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him better in that character than any one else we have seen play with him. The two rival actors hunt very well in couple. One thing which we did not expect, and which we think reconciled us to Mr. Booth's imitations, was that they were here performed in the presence, and as it were with the permission, of Mr. Kean. There is no fear of deception in the case. The original is there in person to answer for his identity, and "give the world assurance of himself." The original and the copy go together, like the substance and the shadow. But then there neither is nor can be any idea of competition, and so far we are satisfied. In fact, Mr. Booth's Iago was a very close and spirited repetition of Mr. Kean's manner of doing that part. It was indeed the most spirited copy we ever saw upon the stage, considering at the same time the scrupulous exactness with which he adhered to his model in the most trifling minutia. We need only mention as instances of similarity in the by-play, Mr. Booth's mode of delivering the lines, "My wit comes from my brains like birdlime," or his significant, and we think improper, pointing to the dead bodies, as he goes out in the last scene. The same remarks apply to his delivery, that we made last week. He has two voices; one his own, and the other Mr. Kean's. His delineation of Iago is more bustling and animated; Mr. Kean's is more close and cool. We suspect that Mr. Booth is not only a professed and deliberate imitator of Mr. Kean, but that he has in general the chameleon quality (we do not mean that of living upon air, as the Covent Garden managers supposed, but) of reflecting all objects that come in contact with him. We occasionally caught the mellow tones of Mr. Macready rising out of the thorough bass of Mr. Kean's guttural emphasis, and the flaunting,


dégagé robe of Mr. Young's oriental manner, flying off from the tight vest and tunic of the little "bony prizer of the Drury Lane Company.

Of Mr. Kean's Othello we have not room to speak as it deserves, nor have we the power if we had the room; it is beyond all praise. Any one who has not seen him in the third act of Othello (and seen him near) cannot have an idea of perfect tragic acting.

MRS. SIDDONS'S LADY MACBETH. Examiner, June 8, 1817. MRS. SIDDONS's appearance in Lady Macbeth at Covent Garden on Thursday drew immense crowds to every part of the house. We should suppose that more than half the number of persons were compelled to return without gaining admittance. We succeeded in gaining a seat in one of the back-boxes, and saw this wonderful performance at a distance, and consequently at a disadvantage. Though the distance of place is a disadvantage to a performance like Mrs. Siddons's Lady Macbeth, we question whether the distance of time at which we have formerly seen it is any. It is nearly twenty years since we first saw her in this character, and certainly the impression which we have still left on our minds from that first exhibition, is stronger than the one we received the other evening. The sublimity of Mrs. Siddons's acting is such, that the first impulse which it gives to the mind can never wear out, and we doubt whether this original and paramount impression is not weakened, rather than strengthened, by subsequent repetition. We do not read the tragedy of The Robbers twice; if we have seen Mrs. Siddons in Lady Macbeth only once, it is enough. The

impression is stamped there for ever, and any afterexperiments and critical inquiries only serve to fritter away and tamper with the sacredness of the early recollection. We see into the details of the character, its minute excellencies or defects, but the great masses, the gigantic proportions, are in some degree lost upon us by custom and familiarity. It is the first blow that staggers us; by gaining time we recover our self-possession. Mrs. Siddons's Lady Macbeth is little less appalling in its effects than the apparition of a preternatural being; but if we were accustomed to see a preternatural being constantly, our astonishment would by degrees diminish.

We do not know whether it is owing to the cause here stated, or to a falling off in Mrs. Siddons's acting, but we certainly thought her performance the other night inferior to what it used to be. She speaks too slow, and her manner has not that decided, sweeping majesty, which used to characterise her as the Muse of Tragedy herself. Something of apparent indecision is perhaps attributable to the circumstance of her only acting at present on particular occasions. An actress who appears only once a year cannot play so well as if she was in the habit of acting once a week. We therefore wish Mrs. Siddons would either return to the stage, or retire from it altogether. By her present uncertain wavering between public and private life, she may diminish her reputation, while she can add nothing to it.

MR. KEMBLE'S RETIREMENT. Times, June 25, 1817. MR. Kemble took his leave of the stage on Monday night, in the character of Coriolanus. On his first

coming forward to pronounce his Farewell Address, he was received with a shout like thunder; on his retiring after it, the applause was long before it subsided entirely away. There is something in these partings with old public favourites exceedingly affecting. They teach us the shortness of human life, and the vanity of human pleasures. Our associations of admiration and delight with theatrical performers are among our earliest recollections among our last regrets. They are links that connect the beginning and the end of life together; their bright and giddy career of popularity measures the arch that spans our brief existence. It is near twenty years ago since we first saw Mr. Kemble in the same character-yet how short the interval seems! The impression appears as distinct as if it were of yesterday. In fact, intellectual objects, in proportion as they are lasting, may be said to shorten life. Time has no effect upon them. The petty and the personal, that which appeals to our senses and our interests, is by degrees forgotten, and fades away into the distant obscurity of the past. The grand and the ideal, that which appeals to the imagination, can only perish with it, and remains with us, unimpaired in its lofty abstraction, from youth to age; as, wherever we go, we still see the same heavenly bodies shining over our heads! We forget numberless things that have happened to ourselves, one generation of follies after another; but not the first time of our seeing Mr. Kemble, nor shall we easily forget the last! Coriolanus, the character in which he took his leave of the stage, was one of the first in which we remember to have seen him; and it was one in which we were not sorry to part with him, for we wished to see him appear like himself to the last. Nor was he wanting to himself

on this occasion; he played the part as well as he ever did-with as much freshness and vigour. There was no abatement of spirit and energy-none of grace and dignity; his look, his action, his expression of the character, were the same as they ever were; they could not be finer. It is mere cant to say that Mr. Kemble has quite fallen off of late-that he is not what he was. He may have fallen off in the opinion of some jealous admirers, because he is no longer in exclusive possession of the stage; but in himself he has not fallen off a jot. Why, then, do we approve of his retiring? Because we do not wish him to wait till it is necessary for him to retire. On the last evening, he displayed the same excellences, and gave the same prominence to the very same passages, that he used to do. We might refer to his manner of doing obeisance to his mother in the triumphal procession in the second act, and to the scene with Aufidius in the last act, as among the most striking instances. The action with which he accompanied the proud taunt to Aufidius

Like an eagle in a dovecote, I
Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli;
Alone I did it-

gave double force and beauty to the image. Again, where he waits for the coming of Aufidius in his rival's house, he stood at the foot of the statue of Mars, himself another Mars! In the reconciliation scene with his mother, which is the finest in the play, he was not equally impressive. Perhaps this was not the fault of Mr. Kemble, but of the stage itself, which can hardly do justice to such thoughts and sentiments as here


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