerrold recognised the manhood and the broWhat weak and worthless things a writer who has therhood so fully at starting that there was nothing once made a "hit" may do is quite ridiculous. to be said about it, and your intercourse with him And, in the meantime, the writer who has not went smoothly upon its true basis,—the natural made a “ hit,” besides the cousciousness that he “proclivity" of one human creatnre for another
. is underpaid, has this additional annoyance, that, | The last time I saw him, he spoke of Mr. Wilkie though he may have put more conscientious pains Collins among the living, and Mr. Laman Blanchand better writing in his work than the “star,” ard among the dead, with particular cordiality. the chances are that hardly anybody will notice it. I then knew little of the personnel of literature, For it is a curious fact that the general public knows and missed, I doubt not, the full significance of nothing about " writing,” and by no means draws what he said about others of whom he spoke in nice distinctions in the matter. Of course, pub- kind terms. lishers do not. I took up once upon a pub- Mr. Jerrold had a peculiar fondness for children. lisher's table a little book somewhat resembling in on the same evening, I heard him speak, with its character Mr. Warren's “ Diary of a Late Phy- positive tears of gratification in his eyes, of a sician.” The publisher noted the resemblance. I sketch of Mr. Leech, in which some gutter-bred said, “ Yes-only a great deal better written.” | little ones were represented doing the honours The publisher stood aghast ! and to this day I am of a mock party among each other. No man that sure he thinks it a fine joke. Yet I spoke the ever wrote has said so much about " babies." In simple truth. The book was better written, and, the middle of a political leader, you would find as it had other merits, it has made way satisfacto- such an allusion as—"sweeter than the sweetest rily to all parties.
baby.” And his writings are full of a gracious My first idea, however, in quoting Southey's domestic purity, quite distinct from the clap-trap jetter was to speak a word for the publishers. of the play-wright or the novelist. They are very ignorant, but the irtrade is full of
The poetry that was in Mr. Jerrold has, I susrisks and disappointments and I do not think they pect, been much underrated by the general public. are as greedy as they are represented to be. My And I will conclude these unworthy words (I would own experience has been short, but I must willingly have deferred flinging my little flower frankly say that I have found “the trade very till in a freer writing mood than at present, but it much like other human beings engaged in £ s. d. is better done at once), by quoting a very fine pursuits ;-plainly showing that they are under passage from his “ Chronicles of Clovernook,"
pressure from without," but tempering, -inevi. which, he told me, as, indeed, any one might guess, tably so, -tempering commercial severities with contained more of his true self, as he would like
to be known and remembered, than any other of makes answer to them ; alike to them and all : to the top. his writings.
inost blossom of the mighty tree as to the greensward daisy, At this time the decliving sun flamed goldenly in the
constant flower, with innocent and open look still frankly west. It was a glorious hour. The air fell upon the heart staring at the mid-day sun.” like balm; the sky, gold and vermilion-flecked, hung, fa
"Evenings such as this,” continued the IIermit, after a celestial tent, above mortal man; and the fancy-quickened pause, “ seem to me the very holiday time of death ; añ ear heard sweet, low music from the heart of earth, rejoicing hour in which the slayer, throned in glory, smiles benevoin that time of gladness.
lently down on man. Here, on earth, lie gets hard names “Did ever God walk the earth in finer weather D” said among us for the unseemliness of his looks, and the cruelty the Hermit. “And how gloriously the earth manifests the
of his doings; but in an hour like this, death seems to me grandeur of the Presence! How its blood dances and glows loving and radiant,--a great bounty, spreading an immortal in the Splendour! It courses the trunks of trees, and is feast, and showing the glad dwelling-place he leads men red and golden in their blossoms. It sparkles in the myriad
to." flowers, consuming itself in sweetness. Every little earth. " It would be great happiness could we always think so. blossom is as an altar, burning incense. The heart of man, For so considered, death is indeed a solemn beneficence-a creative in its overflowing happiness, finds or makes a fellow smiling liberator, turning a dungeon door upon immortal ship in all things. The birds have passing kindred with day. But when death, with slow and torturing device, his winged thoughts. He hears a stranger, sweeter triumph
hovers about his groaning prey; when, like a despot cunning in the skiey rapture of the lark, and the cuckoo in his malice, he makes disease and madness his dallying constant egoist !--speaks to him from the deep, distant serfs”. wood, with a strange swooning sound. All things living are
“ Merciful God !” cried the Hermit, “spare me that final a part of him. In all, he sees and hears a new and deep terror! Let me not be whipped and scourged by long, long significance. In that green pyramid, row above row, what suffering to death-be dragged, a shrieking victim, downa host of flowers! How beautiful and how rejoicing! ward to the grave; but let my last hour be solemn, What a sallen, soul-less thing, the Great Pyramid, to that tranquil, that so, with open, unblenched eyes, I may look blossoming chesnut! How different the work and workmen! at coming death, and feel upon my cheek his kiss of A torrid monument of human wrong, haunted by flights of peace !" ghosts that not ten thousand thousand years can laypulseless carcase built of sweat and blood to garner rotten
I think this passage will even add a zest to ness
. And that Pyramid of leaves grew in its strengtli, your enjoyment of the sunny July weather in which like silent goodness, heaven blessing it; and every year it you will read it. May such “ remembrances” of smiles, and every year it talks a congregation of spirits-spirits of the season !--it cherish, wait upon the approaching evenings on
fading generations. What Douglas Jerrold as he would have wished us to gathered, circle above circle, in its blossoms; they speak to man with blither voice, than all the tongues which we hope each to inscribe his own In MEof Egypt. And at this delicioas season, man listens and 'MORIAM !
GEORGE FREDERIC HANDEL.
Evēry one who takes the slightest interest in Now, we can all, it is true, appreciate ani public events, must lately have heard, over and artistic work; a picture, it may be—a poem (for over again, the name of Handel
, the composer. A surely this may be considered artistic), or a household name it has been for a hundred years in musical composition, without knowing the artist : England, and now it has been brought before the but if that artist be our friend, then we take a world in advertisements of "The Handel Festival,” personal interest in his production. It then beand various memoirs of Handel. Handelian litera- comes to us a living representation of his mind; ture abounds on all sides; and, as if enough were we see his thoughts in each particular ; we mennot already said on the subject, we must even run tally wander with him while contemplating bis with the stream, and add a drop to the torrent. work, through the tangible result of his genius.
Perhaps, aster all, enough has not been said Our readers think thus, too, and will tarry with us about Handel; for, althoug’ more than a century while we make them acquainted with a rough outand a half has elapsed since his birth, there are line of the days of that giant of harmony, George few who know more of him than bis mere name, Frederic Handel. and a few of his most popular works. It may be We will not weary them with a statistical that while admiring bim as a master of his art, account of every ode or sønnet written by him, many have longed to inquire into his private convinced that the proceeding could not be very history. To such, and indeed to all others who interesting; but we will take them briefly through care to hear anything about bim, our slight the principal paths of his life, culling as we go on, memoir will not be unacceptable. We would the choicest flowers he planted in his way. We bave him in these days, when the results of his will try to show them, the chequered phases of his genius are brought before our notice, known for career, and lead them to participate in his joys, his high and estimable qualities of heart as well and sympathise with his sorrows. Then, while as mind. The former will gain our esteem, listening to bis compositions, they will perhaps see while the latter will simply command our admi- something more in them than the mere combinaration.
tion of sounds, or the scientific arrangement of
musical harmonies. They will acknowledge the the infantine community, taking little heed of master mind of the man; the energy, the will, the those amusements so congenial to others of his undaunted perseverance, and untiring patience age, we can imagine him living in a world of his which characterised each action of his life; the own, all his thoughts concentrated on the one obdetermination of overcoming all difficulties, and ject of music. It is probable that his mother may surmounting every obstacle in the ultimate attain- have encouraged his attachment to music, although ment of his object.
his father did not approve of this degraded It seems the fate of those who have attained taste, as he called it. He looked on music as a eminence of any kind, to have waded to it through useless occupation, one only worth the attention of a dreary gulf of sorrow and disappointment. an idle hour. Minims, crotchets, and quavers, for Sorrow and disappointment, we know, are the in. bim embodied nothing more than the tinkling of heritance of humanity; but they appear pre-emi- a certain assemblage of wires. The prosecution nently to belong to the highly gifted among of the legal profession promised, in perspective, mankind. The common clay, the dull lethargic the tinkle of something more precious and solid soul, generally passes over an even, unbroken track, than wire. So he still hoped to make the boy a from the cradle to the tomb.
lawyer. He went blundering on at this notion George Frederic Handel, or George Fridirec, as month after month, but at length he seems to have his German biographers write him, was born at arrived at the conclusion, that all his efforts Halle, in Lower Saxony, either in 1684 or 1685. towards the accomplishment of this end would The former of these dates stands on his tomb in prove abortive, and after some time tacitly Westminster Abbey; but the latter is generally acknowledged the futility of his hopes, by persupposed to be correct. His father was a sur- mitting his son's entrance into the desecrated geon, and wished to make his son a lawyer ; but ground, that is to say he absolutely allowed lim the boy, at a very early age, seems to bave testi- to take lessons on the
organ. fied a strong predilection for the musical art. His This was a wonderful concession, but even this mother's name was Dorothea Taust, the daughter was but a preliminary to a more decided step; for of George Taust, pastor of Giebichenstein. She in 1696, he allowed common sense to assert her survived her husband for thirty-three years, but dominion over obstinacy and bigotry, and taking was blind before her death, on the 24th February, the advice of friends, sent his son to Berlin, for 1730, when she had reached eighty years of age, the express purpose of studying the musical art. and
her son was engaged in his London struggles. His genius, while it secured for him the atten
Dame Nature had whispered into his ear, tion of the professors of that city, also brought “Don't be a lawyer, little George-don't waste him under the notice of the Elector, who wished your time over musty tomes and dry old parch- to become his patron; but this arrangement not ments ; you'll make nothing of those : be a suiting the views of the old doctor, the boy was musician! I have poured the divine essence irfto immediately re-called to Halle. your soul, don't quench it by the dull stream of At this time a cloud was rising over his fate. the law."
Death rested in that cloud; the winged shaft Little George halted between two opinions--at already quivered in his grasp, ere long it flew and least, he was tossed to and fro between his father struck the poor old doctor. In 1697 he died, and Dame Nature. The former instructed him in leaving his son badly off, for on examination, the Latin, and religiously kept him away from all testamentary bequests of the defunct Handel, musical temptations; the latter inspired him with proved anything but a satisfactory state of his a dislike to Latin, and continued wafting through pecuniary affairs. his soul dulcet gleams of harmony. It was a The prosecution of the study of music became struggle between Nature and the father, and now an imperative necessity; and the child made Nature carried the day. Extraordinary anecdotes it the purpose and object of his life. The next are told of the boy's precocity, some people assert- six years were spent in assiduous study; and at ing that at seven years of age, he could, self- eighteen we find him taking a part in the German taught, play on the spinet; and at ten, bad Opera, at Hamburgh. Wbile there a strange admastered that and several other instruments. No venture happened to him. It appears that the doubt there is some truth in these assertions, but situation of the organist of Lubeck becoming we must also expect a little exaggeration. One vacant, Handel, with some of his brothers-in-art, thing, however, is certain, he was a child of un- applied for the situation, and repaired to Lubeck wearied industry in the art he loved, and possessed for the purpose of personally advancing their claim. of extreme continuity of purpose.
To their astonishment on arriving at the city, they In these two attributes, we perceive germs of that discovered, that an “incumbrance" was attached character which, combined with genius, afterwards to the vacancy in question, as the inseparable congave the world those matchless manuscripts, which dition of its acceptance! This “incumbrance" may fairly be ranked among the wonders of the was nothing more nor less than a wise, in the human mind.
person of the late organist's daughter. We are Even when a child, nothing seems to have kept not told whether the lady chanced to be young him from his darling recreation. Abstracted from and handsome, or old and ugly; the result of the
He, at any
negotiation seems to warrant the supposition that I had the glory of receiving the justly renowned the latter class of adjectives, belonged to her, for patriarch of sacred music. Handel and his compeers cried off.
At that time Italian operas were in vogue in rate, was not disposed to take unto himself a wife. London, not in the same style of representation as Euterpe was his first, his only love: she admitted at present, but still they were in vogue. The no rival, and indeed he never seems to have medi-pens of some of the wise old writers of the day tated giving her one. Therefore the organist's were busily engaged in trying to write these operas daughter failed to become Madame Handel, and down, when Handel appeared as their champion, Handel himself lost both a situation and a wise.*
and boldly espoused their cause.
It was now, In 1705, he came before the public as a com
Steel, Addison, and others, versus Handel and poser, and brought out a work entitled " Almira, Operas." Handel and Operas gained the cause. Queen of Castile; or, the Vicissitudes of Royalty." The Opera of "Armida,” dedicated to Queen This opera, being approved of by the public, was Anne, was brought out at the Haymarket in 1711, followed by others, as well as by many cantatas. and was eminently successful. Queen Anne seems And here let me remark, that hundreds of persons
to have entertained a high appreciation for Handel; believe Handel never wrote anything but oratorios for, on his leaving England some months after, to -a great error : he was first known as an operatic fulfil his engagement as chapel-master to the writer, of the German school.
Elector, George of Brunswick, she extorted from From Hamburgh, Handel went to Italy: visited him a promise of returning as soon as he could Florence, Venice, and other cities of interest, and obtain a fresh leave of absence. This promise then repaired to Rome. In the eternal city his
was speedily fulfilled ; a new leave of absence, for genius again won for him the notice of the great.
a short period, was obtained from the Elector; Secular and ecclesiastical magnates crowded their and in January of 1712, Handel was again in offers of civility on him. As their names are not London. The Queen now testified her admiration so illustrious as his, whose biography we are
of his talents in a very substantial manner, by writing, it is unnecessary to record them. During granting him a pension of £200 per annum, a good his residence in Italy he seems to have been very
sum in those days. industrious, giving to the world numberless com. Time passed on, and Handel's leave having positions. Among these, “ Agrippina,” composed expired, he should have returned to Hanover, but at Florence in three weeks; and the Resurrec he lingered still in the British metropolis. He zione," written at Rome, are particularly worthy certainly preferred England to Hanover. This of remembrance.
was all very well while Queen Anne lived, but From Rome he went to Naples; and we can Queens after all are but mortal ; and so Handel fancy him lingering night after night in the moon
found out, when in 1714 she died; and his old lit gardens which overhang the bay—the starry master, the deserted Elector of Brunswick came Italian sky above, the rippling waters of the bay to the throne of England as George the First. beneath him, and the distant hilly outline filling Then might the recreant chapel-master have up the glorious landscapes. In such a scene we
trembled, if the fear of losing royal patronage can imagine him wandering night after night, in- could make such a man tremble. For some time spired, by the pure beauty of nature, to the com
the truant did not venture into the presence of the position of those grand melodies, which, floating King. He knew the reception he deserved ; and, then before him, were afterwards destined to go like a wise man he avoided that reception. A forth to the world a monument of his fame. In friendly Hanoverian baron, however, who was both Naples he wrote “ Aci e Galattea,” an Italian
an ardent admirer of the musician and a friend serenade, and several other pieces, both in French to the King, wishing to promote peace between and Italian. After remaining some time longer in them, managed to place the former professionally the land of song, he came to the determination of before the latter. His efforts were crowned with quitting it. This determination must have cost success: the royal smile again shone on the face him a struggle, for the music-loving people of of Handel, and an earnest of its continuance was Italy were very sympathetic with him. There bestowed in another pension of £200 per annum, was, however, no help for it. The truth was he over and above the sum which he held from Queen found it exceedingly difficult to obtain any occupa. Anne. He was also appointed music master to the tion in that country which he could conscientiously daughters of the Prince of Wales; for this he accept: the established religion (Roman Catholic), received another £200 per annum, making £600 being an insurmountable objection to good, honest, per annum of royal income alone. Lutheran Handel. So, he left Italy; and, travel
Fortune seemed to be overwhelming Handel ling again to Germany, pitched his tent in with her gifts. Flattered, courted, wealthy-we Hanover.
see him the associate of princes, and the companion At the Court of the Elector, he met some
of the most brilliant characters of the day. He Englishmen, who advised bim to visit England. was revelling in a sunbeam of existence. It passed This advice was taken, and in 1710, this country away from him—and then came the shadow and
the storm; the shadow which, however, failed to * See the "Life of Handel" by Victor Schoelcher.
obscure the bright inspirations of his genius ; the
THE ITALIAN OPERA. storm which could not shake the firm integrity of away at his anvil, accompanying his work with a his character.
song. He must have been rather a churlish fellow Bat although he seemed to be progressing in to have left his visitar standing alone and watching prosperity, a stealthy foe was rising against himn. the rain, while he sat singing and working at This foe was embodied in the growing tendency ease. He little thought the use that visitor was of the age to cast over all amusements that tone making of him and his anvil; for it is said that of immorality which was corrupting society. The Handel was listening all the time to the strokes of works of Handel, from their parity, did not pander the hammer on the anvil
, which, by producing two to the daily increasing licentiousness; and those harmonic sounds, according in time and tune with to whom he and his compositions were a tacit the air the man sang, formed a bass accompani. reproach, began now to level their angry darts at ment. Handel, on reaching home, remembered him. He cared little or nothing for this ; indeed, the air and the hammer accompaniment. He in the nobleness of his own nature, he treated these wrote down both, and thence sprang the composipetty attacks with the contempt they deserved. tion known as “The Harmonious Blacksmith." He continued perserveringly in his own course, we do not youch for the truth of this anecdote. and brought out several pure gems of beauty, in. It seems, however, quite the sort of incident Hancluding the opera of “ Amadigi,” performed at del would have seized hold of. To an inventive Hamburgh, whither he had gone in 1717. On genius, like his, everything acts as a stimulus to his return to London in 1718, he found the Italian the imagination; and we may be quite sure, that Opera closed.
if such a strange harmonic accident as that named Thus, “Othello's occupation gone,” he was in the tale, ever happened to him, he would not obliged to betake himself to something else, and leave it a barren fact. accepted the situation of chapel-master to the One thing connected with Handel and his comDuke of Chandos, who lived in great splendour at positions is worthy of notice here, namely, that "Cannons,” a magnificent estate in the vicinity of while other composers made use of the minor key Edgeware.
to produce an impression of melancholy, he invaIn 1720 the Italian Opera was again opened- riably adopted the major—thus stepping ont of a private subscription of £50,000 having been the beaten track. Again: the extreme indepenraised for the purpose, and Handel had all the dence of mind, which so eminently characterised arrangements entrusted to him. Thanks to the him, was shown in his musical compositions, and untiring energy he displayed, the judgment he he never hesitated to depart from established rules, showed in the selection of foreign artists, and the when, by doing so, he could add to the excellence pains he took to render each performance as per- of his work. On one occasion, he introduced a fect as possible, the season terminated satisfactorily. semitone which was disapproved of by the musical
The opera of “Radimistus," dedicated to the critics of the day, who pronounced it incorrect. King, bad been added to his former compositions. “Be it so," replied Geminiani, a musician of emiIn 1720 he also wrote the oratorio of “ Esther” nence ; " but such a semitone is worth a world."* for the Duke of Chandos—in whose service he The independence, however, which we have just continued, notwithstanding the calls on his time mentioned, together with an unwise impetuosity of with regard to the Italian Opera.
temper, shown in business transactions between In re-traversing Handel's career, we cannot help them, raised up a faction of the nobility against remarking his unflagging industry. At this time, Handel, which ultimately proved very detrimental with the management of the opera resting on his to his fortunes. They who had mainly contributed shoulders, the direction of each performance de- to the subscription for the opening of the opera, pending solely on him, he never wavered in his differed with him in some of their views relating duties as chapel-master; and amidst the press of to the management of that house. His indepenbusiness which these two engagements must have dence offended them ; they would not yield to him, crowded on him, he could still find time to com- neither would he submit to them. He had for. pose.
merly asserted and established his supremacy in A curious anecdote is related of him during the all matters relating to the theatrical management, time of his residence at Cannons. We will not and now, when they, partly from caprice, partly vouch for the authenticity of this tale, but as it from other causes, turned against him, he would is quite possible that it may have a foundation in not condescend to regain their favour by mean truth, and has been often ascribed to him, it may sycophancy. A few firm friends still held to him ; be repeated. It is said, then, that on one occasion, and their well-earned esteem he valued more than as Handel was going to Cannons, he was caught in the senseless adulation of his titled followers. a shower of rain, and, of course, being unprovided In 1727, he brought out another opera called with an umbrella (for geniuses never can take “Admetus,” including a very beautiful air, "Spera cognisance of the common necessaries of life), was si, mio caro," which is considered one of his most obliged to seek shelter in a blacksmith's forge. finished morceaur. This same year, 1727, vas Either Handel was in a silent mood, or else the again the scene of a coronation. George II. then blacksmith showed no conversational symptoms; for, in a little while, the latter began hammering
* Schoelcher's “Life of Handel."