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of poetry, is of the smallest possible craving after unwholesome and enerconsequence; at least Shakspeare and yating food ; instead of which, they the Greek tragedians thought so, and have hitherto done nothing but admi. they knew something of the matter, nister to and aggravate it. And the whatever our modern dramatists may worst of all is, that he has made his think. With them character and pas- chief agent in this bad work, a charmsion were every thing, and plot no- ing creature, who is endowed with thing: with us it is just the reverse. qualities adapted, in the most beauThat the story of Electra had been tiful manner, to a directly opposite chosen for the subject of tragedies be- purpose. Miss O'Neil, and beings fore his time, was perhaps the very like her, were given us to cure the reason that Sophocles fixed upon it evils of humanity, not to enhance for the most beautiful that remains to them; to " make a sunshine in a us of his. The audience knew every shady place," not to scatter clouds and particular of the plot beforehand; so tempests in our path. In the Apostate, that there was nothing to divide or Mr Sheil carried this moral torture, to distract their attention from the deve- which we allude, as far as we thought lopements of character or passion. On it could go ; but in the tragedy before the contrary, the audience of a modern us he has invented a new kind of play can find nothing better to do, the rack, by which the feelings are absomoment it begins, than set about to lutely drawn and quartered. He places conjecture how it will end. It was so Miss O'Neil on a certain spot in the at Covent Garden theatre on the first centre of the stage, and contrives to night of Bellamira. The viva voce keep her there by means of the most critics who sat near us in the pit began violent emotions, which pull at the to discover, in the second act, that same moment in precisely opposite diMiss O'Neil * could be no other than rections, and with nearly equal forces. C. Kemble's wife ; shortly after, they The three grand cords (besides several settled that she would turn out to be subsidiary ones) by which he effects Young's daughter ; and lastly, as Mr this notable purpose, are, maternal, Terry still remained without“ a local conjugal, and filial affection. The habitation or a name,” they concluded, maternal, however, seems to have the that as he must be somebody, he was strongest power; and accordingly, a the brother of Mr Young, and conse- little child is used as a kind of loadquently the uncle of Miss O'Neil. stone to draw her about just as the Before long, all these conjectures author pleases. It is introduced into proved to be very true; and when several scenes for this sole purpose, they ceased to be secrets, the persons and never speaks word during the who had made the discoveries, having whole play. This is very mischievous no farther interest in the matter, and unworthy trifling; and, judging talked of something else.
from ourselves, its only effect is to It is this “ fatal curiosity,” this dis- give unmingled pain at first, and at eased appetite for violent stimulants, length to become quite ludicrous. that has been the bane of the modern We shall endeavour to return to stage. It was at first the effect of bad this subject in a future Number. In dramas, and is now become the cause the mean time, we must add, that we of them; and what is worse, it is the think this second dramatic production cause of the absence of good ones. of Mr Sheil evinces rare and valuable We have poets who are qualified to powers. The language, though someexcel in the very highest departments times overstrained, and disfigured
by of our acting drama; but they are de- the common-places of poetry, is freterred from attempting it, on account quently pure, vigorous, and unaffectof the vitiated state of the public taste. ed; the characters are, upon the whole, Mr Sheil possesses powers that might powerfully and consistently drawn; and should have been employed in and there occasionally occur original helping to correct this unhealthy and highly poetical thoughts and
images. * The audience of a modern play always speak and think of the characters by the
Drury-Lane Theatre. name of the persons who act them. This
MARLOW's Jew OF MALTA.-On is a more severe and sagacious criticism than they intend it to be.
the 24th of April, this play was re
vived here. The Jew of Malta is, on moral purpose ; or that Barabas is a many accounts, a very curious and in- mere monster, and not a man. We teresting work. It is undoubtedly the cannot allow, that even Ithamore is foundation of Shakspeare's Jew. But gratuitously wicked. There is no it possesses claims to no common ad- such thing in nature-least of all in miration for itself; for, besides the human nature, and Marlow knew this. high poetical talent it exhibits, it may It is true that Ithamore appears to be be considered as the first regular and so at first sight. He finds it a pleasant consistent English drama ; the first pastime to go about and kill men and unassisted and successful attempt to women who have never injured him. embody that dramatic unity which had But it must not be forgotten that he been till then totally neglected or over- is a slave ; and a slave should no more looked. The dramatic poems which be expected to keep a compact with preceded the Jew of Malta could be the kind from which he is cut off, considered as dramas only in so far as than a demon or a wild beast. Who they exhibited events, instead of relat- shall limit the effects of slavery on the ing them. The poet, instead of tell- human mind? Let those answer for ing a story himself, introduced various the crimes of Ithamore who broke the persons to speak their own thoughts link that united him to his species. and feelings, as they might be suppos- For a more full account of this play ed to arise from certain events and in its original state, we refer the readcircumstances; but his characters, for er to Vol. II. p. 260, of this Magathe most part, expressed themselves in zine. a style and language moulded and The alterations in the Jew of Malta, tinctured by his particular habits of as it has now been performed, are thinking and feeling.
chiefly confined to omissions, with the Marlow was the first poet before exception of a long and tedious scene Shakspeare who possessed any thing between Lodowick and Mathias at the like real dramatic genius, or who commencement, in which each tells seemed to have any distinct notion of the other and the audience the story what a drama should be, as distin- of his love for Abigail, the Jew's guished from every other kind of daughter, which said love nobody poetical composition. It is with some cares any thing about. What could hesitation that we dissent from the be the inducement to change the fine opinion of an able writer in this Ma- and characteristic commencement of gazine, in thinking, that the Jew of the original, in which we are at once Malta is Marlow's best play. Not that introduced to Barabas in his countingwe like it better than the Faustus or house, among his gold ? Lodowick Edward II., but it is better as a play. and Mathias are very uninteresting There is more variety of character, and and intrusive people at best; and it is more of moral purpose, in the Ed- quite time enough to be troubled with ward II., and the Faustus exhibits them when the author wants them in loftier and more impassioned poetry; order to heighten his principal chabut neither of those plays possess, in racter. But it is a remarkable fact, so great a degree as the one before us, that managers of theatres seem to that rare, and when judiciously ap- know less of the true purposes and plied, most important quality, which bearings of the dramatic art than any we have called dramatic unity,—that other given set of people whatever. tending of all its parts to engender and After saying this generally, it is but sustain the same kind of feeling fair to add, that we noticed two slight throughout. In the Jew of Malta, alterations in this play, which seemed the characters are all, without excep- to evince something that looked almost tion, wicked, in the common accepta- like genius. In the third act, after tion of the term. Barabas, the Go- having purchased the slave Ithamore, yernor, Ithamore, the Friars, Abigail, in order to ascertain whether he will to compass their own short-sighted suit his purposes, Barabas desired to views, all set moral restraint at know his “ birth, condition, and prodefiance, and they are all unhappy, fession.” Ithamore answers, that his —and their unhappiness is always profession is any thing his new master brought about by their own guilt. We pleases. “ Hast thou no trade?” says cannot agree with many persons in Barabas, “ then listen to my words;" thinking, that this play is without a and then, after counselling him to disVOL. III.
card all natural affections, proceeds, « Thus, like the sad presaging raven, that in a horrible and most unnatural
tolls speech, to sum up all his own past The sick man's passport in her hollow beak, crimes, by describing how he has been And in the shadow of the silent night
Doth shake contagion from her sable wings, accustomed to employ his time.
Vexed and tormented runs poor Barabas “ As for myself, I walk abroad a-nights,
With fatal curses towards these Christians,"
&c. And kill sick people groaning under walls: Sometimes I go about and poison wells,” &c. The next speech is still finer than
Instead of omitting this speech alto- this; and Mr Kean’s manner of degether in the acted play, Barabas is made livering was beautifully solemn and
impressive. (aside) to feign that he has done all this, in order to try Ithamore's dispo- who, in my wealth, would tell me winter's
“ Now I remember those old womens' words, sition. This is a very happy thought ;
tales, and the answer of Ithamore is not less And speak of spirits and ghosts that glide by Instead of echoing back a boast
night ing confession of the same kind of About the place where treasure hath been hid; guilt, as he does in the original, Itha- And now methinks that I am one of those : more, with a low and savage cunning For whilst I live, here lives my soul's sole worthy of the character, hints, gene
hope, rally, that he knows and has practised And when I die, here shall my spirit walk.” better tricks, to plague mankind, than Also, when Barabas recovers the even those his master has just spoken gold he has concealed, nothing could of, but that “none shall know them !” surpass the absolute delirium of drunWe consider both these as very lucky ken joy with which he gives the hits, though not likely to tell, or even speech,
-or rather the string of exclabe noticed in the representation. We mations in the same scene, beginning willingly offer the credit of them, “Oh, my girl! my gold !" &c. wherever it is due.
Upon the whole, Mr Kean's BaraThe other chief alterations from the bas was as fine as the character would original, are the omission of every admit of its being made ; but it bore thing relating to the poisoning of the no more comparison to that of Shynuns, and some change, not much for lock, than the play of the Jew of the better, in the manner of Barabas's Malta does to the Merchant of Venice. death.
We would willingly omit to notice We think the play, upon the whole, the song that Mr Kean was made to greatly injured by the alterations, and sing, when disguised as the minstrel
. see no reason for any of them, except This contemptible degradation could those we have particularised above, never be of his own choosing. He and they are only adapted to the closet. surely knows himself better ! If he The performance flags very much dur- likes to amuse himself, or his private ing the second and third 'acts, and is friends, in this way, in the name of not likely to become a favourite with all that's pleasant, let him! But his the public.
public fame should not be trifled with The whole weight of the play lies for “ an old song,” much less for a upon Mr Kean. No one has a single new one. line that can be made any thing of in the way of acting. The character of A burlesque interlude, called AMOBarabas is, as far as it goes, well e- Roso, King of Little Britain, was nough adapted to display some of Mr produced at this house on the 21st of Kean's peculiar powers, but not those April, and with complete success. It of the highest or rarest kind. In some is an imitation of Bombastes Furioso, parts, however,-and those the very which is an imitation of Tom Thumb, best, he made more of the character which is an imitation of nothing at than the author has done. There was all. It inculcates the morals of St something very fine and sepulchral in James's in the phraseology of St his manner of delivering that admir- Giles’s. The author (author! what able speech at the beginning of the will the term be applied to next? second act, where he goes before day. But the shoe-blacks of Paris call themlight to seek for Abigail, who is to bring selves Marchands de Cirage !) The him the concealed remnant of his author of this piece seems to think
that vulgarity is fun; which is quite
as great a mistake, and of the same From whence, with cunning art and sly conkind, as those over-wise people make trivance, who think that fun is vulgarity. The He fairly culled divers Pedigrees, readers of this Magazine will not ex
(Which make, full oft, the son beget the
father, pect us to say much on such pieces as these. There would be little chance And next, by dint of transmutation strange,
And give to maiden laidies fruitful issues) ; of our having any thing to say worth Did coin his musty vellum into gold. hearing on any subject, if we could Anon comes in a gaudy city youth, not better employ both their time and Whose father, for oppression and vile cun
Lies roaring now in limbo-lake the while ; There have been two or three other And after some few words of mystic import, new afterpieces since our last, but we
Of Douglas, Mowbray, Steuart, Hamilton,
Most gravely uttered by the smoke-dried have been prevented from seeing them. We hear they are quite worthless. If, He takes in lieu of gold* the vellum roll,
sage, however, on seeing them we should With arms emblazon'd and Lord Lyon's think otherwise, delay shall not be signet, made an excuse for neglect. Mr Ellis- and struts away a well born gentleman. + ton has also returned to the stage. If Observing this, I to myself did say, he keeps to his own line,-in which An? if a man did need a coat of arms,
Here lives a caitiff that would sell him one. he is at present quite unrivalled,
S. shall congratulate the lovers of hearty happy gaiety on a most delightful reacquisition. Since his absence, a whole constellation of dramatic stars have To the Veiled Conductor of Blackwood's been blotted out. Stars, too, whose
Edinburgh Magazine. forms and influences we can afford to part with less than any others. That whimsical being, Benedict, and that There are few things so much affected
SIR, gay creature of the element," Mercutio, administer “ medicine for sick by the change of manners and circumminds, worth all the pharmacopæia of evidence.
stances, as the quality and the effect
Facts which our faof all the solemn fools who have been
thers were prepared to receive upon admitted to practice since the establishment of the College of Souls' Phy
very slender and hearsay testimony, sicians.
we are sometimes disposed to deny positively, even when fortified by all that the laws of evidence can do for them, by the confession of the perpetrator of wickedness, by the evidence of its victims, by the eye-sight
and oath of impartial witnesses, and I do remember a strange man--a Herald, by all which could, in an ordinary And hereabouts hedwells, whom late I noted, case, “ make faith,” to use a phrase In party-coloured coat, like a fool's jacket,
of the civilians, betwixt man and man. Or morris-dancer's dress. Musty his looks, In the present day he would be hooted Like to a skin of ancient shrivelled parch
as an idiot, who would believe an old ment, Or an old pairof leather brogues twice turned. . woman guilty of witchcraft, upon eviAnd round the dusky room he did inhabit, dence, on the tenth part of which a Whose wainscoat seem'd as old as Noah's Middlesex jury would find a man Ark,
guilty of felony; and our ancestors Were divers shapes of ugly ill-form'd mon
sters, Hung up in scutcheons like an old church * See if the bear be gone from the gentle
man-and how much of him he hath eaten A blue boar rampant, and a griffin gules, they are never curst but when they are A gaping tiger, and a cat-a-mountain, hungry—this is fairy gold, boy. What nature never form’d, or madman
Winter Night's Tale. thought,
+ Clown. Give me the lye, do, and try “ Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire,” whether I am not now a gentleman born. -And right before him lay a dusty pile Autol. I know you are, now, sir, a gentleOf ancient legers, books of evidence, man born. Torn parish registers, probates and testa- Clown. Aye, and have been so any time ments,
these four hours.
would have pelted, as a Sadducee and his taste for the uncertain, undefined, an infidel, any one who, on the twen- and mysterious. Warned by my poor tieth degree of testimony so rejected, father's untimely fate, I never venture would not have condemned the ac- into broad day-light; but should you, cused to faggots and tarr'd barrels. Sir, leave your bower at sun-rise or
To accommodate those who love the sun-set, like your prototype the veiled golden mean in judgment, or are in- prophet of Moore, it is possible that clined, with Giles Passamonte's ape, you may meet and distinguish your to pronounce the adventures in Mon- correspondent by his tall slim figure, tosinos's cave partly true and partly thin stilts of legs, and disproportioned false, Dr Ferriar of Manchester has feet. For I must inform you, in case invented a new mode of judging evi- of a disagreeable surprise, that my apdence with respect to those supernatural pearance reverses that of Michael Scott matters, in which, without impeaching and the wizzards of old, from whom the truth of the narrator, or even the the devil is said to have stolen the shaveracity of the eyes to whose evidence dow; whereas, in my case, it would he appeals, you may ascribe his sup- seem he had stolen the substance, and posed facts to the effects of precon- left the shade to walk the earth withceived ideas acting upon faulty or dis- out it.
My education and reading have been I have, Sir, unfortunately no means as fantastic as my person; and from a of making myself the head of any new kindred propensity to those stories class of believers or infidels upon these which, like the farther end of the mysterious points; for it is evident, bridge in Mirza's vision, are concealed that narrations of this marvellous com- by shadows, clouds, and darkness, plexion must be either true or false, they have been turned towards the ocor partly true, partly fictitious; and cult sciences and mystical points of each of these classes have already their study. My library is furnished with leaders and patrons. As, however, authors who treat of the divining rod you, Sir, are yourself a mystical being, of the magical mirror, the weaponand, in the opinion of some, a non- salve, charms, lamens, sigils, christals, entity, you cannot fail to be interested pentacles, talismans, and spells. My in examples referring to the mystical, hereditary mansion, Castle Shadoway, and to that which, being hard of be- has a tower, from which I can observe lief, is sometimes rejected as incredible. the stars (being something of an astroYou are not, perhaps, being yourself loger, like the valiant Guy Mannering) a reserved personage, entitled to ex- and a dungeon haunted by the restless pect ample communication on the part ghost of a cooper, whilome confined of your correspondents ; yet thus much there till his death by one of my anI am willing to announce to you, as cestors, for having put two slight hoops the preface to the present and future on a barrel of March beer, by which correspondence.
the generous liquor was lost. This My father, Sir Michaelmas Shadow, goblin shall hammer, dub-a-dub, lived in a glen, into which the sun scratch, rustle, and groan with any does not shine above ten times a year, from the Hermitage Castle to Castle though we have no reason to complain Girnigo, for an hundred pounds down of want of moisture. He was wont to play or pay. Besides this, I pretend say, that he was descended from the to be acquainted with all spirits that celebrated Simon Shadow, whom the walk the earth, swim the wave, or renowned Sir John Falstaff desired to wing the sky; goblins, night-mares, have in his regiment, in respect he was hags, vampires, break-necks, black men like to be a cool soldier, and refreshing and green women, familiars, puckto sit under after a hot day's march. harries, Oberon, and all his moon-light My father abridged his days, by ven- dancers. The wandering Jew, the turing out into the meridian sun (an high-priest of the Rosy-cross, the gehour remarkable for cutting short nius of Socrates, the dæmon of Mascon, our family) with the purpose of pay- the drummer of Tedworth, are all ing his respects to an eclipse, which a known to me, with their real characrascally almanack-maker falsely an- ter, and essence, and true history. Benounced as being on the point of ren- sides these points of occult knowdering our globe a visit. I succeeded ledge, my conversation has lain much to him, Sir, in his retired habits, and among old spinsters and widows, who