This article re-examines the "Ode to Wisdom" in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa. The ode's last three stanzas were set to music by Clarissa Harlowe and included in the novel as a fold-out plate of engraved music. I reconstruct the ode's printing history, comment on its composer and musical style, and offer corrections to some claims found in earlier critical discussions. I also note some previously unobserved bibliographic and textual problems in the text of the ode and the musical plate.

Contributor's Note

Thomas McGeary has written extensively about the reception of Italian opera, singers, and Farinelli in early eighteenth-century Britain. His Politics of Opera in Handel's Britain is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. He is completing a complementary study on the cultural politics of opera in the era of Handel, Pope, and Walpole.

ECFdc1688Plates.pdf (331 kB)
Engravings of the musical piece "Ode to Wisdom"

ECFdc1688Table1.doc (38 kB)
Table 1 for essay DC# 1688

ECFdc1688Table2.doc (33 kB)
Table 2 for essay DC# 1688