DBATH AND OBSEQUIES OF THE LATE M.
At the Royal Hotel, on Sunday night last, shortly be- fore twelve o'clock, expired this illustrious and world- famed musician. For many years he had been a great physical sufferer, yet he maintained his mental and musical abilities unimpaired through all corporeal in- firmities. A full history of his life is unnecessary in our columns, for it is known to all who take any in- terest in the profession of "sweet sounds," and we therefore give but a short sketch. He was a native of Prague, but at an early age became celebrated in Paris, then the centre of the beaux arts, as the most talented harpist of his, or any former or later day. He was immediately attached to the private artistic troupe of the Emperor Napoleon, and received an appointment as Maitre de Concerts, or, as in the German Courts,
"Kapel-meister." For years he astonished and de- lighted all Europe, and finally adopted England as his home. In estimating the powers of M. Bochsa, it must be well borne in mind that he was not a mere in- strumentalist, but also a great composer ; and, above all, one of the most comprehensive and rapid scorers that ever undertook the heavy task of operatic and orchestral arrangement.
His lamented decease was much hastened by fatigue and privation of comforts during a tedious passage from San Francisco to Sydney ; and though he rallied sufficiently to preside at Madame Anna Bishop's debut, the exertion proved too much for his exhausted frame, and he was soon obliged to keep his chamber. For some days prior to his decease he was aware that his
Sands were near out,
but he neither conversed nor complained on the ap- proaching finale. Death did not appear immediately imminent on Sunday evening, and Madame Bishop and the attendants had already bid him "good night," when he suddenly heaved a deep sigh, and nought remained of the great maestro but his earthly tenement. It is, however, a consolatory reflection that he departed without the mortal agony of a struggle between soul and body, and that every service and
kindness surrounded his death-bed.
Yesterday (Tuesday) morning was appointed for his funeral, and every preparation was made to render due homage in the obsequies to his long and justly- earned fame. Soon after nine o'clock a large assem- blage of the leading members of the musical and his- trionic profession, with many private individuals, as- sembled at the Royal Hotel, and preparations were immediately made for marshalling the procession, by Mr. Curtis, the undertaker. At ten o'clock the cortege moved, preceded by mutes and pall-bearers. The hearse was drawn by four horses, all surmounted with plumes ; and an open car, containing the wind- instrumentalists of the united theatrical orchestras, immediately followed ; the band playing sad dirges throughout the route to the cemetery at Newtown. Several mourning coaches came next in order, occu- pied by those in closest relation to the departed ; and a long string of private vehicles closed the funeral line. When arrived at the burial-ground, a foot procession was formed, and paced slowly after the coffin to the solemn "Dead March in Saul." The sepultral rites were performed according to the English Episcopalian service, and a large crowd of uncovered followers and spectators testified to their respect of the deceased Bochsa and the impressiveness of the occasion. At
the close of the accustomed prayers, a singular and affecting ceremony took place in the chaunting over the grave a truly wailing "Requiem." The occasion
of this is very interesting, and we give the touching
tale as a real matter of fact.
Nearly every one has heard the lovely melody of "Weber's last Waltz," and that it was the last pro- duction of the expiring composer. With the same
Ruling passion, strong in death,
did Bochsa three days before his demise, also com- pose a mournful refrain, as if therein bidding "fare- well" to his stay on earth. His mind was rather wandering at the time, but he gave the score to a female attendant, and told her to take great care of it. However, the scrap of music paper was forgotten till the afternoon before the funeral, when she gave it to Madame Bishop, and, struck with the solemnity and appropriateness of the air, she requested that words might be arranged to it, and sung over his last resting- place. Accordingly, the Latin "Requiem" from the
Catholic Ritual was adapted by Mr. Frank Howson, and harmonised in four parts by Mr. Paling, was most effectively tendered. So affecting was the circumstance of the composition, and the subject of its melody, that tears came unbidden to the eyes of many, "albeit unused to the melting mood."
This dying chaunt will shortly be published, the following stanzas having been written thereto at pri-
vate request :—
Rest ! Great Musician, rest ! Thine earthly term is o'er, And may thy tuneful soul To choirs seraphic soar !
Tho' hush'd thy mortal tones, Their echoes yet remain— For in thine own sad chords
We chaunt thy burial strain.
Rest ! mighty genius, rest !
We sing thee not "adieu"— Thy melodies still live,
And name and fame renew.
Yet may our pray'rs to Heav'n For thee be not in vain,
As in thine own sad chords We chaunt thy burial strain.