(136) In consequence of the expiration of the three years’ term of service, prescribed by the Militia-act, and the new ballot about to take place.-E.
(137) The following are the lines alluded to, “Addition extempore to the verses on Lady Egremont:
“Fame heard with pleasure—straight
First on my roll stands Wyndham’s bride,
My trumpet oft I’ve raised to sound
Her modest praise the world around;
But notes were wanting-canst thou find
A muse to sing her face, her mind?
Believe me, I can name but one,
A friend of yours-’tis Lyttelton.”
(138) A celebrated courtesan of the day.-E.
(139) Daughter of Scroope Duke of Bridgewater.
(140) The serious opera of Tito Manlio, by Cocchi. By a letter from Gray to Mason, of the 22d of January, the Opera appears at this time to have been in a flourishing condition—“The Opera is crowded this year like any ordinary theatre. Elisi is finer than any thing that has been here in your memory; yet, as I suspect, has been finer than he is: he appears to be near forty, a little potbellied and thick-shouldered, otherwise no bad figure; has action proper, and not ungraceful. We have heard nothing, since I remember operas, but eternal passages, divisions, and flights of execution: of these he has absolutely none; whether merely from judgment, or a little from age, I will not affirm: his point is expression, and to that all the ornaments he inserts (which are few and short) are evidently directed. He gets higher, they say, than Farinelli; but then this celestial note you do not hear above once in a whole opera; and he falls from this altitude at once to the mellowest, softest, Strongest tones (about the middle of his compass) that can be heard. The Mattei, I assure you, is much improved by his example, and by her great success this winter; but then the burlettas and the Paganina, I have not been so pleased with any thing these many years. She is too fat, and above forty, yet handsome withal, and has a face that speaks the language of all nations. She has not the invention, the fire, and the variety of action that the Spiletta had; yet she is light, agile, ever in motion, and above all, graceful; but then, her voice, her ear, her taste in singing; good God! as Mr. Richardson, the painter, says.” Works, vol. iii. p. 268.-E.
Of the enclosed, as you perceive, I tore off the seal, but it has not been opened. I grieve at the loss of your suit, and for the injustice done you, but what can one expect but injury, when forced to have recourse to law! Lord Abercorn asked me this evening, if it was true that you are going to Ireland? I gave a vague answer, and did not resolve him how much I knew of it. I am impatient for the answer to your compliment.
There is not a word of newer news than what I sent you last. The Speaker has taken leave, and received the highest compliments, and substantial ones too; he did not over-act, and it was really a handsome scene.(141) I go to my election on Tuesday, and, if I do not tumble out of the chair, and break my neck, you shall hear from me at my return. I got the box for Miss Rice; Lady Hinchinbrook is dead.