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the efforts of genius, and to place gillian, with an intent to confirm or to disupon its brows the wreath of fame. pel certain doubts of her connubial hap
The fable on which this tragedy is piness, which they entertained. De founded, is the same which forms the Grey keeps at a respectful distance, subject of Campbell's beautiful poem presence of his sister, finds" all is
but Lorne, admitted by stealth to the of Glenara, a highland legend
long not well.” Helen, however, with praisepreserved in the family of the Hon. worthy constancy, determines to adMrs Damer's maternal ancestors, and here to her conjugal duties, and, in an, by that lady presented to Miss Baile swer to his affectionate and solicitous lie, as well calculated to produce inquiries, asserts, that “ Clangillian's strong effect upon the stage. The wife has no grievances to tell the Lord outline of the play constructed from of Lorne.” Thus confirmed in their susit is as follows :
picions, but baffled in their hopes of re
lieving her by her own virtue, the brother Helen, daughter of Argyll
, has been and lover reluctantly leave the castle. given by her father to Duart, the chief At this period the machinations of the of Clangillian, in order to cement a peace conspirators are completed; and the which had lately taken place between weak-minded Duart, harassed by their these two powerful clans, who had hither- clamorous expostulations, alarmed by to long nourished against each other a their threats, and terrified by supernatudeadly feud. The lurking feelings of hos- ral prodigies, yields, after some faint tility, however, still rankled in the breasts struggles, to the furious demand of his of many of the leaders of Clangillian, clan, to have Helen resigned to their upon whose stern and ferocious souls the hands. He still makes some feeble inmild virtues and gentle mediations of the tercession for her life, and receives from fair bride could work no change. Her them the dark and equivocal promise that husband, unfortunatelyof a soft, un- they “ will not shed her blood.” Helen steady, yielding temper," is little able to is accordingly forced away by the unreexert his authority as chieftain, to influ- lenting vassals, regardless of her cries ence the determinations of his fierce and and lamentations, and exposed upon a rugged vassals. Benlora, a powerful lead- barren rock, which at high water is coer, and “ a savage, gloomy man,” had vered by the sea, and left to await the been taken in ambush, and, “ the peace- terrific and inevitable approach of death. ful treaty of the clans unheeded," kept In this situation she is accidentally disin durance vile by a Campbell for two covered and rescued by De Grey and a long years. On his release, he finds the party of fishermen, and is borne home te marriage of his own-chief with the de- the castle of Argyll
. Duart shortly aftested Helen of Argyll had bound his terwards follows, accompanied by Benlora hands, and removed from him all hope of and the other conspirators, to pay a visit honourable vengeance for his wrongs. of condolence to his father-in-law upon Vengeance, however, he is resolved to her pretended death, of which and of her have, per fas aut nefas, and, along with burial he has previously sent a fabricated Lochtarish and Glenfadden, two subor- account. The old earl receives him with dinate villains, he contrives to work upon ceremonious observance; and Lorne, the inferior and irresolute Duart, 'till he with characteristic vehemence of concomplies with their revengeful and savage tempt. Persisting in his falsehood that purpose of exposing Helen to destruc- Helen died in his arms, he and his vastion. While these machinations are yet sals are introduced to a splendid feast, unaccomplished, John of Lorne the bro- where Helen is suddenly brought before ther, and De Grey, the former lover of them. Confoundedand conscience-struck, Helen (whose hopes had been sacrificed he has no defence or palliation, and, beby the cruel policy of the present match,) taking himself to the last resort of dearrive, in disguise, at the castle of Clan- tected guilt, is killed in single combat by
John of Lorne. The other conspirators what she would term her miscellaare carried off to punishment, and the
neous plays, it is relieved from dis. piece concludes with the triumph of the advantages to which those are inevihouse of Argyll, and the prospect of a tably liable, which proceed on a sysunion between De Grey and Helen, to whose gratitude he had endeared him- tematic determination to illustrate a self, by preserving her own life and that single passion. In exhibiting the of her infant son, which, likewise, was birth and pourtraying the progress threatened by the feudal hatred of the of any individual passion, intended Clangillian party.
to absorb all the other component Such is the outline of the plot of feelings of the human breast, and this tragedy. Simple in its construc- stamp the ruling character of the pertion and uninterrupted in its pro- son, nature will frequently be sacrigress by the intervention of any epi. ficed to theory, and the part become sodical characters or counteracting more like a metaphysical analysis than incidents, the catastrophe is carly fore. a dramatic specification of characseen, or, more strictly speaking, is ter; and the poetry will be rather an very early completed; for the pre- ingenious display of the poet's own servation of Helen, which certainly knowledge of the human heart and forms the main interest of the piece, mind, than the exemplification of takes place at the end of the third it by the natural language of pasact; and the fourth and fifth are em. sion from the character itself: we shall played in the visit of the husband to rather be apt to feel as if we were the castle of Argyle, and the detec- receiving instruction from the author, tion and punishment of his guilt.- than as being left to instruct ourselves This we conceive to be a fault ; the by the observation and study of the mind, relieved from its principal anxi- dramatic personages. That Miss ety, attends, notwithstanding a great Baillie has been thus prevented from deal of exquisite poetry, witholan. drawing character with the genuine guor to a sequel which is necessarily power of dramatic reality, we are and confidently expected, and which, afraid may be deduced from the faithough requisite to be exhibited, is too lure which attends her pieces when insufficient and subordinate to occu. put into representation. Great atpy so great a proportion of the play. tention is paid to, and great intel- . Many schemes might have been sug- lectual delight received from, the langested to have prolonged the inte. guage, the poetry, and sentiments, by rest ; and the rescue of the heroine, those minds which are capable of atwith the doom of her persecutors, tending ; but little general sympathy
; might both have been contained in the is excited in the feelings of an au. last act.
dience, and that concentrated atten.. On the nature and extent of Miss tion necessary to the success of a Baillie's poetical talent it is unneces- drama soon wearies and languishes. sary for us to enlarge, after the am. If, however, we may find it diffiple' notice which it has received in cult to discover many examples of , our last year's Review of Literature. the language of immediate and chaThe present production exhibits the racteristic passion in her plays, they same excellencies and the same de certainly abound in the most fetifects which charactérise her other citous and exquisite descriptions of tragedies ; and, by ranking among it. To her belongs the praise of
clothing the noblest doctrines of mo. is one of those plays which the prerality, and finest delicacies of senti. sent age produces, without much exment, in diction the most just and pence of intellect, labour of composibeautiful, and of illustrating them by tion, or originality of character; and the most delightful and appropriate of which the highest praise is toleraimages which a poetical mind could ble ingenuity in the construction of suggest. She has skilfully investi. a tale, where a sufficiency of ingated the operations of the human cidents, situation, and effect may be mind, and unfolded with successful produced through five acts. For the accuracy the nicest involutions of in- origin of this class of plays, we are tellectual combination. She has ex- indebted to the fertile inventions of plored the hidden sources of pleasure such authors as Reynolds, Morton, and of pain, and analysed with philo. &c., &c. They owe their success sophical truth the passions of the hu- entirely to the genius of the actors, man heart ; their fleeting hues, their who, by their exertions, contrive frevarious and versatile appearances, quently to bear them into favour, note their wild and intricate mazes, the withstanding their utter want of presubtle changes by which they elude tension to real wit or genuine hu. our vigilance, and the stubborn com- mour.
The old men and young plications by which they resist our gentlemen, old women and young power. All this she has done ; but ladies, servants, maids, &c. in this done it with the uniform and individ play are all our old acquaintances of dual powers of Miss Baillie, in the the last 20 years standing, without composition of what must rather be any alteration in their language, or called fine dramatic poems, than drac improvement in their understandings : mas, where characters should exist as it, however, succeeded quite as well, in real life, and form the mirror of the and was quite as well entitled to sucworld we live in.
ceed as most similar compositions ad. The Family Legend was thus cast: dressed to the present popular taste. Duart, Mr Thompson ; Earl of Ar. General report ascribed it to the magyle, Mr Terry, John of Lorne, nager. It was played several nights Mr Siddons; De Grey, Mr Putnam; with good success to respectable hou. Benlora, Mr Archer; Helen, Mrs Siddons. The prologue was written
We shall conclude our account of by Mr Walter Scott, with a romantic the season, by briefly noticing the nationality of allusion to the subject of auxiliaries with whom the manager the tragedy, a loveliness of imagery, successively strengthened his powers and a glow of feeling strongly
cha- of attraction ; and first upon the list racteristic of the bard of chivalry. is the matchless name of Mrs Sid. The epilogue, familiar, elegant, and dons. Of every exhibition of talents witty, was the production of MrHen- rare, and perfect, and sublime, it is a ry
Mackenzie. The former was spo- duty, as well as a pleasure, to preken by Mr Terry, and the latter by serve a record in some place likely to Mrs Siddons.
be lasting. The public cannot exShortly after the Family Legend, pect for many years longer to witness a new comedy was brought forward, the exertions of those boundless powers entitled, “ The Friend of the Fami, which have so long excited their ad. ly; or, Warnings to Ladies.” This miration and reverence; and we yield,
without hesitation, to the impulse dy Macbeth ; on Thursday, she playwhich leads us, probably for the last ed Zara, in the Mourning Bride ; and time, to dwell upon excellencies which on Friday, repeated Lady Macbeth ; must too soon be lost to us for ever. after which, a short illness prevented
Mrs Siddons made her first ap- her from again appearing till Saturpearance this season on Wednesday day the 24th, when she resumed her 14th March, in the character of La. labours as Constance, in King John. On Monday, 26th March, Elvira,
PIZARRO. Tuesday, 27th, Jane De Montfort, , De MONTFORT. Wednesday, 28th, Lady Randolph, Douglas. Thursday, 29th, Mrs Beverley,
GAMESTER. Saturday, 31st, Volumnia,
CORIOLANUS Monday, 20 April, Isabella,
ISABELLA. Tuesday, 3d, Mrs Beverley,
JEALOUS Wipes Monday, 9th, Constance,
King John. Tuesday, 10th, Belvidera,
Venice PRESERVED, for her own benefit.
We have thus individually chroni- When the painter and the sculptor cled her performances, with the same have done their utmost to give to fuexactness as we would preserve a ca- ture years the personal identity of talogue of valuable pictures which are Mrs Siddons, in all the various glories no longer in our possession, in order of her form and face, language can that remembrance may be assisted as only attest their fidelity: the warın. it dwells upon the time when their ex. est fervour of the imagination cannot istence formed the brightest period in in this instance aggravate eulogy or the history of the art.
exalt enthusiasm beyond the bounds Vain as it is to regret inevitable of truth ; and in endeavouring, to necessity, it is still impossible to pre- convey the idea of her mental qualifivent the recurrence of that regret cations, we must describe a mind giftwhenever we reflect upon the perish. ed, in the most extraordinary manner, ability of the actor's efforts ; we de. with every one requisite necessary to plore that the productions of an art, constitute faultless excellence. Sidwhich can only be exhibited in the dons is in tragedy what Milton is in person of the artist, must necessarily poetry, and to her may be adapted perish with him ; but the perfection with peculiar felicity the eloquent of theatrical genius, whose perform- praise of Johnson in his passage upon ances combine and illustrate the the genius of the poet. -" The chapowers of all the arts, all should con- racteristic quality of her acting is tribute to perpetuate, by their respec. sublimity ;-she sometimes descends tive exertions to raise an altar to de. to the elegant, but her element is the parted genius, at which succeeding great ;-she can occasionally invest genius may pay its worship, and catch herself with grace, but her natural the flame of inpiration
port is gigantic loftiness ;--she cars.
please when pleasure is required," but faithfully inspired; and this is done it is her peculiar power to astonish.” without the slightest appearance of -“Nature has bestowed upon her laboured and studious research, but more bountifully than upon others comes to the ear with the ease of the power of displaying the vast, il- immediate and natural suggestion. luminating the splendid, enforcing By the force of her talent, every dethe awful, darkening the gloomy, and scription becomes impregnated with aggravating the dreadful.”
life, and starts before the mind with That which perhaps may be first all the vividness of reality ; by the neticed as the quality which places touch of her genius, speeches, which Mrs Siddons above all living rivalry, in ordinary hands would be tame and is the strong and sustained preserva- languid, are warmed into emotion or tion of individual character; a power exalted into energy; for it is one of not confined to the classical propriety the truest characteristics which distinof a speech, nor the isolated beauty of guish genius in acting from inferior a particular scene, but exhibited in the talent, that, while the latter condenses steady preservation and individuali- the warmest glow of passion into zing of each character from all others frigid declamation, the former raises similar or approaching to similitude. declamation into passion, and animates She enters upon any part which she it with all the variety of genuine feelassumes with such extraordinary iden- ing. While other performers, of the tification, as if from her birth she present or of former days, have made had been the individual whom she nearer or more distant approaches to represents, and had never thought excellence, Mrs Siddons has reached but with her thoughts, nor felt but it ; and in her splendid and solitary with her feelings. With the most example, our age has witnessed that commanding beauty of form and va- wonderful combination of mental ried grace of action ; with the most powers, and personal gifts, which, in noble combination of features and the tragic department of her art, has extensive capability of expression in realized the idea of perfection. each of them ; with an unequalled After Mrs Siddons, the next auxi. genius for the art, the utmost pa. liary was Mr John Johnstone, who tience as well as activity of mind, and for the first time made his appearance the strongest ardour of feeling, there before an Edinburgh audience ; and is not a passion which she cannot de- perhaps no performer ever made a lineate, not a shade or modification stronger and more immediate impresof passion which she does not exhibitsion upon us than this gentleman. The with philosophical accuracy ; not a high finish of his acting, the quietude height of grandeur to which she does but unparallelled richness and poignot soar, nor a darkness of misery to nancy of his humour, the polish of which she cannot descend. "In what his manners, the handsome gay goodmay be termed the eloquence of the nature of his countenance, and manli. art, the most critical sagacity could ness of his figure and deportment, not suggest a delicacy of emphasis by gave to his Major O'Flaherty irrewhich the meaning of the author sistible charms ; and cautious and semight be more distinctly conveyed, or vere as our audience is generally supa shade of intonation by which the posed to be, they at once were sursentiment might be more fully or prised into rapturous delight, and