Pagina:Baretti - Prefazioni e polemiche.djvu/319



it than I can conveniently teli him here. Sanadon’s reasons for his new arrangement are deduced at large in his edition of Horace; to which I must likewise refer the reader, that I may not be too prolix.

Whether the good father was right or wrong in his new arrangement, I have not learning sufficient to determine. Some critics think him whimsical, though they praise his ingenuity; and some agree to his innovation. Francis, who translated Horace into English verse, has received it without hesitation, only transposing one of the odes; which transposition I have adopted. Let reason be for Sanadon, or against him, it is my interest to acquiesce in his contri vance, not only because it makes plain to me some passages in Horace, but also because, adopting his arrangement, the Carmen seculare, or, in other words, the Polymetrum saturniuvi, comes to form a subject for a musical entertainment greatl}’ superior to any thing of the kind ever published by three of his best imitators, Dryden, Pope and Metastasio.

Having once conceived that the Carme?i seculare was a verj’ fit subject for such an entertainment, I looked about for a composer, to whom I could impart my discovery, if I may so cali it, and entrust the setting of it, without any fear of having it disgraced. My reverence of Horace made me for a long while find it diffícult to fix upon a person equal to the task. I wanted not only a great knowledge of music, but also a ready compliance with my own ideas. I was resolved, at ali events, not to have many of those common topics and passages which everj^ man used to Italian operas, has heard over and over and can anticipate in his own mind as soon as the first bar is out of the singer ’s mouth; nor would I suffer a chapel-master to give a singer many opportunities of splitting a vowel into a thousand particles, that he may emulate the best fiddle, or the wildest nightingale. I was also resolved, that he should avoid those full repetitions, which, under the name of ritornello ’s, prolong an air beyond endurance and fatigue the attention without adding to the energy of the words. In short, I wanted a man of sense,