Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carey, Henry (d.1743)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1367371Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 09 — Carey, Henry (d.1743)1887Leslie Stephen

CAREY, HENRY (d. 1743), poet and musician, is and to have been an illegitimate son of George Savile, the famous marquis of Halifax, who died in 1695. Carey, in the preface to his first volume of poems, in 1713, speaks of himself as still very young. His mother probably was a schoolmistress, as a 'Pastoral Eclogue' in that volume is described as 'performed at Mrs. Carey's school by several of her scholars.' He afterwards taught music in boarding schools. Pope told Spence that Carey was one of Addison's 'little senate' about this period. Carey himself says that 'the divine Addison' had been pleased more than once to praise his best own 'Sally in our Alley' (Poems, 1729). Carey tells us in the some place that the poem owed its origin to his having 'dodged' a 'prentice treating his mistress to various London amusements. Carey became known as the author of many vivacious poems which were handed out in manuscript. He complains (Stage Tyrants) that 'Sally in our Alley' and 'Namby-Pamby,' composed in ridicule of Ambrose Philips, were thought too good to be his, and says that Pope vindicated his claim to the latter. He was the author of successful farces and of the songs in the 'Provoked Husband' and elsewhere. He occasionally composed the music himself. He describes himself as s disciple of Geminiani and Roseingrave, and says that he owed his first knowledge to the friendly instructions of O. W. Linnert. Miss Rafter, afterwards Mrs. Clive [q.v.], first appeared at his benefit in 1730, when she sang a cantata by him, and when, according to a contemporary account, a procession of musicians, with all the instruments invented since Tubal Cain, marched from the Haymarket, and were joined by authors and printer's devils at Temple Bar and by painters at Covent Garden, whence the whole body marched to Drury Lane. He produced other very successful burlesques, ridiculing the Italian open, birthday odes burlesquing Cibber, and other occasional pieces. He was a lively companion, and often, it seems, in difficulties. It is said that he received a pension from the Savile family until his death. He died suddenly, Hawkins says by his own hand, on Oct. 1748. Contemporary records only say that he rose in good health and 'was soon after found deed.' A benefit performance for his widow and four small children was given at Drury Lane on 17 Nov. 1743.

Mr. Cumming states (Notes and Queries, 5th series, ix. 160) that he posseeses over two hundred works published by Carey. The following is s list of his chief publications:

  1. 'Poems on several Occasions,' 1713.
  2. Same title, 1720.
  3. Same, called 'third edition, much enlarged,' 1729.

Each of these differs greatly from its predecessors. The third edition includes 'Namby-Pamby' and 'Sally in our Alley,' the last published separately about 1715.

  1. 'The Contrivances,' 1715; acted at Drury Lane, 9 Aug. 1715.
  2. 'Hanging and Marriage,' a farce, 1722 (Lincoln's Inn Fields, 15 March 1722).
  3. 'Poems occasioned by Gulliver's Travels,' 1727.
  4. Six cantatas, 1732.
  5. 'Teramints,' an opera, music by J. C. Smith, 1732 (Lincoln's Inn Fields, Oct, 1782).
  6. 'Amelia,' an opera, music by J. F. Lampe, 1732.
  7. Songs in 'Cephalus and Procris,' Drury Lane, 1733.
  8. 'Chrononhotonthologos,' 'the most tragical tragedy ever yet tragedized'; a very amusing burlesque, phrases of which are still familiar, first performed at the Haymarket 22 Feb. 1734. Fielding's 'Tom Thumb,' produced in 1780, is in some degree its model.
  9. 'The Wonder; or, an Honest Yorkshire-men,' a ballad opera, 1735, performed for one night (11 July 1735) at Lincoln's Inn Fields, and afterwards for many nights at the Haymarket and Goodman's Fields. Published in two editions in 1736.
  10. 'Stage Tyrants,' an epistle to Lord Chesterfield occasioned by the rejection of the 'Honest Yorkshireman's Drury Lane, 1735.
  11. 'The Dragon of Wantley, a burlesque opera, music by J. F. Lamps. This was first produced 26 Oct. 1737, suspended for a time by the death of Queen Caroline on 29 Nov., and had a run of sixty-seven nights.
  12. 'Margery; or, a Worse Plague than the Dragon,' by the same authors. produced 9 Dec. 1738, a sequel and failure.
  13. 'Nancy; or, the Parting Lovers,' 1739, an interlude, with music by the author. Revived in 1755 as 'The 'The Pressgang,' and afterwards as 'True Blue.'
  14. 'A Musical Century; or, a Hundred English Ballads,' as a collection of separately printed pieces, 1737; new edit. 1740; third 1743.
  15. 'Dramatic Works' (published by subscription), 1743, includes 'Teramints, 'Amelis,' 'Chrononhotonthologos,' 'The Honest Yorkshireman,' 'The Dragon,' 'The Dragoness' (Margery), and 'Nancy.'

Carey has been credited with the authorauthorship of 'God save the Queen.' The first known publication of this was in the 'Harmonia Anglicana,' 1742, where it is anonymous. Carey did not include it in his 'Century.' It first became popular after his death, during the rebellion of 1746. The actor Victor describes the performance in a contemporary letter to Garrick (Victor's Letters, 1776, i. 118), and says that it was an old anthem sung in the chapel of James II when William III was expected. Arne arranged it for Drury Lane, and Burney for Covent Garden, Burney told Isaac D'Israeli that the authorship was unknown, and gives the same account of its origin as Victor (Gent. Mag. for 1814, pt. ii., p. 100). Fifty years later, Carey's son, George Saville Carey [q. v.], claimed it for his father in order to justify a request for a pension. His only authority was J. C. Smith, who told Dr. Harington of Bath, on 13 June 1705, that Henry Carey had brought it to him in order to correct the bass. Smith was the friend of Handel, and had [see above] been a collaborator with Carey (G. S. Carey, Balnea (1801), 111-15, and Gent. Mag. for 1795, p. 544). A Mr. Townshend is said to have told John Ashley of Bath, who told W. L. Bowles in 1828, that he had heard Carey sing the anthem at a tavern on occasion of Vernon's capture of Portobello in 1740 (see also Gent. Mag. for 1796, pt. ii. 1075). Some internal evidence in favour of Carey is suggested in Bowles's 'Life of Ken,' but the improbability that Carey should have left the authorship unclaimed, that his family should not have claimed it when it became so popular, and that Arne (to whom he must have been well known) and Burney should have been unable to discover the authorship at the time, seems to overbalance the small probability of the much later statements, which, moreover, if accepted, do not establish Carey's authorship. A full discussion of the authorship will be found in W. Chappell's 'Collection of National Airs,' pp. 83, 93; W. Chappell's 'Popular Music of the Olden Time,' ii. 691; and in a series of articles by W. H. Cummings in the 'Musical Times 'from March to August 1878.

Carey had a genuine vein of playful fancy, which makes his burlesques still amusing, though the admirable 'Sally in our Alley' is his best known performance. A portrait by Worsdale was engraved by Faber (1729). He was great-grandfather, by his son G. S. Carey, of Edmund Kean.

[Rees's Cyclopædia (art. 'Carey,' by Burney); Hawkins's Hist. of Music (1853), 827 (with portrait by Worsdale); Gent. Mag. for 1795, pt. ii. 544, 907, 991; 1836, pt. i. 594, pt ii. 141, 369; Notes and Queries, 1st series, vii. 95, xii. 193; 2nd series, ii. 413, vii. 64, ix. 126; 6th series, ix. 160. 180; Genest's History of the Stage, ii. 558, 559, iii. 81, 355, 468, 471, 482, 647, 585, x. 258; Biog. Dramatica; Clark's Words of Pieces ... at the Glee Club (1814); Cox's Anecdotes of J. C. Smith; Bowles's Life of Ken, ii. 288; Grove's Dict. of Music (arts. 'Carey' and 'God save the King').]

L. S.