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of sculpture, as finely balanced as a noble strain of music, and it leaves upon the mind the same exquisite impression of completeness. Its details will all be fine. Silence will be more eloquent than speech,—what is acted more impressive than what is said — Each start be nature and each pause be thought.'
It was this power of becoming the man he had to play, this rare faculty of imaginative sympathy, which was the secret of Garrick's greatness. It was this which made Madame Necker say, in speaking of Shakspeare to her friends in Paris, after she had seen Garrick act—'Vous n'avez aperçu que son cadavre, mais je l'ai vu moi, quand son âme animait son corps.' It was the same quality in Préville which made Garrick say of him, his genius never appears to more advantage than when the author leaves him to shift for himself; it is thus Préville supplies the poet's deficiencies, and will throw a truth and brilliancy into his character which the author never imagined. It was this power which enabled Garrick to move the hearts of thousands in parts which, but for his genius, must have sent an audience to sleep, and which explains Goldsmith's meaning when he says that there were poets who owed their best fame to his skill,'—a line, the truth and fitness of which those who have seen fine acting will at once recognise. But the actor who can do this does not owe his triumph to study and the accomplishment of art alone. These are, no doubt, indispensable ; but he has his inspirations like the poet,--splendid moments, when he becomes the unconscious organ of a power greater than himself. On this subject Garrick himself has spoken :
Madame Clairon is so conscious and certain of what she can do, that she never, I believe, had the feelings of the instant come upon her unexpectedly! but I pronounce that the greatest strokes of genius have been unknown to the actor himself, till circumstances, the warmth of the scene has sprung the mine, as it were, as much to his own surprise as that of his audience. Thus I make a great difference between a great genius and a good actor. The first will always realise the feelings of his character, and be transported beyond himself; while the other, with great powers and good sense, will give great pleasure to an audience, but never
pectus inaniter angit, Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implot, Ut magus.'
Garrick Correspondence, i. 359. At the root of the genius of great actors, no less than of great poets, lies intense sensibility. Things which other men take coldly will send thrills of exquisite pain or pleasure along their
nerves, and the strain on their emotions leaves traces of exhaustion little less than would be caused by real troubles. But this is the very condition of their excellence. • If it was not for the stage,' wrote Mrs. Cibber, that great mistress of pathos, to Garrick, a few months before her death, I could wish, with Lady Townshend, that my nerves were made of cart-ropes.' So, when we read of what Garrick was upon the stage,—of the colour that visibly came and went upon his cheek with the shifting passions of the scene
ne—of the features that in every line became the reflex of the inward emotion-of the voice, whose very character would change to fit the part he was playing,—we may that such qualities implied great physical exhaustion, and great inroads upon health. Accordingly, throughout his life, and even very early in his career, he was so often made ill by his work as to occasion serious anxiety to his friends.
* Hark you, my friend,' Warburton writes to him (25th January, 1757), do not your frequent indispositions say (whatever your doctors may think) lusisti satis ? .... I heartily wish you the re-establishment of your health, but you do not act by it with a conscience. When you enter into those passions which most tear and shatter the human frame, you forget you have a body; your soul comes out, and it is always dagger out of sheath with you.'-Garrick Correspondence, i. 78.
But it was just Garrick's 'conscience' which prevented him from taking his work easy. Whatever wear and tear of body it cost him he gave the people of his best’ always. Once upon the stage, he resigned himself to the sway of his inspiration, and his whole faculties were at its disposal. To Garrick acting was enjoyment, but no pastime. He told Stockdale that he was never free from trepidation and anxiety before coming on the stage. He had all the modesty and patience of genius, and took as much pains in preparation the last year of his performances as the first. He saw no one on the days he performed, spending them in meditation on the play of the evening; and during the performance he kept himself aloof from the other actors, still intent on the meditation of his part, and so that the feeling of it might not be disturbed. Knowing what we now know of the man, and his high estimate of his art, it is impossible to revert without disgust to an incident recorded by Murphy in his
Memoir of Johnson. One night, when Garrick was playing * King Lear,' Johnson and Murphy kept up an animated conversation at the sidewing during one of his most important scenes. When Garrick came off the stage he said, “You two talk so loud you destroy all my feelings.' • Prithee,' replied Johnson, do not talk of feelings. Punch has no feelings.' Of the many recorded outrages of which the great literary bear was guilty none is more inexcusable than this.
talk * Lichtenberg's 'Vermischte Schriften.' Göttingen, 1844, vol. iii.
* The animated graces of the player,' Colley Cibber has well said, 'can live no longer than the instant breath and motion that present them, or at best can but faintly glimmer through the memory or imperfect attestation of a few surviving spectators.' There are many descriptions, and good ones, of Garrick's acting; but the most vivid pen can sketch but faintly even the outlines of an actor's work, and all the finest touches of his art necessarily perish with the moment. Of Garrick, however, we get some glimpses of a very life-like kind, from the letters of Lichtenberg, the celebrated Hogarthian critic, to his friend Boie.* Lichtenberg saw Garrick in the autumn of 1775, when he was about to leave the stage, in Abel Drugger, in Archer in the • Beaux Stratagem,' in Sir John Brute in the Provoked Wife,' in Hamlet, in Lusignan in Aaron Hill's version of Zaire,' and in Don Leon in Beaumont and Fletcher's Rule a Wife and Have a Wife.' He brought to the task of chronicler powers of observation and a critical faculty scarcely second to Lessing's. Every word of what he says has value, but we must be content with translating only a few passages.
• What is it,' he writes, 'which gives to this man his great superiority ? The causes, my friend, are numerous, and very very much is due to his peculiarly happy organisation. . . . In his entire figure, movements, and bearing, Mr. Garrick has a something which I have seen twice in a modified degree among the few Frenchmen I have known, but which I have never met with among the many Englishmen who have come under my notice. In saying this I mean Frenchmen of middle age, and in good society, of course. If, for example, he turns towards any one with an inclination of the person, it is not the head, not the shoulders, not the feet and arms alone, that are employed, but each combines harmoniously to produce a result that is most agreeable and apt to the situation. When he steps upon the stage, though not moved by fear, hope, jealousy, or other emotion, at once you see him and him alone. He walks and bears himself among the other performers like a man among marionettes. From what I have said, no one will form any idea of Mr. Garrick's deportment, unless he has at some time bad his attention arrested by the demeanour of such a well-bred Frenchman as I have indicated, in which case this hint would be the best description. ... His stature inclines rather to the under than the middle size, and his figure is thickset. His limbs are charmingly proportioned, and the whole man is put together in the neatest way. The most practised eye cannot detect a flaw about him, either in details, or in ensemble, or in movement. In the latter one is charmed to observe a rich reserve of power, which, as you are aware, when well indicated, is more agreeable than a profuse expenditure of it. There is nothing flurried, or flaccid, or languid about him, and where other actors in the motion of their arms and legs allow themselves a space of six or more inches on either side of what is graceful, he hits the right thing to a hair, with admirable firmness and certainty. His manner of walking, of shrugging his shoulders, of tucking in his arms, of putting on his hat, at one time pressing it over his eyes, at another pushing it sideways off his forehead, all done with an airy motion of the limbs, as though he were all right hand, is consequently refreshing to witness. One feels one's self vigorous and elastic, as one sees the vigour and precision of his movements, and how perfectly at ease he seems to be in every muscle of his body. If I mistake not, his compact figure contributes not a little to this effect. His symmetrically formed limbs taper downward from a robust thigh, closing in the neatest foot you can imagine ; and in like manner his muscular arm tapers off into a small hand. What effect this must produce you can easily imagine.
... In the scene in The Alchemist,' where he has to box, he skips and bounds from one of these well-knit limbs to the other with an agility so amazing, one might say, he moved on air. In the dance, too, in
Much Ado About Nothing,' he distinguishes himself from all the rest by the elasticity of his movements. When I saw him in this, the audience were so delighted, that they had the bad taste to encore their Roscius in it. In his face every one can descry without much physiognomical discernment the bright graceful mind upon the radiant forehead, and the keen observer and man of wit in the quick, sparkling, and frequently roguish eye. There is a significance and vivacity in his very looks which are catching. When he looks grave, so do we, when he wrinkles his brows, we do so, too; in his quiet chuckle, and in the friendly air, with which in his asides he seems to make confidants of his audience, there is something so engaging that we ruslı forward with our whole souls to meet him.'
A description like this, aided by the many admirable portraits which exist, enables us to see the very man, not merely as he appeared on the stage, but also as he moved in the brilliant social circle, which he quickened by the vivacity, the drollery, the gallant tenderness to women, and the kindly wit, which made him, in Goldsmith's happy phrase, the abridgment of all that is pleasant in man.' When Lichtenberg saw Garrick he was fifty-nine. But with such a man, as Kitty Clive had said of herself and him some years before, What signifies fifty-nine? The public had rather see the Garrick and the Clive at a hundred and four than any of the moderns.' His was a spirit of the kind that keeps at bay the signs of age. “Gout, stone, and sore throat,' as he wrote about this period ; 'yet I am in spirits.' To the two first of these he had long been a martyr, and sometimes suffered horribly from the exertion of acting. When he had to
play play Richard, he told Cradock, “I dread the fight and the fall; I am afterwards in agonies.' But the audience saw nothing of this, nor in the heat of the performance was he conscious of it himself. It is obvious that Lichtenberg at least saw no trace in him of failing power, or of the bodily weakness which had for some time been warning him to retire. He had meditated this for several years; but at last, in 1775, his resolution was taken. His illnesses were growing more frequent and more severe. People were beginning to discuss his age in the papers, and, with execrable taste, a public appeal was made to him by Governor Penn to decide a bet which had been made that he was sixty. “As you have so kindly pulled off my mask,' le replied, it is time for me to make my exit.' He had accumulated a large fortune. The actors and actresses with whom his greatest triumphs were associated were either dead or in retirement. Their successors, inferior in all ways, were little to his taste. The worries of management, the ceaseless wrangling with actors and authors which it involved, fretted him more than ever. He had lived enough for fame, and yearned for freedom and rest. At the end of 1775 he disposed of his interest in Drury Lane to Sheridan, Linley, and Ford. Now,' he wrote, 'I shall shake off my chains, and no culprit in a jail-delivery will be happier.'
When his resolution to leave the stage was known to be finally taken, there was a rush from all parts, not of England only, but of Europe, to see his last performances. Such were the crowds, that foreigners who had come to England for the purpose were unable to gain admission. While all sorts of grand people were going on their knees to him for a box, with characteristic kind. ness, he did not forget his humbler friends. An instance of this is before us in the following delightful letter, hitherto unpublished, from Mrs. Clive :
• Twickenham, June ye 10, 1776. • A thousand and a thousand and ten thousand thanks to niy dear Mr. Garrick for his goodness and attention to his Pivy--for the caro he took in making her friends happy! Happy! That word is not high enough; felicity I think will do much better to express their joy when they were to see the Garrick-whom they had never seen before. And yet I must tell you, your dear busy head had like to have ruined your good designs, for you dated your note Monday four o'clock, and to-morrow, you said, was to be the play. And pray, who do you think set it to rights? Why, your blunder-headed Jemy. I did not receive your letter till Wednesday morning ; so they was to set out for the play on Thursday; but Jemy poring over your epistle found out the mistake, and away he flew to Mr. Shirley's with your letter, and the newspaper from the coffee-house, to let the ladies see the play