« EelmineJätka »
ARRIVED at Paris, by a very rapid journey, the day before the Federation; and when I am difpofed to murmur at the evils of my destiny, I fhall henceforth put this piece of good fortune into the oppofite fcale, and reflect how many disappointments it ought to counterbalance. Had the packet which conveyed me from Brighton to Dieppe failed a few hours later; had the wind been contrary; in fhort, had I not reached Paris at the moment I did reach it, I fhould
have miffed the moft fublime fpeâacle which, perhaps, was ever reprefented on the theatre of this earth.
I fhall fend you once a week the details which I promised when we parted, though I am well aware how very imperfectly I fhall be able to defcribe the images which prefs upon my mind. It is much easier to feel what is fublime, than to paint it; and all I fhall be able to give you will be a faint sketch, to which your own imagination must add colouring and spirit. The night before the Federation, by way of prelude to the folemnities of that memorable day, the Te Deum was performed at the church of Notre Dame, by a greater number of muficians than have ever been affembled together, excepting at Westminster Abbey. The Overture which preceded the Te Deum was fimple and majeftic; the mufic, highly expreffive, had the power of electrify
ing the hearers and near the conclufion of the piece, the compofer, by artful difcords, produced a melancholy emotion; and then, by exciting ideas of trouble and inquietude, prepared the mind for a recitative which affected the audience in a very powerful manner, by recalling the images of that confternation and horror which prevailed in Paris on the 13th of July, 1789, the day before that on which the Baftille was taken. The words were, as well as I can recollect, what follows:" People, your enemies advance, with hoftile fentiments, with menacing looks! They come to bathe their hands in your blood! Already they encompass the walls of your city! Rife, rife from the inaction in which you are plunged, seize your arms, and fly to the combat! God will combat with you!" These words were fucceeded by a chorus of inftruments and voices, deep and folemn, which
which feemed to chill the foul. But what completed the effect was, when the found of a loud and heavy bell mixed itself with this awful concert, in imitation of the alarm-bell, which, the day before the taking of the Bastille, was rung in every church and convent in Paris; and which, it is faid, produced a confufion of founds inexpreffibly horrible. At this moment the audience appeared to breathe with difficulty; every heart feemed frozen with terror: till at length the bell ceased, the mufic changed its tone, and another recitative announced the entire defeat of the enemy; and the whole terminated, after a flourish of drums and trumpets, with an hymn of thanksgiving to the Supreme Being.