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 investia tale, where a sufficiency of in. gated 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 feeting hues, their who, by their exertions, contrive frevarious and versatile appearances, quently to bear them into favour, not. their wild and intricate mazes, the withstanding their utter want of presubtle changes by which they elude tension to real wit or genuine huour vigilance, and the stubborn com

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 dra- 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 suc. world 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 ses. 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 Mr Hen- 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,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


ithout hesitation, to the impulse dy Macbeth ; on Thursday, she playhich leads us, probably for the last ed Zara, in the Mourning Bride ; and me, to dwell upon excellencies which on Friday, repeated Lady Macbeth ; ust 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 Saturarance this season on Wednesday day the 24th, when she resumed her kth March, in the character of La- labours as Constance, in King John. n Monday, 26th March, Elvira,

Tuesday, 27th, Jane De Montfort, DE MONTFORT.
Wednesday, 28th, Lady Randolph, DOUGLAS.
Thursday, 29th, Mrs Beverley,

Saturday, 31st,

Monday, 20 April, Isabella,

ISABELLA. Tuesday, 3d, Mrs Beverley,

GAMESTER. Wednesday, 4th, Elvira,

PIZARRO. Thursday, 5th, Volumnia,

CORIOLANUS. Saturday, 7th, Mrs Oakly,

JEALOUS WIPE. Monday, 9th, Constance,

King John. Tuesday, 10th, Belvidera,

Venice PRESERVED, or her own benefit.

We have thus individually chroni- When the painter and the sculptor led her performances, with the same have done their utmost to give to fuxactness as we would preserve a ca- ture years the personal identity of alogue of valuable pictures which are Mrs Siddons, in all the various glories o longer in our possession, in order of her form and face, language can hat remembrance may be assisted as only attest their fidelity: the warın

dwells upon the time when their ex. est fervour of the imagination cannot stence formed the brightest period in in this instance aggravate eulogy or he history of the art.

exalt enthusiasm beyond the bounds Vain as it is to regret inevitable of truth ; and in endeavouring to iecessity, it is still impossible to pre- convey the idea of her mental qualifirent the recurrence of that regret cations, we must describe a mind giftvhenever we reflect upon the perish. ed, in the most extraordinary manner, ibility 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 inpiratiop.

port is gigantic loftiness ;-she can

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 noticed 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 exhibit sion 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 poig. not 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 yielded without resistance to the fas- Before we close the present article, cination of his comic talent. He went we feel it a duty to notice the degrathrough the range of his characters ded state of a department which, in during his stay, every effort confirm- a theatre like that of Edinburgh, ing us in our high estimation of his should certainly be supported with abilities.

the best abilities that are to be atTo Mr Johnstone succeeded Mr tained, and conducted with the greatEmery, who also made his first ap- est possible attention,—we mean the pearance before us, in his celebrated orchestra.

his celebrated orchestra. No blame, however, is character of Tyke. The fame which justly imputable to Mr Siddons on he has acquired in London was here this account. He has engaged a sufwarmly acknowledged. Before the ficiently numerous band, amongst conclusion of his engagement, Mr whom we notice several performers Johnstone returned from Glasgow, of merit. What we complain of is, where he had been performing, and not their ignorance, but their idleness; we experienced the high gratification their utter contempt of the audience, of seeing these two eminent artists exhibited by a tedious repetition of perform together their original parts the same dull music, night after of Looney MóTwolter and John night, without rest, respite, or relief. Lump, in the Wags of Windsor ; a In place of aiming, in their departtreat which London has been de- ment, at that variety which the manaprived of for some years, and which ger exhibits in his, half-a-dozen anperhaps it may be long before either tiquated Italian pieces, with some it or Edinburgh again enjoys. With eight or ten reels and strathspeys, Mr Emery the season closed. The limit the utmost exertions of the ortheatre reopened for a short after- chestra of the metropolis of Scotseason in about a week, which was land! We shall not take it upon rendered extremely productive by the us to say where the error lies. It is, well known powers of the British however, a very glaring and gross one, Thalia, Mrs Jordan.

and calls loudly for reforma

to. 11. RANT. II.




IN 1809.

We trust we shall be considered as ty in those days when the early exerperforming no unacceptable service tions of Adam Smith were chilled to our readers, and especially to the and impaired by a formal attendance Scottish public, in laying before on the frigid and perfunctory lectures them the following short account of of a Balliol Tutor, or when the the system of education pursued in monks of Maudlin, immersed in port the University of Oxford during the and prejudice, left the genius of Gibyear to which this volume relates. bon secretly to waste its powers in And, first of all, let it be observed, the dangerous mazes of theological that if our statements shall be widely controversy. It may gratify private different from those of some celebra- pique or national jealousy to confound ted writers, we mean not to impeach the past with the present ; but it is their accuracy, or place our preten- our duty to put upon record, for the sions to public notice in competition information of those who shall come with their fame. The author of the after us, a true and simple statement Wealth of Nations, and the historian of what was done at Oxford in the of the Roman Empire, were certain. year 1809. Whatever errors ly not exempt from prejudice ; but may commit, our pages, we trust, we believe their accounts of Oxford shall long remain unsullied by the to have been, upon the whole, just low buffoonery and distorted stateand accurate, and, if not altogether ments of facts, which the fashion of free from bias, guiltless, at least, of the day, may tolerate, but cannot apmisrepresentation. We conceive it prove, in the adversaries of whatever necessary, however, to explain dis- is venerable for antiquity, or hereditinctly, that we have nothing to do tary and external greatness, and unwith the proceedings of the universi- infected with the solemn abuse which


« ForrigeFortsett »