Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/674

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the Portland beds and it is conformably overlaid by the Wealden formations; but there are in some districts distinct indications that the Portland rocks were uplifted and worn to some extent prior to the deposition of the Purbeck beds. The Purbeckian in England is divisible into three subdivisions, viz. Upper, Middle and Lower. The Upper Purbeck comprises 50–60 ft. of fresh-water clays and shales with limestones, the “ Purbeck marble” and Unio-bed, in the lower part. The Middle division (50–150ft.), mainly thin limestones with shaly partings, contains the principal building stones of the Swanage district; near the base of this subdivision there is a 5-in. bed from which an interesting suite of mammalian remains has been obtained; in this portion of the Purbeck series there are some marine bands. The Lower Purbeck (95–160 ft.) consists of fresh-water and terrestrial deposits, marls, and limestones with several fossil soils known as “ dirt beds.” This division is very extensively exposed 'on the Isle of Portland, where many of the individual beds are known by distinctive names. The chief building stones of Upway belong to this part of the Purbeckian.

No zonal fossil has been recognized for the British Purbeckian strata, but the horizon is approximately equivalent to that of Perisphinctes transitorius of the European continent. The Purbeckian equivalents of Spilsby and Speeton are in the zone of Belemnites lateralis. Other marine fossils are Hemicidaris purbeckensis and Ostrea distorta, the latter being abundant in the “Cinder bed” of the Middle Purbeck. The fresh-water mollusca include Viviparus (Paludina), Planorbis, Melanopsis, Unio, Cyrena. A large number of insect genera has been found in the Middle and Lower Purbeck beds. Dinosaurs (Iguanodon, Echinodon), crocodiles (Goniopholis, Petrosurhus), Cirnoliosaurus, the plesiosaurs and the chelonians (Chelone, Plcurosternum), are representative reptiles. The mammals, mostly determined from lower jaws, found in the beds mentioned above include Plagiaulax, Amblotherium, Stylodon, Triconodon, Spalacotherium and several others. The isopod crustacean Archeoniscus Brodei is very common in the Purbeck of the Vale of Wardour. The silicified Stumps and trunks of cycads and coniferous trees, often surrounded by great masses of calcareous concretions (Burrs), are very noticeable in the dirt beds of Portland and near Lulworth. Chara is found in the fresh-water cherts of the Middle Purbeck. Many geologists have ranged the Purbeck beds with the overlying Wealden formation on account of the similarity of their fresh-water faunas; but the marine fossils, including the fishes, ally the Purbeck more closely with the Upper jurassic rocks of other parts, and it may be regarded as the equivalent of the Upper Volgian of Russia. The Purbeckian is present in the neighbourhood of Boulogne; in Charente it is represented by thin limestones with Cyrena and by gypsiferous marls; in north-west Germany three subdivisions are recognized, in descending order Purbeck Kalk, Serpulit and Münder Mergel.

The building stones of the Purbeck beds have already been mentioned; the Purbeck or Paludina marble, a grey or greenish limestone full of shells, was formerly extensively employed in cathedrals and churches. Stone tiles or “ slatts ” were once used locally for roofing from the Lower Purbeck of Portland, Swanage and Swindon. Gypsum was formerly worked from the Lower Purbeck at Swanage.

See Jurassic; also The Jurassic Rocks of Great Britain (1895), vol. v. and “The Geology of the Isle of Purbeck and Weymouth,” Memoirs of the Geol. Survey (1898).

PURCELL, HENRY (1658–1695), English musical composer, was born in 1658 in St Ann's Lane, Old Pye Street, Westminster. His father, Henry Purcell (or Pursell), was a gentleman of the chapel-royal, and in that capacity sang at the coronation of Charles II.; he had three sons, Edward, Henry and Daniel the last of whom (d. 1717) was also a prolific composer. After his father's death in 1664 young Henry Purcell was placed under the guardianship of his uncle, Thomas Purcell (d. 1682), a man of extraordinary probity and kindness. Through the interest of this affectionate guardian, who was himself a gentleman of His Majesty's chapel, Henry was admitted to the chapel-royal as a chorister, and studied first under Captain Henry Cooke (d. 1672), “master of the children,” and afterwards under Pelham Humfrey (1647–1674), his successor, a pupil of Lully. He is said to have composed well at nine years old; but the earliest work that can be certainly identified as his is an ode for the king's birthday, written in 1670. (The dates for his compositions are often uncertain, though recent research has done much to ix them more authoritatively.) After Humfrey's death he continued his studies under Dr John Blow. In 1676 he was appointed copyist at Westminster Abbey-not organist, as has sometimes been erroneously stated-and in the same year he composed the music to Dryden's Aurenge-Zebe, and Shadwell's Epsom Wells and The Libertine.[1] These were followed in 1677 by the music to Mrs Behn's tragedy, Abdelazor, and in 1678 by an overture and masque for Shadwell's new version of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. The excellence of these compositions is proved by the fact that they contain songs and choruses which never fail to please, even at the present day. The masque in Timon of Athens is a masterpiece, and the chorus “In these delightful pleasant groves” in The Libertine is constantly sung with applause by English choral societies. In 1679 he wrote some songs for Playford's Choice Ayres, Songs and Dialogues, and also an anthem, the name of which is not known, for the chapel-royal. From a letter written by Thomas Purcell, and still extant, we learn that this anthem was composed for the exceptionally fine voice of the Rev. John Gostling, then at Canterbury, but afterwards a gentleman of His Majesty's chapel. Purcell wrote several anthems at different times for this extraordinary voice, a basso profundo, the compass of which is known to have comprised at least two full octaves, from D below the stave to D above it. The dates of very few of these sacred compositions are known; but one, “ They that go down to the sea in ships, ” though certainly not written until some time after this period, will be best mentioned here. In thankfulness for a providential escape of the king from shipwreck Gostling, who had been of the royal party, put together some verses from the Psalms in the form of an anthem, and requested Purcell to set them to music. The work is a very fine one but very difficult, and contains a passage which traverses the full extent of Gostling's voice, beginning on the upper D and descending two octaves to the lower.

In 1680 Dr Blow, who had been appointed organist of Westminster Abbey in 1669, resigned his office in favour of his pupil; and Purcell, at the age of twenty-two, was placed in one of the most honourable positions an English artist could occupy. He now devoted himself almost entirely to the composition of sacred music, and for six years entirely severed his connexion with the theatre. But during the early part of the year, and in all probability before entering upon the duties of his new office, he had produced two important works for the stage, the music for Lee's Theodosius and D'Urfey's Virtuous Wife. The composition of his opera Dido and Aeneas, which forms a very important landmark in the history of English dramatic music (see Opera), has been attributed to this period, though its earliest production has been shown by Mr W. Barclay Squire to have been between 1688 and 1690. It was written to a libretto furnished by Nahum Tate, at the request of Josiah Priest, a professor of dancing, who also kept a boarding-school for young gentlewomen, first in Leicester Fields and afterwards at Chelsea. It is a musical drama in the strictest sense of the term, a genuine opera, in which the action is entirely carried on in recitative, without a word of spoken dialogue from beginning to end; and the music is of the most genial character-a veritable inspiration, overflowing with spontaneous melody, and in every respect immensely in advance of its age. It never found its way to the theatre, though it appears to have been very popular among private circles. It is believed to have been extensively copied, but one song only was printed by Purcell's widow in Orpheus Britannicus, and the complete work remained in manuscript until 1840, when it was printed by the Musical Antiquarian Society, under the editorship of Sir George Macfarren.

In 1682 Purcell was appointed organist of the chapel-royal, vice Edmund Lowe deceased, an office which he was able to hold conjointly with his appointment at Westminster Abbey. He had recently married, his eldest son being born in this year. His first printed composition, Twelve Sonatas, was published in 1683. For some years after this his pen was busily employed in the production of sacred music, odes addressed to the king and royal family, and other similar works. In 1685 he wrote two

  1. The Libertine was suggested by Tirso de Molina's tale, El Burlador de Sevilla, afterwards dramatically treated by Moliére and chosen by Da Ponte as the foundation of Mozart's Don Giovanni.