From the great sea-serpent to the nebular hypothesis, I was ready to write on anything or everything, and I can safely say that I seldom handled a subject without throwing new lights upon it. Poetry and romance, however, had always the greatest attractions for me. How I have wept over the pathos of my heroines, and laughed at the comicalities of my buffoons! Alas!
It was a bustling wedding-feast, where people come and go, footmen, stablemen, cooks, musicians, buffoons, where everyone pays compliments and makes a noise. In short, so great was the delight that they kept up a general wagging of the head to celebrate this eventful night.
The square was an open space of about two acres, and was the spot at which all public festivities were held, and where, upon many occasions, Kabba Rega delighted to sit, in a large open shed, to witness the absurd performance of his buffoons. This open space was well adapted for the exercise of a company of troops.
I had already a strong relish for the peculiarities of character and the varieties of situation, and I have always been fond of the comedy of life, and desirous of seeing it through all its shifting scenes. In mingling, therefore, among mountebanks and buffoons I was protected by the very vivacity of imagination which had led me among them.
Determined that his young son should become a doctor like himself, and leave the divine art to Italian fiddlers and French buffoons, he did not allow him to go to a public school even, for fear he should learn the gamut. But the boy Handel, passionately fond of sweet sounds, had, with the connivance of his nurse, hidden in the garret a poor spinet, and in stolen hours taught himself how to play.
Here the road is blocked up by a crowd of idlers watching a trio of lutis, or buffoons, jerking a careless and indifferent-looking baboon about with a chain to make him dance; and a little farther along is another crowd surveying some more lutis with a small brown bear.
It is the custom for these strolling buffoons to thus present themselves before persons on the street, and to visit houses whenever there is occasion for rejoicing, as at a wedding, or the birth of a son; the lutis are to the Persians what Italian organ-grinders are among ourselves; I fancy people give them money chiefly to get rid of their noise and annoyance, as we do to save ourselves from the soul-harrowing tones of a wheezy crank organ beneath the window.
MARTIN made his debut in 1783 at the Theatre de Monsieur in the company of Italian buffoons. In this school he acquired that taste which he has since propagated with zeal, if not with success. At the present day, he is accused of loading his singing with superfluous embellishments, or of placing them without judgment in passages or situations where they are ill-suited.
But if you ask me why I appear before you in this strange dress, be pleased to lend me your ears, and I'll tell you; not those ears, I mean, you carry to church, but abroad with you, such as you are wont to prick up to jugglers, fools, and buffoons, and such as our friend Midas once gave to Pan.
Our comedians are "buffoons," our lovers are "frankly ridiculous," and the Italian actors are superior in "temperament" whatever that may mean.