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Heavens ! what new charm, what sudden light,
The large, the sweet vermilion flower is born! 80
The fragrant foul, and every charm bequeath'd
Then kiss'd it thrice: the general filence broke, &5
Ye flowers at my command attendant here,
So fit the floral crown to wear,
To glorify the day, and grace the youthful year!
Thus fpeaking, the the new-born favourite crown'd; The transformation was compleat ;
The Deities with fongs the queen of flowers did greet: Soft flutes and tuneful harps were heard to found; While now to heaven the well-pleas'd Goddess flies With her bright train, and reascends the skies.
PREF A CE,
(AS IT WAS PRINTED BEFORE THE MUSIC.)
MR. Pepufch having defired that fome account
fhould he prefixed to thefe Cantata's relating to the words, it may be proper to acquaint the publick, that they are the first Essays of this kind, and
were written as an experiment of introducing a fort of compofition which had never been naturalized in our language. Those who are affectedly partial to the Italian tongue, will scarce allow mufic to speak any other; but if reafon may be admitted to have any fhare in these entertainments, nothing is more neceffary than that the words fhould be underfood, without which the end of Vocal Mufic is loft. want of this occafions a common complaint, and is the chief, if not the only reason, that the best works of Scarlati and other Italians, except thofe performed in Opera's, are generally but little known or regarded here, Befides, it may be obferved, without any dishonour to a language which has been adorned by fome writers of excellent genius, and was the first among the moderns in which the Art of Poetry was revived and brought to any perfection, that in the great number of their Opera's, Serenata's, and Cantata's, the words are often much inferior to the compofition; and though, by their abounding with vowels, they have an inimitable aptnefs and facility for notes, the writers for mufic have not always made the best use of this advantage, or seem to have relied on it fo much as to have regarded little elfe; fo that Mr. Waller's remark on another occafion may be frequently applied to them.
"Soft words, with nothing in them, make a song.”
Yet fo great is the force of founds well chofen and skillfully executed, that as they can hide indifferent sense, and a kind of associated pleasure arifes from the words though they are but mean, fo the impreffion cannot fail of being in proportion much greater, when the thoughts are natural and proper, and the expressions unaffected and agreeable.
Since, therefore, the English language, though inferior in smoothness, has been found not incapable of harmony, nothing would perhaps be wanting towards introducing the most elegant style of mufic, in a nation which has given such generous encourage ments to it, if our beft Poets would fometimes affift this defign, and make it their diverfion to im prove a fort of verfe, in regular measures, purpofely fitted for mufic, and which, of all the modern kinds, feems to be the only one that can now properly be called Lyricks.
It cannot but be obferved on this occafion, that fince Poetry and Musick are so nearly allied, it is a misfortune that those who excel in one, are often perfect ftrangers to the other. If therefore a better correfpondence were fettled between the two fifter arts. they would probably contribute to each other's improvement. The expreffions of Harmony, Cadence, and a good ear, which are faid to be fo neceffary in Poetry, being all borrowed from Mufic, fhew at leaft, if they fignify any thing, that it would be no improper help for a Poet to understand more than the metaphorical fenfe of them. And on the other hand,