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I conceived that the proprietors should Drury Lane, extending over four seahave co-operated with me. They, how- sons, only three pieces survive; and ever, thought otherwise, and I was re- indeed, not many more were attempted luctantly compelled to relinquish, on --spectacular revivals substituting oridisadvantageous terms, my half-achieved ginal production. These three plays enterprise. Others may take up that gave two new authors to the stage, Sir incompleted work, and if inquiry be Edward Bulwer Lytton, and Mr. Marssought for one best qualified to under-ton; the first, one who had previously take the task, I should seek him in a commanded a position on it, the theatre which, for eight years, he has second, a young and untried poet, who raised from its degraded condition—in has since amply justified the manager's that theatre which he has raised high preference. The only living writer, bein the public estimation, not only as to sides who owes his present dramatic the intelligence and respectability of existence to Mr. Macready, is Sir Thothe audiences, but by the learned and mas Talfourd. tasteful spirit of his productions. With We have not mentioned, as almost a heart more full than the glass which unworthy of record, the very serious I raise to my lips, I return you my disturbance in America, occasioned by most grateful thanks for the honour the admirers of Mr. Forrest, offering a you have done me.'
violent opposition to Mr. Macready in It would be unjust to take leave of his performance. But the quarrels of Mr. Macready, without enumerating authors have been recorded, and those the original plays which he has been, of actors should have a Parthian glance either directly or indirectly, instrumen- thrown at them ere we close. Suffice it tal in producing,—and estimating there to say, that in New York, Mr. Macready by the amount of benefit which the new had such a riotous opposition in the drama of England has received from Theatre from the partizans of Forrest, his patronage. Earliest on the list is, that he was driven from the stage, and we believe, the tragedy of Mirandola,' obliged to seek safety in flight. Nor did by Barry Cornwall, and next Sheridan the affray end here. The military were Knowles's Virginius.' Then comes called out, and were obliged to fire upon Haynes's 'Damon and Pythias,' Shiel's the mob, occasioning, we believe, loss of * Huguenot, Miss Mitford's "Julian,' life. Mr. Macready in disguise reached Knowles's Caius Gracchus' and · Wil- his hotel, and immediately sailed from liam Tell,' Byron's Werner, Knowles's those shores, which had in every other ‘Alfred the Great,' Browning's Stafford,
' instance proved to him so hospitable. Byron's Sardanapalus,' Lovell's Pro- Mr. Macready's personal appearance vost of Bruges,' Talfourd's • Ion,' Bul- is striking; his forehead is broad and wer's 'Duchess de la Valliere' and high ; his eye small, but full of fire ; • Lady of Lyons, Knowles's “Woman's his nose is the most faulty feature of Wit, Byron's "Two Foscari,' Bulwer's his face; his lips are constantly com• Richelieu' and • Sea Captain,' pressed, giving to his face a determinaHaynes's "Mary Stuart, Talfourd's tion, which is borne out by an abrupt * Athenian Captive,' and' Glencoe.' and somewhat harsh manner. His Serle's Master Clarke,'Bulwer’s-Money,' figure, though tall, is not graceful, and Troughton's “ Nina Sforza,' "Gisippus,' he appears to disadvantage in modern by the author of The Collegians,' Dar-costume. ley's 'Plighted Troth,' Byron's Doge On the retirement of Mr. Macready of Venice,' Marston's Patrician's from the stage, the newspapers were Daughter,' Knowles's Secretary,' Brow- full of sketches of his life, and of critining's Blot on the Scutcheon,' White's cisms on his acting. The majority of • King of the Commons,' and Taylor's these papers were laudatory, and per*Philip Van Artevelde.'
haps too much But on the Of these, how many have retained other hand, some severely commented possession of the stage ?- Virginius,' on his behaviour to his brother ac
Damon and Pythias,' William Tell, tors, and especially on his hauteur, • Werner,'Ion, The Lady of Lyons,
' and distant and proud bearing to* Richelieu,' “ Money,' and The Patri- wards the younger professors of his cian's Daughter,'—nine out of a list of art. With this kind of criticism we thirty-three. Of Mr. Macready's own have nothing to do, but the ablest managements at Covent Garden and purely critical paper we insert, recom
mended as it is, by its acute analysis those only a limited number: grief on and poetical appreciation: and more- its petulant side, rage on its demoniac, over by a personal knowledge of the pathos and affection, but all modificaactor, and opportunities which few tions of himself, not representations of others could have had.
a person. Thus all his performances “A career of thirty-four years admits are alike ; and are only variations of of many vicissitudes; we can remember certain general characteristics, such as the whole of Mr. Macready's, though a straddling totter for age, and a defiant many years his junior. We have wit- gait for youth. Now this generalizing nessed its entirety as amateur and cri- personification is the mode of the old tic; and may have said in a slight de- French tragedies, and of our vague and gree to have participated in it. We vapid dramas founded on them. Therehave seen him on and off the stage; in we have the general, but not the have enacted a Shakesperean part to particular. In all Shakespeare's chahim ; have seen him in the green room; racters we have the particular. A perhave constantly criticised him in all the fect man, as true as if we had known new parts, and studied him in the old; him fifty years. No mere tyrant, no and have thus as intimate an acquaint- mere age, no mere youth. Shakespeare ance with his stage life as is well possi- created his style ; it was his in its full ble for a public writer to have. We perfection alone; and probably will so have no feud with him, for we never for ever remain. were in a position to quarrel ; we have “It may be said, in answer to the no partiality, for we only know him as charge of the want of personification, an artist. Thus sure, if truth is to be that Mr. Macready has a great deal of found in criticism, it might be hoped reality; that he is logically correct. for in this memorial; and we are de- True; but we want imaginative truth, sirous to record an opinion that, un- and not harsh facts. It is true Macbeth biassed by either a base or a generous might find his state of man shaken partizanship, shall give a faithful cha- when he goes to murder Duncan, but he racter of one who has filled so promi- is very different from a cowardly burnent a part in theatrical matters. glar. Lear is a choleric, barbaric chief,
" It is now only to consider the oft- but he would not bully every one he mooted question,-is Mr. Macready a comes near. lago is a designing ruffian, Shakesperean actor ? Or, in other but he is not an exaggeration of deceit. words, is he an actor of the highest No rationale in the world will supply genius? To this we must reply in the the want of an entire and perfect imanegative; and our reason is, that he is ginative conception. Neither Brown essentially a man of great and culti- nor Dugald Stewart could supply lanvated talents but has little impulsive guage nor logic to make Hamlet comgenius. To elucidate Shakespeare re- prehensible to a mere mathematical quires something of the same plasticity mind. For these reasons we must say, of imagination, the same wonderful as Godwin said of James I., Mr. quality of conception,-a facility mi- Macready has chosen a wrong trade. nute and keen in its operation, but It is true he has professionally suceasy as 'a cheverel glove;' as boun- ceeded; but he has not artistically. He teous, as full of spirits, as graceful, as has won his way to a high position; prodigal in the richness of its fancy, as by what means principally, we have the poet himself. No actor can study shown. He has commanded admirers; himself into Shakespeare. He must and, to a certain extent, deservedly, we have the lightning flash which reveals do not deny. But it is not for his all at a glance. There is no reducing powers as a personator—as an actor; his perfect creations to an analytical but for merits and demerits that are the process. Now, truly, it seems to us very contrary of those of a great or true that to Mr. Macready is denied plasticity. actor. He is a capital reciter; he has He has not the essential attribute of an a vehemence that kindles emotion. He actor. He cannot personate. He has has strong powers of declamation. He not a particle of the Protean power. appears thoroughly in earnest. He Instead of being subdued to the cha- knows how to suddenly introduce a racter, he subdues the character to reality of action or tone, that surprises himself. Like Le Brun he can give the unreflecting and the unimaginayou certain abstract passions, but of tive into admiration. Still it is Mr.
Macready we hear, see, and know un- “Such being our notions of acting
pass for excellence. Most persons fragmentary, and inharmonious; a forlike to be mentally exited; and are cible declaimer and expounder, but not careless of the means. And those not a pet, and consequently not an actor." easily excited are led frequently by a In reviewing the past life of a man common-place logic, and banishing the who has won so high a position and in idea of illusion, or being impervious to so arduous a profession as Mr. Macready, it, make an analysis of the performance, we cannot but be struck with admiraand are satisfied the facts cohere ra- tion and gratitude when we consider tionally. Neither of these states an- that he has never done anything to deswer to that which the appreciator of grade but on the contrary everything to Shakspeare must be in. To him must elevate his art-he has endeavoured in be awarded some portion of that plastic every way to depress any vicious tenimagination belonging to the poet him- dency which exists either on the stage self. The suggestive power of the or in the lives of those who are devoted dramatist leads him to weave for him- to it; he has shown by his own conself the pictures and the characters be- duct that an actor has a profession fore him. He is neither carried away which is elevating, instructive, and by a spurious enthusiasm, nor misled moral, and which, if rightly professed, by the untimely contagion of some ab- might be brought to the aid of the pulstract emotion; nor is he the slave of a pit itself. Schlegel has well remarked low logic which turns the action of the that "the life of an actor is but the repiece into an arithmetical problem. cord of his art,” and if this life presents But the play and the performance is as few romantic incidents, no great cona fine strairi of music; as a noble and trasts of poverty or wealth, no vivid a cohering stream. It is never thought struggles to emancipate a people, or of as a reality. The vision is perfect as deep study to reform the laws, it yet. the creation of magic, and melts away shows the earnest devotion of one to a into the same unsubstantiality. It is a noble, though a misunderstood art, and thing of the soul and not of the body. his continued and unremitting attempts
crowned with a partial success, to rescue These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirit, and
it from the contempt and degradation Are melted into air, into thin air." to which professors less worthy than
himself had reduced it. Unless poetry be read and played as
H. G. such it is incongruous nonsense, or mere prose upon wheels.
THEODORE EDWARD HOOK. The brilliant meteor which, during its lastic power; and on the first night of brief but dazzling existence, outshines his entrance into Harrow School-whiall the other stars of heaven, and then ther he was soon after sent-he gave fades into impenetrable obscurity, is another illustration of his disposition, speedily forgotten when its transient by throwing a large piece of turf at the radiance has passed away. So is it window of a bed-room, in which a lady with the witty conversationalist—the was retiring to rest. There had been, man of clever sayings—the un salaried of course, not the slightest provocation ; jester, whose pleasant sallies have so and it would appear that no malicious often “set the table in a roar.” He is spirit influenced the deed. It was remembered while amusement is born merely done, at the suggestion of Lord with his smiles, while his lightest words Byron, then a mischievous inmate of are echoed in peals of laughter, and the School. Fortunately, a broken pane while even the mere rolling of his eye of glass was the only damage occasioned is a provocative of merriment; but by the act. Theodore Hook did not when sickness or age have lain their prove an attentive scholar, and obtained fingers upon his brow, or the tomb has no distinction by his studies. He conclosed upon him, he rarely occupies fesses that he had no application; that even the humblest place in the memory tasks which could be done quickly he of his former admirers. Hook formed could do well: but that to devote himno exception to this rule. He was the self assiduously to any study, especially “ comet of a season,” praised, flattered, that of languages, he was quite unable. worshipped; but when he vanished, the What progress he might ultimately momentary inconvenience occasioned have made, what effect upon his nature by his loss was remedied by less gifted the stimulus of rivalry might have exbut equally amusing successors. In erted, it would be idle now to discuss. the mad whirlpool of fashion and plea- Unfortunately the death of his mother, sure he had been hurrying round year to whom he was deeply attached, preby year, drawing closer to the fatal maturely terminated his school life. He vortex, and when at last he was en- went home, his father found relief from gulfed beneath the tide, the waters sorrow in the lively conversation of his dashed on as rapidly and as laughingly young son, and would not hear of his as before.
return to Harrow. Theodore had no THEODORE EDWARD Hook was born desire to revisit that seat of learning. in London on the 22nd September, He preferred to remain with his father. 1788. His father was for many years Town talk was better than school musical director of Vauxhall Gardens, teaching. The last new song at Vauxand composed the music of upwards of hall was worth the whole Latin Dic2000 songs for operettas, vaudevilles, tionary, and we suspect he went little and other light dramatic pieces of that farther into that language than the day. An elder brother of Theodore was exempla minora. Accordingly Theodore destined for the church, took holy or- remained at home; but he was not alders, and became Dean of Worcester, together idle. Secretly, and no doubt but the embryo wit manifested decided with some little fear and trembling, he symptoms of unfitness to follow in the wrote two or three songs, composed the same course. At a very early age he music for them, and one day, to the displayed a talent for practical joking, astonishment and delight of his father, and scholastic rule, as may be supposed, produced these precocious evidences of was one of the first subjects against talent. That day decided Theodore which it was directed. From an aca- Hook's fate. There could be no more demy in Soho Square, at which he had schooling after such a display of genius, been placed, he absented himself with- and, as author and composer, father and out permission for a fortnight. An ac- son now entered into partnership. But cident revealed this truant conduct of the young musical bard soon grew amthe boy, and parental hands soon pu- bitious; mere song-writing and songnished it. But to eradicate that, which singing-in both of which arts he had in Hook's case appears to have been become proficient—did not satisfy those inherent, was beyond parental or scho- yearnings for applause with which the extravagant praises of indulgent friends tioneering contest for Westminster, the had filled his breast. His pen took a whole of the company were amazed by higher flight, and in 1805 his first dra- the power which Hook displayed. Shematic effort, “ The Soldier's Return,” ridan was gratified beyond measure with (the music of which was composed by the young author, congratulated him his father,) was produced at Drury Lane upon the possession of such peculiar Theatre. This piece, flimsy enough in and brilliant talent, and afterwards itself, and no doubt borrowed without mentioned his name in terms of high acknowledgment from some French eulogy to many aristocratic friends. author—as almost every piece produced Thenceforth Hook became a • lion." at the present day is—met with a high- He was invited to noble houses to disly favourable reception, and Theodore play his surprising genius-as profesHook, at the age of sixteen, found him- sors of parlour legerdemain are intro. self a successful dramatist. To all those duced into festive parties at Christmas mysterious fascinations generally sup- time—and delighted his high-born paposed to exist“ behind the scenes,” trons with an exhibition of wit and Hook was now admitted. The com- cleverness, which quite enchanted them panion of Liston, Terry, Mathews, and by its novelty. Even royalty became other popular actors, he kept the green anxious to hear the performances of room and the entire company of the Mr. Hook, and one ever ng, at a suptheatre in a constant state of merriment per in Manchester Square, the Prince by his sprightly manners, his witty of Wales attended for the express pursayings, and his practical jokes. While pose of gratifying his curiosity, gracepassing through this dangerous exist- fully acknowledged the pleasure which ence he did not forget to exercise those the improvisatore had afforded him, and talents which had thus early received left Hook in a perfect flutter of delight. the stamp of public recognition and In fact, it was not surprising, at such approval. In rapid succession he con- an early age, with a mind comparatively tributed several farces, vaudevilles and unstrengthened by education, and filled melodramas, to the Haymarket and with the most extravagant ideas of its Lyceum theatres. Of these pieces own powers, that he should become inscarcely one is now to be met with on toxicated with the incense of flattery the stage.
Tekeli,” a violent melo- and applause which had risen around drama, of the transpontine school, is him. He soon felt a distaste for his occasionally performed at some of the dramatic avocations, and looked upon minor theatres of the metropolis, and the stage with the most intense con
Killing no Murder," Hook's best tempt. The glimpses he had seen of farce, now and then undergoes repro- fashionable life were sufficiently dazduction : but despite its real wit, the zling to render him discontented with coarse and meagre character of the a less glittering existence. He began plot renders the piece disagreeable to a to fancy himself fitted only for that modern audience. But Hook soon be- sphere in which he had gained so much gan to be known in another capacity distinction. He entered into all the besides that of a successful dramatic gaieties and amusements of the town, writer. As an extempore versifier and soon rendered himself famous by and composer, he had by turns asto- the originality and impudence of his nished and delighted a large circle of exploits. He formed a · Museum of friends. He would sit down to the Practical Jokes,” in which knockers, piano and pour forth verse after verse sign-boards, barbers' poles, gigantic of unpremeditated song -some incident Highlanders, &c.—the glorious trophies that had occurred during the evening, of many a midnight deed—were dissome peculiarity in the name or appear- played for the gaze of admiring friends. ance of the guests, interwoven with Hook, therefore, had the miserable disallusions to passing topics and well tinction of founding, that cruel, thoughtgarnished with puns-generally form- less, and unmanly school of practical ing the material of these efforts of im- jokers, the greatest disciples of which provisation, which, although brilliant, were the Marquis of Waterford, and had in them no real merit. His fame certain medical students. Foreign naspread rapidly. At a dinner given by tions looked with surprise at an Engthe actors of Drury Lane, to congratu- lish lord going about attended by a late Sheridan on the success of his elec- prize-fighter, who, at a sign by his lord