Slike strani


who appears to have much respected him. Some other composer, therefore, was to be resorted to,

Obiit 21mo die Novembris,

Anno ætatis suæ 37mo,

Annoq; Domini 1695.

Whether this inscription was written by Dryden or not, the reasoning on which Sir John Hawkins (HISTORY OF MUSICK, iv. 509,) grounds this conjecture, is by no means satisfactory. After mentioning that Purcell's ORPHEUS BRITANNICUS was dedicated by his widow, in 1698, to Lady Howard, he adds, that the foregoing 'inscription is found in Westminster-Abbey" on a tablet fixed to a pillar, before which formerly stood the organ; placed there by his patroness, the Lady Elizabeth Howard." He then tells us, that this same lady, whom he now calls Lady Howard," had been a scholar of Purcell, was the "eldest daughter of Thomas, Earl of Berkshire, and the "wife of Dryden, who is plainly alluded to in the Dedica❝tion of the ORPHEUS BRITANNICUS. Many of his best "compositions were made for her entertainment, and were *recommended by her own performance. Purcell had set the "musick to KING ARTHUR, and many other of Dryden's "dramatick works. Dryden wrote an Ode on his death, "which Dr. Blow set to musick, and Lady Howard [for "after all she is still Lady Howard,] erected the tablet."

Let us now see how the fact stands. Purcell's widow, in 1698, collected several of his songs, which she published under the title of ORPHEUS BRITANNICUS, and dedicated "to The Honourable the Lady HOWARD." In this Dedication, after observing in the usual style of Dedications at that period, that the Lady Howard" had added the characters of a judge and patron of her late husband's performances to the many excellent qualities which made her the admiration of all that knew her ;" and highly commending "her extraordinary skill in musick, and ad.

The musical performance of the preceding year was furnished by Nicola Matteis, a celebrated

mirable performance of Purcell's compositions, whom she had sometimes been pleased to honour with the title of her Master," she proceeds thus :

"Another great advantage to which my husband has often imputed the success of his labours, and which may best plead for your ladyship's favourable acceptance of this Collection, has been the great justness both of thought and numbers, which he found in the poetry of our most refined writers, and, among them, of that HONOURABLE gentleman, who has the dearest and most deserved rela tion to yourself; and whose excellent compositions were the subject of his last and best performance in musick.” She then adds, that "her ladyship had generously pre vented her intended performance of the duty she owed her husband's ashes, by erecting a fair monument over him, and gracing it with an inscription:" and to crown all, her generosity, which was too large to be confined either to his life or his person, had also extended itself to his posterity, to whom her ladyship's favour must be acknowledged to be the most valuable part of their inhe. ritance."

Lady Elizabeth Howard, one of the daughters of Thomas Howard, Earl of Berkshire, was married to our author about the year 1665; if therefore, we suppose her to have been then twenty years old, she must have been born in 1645, and consequently in 1698 was fifty-three years old; a time of life, at which ladies do not commonly devote many of their hours to musick.-From 1665 till her death, she could have been known by no other name than Lady Elizabeth DRYDEN. How then does she, in 1698, become the Honourable the Lady HOWARD? And how did her husband, John Dryden, the son of a younger brother

Italian violinist. Neither he, however, nor Purcell's master, Dr. Blow, who was still living, and

of a Baronet's family, become honourable, as he is here particularly denominated?-How again, allowing Lady Elizabeth Dryden in her fifty-third year to have been a consummate musical performer, and by her excellent qualities to have gained the admiration of all that knew her, (a character that by no means belonged to her,) how, it may be asked, did she get the money necessary for erecting a fair monument in Westminster-Abbey, at a time when she scarcely could muster a few pounds to send to her sons in Rome? All these questions are easily answered, by observing, that the Dedication in question neither is, nor professes to be, addressed to our great poet's wife, but to the Honourable the Lady Howard, the last wife of Sir Robert Howard; who, being the son of a peer, is described as the HONOURABLE gentleman who has the dearest and most deserved relation to her. The excellent composition which is said to have been the subject of Purcell's last and best performance in musick, was, perhaps, BONDUCA, which was altered from Fletcher, as Powell the actor says in the Preface to that piece," by a person above the interest part of an author;" who may have been Sir Robert Howard. BONDUCA, "with new entertainments of vocal and instrumental musick [by Purcell], never printed or acted before," was published Oct. 28, 1695, a few weeks only before Purcell's death. (London Gazette, No. 3126.) In this tragedy is the celebrated song, the chorus of which is Britons! strike home," &c. which may be here particularly alluded to. Or, Sir Robert might have contributed to the third part of D'Urfey's DON QUIXOTE, the song beginning with the words" From rosy bowers," and some others in the same piece, which were announced Jan. 6, 1695-6,

had set to musick many of the former Odes in honour of St, Cecilia, was now employed.

in the London Gazette, No. 3146, under the following description: "New Songs in the Third Part of Dox QUIXOTE, by Mr. D'Urfey, and sung at the Theatre Royal, with other new songs; being the last piece set to musick by the late famous Mr. Henry Purcell, and by Mr, Courteville, Mr. Akeroyd, and other eminent masters of this age." It is well known that D'Urfey was assisted by several gentlemen, who furnished him with songs for various musical entertainments. Or, lastly, the piece alluded to may have been Sir Robert Howard's INDIAN QUEEN, which was converted into a semi-opera by Purcell, not long before his death. In THE INDIAN QUEEN, the song beginning with the words, "You twice. ten-hundred deities," and the, Incantation Song, 'are num. bered among Purcell's happiest compositions. We shall find, hereafter, from one of our author's letters, which appears to have been written about the time of that mu sician's death, Sir Robert Howard then sometimes visited the theatre in a morning, doubtless at the rehearsal of some or other of these pieces. In the ORPHEUS BRITAN NICUS, vol. i. p. 219, we find a song beginning with the words" Love, thou can'st hear, tho' thou art blind," expressly attributed to Sir Robert Howard.

Collins says in his PEERAGE, (article, Abergavenny,) that Sir Robert Howard's last wife was Catharine Neville, daughter of Henry, Lord Abergavenny, who died in 1641; and that after the death of Sir Robert, she married Robert Berry, Esquire. But this statement is certainly erroneous. The Christian name of the Lady Howard, with whom we are concerned, was not Catharine, but Annabella, as appears from the will of Sir Robert Howard, which was made May 26, 1698, and proved on the 7th of the following

Mr. William Turner, who had been for near thirty years a gentleman of the King's chapel, and as we

September; but I do not know her surname. It is said, on no good authority, to have been Dives. According to the ATALANTIS, previous to her marriage to Sir Robert Howard, (which is said to have taken place in Feb. 1692-3, when probably she was not more than five-and-twenty,) she had some employment about Queen Mary; who being herself fond of Purcell's musick, might have patronized this lady on account of her musical performance. After her husband's death, she married, as appears from her will in the Prerogative-Office, made Sept. 23, 1724, (Brooke, qu. 327,) the Rev. Edmund Marten, formerly of Somerton in Oxfordshire, but afterwards of Hammersmith; to whom she bequeathed (under a power reserved to her on her marriage) all her real and personal estate, including all her annuities payable out of the Exchequer, and from his Grace James, Duke of Chandos, or otherwise, and all arrears due thereon.-There is a mezzotinto print of her, (a whole length) scraped by Smith, in 1697, (as appears from a MS. Catalogue of his Works made by himself,) the year before the ORPHEUS BRITANNICUS was dedicated to her. In another mezzotinto, executed in 1693, (probably on her marriage,) she is represented in a reclining posture. In both these prints she is denominated, as she is by Mrs. Purcell," the Honourable Lady Howard." She died at Fulham, and was buried there, Sept. 7, 1728.

9 I have not been able to discover the author of the Ode performed at Stationers' Hall in 1696; but the composer is ascertained by the following advertisement in the London Gazette, No. 3250, Monday, January 4, 1696-7"The musick that was performed of St. Cecilia's day, composed by Signior Nicola, will be performed

« PrejšnjaNaprej »