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With this Number, which concludes the fourth Volume, the PÀOPRIETOR and CONDUCTOR takes leave of the Subscribers to the Cabinet ; other avocations putting it out of his power to devote any further attention to it. He mentions this circumstance merely in explanation of the contents of the present Number, which, as the new Proprietors and Editor do not intend to continue the Plays, is so arranged as to include many of the Portraits intended for that department, and will thus afford the purchaser an opportunity of binding up all the Embellishments.
and Lord Townly. He spoke highly of the first, but with the most unqualified applause of the two last, which were perfect models of ease and good breeding. To these testimonies we shall add that of an Irish Barrister, of great eminence, who died about thirty years ago, and who was always considered not more eminent in the walks of his profession than in those of dramatic criticism. From him we have been informed, “ that whatever Wilks did upon the stage, let it be ever so trifling, whether it consisted in putting on his gloves or taking out his watch, lolling on his cane or taking snuff, every movement was marked with such an ease of breeding and manner, every thing told so strongly the involuntary motion of a gentleman, that it was impossible to consider the character he represented in any other light than that of a reality.”
“ But what was still more surprising,” said the Gentleman, in relating this arecdote, “ that the person who could thus delight an audience, from the gaiety and sprightliness of his manner, I met the next day in the street hobbling to a hackney-coach, seemingly so enfeebled by age and infirmities, that I could scarcely believe him to be the same man.” Such is the power of illusion, when a great genius feels the importance of character * !”
With Wilks's general talents for tragedy, there were some parts that he was unequal to; and in particular the Ghost in Hamlet. One day, at rehearsal, Booth took the liberty to jest with him upon it. “Why, Bob,” says he, “ I thought last night you wanted to play at fisty-cuffs with me, (Booth played Hamlet to his Ghost,) you bullied me so, who, by the bye, you ought to have revered. I remember, when I acted the Ghost with Betterton, instead of my awing him, he terrified me but there was a divinity hung round that man!"
To this rebuke, Wilks, feeling its propriety, modestly replied, “ Mr. Betterton and År. Booth could always act as they pleased; but, for my part, I must do as well as I can.
* The above event took place in the year 1729, two years before the death of Wilks, who, as Cibber tells us,
was much more enfeebled by the constant irritations of his temper than he was hy his declining years."
Raptur'd with the nervous strain,
From the mountain's side I darted ;
And from worldly cares departed.
While among the stars I wander'd,
Sounds sympbonious touch'd mine ears;
Fix'd to no peculiar spheres.
Here my heavenly Mentor left me,
Dark’ning all the concave bright;
And destroy'd my wonted sight.
Through the wasteful glooms I fell,
Through the londly-roaring ocean,
Where I heard a wild comniotion !
'Long the dun sulphureous regions,
Far my wailings deep resounded ;
At the noise recoil'd astounded !
Serpents now about me twin'd,
Flaky fires sear'd all my skin;
Fann'd the burning fames within !
Struggling from the boiling billows,
Sleep dissolv'd his genial spell;
View'd a newly chorded shell !?
Whilst not a sound disturbs the midnight air,
And Cynthia flings her solitary gleams
Who 'guiles the sad hours with fantastic dreams.com
Alone thro' woods unvisited I'll stray,
And wake the listless numbers of my lyre;
To her who lives with the Eternal Sire!
I'll lay my head, and to the moon complain ;
Shall stop my haud, and soothe my fev'rish brain:
Swept by the gale, of her I lov'd so well!
DOUBTFUL INTERROGATIONS RESOLVED.
And the charms of the world a dark chaos appear;
Say, where can I find a protector sincere?
To drown my complainings--to shield me from death?
To the pangs of misfortune, the comforting breath!
No longer my torments of mind can appease !
Can sooth Melancholy's corroding disease !
Flings the sunshine of peace to enliven my heart;
And the softest emotions of pity impart.
Ye black leering horrors ! ye spirits forlorn !
Of Hecat's in hell's foulest labyrinth born !
Or heed your endeavours to tear me in twain;
And prove all your arts to oppress me are vain!