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conducive to their private interests, however opposite it may be to the dictates of their consciences. By such the honours and emoluments of the institution will be engrossed, when those who have at present contributed to establish it with pure views and intentions shall have passed away.
It is evident that the means such a society must first adopt, to give it a chance of obtaining influence over the public mind, are, to place itself at the head of the literature of the country, and to unite the best and most popular authors in its support. Mere labourers in the Classical Journal, plodding students, and commentators on ancient text for the thousandth time, no, not even a dozen profound scholars, with the Bishop of Peterborough, and his hundred inquisitorial questions at their head, will make the society succeed without effecting this. The popular authors must unite with the society, or it will never be looked up to. Mere University Grecians will do little for it with the world at large. It must exhibit on its rolls the nobler intellects and higher spirits of the age, or it will remain a secondary thing-a body without a soul-an inefficient name, laborious in microcosmic exertion, and imbecile in the midst of swelling profession. But it is not to be expected that these great names will be recorded on the books of the society. Each feels conscious of his strength, and sees no necessity, nor useful object, in compromising himself with any set of individuals, whose intentions, however good, are characterised by utter destitution of the means which can insure any beneficial consequences to literature from their union. Minds of great power are too independent, and are seldom social enough for such an object ; nor will they sacrifice the enjoyment of feeling themselves unrestrained, and descend from their higher studies and flights of fancy to the circumscribed and petty regulations, useless detail, and unmeaning formalities, that give the proceedings of such institutions the appearance of downright frivolity. " Medals and prizes may do for scholars and students, but they are of no estimation in the eyes of him who is desirous of earning lasting fame, and whose powers are put forth in vigorous exercise in contending for a far higher reward. The new Royal Society is even objectionable if it contribute to make a portion only of our literature dependent upon it. Its twenty authors must be governed and guided by the fellows, and if they possess sufficient merit in the public eye to be noticed, they will be instrumental, as far as they go, in cramping independence. Our literature is a “chartered libertine," and the attempt to subjugate any part of it to the control of an incorporated body of men may have had its origin simply in a misguided zeal for the benefit of literature, or it may have arisen from the concealed desire to subject it to a species of control which may check its present incorrigible repugnance to be the creature of courtiers, and the instrument of that submissive and debasing spirit which is so rife in the world at present, and which, whether denominated the cause of social order or of the Holy Alliance, is equally unworthy the present times, and degrading to beings gifted with the faculty of reason. From whichever of these causes the Society dates its beginning, it would naturally bear the same aspect of good intention, but it cannot eventually effect good, or promote, in any material degree, the welfare of mankind. The enlightened state of the public mind will,
in our day, however, be one of the best antidotes to any evils that may be caused by such an institution. The number of those who reflect, and of those who will watch with jealousy its proceedings and scrutinize them minutely, is very great. A British Academy of Literature, to have succeeded, should have been formed two centuries ago;
it is now too late for it to grasp the control of our literature; and yet how fortunate for the Nation that it escaped without possessing such an institution !
Di riposo e di pace alberghi veri
A rivedervi io torpo.
At close of evening, to survey
That wanes so fast on field and meadow,
When nearer things have sunk in shadow.-
Looks backward through the mist of years,
The chequer'd map of life appears ;
Have ceased to paint the path before her,
Still casts a chcering influence o'er her.
That saw my pilgrimage begun,
A passing shadow o'er my sun,
Even from your recollection borrow
And brighter prospects for the morrow.
In thought before my longing eye-
I see the vision'd landscape lie;
The quiet old paternal hall-
The dim secluded waterfall.
I do revisit you ;-1 hear
That murmur music in mine ear
That oft my youthful feet have haunted-
That erst my youthful hands have planted
I see the venerable trees
That round the humble mansion grew-
That o'er my infant slumbers blew-
years have hover'd by,
To which my heart hath beat reply.
Can make the desert heavenly fair,
The dreary vacancy of air,
Though stormy Oceans roar in vain,
Roll backward to the goal again.
Outshine the purple's proudest dye,
Beneath the Indian's burning sky:
And smooth the bed of suffering,
Can renovate a second Spring.
In that uncounted treasury,
In purple trappings sweeping by;
The gaudy world's tumultuous din :
Who seels he bears his world within.
The Amateur Actor.
Acting is like the small-pox. Garrick, and a chosen few besides, took it in the natural way; others, trained to it from childhood, or associating with those who were, are innoculated with it. Captain Augustus Thackeray has lately exhibited symptoms of the disease. He sickened at Woolwich, became feverish in Tottenham-street, and took to his bed upon the regular boards. I thought his clipping the portraits out of Oxberry's edition of the acting drama, and his sticking them round his dressing-room, would come to no good. But the fountain-head of the slaughter was his knowing a man who was intimate with a family who had half a box at Covent-garden Theatre. In his access to this, he frequently found a-jar" the ivory gate" that leads behind the scenes. Man has a natural appetite for the side-scenes of a theatre. Thither our military hero occasionally adjourned, cautiously keeping to the side opposite the prompter, lest that ringer of many bells should be so rude as to inquire his business. It is a hazardous
affair to get near actors. We are apt to make comparisons which always redound to our own exaltation. " Macready is great in Virginius,” said Augustus Thackeray to himself, " but I think I could do the part better : my voice is to the full as loud as his. Charles Kemble's Mark Antony is a finished performance : but, thank Heaven! he has no exclusive patent for playing the part, whatever his privileges may be as one of the proprietors of the establishment. I'll go home and study. • See what an envious rent hath Casca made :' I knew it quite perfect at Harrow, so I shall soon recover it." Those light clouds of self-conceit which float occasionally around the heads of unfledged ensigns and beardless barristers-at-law, shewing to them in shadowy perspective the Field Marshal's baton and the Lord Chancellor's mace, soon enveloped the upper regions of Captain Thackeray. To complete the obumbration, his brother officers at Woolwich gave him the part of Colonel Briton, in the “Wonder.” That garrison has for some years been famous for “cleaving the general ear with horrid speech." William Congreve wrote comedies, and a baronet of the same name invented rockets. They are both clever men in their way: but Love for Love is a pleasanter concern to witness in its progress, than an elliptical cannon-ball. So, åt Woolwich, comedies are at present all the vogue, and the rockets are despatched to do duty at Vauxhall Gardens.
Augustus Thackeray was highly complimented for his performance of Colonel Briton. Old Culpepper (who went down by the Southend steam-boat on purpose to witness it) said that in some scenes it run Charles Holland rather hard; and Mrs. General Macgorget only wished that her nephew Tom Tankerville had played it half as well : he would not then have been laughed at as he was: but he was always a headstrong lad, and for her part she was quite sick of giving him advice. All this was oil to the flame, and Augustus got himself introduced to Charles Kemble the very next evening. The dilettanti performances of the preceding night were of course the subject of conversation. “ We at Woolwich," said Thackeray, “ have one great advantage over you at the regular theatre-a very great advantage”“ May I ask what it is ?”—“ Why, among you there are two or three very good, and all the rest are sticks; but with us at Woolwich we have no bad actors.” The manager, who plays the part of a perfect gentleman (a character of which he would find it difficult to divest himself
, either on the stage or off), answered only with a bow. He might have replied, “No good ones, you would say." Even as a house in the Regent's Park, is a subject upon which it is difficult to agree : the friends of the edifice maintaining that it unites the advantages of town and country, and its enemies maintaining that it absorbs the disadvantages of each. Be that as it may, on the Wednesday following, Thackeray was “at it again.”
There is a theatre in Tottenham-street which is noted for enticing slender cornets from Hounslow-barracks, and indentured linendrapers from Oxford-street. Our Captain of course took refuge beneath its portico. He opened there in the Duke Aranza, in the Honey Moon, and was in the highest possible spirits upon the occasion. His grace has to dress three times during the five acts. This, according to Augustus, was a high feather in the cap of the character. “It is a
capital part," he observed to Lord Robert Ranter, who was cast for, Rolando; “I don't know a better part. First, there's the Duke's private dress: puce-coloured velvet, a beaver hat, a slouched feather, and sugar-loaf buttons-oh! it's a great part! Then there's the cottage dress : drab kerseymere with blue silk facings, high-topped gloves, and russet boots-oh! it's an excellent part! Then there's the Duke's state dress in the last scene : a wbite plume and diamond button, crimson velvet cloak, and white sattin tronks-oh! it's a delightful part! I quite forgot the white shoes and red rosettes—I don't think there's a better part on the stage !”
The Honey Moon, as honey moons are wonť to do, went off ex. tremely well. Audiences are very indulgent when there is nothing to pay. Few things sour a critic more than pulling three shillings and sixpence from his breeches pocket. “Pray, my lord,” said Old Culpepper to Lord Robert, “what was the name of the gentleman who played Lopez? He had not much to do: nothing, indeed, but to invite the Duke and Juliana to the village dance; but, I must confess, he threw all the rest of you into the back-ground. Pray what is his name?" “ His name !” answered Lord Robert,- -“ oh, that was Billy Bawl the call-boy from Covent-garden.”—“The call-boy? Impossible!”—“Oh, no! it's very true: we paid him thirty shillings.” “What a shame!” exclaimed the old slopseller : "only a call-boy? why don't the Covent-garden proprietors put him into Macbeth, or young Mirabel, or Artaxerxes, or something of that sort ?” “ Why, the fact is, Sir," said the noble amateur, " at Covent-garden poor Billy never gets beyond · Your ladyship’s carriage ;' or at farthest, . This way, if you please, Sir. Because the poor fellow is cowed by the regular actors : sad overbearing dogs : but here he is among gentlemen, who put him quite at his ease in a moment.”
Lord Robert Ranter has interest with the proprietors. He generally palms some " stick” of an actor upon them once in every
These would twine “ like ivy round a sapling” establishment, but the two old oaks weather it out. Lord Robert spoke to the proprietors about Augustus Thackeray. He might be mistaken: we are all liable to error : but for his part, he had never seen a more promising débút than his Duke Aranza: his style seemed to be something between John Kemble's and Kean's; free, however, from the stateliness of the one, and the familiarity of the other : he should recommend the proprietors by all means to jump at him : he knew that Elliston would give any money for him, &c. &c. &c. The result was, that the redoubtable Captain got an engagement at Covent-garden Theatre. The terms were neither thirty, no, nor even twenty-five pounds a week. “No matter: money was not his precise object; and there was no doubt that the public voice would force the proprietors to cancel his present articles, and treat him with greater liberality. The cases of Kean and Miss O'Neil were precisely in point. He was determined, for his part, to show the town what gentlemanly acting was. Garrick was a gentleman: he had driven his tilbury last week down to Hampton to see his effects on sale, and he must say, that a more gentlemanly turn out he had seldom witnessed. Not that he meant to patronize the drawing-room chairs; they were decidedly too short in the elbow: and the Hogarths were vulgar: no elegance in the subjects, and no delicacy in the manner of