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and to judge from, the feelings of his own breast, not from vulgar clamour; and we trust the success will be more lasting and secure, as its foundations are laid in the deep and proud humility of nature. Mr. Knowles owes everything that an author can owe to the actors; and they owed everything to their attention to truth and to real feeling. Mr. Macready's Virginius is his best and most faultless performance-at once the least laboured and the most effectual. His fine, manly voice sends forth soothing, impassioned tones, that seem to linger round, or burst with terrific grandeur from the home of his heart. Mr. Kemble's Icilius was heroic, spirited, fervid, the Roman warrior and lover and Miss Foote "the freeborn Roman maid," with a little bit, a delightful little bit, of the English school-girl in her acting. We incline to the ideal of our own country-women, after all, when they are so young, so innocent, so handsome. We are both pleased and sorry to hear a report which threatens us with the loss of so great a favourite; and one chief source of our regret will be, that she will no longer play Virginia. The scenery allotted to this tragedy encumbered the stage, and the simplicity of the play. Temples and pictured monuments adorned the scene, which were not in existence till five hundred years after the date of the story; and the ruins of the Capitol, of Constantine's arch, and the temple of Jupiter Stator, frowned at once on the death of Virginia, and the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. As to the dresses, we leave them to our deputy of the wardrobe; but, we believe, they were got right at last, with some trouble. In the printed play, we observe a number of passages marked with inverted commas,

Charles Kemble.

which are omitted in the representation. This is the case almost uniformly wherever the words "Tyranny," or "Liberty," occur. Is this done by authority,' or is it prudence in the author, "lest the courtiers offended should be"? Is the name of Liberty to be struck out of the English language, and are we not to hate tyrants even in an old Roman play? "Let the galled jade wince: our withers are unwrung." We turn to a pleasanter topic, and are glad to find an old and early friend unaltered in sentiment as he is unspoiled by success: the same boypoet, after a lapse of years, as when we first knew him; unconscious of the wreath he has woven round his brow, laughing and talking of his play just as if it had been written by anybody else, and as simple-hearted, downright, and honest as the unblemished work he has produced! 2

MR. FARREN-INEXPEDIENCY OF MANY
THEATRES.

London Magazine (No. VIII.), August, 1820. It is our opinion that there is theatrical strength enough in this town only to set up one good summer or one good winter theatre. Competition may be necessary to prevent negligence and abuse, but the result of this distribution of the corps dramatique into different companies is that we never, or very rarely indeed, see a play well acted in all its parts. At Drury Lane there is only one

It was done by the authority of the Lord Chamberlain, at the express command (it is said) of George IV.

2

Generosity and simplicity are not the characteristic virtues of poets. It has been disputed whether "an honest man is the noblest work of God." But we think an honest poet is so.- -W. H.

tragic actor, Mr. Kean: all the rest are supernumeraries. At Covent Garden they lately had one great tragic actress, Miss O'Neill; and two or three actors who were highly respectable, at least in second-rate tragic charac ters. At present the female throne in tragedy is vacant ; and of the men "who rant and fret their hour upon the stage," Mr. Macready is the only one who draws houses, or who finds admirers. He shines most, however, in the pathos of domestic life; and we still want to see tragedy, "turretted, crowned, and crested, with its front gilt and blood-stained," stooping from the skies (not raised from the earth) as it did in the person of John Kemble. He is now quaffing health and burgundy in the south of France. He perhaps finds the air that blows from the "vine-covered hills" wholesomer than that of a crowded house; and the lengthened murmurs of the Mediterranean shore more soothing to the soul than the deep thunders of the pit. Or does he sometimes recline his lofty, laurelled head upon the sea-beat beach, and unlocking the cells of memory, listen to the rolling Peans, the loud never-to-be-forgotten plaudits of enraptured multitudes, that mingle with the music of the waves,

And murmur as the ocean murmurs near?

Or does he still "sigh his soul towards England" and the busy hum of Covent Garden? If we thought so (but that we dread all returns from Elba), we would say to him, "Come back, and once more bid Britannia rival old Greece and Rome!"-Or where is Mr. Young now? There is an opening for his pretensions too. If the Drury Lane company are deficient in genteel comedy, we fear that Covent Garden cannot help them out in this respect.

Mr. W. Farren is the only exception to the sweeping clause we were going to insert against them. He plays the old gentleman, the antiquated beau of the last age, very much after the fashion that we remember to have seen in our younger days, and that is quite a singular excellence in this. Is it that Mr. Farren has caught glimpses of this character in real life, hovering in the horizon of the sister kingdom, which has been long banished from this? They have their Castle Rack-rents, their moats and ditches, still extant in remote parts of the interior and perhaps in famed Dublin city, the chevaux-de-frise of dress, the trellis-work of lace and ruffles, the masked battery of compliment, the portcullises of formal speech, the whole artillery of sighs and ogling, with all the appendages and proper costume of the ancient régime, and paraphernalia of the preux chevalier, may have been kept up in a state of lively decrepitude and smiling dilapidation, in a few straggling instances from the last century, which Mr. Farren had seen. The present age produces nothing of the sort; and so, according to our theory, Mr. Farren does not play the young gentleman or modern man of fashion, though he is himself a young man. For the rest, comedy is in a rich, thriving state at Covent Garden, as far as the lower kind of comic humour is concerned ; but it is like an ill-baked pudding, where all the plums sink to the bottom. Emery and Liston, the two best, are of this description: Jones is a caricaturist; and Terry, in his graver parts, is not a comedian, but a moralist. Even a junction of the two companies into one would hardly furnish out one set of players competent to do justice to any of the standard productions of the English stage in tragedy or comedy; what a hopeful

project it must be then to start a few more play-houses in the heart of the metropolis as nurseries of histrionic talent, still more to divide and dissipate what little concentration of genius we have, and still more to weaken and distract public patronage? As to the argument in favour of two or more theatres from the necessity of competition, we shall not dispute it; but the actual benefits are not so visible to our dim eyes as to some others. There is a competition in what is bad as well as in what is good the race of popularity is as often gained by tripping up the heels of your antagonist, as by pressing forward yourself: there is a competition in running an indifferent piece, or a piece indifferently acted, to prevent the success of the same piece at the other house; and there is a competition in puffing, as Mr. Elliston can witness-No, there, we confess, he leaves all competition behind!

MR. ELLISTON'S GASCONADES.

London Magazine (No. IX.), September, 1820. THE following is a play-bill of Drury Lane Theatre, for which we paid twopence on the spot, to verify the fact— as some well-disposed persons, to prevent mistakes, purchase libellous or blasphemous publications from their necessitous or desperate vendors.

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.-Agreeably to the former advertisement, this theatre is now open for the last performances of Mr. Kean, before his positive departure for America. This evening, Saturday, August 19, 1820, his Majesty's servants will perform Shakspeare's tragedy of Othello. Duke of Venice, Mr. Thompson; Brabantio, Mr. Powell; Gratiano, Mr. Carr; Lodovico, Mr. Vining; Montano, Mr. Jeffries; Othello, Mr. Kean (his last appearance in that character);

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