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Farewell songs Durastanti performed on stage

Signora Margarita Durastanti was engaged by Mr. Handel at the same time with Senesino, and came with him into England. She sung in the operas composed by Handel, Bononcini, and Attilio till the year 1723. For the reason of her quitting England we are to seek, unless we may suppose, that the applause bestowed on Cuzzoni, who appeared on the stage for two or three winters with her, was more than she could bear. However, she made a handsome retreat; and, as it seems, took a formal leave of the English nation by singing on the stage a song written for her in haste by Mr. Pope, at the earnest request of the Earl of Peterborough, which, together with a burlesque of it by Dr. Arbuthnot, were lately printed in some of the public papers from a volume of poems among the Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum. Both poems are here inserted.

GENEROUS, gay, and gallant nation,
Bold in arms, and bright in arts;
Land secure from all invasion,
All but Cupid's gentle darts!
From your charms, oh who would run
Who would leave you for the Sun?


Happy soil, and simple crew!
Let old charmers yield to new;
in arms, in arts, be still more shining
All your joys be still encreasing;
All your tastes be still refining
All your jars for ever ceasing:
But let old charmers yield to new:
Happy soil, adieu, adieu!

PUPPIES, whom I now am leaving,
Merry sometimes, always mad;
Who lavish most when debts are craving,
On fool, and farce, and masquerade!
Who would not from such bubbles run,
And leave such blessings for the fun;
Happy soil, and simple crew
Let old sharpers yield to new!
All your tastes be still refining;
All your nonsense still more shining;
Blest in some Berenstadt or Broschi,
He more aukward, he more husky;
And never want, when these are lost t'us[1],
Another Heidegger and Faustus.
Happy soil, and simple crew!
Let old sharpers yield to new!
Bubbles all, adieu, adieu!


This text was originally published in Chapter 189 (CLXXXIX) of John Hawkins: A general history of the science and practice of music (originally published in 1776) - see its reprint in John Hawkins: A general history of the science and practice of music. Novello, Ever & Co., London 1875. Vol 2, pp. 872

The same text was republished, without an author's name, in The Westminster Magazine: or, The Pantheon of Taste, vol. 5 (1777), pp. 395.


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