1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Jortin

Joseph Moser, in "Dr. Jortin" European Magazine 43 (January 1803) 15.



Among the peculiarities of Dr. Jortin's disposition, I do not mention it as one that he had a most unconquerable aversion to the Italian Opera, because his works, though not generally, have been sufficiently read to give the world a very exalted opinion of his genius, his piety, and his understanding; though the mode in which he once displayed this aversion may, as I have observed, furnish a small discriminative anecdote.

It happened on day that Lady Delamer called at the Doctor's house at Kensington, for the purpose, as she stated to the young Lady in his presence, of taking Miss Jortin to the Opera. The Doctor made no observation upon this, but for some time, while the other parties were engaged in conversation, playing with a favourite Cat. At last, when he found the business of the evening was perfectly arranged, he said, addressing the Cat, "Puss, can you sing? I think, by what I have heard of your exertions, that you must be a tolerable judge of music: and though you do not speak English, you may, for aught I know, understand Italian. If you choose to improve your taste, and edify your mind, this evening at that rational entertainment the Opera, you may go. But I do assure you that you are the only one of this family that shall."