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whole effort is thrown away in a wrong direction, and disturbs our idea of the character. There are some technical objections. Othello was tall ; but that is nothing: he was black, but that is nothing. But he was not fierce, and that is everything. It is only in the last agony of human suffering that he gives way to his rage and his despair, and it is in working his noble nature up to that extremity, that Shakespeare has shown his genius and his vast power over the human heart. It was in raising passion to its height, from the lowest beginnings and in spite of all obstacles, in showing the conflict of the soul, the tug and war between love and hatred, rage, tenderness, jealousy, remorse, in laying open the strength and the weaknesses of human nature, in uniting sublimity of thought with the anguish of the keenest woe, in putting in motion all the springs and impulses which make up this our mortal being, and at last blending them in that noble tide of deep and sustained passion, impetuous, but majestic, “that flows on to the Propontic and knows no ebb,” that the great excellence of Shakespeare lay. Mr. Kean is in general all passion, all energy, all relentless will. He wants imagination, that faculty which contemplates events, and broods over feelings with a certain calmness and grandeur; his feelings almost always hurry on to action, and hardly ever repose upon themselves. He is too often in the highest key of passion, too uniformly on the verge of extravagance, too constantly on the rack. This does very well in certain characters, as Zanga or Bajazet, where there is merely a physical passion, a boiling of the blood, to be expressed ; but it is not so in the lofty-minded and generous Moor.
We make these remarks the more freely, because there were parts of the character in which Mr. Kean showed the greatest sublimity and pathos, by laying aside all violence of action. For instance, the tone of voice in which he delivered the beautiful apostrophe, “ Then, oh, farewell !” struck on the heart like the swelling notes of some divine music, like the sound of years of departed happiness. Why not all so, or all that is like it? why not speak the affecting passage_"I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips ”-why not speak the last speech, in the same manner? They are both of them, we do most strenuously contend, speeches of pure pathos, of thought, and feeling, and not of passion, venting itself in violence of action or gesture. Again, the look, the action, the expression of voice, with which he accompanied the exclamation, “Not a jot, not a jot," was perfectly heart-rending. His vow of revenge against Cassio, and his abandonment of his love for Desdemona, were as fine as possible. The whole of the third act had an irresistible effect upon the house, and indeed is only to be paralleled by the murder-scene in Macbeth.
MR. KEAN'S SIR GILES OVERREACH.
Examiner, January 14, 1816. MASSINGER's play of A New Way to Pay Old Debts, which has been brought out at Drury Lane Theatre to introduce Mr. Kean in the part of Sir Giles Overreach, must have afforded a rich treat to theatrical amateurs. There is something in a good play well acted, a peculiar charm, that makes us forget ourselves and all the world.
We do not know any one now-a-days who could write Massinger's comedy of A New Way to Pay Old Debts, though we do not believe that it was better acted at the time it was first brought out, than it is at present. We cannot conceive of any one's doing Mr. Kean's part of Sir Giles Overreach so well as himself. We have seen others in the part, superior in the look and costume, in hardened, clownish, rustic insensibility; but in the soul and spirit, no one equal to him. He is a truly great actor. This is one of his very best parts. He was not at a single fault. The passages which we remarked as particularly striking and original, were those where he expresses his surprise at his nephew's answers, “His fortune swells him !-'Tis rank, he's married !” and again, where, after the exposure of his villanies, he calls to his accomplice Marall, in a half-wheedling, half-terrific tone, "Come hither, Marall, come hither." Though the speech itself is absurd and out of character, his manner of stopping when he is running at his foes, “I'm feeble, some widow's curse hangs on my sword,” was exactly as if his arm had been suddenly withered, and his powers shrivelled up on the instant. The conclusion was quite overwhelming. Mr. Kean looked the part well, and his voice does not fail as it used to do.
Examiner, January 21, 1816. The admirable comedy of a New Way to Pay Old Debts continues to be acted with increased effect. Mr. Kean is received with shouts of applause in Sir Giles Overreach. We have heard two objections to his manner of doing this part, one of which we think right and the other not. When he is asked, “Is he not moved by the orphan's tears, the widow's curse ?” he answers, “ Yes—as rocks by waves, or the moon by howling wolves." Mr. Kean, in speaking the latter sentence, dashes his voice about with the greatest violence, and howls out his indignation and rage. Now we conceive this is wrong: for he has to express not violence, but firm, inflexible resistance to it, —not motion, but rest. The very pause after the word yes, points out the cool deliberate way in which it should be spoken. The other objection is to his manner of pronouncing the word “Lord-Right Honourable Lord," which Mr. Kean uniformly does in a drawling tone, with a mixture of fawning servility and sarcastic contempt. This has been thought inconsistent with the part, and with the desire which Sir Giles has to ennoble his family by alliance with a "Lord, a Right Honourable Lord." We think Mr. Kean never showed more genius than in pronouncing this single word, Lord. It is a complete exposure (produced by the violence of the character), of the elementary feelings which make up the common respect excited by mere rank. This is nothing but a cringing to power and opinion, with a view to turn them to our own advantage with the world. Sir Giles is one of those knaves who “do themselves homage." He makes use of Lord Lovell merely as the stalking-horse of his ambition. In other respects, he has the greatest contempt for him, and the necessity he is under of paying court to him for his own purposes, infuses a double portion of gall and bitterness into the expression of his self-conscious superiority. No; Mr. Kean was perfectly right in this, he spoke the word “Lord" con amore. His praise of the kiss, " It came twanging off-I like it," was one of his happiest passages. It would perhaps be as well if, in the concluding scene, he would contrive not to frighten the ladies into hysterics. But the whole together is admirable.
"A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.")
Examiner, January 21, 1816. We hope we have not been accessory to murder, in recommending a delightful poem to be converted into a dull pantomime ; for such is the fate of the Midsummer Night's Dream. We have found to our cost, once for all, that the regions of fancy and the boards of Covent Garden are not the same thing. All that is fine in the play, was lost in the representation. The spirit was evaporated, the genius was fled; but the spectacle was fine : it was that which saved the play. Oh, ye sceneshifters, ye scene-painters, ye machinists and dressmakers, ye manufacturers of moon and stars that give no light, ye musical composers, ye men in the orchestra, fiddlers and trumpeters and players on the double drum and loud bassoon, rejoice! This is your triumph ; it is not ours : and ye full-grown, well-fed, substantial, real fairies, Messieurs Treby, and Truman, and Atkins, and Misses Matthews, Carew, Burrell, and MacAlpine, we shall remember you : we shall believe no more in the existence of your fantastic tribe. Flute the bellows-mender, Snug the joiner, Starveling the tailor, farewell ! you have lost the charm of your names ; but thou, Nic Bottom, thou valiant Bottom, what shall we say to thee? Thou didst console us much; thou didst perform a good part well ; thou didst top the part of Bottom the weaver ! He comes out of thy hands as clean and clever a fellow as ever. Thou art a person of exquisite whim and humour ; and thou didst hector over thy companions well, and fall down flat before the Duke, like other bullies, well; and thou didst sing the song of the Black Ousel well ; but