To dine at the very foot of Vesuvius, and not drink Lachrime Christi, would have been worse than being at Rome and not seeing St. Peter's. On calling for that wine, our host asked, Bulite roba … more >>
To dine at the very foot of Vesuvius, and not drink Lachrime Christi, would have been worse than being at Rome and not seeing St. Peter's. On calling for that wine, our host asked, Bulite roba buona?* which of course was answered in the affirmative. […] But to return to the Lachrime Christi. That of our host's was so delicious, that, in spite of my physician's injunctions, the second bottle soon became a desideratum, and my friend now grew more jovial than ever I saw him, and perhaps than ever he had been in his life. He would give a specimen of his voice, and favoured the host and your humble servant with the pretty air, " Sul margine d'un rio." To do him justice in this vocal attempt, he would probably have succeeded to admiration, had he not taken some unwarrantable liberties with the sharps and flats; one of which he would substitute for the other so frequently, that at the end of his cantata, he was not only a full fifth lower than when he began, but it was also impossible to guess whether the melody was in a minor or major key: as to time, the whole was given, ad libitum, without any servile adherence to bars or stops. On being pressed, in my turn, to sing an English air, I first begged my friend to stand up, and mine host to pull off his night-cap, and then began "God save the King," with the utmost glee of loyalty and patriotism; feelings excited the more powerfully, in proportion to the distance which separates us from a beloved country and sovereign.
Believe me, dear T. that no effort was spared on this occasion, to give my companion, as well as the landlord, a favourable idea of British harmonies; nay, I am sure, I never sung better in my life; yet this abominable Zoilus of modern times, this vile Don Snarl, had the impudence to observe, that however praiseworthy my execution, the English language appeared to him so harsh, as to be totally unfit for music.
*Would you have capital stuff? << less