Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

tercourse of the ingenious few., benevolent, and liberal. He was Of this custom he was resolved a maker of professions, but a slave to avail himself ;--but it was just to interest. He was honoured as a hypocrite avails himself of as an actor, hated as a man, and religion, by oftentation and im- despised as an author. He ever posture-for he herded constant- made friendship a footstool to his ly with wits, and was, in letters, interest and ambition. The two a professed tartuffe to all. men that he was most obliged to,

He had a hackneyed kind of he always hated and feared. He metaphorical, theatrical, tinselled ruined the one, and planned the phraseology, made out of tags and destruction of the other.

He ends, quotations and imitations could have no lasting intimacy of our English poets, and, indeed, with any body. He was totally from the Greek and Latin au void of any kind of address to thors, as often as his memory men or women in any rank or ferved him with the scraps and circumstance of life, that the ju. mottos it had quaintly picked up; dicious, and those who had for he knew no book of antiquity, thought of that art, called genteel nor, indeed, of modern note, or well bred. Prior, La Fontaine, Swift's poe His art in acting consisted in intry, and a few more of that kind, ceffantly pawing and hauling the excepted; these he constantly im- characters about with whom he itated, plundered, disguised, and was concerned in the scene ;--- and frittered into occasional prologues, when he did not paw or haul the epilogues, and complimentary po- character,he stalked between them ems upon parrots, lap dogs, mon and the audience, and that genekeys, birds, growing wits, pat- rally when they were speaking the rons, and ladies. But what he most important and interesting palmost excelled in, was, in writing fage in the scene, which demanded epigrams and short poems in in propriety a strict attention. When praise of himself and his produc- he spoke himself, he pulled about tions, and in defamation of a ri the character he spoke to, and val actor, or of any of those poor squeezed his hat, hung forward, people of the stage whom he wish and stood almost upon one foot, ed to be unpopular. With such with no part of the other to the fhreds and patches he constantly ground but the toe of it. His fed the daily papers, the reviews, whole action when he made love and magazines.--Each of his af- in tragedy or in comedy, when sociate wits had a peculiar quaint- he was famili

he was familiar with his friend, ness of phrafe and greeting : such when he was in anger, forrow, as-"My sprig of Parnassus, let rage, consisted in squeezing his me pour my incense !"

hat, thumping his breast, ItrutHe laboured for private ef- ting up and down the stage, and teem, but always in vain ! Fear, pawing the characters that he envy, and avarice were feen even acted with. in deeds that appeared convivial, In private life, had this mac

Ddd

been interdicted the use of mim- ing to destroy the fame of every icry,of fimulation, and diffimula

contemporary actor, he attacked tion, he would have appeared, even that of the actresses, and fucwhat in reality he was, a supera ceeded. Nor was the traducecial insignificant man.

But with ment of the living fame of male the help of those arts, he was eri and female, of every age and tertaining and appeared fagacious, rank upon the stage, fufficient to learned, good-natured, modest, gorge the maw of Envy: it flew and friendly to those who had co the dead ! and insidiously broke no dealings with him ;-but to open the hallowed tombs of Betthose who had, he was known to terton, Booth, Wilks, and other the very heart ; for his attacht- honoured spirits, Nature's favourment to interest in dealings made ite children, who had been fosterhim as obvious as if nature had ed and protected by art, applause

, made a window to his heart. and time ; and, when living, Our actions are the only true tef w:hom Envy's self allowed to be timonics of our probity. Our in Nature's darling fons, and Art's timates, and those with whom we perfect pupils : yet these very chufe to retire and live in private, ipirits would he flily bring upfurnith the best proof of the on the carpet: mimic, though he Itrength or weakness, riches or never saw them ; tell anecdotes poverty of the mind. The palm of them, and traduce their im-. try actions of this man are well mortal fame,by stigmatising them known ; his intimates I need not as mannerists, and denominating describe. The tree is known by them as persons who spoke in reits fruit.

citative. Thus would he serve An ancient philofopher, speak- them up to ignorant people

, who ing of Envy, characterises it very believed and wondered ; and to finely, by faying, it is of that dependants and flatterers, who reperverse, unfociable, selfish na tailed the libellous anecdotes, inture, that, were it absolute, it vectives, and quaint conceits, and would rather forego the indispen concluded that the art was never fable influence of the sun, than known but by the narrator, who, participate the blesfing with man with an apparent modefty, and a kind. This discription of Envy concealed impudence, made him. may seem to some men to be ex self the hero of the historical aggerated and hyperbolical; but criticism. those who have observed this paf His mind was buried upon

the fion in its extremes, in the com external and partial looks, tones, merce of the world, or as Milton gaits, and motion of individuals has characterised it in his “ Para in their ordinary habits. Of the dise Lost,” will find it to be nat paffions, their degrees and kinds, urally just. A stronger instance and of their influence upon

the of its influence sure never was organs, and their impreffions upknown than in the person we on the body, he knew but very have now under consideration little, very little indeed! His for, not satisfied with endeavour mind and knowledge were, like

His body, little, pert, acute,

pert, acute, the good people acknowledged quick, weak, easily shocked; and as an imitation of a drunken man worn down, subtle, plausible. falling asleep. By this external partial imitation Whenever a manager sets up. of individuals he continually ex his own power, taste, or avarice, ercised his mind and body. This against the power, judgment, or wretched buffoonery comprised entertainment of the people, he his knowledge, his humour, his forfeits every right to their falearning, conversation, wisdom, vour ; nay he merits their convirtue, elegance, breeding, and tempt and resentment. Garrick his companionable qualities. His never obliged the public in any mimicry, both off the stage and one article during the time of his on it, served him instead of fig- management; on the contrary he ure, grace, character, manners, took every step by which he could and a perfect imitation of general erect himself into a tyrant, to nature, as it passes through hu- crush the spirit and genius of merman life in every character, agen

it both in actors and authors; to rank, and station.

corrupt the public taste ; to fill He introduced sleep into Lear, his own coffers ; and to make his showed how the body dreams in own judgment the standard of Richard. He also introduced every species of dramatic merit. fleep into Sir John Brute ; and His wit always wanted strength, for many minutes, to the extrava- his descriptions humour, his mangant satisfaction of the audience, ner pleasantry, his conduct integcut the faces of an ideot, a luna- rity, his disposition good nature, tic, a stupor ; so expert was he and his deportment decency. in all the trick of the face, which

CHARACTER OF MRS. SIDDONS.

By CAPEL LOFT, Ela.

UT of the house I allowed cies. Her figure, countenance,

myself but one amusement, voice, attitudes, are in the highbut that one was, in effect, all ; it est degree

est degree graceful, expreflive, was seeing and hearing Mrs. Sid- and sublime. The second night dons in a new and most effecting (her appearance in “ The Strancharacter, that of Mrs. Haller, in ger" was Friday 25th,) when she “ The Stranger ;” and in a cha- performed Isabella, I saw her to racter of long and established pre- the greatest advantage from a eminence, that of Isabella, in fide box, and with an excellent “ The Fatal Marriage."

glass, that, which I always carOf this most admirable actress ry with me. I longed most I can say nothing that approach. earnestly you had been with us es to a description of her excellen- at both these representations.

Her action is fo just and fo ex that person ;, and she speaks ac. quisitely graceful and dignified, 'cordingiy with fimplicity and her elocution so wonderfully fine, frankness, not affecting to difaand her power of giving its full vow, not oftentatious in the difforce to every noble and gener- play of them. ous sentiment so unrivalled by 2 I ought to mention that she has ny performer whom I have ever the utmost fimplicity, a fimpliciseen on the theatre, -and I have ty the most dignified and graceseen those who have been most ful, in her dress; alike whether justly and universally admired. at home or on the stage ; even in There are in her a&ing, as in Isabella, in a dress of nuptial cer. Garrick's, no vacuities, nor any emony, this was strikingly obthing out of the character to pa- servable. Gold, or a profufion Tade herself to the audience : if of silver, in the ornaments of silent and immoveable, her fi- dress, she leaves to others : jewJence is more eloquent than lan- els and colours are not suffered guage, and her suspended action to degrade the sublime unity of Ipeaks the character and fullness effect, or to challenge an admiof the soul,

ration which, were she to wear On Sunday the 27th, we saw them, would appear, even to the her at her own house ; and it admirers of embellishment, frivowas truly charming to fee one of loufly waited on these comparithe most admired women upon tively infignificant decorations.earth amusing herself as a moth She is her own ornament: and er, but with sister-like familiarity, is too fublimely beautiful,in form, with her two daughters, who countenance, character, and ex. greatly resemble her, one of them preflion, to submit to make herparticularly, and conversing with self fine. Her forehead, her eye, out vanity, -indeed, she is above her nose, all her features have it,-- without pride.

the decisivc character of a great She speaks with the most eafy mind, of an amiable and noble and graceful propriety on what- heart. Indeed the more resemever subjects arise, You would bles the ideal beauty of poflible have been charmed to hear her nature, than what one should es mention Hereford, and the sur- pect actually to have seen. rounding country, where she spent The silver tone of her voice, part of her childhood and first full,folemn,but wonderfully sweet, youth. I believe you will find preserves distinctness in the highit mentioned: by Mrs. Morgan est exertions, and remains unlok that Brecknock has had the hon in the lowest articulations. Some or of giving birth to Mrs. Siddons. idea of her action and attitudes On our inquiry, she mentioned it might be drawn from the finest herself as being the place where statues and paintings. Of the ex . she was born. If any person re- pression of her countenance no ally knows herself, and neither o adequate representation can be verrates or undervalues her pow. formed. ers, Mrs. Siddons appears to be I was led to think, for I had

never seen her till now, that the ties; nor less of the deeply pathetwas only formed for the great ic expression of settled grief, of and awful character. For these, the chalte enthusiasm of love. It indeed, she has every endowment, is true, that love when representboth from nature and a cultiva- ed by her, appears a passion as tion of her powers, the most at elevated as glory. itself. Her tentive and unremitted, which fondness is noble, and her very genius, animated by respect for forrows and despair impress with an admiring public, could sug- respect, and awe, and veneration. gest to her, and enforced too by It would be a great loss to be the consciousness she must feel of deprived of her transcendently the sublimity of the object of her fine action ; but I think I should exertions, the jus representation prefer merely to hear her read to of ideas, and characters the most seeing the finest play acted by the exalted ; but she has not less best of otherperformers. In the charcommand over the more amiable acter of lady Randolph, in our faaffections, those of pure and ex vorite

Douglas ; " in “ The alted benevolence : of the delica- Grecian Daughter,” The Roсу

of wounded honor ; of the a man Father," or the Volu:nnia of gonizing tenderness of maternal Shakespeare, she who was born to fear; of the sweet complacency personify the purest of the highest of an heart occupied with nature, affections must be unimaginably and the contemplation of its au- great. thor, and of its pleasures in its du

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

P

ERHAPS modern times ever derogating from the charac

have not afforded a greater ter of Count Rumford, to dwell benefactor of the human race, or upon his merits fimply as a wrione who for his successful exer ter. In whatever he relates, he tions in the advancement of their may fay without oftentation, felicity, reflects more honor on his species, than Count Rumford.

Magna pars fui.His Experimental Ejays, Political His was a nobler task, than mereand Economical, are written in a ly constructing, sentences, and flyle simple and pure, occafior- cloathing thoughts, at the toilet ally rising with his subject, and of imagination. He was not conalways conforming to it. They tent with barely starting new proabound with ideas, without a su- jects, and making theoretic imperfluity of words, or redundan- provements. His inclination did cy of false ornament. It is how. not lead him to combine, and difp

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »