« PreviousContinue »
THE DRAMA.--No. V.
Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice."
On Tuesday, the 22nd of January, a new one-act piece was performed, for the first time, entitled, My Best Friend, or £277. 7s. 7d." It was frivolous and trifling, and was at once consigned to the oblivion in which such trash must eventually repose.
January 27. A new opera was produced this evening under the title of the “ Englishmen in India,” the production of Mr. Wallace, the author of several works relative to India of considerable merit. Like all pieces of this description, its merit is in exact proportion to the opportunity it offers for the display of talents in others—in the actor, the singer, the composer, the painter.
The music, by Mr. Bishop, is neither very new nor very effective: not one of the songs will become popular, although half the million of London will probably hear them in the course of the season. Like the “words, words," which Hamlet reads, they are without soul; without that intellectual union which constitutes the life and organization of musical compositions. Those pieces which struck us as most entitled to commendation, were Dorrington's (Bedford) “ Oh! firm as oak, and free from care," the finale to the second act, and Tancred's (Braham) air “ The girl of my heart," in the third act. The fact is, Mr. Bishop is a man of very considerable taste, tact, and talent, but not of genius. He takes a bar here, and a passage there, and then adds a few notes of his own, and thus, altogether, produces a very pretty and agreeable Mosaic work; but there is no bold originality, no creation.
The poetry of the songs is utterly beneath the notice of criticism. The strength of the company made amends for the weakness of the dialogue: Harley, Dowton, Mrs. Davison, and Miss Kelly, gave life and pungency to the several scenes, which they certainly do not possess in themselves. We have seldom seen Braham to so little advantage as in this opera. Miss Stephens did ample justice to the music assigned her. The new scenery is in the first style of excellence, and bears abundant testimony to the liberality of the manager, and the great talents of the artists.
Monday, February 19. The Stranger. This dull translation has been rendered still more ennuyante by being performed in a style the very reverse of excellence. Little as wė admire this play, either in its principle, construction, or execution, yet the exertions of performers of great powers never fail to impart a considerable degree of interest to the two principal characters, and to produce a vivid effect on the feelings of the audience.
The most striking novelty of this evening's performance was the appearance of “ a young lady" in the character of Mrs. Haller. We have seldom seen a more woeful performance. A dismal, monotonous, lachrymal whine, executed tremulando, was the only accomplishment applicable to tragic acting which this • young lady” possessed, and she was most unsparing in the use of it; indeed, from the first sentence she uttered to the last, she poured it forth in one unvaried tone, till the very heart sickened at it. In short, her voice, her face, her figure, her manner, and her conception of the character, were all equally inappropriate and equally unpleasing.
As to Kean's performance of the Stranger, it was one of the most ineffective personations we ever bebeld. Instead of a heart-broken victim, tremblingly alive to moral suffering, and stern in the excess of sensibility, Mr. Kean was a solemn personage, seeming to feel very little interest in what was going on-a masquerader in a dull dominoma kind of gloomy nothing. We expected from the known enterprise of his genius, that he would have given some new points to the character. He, however, disappointed us doubly-he introduced no new points, and he lost many of the old ones.
Monday, February 5. The Revenge. Zanga is one of the finest of all the varivus parts in which Mr. Young excels bis contemporaries. The faults of this character are the defects of the author. The actor's exhibition towers far above the poet, and realizes to the spectator the form and substance of a character which the feeble grasp of Dr. Young's genius in vain attempted to possess. Our limits will not allow us to enter into any lengthened or minute criticisms; we must, therefore, rest satisfied with observing generally, that the fiend-like and unnatural hatred of the Moore to Alonzo, and the equally unnatural revenge that grows out of it, were throughout depicted with a terrible vividness; and their consummation in the last act, where he tramples on the ruin he has made, was truly grand.
On Wednesday, February 7, a Miss Jarman, from the Bath and Dublin Theatres, made her first appearance on the London boards in the arduous part of Juliet. In her person she is elegant; her face is handsome, though perhaps not quite so expressive as a tragic actress seems to require ; her action is remarkably unrestrained and graceful, and her entire demeanour that of an individu accustomed to appear in the polished ranks of society. Her voice is of good modulation, of considerable sweetness, and capable of strong expression. She has a good judgment, a fair share of taste, and sufficient experience of the business of the stage. The scene with Romeo, in which he overhears the expression of her passion for him, as she sits in the balcony, abounded in felicitous touches of tenderness and delicacy. In the scene with the nurse, Miss Jarman had another severe trial of her talents, in wbich they were equally victorious; and again in her parting from Romeo. On the whole, we consider Miss Jarman a very great acquisition to this theatre; and we see in her, not merely the promise, but the certainty, of our having attained an accomplished actress.
On the same evening was produced a new farce called the £ 100 note. The author (Mr. Peake) has all the broad humor of O'Keeffe, which seems to grow out of whimsical phrases, laughable comparisons, and the most singular exaggerations of character. He is a Midas of another kind; every thing with him turns to a joke, and be makes you laugh, though you may be angry with yourself for laughing. It would be absurd to call this a farce of the first order, but neither is it dull or indifferent: it is full of whim and spirit-not very probable, yet perhaps quite as probable as farce need be; and, if we have seen many better, we have also seen many that are worse.
Wednesday, February 14. This evening Miss Jarman performed Lady Townley, in Cibber's comedy of the Provoked Husband.” Elegant and lively, she sustained the comic part of the character with uncommon spirit: tender and graceful, ber penitence had the interest of tragedy without its passion. Her concluding scene was among the most touching that erer surprised us in a comedy ; and there were lears shed with her, and for her, as copious and true as the heroine of the buskin ever stole.
The excellence of Charles Keinble's Lord Townley is too well known to need our mention. His acting, in the last scene, drew peals of applause from all parts of the house.
Mr. Blanchard's John Moody was an admirable and chaste performance. His description of the journey to town was a rich treat to those who know how to appreciate the value of a hearty laugh. Mr. Meadows, as young Squire Richard, excited considerable mirth; but we must protest against the extravagant bye-play in which he and Miss Jones indulged to the interruption of the dialogue. form it altogether."
On Saturday, February 17, a most crowded audience assembled to witness the representation of the " Gamester."
The talents already displayed by Miss Jarman, naturally led to the expectation that Mrs. Beverley would meet' in her with an able representative; we are happy to add, that that expectation was not disappointed. In one or two instances
she might be thought to fail in energy and dignity; but in all the pathetic part of the character-in all of it that interests or affects-the feelings of the audience were entirely with her, and gave a testimony not to be mistaken of her excellence as an actress. Her scene with Stukely, where he endeavours to seduce her affections, was admirably managed; nor could there be a better test of her talents than the manner in which she repulsed his advances, and his calumnies upon her absent husband. Mr. Warde acted Stukely, an unfavorable character; he gave to it as much expression as it deserved. If his performance had a fault, it lay in excessive care; it was too apxious, and too full of obvious contrivance and determined chicanery.
Mr. Young's Bererley is the finest piece of acting we ever bebeld. Panegyric atfords no terms adequate to describe its effects. It is a performance perfectly isolated; it stands not only alone, but removed from all others an immeasurable distance'; we bave seen nothing with which to compare it. A person who, in witnessing a dramatic representation, gives himself up to the illusion of the scene, and abandops his feelings to its influence, had need of some degree of nerve to sustain this performance.
We will not say how badly Mr. Serle played Lewson; but we will ask why Mr. Kemble did not play it. Is it that Mr. Kemble disdains to appear in Lewson, or that we are not to have Mr. Kemble and Mr. Young on the same night?
Tuesday, February 20. First time at this theatre of the Oracle. The music assigned to Miss Paton, in this opera, is of the most difficult nature, and the difficulty but served to illustrate her excellence; where every part was performed with equal effect, it is impossible to single out any one piece as preferable to the others; and we can only remark, that we never wish to see the principal character in an opera better supported. Her rich and powerful tones improve on the ear with repetition, and there are times when she bursts forth into a strain that almost sounds like the voice of inspiration. All that she says, or does, seems to be an emanation of the mind, not an idle repetition of the forms of art-a praise that can be given to very few actors, and certainly not to any other singer now on the stage. Mr. Phillips was in fine voice, and sung the different songs in admirable style; and Mr. Sapio executed the music that fell to his lot with uncommon sweetness and taste.
Mr. J. 0. Atkins is a bass singer of considerable powers. His voice is not so mellow as some we have heard of that class, but possesses great depth, compass, and flexibility,
In point of decoration, the opera is well, and even splendidly, got up. W.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex has been very seriously indisposed, but has recovered.
Up to the moment of our going to press, no important change has taken place in the situation of the Earl of Liverpool. The nature of the attack under which he suffers will preclude him, we believe, from ever again attending to public business, but his life is not at present considered in immediate danger. Various rumours are afloat as to the changes which this event will cause in the administration. We believe an attempt will be made by the remaining members of the Cabinet to form a ministry, but nothing certain is known upon the subject.
The debates in Parliament have as yet been unimportant, the illness of Mr. Canning having caused the postponement of the question of the Corn Laws. Mr. Bish has lost his seat for Leominster; and Mr. J. Williams has been turned out also from Ilchester. The latter event will, it is calculated, considerably shorten the session of Parliament.
One of the most important plans for the improvement of our capital has been finally sanctioned. A minute has passed the Treasury Board, authorising the erection of a terrace from Storey's Gate to the Bird Cage Walk, along the whole of the south side of the Park to Pimlico. This will be in unison with the terrace on the opposite side, from Spring Gardens westward ; and thus, with the King's new Palace at one end, and the
Horse Guards and other architectu al public buildings at the other, St. James's Park will form one grand square. In the centre, the canal is to be reduced, and diverted into picturesque windings, instead of its present formal and uninteresting shape. The marshy ground is to be drained and disposed into parterres, shrubberies, and other orvamental designs. Thus we shall, at last, have a delightful promenade, in London, vying in size and attraction with the gardens of the Tuilleries or Luxembourg.
During the last month the bishoprics of Oxford and Lincoln have become vacant by death. Dr. Lloyd has been promoted to Oxford, and Dr. Kay translated to Lincoln ; by the latter event the see of Bristol is vacated.
The Duke of Wellington has continued all the confidential servants of the late Duke of York in their situations at the llorse Guards. His Grace has held several levees.
Dispatches have been received at the Colonial Office, with an account of the decease of the King of the Ashantees, in consequence of the four wounds his Majesty received in the celebrated battle in which Colonel Purden distinguished himself as Commander of the British forces. The King's principal Chief had also died. Soon after the battle was over, the surrounding native troops took possession of the bodies of the slain Ashantees--cut off their heads, and carried away their jaw-bones as trophies of their victories.
On Sunday the 11th of February, at the house of the Portuguese Ambassador, in South Audley Street, died the Marquis d'Abrantes, in consequence of an apoplectic fit with which he was attacked whilst on a visit there on the 16th ult. The remains of the noble Marquis were deposited in the vaults of the Catholic Chapel in Moorfields. The ceremony was attended by the Portuguese Ambassador and several Portuguese gentlemen.
Letters have been received from Major Laing, stating, that he had arrived at Timbuctoo. The true state of the city, which bas been so much talked of, will thus, we hope, be laid before the public by a person well competent to the important task.
We regret, however, to learn, that Major Laing has relinquished his intention of following up the course of the Niger, and is now on his way back to Tripoli. It does not appear what circumstances have occasioned this departure from his proposed route,
Mr. Baron Graham has resigned his seat at the Exchequer. Mr. Serjeant Vaughan is spoken of as his successor; the only difficulty is, that it is usual to have the Exchequer Bench equally divided between Equity and Common-law lawyers; if Mr. Serj. Vaughan should be appointed, there will then be three of the latter, and only one of the former.
It is said, that intelligence has been received in town, that Captain Franklin has accomplished his overland expedition, and had embarked on board His Majesty's ship the Blossom, which was dispatched to Behring's Straits to afford him assistance. It is added, that some of the party declined embarking, and determined to retrace their course overland. We shall be sincerely happy to be convinced of the truth of these reports.
The Earl of Onslow died on the 24th of February, at a quarter before five o'clock, at his seat, Clandon, near Guilford. His lordship had been confined to the house a few days only.
The Earl of Darnley is confined at his seat, at Cobham Hall, by illness.
It is astonishing what a number of editions there have been of the Duke of York's Speech on the Catholic Question ; one, the neatest and cheapest, is published by Griffith, of Wellington Street ; it is a very good specimen of writing engraving.
The Life of Buonaparte," by the Author of Waverley," is announced to appear within the month of March.
Jan. 20 : at Nettlestead, the lady of the Rev. W. F. Cobb, of a son ; at Warwick House, Cheltenham, the Hon. Mrs. Samuel Gest Gist, of a daughter ; the lady of Lieut. Col. J. Horge, of a daughter. 22 : at Pennington-House, near Lymington, the lady of the Rev. Charles Heath, of a son. 25 : at Tenterden, the wife of the Rev. William Temple of a son. 26 : at Brighton, the lady of John Round, Esq. of a daughter ; the lady of G. Savage Martin. Esq. of a daughter. 27 : the lady of George Owen Esq. of the Secretary's Office, East India House, of a son ; at the Vicarage, Southwell Notts. of a daughter, Mrs. Fowler, wife of the Rev. R. H. Fowler, and daughter of Mr. Bish, of London. 28 : at Lighthorne, Warwickshire, the lady of Joshua Townsend, Esq. of a son. 29 : in St. Agnes Place, the wife of Mr. Charles Bevan, Solicitor, of
30 : in George-street, Hanover-square, the lady of Dr. Seymour, of a daughter. Feb. 1: in Wimpole-street, the lady of C. G. Ridout, Esq. of a son ; at High Wycombe, Bucks, Mrs. Nayler, wife of the kev. Thomas Nayler, Cbaplain to his late Royal Highness the Duke of York, of a son and daughter ; at Versailles, Madame de Gaja, wife of Colonel de Gaja, and eldest daughter of Lord Robert Fitzgerald, of a son. 3: at Hadley, Middlesex, the lady of Donald Mackay, Esq. of a son ; at Langley Farm, Kept, the Hon. Mrs. Colville, of a daughter. 5: at North Bank, Regent's Park, the Hon. Mrs. Edward Goulburn, of a son. 7: in Russell. square, the lady of Henry Hoyle Oddie, Jun. Esq. of a son. ll: at Brockenhurst, Lady Caroline Morant, of a daughter ; at Southampton, the lady of H. Brereton Trelawney, Esq of a daughter ; the lady of Hampden Gledstanes, Esq. of a daughter. 13: at Walthamstow, the lady of Samuel Dobree, Esq. of a daughter.
Jan. 18 : at Brompton, Yorkshire, William Worsley, Esq. of Hovingham, to Sarah Philadelphia, fourth daughter of Sir George Caley, Bart. 20 : at Melcombe Regis, Capt. R. W bite, of H. M. Post-office packet, Countess of Liverpool, to Miss A. Udal, of the above town. 22: at Bath, Lord W Paget, second son of the Marquis of Anglesey, to Fanny, only daughter of Lieut. General Sir Francis De Rottenburg, K.G. H; John Frost, Esq. F.A.S. of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and of Bridge-street, Blackfriars, to Harriet, only daughter of the late d. P. Yosy, Esq. of Berne, and piece to Col. Brooke. 23 : William Hickman, Esq. of Newington. green, Middlesex, to Ann, daughter of the late John Garrat, Esq. of the same place. 25 : at Chudleigh, Devon, Joseph Warner, Esq. of London, to Mary Sarah, eldest daughter of the late Thomas Edwards, Esq. of Rame-place, Cornwall. 27 : at Kensington, Herbert John Jones, Esq. to Mary Green, daughter of the late Archibald Armstrong, Esq.
Feb. 1 : at Kirkheaton church, the Rev. Henry Torre, Rector of Thornhill, to Sarah Caro. line, daughter of Sir John Lister Kaye, Bart. of Denby, near Wakefield, Yorkshire ; Mr. J. A. Gee, of New North-street, Red Lion-square, Solicitor, to Sarah, youngest daughter of the Rev. Thomas Darby, late of Shelley, in the county of Essex. 3: Charles, son of the Rev. R. C Barnard, of Wiversfield, Suffolk, to Caroline, eldest daughter of R. C. Elwes, Esq. of Billing, Northamptonshire. 6: the Rev. Joseph Wolff, Missionary to the Jews, to the Lady Georgiana Mary W
fourth daughter of the late, and sister to the present, Earl of Orford. 8: John Tanner, Esq. of Speenhamland, Berks, to Mary Elizabeth, second daughter of George Nelson, Esq. of Essex-street. 13 : at Kidlestone church, William Drury Holden, Esq. to Caroline Esther, youngest daughter of Lord Scardale. 15 : at St. Andrew's church, Captain Downe, Royal Artillery, to Louisa, youngest daughter of the late T. Atkins, Esq. of Ayisham, Norfolk,
Jan. 20 : at Ratisbon, aged 81, Theophilus Kuffner, Esq. 21 : John, only son of Mr. Francis Bryant, of High Holborn, in the 17th year of his age. 25 : at his house, Islington, after a short illness, and in the 60th year of his age, the Rev. John Evans, L.L. D. weil known as the author of the “ Sketch of the Denominations of the Christian World," and of numerous other works, which breathe the pious, liberal, and amiable spirit that characterised his life. 26: Lieut. William Milner Slade, R. N.; at his Lodge, the Rev. Septimus Collinson, D. D. Provost of Queen's College, Oxford, Margaret Professor of Divinity; at Framlingham, near Norwich, the Rey. John Blankes. 28 : at Tonbridge Wells, Misa Elizabeth Fry, of Grove House, in her 51st year. 29: in her 78th year, the Right Honorable Lady Louisa Macdonald, widow of the late Right Hon. Sir Archibald Macdonald, Bart, and Idest sister of the Marquis of Stafford ; in Dublin, the venerable Dr. Plunkett, titular Bishop of Meath, in his 89th year ; the Right Hon. James Sutherland, Lord Duffus, at an advanced age.
Feb.2: at Tunbridge Wells, Mr. Robert Atkins, aged 40. 4. at the Rectory, Stoke D'Alborne, Surrey, Elizabeth, wife of the Rev. Pbilip Valiant. 5: at Walthamstow, Samuel, third son of the late Peter Dobree, Esq. of Beauregard, in the island of Guernsey, aged 68; at Rochester, in his 38th year, the Rev. Dr. Law, Archdeacon of Rochester, and Rector of Westmill, Herts, and Easton Magna, Essex; at Merewith, in his 79th year, the Rev. William Foster Pigott, D.D. F.S. A. of Abingdon Pigotts, Cambridgeshire, Fellow of Eton College, Rector of Mere. wyrth, Kent, and of Clewer, Berks, and one of his Majesty's Chaplains. 6: in Half-moonstreet, the infant son of Charles Lieven, Esq. 7: at Bath, aged 42 years, Lucy, the wife of John Bennet, Esq. M. P. for Wiltshire, and daughter of the late Edmund Lamberi, Esq. of Boyton, in the same county. 8: in Upper Wimpole-street, Mary Anne, wife of Major-General Henry Fox Calcraft. 9: at Richmond, Yorkshire, Maria Juliana, wife of Thomas Stapleton, Esq. of Prax, in the county of York, second daughter of Sir
Robert Gerard, Bart. of Gareswood, Lancashire ; the Rev. David Middleton, Rector of Crux Easton, Hants, aged 75 ; at Whitehall, the Right Hon. Lady Carrington, Charles Dickinson, Esq. of Farley-bill, Berks, many years an active Magistrate of that county. 15 : in Great Queen-street, Westminster, Mrs. Sutherland, aged 87. 16: at Hampstead, William Gilkes, Esq. in his 61st year.