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may admire the reticence im- to him that a mummer who felt posed by a “passing” upon Mr all that Hamlet felt would die a Scott's easy style.
natural death after ten repreBut the truth is- we must sentations ? No, none of these state it frankly-Mr Scott has things have ever occurred to neither knowledge of, nor in- him. Pitt perished with the terest in, the drama. He has Austerlitz look upon his face. been a dramatic critic for forty An actor might act Pitt years, and his enthusiasm is thousand times, Austerlitz look purely personal. Now, the and all, and never die of the drama, in the actor's despite, is enterprise. And Mr Scott's a possible form of art which, long experience might have though it is moribund to-day, taught him that to counterfeit may perhaps revive. But Mr sentiment by mechanical Scott neither knows nor cares means is not the same as to anything about it. To cover feel your frame shaken by that Sir Henry's retreat, he declares sentiment. But Mr Scott is that “actors who have reached content to consult “the Lyceum the topmost rung of the ladder Knight," or another, and the have never been remarkable for actor is always resolute to prove elocutionary excellence, but the that the emotions of his part reverse.” If that be true of are his own. The vanity is England, it is true of no other natural, for if you be not a country, and it explains the mad king, it is passing pleasant to success of the Music-Halls. At pretend that for two hours you any rate, it is typical of Mr not only acted but felt like a Scott's method : there is no king. problem of the stage of which Again, there is another point he offers even a tentative solu- of the drama which Mr Scott tion. For instance, the paradox might have elucidated. What of Diderot might perhaps have part should scenery play in the engrossed him, he might have economy of the stage? Of the wondered whether the actor three elements which
to does or does not feel the emo- make a play, which is the tions he is bound to portray. greatest — the dramatist, the But he merely begs the question actor, the carpenter? Had Mr in a paragraph. “It is only Scott been a real critic, he your insensitive and often in- might have found abundant different actor,” says Mr Scott, material for a judgment. He "who can instantly break away has
Charles Kean of from chaff and conversation and whom Douglas Jerrold debegin acting somebody else.” clared, when they told him Has Mr Scott ever been in the that Mr Kean had elevated actor's foyer of the Comédie the drama, “So he has; he Française Has he ever heard has hung it on clothes' of Kean’s exclamation to his peg." He has revered the son when they were playing grandiose productions of “the Othello, “We're knocking 'em, Lyceum Knight. ,
” But Mr Charley”? Has it ever occurred Scott expresses no opinion;
tongue, decorate; or he takes hold of a and he fears to discount the musical comedy, and adorns it voice of flattery. Nevertheless an equal scale. In either the problem is worth solution, case his work is the sameand Mr Scott's experience, had elaborate and inappropriate, it been sincere, would have while his interpretation leaves been invaluable. However, Mr out of sight the original drama, Scott is silenced. In the first which it is his business to act. place, Sir Henry Irving was The servant, in fact, has become pledged to a solid, inartistic the master, and all things are presentation of what he plain- topsy - turvy. As one of the tively believed to be reality. In triumvirate grows large the the second place, no dramatist others decrease, and while the —not even Lytton or Shake- actor is a colossus, the dramatist speare
Tom Robertson has become a dwarf. It is like himself—was ever of the same the monkey and the barrelimportance in Mr Scott's eyes organ; the larger the monkey, as "good old ,” or “the the smaller the organ.
But brave little —." How, then, the actor, who now believes should he attempt an answer
himself a king of his art, has to an interesting question? It a serious danger ahead. He would have been as much as depends entirely upon his carhis life was worth, and was penter, and who knows? the he not already scarred and carpenter may rise in his wrath wounded beyond recognition ? and declare that he—and not
All the same, the question is the actor—is the real author worth asking: How do the of the piece. He would be playwright, the actor, and the as well justified as his master, carpenter divide the stage ? and doubtless the public would The answer, which is obvious, back him, for the public loves seems a paradox in these days brick and mortar far more than of scenic effect. Of course, the poetry. play comes first, and
for But the carpenter is the the play's interpretation the drama's worst enemy.
The actor and carpenter are mere actor may misinterpret the hirelings. If they perform play which is entrusted to him, their work of interpretation the carpenter destroys it. For efficiently, they have done all the essence of the stage is illuthat is expected of them. We sion. The men and women know little, and care less, of the who walk the boards speak a men who interpreted Sophocles, dialect which the world knows or Shakespeare, or Racine. The not, and act rather in accordplays remain; the actors long ance with convention than with ago
sunk into the oblivion nature. The rooms in which which is wont to overtake they disport themselves are obthem. But nowadays that viously not rooms; the lofty is all changed. The modern castles which frown upon their actor patronises Shakespeare, misdeeds are not castles at all; whom he is kind enough to and the more clearly the carpenter realises the scene, so tesque. No doubt he keeps the much the more he detracts example of Hazlitt before him, from the illusion of the stage. but he does not remember that All — writing, acting, decora- without Kean Hazlitt's criticism tion-must be kept in the same would have had no effect. After atmosphere if the result is to all, you may be gifted with impose upon the spectator. learning, appreciation, and inBut this is what the dramatic telligence; yet if you be a dracritic refuses to understand; matic critic your career may
be and as for the actor, he deter- barren, because there is no posmined when he went into man- sibility of your ever being asked agement to revise Shakespeare, to criticise anything. To deand he has raised up for him- mand of William Archer his self a monster before which opinion of nothing better than Frankenstein himself might “The Maneuvres of Jane” is have shuddered. As it stands, like condemning Matthew Arit is a pretty triangular duel, nold to review nothing but the and we don't much care which last novel from the circulatwins. We merely desire to ing library. It is a sorry jest, record the fact that Mr Scott which does not help the march is so engrossed in the senti- of literature or the
drama. mental admiration of the None the less Mr Archer is mummer, that he has never an extraordinary phenomenon. been able to take a sincere For many years he has visited interest in the stage.
first nights with all the sever
ity of a high ambition. He However, all dramatic critics has sternly attempted to disare not as Clement Scott. Mr tinguish between Tweedledum William Archer, for instance, and Tweedledee, and he has is the ‘Daily Telegraph’s' anti- done his work so well that thesis. 1 It is impossible to we cannot but regret that he imagine Mr Archer addressing ever thought that such a work his colleague as “dear old Cle- was worth doing. may.” For Mr Archer is rate, he is Clement Scott's austere, erudite, and philoso- antithesis ; he is neither stagephical. Why or how he be- struck nor a hero-worshipper. came a dramatic critic is one He is never likely to call Mr of the secrets which will never Toole “ dear old Johnny,” and be revealed, and it is obvious when he finds a play that is that he takes no stock in the worth his sad and serious Bohemian familiarity so dear criticism, we shall begin to to Mr Scott. On
believe in the future of the trary, he judges all the poor British stage. little plays which he is asked to witness with an intelligent Of Mr Walkley it is easier gravity which is almost gro- to speak.2
For Mr Walkley
1 Study and Stage. By William Archer. London: Grant Richards.
is a pert echo of the French. modern Lamb, which, of course,
a He believes that he is a dis- he is not; but he is an intelliciple of M. Lemaître, a sorry gent journalist who is far above Philistine; but really he is a the work which his journals willing pupil of that amiable ask him to perform. Of course, bourgeois the late M. Sarcey. for all his French and Greek, And, like his master, he can he has not the grasp of prinquote Aristotle, can Mr Walk- ciples nor the wide reading ley, and in the original Greek. which Mr Archer throws away So that he is well equipped to upon an ungrateful task; but pass judgment on Mr Pinero. if only there were a theatre to Yet we cannot but regret his criticise who knows? Mr vocation. He is not a very Walkley might acquit himself good critic of the drama, and moderately well. However, our we feel that his facile wit and English theatre has found in quick perception might have Mr Clement Scott precisely the carried him further the critic which it deserved, and it road of success than the half- is a thousand pities that unhearted appreciation of second- grateful actors have permitted rate plays will ever carry him. him to leave the good old His admirers have called him the Strand” and cross the Atlantic.
WHO RIDETH UPON THE WINGS OF THE WIND.”
My God, who makest all Thy winds to blow,
Thanks be to Thee that this is so !
Thy sharp-wheel'd chariot from the shuddering East
Smiting like fear;
That Thou dost blow upon
to Thee to cease,
And give them peace :
For in her loathsome lair
Disease sits crouching there, A foul and spotted thing, more dreadful than the dead !
And when Thine East wind rides
Over her shrinking sides She shrieks and cowers, and all her hideous power is fled !
Yea, call Thy fierce East wind and bid it blow,
And it shall bless us so.
And Thine the stormy breath of the far North,
Where ice-fields glitter and where snows abide,
Thence do Thy winds rush forth,
With fear lest she should die.
Her warm and covered deep
In a soft sleep, Feeding the secret sources of the year's appointed birth.
Yea, call Thy strong North wind and bid it blow,
And it shall bless us so,