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conclusion of his Richard. The scene stood still-the parts might be perfect in themselves, but they were not joined together ; they wanted vitality. The pauses in the speeches were too long—the actor seemed to be studying the part, rather than performing it-striving to make every word more emphatic than the last, and "lost too poorly in himself," instead of being carried away by the grandeur of his subject. The text was not given accurately. Macbeth is represented in the play, arming before the castle, which adds to the interest of the scene.

In the delivery of the beautiful soliloquy, “My way of life is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf,” Mr. Kean was unsuccessful. That fine thoughtful melancholy did not seem to come over his mind, which characterises Mr. Kemble's recitation of these lines. The very tone of Mr. Kemble's voice has something retrospective in it-it is an echo of the past. Mr. Kean in his dress was occasionally too much docked and curtailed for the gravity of the character. His movements were too agile and mercurial, and he fought more like a modern fencing-master than a Scottish chieftain of the eleventh century. He fell at last finely, with his face downwards, as if to cover the shame of his defeat. We recollect that Mr. Cooke discovered the great actor both in the deathscene in Macbeth, and in that of Richard. He fell like the ruin of a state, like a king with his regalia about him.

The two finest things that Mr. Kean has ever done, are his recitation of the passage in Othello, “Then, oh, farewell the tranquil mind," and the scene in Macbeth after the murder. The former was the highest and most perfect effort of his art. To inquire whether his manner in the latter scene was that of a king who commits a murder, or of a man who commits a murder to become a king, would be "to consider too curiously.” But, as a lesson of common humanity, it was heartrending. The hesitation, the bewildered look, the coming to himself when he sees his hands bloody ; the manner in which his voice clung to his throat, and choked his utterance his agony and tears, the force of nature overcome by passion-beggared description. It was a scene which no one who saw it can ever efface from his recollection.


Champion, January 8, 1815. Mr. Kean appeared at Drury Lane in the character of Romeo, for the first time on Monday last. The house was crowded at an early hour, and neither those who went to admire, nor those who went to find fault, could go away disappointed. He discovered no new and unlooked-for excellences in the part, but displayed the same extraordinary energies which he never fails to do on every occasion. There is, indeed, a set of ingenious persons who, having perceived on Mr. Kean's first appearance that he was a little man with an inharmonious voice, and no very great dignity or elegance of manner, go regularly to the theatre to confirm themselves in this singular piece of sagacity; and finding that the object of their contempt and wonder has not, since they last saw him, “added a cubit to his stature," that his tones have not become “as musical as is Apollo's lute," and that there is still an habitual want of grace about him, are determined, till such a metamorphosis is effected, not to allow a particle of genius to the actor, or of taste or common sense to those who are not stupidly blind to everything but his defects. That an actor with very moderate abilities, having the advantages of voice, person, and gracefulness of manner on his side, should acquire a very high reputation, is what we can understand, and have seen some instances of; but that an actor, with almost every physical disadvantage against him, should, without very extraordinary powers and capacities indeed, be able to excite the most enthusiastic and general admiration, would, we conceive, be a phenomenon in the history of public imposture, totally without example. In fact, the generality of critics who undertake to give the tone to public opinion, have neither the courage nor discernment to decide on the merits of a truly excellent and original actor, and are equally without the candour to acknowledge their error, after they find themselves in the

wrong. In going to see Mr. Kean in any new character, we do not go in the expectation of seeing either a perfect actor or perfect acting ; because this is what we have not yet seen, either in him or in any one else. But we go to see (what he never disappoints us in) great spirit, ingenuity, and originality given to the text in general, and an energy and depth of passion given to certain scenes and passages, which we should in vain look for from any other actor on the stage. In every character that he has played, in Shylock, in Richard, in Hamlet, in Othello, in Iago, in Luke,' and in Macbeth, there has been either a dazzling repetition of master-strokes of art and nature, or if at any time (from a want of physical adaptation, or sometimes of just con

* In Riches, Sir J. B. Burgess's alteration of Massinger's City Madan.

ception of the character) the interest has flagged for a considerable interval, the deficiency has always been redeemed by some collected and overpowering display of energy or pathos, which electrified at the moment, and left a lasting impression on the mind afterwards. Such, for instance, were the murder-scene in Macbeth, the third act of his Othello, the interview with Ophelia in Hamlet, and, lastly, the scene with Friar Lawrence, and the death-scene in Romeo.

Of the characters that Mr. Kean has played, Hamlet and Romeo are the most like one another, at least, in adventitious circumstances; those to which Mr. Kean's powers are least adapted, and in which he has failed most in general truth of conception and continued interest. There is in both characters the same strong tincture of youthful enthusiasm, of tender melancholy, of romantic thought and sentiment; but we confess we did not see these qualities in Mr. Kean's performance of either. His Romeo had nothing of the lover in it. We never saw anything less ardent or less voluptuous. In the Balcony scene in particular, he was cold, tame, and unimpressive. It was said of Garrick and Barry in this scene, that the one acted it as if he would jump up to the lady, and the other as if he would make the lady jump down to him. Mr. Kean produced neither of these effects. He stood.' like a statue of lead. Even Mr. Conway might feel taller on the occasion, and Mr. Coates' wonder at the taste of the public. The only time in this scene when he attempted to give anything like an effect, was when he smiled on over-hearing Juliet's confession of her

Conway, whose gigantic height is cruelly harped on by Hazlitt, was a passable Romeo, and Coates was the notorious “ Amateur of Fashion," who exhibited himself in the part.

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passion. But the smile was less like that of a fortunate lover, who unexpectedly hears his happiness confirmed, than of a discarded lover, who hears of the disappointment of a rival. The whole of this part not only wanted ti the silver sound of lovers' tongues by night” to recommend it, but warmth, tenderness, everything which it should have possessed. Mr. Kean was like a man waiting to receive a message from his mistress through her confidante, not like one who was pouring out his rapturous vows to the idol of his soul.

There was neither glowing animation, nor melting softness in his manner ; his cheek was not flushed, no sigh breathed involuntary from his overcharged bosom; all was forced and lifeless. His acting sometimes reminded us of the scene with Lady Anne, and we cannot say a worse thing of it, considering the difference of the two characters. Mr. Kean's imagination appears not to have the principles of joy or hope or love in it. He seems chiefly sensible to pain, or to the passions that spring from it, and to the terrible energies of mind or body, which are necessary to grapple with or to avert it. Even over the world of passion he holds but a divided sway ; he either does not feel, or seldom expresses, deep, sustained, internal sentiment,--there is no repose in his mind; no feeling seems to take full possession of it, that is not linked to action, and that does not goad him on to the phrenzy of despair. Or if he ever conveys the sublimer pathos of thought and feeling, it is after the storm of passion, to which he has been worked up, has subsided. The tide of feeling then at time rolls deep, majestic, and awful, like the surging sea after a tempest, now lifted to heaven, now laying the som of the deep. Thus after the violence and anguish of the scene

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