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finer dress, and without chains—a change of dress under the existing circumstances was absurd—and Merope says to him—" he swears to free thee from
July 8. Merchant of Venice. Shylock=Kean :Kean was dressed too fine-he did not make any attempt to look like old Shylock, as he ought to have done--in some parts of the 3d and 4th acts, he was exquisite-particularly when he said to Tubal—“ Is “ it true? is it true?”-in his last speech but one“ I am-content"-he made a most happy pause, as if it almost choaked him to bring out the word.
13. Othello = Kean.
14. Richard the 3d = Kean :-Richard was Kean's best part—but he overdid his death—he came up close to Richmond, after he had lost his sword, as if he would have attacked him with his fists-Richmond, to please Kean, was obliged to stand like a fool, with a drawn sword in his hand, and without daring to use it.
15. Macbeth=Kean :- Macbeth was not one of his best characters.
In the course of the season, Warde acted Florizel -Hardyknute - William Wyndham-RibaumontCharles Euston-Sir Edward Mortimer - Claudio in Much ado-Romeo-Leon, &c.
Stanley acted Doricourt-Benedick_Duke Aranza -Howard in Will-Don Julio in Bold StrokeGossamer, &c.
Chatterley acted Hardy-Dogberry-Sir Solomon Cynic-Watty Cockney, &c.
A Gentleman, in 1814-1815, published 6 vols. of old plays--for which the public are greatly indebted to him.
In his preface he says —“ there is no doubt a great “ inequality in the different writers, and indeed in “ their several works-they are certainly inferiour to “ what the public might have expected from the con
temporaries of Shakspeare, if it were not remem“ bered that Shakspeare was a prodigy in his own
time, as well as in ours-neither has the Editor “ in his most sanguine moments, presumed to place “ them on a level with the works of Beaumont and “ Fletcher, or Jonson, or Massinger_but he be“ lieves it will be conceded to him, that they have many
excellencies in common with those great men “ —the same peculiarities in their language, their “ manner of thinking, and their moral feeling-in “ brief, that they are of the same school * * neither “ will it be denied that the Drama of that age had “ its defects--on the contrary, the Editor admits, “ that the reader will not unfrequently discover scenes “ that might have been wrought up with more skill, “ and plots that might have been disentangled with « less perplexity, incidents in themselves unimport“ant, sometimes brought prominently forward, but “ still more frequently important incidents slurred “over without their proper force, particularly in the
“concluding scenes # there is a nervous—an “ unshrinking honesty about these old writers, that
may certainly offend the over-delicate and morbid
sensibility of people accustomed only to the tamo“ness of modern life and language-but it no more “ resembles the tricked-up licentiousness and puling “ immorality of some modern authors, read without
scruple, than the nakedness of an Indian does that “ of a common prostitute in consequence of “ the vigilant research and laudable industry, with “ which our ancient plays have of late years been
collected, the copies, that were formerly (comparatively at least) cheap and common, are now no
longer to be met with, or must be purchased at a “ rate which few are inclined, and fewer can afford, “ to pay—Theobald, it is well known, had a collec“ tion of nearly 300 of the ancient quartos—and “ from his pecuniary circumstances, it is not pro“ bable that they were collected at any considerable “ expense—what would be the cost of a similar col“ lection now, must be left to the determination of “ those who have attempted to form one, though some
conjecture may be formed from the prices affixed “ to them in catalogues * this scarcity of the “ ancient quartos, so much felt and complained of, “ was what the Editor of the present selection pro, posed in part to supply and remedy
he “ trusts that few of the plays, which are now re-pub“ lished, will be deemed unworthy of preservation, “ and he was particularly desirous not to include “ any which are strikingly offensive against decorum “ —nor any which his readers in general could be
supposed to possess before”-he declined insert
ing any of Shirley's or Brome's plays, in the expectation that a complete edition of their works would be published at no distant time.
The Editor of these plays might have added, that the generality of old plays, with all their faults, are vastly preferable to the numberless cold Tragedies, and insipid Comedies, which have been written in modern times
“ For better is the Nile-impregnate soil,
though some rank weeds it nourish, “ Than the dead waste, that borders it around, “ Which neither aliment, nor poison, bears.”
1. Dr. Faustus—see Dr. Faustus by Mountfort, T. R. 1686.
2. Lust's Dominion, or the Lascivious Queen-see Abdelazer, D. G. 1677.
3. Mother Bombie-Candius, the son of Sperantus, and Livia, the daughter of Prisius, are mutually in love-their parents oppose their union, the young persons are dressed in the clothes of Accius and Silena—the old men consent to their marriage-Mæstius and Serena are supposed to be the children of Vicina-at the conclusion, Vicina, who had nursed the son of Memphio and the daughter of Stellio, acknowledges that she had exchanged her own children-Accius and Silena--for the children committed to her care--so that Mæstius is really the
son of Memphio, and Serena the daughter of Stellio -Mother Bombie is a fortune-teller, or cunning woman-she is called the good woman of Rochester
-this is a dull C. by Lyly—it was printed in 1594, and had been acted by the children of Paul's.
4. Midas—this is an indifferent C. by Lyly-it was printed in 1592, and had been acted before Queen Elizabeth by the children of Paulo - Lyly has treated the fabulous story of Midas in a serious manner-Bacchus promises to give Midas any one thing that he may wish for — Midas wishes that whatever he touches may be turned to gold-he is nearly starved, as his food turns to gold—he applies to Bacchus--Bacchus directs him to bathe in the river Pactolus—the river is turned into a golden stream, and Midas is released from his foolish wish-Pan
and Apollo contend for superiority in music and singing-Midas gives the preference to Pan, and Apollo changes the ears of Midas into those of an ass—in the last scene, Midas supplicates Apollo, and the ass' ears fall off Langbaine says the story of Midas is related at large by Apuleius—the Compiler of the Biographia Dramatica, and the Editor of the old plays re-printed in 1814, say the same--but they probably only copied Langbaine-the name of Midas does not occur in Apuleius—that of Pan but onceAinsworth refers us to Ovid--the contention between Pan and Apollo is taken from the 11th book of the Metamorphoses--but with this difference, that, in Ovid, Imolus is the judge and decides in favour of Apollo-Midas alone disapproves of his decision, and is in consequence rewarded by Apollo with the ears of an ass-Maximus Tyrius speaks of Midas' foolish