[Footnote 1: It is as follows.]
[Footnote 2: In the ‘Spectator’s’ time numbering of houses was so rare that in Hatton’s ‘New View of London’, published in 1708, special mention is made of the fact that
’in Prescott Street, Goodman’s
Fields, instead of signs the houses are
distinguished by numbers, as the staircases in the Inns of Court and
[Footnote 3: sheep]
[Footnote 4: The sign before her Waxwork Exhibition, in Fleet Street, near Temple Bar, was ‘the Golden Salmon.’ She had very recently removed to this house from her old establishment in St. Martin’s le Grand.]
[Footnote 5: Ben Jonson’s Alchemist having taken gold from Abel Drugger, the Tobacco Man, for the device of a sign—’a good lucky one, a thriving sign’—will give him nothing so commonplace as a sign copied from the constellation he was born under, but says:
‘Subtle’. He shall
have ‘a bel’, that’s ‘Abel’;
And by it standing one whose name is ‘Dee’
In a ‘rug’ grown, there’s ‘D’ and ‘rug’, that’s ‘Drug’:
And right anenst him a dog snarling ‘er’,
There’s ‘Drugger’, Abel Drugger. That’s his sign.
And here’s now mystery and hieroglyphic.
‘Face’. Abel, thou art made.
‘Drugger’. Sir, I do thank his worship.]
[Footnote 6: Bel, in the apocryphal addition to the Book of Daniel, called ’the ‘History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon.’]
* * * * *
lingua concinnus utraque
Suavior: ut Chio nota si commista Falerni est.
There is nothing that [has] more startled our English Audience, than the Italian Recitativo at its first Entrance upon the Stage. People were wonderfully surprized to hear Generals singing the Word of Command, and Ladies delivering Messages in Musick. Our Country-men could not forbear laughing when they heard a Lover chanting out a Billet-doux, and even the Superscription of a Letter set to a Tune. The Famous Blunder in an old Play of Enter a King and two Fidlers Solus, was now no longer an Absurdity, when it was impossible for a Hero in a Desart, or a Princess in her Closet, to speak anything unaccompanied with Musical Instruments.
But however this Italian method of acting in Recitativo might appear at first hearing, I cannot but think it much more just than that which prevailed in our English Opera before this Innovation: The Transition from an Air to Recitative Musick being more natural than the passing from a Song to plain and ordinary Speaking, which was the common Method in Purcell’s Operas.