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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.
SCHOOL FOR FATHERS;
LIONEL AND CLARISSA.
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 productions 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 borrow. ed an expression, a sentiment, or a character, from any dramatic writer extant.
When Mr. GARRICK 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 unavoid. ably 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 2.
gainst my will, had it not given a fresh opportunity to Mr. Dibdin to display his admirable talents as a musical composer. And I will be bold to say, that his airs, serious and comic, in this opera,
appear to no disadvantage by being heard with those of some of the greatest masters.
The SCHOOL FOR FATHERS is added to the title, because the plot is evidently double; and that of Lionel and Clarissa alluded to but one part of it, as the readers and spectators will easily perceive.