« AnteriorContinuar »
and the whole intellect thrown into the sneer- | by rejecting the application to himsell or those
personated lago, a part in which he had no Cooke's acting throughout the last scenes was competitor. He had only lo coinbat the recolamazingly energetic; the horrors of the night lection of Henderson, and those who had seen preceding tbe battle, and the death of Richard, that noble tragedian, pronounced him bis legili were fearfully depicted.
male successor, wbile the younger part of the On the 10th November following, Cooke audience agreed that they had never seen lago performed Shylock for the first time before a until then. In the exhibition of every species London audience. Nothing can be conceived of hypocrisy, Cooke excelled all other players. more perfectly “The Jew that Shakspeare In lago he bas been accused of betraying so much drew," than the voice, face, manner, and ex- of the workings of cunning and deceit to the pression of this great actor. In the great scene audience, that it appears wonderful how Olbello i of the lbird act, he was greeted with shouts of could be deceived by him: but it must be reapplause. The gloomy satisfaction that seemed membered, first, that it was to the spectators, to accompany the recollection of the bond by and not to Othello, ibat he betrayed the workwhich he had Antonio "on the hip,” and the ings of his soul on his expressive countenance; "12 savage exultation of bis laugh when the full and secondly, that Olhello, seeing through the amount of bis enemy's loss is stated, were jaundiced medium of jealousy, is not capable de la frightfully impressive. The transitions were of discovering, even in the eager and obtrusive to made in a masterly manner, and the speech in suggestions of lago, any olber molive than bis which Shylock urges his own wrongs and vin- extreme love and honesty. Cooke's peculiaridicates bis tribe, formed a climax of as well ties of manner and voice were singularly adapted 4/5 wrought passion as can be conceived. In the to this part : while the quickness of bis action, lakes trial scene, the “ lodged bate” of the impene- and the strongly natural expression of feeling, la trable Israelite was kept constantly in view. which were as exclusively bis, identified him to The audience were surprised and delighted at with the character, and marked him as its true enten, the abruplness of his reply lo Portia's request representative. From the first scene of lago to be a that he would permit the bond to be torn. the last, his excellence was of the highest order: birin “When it is paid according to the tenor," he we notice one passage by way of illustration. The hastily replies, indicating a degree of apprehen- Othello, convinced of Desdemona's infidelity, Philize de sion lest she should tear it; and al the same kneels to seal his purpose of revenge by a vow. time, a malignant recognition of the penally lago kneels with him, and swears to assist in due. In fact, the whole of this scene ever was, the execution of his bloody purpose. in Cooke's hands, inimitable, and defies all rise, and Oibello says, competition. Cooke frequently threw beauties
"Within these three days let me hear thee say, into his performance which he did not find in his author. Those who have seen him in Shylock well remember the reverential bowing of Cooke used then to start; and the spectator his head, when, in Portia's speech exhorting might read plainly in bis expressive face, "Whal! him to mercy, she coines lo the line,
murder my friend and companion ?” he then
covered bis face with his hands, and gradually «It is an attribute of God himself;"
Jifting his head, when he wilhdrew his hands, and the rejecting shake of his head and waving his face and eyes were turned upwards ; he then
started again, as if remembering the oath he of his hand, when she says,
had just taken, and after a second meolal strug........We do pray for mercy,
gle, said, as if submilling to necessily, and the And that same prayer doth teach us all
obligation imposed on him by his yow, To render the deeds of mercy."
"My friend is dead." Shakspeare bere makes Portia, in ber zeal, quote the Lord's Prayer, and enforce its divine This unrivalled actor died at New York, ou precepts as applicable 10 Shylock; but the the 261h of September, 1812, in his 58th year; great actor, by his looks, and the movement of the victim of a long course of brutaliziog inhis head and band, gives a comment on the lesi, temperance, wbich alone prevenled him from
That Cassio's not alive,"
attaining early in life the first rank in bis pro- the irresolule Macbeth, despising his remorse fession.
and terror, she presented to the audience an
awful picture of intrepid guilt. As she grappled MRS. PRITCHARD.
the instruments of death, and exclaimed, “Give
me the daggers," her look and gesture cannot
This lady was a little above the middle size,
pathetic characters of tragedy ; ber Desdemona "In the year 1768, Mrs. Pritchard took leave was a truly admirable effort; the whole part the public, in ber favourile part, Lady being so naturally sustained, that her audience Macbeth; and out of respect to that excellent was cheated into a belief that the sufferings she Woman, Garrick performed the ambitious delincated were real. In her old age the maTiane
, as it happened also, for the last time. nager of Covent Garden theatre induced her to Nos. Pritchard's action, both before and after return to the stage, as the rival of Mrs. Siddons, the murder, was strongly characteristical; it then in the zenith of her popularity.
Coma presented an image of a mind insensible to petent judges have declared that Mrs. Barry smpunction, and indexibly bent to achieve ils was superior in palhos; but ber sine powers purpose. When she snatched the daggers from were then impaired, and the triumph of her
and as she solemnly inquired, “Will all the school in London. Jo Barry Cornwall's Life perfumes of Arabia sweelen this little hand?” of Kean, we find that Miss Carey afterwards the throbbings of her heart were obvious bolb to claimed him, and made him accompany her in the eye and the ear.
her visits, from house to house, as a vender of
perfumery, which employment she followed in MISS O'NEILL.
the vacancies between her strolling engagements.
The boy was remarkable for his beauty, as well We mention this enchanting actress as the as for his readiness and mischief. He also apmost perfect representative of Juliet that ever peared as a boy actor on the stage, and went graced the stage. To a finely-proportioned through all the difficulties and dangers of a form, a Grecian head and features exquisitely young player's life. We read of his playing harmonized, was added a mind fully capable of one of the little devils in Macbeth, under John conceiving the sublimity and terror of the con- Kemble's management, and tripping up the cluding scenes in the character of Juliet. We heels of his fellow-imps, for which he was chassee her still, as she moved in the light of her lised by the stately tragedian. We read also of own loveliness through the more level business his drawing a little audience around him in the of the play. At first, all playfulness and girlish green-room, by reciting portions of well-known vivacity; then, as in the garden scene, her vo- tragedies. He also at this time officiated as latility of heart linged with a shade of melan- one of the choir-boys in the Roman Catholic choly; the sublle fever of love stealing over her chapel. fine countenance, now giving its roses a deeper
He soon afterwards found another prolectress, blush, and now leaving it as pale as monu- a Mrs. Clarke, one of his mother's customers; mental marble. In a little while, the timid, she continued to befriend him for some time, and fearful maiden became, without any violence he was current among her acquaintances, at to the spectators' feelings, the resolute, heroic whose houses he used to exhibit, with bis small woman; and, in one scene, that in which Juliet muster of properties—" a little bell, which he swallows the sleeping potion, not even Siddons, rung when the imaginary music was to begin, in her noblest moments of inspiration, could a hat and feathers, a sword and white gloves," excel her. As she proceeded with her lerrible --some of the liitle plays he made for himself description of the horrors of the tomb, the vault out of the “Fairy Queen." of the Capulets seemed to rise : Tybalt, festering Having absconded from Mrs. Clarke's house, in his shroud, was no longer a dream of fancy; and wandend about the country during three and the madness which usurped the brain of the weeks, she gave him up, after having made a trembling Juliet seemed amply accounted for. little benefit for him, and furnished him with a Nothing could equal this, unless it was her own recommendation to a mililia officer at Windsor. acting, when on slowly awakening in the mo- He went there, and joined a troop of strollers, nument she becomes conscious of her situation ; with whom he appeared before George III. beholds Romeo just expiring; and, tired of the It is impossible to follow him through the world and ils sorrows, ends her own in the freaks and changes of his early days; from the friendly arms of death.
Sans Souci, in Leicester Square, to Sadler's
Wells—to Bartholomew Fair, where he exhibitEDMUND KEAN.
ed himself as an equestrian-to Madeira,—10
Scotland—to Sheerness-10 Ireland—10 RoThis highly talented actor was born on the chester-where, on one occasion, “having no 4th November, 1787. Doubls exist respecting money to pay the toll of a ferry, he lied his his parenlage; his father is supposed to have wardrobe in his pockel-bandkerchief, and swam been Edmund Kean, the brother of Moses Kean, across the river." a tolerable mimic in his day. What is more About this time, something like a more settled strange, was his ignorance as to bis mother. purpose “ to achieve greatness” appears to have She was supposed lo have been Miss Carey, the animaled him, and to have continued with him, grand-daughter of Henry Carey, author of though sadly interrupted by the irregularities of “The Dragon of Wantley,” and other spectacle bis conduct; indeed his life was one of wretchpieces. It seemos that Kean believed that Missedness, vicissitude, and neglect. In 1806 he Tidswell was bis mother, as she took care of obtained an engagement to play small parts at him in his childhood and seni him w0 a day- the Haymarket Theatre. He was Peter, in the Iron Chest; Simon, in John Bull; a fiddler bard unbending Jew was before us in the full in Speed the Plough, elc. In 1807, he re- vigour of his malignily—the injuries upon him appeared at Sheerness, as a man of all work. and apon bis tribe saddened in his eyes, but lo 1808, we find him at Gloucester, where he through them you could trace the dark spirit of made the acquaintance of his future wise; at revenge, glaring in fearful, imperishable fury. Stroud, where he next weni, be led in every —That night was the starting-post on the great department. Here he married, and afterwards course upon wbich he was destined to run bis arcepted an engagement for himself and wise at splendid race. Swansea ; al this moment he was in such a des- “The second, and, perhaps, the most perfect uitate state, that their funds for the journey of his performances, was Richard the Third. 'aller an advance had been made to them) Richard, as drawn by Shakspeare, is bold, bloody, Tere not quite iwenly shillings. Mr. Barry and sublie—ambilious, daring, and deceitful gives a most interesting narralive of this jour- | amorous and heartless--a courlier—a soldierbey, which is one of the most striking instances a king. All the varieties of the character were an record, of the contrasts in the life of an ac- played upon by the actor, as though they were tor. He gives it at length, he says, “in order so many keys of an instrument, and each diffiist all our young readers may see how one of cult passage was mastered with a hand which the high and crowned kings of tragedy was ac- | only genius could stretch forth. The scene in customed to travel, before they resolve irreco- | which the murderer of Edward wooes Edward's Perably lo enrol themselves under those ragged widow, in the very progress of the funeral, -a and tawdry colours which float above the Eng- scene generally conceived to be forced and out lish drama-a sign and prophecy of the of nature,—was rendered, as it is, natural and player's fortunes.”—
eminently beautiful, by the most enchanting actKean was afterwards a member of Cherry's ing that ever was witnessed on the stage. Again, sampany, and for some time remained stationary the beautiful descriplion of the night before the at Waterford. He then again was reduced to battle, was delivered in a manner which touched the misery of turning stroller, and travelled descriplion into palhos. The death was desacross the country to Dumfries in a tax-cart, perate and magnificent. with his wife and children. Here he announced The Hamlet of Kean was generally thought tas intention of giving entertainments, consist to be all, or nearly all, that it should be,-meing of singing and recitation, and began his ditative, natural, and sweetly forlorn,-it quite rampaign with one solitary auditor. From took the heart caplive. He looked the young bence be worked bis weary way up to London, and melancholy Prince, wandering in the desowhere be was engaged for the Exeter Company, lation of his own thought and wrecked passion. ** 10 act every thing," at 21. a week, the largest | He abandoned himself lo the indolent sadness salary be bad yet received. Here he allracted of the scene, and was more Shakspearian in his the admiration of Dr. Drury, and through his in- spirit than any other actor we have ever witnessterference, Mr. Arnold went to Dorchester lo ed. The interviews with Ophelia were ex
bim act. The result was an engagement, quisitely touching; and the strange one, in und on the 26th of January, 1814, he first ap- which he burst into a raving rhapsody, was softpeared on the boards of Drury, in the character ened down by an evident suppression of feeling, 1 Saylook. His debut will not be soon forgot- and was finally louched with the most delicate 100. —" The bouse was emply of nearly all but ienderness, by his slowly returning after an critics and those who came in with orders, and abrupt departure, and, after gazing with inexthe 'istlessness of the small spiritless audience, pressible love and sadness at Orphelia, gently # the first night of a new Shylock, was the lan- pressing her hand to his lips. For which is not repose.” There came on a The Othello of Kean was the triumph of that seball man, with an Italian face and fatal eye, great tragedian over the majestic horrors and which struck all. Attention soon ripened into gloomy dangers of the character. In the third furhusiasm ; and never, perhaps, did Kean play act of that inimitable tragedy, the passion would tik such startling effect as on this night lo the not let him tame, and bis spirit glared out in all surprised few. His voice was harsh, his style its unquenchable and vivid fire. Those who was dew, his action abrupt and angular ; but bave heard his “Farewell,” can turn to their there was the decision,-lhe inspiration of ge- The last character he attempted to play was alus, in the tone, the look, the bearing,—the Othello. Under great suffering and exhaustion,
hearts and feel it still; for it was ullered in that there were passages of singular force in Ri-
In Romeo and in Macbelh, Kean was grand object or enjoyment; “ aut Cæsar aut nullus" only in parts, and by fits and starts. In the was his motto, and he never disguised his vices murder scene of Macbeth, and in the banish- or his virtues. With the genius to have been ment scene in Romeo and Juliet, he rose into more than a Garrick in his art, he had the follies the full energy of his genius—but, generally, he and passions at times to reduce him almost bewas hurried, uneasy, and unequal.-In Lear neath a Cooke in his habits.
The death of this surprising actor look place Free he struggled on to this beautiful and affecting apo- at Richmond, on the 15th May, 1833. It was strophe ; and when he concluded the utterance of tranquil, as Death generally is, after a slormy a the words—“Farewell! Othello's occupation 's
and living life! He left no wealth behind; his gone!" he sank back, overcome with the weight fame, however, to those who admired him as of prophetic truth upon a broken constitution, and never appeared again on the stage.
an actor, is “ricbes fineless !"