Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

time to pause, and to reflect whether, Abbey must have it; and those who in our search after novelty, and in do not, will find it a most agreeable the multiplicity of our systems, we account of the place; and, as far as have not lost sight of the true the interments there extend, a comtheory--the simple and consistent pendious little Biography, theory of the Father and Founder of the Science. After witnessing the The Book of the Farm ; detailing the decided failure of so many well Labours of the Farmer, Steward, reasoned and promising schemes,

Ploughman, Hedger, Cattie Man,

Shepherd, Field Worker, and Dairy we are very much inclined to agree with Hardcastle-that we have added

Maid. By Henry Stephens. In 2 little or nothing that

volumes, with numerous Illustrations. is real to

Vol. I. Royal 8vo. what Adam Smith contributed; and that, until we return to a standard This is the first volume of the work. of gold and silver, such as was cur. The arrangement is most admirable, rent in the time of that great au and the clear and racy style just thority, we have no security against what the agricultural student would those periods of alternate mania and desire. The vast mass of facts are panic which have been of almost no less valuable than the lucid way periodical recurrence within the last in which they are detailed, so that, fifty years.

without overwhelming those seeking Upon this and other points, ex for information, every thing is given cellently well mooted by the author, that can be wanted to be known on we shall not now enlarge, but content the subject. The paragraphs are ourselves with adding, that to one numbered, and as there will no doubt class of persons-the numerous and be an index, it will form a complete still increasing class composing Joint Cyclopædia of the subject. This Stock Bank Directors and Share volume contains two hundred and holders—the book cannot fail to be seven wood engravings, and sepeculiarly acceptable. It will be to

venteen engravings. The type is them a' most useful manual and large and clear, and the whole apvaluable companion, containing ex- pointments of the book are of the actly the description of information very best kind. The knowledge diswhich they require to have, and played is extremely various, and which they cannot procure in any proves the author as well read on other publication that we know of. the subject as he is practically in

formed. There is a great deal of it Westminster Abbey ; its Art, Architec

that is highly interesting to the ture, and Associations. A Hand

general reader; as, for instance, the Book for Visiters. By Peter Cun.

remarks on the weather, wbere alningham. 18mo.

most all that can be said on the subThis is by far the best Guide Book ject is brought together in a very we ever saw ; indeed, it is so much entertaining manner. Such works above that class of works, that it is as these disseminated amongst the not to be ranged amongst them. It farmers will do more to enlighten is the production of a scholar and a them and rouse the intellect, than man of taste, and is arranged with any other mode that could be devised. all the clearness of a man of business. Already the influence of the applicaThe style is exceedingly neat, and tion of mind to their pursuits is beshows a wide range of reading; and, ginning to make itself apparent; comprehensive as the title is, the and if the present race of farmers are execution does full justice to it. It an improvement on the preceding, is accompanied by plans and an we are quite sure the rising generaindex, which renderit complete. tion will show a still further adEvery one who visits Westminster vance.

tional life; and the pathos in the mortification which those personages endure when they consider they are not affectionately treated by their relations. The story is founded on the juxtaposition of two brothers : the one (the younger) of whom is a mechanical genius, who raises himself to fortune by the persevering exercise of his talents; the other (Peter) remains in his original condition, which seems to be that of a mechanic. This latter is the hero of skittle grounds and pot-houses; and, though coarse in his manners, and boisterous in his demonstration of them, has kindly and affectionate feelings. His wife is a compound of meanness and malice, who infuses into his mind absurd and unfounded jealousies of the mode in which he is treated by his successful brother. There is also a daughter of the successful brother Paul, who is affianced to a nobleman's son, who suffers much annoyance from the obtrusive vulgarity of her uncle, but more from the malevolent violence of his wife.

The ideas are good, and the situations capable of being well developed, but they are not clearly worked out. The language is flat, and the jokes are forced and vapid.

Farren had a complicated character to enact, and in parts succeeded. His boisterous heartiness in the first scene seemed to promise much, but he did not portray those rapid transitions of emotion that make Bouffé so great an actor, happily nor easily. When he suspects his brother's success has injured his affection for him, it lacked that sincerity that it should have ; and the blubbering of Farren created laughter instead of sympathy mixed with a share of the ridiculous. It is a part, indeed, consisting of rapid changes of feeling, and in so far is of the regular Drama, as are many of the French Vaudevilles. Mr. Farren's changes are mechanical; and though you cannot but confess that he has grasped the intention of the author, yet you find in the delineation such an obtrusion of the artist, and a consciousness of what he is about, that it destroys the illusion.

We attribute a great deal of Farren's imperfections to the state of the English Stage, which for a long time has offered no motive to a clever man to pursue his art with that rigid application that the French bestow upon it, and which, except in very rare instances, is absolutely necessary to its perfect acquirement. The large theatres have almost abandoned the delineation of character; and the other theatres, appealing to the taste, or supposed taste, of their audience, seek only to raise a laugh, or create a morbid curiosity. A farcical or melodramatic situation is the thing sought for. A ready allusion, or sharp retort, alone creates an effect, and for them therefore the actor lays himself ont. An English audience takes no delight in that careful delineation of character, and that quiet portrayal of a series of everyday events, which satisfy and delight a French one. The one looks for points, and enjoys them certainly; the other is gratified by the close and skilful imitation of the life amidst which he lives. The one feeling arises from a love of something being done on the stage that shall affect him strongly, the other from an appreciation of the skill by which the scene is portrayed. The sensations of the French, too, though superficial, are much more easily touched than ours. They take an interest in minute and every-day events, that our rougher and

VOL. XCVI.

stronger natures do not. Their enthusiasm is not hypocrisy. They easily sympathize, and as easily forget.

“Peter and Paul" is a more literal transfer of a French piece than we have seen. We do not mean in words, but in sentiments and construction. And our actors are not accustomed to it. Had Farren had the practice of Bouffé in these parts, he would have personated them much more minutely than he does, and would have got rid of that angular and rigid style that cramps and counteracts his conceptions.

It was a remarkable instance of wrong casting, the giving a sentimental part to Mr. Strickland, whose talent is so admirably displayed in portraying vulgar absurdities. Mrs. Glover, too, can make but little of her part, and only in one scene manifested her powers.

We should be glad to see the French pieces of this style more frequently produced, but then it must be by those who have a full appreciation of the object and capacities of these dramas of real life-of their nice distinctions, delicate delineation, and simple interest. It would do much to get rid of the theatrical violence and vulgarity that have so long pervaded our home-made melodramas; and would be one step towards the revival of that Drama which not only included this species of excellence, but superadded the profoundest philosophy and the highest poetry.

THE DESTITUTE FAMILY !

BY THOMAS POWELL.
I saw a father with a haggard face,
And a poor woman with a dwindled frame,
Yet still around her clung a lingering grace,
Telling of happier days from whence she came !
And sitting by them on the cold bare stone
Were three young children with gaunt hunger looks;
My stricken heart gave out a piteous moan,
And felt within it all that Gospel Books
Tell us to feel for brethren in distress:
Then drawing near I gave to them a dole ;
Whereat the mother raised her sunken eye,
And thanked me with a look which made me feel
She had poured forth the eloquence of a soul
Full unto bursting! Beauty never gave,
In its love languid hour, to worshipping slave,
A glance so full of human gentleness !
Godlike prerogative! to soothe and bless !
Dear memory! let not time or sorrow steal
That grateful look of Love !--but grant that I
May have it full upon me as I die !

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

FALSTAFF AND HIS FOLLOWERS. The antiquarians and historians may say what they please, Falstaff, Ancient Pistoll, Bardolph, Mrs. Quickly, and the whole of the rollicking troop at the Boar's Head, with all their hangers on of“ unthrifts,” are as much a part of history as the battle of Shrewsbury, or the King and Council themselves. No one can ever deny that they drank sack, bamboozled creditors, and laughed the hours away in Eastcheap; and that it would be as sensible to gainsay them an existence as that of the Pope or the Lord Mayor of the time. We had a relation who, when a boy, cried when he was told that “ Robinson Crusoe” was a fabrication. He thought himself deceived in the first place, and in the second it was taking away from him friends to whom he had become attached. We would not care much for the society of that logical gentleman who would deny the existence of the Falstaff group. They are our intimate acquaintance; and though they do misconduct themselves occasionally, we do not like to have their reality touched, and we can “ better spare better men.”

Mr. Halliwell does not offend us in this way; he very properly treats them as old friends, about whom he rightly considers all their acquaintance are interested, and he therefore traces their conduct, and endeavours to reconcile some of their proceedings, which appear to be rather contradictory. It is strange that the excess of matter of fact thus merges into the excess of the fictitious. It is well that it is so.

But before we get to this, the most agreeable portion of Mr. Halliwell's book, we must give a formal account of its nature and contents.

This volume itself is an acceptable and appropriate addition to the works of the Shakespeare Society. Indeed it may be considered as the most intimately connected with the writings of the great dramatist from whom the Society has taken its name. The “ first sketch" of that merry comedy, “ The Merry Wives of Windsor,” is now, for the first time, reprinted from the earliest edition of 1602, under the quaint title of “ A most pleasaunt and excellent conceited comedie of Syr John Falstaffe and The Merry Wives of Windsor, entermixed with sundrie variable and pleasing humours, of Syr Hugh the Welch Knight, Justice Shallow, and his wise cousin M. Slender ; with the swaggering vaine of Auncient Pistoll, and Corporall Nym.” Only four copies of this edition are known to exist; and the present reprint will therefore be more than ordinarily inviting to all critical lovers of the Shakespearian drama.

VOL. XCVI.

The differences between the original sketch of “ The Merry Wives of Windsor" and the play as we now have it, are very considerable. The first is most meagre and poor, in comparison. For instance, let us take the following, which corresponds to Act ii. Scene I, of the amended play:

Enter MISTRESSE Page, reading of a Letter.
Mis. Pa. Mistresse Page I loue you. Aske me no reason,
Because theyr impossible to alledge. Your faire,
And I am fat. You loue sack, so do I:
As I am sure I haue no mind but to loue,
So I know you haue no hart but to grant.
A souldier doth not vse many words, where a knowes
A letter may serue for a sentence. I loue you,
And so I leaue you.

Yours Syr John FALSTAFFE. Now leshu blesse me, am I methomorphised ? I thinke I knowe not myselfe. Why what a Gods name doth this man see in me, that thus he shootes at my honestie? Well but that I knowe my owne heart, I should scarcely perswade my selfe I were hand. Why what an vnreasonable woolsack is this? He was neuer twice in my companie, and if then I thought I gaue such assurance with my eies, Ide pul them out, they should neuer see more holie daies. Well, I shall trust fat men the worse while I liue for his sake. O God that I knew how to be reuenged of him. But in good time, heeres mistresse Foord.

Enter MISTRESSE FOORD. Mis. For. How now Mistris Page, are you reading loue letters? How do you woman.

Mis. Pa. O woman I am I know not what :
In loue vp to the hard eares. I was neuer in such a case in my life.

Mis. Ford. In loue, now in the name of God with whom ?

Mis Pa. With one that sweares he loues me,
And I must not choose but do the like againe :
I prethie looke on that Letter.

Mis Por. Ile match your letter iust with the like,
Line for line, word for word. Only the name
Of misteris Page, and misteris Foord disagrees :
Do me the kindness to looke vpon this.

Mis Pa. Why this is right my letter.
O most notorious villaine!
Why what a bladder of iniquitie is this?
Lets be reuenged what so ere we do.

Mis For. Reuenged, if we liue weel be reuenged.
O Lord if my husband should see this Letter,
Ifaith this would euen giue edge to his Iealousie.

Enter Ford, Page, Pistoll and Nym.
Mis Pa. See where our husbands are,
Mine's as far from lealousie,
As I am from wronging him.

Pis. Ford the words I speak are forst:
Beware, take heed, for Falstaffe loues thy wife:
When Pistoll lies do this.

Ford. Why sir my wife is not young.

Pis. He wooes both yong and old, both rich and poore None comes amis. I say he loues thy wife :

« AnteriorContinua »