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his mind and body, his fame and fortune, than sharing bumper receipts with the Dublin managers, or carousing with the whole Irish bar. Or, if Mr. Kean does not approve of this rough regimen, he might devote the summer vacation to the Muses. To a man of genius, leisure is the first of benefits, as well as of luxuries; where, "with her best nurse, Contemplation," the mind

Can plume her feathers, and let grow her wings,
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impaired."

It was our first duty to point out Mr. Kean's excellences to the public, and we did so with no sparing hand; it is our second duty to him, to ourselves, and the public, to distinguish between his excellences and defects, and to prevent, if possible, his excellences from degenerating into defects.


Champion, November 13, 1814. THE genius of Shakespeare was as much shown in the subtlety and nice discrimination as in the force and variety of his characters. The distinction is not preserved more completely in those which are the most opposite, than in those which in their general features and obvious appearance most nearly resemble each other. It has been observed, with very little exaggeration, that not one of his speeches could be put into the mouth of any other character than the one to which it is given, and that the transposition, if attempted, might be always detected from some circumstance in the passage itself. If to invent according to Nature, be the true definition of genius, Shakespeare had more of this quality than any other writer. He might be said to have been a jointworker with Nature, and to have created an imaginary world of his own, which has all the appearance and the truth of reality. His mind, while it exerted an absolute control over the stronger workings of the passions, was exquisitively alive to the slightest impulses and most evanescent shades of character and feeling. The broad distinctions and governing principles of human nature are presented not in the abstract, but in their immediate and endless application to different persons and things. The local details, the particular accidents, have the fidelity of history, without losing anything of their general effect.

1 Milton's Comus.

It is the business of poetry, and indeed of all works of imagination, to exhibit the species through the individual. Otherwise, there can be no opportunity for the exercise of the imagination, without which the descriptions of the painter or the poet are lifeless, un substantial, and vapid. If some modern critics are right, with their sweeping generalities and vague abstractions, Shakespeare was quite wrong. In the French dramatists, only the class is represented, never the individual : their kings, their heroes, and their lovers are all the same, and they are all French-that is, they are nothing but the mouthpieces of certain rhetorical commonplace sentiments on the favourite topics of morality and the passions. The characters in Shakespeare do not declaim like pedantic schoolboys, but speak and act like men, placed in real circumstances, with “real hearts of flesh and blood beating in their bosoms.” No two of his characters are the same, more than they would be so in nature. Those that are the most alike are distinguished by positive differences, which accompany and modify the leading principle of the character through its most obscure ramifications, embodying the habits, gestures and almost the looks of the individual. These touches of nature are often so many, and so minute, that the poeg cannot be supposed to have been distinctly aware of the operation of the springs by which his imagination was set at work : yet every one of the results is brought out with a truth and clearness, as if his whole study had been directed to that peculiar trait of character, or subordinate train of feeling.

Thus Macbeth, and Richard the Third, King Henry the Sixth, and Richard the Second-characters that, in their general description, and in common hands, would be merely repetitions of the same idea-are distinguished by traits as precise, though of course less violent, than those which separate Macbeth from Henry the Sixth, or Richard the Third from Richard the Second. Shakespeare has, with wonderful accuracy, and without the smallest appearance of effort, varied the portraits of imbecility and effeminacy in the two deposed monarchs. With still more powerful and masterly strokes, he has marked the different effects of ambition and cruelty, operating on different dispositions and in different circumstances, in his Macbeth and Richard the Third. Both are tyrants and usurpers, both violent and ambitious, both cruel and treacherous. But Richard is cruel from nature and constitution. Macbeth becomes so from accidental circumstances. He is urged to the commission of guilt by golden opportunity, by the instigations of his wife, and by prophetic warnings. “Fate and metaphysical aid " conspire against his virtue and loyalty. Richard needs no prompter, but wades through a series of crimes to the height of his ambition, from ungovernable passions and the restless love of mischief. He is never gay but in the prospect, or in the success, of his villainies : Macbeth is full of horror at the thoughts of the murder of Duncan, and of remorse after its perpetration. Richard has no mixture of humanity in his composition, no tie which binds him to the kind; he owns no fellowship with others, but is himself alone. Macbeth is not without feelings of sympathy, is accessible to pity, is even the dupe of his uxoriousness, and ranks the loss of friends and of his good name among the causes that have made him sick of life. He becomes more callous indeed as he plunges deeper in guilt, “direness is thus made familiar to his slaughterous thoughts," and he anticipates his wife in the boldness and bloodiness of his enterprises, who, for want of the same stimulus of action, is “ troubled with thick-coming fancies,” walks in her sleep, goes mad, and dies. Macbeth endeavours to escape from reflection on his crimes, by repelling their consequences, and banishes remorse for the past, by meditating future mischief. This is not the principle of Richard's cruelty, which resembles the cold malignity of a fiend, rather than the frailty of human nature. Macbeth is goaded on by necessity ; to Richard, blood is a pastime.

There are other essential differences. Richard is a man of the world, a vulgar, plotting, hardened villain, wholly regardless of everything but his own ends and the means to accomplish them. Not so Macbeth. The superstitions of the time, the rude state of society, the local scenery and customs, all give a wildness and imaginary grandeur to his character. From the strangeness of the events which surround him, he is full of amazement and fear, and stands in doubt between the world of reality and the world of fancy. He sees sights not shown to mortal eye, and hears unearthly music. All is tumult and disorder within and without his mind. In thought he is absent and perplexed, desperate in act: his purposes recoil upon himself, are broken and disjointed : he is the double thrall of his passions and his evil destiny. He treads upon the brink of fate, and grows dizzy with his situation. Richard is not a character of imagination, but of pure will or passion. There is no conflict of opposite feelings in his breast. The apparitions which he sees are in his sleep, nor does he liye, like Macbeth, in a waking dream.

Such, at least, is our conception of the two characters, as drawn by Shakespeare. Mr. Kean does not distinguish

them so completely as he might. His Richard comes nearer to the original than his Macbeth. deficient in the poetry of the character. He did not look like a man who had encountered the Weird Sisters. There should be nothing tight or compact in Macbeth, no tenseness of fibre, nor pointed decision of manner. He has, indeed, energy and manliness of soul, but “subject to all the skyey influences." He is sure of nothing. All is left at issue. He runs a-tilt with fortune, and is baffled with preternatural riddles. The agitation of his mind resembles the rolling of the sea in a storm ; or, he is like a lion in the toils-fierce, impetuous, and ungovernable. In the fifth act in particular, which is in itself as busy and turbulent as possible, there was not that giddy whirl of the imagination—the character did not burnish out on all sides with those flashes of genius, of which Mr. Kean had given so fine an earnest in the

He was

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