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He saw some fellow captives, who appear'd

To be Italians, as they were in fact;
From them, at least, their destiny he heard,

Which was an odd one; a troop going to act
In Sicily—all singers, duly rear'd

In their vocation; had not been attack'd
In sailing from Livorno by the pirate,
But sold by the impresario at no high rate. (1)

By one of these, the buffo (2) of the party,

Juan was told about their curious case;
For although destined to the Turkish mart, he

Still kept his spirits up- at least his face;
The little fellow really look'd quite hearty,

And bore him with some gaiety and grace, Showing a much more reconciled demeanour Than did the prima donna (3) and the tenor.(4)

(1) This is a fact. A few years ago a man engaged a company for some foreign theatre, embarked them at an Italian port, and carrying them to Algiers, sold them all. One of the women, returned from her captivity, I heard sing, by a strange coincidence, in Rossini's opera of “L'Italiana in Algieri,” at Venice, in the beginning of 1817. [We have reason to believe that the following, which we take from the MS. journal of a highly re. spectable traveller, is a more correct account: “ In 1812, a Signor Guariglia induced several young persons of both sexes - none of them exceeding fifteen years of age - to accompany him on an operatic excursion ; part to form the opera, and part the ballet. He contrived to get them on board a vessel, which took them to Janina, where he sold them for the basest purposes. Some died from the effect of the climate, and some from suffering. Among the few who returned were a Signor Molinari, and a female dancer, named Bomfiglia, who afterwards became the wife of Crespi, the tenor singer. The wretch who so basely sold them was, when Lord Byron resided at Venice, employed as capo de' vestarj, or head tailor, at the Fenice.” - GRAHAM.]

(2) [A comic singer' in the opera buffa. The Italians, however, distin. guish the buffo cantante, which requires good singing, from the buffo comico, in which there is more acting.] (3) (First female singer.] (4) [The mean between bass and treble.]


In a few words he told their hapless story,

Saying, “ Our Machiavelian impresario, Making a signal off some promontory,

Hail'd a strange brig; Corpo di Caio Mario! We were transferr'd on board her in a hurry,

Without a single scudo of salario; But if the Sultan has a taste for song, We will revive our fortunes before long.


“ The prima donna, though a little old,

And haggard with a dissipated life,
And subject, when the house is thin, to cold,

Has some good notes; and then the tenor's wife, With no great voice, is pleasing to behold;

Last carnival she made a deal of strife By carrying off Count Cesare Cicogna From an old Roman princess at Bologna.


“ And then there are the dancers; there's the Nini,

With more than one profession gains by all;
Then there's that laughing slut the Pelegrini,

She, too, was fortunate last carnival,
And made at least five hundred good zecchini,

But spends so fast, she has not now a paul ; And then there's the Grotesca - such a dancer ! Where men have souls or bodies she must answer.

r. (1)

(1) [MS. — “ If the Turks have a soul, she's sure to answer."]


“ As for the figuranti, (1) they are like

The rest of all that tribe; with here and there A pretty person, which perhaps may strike,

The rest are hardly fitted for a fair ;
There's one, though tall and stiffer than a pike,

Yet has a sentimental kind of air
Which might go far, but she don't dance with vigour;
The more's the pity, with her face and figure.


“ As for the men, they are a middling set ;

The musico is but a crack'd old basin, But being qualified in one way yet,

May the seraglio do to set his face in, (?) And as a servant some preferment get;

His singing I no further trust can place in : From all the Pope (3) makes yearly 't would perplex To find three perfect pipes of the third sex.

LXXXVII. “ The tenor's voice is spoilt by affectation,

And for the bass, (1) the beast can only bellow; In fact, he had no singing education,

An ignorant, noteless, timeless, tuneless fellow, (1) [The figuranti are those dancers of a ballet who do not dance singly, but many together, and serve to fill up the background during the exhibition of individual performers. They correspond to the chorus in the opera. – Graham.]

(2) [MS. — “ To help the ladies in their dress and lacing.”]

(3) It is strange that it should be the Pope and the Sultan, who are the chief encouragers of this branch of trade - women being prohibited as singers at St. Peter's, and not deemed trust-worthy as guardians of the harem.

(4) [The gravest and deepest of the male voices. - GRAHAM.]

But being the prima donna's near relation,

Who swore his voice was very rich and mellow, · They hired him, though to hear him you'd believe An ass was practising recitative.

LXXXVIII. “ 'Twould not become myself to dwell upon

My own merits, and though young- I see, Sir-you Have got a travell’d air, which speaks you one

To whom the opera is by no means new : You've heard of Raucocanti ? ()– I'm the man;

The time may come when you may hear me too; You was not last year at the fair of Lugo, But next, when I'm engaged to sing there-do go.


“Our baritone (2) I almost had forgot,

A pretty lad, but bursting with conceit; With graceful action, science not a jot,

A voice of no great compass, and not sweet, He always is complaining of his lot,

Forsooth, scarce fit for ballads in the street; In lovers' parts his passion more to breathe, Having no heart to show, he shows his teeth.”

Here Raucocanti's eloquent recital

Was interrupted by the pirate crew,
Who came at stated moments to invite all

The captives back to their sad berths; each threw (1) [Rauco-canti may be rendered by Hoarse-song.] (2) [A male voice, the compass of which partakes of those of the com. mon bass and the tenor, but does not extend so far downwards as the one, nor to an equal height with the other.]

A rueful glance upon the waves, (which bright all

From the blue skies derived a double blue,
Dancing all free and happy in the sun,)
And then went down the hatchway one by one.


They heard next day—that in the Dardanelles,

Waiting for his Sublimity's firmān, The most imperative of sovereign spells,

Which every body does without who can,
More to secure them in their naval cells,

Lady to lady, well as man to man,
Were to be chain'd and lotted out per couple,
For the slave market of Constantinople.


It seems when this allotment was made out,

There chanced to be an odd male, and odd female, Who (after some discussion and some doubt,

If the soprano might be deem'd to be male, They placed him o'er the women as a scout)

Were link'd together, and it happen'd the male Was Juan, who,—an awkward thing at his age, Pair'd off with a Bacchante blooming visage. (1)


With Raucocanti lucklessly was chain'd

The tenor ; these two hated with a hate Found only on the stage, and each more pain'd

With this his tuneful neighbour than his fate;

(1) [MS. — “ Was fetter'd to a mo

enchanting visage."]

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