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there are parts in Clarissa Har- respect, be dependant on the dralowe and Sir Charles Grandison, matic talent of those who write for which, if acted well, could not fail the stage: if any comedies are of overwhelming those who wit- produced, that require a represen. nessed them with the same power- tation of the mere surface of the ful emotions by which they are foibles and follies of man, comic carried away during the perform- talent must be low; and it can only ance of the best of Shakespeare's be kept up by the frequent repretragedies. But the talent which sentacions of our old sierling come. can produce short and unconnected dies. The same renark will apply dramatic excellence, without the to tragic talents on the stage. If support of narrative or explanation, therefore the tragedies of Shakeseems of a different kind from the speare and Oiway, and the cometalent which can produce a com- dies of Congreve, &c. were not plete and regular drama.
occasionally acted, we apprehend In the second place, the language that our stage would be 'at as low required in the drama is of a dif- an ebb as our dramatic literature. ferent nature from that required in As it is, however, it is highly repoetry or fictitious narrative: sospectable, especially in tragedy:
, far as it is the mere language of Within the last century, there passion or character, and meant to seems to have been four schools exhibit these, it may be nearly of tragic acting. Before Garrick's similar in both: but on all other time, stiff and formal declamation, occasions the drama seems to re- with some hing like an apprehenquire, in tragedy, language more sion that the free and full display on a level with the common lan
of the passions would lower the guage of life, though at the same dignity, and spoil the effect of the time pregnant with expression performance, prevailed; though to and force; and in comedy, on the ihis kind of acting, there were some other hand, language more polished, splendid exceprions. Garrick in but at the same time equally easy troduced the study of nature : he and natural.
perceived, that by imitating the After all, it is impossible perhaps ione, the look, and actions of men, to give a satisfactory reply to the when they were filled with strong question, whence does it arise, emotions, or suffering under severe that the present age is so far behind calamity, he could alone expect to in dramatic literature? There are render the delusion of the stage always many causes at work, that perfect, and exciie such a high bave a tendency to alter or modify degree of attention, interest, and national character, taste and pur- sympathy in the spectators, as would suits, as well as the direction of its carry them beyond any inclination literature ; and these causes work or ability for bare wonder and so gradually and so liitle exposed to admiration. view, that they seldom can be Mrs. Siddons in her acting somedetected, and we only know that thing resembled Garrick; but she they must have existed and ope. did not depend for the effect she rated by the effects they produce. meant to produce,
much as he Dramatic talent on the stage did, on flexibility of expression : must always, in some measure and she carried the spectators with her,
rather by the grandeur that she ex- of a Roman-at that period, when hibited, and by the proofs she gave, Rome was at her highest pitch of that the passions that worked within dignity. her, and the calamities she suffered, Cooke was an actor of a very were producing their effects on a different stamp from Mrs. Siddons lofty spirit. Even in those parts or her brother : they owed much that required a display of tender- to art, though in Mrs. Siddons, ness, and of the habits, manners, art working on materials richly and sympathies of domestic life, supplied by nature, was seldom obthere were in Mrs. Siddons's acting trusive : but Cooke owed little to too many circumstances that im- art. He possessed no grace or pressed the spectators frequently dignity: he was often coarse ; be and deeply with the idea, that she not unfrequently entertained an was intended by nature to move in erroneous conception of the chaa higher circle, far above the in- racter; or, from want of power or fluence of the softer emotions. attention, could not pourtray his
Her brother carried this dispo- conceptions, when they were just; sition towards the substitution of but where he did excel, bis excelgrandeur and dignity, in the place lence was of the highest degree : of the free and unrestrained display a single expression of his counte. of the passions, inuch further than nance, the tone in which be uttered Mrs. Siddons; and as his grandeur a single short sentence, or even the and dignity were more artificial simple movement of his eye, often than hers, and not supported and told more than other actors could accompanied by the same natural tell in the whole course of a play. or acquired talents, so there were There are passages in his Richard not many characters in which he which can never be forgotten by was able to carry the spectators those who once witnessed them completely out of themselves, and -passages in which the tyrant of place them in the midst of the Shakespeare was brought into the scenes that he was acting. But in full display of those qualities with characters that suited, not only his which the bard bas invested him. powers, but his peculiar tempera- But though Cooke was grandest in ment, and look, and action, he was his tragic characters, he was uninimitable: in the proud and haughty doubtedly most perfect and uniRoman, in whose breast the high formly bappy in comedy, or rather honour of being a Roman, and the in the two characters of Sir Archy principled determination to raise M‘Sarcasm and Sir Pertinax Mac Rome to the empire of the world, Sycophant. The cool and cutting and to have his name handed down wit, and the shrewd sense of the to the latest posterity, united with former ; the worldly wisdom, the hers, left no place for thoughts of pliancy of principle and conduct, self, and threw far behind all and the overshooting and disapregard to family and friends, his pointed cunning of the latter, could acting could not be surpassed : no not possibly have been exhibited actor before or since, at least on with more truth, and more conthe British stage, could so com- formably to nature. pletely give to his look, bis gait, Kean's acting is different from his tone, his actions, the character that of Mrs. Siddons, her brother,
and Cooke: it is said strongly to if we ever think of the actor, our
must embody on the canvass or the ters of temper, or peculiar bumour marble poetical conceptions; but manners ;-they deligbt aod from ihemselves alone must these amuse us, but they do not go conceptions arise : hence it appears deep into our thoughts or bearts. that painting and sculpture in some Very lately a statuary has arisen degree require the joint powers of among us, who has bad the good the poet and the dramatic actor. taste and the resolution to reject all But these must range through a the allegorical trappings of that art; variety of displays of character; and instead of telling his story, or whereas the painter and the sculp- endeavouring to excite emotion, by tor are necessarily confined to the the personification of the passions, display of it at one particular mo- trusts entirely to his power of draw. ment.
ing out of the marble the expression Britain has never excelled in the that tells the story, indicates the fine arts; that is, in the highest passions, and calls them up in the departments of them, which abso- breast of the spectator. To those lutely demand the existence and who have seen the monument for application of high poetical talents. the two children, now in the CaWe cannot even bring ourselves to thedral of Lichfield, or the monurank West among this class of ment to Miss Jones of Hafod, we painters; and if we except him, need not say that we allude to Mr. there is certainly no other British Chantrey. His genius, indeed, does painter worthy of this distinction. not embrace the display of ibe Wilkie indeed is admirable in his grander and more turbulent pasline; but we should be disposed to sions : but as a truly British sculp. draw the same distinction between tor,-as a sculptor in whom the his department in painting, and the most precious characteristics of the real poetry of painting, as we did British nation dwell in all their between works of invention and purity and vigour,-as a sculptor imagination. Wilkie fills bis can- capable of filling his inarble with vass with admirable representations the poetry of domestic life, and ihe of character,- but not of character most endearing affections of the for med or modified by the more human heart, -Mr. Chantrey is unlofty or powerful emotions of the rivalled. human breast; his are all charac
State and Character of the Scientific Productions of the Present Age.
various causes, much less ap- on the nature of scientific produc. parent in scientific productions tions. than in works of literature : but Pure science necessarily neither even in the former, a shrewd and requires nor admits of the exercise accurate observer may trace pecu- or display of any of the mental liarities akin, in some respect and powers, except attention and readegree, to such as abound in the soning; and we are thoroughly latter. The scientific productions disposed to be of opinion, that its of the Italians,—not merely such advantages, as an exercise of the as are confined to pure and abstract reasoning faculties, have been exscience, but those also that embrace tremely overrated.
It has long what are called the mixed sciences, been seen and admitted, that the -are distinguished by that subile utmost skill and the highest adthought and reasoning which vances in the mathematical sciences characteristic of the intellectual could be of little or no avail in powers of this people. The scien- enabling the mind to arrive at the tific productions of the British are truth in political or moral science; distinguished principally by pro- the evidence, it was said, is of such foundness, rather than by extension a very different nature in these sciof view, or subtlety of thought and ences, that he whose faculties are reasoning, and are generally directed exercised to discover and follow it, to some obvious practical purpose or in mathematics, will be utterly at conclusion. In the French scien- a loss to discover and follow it in tific productions may clearly be political or moral science. It was, traced that vivacity and penetration, however, contended, that the study as well as that elegance of illustra- of the mathematics was of the tion and reasoning, which are their highest utility in sharpening the highest characteristics in literature faculties of the mind,—not merely as well as science.
the power and habit of attention, If the preceding remarks are true, but also the reasoning faculties. they are sufficient to make out our It is ibis last proposition that we proposition : but, as we just ob- are disposed to deny : we admit served, the national character shines that the power and habit of atten. forth less frequently, and with much tion must be greatly exercised, and Jess clearness in scientific than in therefore improved, by the study literary productions. It is scarcely of the mathematics; but we deny necessary even to hint at the causes that any other of the faculties of of this, as they must be obvious the mind will be exercised, at least