Gentleman’s Magazine

Andante from Organ Concerto Op.4 No.4 G.F. Handel (1685-1757)

“Oh Master, Let Me Walk With Thee”

Extemporization

The Gentleman’s Magazine was founded in London, England, by Edward Cave in January 1731. It ran uninterrupted for almost 200 years, until 1922. It was the first to use the term ‘magazine’ (from the French ‘magazine’, meaning ‘storehouse’) for a periodical. Cave’s innovation was to create a monthly digest of news and commentary on any topic the educated public might be interested in, from commodity prices to Latin poetry. It carried original content from a stable of regular contributors, as well as extensive quotations and extracts from other periodicals and books.

A skilled businessman, Edward Cave developed an extensive distribution system for The Gentleman’s Magazine. It was read throughout the English-speaking world (including the American colonies) and continued to flourish through the 18th century and much of the 19th century under a series of different editors and publishers. It went into decline towards the end of the 19th century and finally ceased general publication in September 1907.

For anyone interested in goings-on in England during its reign it is an invaluable resource — I’ve consulted it many times for research into Franklin, the glass armonica, and related topics.

Here is a poem printed in that magazine in 1740 about Handel, who at this time was very much a living presence in London life.

… But Handel’s harmony affects the soul,
To sooth by sweetness, or by force control;
And with like sounds as tune the rolling spheres,
So tunes the mind, that ev’ry sense has ears.
When jaundice jealousy, and carking* care,
Or tyrant pride, or homicide despair,
The soul as on a rack in torture keep,
Those monsters Handel’s music lulls to sleep.

— An anonymous poem in The Gentleman’s Magazine, May 1740.

* ‘carking’: burdensome, annoying (archaic)