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terms. An exact imitation of life can never be reasonably demanded of an artist who is bound to represent the growth and contest of the passions in a few short scenes, and who is to speak blank verse. Tragedy is not a piece cut at random out of the great succession of human affairs, but an epitome, or condensed expression of passion and suffering, in which individuals represent whole classes, in which the progress of time is hastened and consequences are forestalled, and in which agony and death itself are glorified and rendered sacred. It has no room for the petty trifling of common existence, and must be realized not to the vulgar sense by assimilation to ordinary habits, but by its fitness to the imagination, and the feeling of moral grandeur. It is true, Mr. Kemble did not succeed in representing the immediate contest of opposing passions; but his acting was noblest when most simple, and most affecting when it was retrospective in its tone. He could not pourtray the ecstasies of love, but he could admirably exhibit affection mellowed by time; he did not give the fury of disappointment, but the depth of settled despair; his acting reflected times past, and his mind seemed to brood over the relics of greatness and joy—“ a noble wreck in ruinous perfection!" Were the softenings of the recluse in Penruddock, when the son of the mistress of his youth revived her image; or the heart-broken tones of his Stranger; or the pensive retrospection of his Macbeth "fallen into the sear and yellow leaf;" or the meditative gentleness of his Hamlet, when his voice floated over the grave "the still, sad music of humanity," less natural than the sudden changes of attitude and jerks of voice admired in others? To assert that his "Cato," his "Coriolanus," and his "Brutus" were not natural, by way of censure, is to sneer at the whole world of classical associations as valueless.
The benefits which Mr. Kemble conferred on his art, by the introduction of appropriate scenery and costume, are traced out in these volumes with a minuteness which we cannot follow. Of the general result there can be no doubt; or of the great addition which it has made to our pleasures. Independent of the physical enjoyment thus conferred on the spectator, and the harmony produced in the scenic representation, the art itself was raised by the engagement of so much research, learning, and taste in its service. The dignity of the studies in which the manager was an adept, was infused into the gratifications of the audience, and gave an antique air to the gaieties of the age. Nor was the profession less indebted to his personal manners and demeanour, and to the conduct of all the members of his most respectable family. With a certain degree of formality and stiffness, which perhaps assisted in preserving entire his consistency in the dangerous sphere within which he was destined to move, there was a real sociality of disposition, which as it was independent of mere constitutional vivacity, was unimpaired by years. His studies gave a learned colouring to his discourse, which well became him. The kindness of his nature shone out in his performances on the stage; for he never failed to relieve the most repulsive of his parts with little touches of tenderness, as when he gazed with fond admiration on his daughter in Sir Giles Overreach, and dallied with the children in Richard. A certain grave humour enlivened his convivial hours, and occasionally lightened his performances in tragedy. In his youth, emulous of the versatility
which was then expected even from veteran actors, he played comedy with fair success. It is hard to imagine him in Charles Surface or Ranger; but his Valentine was highly praised; and we doubt not that the wit and sense of Congreve, for which he had an obvious relish, were given by him with a brilliancy and neatness which made up for any want of constitutional gaiety and lightness.
Of the talents of Mr. Kemble as a writer we cannot speak highly; but such was his power of application, and such his general acuteness, that it is probable he would have excelled in any department of literary occupation to which he would devote his energy. There are several letters preserved by Mr. Boaden, written by him while travelling on the Continent, which shew considerable tact of observation, and which amply confirm all that his biographer has said of the warmth and rectitude of his social affections. The following letter is from Paris, addressed to his brother Charles, for whom he always felt the strongest regard.
"Paris, July 23, 1802.
"My dear Charles,-How does my mother do? Is she in the country, or does she prefer staying in town? Tell me every thing about her health, and give my duty to her and to my father.
"After a circuit, Lille, Douai, and Arras, I arrived here safe and sound a few days ago. You know, perhaps, that we were detained a whole week at Lord Guildford's, who was inexpressibly kind to us, by poor Heathcote's illness. Every thing in Douai is in a state of ruin, poverty, and desolation not to be described. I bad not the heart to go up to my old room. The neighbours, with whom I talked, have a notion that the English are coming back, and are overjoyed when they tell you so.
"This place (Paris) is such a scene of magnificence, filth, pleasure, poverty, gaiety, distress, virtue and vice, as constitutes a greater miracle than was ever chronicled in history. The plays I have seen are, Iphigenie en Aulide, by Racine; Oreste, by Voltaire; La Mere Coupable, by Beaumarchais; and a farce or two. I will not pretend to say any thing of the actors or the theatres, till I have seen a little more of them. Talma and I are grown very well acquainted; he seems an agreeable man. Last night I was presented to Contat, who is not what she was. I know Michot, Fleury, Dazincourt, Baptiste, and one or two more of the Comedie Française, a little. I should have told you, that I have seen l'Abbé de l'Epée. Monvel acts the Abbé as well as possible; the other characters were very much inferior to the English. There cannot be a more kind reception than I meet with. My Lord Egremont, Lord and Lady Holland, who live most splendidly, insist on our dining with them every day, and with one or the other we do dine every day, and then you know comes the spectacle.
"I have promised Talina to procure a copy of Pizarro, that he may see whether it can be adapted to the French stage. Buy a book of it, make it up in separate packets, and send it me by the next post I am afraid they will not be able to turn it to any use. Texier told me he would give me a letter or two to some persons of his acquaintance here, who he thought might be useful and pleasant to a stranger. Pray upbraid him with having forgot me. He may send them still, if he pleases. God bless you, my boy! Don't forget to tell me how you do, and be sure to remember all the news. You are to direct to me, Hôtel de Courland, Place de la Concorde, Paris. Remember me to every body I ought to remember.
"J. P. KEMBLE."
The following is from Madrid.
"After wishing you many, many new years, each happier than that which went before it, I will give you the satisfaction of knowing, that I am safe and well here, after only two overturns on the way. I believe you know all the places I have
Vol. IX. No. 54.-1825.
nerving entire 2.9 he was destined to it was indepen
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his discourses which will became him. The i shone out in hopes on the stage; f = heve the most puulsive of his parts with little tooment when he gazed with and admiration on his daughter a reach, and dallied with the children in Richard. har enlivened his convivial hours, and occasiona terhemances in tragedy, I youth, emulous of ==
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ted even from veteran actors, he played comedy is hard to imagine him in Charles Surface or entine was highly praised; and we doubt not that Congreve, for which he had an obvious relish, with a brilliancy and neatness which made up for ional gaiety and lightness.
Mr. Kemble as a writer we cannot speak highly; wer of application, and such his general acuteness, e would have excelled in any department of literary he would devote his energy. There are several y Mr. Boaden, written by him while travelling on ch shew considerable tact of observation, and which that his biographer has said of the warmth and rectiaffections. The following letter is from Paris, adother Charles, for whom he always felt the strongest
"Paris, July 23, 1802. -How does my mother do? Is she in the country, or does town? Tell me every thing about her health, and give my my father.
Lille, Douai, and Arras, I arrived here safe and sound a few now, perhaps, that we were detained a whole week at Lord as inexpressibly kind to us, by poor Heathcote's illness. Every In a state of ruin, poverty, and desolation not to be described. I to go up to my old room. The neighbours, with whom I talked, the English are coming back, and are overjoyed when they tell
(Paris) is such a scene of magnificence, filth, pleasure, poverty, virtue and vice, as constitutes a greater miracle than was ever story. The plays I have seen are, Iphigenie en Aulide, by Racine: re; La Mere Coupable, by Beaumarchais; and a farce or two. ad to say any thing of the actors or the theatres, till I have seen a hem. Talma and I are grown very well acquainted; he seems an
Last night I was presented to Contat, who is not what she was. Fleury, Dazincourt, Baptiste, and one or two more of the Comedie ttle. I should have told you, that I have seen l'Abbé de l'Epee. the Abbé as well as possible; the other characters were very much wwe English. There cannot be a more kind reception than I meet with. aremont, Lord and Lady Holland, who live most splendidly, insist on ith them every day, and with one or the other we do dine every day, know comes the spectacle.
romised Talina to procure a copy of Pizarro, that he may see whether lapted to the French stage. Buy a book of it, make it up in separate d send it me by the next post I am afraid they will not be able to Texier told me he would me a letter or two to some acquaintance here, who he thought might be useful and pleasant to a Pray upbraid him with having forgot me. He may send them still, if
God bless you, my boy! Don't forget to tell me how you do, and be member all the news. You are to direct to me, Hotel de Courland, Place corde, Paris. Remember me to every body I ought to remember.
"J. P. KEMBLL."
following is from Madrid.
er wishing you many, many new years, each happier than that which went , I will give you the satisfaction of knowing, that I am safe and well here, nly two overturns on the way. I believe you know all the places I have
RIX. No. 54-1825.
seen a great deal better than I do; yet of Madrid I will tell you, that it is a village to any one who has lived in London. A town that you may easily walk round in an hour and a half, and whose population does not probably exceed a hundred and fifty thousand souls, does not convey a very lofty idea of the metropolis of a great monarchy. Seen from some points, however, this village, as I have ventured to call it, is beautiful, and even magnificent. The old spires and towers of the convents and churches, the gay fronts of the public buildings, and the extensive mansions of the nobility, give it at once an air of gaiety and grandeur. I speak only of four or five particular streets; for the rest of them, in general, are too narrow for carriages to pass each other without danger; and they are latterly grown so dirty, that I wonder, considering the intolerable heat of their summers, that the plague is not as common here as a Constantinople.
"There are here two theatres. Senor Mayques, who manages that called 'Los Canos del Peral,' has been in France; he is an intelligent actor, and certainly the best in the company. In this theatre they principally act translations of French comedies and vaudevilles. In the other, that called 'de la Cruz,' an actress, who is styled La Senora Rita Luna, by her sole and superior merit sustains the fame of the old and celebrated authors of Spain. The discernment and natural good taste of this lady show to her with exactness the idea of the character she has to represent. Her countenance, from the amazing flexibility of her features, displays every thing that passes in her mind. The action of ordinary performers fails simply because they know not how to dispose of their lifeless frames: that of la Rita Luna adds the most speaking graces to a voice so musical, that, in Spanish expression, her mouth might be styled the shell of Apollo. In a word, I have only seen one actress to whom I think la Rita Luna inferior in the art. Highly distinguished as she is by Melpomene, la Rita Luna is yet more decidedly a favourite of Thalia; and she told me herself, that she never, with perfect goodwill, set herself about any tragic studies. But it is difficult to conceive how that can be done reluctantly, which is so transcendant.*
"You know what bustle they keep in England about the pride, pomp, and circumstance of a Spanish bull-fight; by the best good luck in the world there has been one since I came to Madrid; it is exactly like all the rest of the exaggerated descriptions of too many travellers. I do assure you, that it is so far from being a splendid or interesting spectacle, that if I lived in Spain for the rest of my life, I hardly believe I should have the least desire to see another.
"The King and Queen are expected to return to Aranjuez in the course of the week, when the greatest part of the immense train of the nobility, who have attended their Majesties in their tour, will it is supposed, be very well contented to come back to their own houses, and restore some spirit to Madrid, which, they say here, is very dull for want of them. If they would bring some fire, as well as spirit, with them, I should be among the foremost to bid them welcome. Will you believe it? I am in what is called a very good lodging, and am at this present writing hereof absolutely freezing. What do you think of the month of January, and colder than it is in London, joined with a great square bare white-washed room, and not a possibility of having a morsel of fire? There is hardly such a thing as a chimney in Madrid, and the pans of charcoal, over which the Spaniards crouch and coddle themselves, turn me so sick in ten minutes, that I dare not go near them. There is no such thing as a window-shutter, that closes within half a footand the frames gape so wide from all the doors, that you may almost walk into any apartment, without the trouble of opening them.
"Well, never mind all this. I like the Spaniards very much, and shall be glad, as long as I live, that I have seen them. The French have managed
The passage relative to the theatres, Mr. Kemble wrote in the Spanish language, which he was learning diligently at the time. He read the authors currently before he left England.