« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
public thanks given him for his majesty's deliverence ont of the hands of E-Goury.
In the fourth act, we behold Perdita verging on the bloom of womanhood, the reputed daughter of an old shepherd, and beloved by Florizel, the son of Polixenes, King of Bohemia. In no part of his writings is Shakspeare more himself than in this exquisite portrait, which is shadowed forth in a few expressive words by the king :
• This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Ran on the green sward; nolbing she does or seeins,
Too noble for this place." Here we are presented with scenes that carry us back to the golden visions of our youth-annihilating the intervening space of care, disappointment, and sorrow-from what we are, to what we were. The witchery of this divine poet is never more powerfully felt, than in these delightful retrospections. Strip life of its romance, and ’lis a dreary void-cold and passionless; for, to yooth, 'tis a summer's dream,-to age, a winter night's pastime.
Do we require further evidence than these transcendant beauties, of the master hand of Shakspeare? Let us look to Autolicus-that spapper-up of unconsidered trifles, who, as the descendant of Mer. cury, inherits all the thieving propensities of his ancestor ; for he bath been an ape-jearer; then a process server; and, having town over many kpavish professions, hath settled only in a rogue. In fashioning this merry varlet, Shakspeare, however, had his model: Autolicus is one of those wandering minstrels and sturdy beggars, against whom Elizabeth and James issued their proclamations, and forbade the exercise of their itinerant calling ; and who dreaded the whip and the stocks, as Jack Falstaff did the true prince, by instinct! He is the delight of village Jads and lasses, to whom hie brings perfumed gloves, ribbons of all the colours i’ the rainbowv, and ballads of doleful matter merrily set down. He is a welcome guest at the feasting and revelry of ancient hails, and is familiar with every corner of the buttery. He hath a keen nose for a venison pasty, and trowelh where the best jolly good ale, and old, is to be found. He is careless of to.morrow, knowing that his good spirits are sufficient to feed him; and, for clothes—there is linen enough on every hedge! The portrait is higbly curious, as exhibiting one of a troop of merry vagabonds who were common during Shakspeare's time, and long before it; and who may be considered as the earliest pedlars and ballad-singers in England-though, under favour, the pedlar was generally taken up as a cloak to the mendacious arts or Thievery and begging, verifying. Hamlet's adage, that to be honest now-a-days is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. Of the ballads, Shakspeare has left us a tolerable specimen; they are sufficiently reasonable and marvellous. There is one of an usurer's wise, with the midwife's name to it, and the undeniable attestation of five or six honest wives that were present; and another of a fish, with five justices' bands at it, and witnesses more than his pack would hold. It would seein that many of these madrigals were not over decent, for Perdita exclaims, “ Forewarn him that he use no scur. rilous words in his tunes;" and the servant, after enumerating the pediar's various commodities, adds—“ He hath the prettiest lovesongs for maids ; so without bawdry (which is strange),” &c. &c. The English were, froin the earliest times, a masqning and ballariainging people. Their festivals, sacred and profane, were ustered in
with songs and merriments ; nor could a man be hanged or burn in those days, without being immortalized in a merry or a doleful ballad-after the manner of Preston's Cambyses, which is styled “A lamentable tragedy, mixed full of pleasant mirth."
The character of Autolicus is exquisitely humorous-exhibiting, with great truth and force, one of the many motleys of merry old Eng. land.
The last act of this play is deeply interesting. The penitence, sarprise, and joy of Leontes--the statue-scene, the accompanying music, and the re-animation of Hermione, are beautiful and pathetic. The characters of Antigonus, Paulina, and Autolicus, belong not to the nove
but to Shakspeare. No quarto edition of this play has hitherto been discovered ; its first appearance in print was in the folio of 1623. Kemble's Leontes was a fine performance.
We have before noticed his peculiar excellence in the passagem
“ Is whispering nothing ?
Is leaning cheek to cheek,” &c. &c. Mrs. Siddons, in Hermoine, exhibited the firmness and dignity of virtue suffering under unmerited reproach. It is impossible to describe the effect of her statue-scene. Her fignire, countenance,
and motion, when Paulina exclaims
“ Music, awake her ; strike
Tis time-descend-be stone no more : approach
Strike all that look upon with marvel”in sublime expression and classic grace, were among the noblest efforts of the tragic muse.
The humour of Autolicus was hardly realized in Munden. This admiral comedian, who, in Dogberry, Launcelot, and Polonius, is without a rival, must yield the palm to Fawcett and Bannister in the roguish pedlar. Fawcett is your sec, or dry wine--strong, racy, and of exquisite flavour; Bannister is a bumper of generous Bur: gandy--rich, sparkling, and o’erflowing. Fawcett has the quaint dexterity of your practised knave, who is littered under Mercury, aud whose bird-lime fingers and lying tongue never knew any other vocation but thievery and gasconading. Bannister is the withered serving-man, whom die and drab have brought to the present pass-who chants his merry trol-my-dames with the after dinner jollity of his better days, and takes up the cutpurse more as an amuteur than a professor. If Bannister be extravagantly comic in his mock assumption of the courtier, Fawcett puffs off his counterfeit commo. dities, and vouches for the truth of his lying ballads with a ludicrous effrontery that nothing can surpass. It is a drawn baltle between them : their styles are essentially different, but their excellences are fairly balanced. The clowns and fools of Shakspeare never met with actors of more congenial humour Iban Fawcett and Bannister.
MEMOIR OF MRS. BUNN.
Mrs. Bunn (formerly Miss Somerville) was born at Lanark, in Scotland, October 26, 1799. An early predilection for the stage, and some promise of ability, induced Mr. George Hayter (son of the celebrated artist of that name), with whose sister she had formed an intimacy while at school, to mention her talents to the Duke of Devonshire, who was at that time trustee to Drury-Lane Theatre. This procured her a rehearsal, in Belvidera, before Mr. Douglas Kinnaird; the result of which was an engagement to make her first appearance in Mr. Maturin's tragedy of Bertram; and, on the 9th May, 1816, she performed Imogine, in that most vapid production, with applause.
Miss Somerville subsequently became the wife of Mr. Bunn, the proprietor of the Birmingham Theatre, and, for one season, stage-manager of Drury Lane.
LEONTES.--Gold coronet, with purple velvet crown, and white plumes-purple velvet and gold mantle, lined with white satin, and edged with ermine-blue and gold dress - white hose-black sandals -sword-Second dress : black, richly trimined.
POLIXENES.-Gold coronet, with purple velvet crown and white plumes-purple velvet and gold mantle, lined with scarlet satin, and edged with ermine--buff and gold dress-buff hose, and white sandals-sword.
FLORIZEL.-Turban of green and gold-round black velvet dress, trimmed with buff-buff hose-black sandals.-At court, a mantle of scarlet and gold.
MAMILIUS.-White and gold.
ARCHIDAMUS.-Round black hat, gold band, and white plumes -black velvet and gold mantle-olive brown and gold dress-buff hose and scarlet sandale.
PHOCION.-Scarlet and gold turban and white plumes-scarlet and gold mantle-brown and gold dress buff hose and scarlet sandals-sword and gauntlets.
CAMILLO AND THASIUS.- Nearly the same.
CLEOMENES AND DION.-Green turbans, gold bands and white plumes-crimson and gold mantles-blue satin and gold dresses -buff hose--scarlet sandals.
SHEPHERD AND CLOWN.--Rustic dresses-Second dresses : purple and gold.
AUTOLYCUS.-Rags of all colours-Second dress: gaudy court dress.
HERMIONE.-Splendid regal robes - Second dress : white muslin.
PERDITA.-White muslin, trimmed with wreaths and festoons of roses.
PAULINA.-White satin and gold-Second dress : black.
EMILIA.-White muslin, trimmed with pink-buff mantle, and gold spangles.
Cast of the Characters,
1827. Leontes, King of Sicilia · Mr. Macready.
Master Carr. Miss Watson.
Mr. Thompson. Mr. Egerton.
Mr. Bartley. * Cleomenes
Mr. Mears. Polixenes, K. of Bohemia. Mr. Archer. Mr. Diddier. Florizel
Mr. Wallack. Mr. Raymond. Archidamus
Mr. Fitzharris. 7 Shepherd
Mr. Munden. Mr. Fawcett.
Miss S Booth. Miss Jarman.
Mrs. W. West, Mrs. Chatterley.