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LA BELLE ASSEMBLÉE;

For NOVEMBER, 1818.

A New and Improved Series.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF ILLUSTRIOUS AND

DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERS.

Number One Hundred and Sixteen.

MRS. YATES.

cline; and, as the inimitable Mrs. Siddons once declared, she had three motives for continuing her theatric occupation, so Mrs. Yates has five-all infantine objects, looking up to her alone for protection and support! She knew then how much it behoved her to employ every exertion, and arouse all her energies for those dear ties of maternal affection. Mr. Young, that truly classical and gentleman-like actor, knew how to estimate the merits of Mrs. Yates; he was particularly struck with her performance of Imogen, in Bertram, and of The Queen, in Richard III.; a cha➡ racter too often not sufficiently attended to; but in the hands of Mrs. Yates, it has that true force and feeling which our great dramatic author meant it to possess.

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lr was with real gratification that we found the original of the Portrait we this month present to our readers engaged at Covent-Garden Theatre. A lady competent to fill those characters that Mrs. Yates has already enacted, and in which she must be allowed, by the nicest critic, to possess infinite merit, was much wanted at the above Theatre. In those of Lady Macbeth, and in the heroic and cruelly disappointed Elvira, in Pizarro, Mrs. Yates is admirable; and we are happy to say, that she has obtained in each that applause from a discriminating audience so justly due to her histrionic powers.

Mrs. Yates was born near Leicester, of respectable parents, of the name of Croshaw. Early in life she married Mr. Yates, at Garstang, in Lancashire. Mr. Yates was a comedian, whose line was in broad farce, or as it is generally termed, low comedy. Mrs. Yates, since her marriage, performed in the west of England, where she was a decided favourite; and Mr. Pope, convinced of her theatrical abilities, procured her an engagement in Dublin, where, for two years, she drew universal admiration, both for her talents on the stage and her amiable deportment in private life. But here she had the affliction of losing her husband, who fell a victim to a rapid de

Mr. Young introduced the subject of our present biography to Mr. Harris, who, we are happy to say, has given her a very liberal engagement for three years.

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The beauty of the head, which graven from an original painting by Miss Drummond, while it confers high honour on the young artist, will prove to our readers the fine, yet truly feminine features of Mrs. Yates, and which are so well calculated for the expression of the beautiful heroines of tragedy.

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ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MUSIC.
(Continued from page 149.)

MASQUES IN THE REIGN OF JAMES 1.

THE masque was at once a ball and opera, and found employment for a great number of professors, who appeared in the royal theatres in a splendid uniform, composed of silk mantles and scarfs of various colours, with rich caps. And, for the better decoration of the scene, the master represented the character of Apollo. Whether this drama acquired its title from the actors appearing in masks à-l'antique, or from the characters being only imaginary, is yet a matter of doubt.

the only use, however, made of this charter seems the affording to aliens an easy expedient of acquiring the freedom of the city.

Charles I. was a proficient in playing on the Viol da Gamba. When he ascended the throne he discovered a great affection for music, and manifested a particular care and attention to that of the church service. At his private concerts he took the most affable notice of his musical performers; gratifying them, when not in conversation with them, with the most winning smiles of approbation and kindness. Masques still continued the favourite amusement during the tranquil part of this accomplished monarch's reign. The Queen brought with her from France a fondness for dramatic exhibitions, and frequently performed the principal character in the masque herself. Ben Jonson was Poet Laureat, and most of these masques were written by him.

The English are always more delighted with those dramas which consist of dialogue and songs, than with a piece which is sung throughout: of this several of Shakespeare's plays, wherein songs are introduced, are an indubitable proof. The Tempest would make a charming opera.

Masques were certainly the precursors of operas in England; they belong to the chain of dramas which unite poetry and music on the stage: their resemblance to operas renders them almost the same thing. They consist of dialogue, are performed on a stage, are ornamented with machinery and decorations; have always music, vocal and instrumental. Our operas much more resemble masques than dramas; but they were always written for the amusements of courts, and most of those that were performed at court in the beginning of the T seventeenth century were written by Ben Jonson, and set to music by the younger Ferrabosco or Laniere.

Vocal music for social and private parties, during the reign of James I., consisted chiefly of madrigals, which had been composed in the preceding century, with airs of four and more parts; of songs for one single voice, but few were printed; these had a single accompaniment for the lute or viol, without symphony.

James I., by letters patent, incorporated the musicians of the city of Loudon into a company; and they still continue to enjoy privileges in consequence of their fraternity:

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In 1630 he produced his masque entitled Love's Triumphs, which was decorated by Inigo Jones, and performed by the King and thirteen noblemen and gentlemen at court. The same year he wrote another, called Chloridia, which was performed by the Queen and ladies of the court.

Shirley, a dramatist of the second class in this reign, wrote a mask entitled The Triumphs of Peace, which was acted] at Whitehall; the whole expence defrayed by the gentlemen of the four inns of court. Of this masque see an account in De Burgh's Anecdotes of Music, a work reviewed in our Supplementary Number for the year 1815, wherein the above account forms an ex tract.

Though the masques of this reign are said to have been performed by the Queen, King, and nobles of the court, yet it does not appear that these great personages took much part in the dialogue or songs, but rather appeared on the stage in the splen did ballets, as dancers, representing the allegorical characters. When the masques,

were first performed, after the Queen's The total suppression of cathedral service arrival in this country, it cannot be sup-in 1643, gave sacred music a severe wound; posed that she was sufficiently acquainted || it checked its cultivation, and seemed alwith our language to be able to declaim in most to annihilate the power of restoring it. it, as all the church books were destroyed, as well as those of the Roman church, which had been retained since the reformation. Nothing but a monotonous psalmody was to be heard in religious meetings; organs were taken out of the churches, organists and choir-men turned adrift, and the whole art of music totally discouraged. This accounts for the barbarism into which music was plunged during the reign of James I. and that of his son Charles. A perpetual struggle took place between privilege and prerogative, democracy and tyranny: the crown was cautious of granting too much, and the people, almost all puritans and levellers, were determined not to be satisfied with any thing that was offered.

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In 1634, Ben Jonson wrote an entertain. ment entitled Love's Welcome, and which was represented before their Majesties at Bolsover, the seat of the Earl of Newcastle. The same year furnished a memorable era in the annals of music and poetry, by its having given birth to the masque of Comus, written by Milton, and set by Henry Lawes, who performed in it the part of Thyrsis. The masque was dedicated to Lord Viscount Brackley, who had pèrformed the part of the Elder Brother, at Ludlow Castle: this young nobleman was only twelve years of age when it was first exhibited; his brother Thomas, who play ed the Second Brother, was still younger; and Lady Alice Egerton, who acted the part of the Lady in Comus, was but thirteen. At Gaddesden, in Hertfordshire, the monuments of all these illustrious performers are still to be seen.

In the eleventh year of the reign of Charles I. his Majesty granted a very extensive charter to all the most eminent musicians living at the time, incorporating them by the style and titles of Marshal,|| Wardens, and Commonalty of the art and science of Musick in Westminster, in the county of Middlesex ; investing them with various extraordinary powers and priviJeges, which charter he confirmed in the fourteenth year of his reign.

No war is so fatal to the progress of the fine arts as civil war; the sword then is sharpened by personal hatred and this civil war was fomenting all the time the father of the martyred Charles was on the throne. The best musicians, during the triumph of the puritans, gained a scanty subsistence by private teaching in the tranquil part of the reign of Charles I. they lived chiefly on the munificence of their sovereign, and on their household and chapel salaries. For they had not the summer amusements of Vauxhall, or other public gardens, to resort to as an amelioration of their incomes.

ANECDOTES OF ILLUSTRIOUS FEMALES.

which expressed some degree of displeasure, "let me have my pearls then."-The pearl ornaments were no sooner put on than the Emperor entered. He asked her why she did not wear her diamonds? The little feeling of ill humour was over, and the Empress, instead of returning a direct answer, said, "Do I not look well as I am ?”—“ Oh! very well; you always look well," and the conversation was changed to another subject. Maria Louisa knew but too well the irascible temper of her husband, and was fearful of what might

MARIA LOUISA, CI-DEVANT EMPRESS OF

FRANCE.

To a native dignity of mind, and a high sense of her illustrious birth, Maria Louisa united great sweetness of disposition and real tenderness for the feelings of others. One day while she was dressing for a grand court party, she asked for her diamonds. The lady who had the charge of her jewels || searched in vain for the key of the casket in which the diamonds were kept, aud she, at length, confessed she could not fiud it. "Well, well," said Maria Louisa, in a toue

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