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equal master to himself. From these various five feet eight; bis 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, that upon his , air and department naturally graceful, with a entrance into every scence, he seemed to seize marking eye, and a manly sweelness in his upon the eyes and ears of the giddy and in- countenance. His voice was completely haradvertent. To have talked or looked another monious, from the softness of the flute, to the way, would then have been thought insensibility extent of the trumpet : bis allitudes were all or ignorance. In all his soliloquies of moment, picturesque; he was noble 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 Brulus, and the Ghost in Hamlet. Cibber, sentiment with your eyes, before the ear could though sparing in his praise of Booth, highly reach it. I never heard a line in tragedy come commends his Othello :-" The master-piece from Betterton, wherein my judgment, my ear, or Booth (says be) was his Othello; 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 lo animate himself in it than his spectators.” one actor whatsoever. That genius, which pa- 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, that, by the multitude, they have
of human dealings." been preferred to genius itself; or, at least,
| This he spoke with his eye fixed upon lago's often mistaken for it.) Bellerlon had a voice
exit, after a long pause, as if weighing the of that kind, which gave more spirit to terror,
general character of the man in his own mind, than to the softer passions ; of more strength
and in a low tone of voice. Then starting into than melody. The rage and jealousy of Othel
angerlo became him better than the sighs and tenderness of Castalio: for though in Castalio
"........ If I do find her baggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings, he only excelled others, in Othello he excelled I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind himself; which you will easily believe, when
To prey at fortune." you consider, that in spite of his complexion, Then a pause, as if to ruminate. 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 That chamberers have." 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 to
love: the corpulent; of a serious and penetraling If she be false, 0, then heav'n mocks itself!
I'll not believe it." aspect; bis limbs nearer the athletic than the delicate proportion; yet, however formed, there “ In Ibis, and all the distressful passages of arose, from the harmony of the wbole, 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 something to
Bootb's excellence in Brulus was the effect be equal masters of.”
of a fine study of the part, which he acquired Betterton died in April, 1710.
by his taste and intimale knowledge of the
classics. In the tent scene, when Cassius BOOTH.
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;"
"No man bears sorrow better-Portia's dead."
Quin spoke the last line with a look of anger an actor; but they wrote to those who had seen and a tone of voice approaching to rage; but his performances, and are, for the most parl, Booth, on the contrary, looking sted lastly at content with general encomiums, from which Cassius, pronounced these words not much lillle 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 cob
ception, and wonderful performance of Shak“When I spoke this, I was ill-temper'd too,"
speare's characters. Richard III. was his 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 tbe utmost
in his countenance; the power of his imaginaallention; but when he afterwards acquaints
tion was such, that be transformed himself into them with the cause,
the very man; lbe passions rose in rapid succession, and, before he ultered a word, were 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 rapidily will words, and his heart-piercing manner in speak
which he enunciated ing them, forced every auditor to be a parlicipator of his sorrows.
« The north-what do they in the north,
When they should serve their sovereign in the west ?" Booth, as King Lear, made a very powerful 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 lo discover and where he breaks out,
his very soul. Every thing he described was “Old Lear shall be a king again,
almost reality; the spectator thought he heard
the hum of either army from camp to camp, and he was inimitably expressive, from the fullsteed 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 his 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 tbis, 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. thetic; 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 wilhout equal or rival. He was transformed queen, the audience appeared to be under the into a feeble old man, still, however, relaining 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 to the soles of his slow and languid; misery was depicted in every shoes, which, from being covered with selt, feature of his face; he moved his head in the made no noise in walking on the stage, which most deliberale manner; his eyes were fired, ol he crossed as if he slid over it, and which if they lurned to any one near him, he made strongly corresponded with the ideas we have a pause, and fixed his look on the person after of an incorporeal being.- Bolh died in May, much delay; his features at the same time es. 1733.
pressing what he was going to say before be
ultered a word. During the whole perforGARRICK.
mance, he presented an aspect of erlreme griel,
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 his various and astonishing powers as was his preparation for the imprecation on Coperil! be slood for a moment like one struck mind. On the appearance of the Ghost, such dumb, at the sudden and unexpected seel of a figure of consternation was never seen. He bis child's ingratitude; tben ihroning 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 heaven, rendered the whole of the curse so trembling accent, and ultered his questions with terribly affecting to the audience, that during the greatest dilliculty.” The rest of Murphy's lhe atlerance of it, they seemed to shrink as account of Garrick in this part, is uninteresting, from a blast of lightning. Indeed, the picture because totally deficient in that particularity he presented, independent of the language, wbich only can convey information. Davies was worthy the pencil of Raphael in the divinest is equally mystic; and unfortunately we have in moments of his imagination.” He used to belter authorities. tell how he gained a just conception of this Macbelb afforded another opportunity for the difficult part. He had an acquaintance in display of Garrick's talents. He seems to have Leman-street, Goodman's fields, who had an acted it very finely; but notbing is preserved only daughter about two years old; as he stood relative to his mode of representing the guilty at bis dining-room window, fondling the child, Thane, more descriptive than what follows:he 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 grief; the I see before me?' Garrick's attitude, his conDeighbours took 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 never recovered. Being rich, he continued in was a climax of terror, lill at last he finds it to his house 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 time
“It is the bloody business which informs in going to the window, and there playing in
Thus to mine eyes." fancy with his child. After some dalliance he
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 gbaslly mood, his eyes fired on one object, at times
spectacle, and his complexion grew wbiter every looking slowly round him, as if to implore com
moment, till at length, bis 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. He somelimes gave a representation of this unhappy
“Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand." father. He leaned on the back of a chair, seeming, with parental fondness, to play with Garrick performed Benedick in Much Ado achild; 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 ullimalely depend on his represenlation in the company was moistened with a gush or of the characters already mentioned." tears." Hamlet was undoubtedly a favourite cha
BARRY. racter with Garrick; yel judging from his unpardonable alteration of that fine play, we might Barry was, in person, about five feet eleven suppose he 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 o Denmark. "In all the shiftings of the pas | best imitations of the Apollo Belvidere. With sions, in which the tragedy abounds, his voice this fine commanding figure, he was so much and attitude changed with wonderful celerity; in the free and easy management of his limbs, and, at every pause, his face was an indes to his as never to look encunibered, or present an un
graceful attitude, in all his various movements
But there, where I had garner'd up my heart,
Where 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 tears. In Othello, the periority of his figure. To this figure he added author rises from scene lo scene lo a climax 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; his ravings over the dead body of was persuasion itself. Indeed, so strongly did his innocent wise, his reconciliation with Cassio, he communicate his feelings on these occasions, and his dying soliloquy, were all in the full that, whoever observed the expressive coun play of varied excellence, and forced from the tenances of most of tbe 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 trails of cha-stance of that wonderful artist's jealousy or want racler; and in his very first speecii, “It's better of judgment. The following extracts from as it is,” bespoke such a preeminence of judg Boaden's Life of Kemble, convey a tolerably ment, such a noble forbearance of temper, as good idea of Henderson's peculiar style of actroused the attention of his audience, and leding, and are abundantly sufficient to elablish 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 bis 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, his breaks of love and rage | been bad to 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 fifth act, where even as to the neatness of his dress. He afected he describes the agony of his mind, and then to care nothing about it. He pleased himsell looking tenderly on her, exclaims,
| that he could at lenglb make you forget the want which need not to have existed. All his excel- | trial scene was superior to him and all men. lencies were perfectly concomitant with propriely | Yet it may be proper here to say, that in many in dress. Had he studied appearance, his Lear of his characters Henderson's superiority may might have been venerable ; although his Ham- be disputed; but that his performance of Fallet could not be the mould of form,' it might staff is as much above all competition, as the easily have been the gloss of fashion;' but he character ilself transcends all that was ever never looked even to the linings of the suit he thought comic in man. The cause of this prewore, and once boasted that he had played, I eminence was purely mental; be understood it think, ten characters consecutively in the same better in its diversity of powers; his imagination coat. His conceptions were grand, and beauti- was congenial; the images seemed coined in the ful, and just ; but they were often baflled by his brain of the actor; they sparkled in his eye, execution of them. When Henderson's Lear before the tongue supplied them with language. was first discovered, he looked like Falstaff | I saw him act the character in the Second Part sitting as Henry the Fourth; and when Lear of Henry IV, where it is more metaphysical, speaks in his sleep, and fancying himself on the and consequently less powerful. He could not point of gaining the battle, exclaims, Charge, supply the want of active dilemmas, such as charge upon the flank,' the tones were exactly exhilirate the Falstaff of the First Part, but it those with which Falstaff encourages Hal in the was equally perfect in conception and execution. combat with Percy, and excited a lilter from I have borne with many invasions on this pe$0 unsuitable a recollection. He bad, indeed,
culiar domain of Henderson. It has in truth made Falstaff his own, and the jolly knight
been an ungracious task to most of his successeemed rather too kindly to have returned the
sors; they seem all to have doubted their right compliment; for that vast soul of humour more
| of possession; to bave considered themselves or less informed all his other characters. He tenants only upon sufferance; and thus it was would sometimes delight to shew, without lan
with King, and Palmer, and Stephen Kemble, guage, the rapid and opposite emotions, as they and Ryder, and a whole chapter of fat knights, rise and chase each other in the mind. A who have roared and chuckled at the slightest masterly effort of this kind was Falstaff's reading
possible expense of thought; and, laughing much the letter from Mrs. Ford in the presence of the themselves in their lurns, perhaps, 'set on some 'foolish carrion,' Mrs. Quickly. First you saw quantity of barren spectators to laugh too.'— that he had his bellyful offord,' her messenger Peace to all such !” eren was an object of detestation. He glanced Henderson died 23th November, 1785, when over the beginning of the letter, and pished at he had not completed his thirty-ninth year. its apologies. He lurned again to the messenger to see how her air was in unison with the
MACKLIN. language of her mistress. The cudgel of Ford then seemed to fall on his shoulders, and be Macklin made the part of Shylock peculiarly shrunk from the enterprise. He read a sentence his own, as he was the first actor who ever reor two of the letter, a spark of lechery twinkled presented that inimitably fine character in a in his eye, which turned for confirmation of his serious and effective manner; previous to his bopes upon love's ambassadress; and thus the assumption of it, it was usual to degrade the images of suffering and desire, of alarm and Jew of Venice into a mere buffoon. Macklin enjoyment, succeeded one another, until at last performed a variely of characters with infinite the oil of incontinency in bim seltled above the success, but his Shylock alone connects bim with walers of the Thames, and the divinity of odd Shakspeare. The following extract from KirkDumbers determined him to risk the third ad- man's Life of Macklin, will illustrate the merit venture.'
of that performance more forcibly than anything "I will not (said Mr. Kemble once to me) of our own. speak of Henderson's Falstaff: every person can | "In the year 1741, Macklin resolved to resay how rich and voluptuous it was; but I will vive The Merchant of Venice, by Shakspeare, say, that his Shylock was the greatest effort I in opposition to the Jew of Venice, altered from ever witnessed on the stage. I remember it in the same author by lord Lansdowne. The its principal scenes, and I have no doubt whal- play was put in rehearsal, and Macklin stuck ever that it fully merited so high a praise; but close to Shakspeare's text, and studied the part I respectfully insinuale, that Macklin in the of Shylock with great diligence. He saw from