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MUSIC OF THE, ROMAN EMPIRE.           103
proxy, even though he were present. On all occasions, he had his voice-master by him, to caution him whenever he should be in danger of over-straining, and this instructor was ordered, if the warning should by any cause be unheeded, to clap a napkin upon his mouth by way of enforc­ing his advice. Through the whole reign of this emperor however, there was never less misery than while he was applying himself to his musical education, or was upon his musical tours.
Encouraged by the improvement (real or imagined) in his voice, he became desirous of appearing upon the public stage. The unjust valuation which he placed upon the art, being apparent by his remark that "music unheard, was valueless and unregarded."
His first public appearance took place at Xaples, A. D. 03; while singing, the theatre was shaken by an earthquake, but Xero was not to be checked, even by the elements, and sang to the end of his song.* After the theatre had been vacated, it fell in; and Xero composed lengthy hymns to the gods for his escape, f
On his return to Eome he was desirous of showing his skill in that metropolis; at first he only sang to select audiences of friends at his own palace, but infatuated with the applause of this flattering circle, he was only too glad to follow their suggestion that such a fine voice should not be hidden.
• Suetonius, XX. t Thcitui. XV.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III