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“The Lines distinguished by inverted Commas, are omitted in the Representation.
Printed for the Proprietors, under the Direélion of
In our mention of this man, prefacing the Opera of the Maid of the Mill, we were inadvertently led into an error respecting his having been Secretary to the Earl of Chesterfield, when Lord Lieutenant of the Kingdom of Ireland.---The fact is, Bickerstaff was then too young for such an employ. He was a page to Lady Chesterfield, and, as is usual in consequence, received the present of a pair of Colours in the Regulars.
We have some reason to suspect that the Biographia is mistaken in affirming Mr. Bickerstaff to have been in the marines. We believe he never served but in the regulars, and that he attained no higher rank than his Ensigncy.
Authors are commonly deceived in estimating their own powers. This Opera, Bickerstaff deemed his best production. The stage bills will show that the public think otherwise. Love in a Village is performed ten times for once that this piece is acted. Perhaps this preference may be attributed to musick alone—for such Character and Writing as they exhibit, seem tolerably uniform:—a severe Critic might say uniformly intolerable.
Having, for some years, met with very great success in my produćtions of the musical kind; when I wrote the following opera, it was with unusual care and attention; and it was the general opinion of all my friends, some of whom rank among the best judges, that of all my trifles, Lionel and Clarissa was the most pardonable: a decision in its favour which I was the prouder of, because, to the best of my knowledge, through the whole, I had not borrowed an expression, a sentiment, or a character, from any dramatic writer extant.
When Mr. GARR1ck thought of performing this piece at Drury-lane theatre, he had a new singer to bring out, and every thing possible for her advantage was to be done; this necessarily occasioned some new songs and airs to be introduced; and other singers, with voices of a different compass from those who originally acted the parts, occasioned still more; by which means the greatest part of the musick unavoidably became new. This is the chief, and indeed the only alteration made in the opera; and even to that, I should, in many places, have been forced, much a