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George Frederick Handel was born on the 24th of February 1684, at Hall, in Upper Saxony, where his father practised physic. A strong passion for music early displayed itself in him; but his father destining him for the profession of civil law, forbad him to touch an instrument. Notwithstanding this opposition, he con
netary system. This was the foundation of that ingenious piece of mechanism, subsequently completed by Rowley, and so well remembered under the name of an Orrery. In 1733 Hales obtained his doctor's degree from the University of Oxford; and in 1741 communicated to the Royal Society his method for clearing prisons, ships, &c. of foul air, by means of venti. lators. Among the published volumes of the same body, are to be found various papers, in which he made known several other projects and inventions, of great interest and utility. Patronised by Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his wife, the Princess Augusta, he night have aspired to the highest dignities in the church ; but such was his moderation, that he would not accept even of a canonry in Windsor, and rested content with the living of Teddington, in Middlesex. He was induced, however, to act as almoner and clerk of the closet to her Royal Highness. Dr. Hales died on the 4th of January, 1761, and is also to be praised for four volumes of Statical Essays, a treatise on the ill consequences of drinking spirituous liquors; Vegetable Statics; and Vegetable Essays.
Not far removed is a sarcophagus projecting from the wall, on which is seated a figure in the robcs of a divine. It was erected by Harley, Earl of Oxford, and commemorates John Ernest Grabe, who was born in 1666, and educated at Koninsberg, in Prussia, where his father was professor of theology and history in the University. Becoming dissatisfied with Lutheranism, because it wanted the essentials of an uninterrupted episcopal hierarchy, he was on the point of becoming a convert to Catholicism, wben it was suggested to him that the Church of England, possessing the features he desired, was more congenial to his previous creed. To England, therefore, he repaired, and had the fortune of obtaining a pension of 100l. a year from William the Ill. In 1698, he published the first, and in the year following the second, volume of “Spicilegium SS Patrum,” a collection of tracts by the early fathers and heretics. In 1700, he took dean's orders, and was presented with the chaplaincy of Christ's Church, Oxford. Pursuing his critical studies, he edited in succession, the works of Justin Martyr, Irenæus, and Bishop Bull. But his greatest labcur was a publication of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament from the Alexandrian Manuscripts. The first four volumes came out by the year 1709, in folio and octavo; and the rest were printed from posthumous manuscripts in 1719 and 1720. He died Nov. 3, 1611, and was buried in the church yard of St. Pancras, Middlesex. .
trived to practise in private, and when only seven years old was accidentally heard playing on a church organ, after service time, by the Duke of Saxe Weifenfels, who was so much struck by the style of the performance, that he inquired his name, and ultimately encouraged his father to see the bent of his genius cultivated. Accordingly, he was placed under Zackaw, the organist to the cathedrai church at Halle, and profited so rapidly by the instructions he received, as to be able to compose church services with instrumental accompaniments during the course of his first year's apprenticeship, and continue for the space of three years aster to produce a new service for each recurring sabbath.
After surpassing his master, both as a composer and a performer, he was removed to Berlin in his fourteenth year, and placed under the care of a relative who held a situation at the Court. There he is said to have benefited so much from the lessons of Attilio, who conducted the Italian opera with great success, that the King offered to send him into Italy at his own. expense, and undertake the care of his fortune when his educa-. tion should be completed. But the monarch was proverbia!!y capricious in such matters, and Handel's parents therefore declined his patronage. After such an occurrence it was impossible for the young musician to remain at Berlin: he returned to Halle, panting for a visit to Italy, but restrained from the journey by the narrow circumstances of his parents.
Repairing therefore to Hamburg, where the opera was powerfully supported, he lost his father, and was necessitated to teach pupils, and accept an inferior station in the orchestra. Ere long, however, the principal pianist, a dissipated man, absconded from his creditors, and Handel put in a claim for the appointment: upon the presumption of superior ability. A trial of skill between him and the performer on the second harpsichord ensued, and he won the battle: but the victory had nearly cost him dear, for his rival, stung with mortification, made a lunge at his breast : with a small sword as he was leaving the house, which must have penetrated to the heart, had not a music book which he had fortunately stuck in his bosom, broke the violence of the blow.. Having thus acquired an opportunity for the display of his talents, he soon rose in reputation, and was made composer to the theatre before the year elapsed. The first opera he set was
Almeria, which was repeated for thirty successive nights; and nearly equal applause attended the representation of two others Florinda and Nerone, which he produced within the term of another year. This success procured him the advantages of an intimacy with many influential admirers of his art, and amongst other compliments, the Grand Duke of Tuscany offered to take him through Italy free of all expense, and secure of every corivenience. This was an enjoyment which he had long determined to avail himself of, but not in a dependant state: he therefore declined the liberal proposal, and after remaining at Hamburg for five years, found he had saved a purse of ducats, which justified him in undertaking the journey on his own account.
Florence was the first city of note at which he made any stay: there he was honoured with free access to the palace of the Grand Duke, who prevailed upon him to compose his first Italian opera · Rodrigo,' for which he received a present of one hundred sequins, and a service of plate. Proceeding to Venice he brought forward a second Italian opera, ' Agrippina,' which was performed with considerable applause for seven-and-twenty nights. From Naples, which he visited next, he repaired to Rome, and was nobly entertained and highly flattered by the most influential cardinals. While thus caressed he had the honour of playing a passage which the dexterous Corelli found difficult to execute, and divided the palm with Scarlatti, who was then esteemed the best pianist in Italy. But notwithstanding all this superiority, and the reputation which accrued to him from some hundreds of very happy pieces which he composed, the man seems not to have been well liked; for his patrons, as well as his equals, complained of the petulance of his temper, and the gross pride of his character.
After spending six years in Italy, he returned to Germany, and was offered a pension of 1500 crowns, and the place of Chapel Master, by the Elector, soon after George the I. of England, to fix his residence at Hanover. This liberal offer he accepted upon the condition of receiving a year's leave of absence to fulfil an engagement with the Elector Palatine at Dusseldorf, and avail bimself of a pressing invitation sent to him by the Duke of Manchester and several English nobles. Accordingly, after having been handsomely dismissed from the palatinate, and paying a visit to his aged mother and old master at Halle, he arrived in London during the year 1710, was presented at Court, and distinguished by the most flattering attentions. With the arrival of Handel may be fixed the legitimate performance of Italian operas in this country. His own ‘Rinaldo' led the example of reformation, and was much esteemed. He became director of the old house in the Haymarket, received a pension of 2001. a year from the Queen, and found himself so well treated in every respect, that he broke his promise to the Elector of Hanover, and continued profitably employed in London. The most popular of his productions about this period were the grand · Te Deum,' and “Jubilate,' in celebration of the peace of Utrecht.
The death of Queen Anne and succession of George the I. seemed at first to augur ill for the continuance of this prosperity. Conscious of the violation of a positive engagement, he could not presume to appear at Court, and dreaded both disgrace and resentment. From this dilemma, however, he was soon rescued by the good offices of a former friend, the Baror Kilmansegge, who accompanied the new monarch to England. Receiving notice of a royal excursion on the river, he prepared some music, and superintended the performance of it at the landing of the party for refreshment. The King, taken by surprise and pleased with the composition, asked who it was to whom he was indebted for the entertainment: and upon being told to Handel, good-naturedly called him from concealment, and not only forgave him, but doubled his pension on the spot, and nominated him music-master to the royal family.
From the year 1715 to 1718, Handel resided with the Earl of Burlington, and spent the two next years under the Duke of Chandos, who entertained him as chapel-master to the splendid choir he established at Canons, his country seat. It was for the service of the magnificent chapel there, that he produced those anthems and organ fugues, which alone would have sufficed to immortalize his name. From these avocations he was called away in 1720 to become Director of the Royal Academy of Music, which was instituted upon the model of the similar establishment in Paris, for the purpose of securing the nobility a more effective representation of Italian operas, and supported by a munificent subscription to the amount of 50,0001. But not withstanding the great patronage thus concentrated for the success of the measure, some weighty opposition was offered to it in consequence of the
influence possessed by Bunoncini and Attilio, who εuperintended the affairs of the old house. To accommodate these differences, and settle the question of superior talent, it was proposed that Handel and Bunoncini should set an opera together, each taking an act in his turn. "Muzio Scævola' was the produce of this competitory trial ; and the palm being awarded to Handel, he went to Dresden to engage a fresh body of singers, and opened the academy with great applause. In this station he continued eminently happy during a term of nine years, and perhaps at no other period was music so nobly cultivated in England.
The jealousy of actors, composers, and even authors, is so proverbial, that it cannot, perhaps, be thought at all strange, that, in 1729, Handel and his dramatic cor;:s fell into a state of tumult, which ultimately disgusted the public, and ruined a most expensive establishment. The actors complained of the violence to which the temper of the composer subjected them, and the composer retorted that the caprice and arrogance of the actors was unbearable. Stenesino, the principal male singer, was the first to begin the quarrel, and Carestini, Cuzzoni, and others, ere long made it a general broil. Once exasperated, Handel refused to compose for those who had offended him, and no entreaties could induce him to swerve from his declaration. By continuing inflexible, he forfeited the patronage of the nobility, who set up another house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, which was put under the management of Porpora, and made effectively popular by the voice and talents of Farinelli.
Undaunted by this opposition, Handel made some bold efforts to entertain the public. Entering into a partnership with Heidegger, he went to Italy, brought over several new singers, and commenced the usual season with a very good company. But though he struggled liard, he struggled vainly. Heidegger left him after a three years' contest; he continued the battle alone for another twelveinonth, and was then forced to exchange establishments with his rivals. No better fortune resulting from this removal, he shut up his doors, and entered into a partnership with Rich, in Covent Garden, where his · Ariadne' was first played in 1733. Still his cause advanced not : by degrees, he was obliged to part with all the money he had saved to pay his debts; and his passion, under the joint pressure of disappoint