網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

his tailor to Dover, thence to embark for the continent, or will leave town, for a blind, and rusticate three months afterwards in the prospects of the Obelisk and in St. George's Fields, where he will wait until he meets his old friends, with long faces, in the persons of his jeweller, his perfumer, his horsedealer, his livery-stable keeper, with all his other quality serving tradesmen, not forgetting the Jew, the attorney, and the hotel keeper.

Happy the man, who,having resided in town for moderate recreation, or for the discharge of his senatorial or other duties, can calmly quit his town house, and post it down in good health and spirits to his family seat, there to gladden every heart; to improve a property transmitted to him by his ancestors, to promote the interests of agriculture and of patriotism; to maintain the character of hospitality of sire and grandsire; to provide for the working poor by furnishing them with industrious employment, and to relieve the aged and infirm. The harvest-home and autumnal sports will be enlivened and honoured by his presence, and the old

BIOGRAPHY.

(Lond. Lit. Gaz.)

MASTER GEORGE ASPULL, THE MU SICAL PRODIGY.

THE fame of this youthful musician has already spread far and wide. His precocious and extraordinary talents have not only attracted the notice of the profession and of fashion, but been honoured by the regards of royalty itself; and His Majesty, one of the finest judges of music in the kingdom, has been pleased to express his warmest approbation of the boy's perform

ances.

Having heard much of this phenomenon, and seeing a concert advertised for the display of his powers on the 14th, at the King's Concert Rooms,* we were desirous of ascertaining the nature and extent of his accomplishments,

English Christmas festivities will close the period of his residence amongst kind neighbours and prosperous tenantry; when he may again meet the high circle of his town mansion, without fear of having it run down by creditors ;pigeoned by birds of prey; winged in an affair of folly,growing out some gaming-table, tavern, or play-house quarrel; or bring the retributive sacrifice to unlawful inclination, or to the transgressions of gallantry in high life:there will be no slipping off, edging off, making off, or moonlight march; no Sunday's departure, or unperceived disappearance; all will be honest and above board, a kind farewell will be uttered by esteeming acquaintances; and the Morning Post will notice his Lordship, or the Baronet, or the independent wealthy Commoner's leaving town, for his manor, or a wateringplace, without dread of exposure to those who have him in their columns in the shape of a debtor; and who wish to have him out of their books in the way of payment instead of the form of ill-report.

This bids fair to be a great treat: it commences

at eight o'clock, and the bill embraces some of the

best music we know, and in the hands of the most popular performers-Pasta, R. de Begnis, Stephens, Patou, Garcia, Curioni, Kellner, Cramer, GreatoTex, &c. &c.

35 ATHENEUM VOL. 1. new series.

and, if so astonishing as report gave out, something of the history of their origin, growth, and promise. In attaining this object we have indeed enjoyed a very high gratification. Young ASPULL is a surprising instance of genius; and affords one of those rare examples of mind, so early imbued with superiority in a particular branch of science, as to make philosophy pause on the disputed doctrine between acquisition and intuition.

This child, for he is no more, is now about eight years and a half old, and has cultivated his musical faculty for a little more than three years; for he had reached the age of five before it developed itself so much as to excite attention. Since then, however, it has been sedulously improved by his father; and he has already attained that proficien

cy which renders him so remarkable. It is not easy to convey by description an adequate idea of his astonishing characteristics. His appearance is altogether very interesting; and his manners are playful and pleasing, like those of other fine boys of his age. When seated at the instrument, it seems as if his soul and body were part of its movements and the tones produced— there is no effort, and the whole is like one piece of curiously organized mechanism. His execution is firm, certain, and brilliant ; and this is the more surprising when you watch the little hand (which resorts to so many expedients, unnecessary when it is of sufficient stretch) overcoming all the difficulties of the most difficult pieces that ever were composed to try the skill of a performer. His ear, it need hardly be said,is perfect. This is evident from his play; but was made much more strikingly so by an experiment which he had several times tried. A bar of music was sung to him, and he instantly repeated it on the pianoforte in the sane key with the truth of an echo ;— and then, starting away, composed an extempore piece upon it, beautiful and various in itself, and never departing from the original theme! This wonderful effort he repeated as often as he was asked, and always with the same success; which clearly proved that nature had endowed him with these extraordinary qualities, beyond aught which art or instruction could give. He also sung with great sweetness; and altogether delighted the company assembled towitness his performances.

[blocks in formation]

Lixt at Paris, may give an interest to, and have an interest reflected by the following account, taken from Grimm's Correspondence, of the first appearance of Mozart in Paris in 1763.

WO

"True prodigies are so rare, that it is worth while to speak of one when we have had an opportunity of seeing it. A musician of Saltzburg, of the name of Mozart, has arrived here with very pretty children. The girl, who is about eleven years of age, plays the harpsichord in the most brilliant manner; she performs the greatest and most difficult pieces with the most astonishing precision. The brother, who is not yet seven years old, is so extraordinary a phenomenon, that it is almost impossible to believe what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. It is a trifle for this child to execute, with the greatest correctness, with hands that can hardly reach a sixth: what is most astonishing, is to see him play from his fancy, for an hour together, and follow the inspiration of his genius and a crowd of beautiful ideas, which he introduces with taste, and without confusion. 'The most accomplished leader of a band cannot be more profoundly skilled than he, in the knowledge of harmony and of modulations, which he knows how to conduct by uncommon means, but always correctly.He is so perfectly master of his instrument, that if a napkin is laid upon the keys, he plays upon the napkin with the same rapidity and precision. He can not only decypher whatever is set before him, but he writes and composes with wonderful facility, without wanting to approach the instrument and to seek the chords. I wrote him a minuet with my own hand, and begged him to put a bass to it; the child took the pen, and without the help of the harpsichord, wrote a bass to my minuet. You may suppose that he finds no difficulty in transposing and playing any air you lay before him, in whatever key you please. But the following fact, though I have seen it, appears to me incomprehensible. A lady asked him the other day if he could accompany by his ear, and without seeing it, an Italian cavatina, which she knew by heart: she began to sing-the child

[blocks in formation]

TYPES of eternal rest-fair buds of bliss,

In heavenly flowers unfolding week by week; The next world's gladness imag'd forth in thisDays of whose worth the Christian heart can speak. Eternity in Time-the steps by which

We climb to future ages-lamps that light Man through his darker days, and thought enrich, Yielding redemption for the weeks dull flight, Wakeners of prayer in Man-his resting bowers

As on be journies in the narrow way, Where, Eden-like, Jehovah's walking hours Are waited for as in the cool of day.

Quite as much, or more, may be said of our native genius, young ASPULL, and we sincerely hope that he will meet with that kind and fo ring protection, which will reflect honour on those who bestow it, and produce,(in all probability) the noblest effects upon him.

Oh! let me gaze on thee once more,
My friend, once ere we part;
Thy cares, thy woes, will soon be o'er,
And calm that throbbing heart.
But, if my feelings follow thee,
My thoughts, my joys, my hopes, to be
With thee, where'er thou art,

I would not break thy tranquil sleep,
For those alone who live I weep.

I must not think, I dare not dwell
On days, on joys no more;
To me, it would be sweet to tell

Of them, though they are o'er;
To me, no cloud can overcast
The sunny influence of the past,-
'Tis only gloom before-
But, ab why waken in thy breast

Those mortal feelings that must rest.

Why should I shed the selfish tear, Or heave the selfish sigh?

Oh! would my heart retain thee here?
Thee-from thy kindred sky?
Forgive the earthly bosom's thrill,
Mine cleaves to human nature still;
I mourn that thou must die.

I feel, I feel that we must part, Alas that feeling rends my heart.

SABBATH DAYS.

BY BERNARD BARTON, THE QUAKER POET. (Eclectic Review, July.)

Days fix'd by God for intercourse with dust,
To raise our thoughts, and purify our powers
Periods appointed to renew our trust,-

A gleam of glory after six days' showers!

A milky way mark'd out through skies else drear,
By radiant suns that warm as well as shine→→→
A clue, which he who follows knows no fear,

Tho' briars and thorns around his pathway twine,

Foretastes of Heaven on earth-pledges of joy Surpassing fancy's flights, and fiction's storyThe preludes of a feast that cannot cloy,

1

And the bright out-courts of immortal glory

(Euro. Mag.)

THE TRAITOR'S GRAVE.

"With fairest flowers,

Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele, I'll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose."

Shakspeare.

BENEATH the shelter of a hedge,

in a meadow, a short distance west of Cardiff Castle, may, (or might at least a few years ago,) be seen a small mound of earth, ornamented during the months of spring and summer, not only with the choicest flowers of the field, but also with many others which serve to decorate the gardens of the peasant; the cowslip, the primrose, the violet, and the wall-flower flourished in wild, but neglected luxuriance; while the rosemary and southern wood, and thyme, loaded the air with their powerful perfume, and served to embellish the spot during those months when the charms of their less hardy companions had shrunk before the chilling blasts of winter. No person claimed them as his own, or attended to them as they appeared; and both the flower and shrub seemed to spring into existence, apparently for no other purpose than

"To waste their sweetness on the desert air."

It is true they escaped not the sharp eye of the school-boy in his daily rambles, but they remained unmolested even by his thoughtless and all-plundering hand. He would admire them as he passed, or, mayhap, stoop down to inhale more effectually the odour which they emitted-it was all he dared to do, for same invisible being seemed to whisper him "thus far shalt thou go and no farther." Obedient to the voice, he left them where they were, nor ever ventured to gather them, to give them a place in his nosegay. Thus, in the place where they first blossomed, they withered and decayed, no one being found so irreverent as to pluck them, for they were guarded by the spell which superstition frequently casts around the final resting-place of man. The spot was known by the name of "the Traitor's Grave," and the circumstances connected with it are thus preserved in the records of tradition.

During the civil wars when the victorious Cromwell, after having brought nearly the whole of England into subjection, by the matchless prowess of his arms, was proceeding with his accustomed vigour to chastise the few bold spirits who were still firmly attached to the cause of the king, in the principality, he met with an unexpected opposition from the Governor of Cardiff Castle,who, notwithstanding the terror of Cromwell's name, sent a bold defiance in answer to the herald, who, in the name of the Parliament summoned him to surrender,—" I hold my Castle from the King," exclaimed the haughty Beauford, "and to him only will I give it up." Cromwell enraged at this answer, and still more so at the unlooked for obstacle, thus suddenly starting up to check, as it were, the rapidity of his conquests, commanded his officers instantly to commence the siege of the place. The command was hardly given ere it was obeyed. The trenches were dug, and batteries erected, with the rapidity which always marked the movements of the rebel army, when headed by the commander, who this The works were day led them on. not begun till some time after sun-rise, yet before noon the siege had regularly commenced, and the lofty battlements of Cardiff Castle rung with the sounds of the invader's cannon as they

"Roar'd aloud,

"And from their throats with flash and cloud, "Their showers of iron threw."

The massy walls of the Castle however resisted stoutly; and suffered no very material injury, from the repeated discharges of the enemy's artillery, which failed in every attempt to make a breach thus passed the first day.

On the morning of the second day, the parliamentary general again sent his challenge for them to surrender, but the herald returned with an answer

[ocr errors]

of similar import with the first. Cromwell was not a man who could be induced to waste his time in fruitless parleys; and when he found that hreats were unavailable, he instantly had recourse to more powerful arguments. These therefore he ordered once more to be brought into action against the enemy, in hopes that his cannon would accomplish that, which his flag of truce had failed to do,―to bring the garrison to reason. The second day however closed, without bringing with it any greater hopes of success, than that which had preceded, at least it appeared so to the besiegers, who having of late been accustomed to sudden and easy surrenders, began to despair of being able to reduce a fort that had thus for two days gallantly withstood their hitherto irresistible artillery. Even Cromwell himself grew fearful of the event, and could ill brook that a single castle should thus be able to retard his march, and occasion him such loss of time, men, and ammunition. Nor was this all he beheld with no small degree of chagrin, that the friends of Charles, taking advantage of his present stationary position, were preparing for a vigorous defence, and strengthening their respective castles for this purpose against his approach. The unsuccessful attempt of the second day had indeed so far emboldened some of the more daring royalists, that they ventured under cover of the night, to attack his very camp, succeeded in driving in the picquets, and caused such confusion among the troops, that it was not until Cromwell himself came forward, that the intruders were driven back, and order restored. This unfortunate incident, made him sensible of the awkward situation in which he was placed, and convinced him of the absolute necessity of altering his present plan of action as speedily as possible, as he saw that by occupying his present position, unless the garrison very shortly capitulated, the longer he remained there, the greater would be his disgrace, if, from any circumstance he should be at last compelled to give up the undertaking. He therefore formed a determination in his own mind, of raising the siege on the succeeding night, in

case he proved as unsuccessful on that (the third) day as he had hitherto been. He determined however by his conduct, not to give the enemy any ground to entertain such hope, and obedient to his command, upon the appearance of day-light, the batteries were again mounted, and every gun put into requisition. Nothing could possibly have withstood the fire of this day, except the most determined bravery on the part of the besieged; this they happily possessed; and, the military skill shown by their engineers was such, that ere sun set, they had effected the destruction of nearly the whole range of batteries, which had been erected by the enemy, in order to effect a breach. But, unfortunately, this was not done until their own walls were in such a shattered condition, that another such day must inevitably have sealed their fate, by compelling them to surrender whether they willed or willed not.

Under these circumstances, on the part of the garrison, Sir J. Beauford consented after much solicitation, to call a council of the officers who composed it, in order that some measures for their mutual safety might be speedily adopted in the present emergency; for the ramparts had given way in several places, and it would be vain to attempt a resistance, should the enemy endeavour to force an entrance, as breaches were visible in every part of the fortifications. The approach of night was the only thing which prevented them taking immediate advantage of these circumstances. At the time appointed, the council assembled ; despair was plainly depicted upon the features of those who composed it; but at the same time their bandaged appearance, told that they had resolution even in despair. Though each person was in his place, yet no one ventured to break the ominous silence which reigned in the apartments. At length Beauford himself addressed those around him-" Fellow Officers," said he, "This Castle was confided to my keeping by the King, and it is my intention to be faithful to the trust. We have assembled here to consult further means for its safety: to this point confine then, your observations and advice,

« 上一頁繼續 »