A Widow Lady, who straggled this Summer from London into my Parish for the Benefit of the Air, as she says, appears every Sunday at Church with many fashionable Extravagancies, to the great Astonishment of my Congregation.
But what gives us the most Offence is her theatrical Manner of Singing the Psalms. She introduces above fifty Italian Airs into the hundredth Psalm, and whilst we begin All People in the old solemn Tune of our Forefathers, she in a quite different Key runs Divisions on the Vowels, and adorns them with the Graces of Nicolini; if she meets with Eke or Aye, which are frequent in the Metre of Hopkins and Sternhold, we are certain to hear her quavering them half a Minute after us to some sprightly Airs of the Opera.
I am very far from being an Enemy to Church Musick; but fear this Abuse of it may make my Parish ridiculous, who already look on the Singing Psalms as an Entertainment, and no Part of their Devotion: Besides, I am apprehensive that the Infection may spread, for Squire Squeekum, who by his Voice seems (if I may use the Expression) to be cut out for an Italian Singer, was last Sunday practising the same Airs.
I know the Lady’s Principles, and that she will plead the Toleration, which (as she fancies) allows her Non-Conformity in this Particular; but I beg you to acquaint her, That Singing the Psalms in a different Tune from the rest of the Congregation, is a Sort of Schism not tolerated by that Act.
I am, SIR, Your very humble Servant, R. S.
In your Paper upon Temperance, you prescribe to us a Rule of drinking, out of Sir William Temple, in the following Words; The first Glass for myself, the second for my Friends, the third for Good-humour, and the fourth for mine Enemies. Now, Sir, you must know, that I have read this your Spectator, in a Club whereof I am a Member; when our President told us, there was certainly an Error in the Print, and that the Word Glass should be Bottle; and therefore has ordered me to inform you of this Mistake, and to desire you to publish the following Errata: In the Paper of Saturday, Octob. 13, Col. 3. Line 11, for Glass read Bottle.
Yours, Robin Good-fellow.
[Footnote 1: Metaphor,]
[Footnote 2: that]
[Footnote 3: As the Roderigo whose money Iago used.]
[Footnote 4: Thomas Sternhold who joined Hopkins, Norton, and others in translation of the Psalms, was groom of the robes to Henry VIII. and Edward VI.]
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No. 206. Friday, October 26, 1711. Steele.