Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 9.djvu/74

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68


NOTES AND QUERIES. [ii s. ix. JAN. 24, 1911.


' THE SHEPHERDESS OF THE ALPS.' This comic opera in three acts was produced at Coveiit Garden Theatre on 18 Jan., 1780. It was performed only three nights. The text was published in 8vo by G. Kearsly, M.DCC.LXXX., without the author's name. The music, by Charles Dibdin, was not published at the time, but two of the songs were afterwards used by him in his ' Musical Tour Entertainment ' ; and in his collection of the words of his songs (5 vols., 12mo, 1790, &c.) ? and in his ' Professional Life ' (4 vols., 1803), he included seven and eight respec- tively of the lyrics.

The evidence that Dibdin was, as usual, his own librettist is tolerably complete. In his 'Musical Tour' (1788) he included the opera in his list of theatrical productions, with the remark, " My agreement for this piece was to have a third of the nine first nights." This was an author's, not a com- poser's, method of remuneration. A con- temporary newspaper paragraph in my possession states : " Mr. Dibdin is author as well as musical composer of the new comic opera, ' The Shepherdess of the Alps.' ' The impeccable Genest says " attributed to Dibdin " ; the ' Biographia Dramatica,' W. H. Husk, Halkett and Laing, Davidson, and. indeed, practically all writers who touch the subject, accept his authorship without question, except Oulton, who says " Xo author given." Kearsly was at that period Dibdin's usual publisher, and the dialogue and lyrics are in his style.

I have never doubted Dibdin's authorship, but an American correspondent has drawn my attention to a statement by Mr. G. F. R. Barker in the ' D.N.B.' (first issue, vol. xxvii. p. 119) that Thomas Holcroft " also appears to have written three afterpieces : ' The Shepherdess of the Alps,' ~ produced at Coveiit Garden Theatre 18th January 1780," &c. I have discovered no securer foundation for this than is to be found in the assertion by William Hazlitt, in his 'Memoirs of Thomas Holcroft ' (ed. 1852, pp. 99-100), that Holcroft "had already [i.e., before 1779] written two other afterpieces, ' The Shepherdess of the Alps ' and ' The Maid of the Vale.' ' As to the former, Hazlitt quotes an undated letter from Holcroft to Mrs. Sheridan, in which he says the opera was undertaken at the instigation of her " late dear and worthy brother," who promised to set it, and had, indeed, actually composed two of the songs. Thomas Linley the younger died 7 Aug., 1778, and I infer the letter was written soon after, say, during the winter of 1778-9.


Hazlitt goes into rather dubious par- ticulars about ' The Maid of the Vale,' but does not attempt to give any further account of ' The Shepherdess of the Alps,' so Mr. Barker alone is probably responsible for connecting it with the Co vent Garden pro- duction of 1780. As this could only be done with certainty on better evidence thane Hazlitt furnishes, I now ask for it.

In the meantime it may be assumed that Holcroft had nothing to do with the piece- set by Dibdin, but made an independent adaptation of an original tale or dramatic piece, probably French, which was then in vogue. I should welcome enlightenment on this point. There must have been some- such original, as the unsuccessful production of 1780 at Covent Garden Theatre does not account for various publications with the same title, such as an eighteenth-century chapbook (Xewcastle, n.d.) in my posses- sion; a long, sentimental "Moral Tale" which ran (or crawled) through several numbers of The New Lady's Magazine in 1793-4; and a pretty stipple print of the same period, as to which I unfortunately did not take particulars.

E. RIMBAULT DIBDIN.

64, Huskisson Street, Liverpool.

" LOVELESS AS AN IRISHMAN." In ai review of ' The Collected Poems ' of " A. E." (Mr. George Russell) which appeared in The Morning Post of 8 Jan. it is remarked that "another characteristic of the Celtic singers i their inability to feel to the full any of the elemental impulses ; the mediaeval saying, ' Love- less as an Irishman,' is as true to-day as it was when the Gaels on the other shore of the narrow, severing sea first said it."

I do not remember to have heard this saying before, and should be glad to learn the authority for it. W. F. PRIDE ATJX.

OLD CITY RATE-BOOKS. I am anxious to ascertain whether any sixteenth- or seventeenth-century rate-books exist for the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. If so, in whose custody would they be found ?

Similar information with regard to other City parishes would be appreciated.

L. F. T.

OLD PEWTER. For seme years I have been collecting materials for a work on Pewterers and Pewter-Marks, and there must be many readers of ' N. & Q.' who are col- lectors, but whose treasures I have not seen. I should be much indebted to any having pieces in their possession or under their