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NOTICES OF THE ACTED DRAMA IN LONDON.
No VIII. Ir the reader has any thing better to which makes it poetry-will inevitado than be idle we advise him to skip bly evaporate, and leave nothing beover our dramatic notice this month; hind but a jargon of words, or a caput for the theatres have been more than mortuum of detail. usually dull lately; and all we pre We are not acquainted with Mary tend to do at the best is to reflect a Stuart in the original German; but little of their light when they put are certain that it never could have forth any. The race of these rival acquired the reputation which it postheatres has been, this season, against sesses, if it had been any thing like the public as well as against each the doleful and dreary exhibition we other : And from certain symptoms have just witnessed. It was a total particularly that of both of them puf- failure. Instead of being poetry ilfing very much—we may now be pret- lustrating history, or history suggestty sure that they have nearly run ing poetry, it was neither poetry nor themselves to a stand still. The most history. Take one example: Mary friendly counsel we can offer these and Elizabeth, who never met at all, unweildy rivals—who would be high- are set to fight a pitched battle of flyers, contrary to the will of “fate words together, on the green opposite and metaphysical aid”—is that they Fotheringay Castle, in a twenty-four at once relinquish their opposition foot ring kept by the courtiers and atstages, and set up a comfortable and tendants of each. As the play has convenient patent safety coach. If been withdrawn for the present, to these latter do not cut so dashing an ap- undergo alterations, we shall reserve pearance, they carry the passengers any further remarks we may have to inuch more commodiously—are in not make on it till it is brought forward near so great danger of being upset again. In the mean time we would and, above all, they fill much better. by no means be understood to say
The only novelty of any importance that the play is entirely without mesince our last article, has been a tra- rit. gedy at Covent Garden, called Mary There are, in particular, two very Stuart ; a translation from a very ce- interesting scenes ;-the one in which lebrated tragedy of Schiller's, of the Elizabeth hears the various opinions same name. A translator, now-a-days, of her council on the proposed death seems to think that if he understands of Mary,--and that in which she the languages out of which and into signs the death-warrant. But these which he translates, nothing more were rendered prominent chiefly by can reasonably be required of him: the admirable performance of Mrs So he takes up a poem-changes the Bunn; who conceived the character words of it from one language into in a very fine historical manner. Her their corresponding words in another acting was altogether too elaborate; —and thinks that all is done. As if but there was the true tragic spirit poetry were a business of moods and and tone about it. We happened to tenses ! If, after this, what was inspi- see this lady the first time she ever ration in one language, becomes insi- appeared on the stage ; and we shall pidity in the other, he has no notion not easily forget the effect her person that the fault lies in him. But the and voice produced upon us.
They truth is, he has "rendered unto Cæsar realized our very ideal of a heroine of the things which are Cæsar's,” and romance; and sent us back at oncelet all the rest escape. It would be (a long journey !)—to the days of considered as a ludicrous blunder if chivalry. We could fancy her stately one unacquainted with the mathema- steps ascending to her place in the tics, should attempt to translate Eu- lists, to the sound of trumpets and clid's Elements, from the language in the shouts of admiring multitudes.which they are written, into another. We could picture her, bending from It is nothing less for one who is not her state, to place the reward of vaa poet to attempt to translate poetry. lour round the neck of an armed The essential qualities of it-hat knight knceling at her feet; or lend
ing him her fair hand to kiss, as a still her own fancies, for the noisy applauses
, and Mary, but “ Queen Mary's lamentaever in vain : For it is nothing. It tion. We might almost say that has no real existence and never had. Mary's whole character--certainly all “ The mind has made it, as it peoples hea. the effects it ever produced-resulted
from her personal beauty. In this Even with its own desiring fantasy." respect she was, without exception,
The lady who has recalled these the most romantic personage in our visions to us, has changed since we history: Fortunately we are spared first saw her, more than we ever re- the pain of saying how little Miss member any one to have changed in Macauley was qualified to represent so short a time. It is by a kind of Mary in this particular-for we find second-hand association that she has the portrait ready done to our hands. recalled these images now.
-Fierce, wan, is reminds us of what she was, as And tyrannizing was the lady's look." * that reminded us of what she might It would be anything but friendly have been. We do not say whether to this lady to conceal from her that the change is for the better or worse. she never can succeed on the London Certain it is, however, that she is now stage. As she has obtruded herself on a much better actress than she was, public notice, she will not be angry and therefore not anything like a he- with us for saying what we have. Înroine of romance. She is now a seek- deed we hope she will have discrimier after tangible applause and profit; nation enough to attribute our appaand she will gain them:--but in ex rent want of gallantry to the real exchange she must be content to forego cess of it. For, as we could say nothing those rapt imaginations that we can pleasant about her, we should probably conceive her to have enjoyed when she have followed our usual practice of was only la bella fornärina. She has being quite silent, but that we do owe exchanged moon-light meditations, for her a little grudge, for stepping into the morning rehearsals--solitary echoes of frame where we had hitherto kept the
to Keates' Endymion. Vol. VI.
picture of Mary Queen of Scots, and sionate Pilgrim ; and the other two are standing right before it—and all that not written by Shakspeare at all. The we can do, she will not go away. one beginning “ Come live with me,
We do not know that any other part &c.” is part of Kit Marlow's Milk of this tragedy requires notice, unless Maid's Song; and the other—" As it it be Mr č. Kemble in the gallant- fell upon a day, &c."—is part of a we will not call him the unfortunate delightful little lyric by an obscure Mortimer ; who perishes in endea- poetof Elizabeth's time, named Richard vouring to rescue Mary from her ene- Barnfield. We whisper these things mies. It was a delightful sketch in the manager's ears for every body breathing the buoyant spirit of youth else knows them. These same persons, and chivalry combined. This gentle too, have tried to make improvements man's noble person and air are the in the language in which Shakspeare only things left on the stage that are has thought proper to dress his poetry; worth looking at in this way, except which is as if a country clown, with Miss Foote--and her beauty has evi- his hard, horny, plough-holding findently made so much impression upon gers, should attempt to improve the herself, that other people feel nearly arrangements of a woman of fashion's absolved from its power.
toilet. The Comedy of Errors. We had nearly forgotten to mention, SHAKSPEARE's Comedy of Errors that the music which is introduced has been revived at this theatre. For into this comedy has these remarkable what reason, it is difficult to divine, circumstances about it—that it is partunless it be that the managers think ly original by Mr Bishop, and partly this the most valuable of those of selected by Mr Bishop, and yet it is Shakspeare's works which are laid on all selected, and all by Mr Bishop. the shelf—which is not unlikely,- for The explanation of the riddle is this it is without exception the least va that that which is not original is seluable.-The revival, however, has lected by Mr Bishop, and that which been quite successful, on account of is original and by Mr Bishop, is sesome very pretty music being intro- lected by Mr Bishop also.—But it is duced into it, set to some of Shak- very pretty and appropriate neverspeare's songs and some other verses, theless. and sung in a spirit of the most delight
Mr Macready. ful and friendly rivalry by Miss Ste Since our last notice, Mr Macready phens and Miss M. Tree. Miss Tree has gained a sudden and unexpected is really an exquisite singer. She increase of popularity, by his perfor. improves upon us every time we hear mance of Richard III.and Coriolanus. her; and is only second to Miss Ste- At the close of both these tragedies, it is phens. These two ladies sang “ Tell the fashion to hail him with shouts of me where is fancy bred?” in a most applause, waving of hats, &c., and calls delicious style, “ flowing with milk for him to come forward and give out and honey.
the play, after he is “dead in law.”The managers are very clamorous We have been prevented from seeing about the success of this their experi- any more than the last act of his ment of introducing examples of Shak- Richard III.—for it has not been acted speare's “ Sonnets” to the stage. If for several weeks. The most striking those poems wait till these gentlemen part of this is the manner in which, discover their beauties, and marry after having received his death-blow, them to music, they will “ live and die he retires to the side-scene, and then, in single blessedness.” In truth they with a super-human energy, lifts him are innocent of knowing any thing self to more than his natural height, about such trifling matters. They and comes pouring down upon his adthink that because a sonnet is a short versary till he reaches him, and then poem a short poem is a sonnet. We falls at his feet like a spent thunderassure them that this is not the case; bolt.—This is extremely fine. If this and moreover add, for their edification, performance should be repeated, we that not a line of any thing they have shall make a point of recurring to it, introduced into the Comedy of Error: for the little we did see of it, raised is to be found in Shakspeare's Sonnets. our expectations of the rest very high, Two of the four examples which they Mr Nacready's Coriolanus, if it has refer to the sonnets are from the Paso not raised our general opinion of his
talents, has not lowered it. There not carried away by those who bring
for he is an actor that Spectacle, should give us so few tole-
before. The very qualities which
made her what she was, would, in the The Covent Garden Pantomime, natural course of things, have kept this year is better than usual, because her from publicity. It is difficult to it is less extravagant and unnatural : conceive what train of circumstances For nature should be respected to a
could have made an actress of such a certain degree, even in that least na woman: And we cannot help feeling tural of all things~a Harlequinade. a secret compensation for the loss of This story consists of a selection from her, in the reflection, that she has the adventures of Don Quixote, and only now crowned and completed the Sancha Panza;, and it is a happy conceptions we had always formed of thought to make Harlequin's wand her nature, by thus willingly resigning take the place of the knight's heated the enthusiastic idolatry of a whole imagination, and bring about in reality people, for the quiet comforts of home, those changes which he only fancied. and the company of her own happy Thus the windmill is changed into a thoughts. She will now fulfil her giant-the flock of sheep into a com true destiny-for she was made to be pany of soldiers, &c. In the island a Desdemona or an Imogen, but not of Baratraria, too, Sancha's dinner is to act them.
LETTER FROM THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.
Glen-Wastle, January 1st, 1820.
DEAR CHRISTOPHER, A THOUSAND merry new-years to you and all your dear Divan-I mean, what of them remains in Auld Řeekie ; for here are three of us—three of your best Contributors, that have been curling, skating, shooting larks, and drinking het-pints together for a week-often thinking of you as a friend, but never dreaming of obeying your commands as an Editor. Tickler and I walked over the hills from Altrive eight days ago, and found the Laird in excellent preservation-indeed, looking rather larger than life, owing to the quantity of trappings and happings he sports during this terrible frost. The glass was down at nine as I was going to bed. But in spite of all that, we contrive to spend our time very merrily with our worthy old landlord: nay, I do not think I ever saw this place looking more beautiful-no not even in “ the leafy month of June.” When one looks down in the morning from the Queen's Tower, you cannot picture to yourself a more lovely phenom
omenon than the tops of the trees. They are all spread over with a coating of frost-work-every little twig is feathered as delicately as if it had cost a fairy milliner a night's hard work to adorn it. The tall black trunks rise like ebon pillars, amidst and beneath glorious canopies of alabaster; and the water being hard bound, and the mill silent, no sound is heard all around, except the eternal cawing of the rooks, from those innumerable nests on which my window looks down. The minister is well, and desires his compliments. He is in raptures with the Radical's Saturday Night, which Tickler read aloud one night in his loftiest tone of pathos; and says, it is a shame, if a certain queer fellow does not ere long, give the world the finest treat they have had for some time, by publishing his long promised poem of the Manse.
The Laird has become very lazy of late, and says, Don Juan has put him quite out of conceit with the Mad Banker, which, I now fear, he will never conclude. Don Juan and Anastasius may be abused by those that like, but Wastle thinks them two works likely to produce greater effects on the public mind than almost any things that our time has put forth. There is no question, he says, that the author of the Novel has borrowed a great deal of his matter, and his manner both, from Faublas; but as I am not very powerful in the French department, I cannot judge of the propriety of the apophthegm. Surely Anastasius ought to have been split into two or three tales a single volume of it is more than the whole of the Brownie of Bodsbeck. The want of continued interest will probably prevent the work from being so great a favourite among the ladies; but surely individual parts of it will always live among the most exquisite ornaments of English literature. The description of his brothers and sisters at the beginning—the picture of Constantinople-the visit to the grave of Helena--the whole of the Egyptian part, above all the flight of Hussan, and the Bridal Scene-and the close of the third volume which is written in the truest spirit of Romance-these are things which do honour to the genius of Byron, if Byron wrote them, or Mr Hope, if Mr Hope wrote them, and that is saying enough. As for the Jackall, I feel satisfied he never wrote one line-not even the worst one in the whole book.
I had a letter from Dr Scott this morning, full of all his characteristic kind of fun. It is dated from the guard room of the Glasgow Yeomanry Hussars, in which corps the Dentist is cutting a conspicuous figure, and for whom he has written a noble war song, which he is to send you next month. Their dress uniform, he says, is red breeches and yellow boots—and he is getting his mustachios to grow: but I think the worthy doctor is more likely to sewe the good cause, by writing a few more of his loyal songs, than by disguising his portly outward man in this remarkable manner. As for us in Ettrick, we are to have a new regiment of Yeomanry Sharpshooters and I am to be a corporal. I never saw a finer set of fellows than the most of them but I remember how you admired our horse Yeomanryand we are of the same breed.