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“ We will hear what your mother says, gated this, as most other matters relating to Mr. Leigh said meditatively ; he was in a dif- Shakespeare and his times, conjectures that the ficulty—a difficulty that frequently oppresses player was born about 1567, or three years parents. He could not bear to deprive the later than the poet whose heroes he personichild of one jot or tittle of pleasure which fied. “Hamlet” was first performed in the might be hers. But at the same time he winter of 1601 or the spring of 1602.. Bursorely distrusted this woman who was offering badge would be then in the vigour of life and to give it to her.

at the height of his reputation. On the (To be continued.)

authority of Wright's “Historia Histrionica"

(1699), it has been suggested that Joseph THE STAGE HAMLET.

Taylor was the original Hamlet ; but although

Wright mentions Taylor as performing the SOME people, misled by their love for the part“ incomparably well,” he does not notion of Shakespeare's surpassing greatness, state that Taylor was its first representative. are unwilling to believe that he ever did any. If, as Mr. Collier supposes, Taylor was not thing as anybody else would do it. They | born until 1585, it is clear he was too young at forget that a great genius is always practical, the date of the production of the play to have adaptable, protean, universal ; that it is only sustained its chief character. Burbadge was the small celebrity who is afraid to stir from hardly likely to have resigned so prominent one particular attitude, and prefers to stand and applauded a part to a mere tyro in the solemnly aloof with folded arms, lest some profession, as Taylor must have been then. doubt concerning his claim to consideration Taylor may, however, in later years have should arise-just as a man with an accidental played it as the “double” of the great actor, rent in his garment hesitates about shifting and on his death (in 1618) have become fully his position for fear the disclosure of his mis- possessed of the part as a matter of right. adventure should ensue. The small genius The elegy on the death of Burbadge, printed cannot afford to be common-place : the great by the Shakespeare Society from a manuscript can afford to be and to do anything.

in the possession of the late Mr. Heber, makes However degrading and shocking many of pointed reference to the actor's Hamlet, with a his admirers may deem it, therefore, to Shake- hint at his physical peculiarities. speare, the shaping of his immortal words to suit them to the stage, the players, and the public shall cry

No more young Hamlet, though but scant of breath,

Revenge !” for his dear father's death. of his time, was doubtless but a simple and natural sort of business. His genius, if hidden It may be noted too that the same poem and repressed in one direction, revenged itself applies to the actor a complimentary appellaby bursting out more resplendently than ever in

tion which an after age fitted to David another. The poet had to please his time as

Garrick : well as himself ; to put money in his pocket;

England's great Roscius! for what Roscius

Was unto Rome that Burbadge was to us! to live to please that he might please to live.

How did bis speech become him, and his pace Is it likely he condescended to fret about these Suit with his speech, and every action grace conditions of his life? Surely he was too Them both alike, whilst not a word did fall supreme a philosopher. So, a new play being

Without just weight to ballast it withal. wanted, he took the measure of the company

Had'st thou but spoke to Death, and used the power

Of thy enchanting tongue, at that first hour for the characters, as a tailor might jot down Of his assault, he had let fall his dart, their bodily proportions, with a view to the And quite been charmed with thy all-charming art: providing for them new doublets and trunks ;

This Deatb well knew, and, to prevent this wrong,

He first made seizure on thy wondrous tongue ; and when, with some notions in his head of a

Tien on the rest ; 'twas easy : by degrees tragedy to be called “Hamlet,” he, as it were, The slender ivy twines the bugest trees. threw a tape round Mr. Burbadge, the leading actor of the period, and found him decidedly

From the mention made here of the manner full about the region of the waist, he deter.

of his death, it has been inferred that Burmined that his Prince of Denmark should be

badge was stricken fatally with paralysis

, of corresponding contour, and “ fat and scant

which in the first instance affected his speech. of breath,' needing the Queen's napkin to rub

A further hint as to the actor's personal his moist brows with, after the exercise of appearance may be gathered from the lines, foncing.

Thy stature small, but every thought and mood For Richard Burbadge was no doubt the

Might throughly from tby face be understood. actor who introduced “Hamlet” to the stage. Tribute is paid to the high position of BurOf his age when he did this there is some ques- badge by Ben Jonson in his “ Bartholomew tion. Mr. Collier, who bas diligently investi- Fair;" and the passage containing this makes

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allusion to another Shakespearean actor of fame, Street. This was the Dorset Garden Theatre, Nathaniel Field.

the site having been part of the garden of the Cokes. I thank you for that, Master Littlewit; a Earl of Dorset in Queen Elizabeth's time. good jest! Which is your BURBADGE now?

Mr. Betterton's Hamlet still continued to Lantern Leatherhead. What mean you by that, sir ? Cokes. Your best actor, your Field.

attract the town, and about this time the

character of Ophelia was sustained by Mrs. The Roscius Anglicanus, a small octvao Betterton. The play, as performed, appears pamphlet written by Downes, prompter to the to have been most injudiciously abridged. The players who, after the Restoration, assembled noble lines which followat the Duke's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields,

Angels and ministers of grace, defend us ! under Davenant's patent, contains a brief history of the stage from 1660 to 1706. But

are omitted, and the actor continues immefor this little work the world would know little diately of theatrical occurrences in the days of Charles

What may this inean, and James the Second. “ Hamlet

That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel ? &c. first play of Shakespeare's acted at the Duke's The speech of the players is also left out. Theatre, and it was one of Davenant's earliest Of the personal appearance of Betterton, productions. “Sir William Davenant,” says Anthony Aston, who published a supplement Downes, “taught the players the representa- to Cibber's “Life,” gives a very disparaging tion of 'Hamlet,' as he had seen it before the account. The great actor is described as Civil War. . . . No succeeding tragedy for labouring under an ill figure, being clumsily many years gained more money and reputation made, with a large head, a bull neck, round to the company than this." Mr. Betterton, shoulders, and short arms, which he seldom the leading actor of the company, sustained raised above his waist; he avoided much action, the part of Hamlet, and his performance inva- and had a way of lodging his left hand in his riably attracted a large audience. Actors, it breast. His eyes were small, his face broad is well known, set much store upon the traŭi- and scarred with the small-pox. He was cortions of their predecessors, submitting to be pulent, with thick legs and large feet.

His governed in this respect by a sort of unwritten

voice was

“ low and grumbling, yet he could law. The fact that great A., in a past genera- tune it by an artful climax, which enforced tion, in a particular part, did or said a certain universal attention even from the fops and thing in a certain way, is accounted a sufficient orange girls." While it was often wished that reason for little B. saying or doing the same he would resign the part of Hamlet to some thing in the same part at a later period. It is younger actor, Mr. Aston acknowledges that alleged that the received method of presenting no one else could have pleased the town so the part of Hamlet was handed down to Mr. well :-" he was rooted in their opinion, he Betterton in a direct line from the poet. Mr. was the Phoenix of the stage, the most extenBetterton benefited by the instructions of sive actor, from Alcxander to Falstaff ; if I was Davenant, and Davenant spoke with the air of to write of him all day I should still remember one having authority. As Mr. Downes the fresh matter in his behalf." prompter says quaintly, “ Mr. Betterton took Aston's criticism is not very flattering to the every particle of Hamlet from Sir William physical peculiarities of Betterton. Kneller's Davenant, who had seen Mr. Taylor, who was portrait of the great actor, however, which taught by Mr. Shakespeare himself.” Downes, Cibber certifies to be “extremely like,” exhiof course, only wrote from hearsay, he knew bits a grand head, with handsome stronglynothing of himself about the matter. It is marked features, broad manly brow, and fine doubtful if Shakespeare, who died before Bur- expressive eyes ; altogether, putting away the badge, taught Taylor how to play Hamlet; cloud of curly wig which surrounds the head, , Taylor not being in complete possession of the a very admirable staze face. Cibber says that part until the death of Burbadge. But Taylor Betterton's person was suitable to his voice : had, of course, seen Burbadge play Hamlet more manly than sweet; that he was of the often enough, and it is likely that Burbadge middle height, inclining to be corpulent, of a had the benefit of Shakespeare's instructions serious and penetrating aspect, his limbs of how the character should be presented, and athletic form. “ Yet,” he winds up with, Taylor, following Burbadge's manner pretty “however formed, there arose from the harclosely, enabled Davenant to give to Betterton, mony of the whole, a commanding mien of

on to his successors, much of the majesty which the fairer faced, or, as Shakeoriginal method of the first Hamlet.

speare calls them, the 'curled darlings' of his In 1671 a new theatre was built for the time, ever wanted something to be equal Duke's company in Salisbury Court, Fleet masters of.”


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Hamlet seems to have been Betterton's most been noticed tbat the countenance of the actor, esteemed performance, though Steele, in the which was naturally ruddy and sanguine, in Tatler (No. 167), lavishes extraordinary praise the scene of the third act where the Ghost upon his Othello. It was his Hamlet, how- appears, from the effect of sudden amazement ever, which induced Mr. Pepys to cry out ecsta- and horror turned instantly as pale as his tically, “ It's the best acted part ever done by neckcloth, while his whole body was seized mortal man." Mr. Booth, playing the Ghost i with an irrepressible trembling. The cunning to Betterton's Hamlet, confessed that he was of the scene was so strongly brought home to so awed by the sight of the great actors affected the audience

, that the blood seemed to shudder terror and amazement, that he could hardly pro. in their veins likewise, and they in some ceed with his part. It had been customary with measure partook of the astonishment and many Hamlets to indulge in much vociferation, horror with which they saw this excellent to exhibit extreme rage and fury at the appear

actor affected.” In the Tatler (No. 74), || ance of the shadow of the departed king. Mr. September, 1709, we find Mr. Greenleaf Addison once inquired why Hamlet should be addressing Mr. Bickerstaff on a performance of in so violent a passion with the Ghost, which, Hamlet : “ Had you been to-night at the playthough it might have astonished, clearly bad house you would have seen the force of action not provoked him ? Booth, playing the Ghost | in perfection ; your admired Mr. Betterton to Wilks's Hamlet, rebuked him for his need behaved himself so well, that though now less vehemence : “I thought, Bob, you wanted above seventy, he acted youth, and by the to play at fisticuffs with me ; you bullied where prevalent power of proper manner, gesture, you ought to have revered.” He then pro- and voice, appeared throughout the whole ceeded to explain how differently Betterton drama a young man of great expectation, had played the part, adding enthusiastically, vivacity, and enterprise. The soliloquy where “But divinity hung round that man.” To this he began the celebrated sentence of “To be or Wilks replied, with a happy modesty, “that not to be,'—the expostulation where he explains Mr. Betterton and Mr. Booth could always act with his mother in her closet,—the noble ardour as they pleased; but that, for his own poor part, after seeing his father's ghost, and his generous he must be content to do as well as he could." distress for the death of Ophelia, are each of

Cibber describes Betterton's manner of ren- them circumstances which dwell strongly upon dering this portion of the play : “He opened the minds of the audience, and would certainly the scene with a pause of mute amazement, affect their behaviour on any parallel occasion then rising slowly to a solemn trembling voice in their own lives.” he made the Ghost equally terrible to the After the death of Betterton, the part of spectator as to himself, and in the descriptive | Ilamlet seems to have been generally sustained part of the natural emotions which the ghastly, by Wilks, who, though an actor of and vision gave hiin, the boldness of his expostula- feeling rather than of force and intensity, seeins tion was still governed by decency and manly, to have given general satisfaction to his audience. but not braving ; his voice never rising to that No doubt, however, he was far beneath both seeming outrage or wild defiance of what he Betterton who preceded him and Garrick who naturally revered.” What Betterton desired followed him in the part. Booth contented far more than the applause of his hearers was himself with the part of the Ghost, in which their attentive silence; he maintained that he gained extraordinary fame from his deep there were many ways of extorting loud expres- , deliberate tones, his noiseless tread, and the sions of pleasure from an audience, but that to solemnity of his demeanour. One of Booth's keep them hushed and quiet was the result of admirers stated that when present at a repretruth and merit solely. From his first entrance sentation of “Hamlet” long after the actor's upon the scene he took full possession of the , death, as soon as there had been mention of esteem and regard of the house, seeming to the Ghost, he felt a return of the peculiar awe seize upon the eyes and ears even of the most and terror with which Booth's performance of giddy and inadvertent. 66 To have talked or the part had always inspired him ; he was looked another way would then have been soon cured of this sensation, however, by the thought insensibility or ignorance. In all his ghosts after Booth. Quin upon one occasion soliloquies of moment, the strong intelligence undertook the part, and endeavoured to of his attitude and aspect drew you into such imitate Booth's manner as closely as he well an impatient gaze, that you almost imbibed could. the sentiment with your eye before the ear Wilks acquired great fame by his recitation could reach it.”

of the speech at the close of the third act, as One critic notes that during Betterton's indeed did Barry, whose noble figure and representation of Hamlet it had frequently touching voice were of especial advantage



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to him at this portion of the play. But

A station like the herald Mercury, Garrick is admitted to have risen superior to

New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill, all rivalry ; his rapid change of feature and

A combination and a form indeed expression during his self-questioning and

Where every god did seem to set his seal

To give the world assurance of a man. upbraiding, his tempest of fury at the thought of his uncle's crime, subsiding into the deepest Garden in 1793, with some attempt at correct

When “Hamlet” was played at Covent woe as his father's loss returned with fresh force to his recollection, and the earnestness with

ness of costume and stage decoration, a sort of

There was a halfwhich he planned to catch the conscience of compromise was effected. the King by means of the play, distanced all length portrait of the late king upon the wall, competitors. “ He filled the whole soul of

and the Queen wore upon her wrist, as the spectator, and transcended the most finished bracelet, a miniature of the reigning monarch. idea of the poet,” cried Hannah More, enthu

Mr. Macready, when the appliances of the siastically. But in the great scene with

theatre permitted it, adopted the unquestionOphelia, Garrick was considered to be too rude ably correct plan of drawing the Queen's attenand boisterous, and the critics generally pre

tion to the pictures of her two husbands upon ferred the tenderer manner of Wilks and Barry.

the tapestry. The throwing down the chair in The address to the players had been omitted

this scene to add to the excitement consequent in all stage versions of “Hamlet from

on the Ghost's re-appearance, is a very cld Betterton's time, until Garrick had the good

stage tradition. Garrick (according to Ireland) sense to restore it, though he was guilty of even went so far as to have a chair expressly tampering with the play in many other most prepared with tapering feet so that it might shameful ways. Wilks never spoke this

fall instantly upon a touch. speech therefore. Garrick's delivery of it was

Garrick was in the habit of receiving a

number of curious letters from anonymous striking and intelligent, but was considered to be wanting in dignity. His manner was

correspondents, commenting upon his per1 said to be rather that of a stage-manager and

formances. These communications have preteacher of acting than that of a princely patron

served to us a record of some of the smaller and monitor, Henderson was admitted to points of his acting. One of these his unknown

speak the lines “ with less of the pedagogue critics complains that the actor pronounces the | and more of the gentleman.” When the

o in tropically long instead of short, and is too King rises, and brings the tragedy of the solemn in his demeanour to the grave-digger. “ Mousetrap ” to an abrupt conclusion, it was

Another charges him with changing the proper Garrick’s constant practice to pull out a white pronunciation of the words matron, Israel, handkerchief and twirl it round vehemently as

villain, appal, Horatio, wind, to metron, he hurriedly paced the stage and uttered the Iserel, villin, appeal, Horetio, and wind with a lines

short i. There is a complaint too of the long

pause made by Hamlet on the appearance of For some must laugh and some must weep,

the Ghost. The writer then goes on : Thus runs the world away.

is one thing I must mention, which I A stage trick which Hamlets of our own time

think has but a very ridiculous appearance, I have deemed worthy of perpetuation.

although it has been practised by everyone In the closet scene at the commencement of that I have seen in the character, and it is 1 the speech

this : when the Ghost beckons Hamlet to follow

him, he, enraged at Horatio for detaining him, Look here, upon this picture and on this,

draws his sword, and in that manner follows it appears to have been the constant practice the Ghost ; presently he returns, Hamlet still of the stage since the Restoration, for Hamlet, following him, sword in hand, till the Ghost instead of pointing to representations upon

the says arras of the late and the reigning kings of Den

I am thy father's spirit ! mark, to produce the miniature of one from at which words Hamlet, with a very respectful his breast, and to hold up a miniature of the bow, sheaths his sword, which is as much as to other hung locket-wise round the Queen's say that if he had not been a ghost upon neck. This last plan, though the most conve- whom he could depend, he dared not have nient, inasmuch as it dispenses with the ventured to put up his sword.” From this necessity for a scene expressly painted for the letter (dated August 14, 1742) it appears that occasion, is by no means the most correct. the advice to the players was omitted ; it was The small hand portraits generally used could probably not until he became manager (in hardly convey the full length portraiture 1746) that Garrick was able to restore it ; implied in the words

while the scene where Hamlet meditates

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killing the King, “pat while he is praying,” being new and original, never having seen any excised from all modern versions of the play, of his great predecessors in the part. Certain was given in full. Another critic considers of his readings occasioned much discussion. Mr. Garrick's utterance of the words,

His “Good even, sir,” courteously but formHow, the fair Ophelia !

ally addressed to Bernardo, marking a less inti

mate acquaintanceship with him than with wanting in feeling. “ Certainly,” he says, in the Horatio and Marcellus, was regarded as a funeral scene, if you were a hired mourner and novelty. It was noticed that he insinuated paid for repeating the sentence, you could not the King's habit of intemperance by his marked do it with more seeming unconcern." Indeed, emphasis of his delivery of the line it seems to be admitted that Henderson sur

We'll teach you to DRINK deep-ere you depart. passed all other Hamlets in his mode of rendering this passage, making it “thrill through His stress upon the pronoun in the inquiry One correspondent thinks Mr.

Did you not speak to it ? Garrick plays Hamlet with too much colour in excited the wrath of Mr. Steevens, the comhis face for a melancholy prince, and another mentator upon Shakespeare. Kenible submitted that he is far too choleric and pettish in his the matter to Johnson, “ To be sure, sir," manner to Polonius. That Garrick attached

said the Doctor, “ the you should be strongly consequence to these criticisms is evident from

marked. I told Garrick so long since, but the changes they occasionally induced him to Davy never could see it.” Kemble preferred make in his mode of acting, and from a long

And for my soul, wbat can it do to that! letter or two in reply he sent to “H. H. at the Hungerford Coffee House in the Strand,” | whereas Garrick had always said with extreme a correspondent who had given an address rapidity

What can it do to THAT ? though he had concealed his name.

The close criticism with which the actors Having drawn his sword to menace the friends were followed manifests the extraordinary who hindered his following the Ghost, every interest taken by the public of the last century Hamlet before Kemble had presented the point in theatrical performances. Henderson on one to the phantom as he followed it to more occasion, in the excitement of the closet scene removed ground. Kemble trailed the weapon in “Hamlet,” flung from him the portrait of after him, having his left hand raised toward King Claudius. Immediately this is denounced

the spirit.

His sinking on his knees as the an innovation “too violent for a young Ghost disappeared (he sunk down a trap in man ; Mr. Garrick never did it." The follow- those days) was censured as a stage trick. ing night, having greater command over him- Henderson, however, admired it, and afterself, he retained the picture in his grasp,

wards adopted it. In the scene where Hamlet whereupon the critic, writing under the appro. answers Polonius—“Slanders, sir," —Kemble, priate name of “Scourge,” observes, that if to give a stronger expression of his wildright the first night the actor must be clearly ness, tore the leaf out of the book. Garrick wrong the second, and proceeds to add, “ in had always repeated, “ the mobled queen ?" our opinion, Mr. Henderson, departing from the after the player, as in doubt of the propriety established custom of the theatre by sometimes or meaning of the term. Kemble echoed the neglecting to kick down the chair on the appear

words as in sympathy.

In the scene with ance of the Ghost, which was never omitted Ophelia, he pronounced the word lisp lispingly, by the greatest actor who ever graced the lithp, “a refinement below him,” says Mr. stage, and not having got quit of his hat when Boaden, his biographer, Henderson and he starts in the first scene, is a violation of Kemble in the speech to Horatio, preferred dramatic decorum, and deserves severe repre- Aye, in my heart of heart, as I thee. hension from the critic. Deviations so slight Garrick gave it differently, “ heart of heart.", as to evade the common eye, and innovations

Garrick in the play scene threw out as a wild so trifling as to be thought unworthy of notice, piece of rant have led the way to heresies in religion and the abolishment of order in civil government (!)

The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge. Let us nip the error in the bud, and not by Kemble and Henderson uttered the words our silence give sanction to impropriety.

with a reflective air, applying them to Hamlet's Being once right let us remain so (!) '

The stately march from GuildenA complaint was made that the Hamlet of stern to Rosencrantz, presenting the pipe to Mr. J. P. Kemble was too scrupulously grace

the latter, with the words ful. His performance attracted much atten

I do beseech you, tion, from the fact that he could hardly help was an innovation of Kemble's ; as also was the


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