Abbildungen der Seite

card these, and to discover and express North. I entirely separate the two quesothers.

tions--first, how did the Manager of the SEWARD. I do not know, sir, if that horri- Globe Theatre have the King's Seat at the ble Invocation of hers to the Spirits of Mur- Feast filled; and second, what does the der to unsex her, be held by many to imply highest poetical Canon deliver? I speak that she has no need of their help?

now, but to the first. Now, here the rule North. It is held by many to prove that is—“the audience must understand, and at she was not a woman, but a fiend. It proves once, what that which they see and hear the reverse. I infer from it that she does means”—that Rule must govern the art of need their help--and, what is more, that she the drama in the Manager's practice. You gets it. Nothing so dreadful, in the whole allow that, Talboys ? range of Man's Tragic Drama, as that Mur- TALBoys. I do. der. But I see Seward is growing pale-we Buller, Rash, Talboys, rash; he's get

. know his infirmity--and for the present shun ting you into a net. it.

North. That is not my way, Buller. Well, SEWARD. Thank


then, suppose Macbeth acted for the first North. I may, however, ask a question time to an audience, who are to establish it about Banquo's Ghost.

for a stock-play or to damn it. Would the SEWARD. Well--well-do so.

Manager commit the whole power of a scene Talboys. You put the question to me, which is perhaps the most-singly-effective sir ? I am inclined to think, sir, that no real of the whole PlayGhost sits on the Stool—but that Shakspeare BULLER. Nô-no-not the most effective meant it as with the Daggers. On the Stage of the whole Playhe appears—that is an abuse.

North. The rival, then, of the Murder North. Not so sure of that, Talboys. Scene—the Sleep-Walking stands aloof and

Talboys. Had Macbeth himself continued aloft—to the chance of a true divination by to believe that the first-seen Ghost was a the whole Globe audience? I think not. real Ghost, he would not, could not have The argument is of a vulgar tone, I confess, ventured so soon after its disappearance to and extremely literal, but it is after the meassay again, “Aud to our dear friend Banquo.' ure of my poor faculties. He does say it—and then again diseased SEWARD. In confirmation of what you say, imagination assails him at the rash words. sir, it has been lately asserted that one of Lady Macbeth reasons with him again, and the two appearings at least is not Banquo'she finally is persuaded that the Ghost, both but Duncan's. How is that to be settled times, bad been but brain-sick creations. but by a real Ghost—or Ghosts?

North. And I ask, what has Shakspeare My strange and

himself undeniably done elsewhere? In HenIs the initiate tear, that wants hard use :

ry VIII., Queen Katherine sleeps and dreams. I am but young in deed."

Her Dream enters, and performs various acts Buller. That certainly looks as if he did --somewhat expressive-minutely contrived then know he had been deceived. But per- and prescribed. It is a mute Dream, which haps he only censures himself for being too she with shut eyes sees—which you in much agitated by a real ghost.

pit, boxes, and gallery - which her atTALBOYS. That won't do.

tendants, watching about her upon the stage, North. But go back, my dear Talboys, do not see. to the first enacting of the Play. What SEWARD. And in Richard III.-He dreams, could the audience have understood to be and so does Richmond. Eight Ghosts rise happening, without other direction of their in succession and speak to Richard first, and thoughts than the terrified Macbeth's be wil to the Earl next-each hears, I suppose, dered words? He never mentions Banquo's what concerns himself—they seem

-and recollect that nobody sitting present in the two Tents at once. there then knew that Banquo had been mur- North. In Cymbeline, Posthumus dreams. dered. The dagger is not in point. Then His Dream enters—Ghosts and even Jurithe spectators heard him say, “ Is this a TER! They act and speak; and this Dream dagger that I see before me? And if no has a reality-for Jupiter hands or tosses a dagger was there, they could at once see parchment roll to one of the Ghosts, who that 'twas phantasy.

lays it, as bidden, on the breast of the Talboys. Something in that.

Dreamer, where he, on awaking, perceives BULLER. A settler.

it! I call all this physically strong, sir, for


to be


[ocr errors]

the representation of the metaphysically Talboys. As far as I am able to judge, thought.

she but once in the whole Play loses her BULLER. If Buller may speak, Buller perfect self-mastery--when the servant surwould observe, that once or twice both Ariel prises her by announcing the King's coming. and Prospero come forward “invisible.” She answers, “ thou art mad to say it;' And in Spenser, the Dream of which Mor- which is a manner of speaking used by those pheus lends the use to Archimago, is-car- who cannot, or can hardly believe tidings ried.

that fill them with exceeding joy. It is not SEWARD. We all remember the Dream the manner of a lady to her servant who unwhich Jupiter sends to Agamemnon, and expectedly announces the arrival of a highwhich, while standing at his bed's-head, of the highest visitor. She recovers herself puts on the shape of Nestor and speaks ; instantly • Is not thy master with him, the Ghost of Patroclus—the actual Ghost who, wer't so, would have informed for prepwbich stands at the bed's-head of Achilles, aration ?" This is a turn coloring her exand is his Dream.

clamation, and is spoken in the most self-posNORTH. My friends, poetry gives a body sessed, argumentative, demonstrative tone. to the bodiless. The Stage of Shakspeare The preceding words had been torn from was rude, and gross. In my boyhood, 'I her; now she has passed, with inimitable saw the Ghosts appear to John Kemble in dexterity, from the dreamed Queen, to the Richard III. Now they may be abolished usual mistress of her household10 the housewith Banquo. So may be Queen Katherine's wife. Angels. But Shakspeare and his Audience NORTH. In the Fourth Act-she is not had no difficulty about one person's seeing seen at all. But in the Fifth, lo! and bewhat another does not—or one's nol seeing, hold! and at once we know why she had rather, that which another does. Nor had been absent—we see and are turnnd to living Homer, when Achilles alone, in the Quarrel stone by the revelation of the terrible truth. Scene, sees Minerva. Shakspeare and his I am always inclined to conceive Lady MacAudience had no difficulty about the bodily beth's night-walking as the summit, or toprepresentation of Thoughts—the inward by most peak of all tragic conception and exethe outward. Shakspeare and the Great cution—in Prose, too, the crowning of PoetOld Poets leave vague, shadowy, mist- ry! But it must be, because these are the shrouded, and indeterminate the boundaries ipsissima verba-yea, the escaping sighs and between the Thought and the Existent_the moans of the bared soul. There must be Real and the Unreal. I am able to believe nothing, not even the thin and translucent with you, Talboys, that Banquo's Ghost was veil of the verse, betwixt her soul showing understood by Shakspeare, the Poet, to be itself, and yours beholding. Words which the Phantasm of the murderer's guilt-and- your hearing latches” from the threefold fear-shaken soul; but was required by abyss of Night, Sleep, and Conscience ! Shakspeare, the Manager of the Globe What place for the enchantment of any muTheatre, to rise up through a trap-door, sic is here? Besides, she speaks in a whismealy-faced and blood-boultered, and so per. The Siddons did—audible distinctly, make "the Table full."

throughout the stilled immense theatre. Here Buller. Seward, do bid him speak of music is not--sound is not only an anguished Lady Macbeth.

soul's faint breathings-gaspings. And obSEWARD. Oblige me, sir—don't now—af- serve that Lady Macbeth carries—a candle ter dinner, if

-besides washing her hands—and besides North. I shall merely allude now, as ex- speaking prose-three departures from the ceedingly poetical treatment, to the discre- severe and elect method, to bring out that tion throughout used in the showing of La- supreme revelation. I have been told that dy Macbeth. You might almost say that the great Mrs. Pritchard used to touch the she never takes a step on the stage, that palm with the tips of her fingers, for the does not thrill the Theatre. Not a waste washing, keeping candle in hand ;-that the word, gesture, or look. All at the studied Siddons first set down her candle, that she fullness of sublime tragical power-yet all might come forward, and wash her hands in wonderfully tempered and governed. I earnest, one over the other, as if she were doubt if Shakspeare could have given a at her wash-hand stand, with plenty of water good account of every thing that he makes in her basin—that when Sheridan got

intelliMacbeth say—but of all that she says he gence of her design so to do, he ran shriekcould.

ing to her, and, with tears in his eyes, be

you will.


sought that she would not, at one stroke, I would seek into you, did you first read the overthrow Drury Lane--that she persisted, Play in mature age! She died a natural and turned the thousands of bosoms to mar- death-of remorse. Take


word for itble.

the rumor to the contrary was natural to the Talboys. Our dear, dear Master.

lip and ear of Hate. North, You will remember, my friends, Talboys. A question of primary import is her four thymed linesuttered to herself in -What 'is the relation of feeling between Act Third. They are very remarkable-- him and her ? The natural impression, I

think, is, that the confiding affection—the in“ Naught's had, all's spent,

timate confidence—is “there”-of a husband Where our desire is got without content :

and wife who love one another-to whom all 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy, interests are in common, and are consulted in Than, by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy."

Without this belief, the Magic of

the Tragedy perishes-vanishes to me. "My They are her only waking acknowledgments dearest love, Duncan comes here to-night." of having mistaken life! So--they forebode · Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest the Sleep-Walking, and the Death—as an chuck,"-a marvelous phrase for Melpomene. owl, or a raven, or vulture, or any fowl of It is the full union—for ill purposes-that we obscene wing, might flit between the sun and a know habitually for good purposes--that to crowned bui doomed head--the shadow but me tempers the Murder Tragedy. of a moment, yet ominous, for the augur, of

North. Yet believe me, dear Talboysan entire fatal catastrophe.

that of all the murders Macbeth may have Seward. They do." But to say the truth, committed, she knew beforehand but of one I had either forgot them or never discovered --Duncan's. The haunted somnambulist their significancy. O that William Shak- speaks the truth-the whole truth, and nothspeare!

ing but the truth. TALBoys. O that Christopher North ! Talboys. “ The Thane of Fife had a wife."

North. Speak so, friends——’tis absurd, Does not that imply that she was privy to but I like it.

that Murder ? Talboys. It is sincere.

NORTH. No. Except that she takes upon NORTH. At last they call him, black heaself all the murders that are the offspring, Macbeth,” and “this dead Butcher.” And | legitimate or illegitimate, of that First Murwith good reason. They also call her “ his der. But we know that Macbeth, in a sudfiend-like Queen,” which last expression I den fit of fury, ordered the Macduffs to be regard as highly offensive.

massacred when on leaving the Cave Lenox BULLER. And they call her so not without told him of the Thane's flight. strong reason.

TALBOYS. That is decisive. North. A bold, bad woman--not a Fiend. North. A woman, she feels for a murdered I ask-Did she, or did she not, with vio

That is all-a touch of nature-lent hand foredo her life ?” They mention it from Siakspeare's profound and pitiful heart.

The Doctor desires that all Talboys. “ The Queen, my Lord, is dead." means of self-harm may be kept out vi her “She should have died hereafter; There way. Yet the impression on us, as the thing would have been a time for such a word”proceeds, is that she dies of pure remorse- Often have I meditated on the meaning of which I believe. She is visibly dying. The these words--yet even now I do not fully cry of women, announcing her death, is feel or understand them. rather as of those who stood around the bed North. Nor I. This seems to look from watching, and when the heart at the touch of them--“so pressed by outward besiegings I the invisible finger stops, shriek—than of one have not capacity to entertain the blow as it after the other coming in and finding the self- requires to be entertained. With a free soul slain--a confused, informal, perplexing, and I could have measured it. Now I cannot.” perplext proceeding—but the Cry of Woman Talboys. Give us, sir, a commentary on is formal, regular for the stated occasion. the Revelations of the Sleeping Spectre. You may say, indeed, that she poisoned her- North. I dare not. Let's be cheerful. I self—and so died in bed--watched. Under ask this--when you see and hear Kemble the precautions, that is unlikely-too refined. Macbeth--and Siddons-Macbeth--whom do The manner of yton, “The Queen, my you believe that you see and hear? I affirm Lord, is dead,” shows to me that it was that you at one and the same instant--(or hourly expected. How these few words at the most in two immediately successive




as a rumor.


instants—yet I believe in one and the same Cheops, and is only here and there crumbinstant,-know that you see and hear Kemble ling a little, or whether the world requires —or if that accomplished gentleman and ad- that the position shall be formally argued mirable actor-Macready be performing the and acknowledged. Johnson, as you remind -part-then Macready ;-and yet believe that me, Talboys, did not admit it. you see and hear Lord Macbeth. I aver that Talboys. That he tells us in so many you entertain a mixt—confused--self-con- words. Has any more versed and profound tradictory state of mind—that two elements master in criticism, before or since, authentiof thought which cannot co-subsist do co-cally and authoritatively, luminously, cosubsist.

gently, explicitly, psychologically, metaphysTalboys. De jure they cannot—DE FACTO ically, physiosologically, psychogogically, they do.

propounded, reasoned out, legislated, and enNORTH. Just so.

throned the Dogma ? Talboys. They co-subsist fighting, and North. I know not, Talboys. Do you yet harmonizing there is half-belief-semi- admit the Dogma ? illusion.

Talboys. I do. North. I claim the acknowledgment of North. Impersonation-A postrophe-of such a state—which any one who chooses the absent; every poetical motion of the may better describe, but which shall come to Soul; the whole pathetic beholding of Nathat effect-for the lowest substratum of all ture-involve the secret existence and nescience and criticism concerning Poesy. Will cessity of this irrational psychical state for anybody grant me this, then I will reason grounding the Logic of Poesy. with him about Poesy, for we begin with BULLER. Go on, sir. something in common. Will anybody deny NORTH. I will—but in a new direction. me this, then I will not argue with him about Before everything else, I desire, for the setPoesy, for we set out with nothing in common. tlement of this particular question, a foun

Buller. We grant you all you ask—we dation for, and some progress in the science are all agreed—“our unanimity is won- of MURDER TRAGEDIES. derful.”

Seward. I know properly two. North. Leave out the great Brother and BULLER. Two only? Pray name. Sister, and take the Personated alone. I Seward. This of Macbeth and Richard III. know that Othello and Desdemona never ex- Buller. The Agamemnon-the Choephoisted—that an Italian Novelist began, and an ræ--the Electra—the MedeaEnglish Dramatist ended them—and there SEWARD. In the Agamemnon, your rethey are. But do I not believe in their ex- gard is drawn to Agamemnon himself

. and istence, “ their loves and woes ?” Yes, I do to Cassandra. However, it is after a measbelieve in their existence, in their loves and ure a prototy pe. Clytemnestra has in it a woes—and I hate Iago accordingly with a principality. Medea stands eminent-but vicious, unchristian, personal, active, malig- then she is in the right. nant hatred.

Buller. In the right? Talboys. Dr. Johnson's celebrated ex- SEWARD. Jason at least is altogether in pression, “all the belief that Poetry claims"

But we must-for obvious Buller. Celebrated! Where is it? reasons—discuss the Greek drama by it

Talboys. Preface to Shakspeare—is idle, self; and therefore not a word more about it and frivolous, and false ?

North. It is. He belies his own experi- North. Richard III., and Macbeth and his ence. He cannot make up his mind to admit wife, are in their Plays the principal people. the irrational thought of belief which you at Yo

You must go along with them to a certain once reject and accept. But exactly the half guarded extent-else the Play is done for. acceptance, and the half rejection, separates To be kept abhorring and abhorring, for Five poetry from--prose.

Acts together, you can't stand. TalBoys. That is, sir, the poetical from SEWARD. Oh! that the difference between the prosaic.

Poetry and Life were once for all set down North. Just so. It is the life and soul of —and not only once for all, but every time all poetry—the lusus—the make-believe- that it comes in question. the glamour and the gramarye. I do not know BULLER. My dear sir, do gratify Seward's -gentlemen-I wish to be told, whether I very reasonable desire, and once for all set am not throwing away words upon the set- down the difference. ting up of a pyramid which was built by SEWARD. You bear suicides on the stage


[ocr errors]

the wrong:



and tyrannicides and other cides—all simple he is one. He lies to man--never to his own homicide-much murder. Even Romeo's Conscience, or to Heaven. killing Tybalt in the street, in reparation for Talboys. What ? Mercutio's death, you would take rather dif- North. Never. There he is clear-sighted, ferently, if happening to-day in Pall Mall, or and stands, like Satan, in open and impious Moray Place.

rebellion. NORTH. We have assuredly for the Stage BULLER. But your Macbeth, sir, would be a qualified scheme of sentiment-grounded a shuffling Puritan—a mixture of Holy Willie no doubt on our modern or every-day moral. and Greenacre. Forgive me ity—but specifically modified by Imagination SEWARD. Order-order-order. -by Poetry-for the use of the dramatist. Talboys. Chair-chair-chair. Till we have set down what we do bear, and BULLER. Swing-Swing—Swing. why, we are not prepared for distinguishing North. My dear Buller-you have miswhat we won't bear, and why.

understood me—I assure you you have. BULLER. Oracular!

Some of my expressions may have been too SEWARD. Suggestive.

strong-not sufficiently qualified. North. And if so, sufficient for the nonce. BULLER. I accept the explanation. But be Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, seems to me to be more guarded in future, my dear sir. the most that can be borne of one purely ab- North. I will. horrible. He is made disgusting besides- BULLER. On that assurance I ask you, sir, drunken and foul. Able he is—for he won how is the Tragedy of Macbeth morally the Queen by “witchcraft of his wit:" but saved ? That is, how does the degree of he is made endurable by his diminished pro- complacency with which we consider the two portion in the Play—many others overpower- murderers not morally taint ourselves-not ing and hiding him.

leave us predisposed murderers ? Buller. Pardon me, sir, but I have oc- North. That is a question of infinite comcasionally felt, in the course of this conver- pass and fathom-answered then only when sation, that you were seeking—in opposition the whole Theory of Poesy has been exto Payne Knight—to reduce Macbeth to a pounded. species of Claudius. I agree with you in BULLER. Whew ! thinking that Shakspeare would not give a North. The difference established beClaudius so large a proportion of his drama. tween our contemplation of the Stage and of The pain would be predominant and insup- Life. portable.

Buller. I hardly expect that to be done North. I would fain hope you have mis- this Summer in this Tent. understood me, Buller.

NORTH. Friends! Utilitarians and ReliBULLER. Sometimes, sir, it is not easy for gionists shudder and shun. They consider a plain man to know what you would be at. the Stage and Life as of one and the same North. I?

kind-look on both through one glass. Buller. Yea—you.

BULLER. Eh ? North. Richard III, is a hypocrite-a North. The Utilitarian will settle the hard, cold murderer from of old—and yet whole question of Life upon half its datayou bear him. I suppose, friends, chiefly the lowest half. He accepts Agriculture, from his pre-eminent intellectual Faculties, which he understands logically—but rejects and his perfectly courageous and self-pos- Imagination which he does not understand at sessed Will. You do support your con- all—because, if you sow it in the track of his science—or traffic with it-by saying all plough, no wheat springs. Assuredly not ; along-we are only conducting him to the a different plough must furrow a different retribution of Bosworth Field. But, friends, soil for that seed and that harvest. if these motions in Macbeth, which look like BULLER. Now, my dear sir, you speak like revealings and breathings of some better yourself. You always do so—the rashness elements, are sheer and vile hypocrisy—if was all on my side. it is merely his manhood that quails, which SEWARD. Nobody cares—hold your tongue. his wife has to virilify—a dastard and a North. The Religionist errs from the ophypocrite, and no more—I cannot abide posite quarter. He brings measures from him—there is too much of a bad business, Heaven to measure things of the Earth. He and then I must think Shakspeare has com- weighs Clay in the balance of Spirit. I call mitted an egregious error in Poetry. Richard him a Religionist who overruns with religious III. is a bold, heroic hypocrite. He knows I rules and conceptions things that do not come

« ZurückWeiter »