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LA BELLE ASSEMBLÉE;

For AUGUST, 1818.

A New and Improved Series.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF ILLUSTRIOUS AND

DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERS.

Number One Hundred and Thirteen.

HER ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE.

We have the peculiar satisfaction of || The Landgrave of Hesse Cassel accompa

nied his daughter to this country, and when he witnessed the enthusiasm by which the royal pair was received, he declared it to be the proudest day of his

life.

On Monday, the 2d of June, a re-marriage took place at the Queen's Palace. A temporary altar was fixed in her blue drawing-room, and the Duke and Duchess were again united in presence of her Majesty, the Prince Regent, the royal Dukes, and the Princesses their sisters. The cere mony was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the Bishop of London. A royal salute was, as usual, fired at this conclusion of the ceremony, and a splendid dinner, in honour of the nuptials, given by the Prince Regent.

The power invested in his Royal Highness at Hanover, renders his presence requisite in that country, and, accompanied by his amiable and illustrious bride, he has now quitted England to reassume his au

presenting our readers this month with a most correct and pleasing likeness of her Royal Highness Augusta Wilhelmina Louisa, Duchess of Cambridge.

||

This amiable and illustrious lady was born Princess of Hesse, on the 25th of July, 1797, at Rumpenheim, on the banks of the Maine, near Hannau; and in May, 1818, she was married in Germany to his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, fifth son of his Most Gracious Majesty George III. and of his illustrious consort Queen Charlotte. On Tuesday, the 27th of May, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in London, amidst the general plaudits of an enraptured people: the bride of him who, when at the age of four-and-twenty was affirmed by his venerable and royal father, at that period, to have his first fault yet to commit, could not fail of being an interesting object; especially to the English people, for they have known, in several succeeding years, that the conduct of the Duke of Cambridge was still faultless.thority.

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MUSIC,

FROM THE EARLIEST AGES TO THE PRESENT TIME, SELECTED FROM THE BEST AUTHORITIES.

(Continued from page 5.)

MUSIC OF THE BRITONS.

AMONGST the ancient Cambrians the greatest reverence was paid to their poetmusicians the bards, both in Pagan and Christian times. We have still some songs of very remote antiquity preserved in the Welsh language; though they have been since set to different tunes.

instance of fidelity; but it did not make hin spare his brethren of the tuneful art in || Wales.

The fluctuating favour of minstrelsy in England resembled that of France: but we may be assured that British harpers were famous long before the conquest, and the bounty of our first Normau sovereign to his bard, is recorded in Doomsday Book. Henry III., in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, gave forty shillings and a pipe of wine to Richard his harper, and another pipe of wine to Beatrice the harper's wife. All our ancient poems were sung to the harp on Sundays and other festivals. But in the legendary life of St. Christopher, we find mention made of the fiddle in the following old English lines:

"Christofre bym served long;

The institution of the midsummer fair, at Chester, is traced up to the time of Edward the Confessor, when Leofric, Earl of Chester, among other grants to the Abbey of St. Werburg, in that city, established a fair on the festival of the Saint to whom it was dedicated, and in his honour ordained that the persons of whatever vagrants or vagabonds that should be assembled there at the time, should be safe, provided they were guilty of no new offence.

During the reign of Edward II. such extensive privileges were granted to the minstrels, and so many dissolute persons assumed their character, that their conduct became a serious public grievance and the King made a regulation that there should be none but four regularly appointed minstrels of honour, unless desired by the master of the house; and to the lower class of people that none should come un

"The Kynge loved melodye of fithele and of less desired. songe."

No instrument, however, was in such high esteem as the harp, whether this island was governed by British, Saxon, Danish, or Norman monarchs. The poor minstrels bore a very ill name; but they still had one friend who rescued their fame from the reproach attached to it; this was Walter Heming, who records of them the following incident, which redounds to their honour.

Stowe, whose authority we have frequently quoted in our topographical notices of London, and whose intelligence is generally to be relied on, informs us that a very considerable sum was set apart for the liveries of the minstrels. The same writer, also, gives us an account of a kind of pageant, or exhibition, which was per. formed for the entertainment of the young Prince Richard, son of Edward the Black Prince, on the Sunday before Candlemas, 1377, wherein he mentions the following musical instruments-trumpets, sackbuts, cornets, shawms, and minstrels, with in

About the year 1271, a short time before Edward 1. ascended the throne, he took his harper with him to the Holy Land; and when Edward was wounded with a poison-numerable torch lights; and that they rode ed knife at Ptolemais, the faithful musician bearing a struggle, rushed into the royal apartment and killed the assassin. Edward should have borne this in mind, and have cherished the minstrels for the sake of this

from Newgate through Chepe, over the bridge, through Southwark to Kennington and Lambeth, where the young Prince remained with his mother, his uncles the royal Dukes, and other noble Lords. These

instruments were well suited to a procession, but would certainly have been too noisy if played in a room.

It was an important period in English history when Chaucer, whom we might style our first poet, augmented our vocabulary, polished our numbers, and enriched our knowledge with acquisitions from France and Italy. As Dr. Burney justly remarks," Literary plunder seems the most innocent kind of depredation that can be made upon our neighbours; as they are deprived of nothing but what they can well spare, and which it is neither dishonourable to lose, nor disgraceful to take."

In the third book of Chaucer's House of Fame, he bestows above sixty lines in describing music, musicians, and musical instruments. Stowe collected many of Chaucer's ballads, but in all the ancient libraries and MSS. none of our musical researchers have been able to find the tune of an English song or dance so ancient as the fourteenth century.

At the coronation of Henry V. in 1413, there were no other instruments than harps; but an historian of that period informs us that their number in that Prince's hall was prodigious. He seems not, however, to have been fond of music, for when he entered the city of London triumphant from the battle of Agincourt, some children were placed on temporary turrets, to sing verses in praise of the hero: Henry, whether from modesty or disgust, gave orders that no songs should be recited by harpers, or others, in honour of the recent victory. It is somewhat extraordinary that the only song known at all from so early a date, the original music of which has been really preserved, was written on the victory at Agincourt, in 1415.

A MS. on music is, nevertheless, preserved at Oxford, of yet more ancient date. It was written by an Englishman of the name of Theiured, precentor of the monastery of Dover, in the year 1871.

The turbulent and unhappy reign of Henry VI. was, notwithstanding, favourable to music, as far as related to minstrelsy: for minstrels, though Henry was a very devout Prince, were better paid than the clergy. And Hearne observes, that

during many years of this reign, that at the annual feast of the fraternity of the Holy Cross, at Abingdon, in Berkshire, twelve priests received only fourpence each for singing a solemn dirge; while the same number of minstrels had each two shillings and fourpence, besides diet and horsemeat.

About this time two very eminent musi. cians flourished in England, and obtained a high degree of celebrity; these were John Dunstable and Dr. John Hambois. Dunstable was the musician whom the Germans have mistaken for St. Dunstan: Dunstable was not only a musician but a mathematician, and an eminent astrologer. Two or three fragments are all that are now left of his compositions.

Dr. John Hambois possessed much learning, but music formed the chief of his studies: and here it may not be amiss to mention, when speaking of the degree of Doctor being conferred on him, to look back to an institution which is peculiar to our universities. We are told, moreover, by Anthony Wood, that the degree of Doctor of Music was first given in the reign of Henry II.; but those who are more nice in their researches, and consequently more correct in their information, tell us that the appellation of Doctor was not granted till the reign of King John, in 1207. Hollinshed mentious an enumeration of the most eminent men in the reign of Edward IV. among whom he cites John Hambois, "an excellent musiciau;" and adds, that "for his notable cumming therein he was made a Doctor of Music."

In the reign of Edward IV. that is, when he became established on the throne, music seems to have been under better regulation than during that of the so often dethroned Henry VI. Edward incorporated the minstrels into a regular body, and this incor poration resembled the ancient flute play ers among the Romans. In an account of the establishment of the fourth Edward's houshold, we read of several musicians retained in his service, as well for his pri

vate amusement as for the service of his chapel.

(To be continued.)

ANECDOTES OF ILLUSTRIOUS FEMALES.

ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF HUNGARY.

THE life of this truly illustrious woman, who, by her piety and benevolence, justly merited to be placed where she was, among the saints, was checquered with events which even her extraordinary beauty and endowments could not prevent, when they too often approached her in the guise of afflictions. Not only did she feed from her own table a multitude of indigent persous, but she sought out the habitations of disease and misery, atteuding the former like an assiduous and careful nurse, and alleviating the latter to the very utmost of her power, and never did the cries of the poor assail her in vain. One day when the Prince of Thuringe, her husband, gave a splendid feast, and Elizabeth was magnificently dressed to do him honour, as she passed through the avenues of his palace she met a poor mendicant, who craved alms. The Princess having no money about her, told the beggar to wait son other time." Do not," said the miserable wretch, "do not send me away without relief; how can you dismiss me in his name by which I have implored an alms?"-The Princess, touched with compassion, immediately took from her head a veil of immense value and gave it to the beggar.

Elizabeth kept constantly employed in her apartments a considerable number of young women, with whom she used to sit and spin vestments for the poor. Her favourite occupation was to see to the bleaching of linen for the service of the altar, and in making and mending garments for the indigent.

A horrible famine having desolated Germany in 1925, Elizabeth, in the absence of her husband, distributed all the corn that grew on his lands amongst the poor. As the Castle of Marpurg, wherein were the granaries, was situated on a very steep rock, to spare to the interesting objects of her pity the trouble and fatigue of climb ing it, she caused a large hospital to be built at the foot of the rock, which she visited herself every day. Historians remark that it was a most admirable sight to see a Princess in the early bloom of youth, and dazzling by her beauty, pre

paring with her own hands her benevolent offerings to the poor, waiting on them, making up their beds, and enduring with constant and unremitting perseverance the infectious air of an hospital during the burning heat of an ardent summer. Yet calumny attacked the fame of this virtuous Princess. The treasurers of her husband complained of her prodigality; but the young Landgrave too well knew that the most prudent economy aided her generosity: far then from giving ear to their idle reports, he only placed increased confidence in his virtuous and amiable partner.

Soon after the Prince departed for the Holy Land: Elizabeth accompanied him a great part of his journey; and on her return to court she laid aside every exterior mark of magnificence, and wore constantly the habit of a widow, which she never afterwards quitted.

Her piety had drawn on her the envy and hatred of Sophia, her mother-in-law; and had been displeasing to the proud nobility. Deprived of all her wealth, and driven out with disgrace from the palace of her husband, she found herself compelled to take refuge in a public inn, with a few of her ladies in waiting, who were resolved never to abandon her. This happened at a time when the weather was remarkably Elizabeth had neither food nor firing; nor could she even obtain a situation in one of the many hospitals she had founded. The news of her deplorable situation reached the Bishop of Bamberg, her uncle, who took her into his castle, and caused her marriage portion to be restored to her. Elizabeth made no other use of it than distributing it amongst the poor.

severe.

The Pope, touched with the merits, virtue, and undeserved afflictions of this Prin cess, publicly declared himself her protector; and she retired to Marpurg, chusing for her dwelling a very small cottage. The King of Hungary being informed of the wretched lot of his daughter, sent a nobleman to bring her to his palace; but she never would be persuaded to quit her humble retreat, where she died at the age of twenty-four years.

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HISTORICAL AND SELECT ANECDOTES.

ANECDOTE OF CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN.

CHARLES, who was naturally prodigal, observed no more economy at Bender than at Stockholm. Grothusen, his favourite and treasurer, brought to him one day an account of fifty thousand crowns in two lines:-"Ten thousand crowns given to the Swedes and to the Janizaries, by ordering of his Majesty, and the rest spent by myself."-That is frank," said the King; "and that is the way I like my friends to make out their accounts. Mullern made me read over several pages accounting for the sum of ten thousand franks; I like the laconic style of Grothusen better."

HIGH SENSE OF HONOUR IN A PEON, OR
EAST INDIA FOOT SOLDIER.

55

ANECDOTE OF MR. SHERIDAN.

As Mr. Sheridan was coming up to town in one of the public coaches, for the purpose of canvassing Westminster, at the time when Mr. Paul was his opponent, he found himself in company with two Westminster electors. In the course of conversation, one of them asked the other to whom he would give his vote? When his friend replied, “To Paul, certainly; for though I think him but a shabby sort of a

ANECDOTE OF MOZART.

66

FROM his most tender age, Mozart, animated with the true feeling of his art, was never vain of the compliments paid him by the great. When he had to do with people unacquainted with music, he only perform-fellow, I would vote for any one rather than ed insignificant trifles. He played, on the that rascal Sheridan." -"Do you know contrary, with all the fire and attention of Sheridan?" asked the stranger." Not I, which he was capable when in the presence Sir," answered the gentleman: of connoisseurs; and his father was often I wish to know him."-The conversation nor would obliged to have recourse to artifice, and to dropped here; but when the party alighted make the great men, before whom his son to breakfast, Sheridan called aside the was to exhibit, pass for connoisseurs before other gentleman, and said, “Pray who is him. When Mozart, at the age of six years, that very agreeable friend of yours? He sat down to play in the presence of the is one of the pleasantest fellows I ever met Emperor Francis, he addressed himself to with, and I should be glad to know his his Majesty, and asked, "Is not M. Wag- name."-"His name is Mr. T—; he is enseil here? We must send for him; he an eminent lawyer, and resides in Lincoln's understands the matter." The Emperor Inn-fields."-Breakfast over, the party resent for Wagenseil, and gave his place to sumed their seats in the coach: soon after him by the side of the piano.—“ Sir,” said which, Sheridan turned the discourse to Mozart to the composer, 66 we are going the law. "It is," said he, 66 a fine proto play one of your concertos; you must fession: men may rise to the highest emiturn over the leaves for me." nence in the state, and it gives vast scope to the display of talent; many of the most virtuous and noble characters recorded in history have been lawyers. I am sorry, however, to add, that some of the greatest rascals have also been lawyers; but of all the rascals I ever heard of is one T—, who lives in Lincoln's Inn-fields."—"I am Mr. T," said the gentleman."I am Mr. Sheridan," was the reply. The -"And jest was instantly seen; they shook hands; and the lawyer exerted himself warmly to promote the election of the facetious orator.

AN Englishman once on a hunting party, hastily struck a Peon for having let loose, at an improper time, a greyhound. The Peon happened to be a Rajah-pout, which is the highest tribe of Hindoo soldiers. On receiving the blow, he started back with an appearance of horror and amazement, and drew his poniard. But again com posing himself, and looking stedfastly at

his master, he said, "I am your servant, and have long eat your rice:" and having pronounced this, he plunged the dagger into his own bosom. In those few words the poor man pathetically expressed→ "the arm that has been nourished by you shall not take away your life; but in sparyours I must give up my own, as I cannot survive my dishonour."

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