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Waft her, angels from Handel's Jeptha
Seven Dials was a slum district in this period, situated in London's West End, near Covent Garden.
Cadiz is a port in southwestern Spain; Naples is a city on the southwest coast of Italy; the Morea is the old name for the Peloponnese, a large island in the south of Greece, separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal.
Sirens were creatures of Greek myth, sometimes portrayed as half bird, half woman, sometimes as beautiful women with the tails of fish. Their song was so enchanting as to be irresistible, and they used it to lure sailors to their death.
When Odysseus encountered sirens on his long voyage home, he had his men plug their ears with wax to ensure they would not be tempted by the sirens' song. He had himself tied to the mast so he could experience the song without risk of succumbing.
Calypso was a sea-nymph who fell in love with Odysseus and, wishing him to be her husband, kept him captive on her island for seven years.
Founded in 1386, Heidelberg is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It had at this time a justly famous medical school. It was also known for the prevailing liberalism of its students and teachers.
E T A Hoffman (1776-1822) wrote a series of macabre tales, two of which feature young women who turn out to be clockwork dolls. These tales, Der Sandmann and Die Puppe, were the inspiration for the ballet Coppelia.
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The Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach
Coppelia (waltz) by Delibes
Prince Albert (1819-1861), whose official title was Prince Consort, was the husband of Queen Victoria. After his death he was mourned by the Queen for the rest of her life.
From Horace's Odes, this phrase means "it is sweet to play the fool".
Bathing machines were like small wooden beach huts with wheels, which enabled them to be wheeled into the sea. They were designed to preserve the modesty of female bathers (whose costumes were considered revealing at the time) by concealing their entry into the water.
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was a philosopher and social reformer. His work included arguments in favour of the abolition of slavery, women's and animal rights, the end of corporal punishment, free trade and the separation of church and state. His work influenced many philosophers, politicians and social campaigners, including Robert Owen, the father of socialism.
Charles and Dr Grogan are Whigs. The Whig (Liberal) Party, unlike the Tory (Conservative) Party, supported home rule for Ireland. At this time Ireland was still a part of the United Kingdom and ruled by the British government and British Queen.
Voltaire (1694-1778) was a philosopher and writer of the French Enlightenment. He argued for social reform and freedom of speech (among other freedoms), and was highly critical of the Catholic church.
The Reform Bills of 1832, 1835 and 1836 removed a great deal of the irregularities, inequalities and corruption from the British electoral system and extended the franchise from around 400,000 to 650,000 voters (63% increase). The newly-enfranchised were from the middle classes because qualifying for a vote required the ownership of land or property worth at least £10 a year.