« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
that sagacious quadruped from a Purely scenic effects, about the same lofty rock, and his plunge into real time, were carried to a height of perwater, from whence he emerged with fection which the last century had a half-drowned child in his mouth ; never dreamed of. Dioramas by as also the astounding grace and cou. Stanfield, Roberts, the Greens, and rage with which Mrs. Henry John- Tolbin, converted the theatres in ston, as Torilda, in " Timour the which they were exhibited into schools Tartar," galloped a gallant charger of painting and national galleries. across a tottering drawbridge, and. Yet the elders talked of the pietorial through ruins smoking with the wonders produced by Greenwood and combustion of war, were “sensation Mariani, and of a scene by Louthereffects” of half a century ago ; and bourg, painted for De Montfort, at not even surpassed in 1863 by the Drury-lane, 1800, representing the
tremeudous header" of Mr. Dion chief aisle of a church or cathedral, Boucicault, in the “ Colleen Bawn." which perhaps has never been ex
In 1823-4, at Drury-lane, in the ceeded, and might still have gladdened grand aquatic spectacle of “the Cata- admiring eyes, as the proprietors inract of the Ganges,” Miss Lydia tended to preserve it as an heir-loom, Kelly, represented by one of Ducrow's had it not perished when Wolland's light weights, in a veil and female beautiful structure fell a victim to drapery, dashed up a perpendicular- fire, after a short life of only fifteen looking precipice, on a fiery steed, years, on the night of the 24th of down which the torrent frothed and February, 1809. foamed—the gods in the upper regions When Mr. Macready entered on shouting with ecstasy, and half ex- management at Covent Gardon, oneof pecting that the pit and boxes would his first great achievements was be inundated.
"Coriolanus," announced from thetext A remarkable instance of the of Shakespeare, but still retaining the triumph of the spurious over the last act as compounded by Thompson legitimate, occurred in Dublin, when and the elder Sheridan, and which “Tom Thumb" visited the Irish John Kemble had also preferred, as metropolis. After the public had more effective. This was a mistake been drawn in shoals to the Rotunda in taste, and an unskilful mystification for many successive weeks, and the easily detected, which such a zealous phenomenon was supposed to have reformer and influential artist could become stale he was engaged for one scarcely have been expected to fall night only at the Theatre Royal, into. The writer of this notice, on and was put, upon a Friday, between the first night, happened to sit next two of the most attractive perform- to a nobleman of high rank and ances of a favourite visitor. The "Gen- literary attainments, with whom he eral will beat him out of the field,” said was acquainted. At the end of the Barnum ; and he proved a true pro- third act, he asked, “How do you phet, the one receipt to the manikin like this ?" “ Infinitely," was the nearly equalling the two to the full- reply; "it is all as delightful as it is grown star,
“I think so too,” he rejoined; Charles Kemble, who in due suc- “ but I can scarcely distinguish Coriocession, inherited the managerial lanus ;"meaning that the pageantry sceptre of Covent Garden, again re- overlaid the acting. Nothing could suscitated several of Shakespeare's exceed the accuracy of detail and lifefinest plays, with costumes and appur- like reality with which the procestenances totally different from those sion, mobs, senate, and armies were of his illustrious brother. In these grouped. A waggish, if not a malihe was assisted by one of the best in- cious critic, said, in one of the papers, formed and most accurate of our pro- that Roman noses were supplied from fessed antiquaries, Mr. Planché, who the property room to all the characters, also held sway in the councils of down to the supernumeraries inclusive, Madame Vestris, and had much to do who lacked that prominent feature. with the series of fascinating “bur- This was pure invention, though some lesques,” and elegant drawing-room affected to believe it. Mr. Macready comedies, which so profusely illus- carried on his plans with increasing trated her rule at the Olympic, and the energy and outlay, during his subsemore spacious temple in Bow-street. quent short management at Drury:
lane; but it was always understood “Tale of Mystery," the first, and long that he gained more reputation than considered the best exemplar of its bank stock.
class, was produced at Covent Garden Mr. Phelps, the most celebrated Theatre, at the date above named. disciple and follower of the Macready It took the town by storm, ran thirteschool, by the force of individual seven nights, was acted in every talent and perseverance, converted theatre in the kingdom, and conthe spectacle-loving, and peculiarly tinued a stock favourite for many aquatic audience of Sadler's Wells years. If revived now, it would, in iuto fervent worshippers of Shake- all probability, be considered a tame speare. He too retired, and why? affair. The author, Thomas Holeroft, Was it that lie had exhausted his was a voluminous writer of plays and repertoire, or that he found the returns novels, and attained a considerable inadequate to the cost and labour? literary reputation. But he studied
Mr. C. Kean's restorations of Shake- and admired the wild theories of the speare at the Princess's are too recent French Revolution, and found time to require elaborate comment. What- to become a political demagogue on a ever might be the exceptional carp- small scale, and an incipient radical ings of personal prejudice or pique, The most notable action of his lifeill or well founded, public opinion, except perhaps, his courage in marryin an overwhelming majority, pro- ing four wives-was his voluntary surnounced them to be the most perfect render to the indictment for high scenic exhibitions that had ever been treason, preferred against him in the submitted to public judgment, when autumn of 1794. Such a step, after considered in their entirety, and with the Grand Jury had deeided that the regard to all the complicated attri- accused parties should be tried for butes and appliances of the art thea- their lives, was certainly an impressive trical. But however Mr. C. Kean demonstration of conscious innocence
. inay have increased his fame and When Hardy, Horne Tooke, and proved his devotion to high art, we Thelwall had been acquitted, Holhave his own, assurance, in his fare- croft and the other eight were diswell speech on resigning management, charged without being put upon their that the cost had been far too great trial. Our author was fond of oratorfor the limited arena in which it was ical display, and had prepared his incurred,” and that “he had been no own defence, which Galt says, in his gainerin a commercial sense.” Where memoir, "he expected would go down are these glorious illustrations now? to posterity as something wonderful, Buried in the tomb of the Capulets, at least equal to Paul's before and not likely to be disinterred even Agrippa ;" but he had no opportunity if future speculators should combine of delivering it. The other persons the genius and resources of the origi- who were placed at the bar with him, nal reviver. In a few weeks they on being liberated, bowed in silence ceased to be themes of conversation; and retired. But Holcroft was deterin as many months they were for- mined to make a speech, and the ingotten; and in little more than a dulgent Chief Justice almost conyear, on the same boards, a French sented to hear him ; but he charged actor, with foreign idiom, accent, and half an hour, and was then hustled cadence, drew eighty or ninety over- out of court incontinently. flowing audiences to a representation The conjugation of the verb " to of Hamlet, startling indeed by its degenerate," in all its moods and novelty and daring, but destitute of tenses, as applied to the dramaticart, is the true Shakespearean essence alike not a tendency of to-day or yesterday. in thought and execution.
The complaint has existed from early On the 13th of November, 1802, periods. When Lord Byron wrote his the British public became acquainted famous satire, English Bards and with the "sensation inelodraina," a Scotch Reviewers," the London boards hybrid of French origin, which soon possessed Mrs. Siddons and the Keinbecame indigenous on our soil, and bles, Mrs. Jordan, Miss Duncan, Mrs. has flourished ever since with ex- Glover, Mrs. Gibbs, Mrs. Edwin, panding vigour, until it bids fair to Young, Lewis, Elliston, Bannister, become the type and enduring ex- Liston, Matthews, Emery, Marsden, ponent of our national stage. The Dowton, Jack Johnstone, Fawcett,
Lovegrove, &c., &c., a galaxy of talent and next-door neighbour. But the
the practice of morality and religion,
Our resources are immense, and being tread ?
at profound peace, we travel where On those shall farce display buffoonery's we please, and obtain access to all the mask,
masterpieces of genius, ancient and And Hook conceal his heroes in a cask?* modern, which cultivated minds deShall sapient managers new scenes pro- light to study, and the examination
of which imparts a refined sentiment From Cheevy, Skeffington, and Mother of the graceful and beautiful which
otherwise might never have been forgot,
Yet in spite of On stalls must moulder, or in closets
all these advantages and opportunities, rot?"
we cannot justly call ourselves a peo
ple of lofty and purified taste in the But it was not the managers who fine arts, and all that belongs to them. were in fault. They yielded to the We build churches, grotesque rather pressure from without, and the dimin- than inposing, and of no decided or ishing balance at the bankers. uniform style of architecture ; our
During the season, now advancing to legislative palaces, profuge in ornaits close, nearly every theatre in Lon- ment, but crumbling in chronic decay don has been handed over to the pre- before they are finished. Our public vailing mania for sensation melo- monuments-and foremost amongst dramas, many of which are not even them stands the National Gallery-are favourable specimens of the genus but too often unsightly masses in unthey represent. They are too much suitable localities. Our paintings are tainted by the leaven of immorality, spoiled by the ruthless restorer, or the philosophy of the Dumas, Paul de thrust into corners where there is Kock, and George Sand schools, which “no light, but darkness visible:” and sometimes is not palpable on the sur- although we have still a few good face, and so the poison creeps in until actors, and a national drama in rewe are infected beyond cure, without serve, of unequalled variety and brilpremonitory symptoms. The "Dun- liancy, all are sacrificed to exciting dreary" anomaly at the Haymarket but debasing translations from the is an exception exclusively sui generis, French, or to the theatrical concocbeyond classification, and the really tions of an ephemeral novel. “unparalleled” success of which must Even now, we see by daily adverhave equally astonished the manager, tisements and paragraphs, that limited the actor, and the audience. It seems liability companies are invited to form unaccountable that the numerous themselves for the erection of addifamily “of that ilk” should fill the tional theatres, with increased accomtheatre night after night, to witness modation, in Holborn, the Haymarket, the display of their own helpless and Pimlico; and in all probability, the inanities, each fancying that the plans, one and all, will be carried out. Caricature he so highly enjoys is a In England, as Sir Charles Coldstream veritable portrait of his dear friend says, if you want to build a St. Peter's,
* The leading incident in Theodore Hook's melodrama of " Tekeli." "A new asylum," Lord Byron says,
" for distressed heroes." VOL. LXI.-NO. CCCLXVI.
you have only to name a committee, his sleeve at the hyperbolical nonsense, open a list of subscribers, meet at a He felt that the manager depended dinner, and the thing is done. These on the public, and never lost sight of new theatres will, doubtless, follow in the axiom. When Sir John Fielding the wake of the others, and “ sensa- asked him to discontinue the “ Beg tion spectacles,” with stupendously gar's Opera," which, he said, filled his new and hitherto unheard-of effects, office with thieves and pickpockets, will continue to be the order of the Garrick replied that it filled his treaday, until their temperature exceeds sury, which was a clear proof that the that of the boiling springs of Geyser, people liked it; and when some furand the whole evaporate together in ther conversation took place on the a blaze of spontaneous combustion. subject, he observed, insolently
And how is all this to be checked enough, that he would dramatize the or reformed ? Again and again we Pilgrim's Progress” if he thought say, the managers cannot do it. The it was wanted. This flippant remark public engendered the evil, and the being repeated, perhaps with addipublic alone can cure it. They might tions, led to comments not to his adbe in some degree led thereto by news- yantage; and Garrick, ever tremblingpaper criticism, if newspaper criti- ly alive to censure, said it was a mere cism were as wholesome it might post-prandial joke, without any sebe made, in an age when there are so rious meaning, and ought not to have many able journals, read by all who been repeated. If every man's tablecan read, and so much literary talent talk were to be set up as the standard of a high order engaged in their service. by which to estimate his serious charBut theatrical articles are seldom acter and intentions, we might truly written con amore, or with careful exclaim with honest Falstaff, Heaven thought and deliberation. They merge help the wicked.” too often into routine, and are dashed Garrick smiled complacently on off in a hurry to meet the morning Whitehead, invited him to his select issue, and are seldom so elaborately parties, listened with suppressed dedigested as to assume the character of light and affected modesty when his a lecture or analysis, calculated to ode was read, and acted his two heavy instruct the novice or check the errors tragedies of the “Roman Father" of the profession. We have living cri- and “Creusa," supported by himself, tics as able and as acute as the Haz- Barry, Mossop, and Mrs. Pritchard. letts and Hunts of a former day, but But he knew there was superior truth the system admits of much improve- in the prologue he had so often rement tending to the most beneficial peated, of his surly friend and moniresults.
tor, Samuel Johnson, and with the When Whitehead, the poet laureate, concluding lines of which, as equally addressed his fulsome panegyric tó applicable to the audiences of 1863, Garrick, containing these lines- we close our article :
" A nation's taste depends on you, “Hard is his lot who here by fortune Perhaps a nation's virtue too,"
Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste ; it was no wonder that the wicked sa
With every meteor of caprice must play, tirist, Foote, clapped his wings, and
And chase the new-blown bubbles of the crowed out,
Ah ! let not censure term our fate our " Cock a doodle doo !"
choice; Garrick swallowed the flattery. He
The stage but echoes back the public
voice : was cormorant enough to have digest
The drama's laws the drama's patrons ed even a stronger dose ; but he had
give, been too long a manager not to know For we who live to please must please to better than that, and he laughed in live."
Abhrain an Bhuideil; A Song By Hya- Crimean War; Review of Mr. Kinglake's
Crities, Shakespeare's, 3.
Promise in Ireland, 238.
People, &c., 499.
Dr. D'Aubigne's Genevan Volumes, ré-
Duan na Claev, a Legend in Verse, by
Hyacinth Con Carolan, 210.
Failure and Vices of the English Convict
Genevan Republic, the Earlier Heroes of,
and their Story, 568.
Greek and Eastern Art, by Dr. Pentagram,
Gresset, La Bruyere, and Rochefoucauld,
Growth of British Journalism, 361.
Irish Church, The, Position and Claims of,
Judicial Oath, The, 654.
La Bruyere, Gresset, and Rochefoucauld,
Lady May's Mystery,--a Tale, 107.
Lament for Donnybrook, A, by the Last
Minstrel of the Liberty, 331.
Lancashire Relief, Emigration as an Agency
Leinster Folk-Lore, No. VI., 81.
Life and Genius of Voltaire, 93.
Life in Russia, Sketches, 349.
Lines by Hon. Mrs. Norton to the Rev.
reference to National Prosperity, 244, 245. Literature, Macaronic, 379.