« PředchozíPokračovat »
equal master to himself. From these various five feet eight; his form rather inclining to the excellencies, he had so full a possession of the athletic, though nothing clumsy or heavy; his esteem and regard of his auditors, lhat upon his air and deparlment naturally graceful, with a entrance into every scence, be seemed to seize marking eye, and a manly sweetness in his upon the eyes and ears of the giddy and in- countenance. His voice was completely haradvertent. To have talked or looked another mopious, from the softness of the flute, to the way, would then have been thought insensibility extent of the trumpet : his allitudes were all or ignorance. In all his soliloquies of moment, picturesque ; he was poble in his designs, and the strong intelligence of his attitude and aspect happy in his execution.” His principal parts drew you into such an impatient gaze, and in Shakspeare's plays were, Othello, Lear, eager expectation, that you almost imbibed the Brutus, and the Ghost in Hamlet. Cibber, sentiment with your eyes, before the ear could though sparing in bis praise of Booth, highly reach it. I never heard a line in tragedy come commends his Othello :-" The master-piece from Beiterton, wherein my judgment, my ear, of Booth (says he) was his Oibello; there he and my imagination were not fully satisfied; was most in character, and seemed not more which, since his time I cannot equally say of any to animate himself in it than his spectators.” one actor whatsoever. That genius, which na- Other contemporaries are more lavish in ture only gives, only can complete an actor; this their praises of him in this part, and particugenius, then, was so strong in Belterton, that larly in the following passage : it sbone out in every speech and motion of him.
“This fellow's of exceeding honesty, (Yet voice and person are such necessary sup- And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit, ports to it, ibal, by the multitude, they have of human dealings." been preferred to genius itsell; or, at least, This he spoke with his eye fixed upon lago's often mistaken for it.) Bellerton had a voice
exit, after a long pause, as if weighing the of that kind, which gave more spirit to terror, Iban to the softer passions ; of more strength and in a low tone of voice.
general character of the man in his own mind,
Then starting into tban melody. The rage and jealousy of Othel
angerlo became him beller than the sighs and tenderness of Castalio: for though in Castalio
If I do find her haggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings, be only excelled others, in Othello he excelled
To prey at fortune." himself; which you will easily believe, when you consider, that in spite of his complexion, Then a pause, as if to rumipate. Othello has more natural beauties than the best actor can find in all the magazines of poetry, to
Haply, for I am black,
And have not those soft parts of conversation animate bis power, and delight his judgment with. “The person of this excellent actor was
Then a look of amazement at seeing Desdesuitable to bis voice, more manly than sweet, mona, the voice and countenance softened into Dot exceeding the middle stature, inclining 10 love: ibe corpulent; of a serious and penetraling "If she be false, 0, then heav'n mocks itself! aspect; bis limbs nearer the albletic than the delicate proportion; yet, however formed, there
“ In Ibis, and all the distressful passages of arose, from the harmony of the whole, a com
heart-breaking anguish and jealousy (says manding view of majesty, which the fairer Victor), I have frequently seen all the men, faced, or (as Shakspeare calls them) the curled susceptible of the tender passions, in tears." darlings of his time, ever wanted sometbing to Boolb's excellence in Brulus was the effect be equal masters of.”
of a fine study of the part, which he acquired Bellerton died in April, 1710.
by his taste and intimate knowledge of the
classics. In the tent scene, when Cassius BOOTH.
reiterates, Booth, with a very classical and highly im- "What, durst not tempt him?" proved judgment, possessed all the natural powers of an actor in a very eminent degree. and Brutus in reply says, " He was (says Victor) of a middle stature,
“For your life, you durst not;"
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind
That chamberers have."
L'il vot believe it."
Quin spoke the last line with a look of anger an actor; but they wrote to those who had seen and a tope of voice approaching lo rage; but his performances, and are, for the most part, Booth, on the contrary, looking stedfastly at content with general encomiums, from which Cassius, pronounced these words not much little or nothing can be gleaned, as to his disraised above a whisper, yet with such a firm- | tinctive excellencies. We shall proceed to ness of lone, as always produced the most make such selections from contemporary writers powerful effect. Again, when Brutus says, as will best serve lo illustrate his felicitous col
ception, and wonderful performance of Sbak«When I spoke this, I was ill-temper'd too,"
speare's characters. Richard III. was bis first he prepared the audience so for the cause of triumph. “The moment he appeared ( says his still temper, by shewing that he had some Murphy), the character he assumed was visible private griefs at heart, as to call up the utmost in his countenance; the power of his imaginaallenlion; but when he afterwards acquaints tion was such, that be transformed himself into them with the cause,
the very man; tbe passions rose in rapid succes
sion, and, before he ultered a word, were "No man bears sorrow better-Portia's dead,"
legible in every feature of that expressive face.
His look, his voice, his attitude, changed with the expressive pause before he spoke the last
every sentiment. The rage and rapidity with words, and his heart-piercing manner in speak
which he enunciated ing them, forced every auditor to be a parlicipalor of his sorrows.
« The north-what do they in the north, Booth, as King Lear, made a very powerful
When they should serve their sovereign in the west ?' impression. In the scene where the old mo- made a most astonishing impression. His narch is discovered asleep in Cordelia’s lap, soliloquy in the lent scene seemed to discover and where he breaks out,
his very soul. Every thing he described was
almost reality; the spectator thought he heard “Old Lear shall be a king again.
the hum of either army from camp to camp, and he was inimitably expressive, from the full steed threatening steed. When he started from tones of his voice, and the admirable manner his dream, he was a spectacle of horror. He of harmonizing his words.
called out in a manly tone, “Give me another The Ghost in Hamlet was Booth's favourite horse.' He paused, and, with a countenance part. He acted it with the perfect approbation of distress, advanced, exclaming in a lone of of Belterton, who was bis Hamlet for many distress. Bind up my wounds;' and then years; and this performance was highly praised falling on his knees, said, in the most piteous by Macklin, who said he was never imilated with accent, 'Have mercy, heaven! In all this, success. His lones and manner, throughout his and indeed through the whole representation, conference with Hamlet, were grave and pa- we saw an exact imitation of nature. thelic; his tread solemn and awful; and, in “King Lear was Garrick's most perfect the recital of his murder by a brother's hand, effort; in this part he has confessedly remained and the conduct of his most seeming virtuous without equal or rival. He was transformed queen, the audience appeared to be under the into a feeble old man, still, however, retaining impression of seeing and bearing a real ghost. an air of royalty. He had no sudden starts, no He was, besides, always particularly well dress- violent gesticulations ; his movements were ed for the character, even lo the soles of his slow and languid; misery was depicted in every shoes, which, from being covered with felt, feature of his face; he moved his head in the made no noise in walking on the stage, which most deliberate manner; his eyes were fixed, of he crossed as if he slid over il, and which if they turned to any one near him, he made strongly corresponded with the ideas we have a pause, and fixed bis look on the person after of an incorporeal being.—Bolh died in May, much delay; his features at the same time es1733.
pressing what he was going to say before he
ultered a word. During the whole perforGARRICK.
mance, he presented an aspect of extreme grief,
and a total alienation of mind from every idea, All the authors of Garrick's day agree in but that of his unkind daughters. How awful praising bis various and astonishing powers as was his preparalion for the imprecation on Goneril! be stood for a moment like one struck | mind. On the appearance of the Ghost, such dumb, at the sudden and unexpected feel of a figure of consternation was never seen. He liis child's ingratitude; then throwing away stood fixed in mule astonishment, and the aubis crutch, kneeling on one knee, clasping his dience saw him growing paler and paler. After hands together, and lifting up his eyes towards an interval of suspense, he spoke in a low and beaven, rendered the whole of the curse so trembling accent, and uttered his questions with terribly affecting lo the audience, that during the greatest difficulty.” The rest of Murphy's Ibe allerance of it, they seemed to shrink as account of Garrick in this part, is uninteresting, from a blast of lightning. Indeed, the pieture because totally deficient in that particularity he presented, independent of the language, which only can convey information. Davies was worthy the pencil of Raphael in the divinest is equally myslic; and unfortunately we have the Doments of his imagination.” He used to beller authorities. tell how he gained a just conception of this Macbeth afforded another opportunity for the dificult part. He had an acquaintance in display of Garrick's talents. He seems to have Leman-street, Goodman's fields, who had an acled it very finely; but nothing is preserved only daughter about two years old; as be stood relative to bis mode of representing the guilty at bis dining-room window, fondling the child, Thane, more descriplive than what follows:be dropped the infant into a paved area, and it “ Conscious of his full design, Macbeth, with was killed on the spot. He remained at the terror and dismay, says, “Is this a dagger that window, screaming in agonies of gries; the I see before me?' Garrick’s altitude, his conDeighbours look up the child, and delivered it sternation, and his pause, while his soul apdead to the unhappy father, who wept billerly. peared in his countenance, and the accents that From that moment he lost bis reason, which he followed, astonished the spectators. The sequel Dever recovered. Being rich, he continued in was a climax of terror, lill at last he finds it lo bis bouse under the care of keepers, appointed be the effect of a disordered imagination, and by Dr. Monro. Garrick often visited bis dis- exclaims : tracted friend, who passed the whole of his lime
"It is the bloody business which informs in going to the window, and there playing in fancy with his child. After some dalliance be When Garrick re-entered the scene, with the dropt it, and burst into a terrible agony of bloody dagger in his hand, he was absolutely grief. He would then sit down in a pensive scared out of his senses, he looked like a ghastly mood, his eyes fixed on one object, at limes spectacle, and his complexion grew whiter every looking slowly round him, as is to implore com
moment, lill at length, his conscience stung and passion. Garrick was often present at these pierced to the quick, he said, in a lone of wild scenes of misery, and used.to say that it gave
despair : bim the first idea of Lear's madness. Ale some
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood times gave a representation of this unhappy
Clean froni my hand." (alber. He leaned on the back of a chair, seeming, with parental fondness, to play with Garrick performed Benedick in Much Ado a child; and, after expressing the most heart felt about Nothing, with great success; his Othello delight, he suddenly seemed to drop the infant, was a decided failure ; and bis claim to praise and instantly broke into a most violent agony for a happy illustration of Shakspeare's plays, of grief, so tender, so affecting, that every eye must ultimately depend on his represenlation in the company was moistened with a gush or of the characters already mentioned." lears.” Hamlet was undoubtedly a favourite cha
BARRY. tacter with Garrick; yel judging from his unpardonable alteration of that fine play, we might Barry was, in person, about five feet eleven cuppose be had no true relish of the character. | inches high, finely formed, and possessing a Murphy, however, and all his biographers are countenance, in which manliness and sweetness warm in praising his alienation of the Prince were so happily blended, as formed one of the
! Denmark. "In all the shiftings of the pas- best imitations of the Apollo Belvidere. With sions, in which the tragedy abounds, his voice ibis fine commanding figure, he was so much and attitude changed with wonderful celerily; | in the free and easy management of bis limbs, and, at every pause, his face was an indes to his as never to look encunubered, or present an un
Thus to mine eyes.'
graceful attitude, in all his various movements
• But there, where I had garner'd up my heart,
Wbere either I must live, or bear no life;" on the stage. Even his exits and entrances had peculiar grace, from their characteristic ease the extremes of love and grief were so powerand simplicity. In short, when he appeared fully painted in his face, and so expressively in the scene, grouped with other actors of or- given in his lones, that the audience seemed to dinary size, he appeared as much above them in lose the energies of their hands, and could only his various qualifications, as in the proud su- thank him with their lears. In Othello, the periority of his figure. To this figure he added author rises from scene to scene to a climar of a voice so peculiarly musical, as, very early in horror and intense interest never equalled in any life, obtained him the appellation of “ The silver- language ; and Barry was an actor that kept loned Barry,” wbich, in all his love scenes pace with the mighty poet whose conceptions be (lighted up by the smiles of such a countenance) embodied; bis ravings over the dead body of was persuasion itself. Indeed, so strongly did his innocent wife, bis reconciliation with Cassio, he communicate his feelings on these occasions, and his dying soliloquy, were all in the fall that, whoever observed the expressive coun- play of varied excellence, and forced from the tenances of most of the female parts of his au- severest critic the most unqualified applause. dience, would fancy that each seemed to say, Coller Cibber, with all his partialities for Betin the language of Desdemona, “Would that terton, gave Barry the palm in Othello. heaven had made me such a man!"
Notwithstanding the great popularity of this His greatest triumph was Othello. This was actor, it is a singular fact that not any good the first character he ever appeared in, the first portrait of him exists, or we should have cerhis inclinations prompted him to attempt, and lainly added bim to our group. the first, without question, that exhibited his Barry died in January, 1777. genius in the full force and variety of its powers. In the outset of Othello, when he speaks but a
HENDERSON. few short sentences, there appears a dignified calmness in his nature. These passages are We have no very perfect account of this great often passed over as if the actor reserved him- actor, who, it appears, was rejected by Garrick, self for something more striking; but Barry knew as altogether unfit for the stage; a striking inthe value of these introductory traits of cha- stance of that wonderful artist's jealousy or want racter; and in his very first speeclı, “It's belter of judgment. The following extracts from as it is,” bespoke such a preeminence of judg- Boaden's Life of Kemble, convey a lolerably ment, such a noble forbearance of temper, as good idea of Henderson's peculiar style of actroused the attention of his audience, and led ing, and are abundantly sufficient to etablish them to anticipate the highest gratification. His his claim to the very highest rank in his art: address to the senate was a glorious piece of “Mr. Henderson was, as this time (just oratory. In the recital of his “ feals of broils before the appearance of John Kemble) perbaps and battles," the courage of the soldier was the greatest master of his art; he resembled his fully seen; but when he came to the tender illustrious predecessor (Garrick) in his versatiejaculations of Desdemona, his voice was so lity. His tragedy, however, was certainly inharmonised to the expression, that the sigh offerior to his comedy. In the former, he had pity comunicated itself to the whole house. In comparatively fewer requisites. His underthe second act, when he meets Desdemona at standing was of the highest order, and his Cyprus, after the storm, his rushing into her feelings could be instantaneously excited; but arms, and repeating that fine speech—"0! his person was without either dignity or grace; my soul's joy!" was the action and voice of and his eye, though well placed for expression, love itself; describing that passion in so ecstatic wanted colour, as his face, though rather handa manner, as seemingly justified his fears, that some, was too fleshy to shew all the muscular such transports could never recur. Through action, in which expression resides. He was the whole of the third act, where lago is working neglectful, too, of such aids as might have him up to jealousy, bis breaks of love and rage been bad lo this figure. He paid not the slightwere masterpieces of nature; but in his con- est attention to costume, and was indifferent ference with Desdemona in the filth act, where even as to the neatness of his dress. He affected he describes the agony of his mind, and then to care nothing about it. He pleased liimself looking tenderly on her, exclaims,
that he could at length make you forget the want