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CONFORMITY OF RELIGION AND Taste.'-- We are indebted to a new and welcome contributor for some excellent observations upon this theme, which we regret to say were mislaid for a few days; a circumstance which must account for their compression into a space available to this department of our Magazine. The divine purity which the Supreme Law-giver commands us to seek, the writer conceives to consist, first of all, in goodness of heart, and then in the pursuit, in the knowledge, and in the enjoyment of eternal truth. “This divine truth is embodied in a thousand forms ; in nature, in art, and in literature. It is not entirely discoverable by our instincts, or our instructed senses. Individual mind is not sufficient for the attainment of it: it is aggregated and transmissive. We not only see it with our eyes, and hear it with our ears; we must toil for it and earn it; we must borrow it and inherit it. The poet, the philosopher, the historian, are its depositaries; nor is the kindred mind of the artist less its organ. 'It is wise,' says Henry Taylor, ' to open the mind to the reception of pleasure from the productions of every species of talent.' It is not only wise to do so, it is a kind of self-abuse to refuse to do so; a self-privation, that inflicts upon us a famine of the soul; a stunting of its growth, a deterioration of its capabilities. This enlargement of the intellectual being must be sought from high motives; the very thought of self-distinction adulterates it. Being sought without prejudice, being pursued in the love of it, and in the desire of perfection, it will be attained. The mind so culvated, so aspiring, will be filled with faith, hope and charity. As knowledge is increased, the wisdom of God in creation; the harmony and beneficence of the divine laws; the Providence of God turning seeming evil to good; will become apparent, and will dispose him who discerns the good and perfect will of the great Disposer to act upon His plan. When moral cause and consequence are understood; when self-knowledge is revealed to us; when the infirmity of our personal nature is felt, then shall we pity and forgive from the depths of the heart; then humility, compassion, and active benevolence will grow out of our wider views of God and man. Not only our sentiments will be purified, but the luxury of living will be exalted ; the grief of the hour will not subdue us, for we belong to a system of discipline and of compensation; the imagination will pass beyond what we know or what we read, and innumerable associations will augment our perceptions of what is gracious and lovely. The Aowers that spring up in our path will not only seem beautiful, because, as Mr. WilBERFORCE said, “They are the smiles of God's goodness,' but because the poet is their interpreter; because Burns recorded forever the “modest, crimson-tipped daisy,' and Wordsworth the small Celandine, and Bryant the Fringed Gentian, and the · Death of them all before the wintry blast.
• It was a most religious fable to suppose that the Muses were the offspring of the universal deity and the memory of man; for Mnemosyne can signify no other memory. The poet WITHERS says of the Muse :
Her divine skill taught me this,
WITHERS meant by the 'wiser man' one of those who are wiser in their generation than the 'children of light.' It was indeed a moral truth disguised under the myth of the Muses, that divinity and all grave science, pure poetry, and the gay arts, belong to their inspiration, to their united province, as in truth they belong to the wholeness of man's na
ture, to the entireness of his self-culture. Because I believe this ; because such conviction is the law of my moral life, of my preference, and self-discipline, I cannot be satisfied with those who dwell in decencies forever;' those who have taken root in the earth like the trufle, which swine may disinter, but which he of heavenly frame walks over and heeds not. I have sheltered myself in a covert that looks skyward, but I have carried thither the human heart. I would not dwell apart, but cherish the sympathies that blend all consciousness with other reason, other imagination, other love of God and humanity, other admiration of the creations of the one and the manifestations of the other. Happy is he whose religion encourages his tastes, and whose tastes do not deprave his religion !
THE DRAMA, ETC. — A correspondent, whose opportunities of studying and ability to appreciate the merits of the late operatic performances at the Park-THEATRE were ample, has obligingly favored us with the following critique ; which is the more acceptable, that our own pressing avocations have deprived us of the pleasure which himself, in common with the theatre-going public generally, must so heartily have enjoyed.
PARK-THEATRE: "THE BOHEMIAN GIRL.'- We are rejoiced to witness the revival of Old Drury's fortunes. Every thing has been auspicious to this end, from the first. The excellent reinforcement of his company by Mr. Simpson, gave token at the outset of the vigor with which the campaign would be carried on. First came MACREADY — a profitable engagement. Then, ANDERsox, a still more profitable one, and at the last, one equally pleasing and satisfactory to the town. Next came the Opera, which bas proved as great a card' as either. The piece selected was. The Bohemian Girl;'a composition of Mr. BALFE, which, on the twelfth of November, was performed at Drury Lane Theatre for the hundredth time, with complete success, the composer himself leading the orchestra. A series of full houses, for three weeks, also put the seal of approbation upon the opera at our Drury. The great liberality of the management in putting the piece upon the stage without regard to expense; the indefatigable labor of Mr. BARRY, as stage-manager, in directing the multifarious operations, necessary to give the piece, with all its variety of opera, ballet, spectacle and drama, fair play; the esprit du corps manifested by the entire company, including Mesdames SloMAN, BARRY, SKERRETT, ABBOTT and Horn, and Messrs. CHIPPENDALE, FISHER, SKERRETT, CRISP and Drott, in coming on to give greater effect to the show-scenes; all deserve the approbation of those for whose pleasure this gorgeous pageant was so admirably got up. Nor should a meed of praise be withheld from Mons. Martin, who, in connection with Miss JULIA TURNBULL, and a well-trained corps, produced a ballet of great and varied merit. Mr. Hilliard's scenes, too, painted expressly for the piece, were beautifulexceedingly;' especially the moonlight view of Presburg, on the Danube, the Grand Platz,' and the residence of Count ARNHEIM. The costuming' of the piece, under the charge of Mr. DEJONGE, was a great point, admirably managed. The gipsy dresses had all the picturesque wildness that should characterize them, and the military costumes were perfect. And thus the entire stage effect was in good keeping throughout, nothing having been omitted that was necessary to make it all it should be. The selection of the · Bohemian Girl' for the opening of the opera season, and the début of the three excellent vocalists who were its chief attractions, were highly creditable to the judgment of those concerned in producing it. It combines all the attractions of the different branches of the drama; and independently of the music, would give satisfaction to a majority of play-goers But when it is considered that as an opera, it is a work of genius, full of fine instrumental and vocal beauties, and that it gives opportunity to such singers as Mrs. SEGUIN, with her full rich soprano, and Mr. Frazer, with his sweet and admirably-cultivated tenore, and Mr. SEGUIN, with his inimitable basso, to display their rare abilities, the attraction was certainly immeasurably enhanced.
To Mr. CHUBB belongs the credit of producing the new opera in so short a space of time, and with such a degree of excellence. From the first he took a strong liking to it; and it has been a labor of lore' as well as of severe toil with him. He immediately gathered around him a good, well-balanced orchestra, and selected and drilled a chorus, consisting of a large number of well-taught singers, all of whom could read music, instead of being compelled to learn their parts by rote. Under his admirable direction, every thing went off smoothly, as the piece advanced, and there were no lapses in time, or discords, or failures in this important department; a great point gained. Mr. FRAZER, the new
tenore, who sustained the role of the hero of the pioce, has a voice of great richness, force and effectiveness; round, full and capacious, and capable of producing a strong impression, particularly in the affetuoso passages. How beautifully was this evinced in the dueut, in the early part of the second act, with ARLINE:
• The wound upon thy arm,' together with that delicious cantabile,
• The secret of her birth; and that before the grand finale :
. Pity for one, in childhood torn,' eto, His songs were all admirably given too; all three were every night rapturously encored ; and it did not require a longer ordeal than a single night to establish him a favorite with the KNICKERBOCKERS, His reputation will hereafter be their especial care.
Mr. SEGUIN, whose rôle in “Don Giovanni,' •La Gazza Ladra,' • Amilie,' •Fra Diavolo,' etc., had stamped him as the first of prima bassos in America, had but little to do, that was worthy of his great powers, in • The Bohemian Girl. He had no single song; but had nevertheless, some opportunities to make his splendid voice tell, in the concerted music of the piece. Such was the exquisite trio,
with ARLINE and THADDEUS. A gipsy-song might be introduced for him with great effect. His wild and characteristic action in the dance, after the betrothal of the gipsy-bride,' was very rich, and rendered that spirited scene doubly successful.
Mrs. Seguin, in this opera, was triumphant; more than satisfying her previous admirers, and converting many to an adequate admiration, who had before withheld their applause. Always a favorite she was found to have greatly improved in the mellowness and modulation of her voice; and had made so rapid and decided an advance in every branch of her profession, as to surprise even those who had ever been her warmest appreciators. She trode the stage with freedom, exhibiting no constraint in action, nor lack of confidence in illustrating what she undertook, in her dramatic as well as vocal exertions. Her voice is a pure, flexible, melodious soprano, of rare modulation and exceeding
All her embellishments ar in good taste, and there is never any fear in the mind of an auditor that she will sing flat here, or sharp there, or that she will fail in a roulade, or make a false shake, or fail to take up her part, or in any other wise mar instead of making the pleasure of those who are listening. She is as true and reliable as a well-tuned instrument, and truer. A good musical education, strengthened by time and constant application, shines out in every thing she does. She has won, over and over again, the highest bonors of the Academy, with which she (as well as her husband,) graduated, at one of the best musical institutions in Europe.
With what feeling and pathos did she win the nightly encore which burst from the hands and lips of the delighted audience, at the close of her performance of her leading aria:
• I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,' and of that sparkling allegretto:
Come with the gipsy-bride!' How deliciously she gave the cavatina, in the third act,
See at your feet, a suppliant one!" and in the grand finale, was there ever any thing heard ou the American stage to surpass the brilliancy and effect with which she sang the rondo
Oh! what full delight! We have undertaken to give no account of the plot of this opera, prefering to occupy the space allotted us in a more interesting manner. The book is extant' (as Hamlet says,) though not written in very choice' English, and is easily procurable. But the story tells itself clearly and satisfactorily upon the stage, in the development it receives from the combination of those fine powers upon wirich we have been descanting. Let those who are curious upon the point, learn the tale as it was taught
We found it a great improvement upon that vulgar art which DOGBERRY says 'comes by na ture,' the art of reading. These vocalists return to us early in the spring, and will bring out several operas, never before performed in America.
The Italian Opera, at Palmo's Theatre, has proved a very prominent attraction during the month. It has been our good fortune to witness the frequent representation
J. 7. O.
of · Lucrecia Borgia,'· Belisario,'and · La Cenerentola;' and without taking upon ourselves to reiterate in detail the commendations which have been justly awarded to these performances, we cannot forego the pleasure of joining our note of praise with those of our contemporaries, in behalf of BORGHESE, Pico, PerozZI, Tomasi, SANQUIRICO, and AnTOGNINI, who have labored with so much ardor and success in their several rôles. We shall not soon forget the artistical style and admirable acting of BORGHESE, nor the rich contralto voice and earnest, natural manner of Pico; nor from the triumphs of these fine artistes can we separate the recollection of the gentlemen above-named, whose personations contributed in so marked a degree to the popularity of the operas in which they appeared. The scenery, costumes, etc., were in all respects perfect. We may hope yet to see the Italian troupe permanently supported among us, if we may judge from the large and fashionable audiences which graced the theatre on every evening when we visited it.
Gossip WITH READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. — We have entered once more, dear reader, upon a new year. Time's gate, which swings outward into eternity, has closed upon another twelve-month. Such a season is one of sorrowful retrospection to many ; of hope and gladness we trust to more. We would say nothing to awaken anew the painful remembrances of the first, nor to dim the bright anticipations of the second. Yet, as we enter upon our Twenty-fifth Volume, it will be pardoned, if we venture to offer a little advice to readers who have known us so long and so intimately. Let us beg leave, therefore, to ask each and all of them, in the terms of our excellent friend and correspondent, the accomplished Charcoal-Sketcher,' whether they do not now remember that it has often struck them, in moments of calmness and reflection, after disappointments, perhaps, or in grief; in those minutes when the flush of enjoyment had faded to a sombre hue; that there were changes in their characters and dispositions, which might be made to advantage? It would have been resented, if another had said as much; for you then thought and still think, it may be mistakenly, that these defects are only apparent in full to their owner. Still, the amelioration was resolved upon. At first, it was to begin ‘now.' Then came cares and pleasures; a little postponement was granted; and the work lies in the dusty corners of your determination, quite unfinished. Is a more fitting time to take it up likely to present itself than the present? Somebody has promised - like Sir GILES OVERREACH, we 'name no parties' -— has promised very distinctly to himself (and there is no one with whom it would be more to his advantage to keep good faith) that the New-Year shall find him in many respects a new man.' Do you know such a person, a friend, a brother, a lover or a husband, who has done this, in the view of evil habit, of indolence, of ill-temper, of any of the thousand temptations and faults which beset the human family? Strengthen his will; give encouragement to his weakness. He may chance to need it. It may not be too much to assume, that perfect as we are, there is no lack of certain pestilential imps who find places in our train, and are ever on the alert for mischief; saucy companions, of whom we would gladly be rid, but that they take us by surprise, and await not the chastisements of our regret; little petulances, which at times prompt us to wound those who love us best; small discontents, which seek expression in embittered words ; unrecognized envies, which lacerate the heart and disturb repose, leading to uncharitable thoughts and unkindly judgments; petty jealousies, have we not, rendering us unreasonable, querulous, and ill at ease ? Such restless spirits swarm the air, causing endless complications of annoyance. Let them, at the dawn of the year, be summoned to your footstool to meet discharge ; and above all things, let us impress it upon your minds to scan their faces closely. They are adroit at a disguise, and often elude the most careful watch; so that we know them not save in their effects, and by the sorrows they are apt to leave behind. If such be our policy, as the substratum of our merriment, and the under-current to our mirth, and if we can find nerve enough to accomplish but a part of what is deemed desirable; if each NewVOL. XXV.
Year could find us so much wiser, and therefore happier - for wisdom is but happiness,
From the tumbling surf, that buries
The Orkneyan Skerries,
Answering the boarse Hebrides;
Aud from wrecks of ships, and drifting
On the desolate, rainy seas.
*From Bermuda's Reefs, from edges
of sunken ledges,
· Ever drifting, dristing, drifting
On the shifting
Of sandy beaches,
Do you remark, reader, the wide grasp, the life, action, visible motion, that pervade these lines ? They compose a succession of marine views' as palpable to sight as the colorings of the pencil. · · Mr. GEORGE JONES, formerly well known in the United States, (not well known exactly!) as an indifferent player, and a still more indifferent theatrical manager, has lately favored the London public with a volume containing • Tecumsex, an Israel. Indian Tragedy ;' 'Life and History of General HARRISON;' and his famous Stratford • Oration in Honor of William SHAKSPEARE, the Celebrated Dramatist.' Punch, in a most sententious, ironical, and amusing critique, has done the business' for Mr. Jones' dull and ridiculous book. The first time we ever saw Mr. Jones, he introduced himself to our acquaintance on board a Staten-Island steamer; and in some ten minutes thereafter, he was reading to us, on the breezy deck, in a very audible voice, letters from his “titled friends in England;' and we regret to state, that such was the violence of the wind, that it snatched from his hand an opened letter of My Lord Dudley STUART,' and wafted it upon the white foam in our wake; where it lay, the focus of Mr. Jones' • longing eyes,' until at last it vanished in the distance. We were therefore quite prepared to learn that • Jones is troubled with an itching palm for titled people, and that in his late work,' he is continually telling the reader of the 'hospitality' awarded to him by kings, dukes, and lords. One would think he was taken in' wherever he showed himself.' Mr. Jones has quoted in his preface an account. From the Times newspaper' of his having dined with the King of Prussia, when at Berlin. To which Punch replies: 'We remember the paragraph well; the quackery was headed · From a Correspondent,' which Mr. Jones has omitted.' Who the correspondent' was, may be easily guessed. Jones says that America claims him, and his honors accordingly,' but that this is done only in our usual boasting spirit; the truth being that he is English by birth. America yields the honor! No one claims Mr. Jones on this side of the Atlantic; not even his deserted wife. There are various claims' against him we believe; but they are of a nature which, from the 'cute profession of his paternal ancestor down east,' he will understand at once, and perhaps be as little desirous of having them “pressed as the one which, with instinctive reciprocity, he labors to repel. The man is a most transparent pretender, who has reduced humbug. eousness to a science. Some of our metropolitan readers have asked us, with an ex