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sympathising with their welfare, but not feeling the passions of men, receiving neither good nor hurt from them, but bestowing their benefits as free gifts on them, they might then rule over them like another Providence. But this is not the case. Coriolanus is unwilling that the Senate should show their “cares" for the people, lest their "cares" should be construed into "fears," to the subversion of all due authority; and he is no sooner disappointed in his schemes to deprive the people, not only of the cares of the state, but of all power to redress themselves, than Volumnia is made madly to exclaim
Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
This is but natural; it is but natural for a mother to have more regard for her son than for a whole city; but then the city should be left to take some care of itself. The care of the state cannot, we here see, be safely entrusted to maternal affection, or to the domestic charities of high life. The great have private feelings of their own, to which the interests of humanity and justice must courtesy. Their interests are so far from being the same as those of the community, that they are in direct and necessary opposition to them; their power is at the expense of our weakness; their riches, of our poverty ; their pride, of our degradation; their splendour, of our wretchedness; their tyranny, of our servitude. If they had the superior intelligence ascribed to them (which they have not) it would only render them so much more formidable; and from gods would convert them into devils.
The whole dramatic moral of Coriolanus is, that those who have little shall have less, and that those who have
much shall take all that others have left. The people are poor, therefore they ought to be starved. They are slaves, therefore they ought to be beaten. They work hard, therefore they ought to be treated like beasts of burden. They are ignorant, therefore they ought not to be allowed to feel that they want food, or clothing, or rest, that they are enslaved, oppressed, and miserable. This is the logic of the imagination and the passions; which seek to aggrandise what excites admiration, and to heap contempt on misery, to raise power into tyranny, and to make tyranny absolute; to thrust down that which is low still lower, and to make wretches desperate; to exalt magistrates into kings, kings into gods; to degrade subjects to the rank of slaves, and slaves to the condition of brutes. The history of mankind is a romance, a mask, a tragedy constructed upon the principles of poetical justice; it is a noble or royal hunt, in which what is sport to the few is death to the many, and in which the spectators halloo and encourage the strong to set upon the weak, and cry havoc in the chase, though they do not share in the spoil. We may depend upon it, that what men delight to read in books, they will put in practice in reality.
Mr. Kemble in the part of Coriolanus was as great as ever. Miss O'Neill as Volumnia was not so great as Mrs. Siddons. There is a fleshiness, if we may so say, about her whole manner, voice, and person, which does not suit the character of the Roman matron. One of the most amusing things in the representation of this play is the contrast between Kemble and little Simmons. The former seems as if he would gibbet the latter on his nose, he looks so lofty. The fidgetting, uneasy, insignificant gestures of Simmons are perhaps a little caricatured ; and
Kemble's supercilious airs and nonchalance remind one of the unaccountable abstracted air, the contracted eyebrows and suspended chin, of a man who is just going to
MR. BOOTH'S DUKE OF GLOUCESTER. Examiner, February 16, 1817. A GENTLEMAN of the name of Booth, who, we understand, has been acting with considerable applause at Worthing and Brighton, came out in Richard, Duke of Gloucester, at Covent Garden on Wednesday. We do not know well what to think of his powers, till we see him in some part in which he is more himself. His face is adapted to tragic characters, and his voice wants neither strength nor musical expression. But almost the whole of his performance was an exact copy or parody of Mr. Kean's manner of doing the same part. It was a complete, but at the same time a successful, piece of plagiarism. We do not think this kind of second-hand reputation can last upon the London boards for more than a character or two. In the country these doubles of the best London performers go down very well, for they are the best they can get, and they have not the originals to make invidious comparisons with. But it will hardly do to bring out the same entertainment that we can have as it is first served up at Drury Lane, in a hashed state at Covent Garden. We do not blame Mr. Booth for borrowing Mr. Kean's coat and feathers to appear in upon a first and trying occasion, but if he wishes to gain a permanent reputation he must come forward in his own person. He must try to be original, and not content himself with treading in another's steps. We say this the rather
because, as far as we could judge, Mr. Booth, in point of execution, did those passages the best in which he now and then took leave of Mr. Kean's decided and extreme manner, and became more mild and tractable. Such was his recitation of the soliloquy on his own ambitious projects, and of that which occurs the night before the battle. In these he seemed to yield to the impulse of his own feelings, and to follow the natural tones and cadence of his voice. They were the best parts of his performance. The worst were those where he imitated, or rather caricatured, Mr. Kean's hoarseness of delivery and violence of action, and affected an energy without seeming to feel it. Such were his repulse of Buckingham, his exclamation, "What does he in the north," &c., his telling his attendants to set down the corse of King Henry, &c. The scene with Lady Anne, on the contrary, which was of a softer and more insinuating kind, he was more successful in, and, though still a palpable imitation of Mr. Kean, it had all the originality that imitation could have, for he seemed to feel it. His manner of saying "Good-night," and of answering, when he received the anonymous paper, "A weak invention of the enemy," we consider as mere tricks in the art, which no one but a professed mimic has a right to play. The dying scene was without effect. The greatest drawback to Mr. Booth's acting is a perpetual strut, and unwieldy swagger in his ordinary gait and manner, which, though it may pass at Brighton for grand, gracious, and magnificent, even the lowest of the mob will laugh at in London. This is the third imitation of Mr. Kean we have seen attempted, and the only one that has not been a complete failure. The imitation of original genius is the forlorn hobe of the candidates for fame: its faults are
so easily overdone, its graces are so hard to catch. A Kemble school we can understand; a Kean school is, we suspect, a contradiction in terms. Art may be taught, because it is learnt; Nature can neither be taught nor learnt. The secrets of Art may be said to have a common or pass key to unlock them; the secrets of Nature have but one master-key-the heart.
MR. BOOTH'S IAGO.
Examiner, February 23, 1817. THE managers of Covent Garden Theatre, after having announced in the bills that Mr. Booth's Richard the Third had met with a success unprecedented in the annals of histrionic fame, (which, to do them justice, was not the case), very disinterestedly declined engaging him at more than two pounds a week, as report speaks. Now we think they were wrong, either in puffing him so unmercifully, or in haggling with him so pitifully. It was either trifling with the public or with the actor. The consequence, as it has turned out, has been that Mr. Booth, who was to start as "the fell opposite" of Mr. Kean, has been taken by the hand by that gentleman, who was an old fellow comedian of his in the country, and engaged at Drury Lane at a salary of ten pounds per week. So we hear. And it was in evident allusion to this circumstance that when Mr. Booth, as Iago, said on Thursday night, "I know my price no less," John Bull, who has very sympathetic pockets, gave a loud shout of triumph, which resounded along all the benches of the pit. We must say that Mr. Booth pleased us much more in Iago than in Richard. He was, it is true, well supported by Mr. Kean in Othello, but he also supported/