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as he invented even more than his hand was capable of transcribing. He wrote a comedy in two days, which it would not be very easy for the most expeditious amanuensis to copy out in the time. At Toledo he wrote fifteen acts in fifteen days, which made five comedies. Roque de Figueroa, the writer for the theatre at Madrid, was once at such a loss for comedies, that the doors of the theatre de la Cruz were shut; but as it was in the Carnival, he was so anxious upon the subject, that Lope and myself agreed to compose a joint comedy as fast as possible. The first act fell to Lope's lot, and the second to mine; we despatched these in two days; and the third was to be divided into eight leaves each. As it was bad weather, I remained in his house that night, and knowing that I could not equal him in the execution, I thought to beat him in the despatch of the business; for this purpose I got up at two o'clock, and at eleven had completed my share of the work. I immediately went out to look for him, and found him very deeply occupied with an orange-tree that had been frost-bitten in the night. Upon my asking him how he had gone on with his task, he answered, 'I set about it at five, but I finished the act an hour ago; took breakfast; wrote an epistle of fifty triplets; and have watered the whole of the garden which has not a little fatigued me.' Then taking out the papers, he read me the eight leaves and the triplets; a circumstance that would have astonished me, had I not known the fertility of his genius, and the dominion he had over the rhymes of our language."
One of his admirers told an Italian, he was so good a poet, that in order to oblige a friend, he wrote a whole comedy in one night.
Lope de Vega was contemporary with both Shakspeare and Fletcher; and more than five hundred of his plays are still extant, many of which are exceeding
La Belle Assemblée.
ANECDOTES OF MOZART.
THE most celebrated of Mozart's Italian operas is Don Juan, which has recently been performed with so much applause in London. The overture was composed under very remarkable circumstances. Mozart was much addicted to trifling amusement, and was accustomed to indulge himself in that too common attendant upon superior talent, procrastination. The general rehearsal of this opera had taken place, and the evening before the first performance had arrived, but not a note of the overture was written. At about eleven at night, Mozart came home, and desired his wife to make him some punch, and to stay with him to keep him awake. Accordingly, when he began to write, she began to tell him fairy tales and odd stories, which made him laugh, and by the very exertion preserved him from sleep. The punch, however, made him so drowsy, that he could only write while his wife was talking, and dropped asleep as soon as she ceased. He was at last so fatigued by these unnatural efforts, that he persuaded his wife to suffer him to sleep for an hour. He slept, however, for two hours, and at five o'clock in the morning she awakened him. He had appointed his music-copiers to come at seven, and when they arrived, the overture was finished. It was played without a rehearsal, and was justly applauded as a brilliant and grand composition. We ought at the same time to say, that some very sagacious critics have discovered the passages in the composition where Mozart dropt asleep, and those where he was suddenly awakened.
The bodily frame of Mozart was tender and exquisitely sensible; ill health soon overtook him, and brought with it a melancholy approaching to despondency. A very short time before his death, which took place when he was only thirty-six, he composed that celebrated requiem, which, by an extraordinary presentiment of his approaching dissolution, he considered as written for his own funeral.
One day, when he was plunged in a profound reverie, he heard a carriage stop at his door. A stranger was announced, who requested to speak with him. A person was introduced, handsomely dressed, of dignified and impressive manners. "I have been commissioned, sir, by a man of considerable importance, to call upon you.' "Who is he?" interrupted Mozart. "He does not wish to be known.”—“ Well, what does he want?"
"He has just lost a person whom he tenderly loved, and whose memory will be eternally dear to him. He is desirous of annually commemorating this mournful event by a solemn service, for which he requests you to compose a requiem."-Mozart was forcibly struck by this discourse, by the grave manner in which it was uttered, and by the air of mystery in which the whole was involved. He engaged to write the requiem. The stranger continued, "Employ all your genius on this work; it is destined for a connoisseur."-" So much the better.""What time do you require ?"—" A month."'-" Very well; in a month's time I shall return-what price do you set on your work?”—“ A hundred ducats." The stranger counted them on the table, and disappeared.
Mozart remained lost in thought for some time: he then suddenly called for pen, ink, and paper, and, in spite of his wife's entreaties, began to write. This rage for composition continued several days; he wrote day and night, with an ardour which seemed continually to increase; but his constitution, already in a state of great debility, was unable to support this enthusiasm ; one morning he fell senseless, and was obliged to suspend his work. Two or three days after, when his wife sought to divert his mind from the gloomy presages which occupied it, he said to her abruptly, "It is certain that I am writing this requiem for myself; it will serve for my funeral service." Nothing could remove this impression from his mind.
As he went on, he felt his strength diminish from day to day, and the score advancing slowly. The month which he had fixed being expired, the stranger again
made his appearance. "I have found it impossible," said Mozart, "to keep my word." "Do not give yourself any uneasiness," replied the stranger; "what further time do you require?"—" Another month; the work has interested me more than I expected, and I have extended it much beyond what I at first designed." -"In that case, it is but just to increase the premium; here are fifty ducats more.". Sir," said Mozart, with increasing astonishment, "who then are you?"—“That is nothing to the purpose; in a month's time I shall return."
Mozart immediately called one of his servants, and ordered him to follow this extraordinary personage, and find out who he was; but the man failed from want of skill, and returned without being able to trace him.
Poor Mozart was then persuaded that he was no ordinary being; that he had a connexion with the other world, and was sent to announce to him his approaching end. He applied himself with the more ardour to his requiem, which he regarded as the most durable monument of his genius. While thus employed, he was seized with the most alarming fainting fits; but the work was at length completed before the expiration of the month. At the time appointed, the stranger returned, but Mozart was no more.
His career was as brilliant as it was short. He died before he had completed his thirty-sixth year; but in this short space of time he had acquired a name which will never perish, so long as feeling hearts are to be found.
ST. SWITHIN'S DAY.
(Fifteenth of July.)
SWITHIN, in the Saxon Swithum, received his clerical tonsure, and put on the monastic habit, in the old monastery at Winchester. He was of noble parentage, and passed his youth in the study of grammar, phi
losophy, and the Scriptures. Swithin was promoted to holy orders by Helmstan, Bishop of Winchester, at whose death, in 852, King Ethelwolf granted him the see. In this he continued eleven years, and died in 863. Swithin desired that he might be buried in the open churchyard, and not in the chancel of the minster, as was usual with other bishops; and his request was complied with but the monks, on his being canonized, considering it disgraceful for the saint to lie in a public cemetery, resolved to remove his body into the choir, which was to have been done with solemn procession on the 15th of July. It rained, however, so violently for forty days succeeding, that the design was abandoned as heretical and blasphemous; and they honoured his memory by erecting a chapel over his grave, at which many miraculous cures of all kinds are said to have been wrought. To the above rain of forty days belongs the origin of the old saying, "that if it rains on St. Swithin's, it will rain forty days following!"
It is not to be supposed that an occurrence so local as the exhumation of the remains of St. Swithin (however the miracle of the rain might have been blazoned by the church) could have obtained a celebrity so extensive and so durable as it is known to possess, if there were not some foundation in fact. It has very commonly happened, that an unquestionable physical truth has received the appendage of fable; and in this case, the explanation, which is false, is made to pass current by means of the fact, which is true. The proverb concerning St. Swithin's day appears to stand in the predicament now described. It is probable, and it seems to be admitted, that if rain does fall in any given place, and in any great quantity, on the 15th of July, it will rain, more or less, at the same place, every day, for such a number of days as may well be proverbially reckoned at forty. In reality, rain, in the middle of July, in the climate of England, is seasonable, and therefore to be expected. Further, neither rain nor dry weather usually occur for single days only, but alternately for many days together. It follows, that if rain.