Collection No. 24: Ut Pictura Poesis!, by George Colman the Elder

Publication Details | Synopsis | Secondary Commentary |Varieties & Dialects | Other

Publication details

Author: Colman, George (the Elder)
Author dates: 1732-1794
Title: Ut Pictura Poesis!

First played: 1789
First published: 1789, for T. Cadell [etc.] 33 p.
C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1789)

Modern availability: Available from LION (1994)

Genre: Musical Entertainment

Character types: Italian

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The play satirizes the Italian opera craze and concludes with a tableau of "The Enraged Musician".

Castruccio sings with his daughter Castruccina and his pupil Picolina. He interrupts the girls with criticisms. Picolina sings a “Welsh madrigal” with words by Pope; Castruccio interrupts her with “Silence, Welsh goats!”.  The singing is interspersed with cannon-fire. A milk girl comes in with a letter for Castruccina from Young Quaver. A knife-grinder agrees to distract Castruccio so that Young Quaver and Castruccina can run off together. Young Quaver holds a light in Castruccio’s face; Castruccio's temporary blindness allows him to run off with Castruccina. Castruccio sees them leaving together, but a mob blocks him and sings loudly. The final tableau is a depiction of Hogarth’s The Enraged Musician.

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Secondary commentary

A) Baldwin, Olive, and Thelma Wilson. ‘Colman, George, the elder (bap. 1732, d. 1794)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 May 2008.

"Colman's final stage work, Ut pictura poesis!, an afterpiece based on Hogarth's The Enraged Musician, opened the 1789 season, but by then he was incapable of the proper management of the theatre or his own finances."

B) Sondergard, Sid. ‘George Colman, the Elder: April 15, 1732-August 14, 1794’. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists, Third Series. Edited by Paula R. Backscheider, University of Rochester. The Gale Group, 1989. LiteratureResourceCenter. 26 May 2008.

"His final dramatic piece, Ut Pictura Poesis! or, The Enraged Musician, ran for fifteen performances during the Haymarket's 1789 season, its short burlesque action culminating in a tableau vivant recreation of Hogarth's painting The Enraged Musician."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

Castruccio, the Italian singing-master, uses Italian vocabulary. The women make a small grammar error.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Women (Picolina and Castruccina)
a. Sample of dialect
[page 8]
Both Women.
I haste to obey you---and I,
   And I;
I haste to obey you---and I.  
b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar: “I haste” (vs “hasten”)
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: Italian emigrants in England
d. Character profiles: Pupils of Castruccio, the singing-master (also Castruccina's father)
e. Consistency of representation: only this instance

Variety: Castruccio (Italian musician)
a. Sample of dialect:
[page 5]

Ah ! Basta! Basta!---Bene Castruccina!
But Dibel take Signora Picolina!
All out of tune! my ear---you crack de drum;
Vish I was deaf---or vish dat you struck dumb.
But let us try once more! Da Capo! come!

b.1 Orthography: “Dibel” (Devil); “de”; “Vish”; “dat”
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: “Da Capo!”; “Basta!”; “Bene Castruccina!”
c. Nationality: Italy
d. Character profile: Italian music-master
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects


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Other points of interest

Unfavourable comparison of British to Italian music:

[page 5]

Come, now begin your Air that seldom fails!
So let us hear your Madrigal from Wales.

[page 6 ]

Picolina sings.

(The Words by Pope .)

"Flutt'ring spread thy purple pinions,
   "Gentle Cupid, o'er my heart!
"I a slave to Love's dominions,
   "Nature must give way to Art."

Recitativo--- Castruccio.

Silence, Welch Goats! and Peace, Extravaganza !
Come, Castruccina---Taste and Eleganza !

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©2008 Arden Hegele