Page images

"Get you, therefore, hence,

Poor miserable wretches, to your death.

The taste whereof, God, of his mercy give you
Patience to endure."

If you encourage persons to send you contributions of this kind, we shall soon see a better Shakspére glossary than any we possess.

Yours, &c.,

"Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere."

J. B.

KING HENRY IV. Act V. Scene 1.

The address of Yelverton, Attorney-General on the occasion of Sir Walter Raleigh's being brought up by habeas corpus on 26th Oct. 1618, to have execution of the judgment on the conviction for treason, in 1603, awarded against him by the Court of King's Bench, seems to be a parallel of, if not borrowed from, this idea of Shakspere :-" Sir Walter hath been a statesman, and a man who, in regard of his parts and quality, is to be pitied. He hath been as a star at which the world hath gazed; but stars may fall, nay, they must fall, when they trouble the sphere wherein they abide."

However, the allusion to a falling star is not unfrequently to be met with in the poetry of Shakspere's time. Donne says, "Go and catch a falling star." And in Suckling's poems a similar thought is expressed.

In the Pipe Roll of the 4th Edward III., "Willms de Lucy, nuper custos pacis Regis in com' Warwick reddit compotum de iiij. li. de fine pro transgressionibus," &c. By this it appears that the family of Lucy have for time immemorial afforded justices of the peace for the county of Warwick. In the present instance, the record proceeds to state that the Willm. Lucy, who accounts to the Exchequer for the fine he had received for trespasses committed, paid 40s. by two tallies, and remained a debtor to the Exchequer of 61. From the circumstance of his accounting for a fine received by him, it appears that he was like his descendant and successor in the magisterial office, custos rotulorum, or (as Shallow expresses it) custalorum. T. E. T.

The Brama.


THIS magnificent theatre opened on the 1st October. Having noticed the production of "As You Like It," in the body of our work, it is not necessary to do more than allude to it here.

"King John," illustrated in the same ample and correct manner, was produced on the 26th instant; but, as we intend to give the attention due to such elaborate and costly illustrations of the great national poet in a series of articles, where something like justice can be done to them, we shall do no more at present than refer to it, and recommend every scholar to go and see this magnificent pourtrayal of the manners, implements, and costume, of the middle ages, exemplified in a very pictorial manner.

The off-nights, as they are termed, have been filled up with what are called the old stock pieces. And as they do not draw an audience, and cannot add in any way to the character of the management, we are at a loss to know why they are played.

It appears to be a mere superstition that clings to theatrical people concerning them. And they do not perceive that with the departure of the manners they represented, and the sentiments they echoed, they too have gone. A tailor might as well endeavour to revive the cocked hats and salt box waistcoats of our ancestors. They are not more obsolete than the manners and sentiments of these comedies, as they are called. They undoubtedly reflected the public feeling of their day, and so far were dramatic; but the public of this day will not be satisfied with the echoes of a language they do not comprehend, nor, consequently, cannot care for. A few white-headed gentlemen may eulogise them with that garrulity that belongs to the memory of youthful pleasure; but the men of this day know nothing about them; and that that is the case, cannot be more sufficiently proved than by our being asked by a literary gentleman and an influential critic, "Who wrote the Road to Ruin ?""

The present day demands its drama, and will have it somewhere, as well as any other-and no matter whether in two acts, three, five, or ten; and the man who produces it will be sure, to use a commercial phrase, to manufacture an article that will be in universal demand. Those who do not, will find their stock remain heavy on their hands, and will be ultimately ruined by it.

The new afterpiece, by Mr. Planché, "The Follies of a Night," is much nearer the wants of the play-goers, and has, consequently, been very successful. It is well constructed, and is agreeble and entertaining. The invention, gaiety, and cleverness required for the production of such a piece, are not common qualifications, though they are not to be confounded with those higher attribuets that lift the great Drmatist to the loftest state the intellect can acquire.


We are very glad to be able to give a very sincere and cordial approbation to a piece by Mr. Mark Lemon, "Grandfather Whitehead." It is founded on a French Drama, in which Bouffé personated the principal character. Mr. Mark Lemon, however, by his own peculiar talent, has made it essentially English, and his own. It consists in the delicate and interesting development of the affection of an old man for a child, his grandson. The fondness tinged with folly, the intellect obliterated, but the heart in full action, are manifested in a series of circumstances that show strongly the author's knowledge of character, and the strength of his invention. Mr. Farren's delineation of the character was full of pathos and humour, and manifested his fine knowledge of the peculiarities and characteristics of age. The youth was pleasingly and admirably performed by Master Webster.

Mr. Buckstone has returned, and has been performing in his own pieces, which, though not very high productions, bespeak a true dramatic feeling, and roughly reflect the genuine humours of the day.


Since the publication of our last number, an English version of Rossini's Opera of "Semiramide" has been produced at Covent Garden Theatre. The characters being cast as follows:-Miss Adelaide Kemble, as Semiramide; Mrs. Alfred Shaw, as Arsace; Giubilei, as Assur ; Leffler, as Oroe. Miss Kemble's powers and qualifications are well known; and the greatest interest was derived from the first appearance of Mrs. Alfred Shaw on the English Stage: a lady who has long been a Concert Singer of the first eminence, and has likewise gained a Continental celebrity. Her voice is a contra alto of considerable compass and great flexibility; and her mode of passing from one note to another smooth, and her execution very perfect. Her enunciation is likewise excellent. In the celebrated duet, Giorno d'orrore, her voice blended most beautifully with Miss Kemble's, and the passages were sung with the greatest effect and feeling. In one instance, (we think it was in this duet,) Mrs. Shaw gave a fifth, where a third was written, with great felicity.

It is impossible not to revert to the things that were, and our recollections of Pasta operate as a severe test in judging of Miss Kemble. Her voice is not full and round enough to give perfect effect to the music of this Opera- nor should we say that she feels herself so much at home in it as in "Norma :" but still it must be considered as a high and tasteful performance; and her acting was very fine. In the duet between Assur and Semiramide, Giubilei was opposed to Galli in our recollection. His voice is deep and powerful, but his execution abrupt and unshaded-he does not attend sufficiently to the diminuendos. The old trick of travelling down the scale to the lowest note of his organ is what the best of the audience do not care for, but if done very occasionally, to show the compass of the singer, may be excused; but there the matter should end. Leffler's voice told well in the concerted pieces.

The scenery and decorations are most splendid.

Great pains have evidently been taken to subdue the orchestra, but unqualified praise cannot be given. The remarkable passage in the Overture, of the alternation of two notes, was anything but cleanly done by the violins. Their mode of syncopating is likewise coarse in the extreme; the division of the syncopated note should hardly be heard, whereas they cut the note in two and bray out the second part of it.

That part of the Overture in which the clarionet takes the lead, and other wind instruments follow, was done with precision; but the clarionets were not good in tone.

As a whole, however, it is a praiseworthy effort, and, as contrasted with the English Operatic entertainments a few years since, proves the advance of taste on the part of the public, and of the increased proficiency of the musical profession.

On the off-nights here, too, the same extraordinary policy has been pursued as at the other theatres, and Mr. Vandenhoff has been performing "stock pieces" in a mediocre manner to a miserable account of empty boxes. The manager at last has announced, and very properly determines to play that which is demanded, namely, Opera, four times a week; and if he did so six, he would be so much the wiser.

Critical Register of Books.

Classical, &c.

Attica and Athens; An Inquiry into the Civil, Moral and Religious Institutions of the Inhabitants; the Rise and Decline of the Athenian Power; and the Topography and Chorography of Ancient Attica and Athens. With a Map and Plan. Translated from the German of K. O. Müller, Grotefend, and others, by John Ingram Lockhart, F.R.A.S. pp. 194. Groombridge. This is a very judicious selection from the writings of five eminent German

scholars. More than half the book

(114 pp.) is occupied by Müller's masterly essay on the topography, natural features, political divisions, and public buildings of Athens and Attica. With this profoundly learned, but most unpedantic and unobtrusive guide at his elbow, the Greek scholar, sitting by his English fireside, may feel that he treads in soul, with a firm step and an untroubled eye, that glorious land that has hitherto, perhaps, worn for him the aspect of a lovely but bewildering dream. Grotenfeld contributes a short essay, the condensed result of much research and thought, on what may be called the natural history of the Athenian people, their origin and descent, and the accidents that determined the peculiar bent of their moral character, their mythology, their social and political institutions, and so forth. A chronological epitome, by Canngiesser, carries the political history of Athens down to the year 1690. Its political and civil economy, in ancient times, are admirably investigated by Gruber: and, lastly, a few pages by Von Hammer describe the state of Athens and Attica about the year 1820.

Educational, &c. The Harmony of the Latin and Greek Languages. By the Rev. Thomas Hill, A.M. 12mo. pp. 55. Edwards. This is a parallel syntax of the two languages, in which the rules are expressed on the whole with much neatness and perspicuity, and illustrated by pertinent examples. The author has wisely abstained from any

thing like metaphysical disquisition; contenting himself with the simplest exposition of those phenomena in the construction of the two languages, with which it is the student's first concern to become acquainted as mere facts. It would give us much pleasure to find this little work become the text-book for Latin and Greek syntax in our schools. As it may be used for either of these separately, it may at once be put into the hands of the junior classes; whilst it must manifestly greatly lighten the labour of those who, having made some little progress in Latin, are beginning the study of Greek. O! that there had been such a book in existence some— no matter how many-years ago, in our school-boy days! We should have thought, full surely, the millennium was at hand, had any one laid before us a book that without compression might fit into the compass of a common sheet almanack, and yet containing, with tabular clearness and pointedness, the whole of the positive syntax of Greek and Latin. But we are no longer light-hearted schoolboys; stern critics are we, whose vocation it is nodum in scirpo quærere: we must, therefore, say that there are one or two slight blemishes in the book, which Mr. Hill will no doubt himself discover and correct in a future edition. One such occurs, for instance, at page 16, where he speaks of opus exceptionally governing the dative case, his example being, "Dux nobis et auctor, opus est."— Cic. Now the use of nobis in this phrase is not exceptional: opus is generally accompanied with a dative of the person and an ablative of the thing: the exceptional peculiarity consists in the thing needed being expressed in the nominative.

Fiction, &c.

Richard Savage; a Romance of Real Life. By Charles Whitehead, Author of The Solitary." 3 vols. post 8vo. pp. 1008.

This work of fiction fully bears out its own description; it is indeed “A Romance of Real Life." The charac

ters, events, and incidents, are all real as they can possibly be, and still have the interest of romance attached to them. This proves the genius of the Author, and arises from his power to invest the individual with a universal interest. Mr. Whitehead, however, has given us a painful view of human nature; and his masterly dissection of the moral nature does not leave nearly so elevating a feeling as the dissection of the physical. When the nervous unpleasantness of the latter is conquered, a sublime wonder follows in the developement of the intricate construction of our mortal frames, and the beauty of the adaptation of the means to the end. But in the dissection of the moral nature, a hideous mass of meanness and depravity is revealed.

The characters in this novel, or rather this history of a certain set of human beings with fictitious names and circumstances, are vividly portrayed; occasionally, perhaps, betraying the labour with which they have been carved out by the author; but still strong, muscular, and palpable, leaving the impression on the reader of actual acquaintanceship. The description of inanimate objects is equally forcible, and every thing and circumstance is set before the reader in the strongest relief. There is no straining after effect-no melo-dramatic excitation of suspense-no exaggerated and wire-drawn developement of events. Mr. Whitehead has relied on the power of nature and reality, and on his extraordinary skill to depict it.

For these reasons, the work must become a standard one. It may not at first captivate those who read only to be startled with a monstrosity, or tickled with a conceit: but it will gradually win its way. All who look for genius to introduce man to nature-who desire in their reading to find knowledge, and that of the profoundest and most useful kind, that of the human heart, conveyed to them, will approve of the Romance of Richard Savage. It will pass from hand to hand and from mind to mind, as a very masterly delineation of the human creature and character. It is

an addition to that knowledge of our infinitely versatile nature, which has already been so ably revealed to us by the greatest writers, Shakspeare, Cervantes, Rabelais, and Fielding.

We are not penning, nor have we any motive to pen, an eulogy on Mr. Whitehead: to do so would be an insult to him or any other man of true intellectual power; but we speak that which is true, and can be demonstrated. Mr. Whitehead has his faults; but they are chiefly faults of manner. He has also his unpleasantnesses, which may be faults of nature. He seems to look sternly on our race. He is indeed truly dramatic; for his own sensations are never apparent. He is totally independent of his characters, and he relates their vicissitudes and reveals their fortunes, as if he cared not for them as if all that this world could afford, either of good or evil fortune, was but dust in the balance. This casts a sombre hue over his pages, and leaves the reader in a very reflective, if not mournful, state of mind.

Not that the Author is deficient in powers of humour, but he is cynical in his application of them, and draws human frailty with an unflinching and uncompromising truth and severity. The great merit of his writing consists in the masterly manner in which he individualizes his characters. And this bespeaks the highest powers of invention and delineation. In doing this, most authors give us only characteristics, but Mr. Whitehead, at the same time, as all true geniuses do, gives the human being. His powers of observation must be acute and active, and his penetration into character extraordinary. The characters of Ludlow, Burridge, Myte, and many others, are essentially what are termed eccentrics; but they are such eccentrics as one immediately acknowledges-as much as if one saw them in their actual vitality. In this closeness of delineation of character of various form and kind, we will venture to say, to the immense peril of our critical reputation, that Mr. Whitehead exceeds Dickens, or any living English writer, and approaches the very few great ones, such as Cervan

« PreviousContinue »