Where the Great Highland Bagpipe developed in Scotland and became what we all think of today when we hear the word. Some believe that the bagpipes found their way here as early as the settling of the Romans in the British Isles. The first mention of a bagpipe in Scotland is in from the Battle at Bannockburn where the Menzies claim to hold the remnants, but the instrument does not appear in written lore until years later. Bagpipes found strong footing in Scotland in the s when varying types began to appear. Our last stop before we reached Edinburgh was Moffat.
Here you can find the shortest street in Scotland shorter than a van and the narrowest hotel in Scotland.
We pretty much used it for a rest stop. This version may not be entirely accurate but it was the way we were told and it made a good story. I also did a lot of fact checking for all of the stories so they run more towards how events actually transpired. The gruesome death of William Wallace was supposed to stop the uprising Scots, but it had the opposite effect. There was a problem within Scotland though; there was no king to unite the clans.
They were just one step from kingship and both had equal claim to the throne. And they both wanted the title. Infighting began among the clans and the English took advantage. As these two men plotted, Bruce intercepts a letter meant for John Comyn and he demands a meeting on the borders. They meet in a church and bring their best knights, one being the Black Douglas, the greatest warrior in Scotland.
Bruce lays out a deal to Comyn; he will offer Comyn his lands and titles if John Comyn kneels before him and claims Bruce his king. There is not much for Comyn to ponder over for his pride is too great for him to ever bend on knee before a lowlander like the Bruce. Comyn pulls out a knife and attempts to kill Bruce in the House of God.
A fight to the death and for the kingship ensues. The racket they cause sends the priest rushing out to see what the commotion is, and he is infuriated with the sight before him and damns the fighting lords. The priest is shocked and stares at Bruce with condemning eyes and tells him that for murdering a man in the House of God he will receive a fate worse than death; he will be banned from the gates of Heaven, excommunication.
The severity of his deeds weigh mightily on the Bruce, with this he cannot be king. Another battle commences and only two still stand, the Black Douglas and Bruce. So at the Stone of Destiny, John the Black Douglas, crowns his king; but he is only a knight and the crowning was not official. For six weeks the Bruce is king, then a letter from the Pope is spread and nailed in every town and parish, condemning the Bruce and all who follow him.
A civil war begins. Through this civil war the Black Douglas teaches Bruce how to be a warrior, leader, and great king. When the civil war ends, the Bruce has united the Scots behind him to exterminate the English from their land. He has become a king of legend and his knight, the Black Douglas stands loyally behind him. For years they fight, taking back their homeland when all that is left is Sterling. For six months neither side is able to advance, they are in stalemate.
The battle will be decided by who holds Sterling, and the victor takes all. This meant that if the Scots won the English would all be sent back across the border, every soldier all over the country would have to leave; but if the English won they would have control of Scotland and the rebellion would be at an end. He will torch the land the English march on so that the army will have no food, and he will poison all the wells so that they will have no water, and he will raise fortresses to the ground so they will have no place for defense. An English military war machine of 2, horses and 25, infantry, the largest force to ever invade Scotland, had arrived at Bannockburn; while the Scots numbered 6, The English might have been tired and haggard, but their forces were overwhelming.
The Bruce had another plan. He had chosen Bannockburn for the natural obstacles surrounding it. He planned for a defensive encounter, the ground was soft and boggy and hidden pits were dug to break up cavalry charges. The battle opened with an individual contest. Sighting a group of Scots in the wood, the English charged. If Bohun killed or captured Bruce he would be a celebrated hero, songs would be sung of him and his chivalry, he would have glory.
Spurring his warhorse he charged for the King of Scots. He lowered his lance as he bore down, but Bruce saw him. The king was now an experienced warrior and met the charge. An abbot walked among the mass of Scots and blessed them as they knelt in prayer. The Scots would either win or die, they asked mercy only from God, for they would not flee nor fear death.
The battle began again with a hail of arrows. The English found themselves hemmed in, and in the center of the filed a ferocious hand to hand combat between knights and spearmen hung in the balance. The Bruce joined the melee with his own warriors and the English were driven back. Edward II fled the battle field and was pursued by the Black Douglas, until he made it safely to his ship. The Scots had won! This battle was a turning point in the Wars of Independence that would last another 14 years. Robert the Bruce and King Edward II both vied for the support of the Pope, but with the death of Comyn the Pope had turned his back on Bruce, his lieutenants, bishops, and all who followed him.
Two years after the Battle of Bannockburn on April 6, Robert Bruce sent the Pope one of the most important letters in history, the Declaration of Arbroath. The excommunications were suspended but later confirmed, but this letter would shape nations, even the Declaration of Independence. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honors that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
In Edward II was murdered in captivity. The English made peace with the Scottish and renounced their claim, Bruce had won. In old age, the Bruce had fulfilled his mission, and he was dying. He called on his most loyal knight, James the Black Douglas, and made one last request. Robert tasked the Black Douglas with cutting out his heart and leading troops along with his heart into the Holy Wars, so that all of his sins would be forgiven.
Two days later Robert the Bruce died and the Black Douglas does as was asked of him. The Black Douglas was older than Bruce, but he is like Achilles, the mightiest of all warriors, stronger than twenty men, a man who even death feared. With a handful of troops he set off to Spain to fight the Moors with the heart of Robert the Bruce in a silver casket around his neck. The knights they were with marveled at the famous Black Douglas for his face was unscarred from battle unlike theirs.
At Teba they fought. The Moors feigned retreat pulling the Scots away from the Castilians, but when Douglas looked back he saw that his friend Sir William St Clair was surrounded. Muhammed IV and the Moors were so moved with the incredible determination and bravery of the Scots and Black Douglas when faced certain defeat that they sent their bodies and bones back to King Alfonso with a guard of honor. The struggle for freedom that William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and James the Black Douglas fought shaped Scotland into a proud nation that would not allow itself to be repressed.
And they were free.
Helpful Hint: One of the greatest parts of studying abroad is that you learn so many new things about the culture, history, and people of the country you are visiting. I found it helpful to keep a journal to record notes and impressions I had on my adventures abroad. This is the best souvenir that I will bring home. We spent the entire morning in Lincoln and left at noon for Cambridge. Today was less exciting than the previous days with fewer stops and longer road time, but the places were no less interesting. The two main points of interest in Lincoln are the cathedral and castle.
They sit opposite each other and are only a couple minutes walk apart. Like many castles which are made as defense points, the Lincoln castle is on top of a large hill Castle Hill and it is a steep walk from High Street to the gates. Visitors can go in the castle promptly at 10, not a second earlier. You will know when its time by the ringing of the bells in the cathedral. Lincoln has over years of history and has its origins as Roman town.
Before the castle was a Roman fortress built in AD When the army moved on in AD 78 the fortress officially got the status as a Roman town and was named Lindum Colonia. Lincoln gets its name from the Romans and on top of the fortress a medieval castle was built by William the Conqueror. The castle was the residence of the constable who was responsible for the defense and maintenance of the castle.
The sheriff stayed within the walls when collecting taxes and when presiding over shire court, and a small force of soldiers and servants were permanently in residence. The castle at Lincoln has some brutal history. It was a site of uprisings, battles, hangings, persecutions, and in Victorian times a prison. This area would force the invaders into a close and tight space making it harder for them to attack and ram their way through the doors.
It also made it easier for the soldiers defending to take down their forces from the high walls above. Only a small section still stands and walking through one of the three arches leads you to the front entrance of the cathedral. In William the Conqueror ordered the first cathedral to be built in Lincoln. King Henry II approved of St. Hugh of. Avalon as Bishop of Lincoln in , and St.
Hugh began a major rebuilding project of the cathedral in a gothic style. The cathedral we see today was finished in The central tower rises to feet and is the tallest cathedral tower in Europe without a spire. The tower originally had a wooden spire that rose feet, but collapsed in in bad weather. The cathedral was the first building to ever reach a height greater than the Great Pyramid of Giza and was once the tallest structure in the world before skyscrapers and held the title for two centuries then the spire collapsed.
The inside is just as magnificent as the exterior and with your ticket you can join a free tour of the cathedral. This includes the library and chapter house. The workers at both the castle and cathedral are incredibly helpful and nice. They will answer any questions you have and make sure you have an enjoyable experience. The last stop of the tour was at one of the oldest universities in the world, Cambridge. I then walked through the market, around the main buildings, and along the Backs.
Many people were out and enjoying gondola rides on the River Cam. The weather was warm and sunny and people were out in troves. I ended up on a bench outside St.
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Johns College and was able to enjoy a picturesque view. That was it. The tour through the heart of England was over and I was back in London for the night. April 9, my 11 th day of Spring Break would be spent on a train going back to Edinburgh where my adventures would carry on from there. Helpful Hint: Besides essentials like ID, money, and my phone probably the most important item I carry with me when traveling is my water bottle. You can easily get dehydrated when traveling so drinking water is important and you can save a lot by not buying bottled drinks everywhere you go.
Day 4 Today was purely a travel day between Bath and London. I spent my time on the train reading a new book and when I got to London I checked into the hostel, which was in a great location by Victoria Station and Buckingham Palace, and then went to get dinner. It was not an exciting day by any means, just one of those in-between days where you move between cities. Day 5 My travels abroad have taken me too many places and that includes London this would bemy fourth time visiting the city , so this time around my goal was to spend as little as possible. James Park and Buckingham Palace.
I have always loved the parks in London. And it was the perfect time to see them because all the flowers mainly daffodils were in bloom and the wildlife was out and about. People were enjoying the day feeding birds some got parakeets to eat right from their hands , running a marathon, rowing boats along the Serpentine, and basking in the wonderful spring weather. Day 6 Today was my last full day in London because tomorrow I am going on another tour that will last four days and then I go back to Edinburgh. So today did something that I have never gotten to do before in London, the British Museum.
Admission to the Museum is free which is great the problem is that I am a sucker for gift shops and I will be coming back to Edinburgh with more books than I need and an even longer list than I had before of books that I want. I love learning about history, cultures, and the world. And I would rank the British Museum as one of my top three that I have been to. Besides show casing wonderful collections that span the globe and having free admission, the museum is easy to navigate and you are able to see every room with a full day visit.
In comparison, the Louvre, while a fantastic museum, made me feel frenzied and stressed. It was too big with too many areas to explore. Some displays that I really enjoyed at the British Museum were the Enlightenment room, the Lycian exhibit and tomb, the first library, Babylon, ancient Britain, the Lindow Man, the Rosetta Stone, and parts of the Parthenon.
There were many exhibits on great ancient civilizations, and I would love to go back again to get another look at them. Helpful Hint: When traveling to any city walking is the best way to see the sites just seeing them is free and is wallet friendly too, but it tends to build up an appetite. So if you are looking to save go to a grocery store where they may have a meal deal or pick up a loaf of bread and some fruit, meat, or cheese.
It is filling and is the most economical way to eat. Usually when I write my blogs I take readers through a timeline of my day. I give my schedule more depth with add ins of history, my thoughts, and interesting tidbits. This format is easy and keeps my thoughts organized and makes reading easy to follow, but this time around I have decided to try something new. I will work backwards and tell a story of the places I saw, but first some background to set the scene.
They have nothing to do with the fabulously famous film franchise. The day tour leaves from the Abbey Hotel in Bath at am and returns at approximately pm. My tour was incredibly interesting and I highly recommend it, so thanks Kevin for being an awesome tour guide. Stop 4: Castle Combe Many, many years ago there was once a castle on top of a hill surrounded by a dense forest. As time passed the castle fell to ruin and disappeared.
What stones were left of the old castle were given a new life as part of a stately manor nestled besides a peaceful and cozy village. The village came to be known as Castle Combe. A weary traveler taking their first steps on the streets of Castle Combe may think that they have been transported back hundreds of years.
An imposing Saxon church, with a still working 15 th century clock, stands proudly at the center of the village. The 14 th century Market Cross fills the central square and faces the old court house. It is a village stuck in time. In Castle Combe nothing has changed since the 17 th century.
It is a beautifully preserved English village, and is known for being the most beautiful village in England. This traditional Cotswolds village was once tied up in the woolen industry like the other villages and towns in the Cotswolds. And the village prospered. The soil was fertile, the river flowed, and the sheep aka the Cotswold Lions were abundant. Then one day the river dried. Economic disaster struck the village. With no river and quick transport the villagers shortly abandoned their homes, and the abandoned Castle Combe was left, preserved in its 17 th century status.
Stop 3: Lacock Village Lacock was a small, overlooked town. Sleepy townspeople walked the streets and peaceful went about their mundane lives until a great Countess decided to intervene. Ela was an extremely influential woman. She had inherited her title and lands upon the death of her father and she was married to William Longespee, the illegitimate son of Henry II. The Abbey was built upon the death of her husband, and William was the first to be buried in the Salisbury Cathedral.
Lacock was on the rise. Important people had taken interest in the town and traders would stop here when traveling between Bath and London. The King even had a hunting lodge there. But as has happened to many a noble family there were no male heirs left to inherit all the lands and holdings, so the Abbey reverted back to the kingdom. He later passed the Acts of Supremacy and he was looking for ways to cement his power in England over the Pope.
The monasteries in England were overtaken and dissolved, but the Abbey in the small village of Lacock was overlooked for its small significance. Henry sold the Abbey to Sir William Sharington with the stipulation that the chapel was to be destroyed. Lacock stayed a booming woolen village until the fall of the woolen industry.
In a town with just 4 streets there were three poor houses, the largest housing people. Stop 2: Avebury Thousands of years ago wanderers reached the shores and settled in Britain. Their beliefs and rituals are covered in mystery. For reasons unknown to man today these Prehistoric people created a 1 mile circumference of a hundred stones and a surrounding ditch and hill reaching 9 meters high. Avebury Henge and the stone circles were built and altered during the Neolithic period BC BC making it into the largest stone circle in Britain.
No one can really say what these stones were used for. In excavations nothing was earthed up to give any understanding. What were found at the site were antlers and cow shoulder bones. Archeologists believe that these were used as tools to dig the deep ditch. The impression that this landscape leaves is that the circle was shaped for rituals.
These changing rituals led to new mysterious monuments and are the most likely reason for their abandonment of the henge around BC. By the time the Middle Ages the reason and purpose for the Great Henge and like monuments had vanished into the mists of time. These sites were seen as places for pagan and devil worship, and the good Christians attempted to destroy the stones and like monuments at Avebury.
Today the henge survives as huge circular bank and ditch, surrounding part of Avebury village with a number of original stones remaining. Stop 1: Stonehenge Six thousand years ago the first settlers of Southern Britain arrived to a wild land. Overtime these hunters and gathers evolved, keeping domestic animals and farming, changing the landscape around them. The dense forest began disappear and give way to tame rolling hills. A thousand years passed and the beginnings of Stonehenge started to appear. The first stone structure, and second stage of building, was a circle of small blue stones.
Huge stones weighing more than 60 tons and the tallest rising 6. The stones were beaten and shaped with stone hammers, and placed around the circle of blue stones. Many myths surround Stonehenge, the most popular being that the Druids created it. The Druids in fact came long after the founders of Stonehenge were gone and all but forgotten. What is known is that Stonehenge has no practical purpose and cannot be used for defense. But the farmers who built it would have had significant fear of harsh and dark winters.
But Stonehenge was also a place of the burial for the dead. One theory is that the tall stones represent long dead ancestors. This also led to another myth about the Druids. There is one stone that lays flat on the ground and was given the name of the Sacrifice Stone because that is where archeologists thought Druids would make their pagan scarifies to the gods. Trying to understand Stonehenge is like trying to explain Christianity from the remains of a ruined cathedral.
Too much is left unknown and too much is left up to speculation. There is so much more to learn about Stonehenge and other historic sites like it, and if you are interested there are many great books and a plethora of information on the net not all of it accurate of course for you to look up. There once lived a maid who courted two gents, but she told neither of the other. Then one day they discovered her trick and decided to duel each other.
They dueled at dawn, and pistols were drawn, One was shortly shot dead, while the later lived on. But he was shortly done in by the black dog who saw him as the vicious murderer of his owner. When she hears tell, she will gasp and yell, and then she will off herself in dolor.
Instead pay the fee and get in early so you can have an unobstructed view of the monument. Also make sure to have cash because in small villages many places will not have card machines. I began my second day with the free breakfast at that the youth hostel offers and over breakfast I had a nice conversation about a baby ape with an engineering professor from Chester; which goes to show that hostels are great places to meet and talk with fellow travelers. Once done with breakfast I set out. The walk, without stopping, takes about an hour.
Of course I got off track and took longer. The tour began with the Abbey Churchyard, located at the heart of historical Bath. This medieval Abbey, built by King Alfred and the Saxons, has been a place of worship for over a thousand years. And right next or left next to it is the world famous Roman Baths. Not much is left from the Roman times in Bath because when King Alfred and the Saxons took over they ended up building over the Roman foundations. As a fun side note: many think that the Romans founded Bath, but there is an ancient British myth about King Bladud as the founder.
The source of the original legend is obscure. While at court the Prince contracted the dreaded Leprosy, and was banished and disowned by his father. Before he made his way out of the kingdom his mother took him aside and gave him a golden ring. This was to be the key to his return if he could ever cure himself of the disease.
Everywhere the Prince went he was shunned, he meeked a living as a swineherd until some of the herd also caught the disease. To hide this from his employer, he fled across the river Avon at a place now called Swineford , and into the land where the city of Bath now stands.
He wandered the area until one day one of the pigs seemed to go crazy and rushed headlong into a black bog in the marshy ground. Bladud struggled to pull the pig from the bog and became covered in the foul smelling mud. When he had finally freed himself and the pig, he found that the pigs skin lesions had disappeared, and where the mud had touched his bare skin he was also cured.
He immersed himself fully in the warm mud and became fully cured of the disease. Finally Bladud returned to Court, where he was welcomed with open arms by his mother, who recognized the ring she had given him so many years before. Fortunately, his operatic talents were discovered, and the acceptation of his MS opera by Mr. Bunn has given a proper direction to them.
It is a curious coincidence that both Balfe and Wallace have led Dublin orchestras, have travelled much, and their first operas were produced by the Drury Lane Lessee, Mr. Fitzball, in both instances, writing their libretti. We understand that such is Mr. Wallace's intense application, he has studied all the irutruments of the orchestra, to make himself master of their qualities. We learn from persons who have been able to appreciate the character of the composer, that he is a modest, retired man, but animated and intelligent when excited to talk over his romantic career.
His enthusiasm for art is stated to be unbounded. If not ruined by awaking one morning here and finding himself famous, he has a glorious prospect before him, and, as a native musician, we are proud to publish his portrait to the world. The career of the composer of Maritana has been certainly most curious. As a child, his first essay music was as a pianist; a mere youth. He is next seen leading a Dublin orchestra.
In manhood, traversing the old and new worlds, he appears alternately as a pianist and violinist; he comes upon the track of the first players, and he maintains his position. The spring of finds him a pianist in the fashionable concerts of London - the autumn leaves have scarely fallen when he jumps at once into notoriety and fame as a composer; and now, only last night, even in the meridian of Greenwich, did we hear him display marvellous skill and passionate expression as a violinist.
But his wandering course is not completed - he is leaving shortly for Italy to produce an opera prior to the ensuing musical campaign this metropolis. Here is an extraordinary versatility of talent, and if there be not genius in such unprecedented qualifications, then must its attributes be of a strange kind. The musician who, almost self-taught, struggles with great difficulties, and finally achieves glory every undertaking, can be no ordinary artist; musical faculties must be to him intuitive. Wallace is a Proteus, to whom all forms appear to be familiar; it is recorded of him that dissatisfied once with a clarionet-player, during a rehearsal, he seized the instrument, and played the wished-for passage himself.
We do not know the intentions of this versatile composer, but having heard him as a pianist and as a violinist, we hope that he will devote his practice to the emperor of all instruments. On the pianoforte he displays a certain order of capability, but he is not great; this is our opinion - it may not be shared by Mr. Wallace, or by his enthusiastic admirers, but before the production of Maritana , we know that we did not stand alone; but, as performer on the violin, it depends entirely on himself whether he will take the first position. He has all the intellectual and physical requisites to constitute superior executant.
His hand and fingers seem to have been formed for the violin - in shape they are nearest to the remarkable digits of Paganini, of any violinist we recollect. But Mr. Wallace has a greater gift; he possesses exquisite sensibility and truth of expression. Two pieces did he execute in last night's programme - an introduction and a theme - with variations composed by himself; and, with the gifted pianist, Benedict, the concertante duet, on subjects from Rossini's William Tell, arranged by De Beriot and Osborne.
The introduction in the first piece was elegant, and the theme happy; reminding one of Mayseder's style. The variations were contrived to develope Mr. Wallace's mechanism. There was no unmeaning daub in the colouring it was brilliant but not extravagant. In level playing his tone is magnificent; nothing can be more delicious than his legato, and his general intonation is admirable; his mastery over the bow is complete, but in the double stopping, chromatic passages, and harmonies he was not so certain arising, probably, from being out of practice, and perhaps more from the temperature of the lecture-hall in which the concert was given in the presence of upwards of 1, persons.
He was much cheered at the conclusion of his own composition; but, whilst we felt the presence of a great violinist, we involuntarily exclaimed "He can do greater things! Emancipated from mere tricks and conventionalities, the mind of the musician predominated, and the poetry of his art was revealed succession of expressive phrases that moved his auditory beyond measure.
Who that has once heard the outpourings of grief of Arnold in the celebrated trio from William Tell , can forget the emotions excited by musical sounds describing a son's sorrows for his father's loss? Who that has heard Duprez pour forth this Rossinian outbreak, can obliterate from memory his agonising tones?
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Here was the triumph of the soloist, the victory of mind over matter; and the conviction that Wallace is a grand violinist was manifested beyond a doubt. The hall rang with plaudits at the conclusion of this duet, of which Benedict sustained his portion with tact, taste, and energy.
Expression is Mr. Wallace's forte - great, undoubtedly, as are his executive powers. The vocal attractions of these subscription concerts were highly gratifying. Mademoiselle Schloss gave Weber's scena from Freischutz with great effect. Madame F. Lablache sang Wallace's ballad, Scenes that are brightest," and Benedict's "By the sad sea waves," with that artistic feeling she so eminently displays her vocalization. Signor F. Lablache monopolised the encores in "Miei rampolli," substituting "Largo al factotum," Rossini's Tarantelle, and the "Senza tanti complimenti" of Donizetti with his cara sposa.
Wetherbee sang "Hear me, gentle Maritana," effectively. He has a fine voice, and is promising basso. Carte and his pupil Mr. Rockstro deiighted the flutists with specimens on the Boehm invention, totally unmindful of Cherubini's anathema, who declared that nothing could be more tiresome than a flute solo - except a flute duo. This Greenwich concert was certainly creditable every respect. Who could have imagined, ten years since, that such scheme, with such artists, could have been insured, and that upward of 1, amateurs would have full of enthusiasm, and exhibiting marked intelligence in the appreciation of the music thus set before them?
Morning Chronicle of Thursday. This remarkable man is occupying so large a share of public attention at the present time, that partly from a desire to keep pace with the times, and mostly to gratify our admiration of his genins, we feel constrained to say a few words about him. It is difficult to state when Art begins in one whom God has gifted with genins; its principles unrecognized, are present when consciousness begins to dawn upon the in fant mind, and everything within and without tends at first indirectly to develope the innate susceptibility to impressions of the beautiful, from which all true music springs.
It is certain that where such genins exists, its very earliest years are susceptible to the most rapturous sensations from musical sounds. It may be that the gifted one is unable to combine the musical ideas it dwells so dotingly upon; it may be also, that it cannot analyze the emotions that shake the young heart with a fullness of delight; but the soul recognizes the harmony which is a principle of ite existence - an essence of its being, and the mystic spring is unsealed from whence in after years shall flow the streams of melody that will immortalize a name, and make posterity its debtor.
Very few have achieved so responsible a post, at so early a period of life. But Wallace, independent of his fine genins, had many early advantages. His father was the master of a military band, and an excellent practical musician, playing nearly every instrument in the orchestra. So Wallace at fifteen, though a young leader, was an old musician. His position in Dublin, brought him in contact with all the musical celebrities of that day, and we have no doubt that his musical purposes were much strengthened by the kind encouragement and judicious commendation of Paganini, Catalini, and others.
For three years he occupied a high musical position in Dublin, and had the honor of directing the first performance of Beethoven's "Mount of Olives," in Ireland. At the age of eighteen his strength seemed to sink under the pressure of his many studies and pressing engagements. Along sea voyage was recommended for the establishment of his health; so he packed up his fiddle, what else we do not know, and sailed for Sidney, far away in the South Seas.
For a long period after his arrival in Sidney, he led an active life; his fiddle remained unpacked, and he literally plunged into the bush. But for one characteristic circumstance the world might never have known Wallace, the composer; and he might now be counting his sheep and telling the hoards of wealth they produce - or perhaps digging up heaps of gold at Bathurst. During one of his brief visits to the town of Sidney, he was invited by some friends to attend a musical party. He went, little dreaming how that evening was to influence his destiny for ever, and to add another name to the bright list of musical celebrities.
All the music slumbering at his heart seemed to spring at once into vivid life, and he became possessed with the great musical desire. Much to the surprise of his host, he played first fiddle to the next quartette, and so they played on till morning. The fame of his playing spread through the town like wildfire, and reached the ears of the Governor, Sir John Burke, who persuaded Wallace to give a concert After much persuasion, he consented.
His success was great, and Sir John Burke, as a mark of his delight, sent him two hundred sheep, which was in that country a princely gift. After giving several concerts, a restless desire to travel seized upon him, and to use a nautical phrase, he became a "roving blade," he wandered,he and his fiddle, into "strange countries. In New Zealand he met with many hairbreadth escapes, which we have not space to enumerate.
From New Zealand he journeyed to the East Indies. With that unconsciousness, or recklessness of danger which was his characteristic in those days, he penetrated far into the interior, and encountered "incidents" of travel from winch nothing but a remarkable coolness and presence of mind could have delivered him. After seeing all he deemed worthy, tiger hunting included, he longed for change of scene, and so started from Madras, after half a day's thought, for Valparaiso, in South America.
Vincent Wallace naquit en Irlande. William Vincent Wallace was born in Ireland. He was at first a distinguished violinist, and as such, had great success in the English colonies of India and Australia. He afterward gave up the violin to devote himself to the teaching of the piano, of which he was a perfect master, and to musical composition. He is a worthy but eccentric man, phlegmatic as an Englishman in external appearance, but beneath, rash and vehement as an American. We have passed a part of many nights together, at London, around a bowl of punch, employed, he in relating his odd adventnres, and I in listening to them eagerly.
He has eloped with women, he has fought several duels, unfortunately for his adversaries, he has been a savage - yes a savage, or nearly so, for six months. He gave me once, with his habitual phlegm, the history of this strange episode of his life. I was at Sydney Wallace says I was at Sydney, or I am going to Calcutta; as we say in Paris, I am going to Versailles, or, I have just returned from Rouen; I was at Sydney, in Australia, when a capain of an English frigate, of my acquaintance, whom I met one day upon the wharf, proposed to me, between two cigars, to accomyany him to New Zeaand.
Come with me, it is only five or six hundred leagues - the expedition will be amusing. When do we set out? Requiscat in Pace. From the Musical World , October DEATH has been busy for the last year among the children of genius, as well as among the great ones of the earth.
Of the many who have fallen, the loss of no one inflicts a greater pang upon the heart of those who recognise his wonderful genius, as well as lauded him for his virtues, than that of whom we have the melancholy duty this day to record the death, William Vincent Wallace, the composer, leaving a widow and family to bewail an irreparable loss. Wallace, apart from his professional acquirements, was a most exemplary man.
Quick in the perception of character, and an excellent linguist, he was also well stored with information from travelling, and reading German, Italian, French, and English literature; brilliant in conversational powers; a most affectionate parent and warm-hearted hospitable friend; and, take him all in all, we shall rarely find his equal. The intelligence received from the South of France of the death ol' William V. Wallace, though expected from his lengthened illness, spread universal grief and commiseration throughout the musical community of the metropolis.
It is on recovering from a blow like the present, when we are enabled to contemplate the void which Wallace leaves in his art, that we truly appreciate his position and influence. The hand of death is an unerring index to service and desert. It is difficult to state when art begins in one whom God has gifted with genius; its principles, unrecognised, are present when consciousness begins to dawn upon the infant mind, and everything within and without tends, at first indirectly, to develop the innate susceptibility to impressions of the beautiful, from which all true music springs, lt is certain where true genius exists, its very earliest years are susceptible to the most rapturous sensations from musical sounds.
It may be that the gifted one is unable to combine the musical ideas it dwells so doatingly upon; it may be also that it cannot analyse the motions which shake the young heart with a fullness of delight; but the soul recognises the harmony, which is a principle of its existence-an essence of its being, and the mystic spring is unsealed from whence in after years shall flow the streams of melody that will immortalise a name, and make posterity its debtor. William Vincent Wallace was born in Ireland, in the city of Waterford.
His father, Mr. William Wallace, was band master of the 29th regiment of the line, and was a most excellent and practical musician, playing nearly every instrument in the band, besides stringed instruments, and the pianoforte. The young Wallace displayed a wonderful aptitude to excel his father in all these accomplishments, and was highly encouraged and patronised by the colonel of the 29th, the late Sir John Buchan, who ever remained a steadfast friend to Wallace in his early career. At the age of fifteen he could handle, with considerable mastery, nearly every instrument in the orchestra, and could play with extraordinary excellence the piano-forte, the violin, the clarionet, and the guitar.
Nor was this a display of mere mechanical facility. Before the period at which we have commenced his history-at this period, when only fifteen, though a young leader, yet an old musician, he was appointed organist of Thurles Cathedral, where he only remained a short period, when he returned to Dublin, where his position as leader of the theatre and concerts brought him in contact with all the musical celebrities of that day, and where his musical purposes were much strengthened by the kind encouragement and judicious commendations of Ferdinand Ries, Paganini, and others.
For three years he occupied a high musical position in Dublin, and had the honour of directing the first performance of Beethoven's "Mount of Olives" in Ireland. He made up his mind to emigrate to New South Wales. For a long period after his arrival in that country, he literally plunged into the bush. But for one characteristic circumstance the world might never have known Wallace as a composer; but as a sheep farmer telling the hoards of wealth they produce, or, perhaps, as a digger of gold at Bathurst.
During one of his brief visits to Sydney, from the banks of the Darling, where he resided, he was, invited by some friends to attend a musical party. When he entered the room he saw four gentlemen seated round a table working away, with greater will than power, at a quartet by Haydn. All the music slumbering at his heart seemed to spring at once into vivid life, and he became possessed with the great musical desire; Much to the gratification of the party he played the first violin to the next quartet, and so they played on till morning.
The fame of his performance spread through Sydney like wildfire, and, reaching the ears of the Governor, Sir Richard Bourke, of Limerick, he persuaded Wallace to give a concert, to which he consented. His success was great, and Sir Richard, as a mark of his delight, sent him two hundred sheep, which was in that country, and at that time, a princely gift.
After giving several concerts in conjunction with his sister, a vocalist, Madame Bushelle, and conducting several musical performances, a restless desire to travel seized upon him, and, to use an Irish phrase, he became a "roving blade," and wandered, he and his fiddle, into " strange countries. He went on a whaling voyage in a vessel called the "Good Intent," with a crew of half natives, who turned on the European portion at night, murdering all but three, Wallace being one of the number saved.
He was landed at the South Island, and again saved from death by the chief's daughter, after it being arranged he was to be dispatched. With that unconsciousness, or recklessness of danger which was his characteristic in those days, he penetrated far into the interior, visiting the Court of Oude, everywhere delighting by his performance.
The late queen behaved most munificently to him, granting him presents of great value in the shape of rupees and diamond rings, and-in those countries he encountered incidents of travel from which nothing but a remarkable coolness and presence of mind could have delivered him. After seeing all he deemed worthy, pig sticking and tiger hunting included, in Nepaul and on the borders of Cashmere, he reached Calcutt, and after a half a day's thought sailed for Valparaiso, in South America, From thence he went to the city of Santiago, where with the writer of this notice he crossed the majestic cordilleras of the Andes to Buenos Ayres, on horse-back and mule, where their stay on account of the blockade was but brief.
They returned in company to Santiago, where he gave several concerts, performing solos on the violin and an old harpsichord that came from Spain in the year His last concert a Santiago produced him the sum of dollars paid a the doors in all sorts of specie, and amongst other coin given, the writer recollects two gauchos not having any specie, giving two game cocks for admission which they prized highly, so great was the enthusiasm to hear the great musician.
He was assisted by Senora Paquita Robles, a native vocalist, and a young Scotchman who sang "Scotch melodies to the delight of-the Chiliens. He here displayed a remarkable evidence of his enthusiasm for art. He had given a pledge to play at a concert on a certain day in Valparaiso, for the benefit of a charity, but some circumstance drove the promise from his memory. Being reminded by his friend, the writer of this, of the fact when it was apparently impossible for him to reach Valparaiso in time, Wallace resolved to ride on horseback the whole of the distance, one hundred and twenty-five miles, to keep faith; and he performed this equestrian feat, with change ef horses, in less than eleven hours, and was in time for the concert.
From Chili he went to Peru, and gave a concert at Lima, which produced the large sum of dollars. His success in these cities was very great, and there can be but little doubt that he realised a vast sum of money, more especially in Mexico, where he composed his Grand Mass, which we hope to see published one of these days, for an anniversary fete. It was performed at the Cathedral with immense success several times, and for which he was munificently rewarded by the Government. He went next to New Orleans, where his triumph was more gratifying than any he had yet achieved, for it was wrung from a highly critical and most exacting audience.
So great was the enthusiasm excited at the St. Charles Theatre by the performance of his solo one of his own compositions on the violin, that the musicians in the orchestra forgot to play, and laid down their instruments to join in the tumult of applause. Foremost amongst the leaders was his old Dublin friend, Mr. Jack Fallon, the well-known leader in Dublin many years back, who held a distinguished position in the St. Charles orchestra at that time. From New Orleans he journeyed through the Southern States, and his concerts were literally a succession of triumphs.
We remember as well as though it were yesterday, in the year , and it is now nearly twenty-one years ago, being one of a party invited to Colonel James L. He was then a slim, gentlemanly-looking man, carefully and elegantly dressed. There was high intelligence in his face, but it seemed to lack fire; there was langour in his air, which made us think that the luxurious indolence of the South had become as it were a part of his nature.
He seemed dreaming, and the wild romance of his life, which spread abroad, linked half- a-dozen heart-rending love tales with the name of our melancholy musician. He played the piano-his famous Cracovienne was the first piece-and it was generally acknowledged that he was the greatest pianist that had then visited America. But when he took his violin in hand and exhibited such extraordinary mastery over the instrument and such impassionate sentiment, we were one and all carried away with mingled feelings of astonishment and delight.
His success in the United States, which fellowed this well-remembered evening, is familiar to all, and we need not reiterate it. He was looked upon by all as a gifted, wonderful, and eccentric genius, and as a musician of high attainments. His compositions for the instruments which he played were acknowledged as full of originality and power, but no one, we are sure, ever dreamed that William Vincent Wallace would in a few years take his stand amongst the greatest mental musicians of his age; that he would quench,the inspiration of the great executant and stand forth as a creator of enduring works; that he would rise from the chrysalis of a player to the full-grown stature of a musician - a creator - a composer!
But Wallace had dreamed his dream, and came to London full of high aspirations, and prepared to work in that great mill where there were many workers, and some of whom had won the world's good favour. It was a bold push for fortune, for though his nome was well-known, there were many who had the start of him by many years, and there, was no place for hint. He had to make, a place for himself; and so he went to work. As a pianist he took a good position at once; but there were many good pianists-some of them the rage-and piano-forte compositions were a drug in the market.
We have often heard Wallace tell how on his first arrival in London, he left some of his compositions with a celebrated publisher in London, and how, on his second visit; they were politely handed back to him. How he on his return home, somewhat discomfited but with an inward consciousness of future greatness, marked on the margin of said pieces,-" refused by-, on such a date," and how after the triumphant success of Maritana, the said publisher came to hi lodgings and paid him twenty guineas for one of the very pieces he had formerly refused, even as a gift; and now they had a hearty laugh at the turn of fortune's wheel.
Of Wallace's ability on his arrival in London from New York in , no one entertained a doubt, but few had sounded the depth of his capacity. The late Frederick Beale heard that Wallace was writing an opera and visited him just as he had completed the first act.
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Beale was himself a good musician and an excellent judge, saw at once that it had sterling merit, made a most liberal arrangement on the spot, and walked off with the score of th first act under his arm. Maritana was produced, and met with success altogether unprecedented, and far, very far, beyond the most sanguine hopes of the composer. It ran close on one hundred nights, and was acknowledged as one of the most successful and meritorious first operas ever produced. His second opera, produced in the season of , Matilda of Hungary, though wedded to a libretto of Bunn's sufficiently heavy and stupid and disgusting to damn the finest music, met with distinguished success and favour, and called forth admiring comments from the best musical writers in England.
From the first to the second opera, there was a wondeful mental stride; all evidence of the novice in writing had vanished, and the master had appeared in every movement. The high tone of the music; its variety and fitness for the characters and the situations; its simple and exquisite melodics; its marked dramatic power, and the bold, startling, and exquisite effects in the orchestration, over which the composer showed a perfect grasp and mastery; all these combined to stamp it as a work of high genius and excellence.
By this work Wallace achieved a high position in the English musical world, and proved himself one of the leading English operatic composers, and so far ahead that he had few competitors. In the many English operas written during, the past twenty years, there are countless prominent beauties that the world will not willingly let die; but in many of them there is a want of that character, that strong individuality, which stomps a style, and marks a school.
In Matilda of Hungary, these requisites are found, and we believe we do not exaggerate when we say that posterity will recognise in William Vincent Wallace one of the founders of the English operatic school.
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He was peculiarly fitted to accomplish this. He commenced the labour of his life at a later period than usual; but he commenced in the very prime of his energies, his mind stored full of the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge, which had laid dormant through many years, but which had been thoughtfully matured and strengthened for a great mental effort when the time had come. In his early life he was as we have shown, a hard student; he acquired then all that could be accomplished by chamber study; in orchestral writing he had large practical experience, and he studied the old masters with a loving and appreciative reverence.
Here was a store of wealth to rest comparatively dormant, for a series of years, growing richer by its unexpected strength. Here was a mass of material receiving strength, refinement, and maturity, from a life of the wildest and most vivid excitement, amidst the grandest scenes of land and ocean, with a soul keenly alive to all the beauties of the inner and outer life, with art shrined high above all, and encircled by love, adventure, and romance. What wonder when he came to draw upon these resources, that he found the fountain inexhaustible, and that the phantasmagoria of his past life welled out in a sudden stream of delicious thought and fanciful images.
The undoubted success of Wallace's operas in England attracted the attention of the continental musical world, and he received an invitation from Vienna to superintend the production of Maritana. Wallace longed to be heard in Germany, and he started with his scores, and arrived in Vienna. Maritana was most carefully rehearsed and admirably performed, and was received with more public enthusiasm in Vienna than it even met with in London. It was played night after night for many months, and ran through all the German opera houses like an epidemic.
Whilst in Germany, Wallace found himself everywhere received as one of the noble brotherhood. It was no uncommon thing as he passed from city to city, deeming himself unknown, to be awakened in the night by a serenade, in which the principal themes of his operas were introduced. In such kindly attentions we recognise the true spirit of the gentle craft, and the heart must be cold indeed that does not warm to the fellowship of such people. Wallace studied most assiduously while in Germany, and wrote the greater part of his opera of "Lurline," which after an interval of fourteen years, was produced under the Pyne and Harrison management in Its brilliant success must still be fresh in the memory of all our musical readers.
He also at the period nearly completed his fourth opera, "The Maid of Zurich," which never appeared, and he sketched out two Italian operas, part of the score of each we heard at Wiesbaden; they were named "Gulnare" and Olga - we presume they are in existence amongst his posthumous works. When Wallace left Germany, after a brief visit to London, he went to Paris, where he revelled in the fellowship of the most brilliant musical minds in the world. The great ambition of an operatic composer's life was in a fair way of being realised-he was commissioned to write an opera for the Grand Opera of Paris, a point of the highest ambition with all composers, and one the most difficult for a foreigner to attain.
Now came one of the great misfortunes of his life. Elated with the bright prospect before him, he sought out George, and from him procured a Libretto for his opera. Full of the subject, he began his work, but before he had finished the first number, that calamity, which of all calamities he feared the most, overtook him, and he became nearly blind. The first oculist in France attended him assiduously; week succeded week until they grew into months, and still he remained in total darkness.
The anxiety, the torture of mind which he endured during this trying period may be better imagined than described. At length a change for the better was apparent, and a long sea voyage was ordered him as the only means of permanent relief. So once again he became a wanderer, and in he arrived in Rio Janeiro. He remained in South America some eight months, and gave several concerts. He played frequently before the Court, and received from the hands of the Emperor a superb diamond ring.
Leaving Rio, he visited New Orleans, where, together with Mr. Stackosch, he gave several concerts with wonderful success. Louis, on the river Mississippi, arriving in New York in the summer of He immediately registered his declaration of intention to become a citizen, and prepared himself, to work upon new operas in hand. He now also entered into a speculation connected with pianoforte-making, which ended for all parties most disastrously; he also joined a tobacco manufactory, which ended in a similar manner.
In he gave a series of concerts in New York, performing for the last time in America at his sister's Madame Bushelle concert, when he performed on the pianoforte his Cracovienne, his Polka Bravura, and a solo of his own composition, on the violin. He also concluded an engagement with the music-publishing house of Hall and Son, awarding to them the sole right of publishing his works in America.
Some of his most popular songs and pieces were written previous to this in America, and published there, for which he received no remuneration whatever, besides the loss of their becoming non-copyright in England. He shortly after returned to London, where he composed many works, amongst others a cantata written by Mr.
Joseph Edward Carpenter, which has not been performed. He was also under engagements to a publishing-house to complete an opera written by that gentleman, entitled The King's Page, which he sketched out; and also a series of songs which he finished, by Carpenter, Challis, etc. In the spring of the Amber Witch was composed - the most elaborate of all his works, but which, from the nature and formation of the libretto failed to become popular, though containing many morceaux worthy of any composer. Wallace spent more time over this opera in scoring and composing it than any of his previous lyrical works.
For months and months, night and day, he worked at it, and we have no hesitation in stating, that it laid the foundation of the cruel disease which carried him off. Late in the following year, Love's Triumph appeared, and on the 12th October, , the Desert Flower was produced, the last of his acted lyrical works. On these we shall not remark, for they must be vividly remembered by all our readers. He had a most prolific pen, and nothing came from it but was well digested, well considered, polished, and worthy of his reputation.
His very trifles gave indisputable evidence of the master hand. We have given in this truly hasty sketch of a great man the principal points of his musical career; we have not had time to work up and colour the narrative, and we have omitted enough of incident and accident to make up an ordinary novel. But the bare outline we have traced of an eventful and valuable life cannot fail to interest all who honour genius, and respect earnest labour, and indomitable perseverance. He retired to France nearly twelve months back, where he died on Thursday, the 12th instant, at the Chateau de Bagen, Haute Garonne in the Pyrenese.
The immediate cause of his death is stated to have been "congestion of the lungs. Softly sleeps he - pain and sorrow Burn no longer on his brow Wearied watchers, ye may leave him, He will never need you now. Not in the fulness of his days: But like to one who strongly goes Amid the misty mountain snows To higher peaks and loftier ways.
And feels the night around him creep, And thinks to rest until the morn, Nor knows the drowsy cold forlorn Shall call on death ere he can sleep:. So he, a little tired, lay down To rest him for a breathing-space And wake again. Death came apace, And found the hoping of renown. Flushing the dreamer's face, the thought Of future toil and growing gain And plans of doing planned in vain, And glorious working marr'd ere wrought.
And death, the pitiless, overspread A film about the clear blue eyes That yet reflected high emprise; The morrow broke on Wallace dead. His memory in a hundred homes; His spirit walks the earth agen, Whenso to longing souls of men Sweet music like God's whisper comes,. The distant echoes faintly shed Of Heaven's discourse: so men shall say, "This strain is his, wrought in his way, 'Tis Wallace. And they will love him in his art, And rightly: we who knew him more, Remembering all the grace he wore.
The open hand, the kindly heart,. And those clear earnest eyes, now dim, That read the further truths aright, Shall pray for his unusual sight, With eyes of faith upturn'd to him. Who sweeps the everlasting strings. And swells with Israfelian tone The music round the Golden Throne, The richer for one soul that sings. THE name of William Vincent Wallace, the eminent composer of "Maritana" - the opera in which, under the guidance of Madame Wallace Bushelle, the sister of the composer, a young Australian songstress made a most successful debut last week at the Victoria Theatre - stands pre-eminent in the list of the few English composers in the van of the musical profession.
The subject of this memoir was born on the 11th of March, , at Waterford, where his father was stationed with his regiment, the 29th or "Queen's Own," of which he was band master. Wallace's mother was the daughter of an architect in Limerick, and the colonel of the regiment, Sir John Buchan, was his godfather. At a very early age the child showed a great disposition for music, and endeavoured to imitate the sounds of the instruments he heard played in the band.
To encourage this talent, his father - who was acknowledged to be one of the best players on the clarionet and several other instruments - bought him, when he was six years old, a kit, or small violin, and used to tie it to his arm while he practised. At nine years old he thoroughly understood the principles of thorough-bass, and could arrange for his father's band any subject given him. He was at the same time learning the clarionet and the flute, and was practising the piano, principally under the care of his father.
When Wallace was fourteen years of age his father left the army, removed his family to Dublin, and placed his son in the orchestra of the Hawkins-street Theatre, he himself playing the first clarionet, and another younger son, Wellington Wallace, playing the flute beside the renowned Nicholson, who used to say that he need not be uneasy if he stayed at a dinner party, for little Wallace could take his place. At this time the renowned Pasta, Catalani, and other artists visited Dublin, always noted for its support of the musical art - bringing with them their own conductor, Signor Spagnoletti; but he, having to return to Italy to fulfill an engagement, recommended young Wallace as the most capable of taking the direction of the orchestra.
He was then only sixteen years of age; to the labour of rehearsing by day in addition to conducting at night, he frequently practised in the theatre for some hours after the performance was over. He used often to relate how at these midnight musical performances his audience consisted of a rat, that used to come and sit at the end of the long table at which he played, till they became quite good friends.
Young Wallace was also at this time leader of the Anacreontic Concerts, and practised the piano till he had mastered the difficulties of the instrument. After two years of this hard labour, his health began to fail; his father fearing the consequences, withdrew him from the scene of this toil, and made an engagement for him as organist at the Catholic Church at Thurles, and teacher of singing and the pianoforte at the Ursuline Convent, where he at the same time placed for her education, his daughter Eliza, now Madame Bushelle, of this city, who then, at ten years of age, surprised the sisters of the convent on her introduction to them by playing at her father's request, one of De Beriot's solos on the violin, and singing the air, "Di piacer" from La Gazza Ladra.
Wallace's first effort of any importance in composition was an "O salutaris," written for his sister to sing at the church. On his return to Dublin, two years afterwards, his health, though improved, was still delicate, and he was recommended to try a sea-voyage, to which his inclinations had a decided tendency.
His mother's sister had married a Mr. Andrew Ellard, who, with his family, had emigrated to Australia, and settled in Sydney. His children were Mrs. Logan, who still ranks as one of the most thorough teachers of the pianoforte in the colony, and Mr. Frank Ellard, who kept the only music shop then in Sydney. Knowing that his relations were anxious to see him here, young Wallace undertook the voyage, followed within two months by his brother, his sister, and his father, who felt too anxious about him to bear the separation.
This was fortunate for Wallace, as from the scarcity of public artists at that time, he found a great difficulty in giving concerts. He remained in Sydney about a year [recte 2 years]. Who that was living in this city, thirty years ago, and is still here, does not remember those delightful musical evenings in which he mmself played violin and piano solos, his brother delighting everyone by his exquisite flute-playing, his sister and Mr. Bushelle, subsequently his brother-in-law, being the principal vocalists. Whilst in Sydney, Wallace gave instruction on the pianoforte, in families of the highest distinction, who were anxious to avail them selves of nis talents, - amongst them were the ladies of Sir Alfred Stephen's family, Judge Josephson, Lady Mitchell, the sister of Sir William Macarthur, Lady Parker, and many others.
It was whilst here that he laid the foundation of his future fame as a composer, and wrote many of the pieces which subsequently found a place in his opora of "Maritana. Desirous of aiding in the completion of the old St. Mary's Cathedral, he gave a grand concert, at which the several members of his family assisted. The tickets were a guinea each, and a thousand pounds are said to have been cleared on the occasion. The concert was repeated shortly afterwards, when a similar sum was realised. Finding that the genial climate of Australia had quite restored his health, and being desirous of humouring his bent for travel, and, ultimately, continuing his studies and professional career in the great capitals of art, he left this country for India right through to Nepaul whence he made his way to Valparaiso.
He passed many years of his life in South America and Mexico, visiting Buenos Ayres, Vera Cruz, Havannah, and closing his American travels by a residence of some length at New York, giving concerts, writing down his musical thoughts, and acquiring a knowledge of the Spanish and French, languages in which he became thoroughly proficient, and gaining renown everywhere by his brilliant performances on the piano and violin.
In he arrived in London, whither his name had preceded him; and he immediately took his place among the ablest virtuosi of the day. He now made his first essay in dramatic composition by the production of "Maritana," which was performed at Drury Lane, under the management of Mr. Bunn, and met with extraordinary success, having had an uninterrupted run of nearly a hundred nights. The libretto, was written at his own request, by Mr. Edward Fitzball, on the subject of Don Caasar de Bazan which he had seen at the theatre a few evenings before.
Miss Romer and Harrison, the tenor, took the principal characters. Soon after he received an invitation to superintend its representation in a German version, at the Theatre "An der Wien," in Vienna. The part of Don Jose de Santarem was taken by the renowned Staudigl. In the movie there is a line which boasts him as over seven foot tall. While this line is meant to portray the legendary status of Wallace throughout Scotland, it is also meant to symbolize that he was a tall man.
Many people state the fact that the average height during that point in history was a little over five feet. However, two arguments show this may be false in the case of William Wallace. First is the example of King Edward I. Many scholars note Edward I, whose nickname was Longshanks, to be a man of considerably above average height. If this is the case for Edward I, could it not also be true for William Wallace?
It is believed that Wallace had a legendary 5 foot long sword. This sword is so long and heavy it is obvious that the man that used it had to be both of great physical stature and over six feet six inches tall. Thus it is believed that William Wallace was six feet seven inches tall. As stated before, Wallace had to be of great physical strength and stature in order to carry such a sword, yet a few people are undefinitive of whether or not he was strong and intelligent. Would a man who is weak and unable to think quickly in battle be relied upon to be the guardian of a country?
In order for a man to become a leader, he had to either be born into such a title, or earn his rank with feats of battle. At times such as these battle prowess depended upon your quick thinking, physical strength, and daring feats. It is hard to imagine William Wallace as a weak man if this is true. Some scholars debate about the way William Wallace fought in battle.
This is also part of the debate about his physical stature. It is portrayed in the movie that he fought with an intense anger. It is found in many different spellings. This is untrue. It is known that in William Wallace got into a skirmish with a young Englishman named Selby. Selby attempted to pick a fight with William and Wallace proceeded to kill Selby and either murder or wound the few friends that accompanied Selby.
From here William fled and joined another uncle, Sir Richard Wallace and stayed with him until April After living with this uncle for quite some time he yet again encountered Englishmen. This time it was five English soldiers passing by as he was fishing. The men attempted to take his fish and when William stood up for himself one of the soldiers lunged at him. William struck him with his fishing pole and stole his sword with which he smote down 2 of the other soldiers.
The other two escaped. With these two scenarios being before he met his love, Marian, it is quite believable that this rage against the English came from something other than the killing of Marian.
Quite possibly it was the tyrannical rule of Scotland or the constant presence of English soldiers in his homeland. A lot of debate is also centered around who actually betrayed him into the hands of the English. In Braveheart it is shown as Robert the Bruce who betrayed him. Most likely it is how James McKay writes it. Robert the Bruce had wanted a meeting with Wallace. Wallace and his page went to meet with the Bruce for seven nights in a row, each time finding the Bruce had not shown.
The eighth night Mentieth, under orders from King Edward, followed Wallace and his page as they made their way back home. Wallace awoke to find no weapons next to his bed and killed two men with his bare hands before being told by Mentieth that there were almost 60 knights and guards awaiting outside and that resistance was futile. After Wallace was caught he was taken to London to be executed. His crime was treason of the King of England, although he never swore allegiance to him.