Tuesday, June 7

an appeal

Having this occasion of troubling you with a letter, I cannot forbear to tell you the earnestness of my wishes, that, as you have made such steps towards it, already, you would let us owe to your inimitable genius, the establishment of musick, upon a foundation of good poetry; where the excellence of the sound should be no longer dishonour'd, by the poorness of the sense it is chain'd to.

My meaning is, that you would be resolute enough, to deliver us from our Italian bondage; and demonstrate, that English is soft enough for Opera, when compos'd by poets, who know how to distinguish the sweetness of our tongue, from the strength of it, where the last is necessary.

I am of the opinion, that male and female voices may be found in this kingdom, capable of every thing, that is requisite; and, I am sure, a species of dramatic Opera might be invented, that, by reconciling reason and dignity, with musick and fine machinery, would charm the ear, and hold fast the heart, together.

Such an improvement must, at once, be lasting, and profitable, to a very great degree; and would, infallibly, attract an universal regard, and encouragement.

-- Aaron Hill Letter to George Frideric Handel 5 December 1732