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loses his life for a suppos'd injury which he has done to him, whose life he just before preserv'd. And what is this injury? Why, love for a lady who is old enough to be his mother, whom he has scarcely seen, and with whom it was impossible to indulge any passion, there not being time, from his entrance to his death, ev'n to conceive one.
'I have consider'd the performance by myself; and I have read it to a friend or two with all the energy and spirit I was master of, but without the wish'd for effect. The scenes are long, without action. The characters want strength and pathos, and the catastrophe is brought about without the necessary and interesting preparations for so great an event.
• I have undertaken this office of critic and manager with great leluctance.
If I am so happy to agree with Lord Bute in opinion, it would be a less grievance to Mr. Hume to find my sentiments of his play not contradicted by so well-known a judge of theatrical compositions.
* I am, my Lord, yr. Lordship's most humble and most obedt. scrvant,
*D. GARRICK.' The verdict of these days, at least, will be with Garrick; for although the play had a great success in Scotland, partly from local feeling and more from the fact that the author was driven by the bigots out of the Church for having written it; and although the genius of Mrs. Siddons kept it for many years upon the stage, it has long since disappeared, beyond the powers of any actress to recal. In London it never had a great success, and even when first produced at Covent Garden, with its northern fame fresh upon it, and supported by Barry and Mrs. Woffington, Tate Wilkinson tells us the play pleased, but no more.'
In general Garrick's tact in divining what would or would not go down with the public was unfailing. Dr. Brown, the author of · Barbarossa' and 'Athelstan,' two successful plays, told Stockdale that, before they were acted,
Mr. Garrick distinguished to him all the passages that would meet with peculiar and warm approbation ; to the respective passages he even assigned their different degrees of applause. The success exactly corresponded with the predictions.'
No wonder, therefore, if authors eagerly availed themselves of this invaluable faculty, which Garrick was always ready to place at their disposal. These were, however, in the complacent Walpole's estimation, 'creatures still duller than himself, who suffer him to alter their pieces as he pleases, and the whole tribe of the unactable' were ready to catch up and repeat the strain. Had Garrick's alterations been confined to the works of the
Browns, the Francklins, the Hills, and the like, it would have been better for his fame. But he took to altering Shakspeare with what we, who are better able to estimate the workmanship of the great dramatist, can only regard as sacrilegious audacity. We must not, however, forget that if he mutilated he also restored; and, in making the alterations he did, he probably secured a warmer verdict for the whole piece, in the then state of the public taste, than if he had played Shakspeare pure and simple. • The Winter's Tale, for example, was cut down by him into three acts. But the play had wholly vanished from the stage. To have played it as Shakspeare wrote it Garrick knew very well would never do. But it was worth an effort to get people's attention recalled to its most important parts--to bring Hermione, that purest, and holiest, and most wronged of Shakspeare's women, in living form before their eyes, and to elevate their taste by that most exquisite of pastorals in which the loves of Florizel and Perdita are set. That he acted on this principle is clear from the concluding lines of his prologue to the altered piece :
• The five long acts from which our three are taken,
To lose no drop of that immortal man!' No man in Garrick's position would now venture to write additions to Shakspeare. But are our own managers and actors less culpable, when they elbow him out of his own pieces by overdone scenic splendour, and by readings of his characters false to the spirit in which they were conceived? There may be worse things on the stage, where Shakspeare is concerned, than a garbled text. To Garrick, at all events, it is mainly due that the genuine text was restored to the stage. He knew his Shakspeare, not from acting editions, like Quin, Barry, Pritchard, and others, but from the original folios and quartos. With true literary enthusiasm he made a fine collection of first editions of all the great early dramatists, which now forms one of the treasures of the British Museum. Thomas Warton and George Steevens used it largely, and it was Johnson's own fault that it was not equally available to him for his ‘Shakspeare.'
Garrick's sympathies with literature and literary men were very great. He formed a fine library, and not only formed but used it. He was well versed in the literature of Europe, especially of Italy and France. He wrote well himself. His prologues and vers de société are even now pleasant reading. He
would money, his
would turn off one of his prologues or epilogues in two hours, As a rule, an epigram-such as his famous one on Goldsmith-took him five minutes. There was no man of literary eminence in England with whom he was not on a friendly footing. It has been the business, and ever will be, of my life,' he wrote to Goldsmith (25th July, 1757), “to live on the best terins with men of genius.' When such men wanted
purse was always at their command and in the handsomest way. Sterne, Churchill, Johnson, Goldsmith, Murphy, Foote, had many proofs of this helpful sympathy, not to speak of men of lesser note. And yet the two last were constantly denouncing his avarice and ineanness. Happily, Murphy's own letters survive to convict him of injustice. To quote one of many: 'I am convinced,' he wrote to Garrick (20th September, 1770), 'that you look upon the loan of two or three hundred pounds to friend as a small favour; and I am further persuaded that I am welcome to be in your debt as long as I please. Having said this, I said it from conviction,' &c. This letter was apropos of a sum of 2001., which Garrick had lent him without acknowledgment of any kind. And yet this was the man who, from Garrick's death down to his own, went about, saying, Off the stage, sir, he was a little, sneaking rascal; but on the stage, oh, my great God! It is pitiful to think a good man's name should be at the mercy of such a creature. Foote's sarcasms on Garrick's parsimony are preserved by the anecdote-mongers. "Stingy hound !' if we are to believe Tate Wilkinson, was Foote's favourite epithet for him. But Foote was constantly appealing to Garrick for money in considerable sums, and people do not go to 'mean’ men for that. What is more, there is no instance of its having ever been refused ; although no man had better reason to turn his back upon another. You must know—to my credit be it spoken-ihat Foote hates me,' he writes to Mrs. Montague, under the provocation of a charge of meanness made at the table of a common friend. Yet, when Foote most needed help, all his manifold offences were forgotten, and Garrick stood by him with the most loyal devotion. • There was not a step,' says Mr. Forster, ‘in the preparation of his defence' against the infamous charge trumped up against him by the Duchess of Kingston, “which was not solicitously watched by Garrick.' And to Garrick himself Foote wrote about this time :
My dear kind friend, ten thousand thanks for your note!... May nothing but halcyon days and nights crown the rest of your life! is the sincere prayer of S. Foote.' The iteration of this charge of meanness as to money, in the
face of the clearest evidence to the contrary, has influenced even Mr. Forster into lending his countenance to it. In a note to his Essay on Churchill he prints extracts from two letters by Garrich to his brother George, written from Paris, immediately after hearing of the poet's death, telling him to put in a claim for money lent to Churchill. Mr. Wilkes,' he writes, tells me there is money enough for all his debts, and money besides for his wife, Miss Carr, whom he lived with,' &c. You'll do what is proper; but put in your claim.'
claim.' 'I think,' he says, in a subsequent letter, and am almost sure, that Churchill gave me his bond. I asked him for nothing; he was in distress, and I assisted him.' It is not easy to see why Mr. Forster should say, as he does, that he “must sorrowfully confess' these letters · bear out Foote's favourite jokes about his (Garrick's) remarkably strong box, and his very keen regard for its contents.' What would he have had Garrick do? Say nothing about his debt at all? Why so, when there was money enough, according to the statement of Churchill's bosom friend Wilkes, to pay everybody, and also to provide for those who were dependent upon Churchill? Perhaps, however, he should have waited for a few weeks in seemly grief for Churchill's death. But why? Garrick had no special cause to mourn for Churchill as a man.
He had proved his admiration for his genius by very substantial loans of money on more occasions than one; and it is surely the merest sentimentalism to charge to an undue love of money the fact of his telling his man of business to look after a debt. In matters of business why are poets, or the executors of poets, to be dealt with differently from other people?
Johnson, by some of his hasty sayings, lent countenance to this imputation of parsimony. But at other times he did Garrick justice on this point, and that in very emphatic terms. “Sir, I know that Garrick has given away more money than any man that I am acquainted with, and that not from ostentatious views.' Again, He began the world with a great hunger for money ; the son of a half-pay officer, bred in a family whose study was make fourpence do as much as others made fourpence halfpenny do. But when he had got inoney he was very liberal.' Here we get the truth. The well-judged economy of the man, who has his own fortune to make and is resolved to achieve independence, will make him avoid idle expenses in a way which is odious to the very men who are most apt to draw upon
his purse when he has filled it by a life of prudent self-denial. “To Foote and such scoundrels,' as Reynolds wrote, “who circulated these reports, and to such profligate spendthrifts, prudence is meanness and economy is avarice.'
Johnson was not always so just to Garrick in other things. He liked the man, and would suffer no one else to speak ill of him ; but he never quite forgave him his success. He was himself still struggling for bare subsistence, long after Garrick had not only become rich and a favourite in the first society in London, but was enjoying an European fame. Johnson was not above being sore at this, and the soreness showed itself in many an explosion of sententious petulance. When, for example, Garrick ventured to suggest some alteration upon the “Irene,' which would have given a little more of that life and movement to the scene which it so much needed, “Sir,' said Johnson, the fellow wants me to make Mahomet run mad, that he may have an opportunity of tossing his head and kicking his heels.' It was not to be borne that an actor should know better than an author how people were to be interested or moved. A fellow, sir, who claps a hump on his back and a lump on his leg, and cries, “I am Richard the Third !”
Johnson had the lowest idea of the actor's art. He was too short sighted to see the varying shades of expression on the face, or even to judge of the beauty or fitness of scenic action. He regarded it, therefore, as a mere compound of mimicry and declamation. “I never could conceive,' writes Walpole, in his accustomed strain of sublime puppyism, the marvellous merit of repeating the words of others in one's own language withı propriety, however well delivered.' Johnson held the same opinion, and was not therefore likely to feel, what is nevertheless true, that higher faculties were required for playing Lear’or Richard' as Garrick played them, than for writing plays like Irene.' 'A great actor,' as Madame de Stael said of Talma, becomes the second author of his parts by his accents and his physiognomy.' For this a kindred gift of imagination is obviously necessary. It is not enough that he shall be master of the arts of expression in voice, feature, and action. He must also be penetrated by the living fire of a vigorous conception. The words to be spoken are the least part of his performance. He must have lived into the being of the person he has to portray--have realised the very nature of the man, modified as it would be by the circumstances of his life. Only then is he in a condition to give that completeness to the dramatist's work which words alone cannot convey,--that crowning grace of breathing life which makes the creatures of the poet's imagination stand out before the common spectator with all the vivid force in which they primarily presented themselves to the poet's mind. A great actor's impersonation is therefore a living poem, harmonious from first to last, rounded and well defined as a piece