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close as imagined by Shakespeare. "There", he said to his wife, pointing to the last scene of Lear, "is the sacred page I am yet to expound." When his Othello was alleged to be the most sublime and impressive creation of his genius, he replied, “The London audience have no notion of what I can do until they see me over the dead body of Cordelia". And so in truth it was; a competent judge who had witnessed Garrick's performance of the part pronounced it inferior to that of Kean. "Who", asks his biographer, Hawkins, "that once heard can ever forget the terrors of that terrific curse, where, in the wild storm of his conflicting passion, he threw himself on his knees, 'lifted up his arms, like withered stumps, threw his head quite back, and, in that position, as if severed from all that held him to society, breathed a heart-struck prayer, like the figure of a man obtruncated'?" An American writer, Dana, conveys some impression of Kean's rendering of the insanity of Lear: "His eye, when his senses are first forsaking him, giving a questioning look at what he saw, as if all before him was undergoing a strange and bewildering change which confused his brain-thewandering, lost motions of his hands which seemed feeling for something familiar to them, on which they might take hold and be assured of a safe reality-the under monotone of his voice, as if he was questioning his own being and all which surrounded him—the continuous, but slight oscillating motion of the body,-all expressed, with fearful truth, the dreamy state of a mind fast unsettling, and making vain and weak efforts to find its way back to its wonted reason. There was a childish,
feeble gladness in the eye, and a half-piteous smile about the mouth at times, which one could scarce look upon without shedding tears. As the derangement increased upon him, his eye lost its notice of what surrounded him, wandering over everything as if he saw it not, and fastening upon the creatures of his crazed brain. The helpless and delighted fondness with which he clings to Edgar as an insane brother is another instance of the justness of Mr. Kean's conceptions. Nor does he lose the air of insanity even in the fine moralizing parts, and where he inveighs against the corruptions of the world. There is a madness even in his reason."
Edmund Kean, now a broken and feeble man, was playing his great part of Othello to the Iago of his son Charles on March 25, 1833, when the end came. Having spoken with the old beauty of feeling and expression Othello's farewell to the occupation of his life, he could not proceed with the next speech; he fell upon his son's shoulder, whispering, "I am dying-speak to them for me". He was borne off the stage, and after a lingering period of weakness, died on May 15 of that year. § 70. When the stage lost Kean there was no one who could fill his place; an actor of his kind does not arise twice in a century. But Macready was in the plenitude of such power as he possessed, and he carried on with much dignity, culture, and intellectual skill, the tradition of the stately school of Kemble, qualified by something of Kean's pathetic power. His first appearance at Covent Garden Theatre was in 1816; in 1819 he produced considerable effect in the part of Richard III. In 1837 he
became lessee and manager of Covent Garden, and his managership was honourably distinguished by a series of Shakespearian revivals which, if not a pecuniary success, were certainly full of interest from the artistic point of view. Macready with his cultivated taste did not aim at merely starring it with one great part which should stand out from a dead level of general mediocrity. He endeavoured
to make the rendering of the entire play harmonious. In 1851 this excellent actor and most estimable man retired from the stage. He had helped to interpret Shakespeare by his own graceful and intellectual renderings of individual parts, and still more by that harmony in presenting the whole after which he studiously sought.
At this point-the mid-point of the present century - this brief sketch of Shakespearian stagehistory may fitly close. Much has been omitted; Mrs. Pritchard, Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Jordan, and, in comparatively recent years, Henderson, Cooke, Charles Kean, and many another actor, might each, in a fuller record, fitly claim a notice. Not a little has been done in illustration of Shakespeare since 1851; new and admirable achievements have glorified our stage; great names have sprung into the light of fame. But it is well that criticism should pause at a point somewhat remote from the present moment. The year of the first Great Exhibition will serve sufficiently well for a resting-place.
DEDICATION PREFIXED TO THE FOLIO
To the most noble and incomparable pair of brethren, William Earl of Pembroke, &c., Lord Chamberlain to the King's most excellent majesty,
Philip Earl of Montgomery, &c., Gentleman of his majesty's bed
Both Knights of the most noble order of the Garter, and our singular good lords.
Whilst we study to be thankful in our particular for the many favours we have received from your L.L., we are fallen upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can be, fear and rashness,―rashness in the enterprise, and fear of the success. For when we value the places your H.H. sustain, we cannot but know their dignity greater than to descend to the reading of these trifles; and while we name them trifles, we have deprived ourselves of the defence of our dedication. But since your L.L. have been pleased to think these trifles something heretofore, and have prosecuted both them and their author living with so much favour, we hope that (they outliving him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be executor to his own writings) you will use the like indulgence toward them you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference whether any book choose his patrons, or find them: this hath done both. For so much were your L.L. likings of the several parts when they were acted, as before they were published, the volume asked to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his orphans guardians; without ambition either of self-profit or fame; only to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our
Shakespeare, by humble offer of his plays to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have justly observed no man to come near your L.L. but with a kind of religious address, it hath been the height of our care, who are the presenters, to make the present worthy of your H.H. by the perfection. But there we must also crave our abilities to be considered, my lords. We cannot go beyond our own powers. Country hands reach forth milk, cream, fruits, or what they have; and many nations, we have heard, that had not gums and incense, obtained their requests with a leavened cake. It was no fault to approach their gods by what means they could: and the most, though meanest, of things are made more precious when they are dedicated to temples. In that name, therefore, we most humbly consecrate to your H.H. these remains of your servant Shakespeare, that what delight is in them may be ever your L.L., the reputation his, and the faults ours, if any be committed by a pair so careful to show their gratitude both to the living and the dead as is
Your Lordships' most bounden,
ADDRESS PREFIXED TO THE FOLIO OF 1623.
From the most able to him that can but spell: there you are numbered. We had rather you were weighed: especially when the fate of all books depends upon your capacities; and not of your heads alone, but of your purses. Well, it is now public; and you will stand for your privileges, we know,—to read and censure. Do so, but buy it first: that doth best commend a book, the stationer says. Then how odd soever your brains be or your wisdoms, make your license the same, and spare not. Judge your six-pen'orth, your shillings-worth, your five-shillings-worth at a time, or higher, so you rise to the just rates, and welcome. But, whatever you do, buy.