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fixed upon

if lost in unutterable thought, with that Belvidera is speaking at the her eyes

the spot where time, but she compares her lot with Romeo had lately passed away from that of the wife of Brutus-“ For her sight; as if her fancy reprodu. Brutus trusted her.” As she utterced his form in that very place; as if ed the last sentence, her whole form the ground, last hallowed by his seemed lifted from the earth by the footsteps, was dear to her as her spirit within. She could have made heart's-blood. Her “rapt soul was the world her footstool. Again, Mrs sitting in her eyes”-her whole body Siddons has been excelled, within spoke—then, with a deep, impatient my memory, in some of her finest sigh, she turned away, and cleared characters. The young and pert her brow for au encounter with this will laugh, perhaps, at an old man every-day world. Was not this for asserting that Mrs Yates was genius ? Was it not genius of the more completely the Lady Macbeth first order ? And her acting was which Shakspeare drew-yet such full of such touches-not, as I can is my opinion. To mention a single answer for, repeated night after night, instance of superiority--in the sleepbut varied, and springing from the walking scene, Mrs Siddons carefully impulse of the moment, Such a deposited her candle on a table, and power as this—of embodying the then proceeded to rub her hands for poet's meaning-of actually creating the imagined purpose of effacing the new ideas, as if the poet's mantle had

“ damned spot.?

Now Mrs Yates descended on the player-does itself was the actual sleep-walker, hurried deserve the name of poetry. What from her bed by a guilty conscience; a pity that its creations should be so -the quick and sometimes vacillaevanescent-dying with the tone or ting step—the candle not laid aside, gesture that produced them! How but carelessly held with flaring flame, much more nobly would critics be while she wrung her hands togetheremployed in noting down and giving the open and unwinking eye-all inperpetuity to such fugitive graces, dicated the sleep of the body and the than in discovering wants and im wakefulness of the soul. On the perfections-how much better would other hand, it may be safely asserted they deserve of the world, if they that Miss O'Neill has never been exhanded down to posterity the true celled in her own peculiar characters. merits, instead of the faults, of an Where a part precisely seems to fit actor! Wiseacres were for ever the powers, the appearance, the very complaining that Miss O'Neill could look and gesture of a performer, the not act Queen Catherine and Lady ideal personage and the real become Macbeth like Mrs Siddons. They thenceforward identified, as it were, never took the trouble to reflect that in the imagination. This is the case Mrs Siddons could not act Belvidera, with Kean in Shylock—this was the Juliet, Mrs Haller, like Miss O'Neill. case with Miss O'Neill in Juliet. The powers of each were so essen When she first made her appearance, tially different, that the world ought with her hair so simply knotted up, to have been thankful to have had she looked scarce fifteen-sorrow two such. But, say the critics, the seemed never to have come near her. style of Mrs Siddons was a greater She waited upon her mother's eye style than that of Miss O'Neill. I with the dutiful innocence of a child. deny it. Miss O'Neill not only had Her laugh came from the heart—her a wider range than her predecessor, step was buoyant. After she had but often invaded her province. She beheld the arbiter of her destiny, could rise to grandeur—but Mrs and pronounced the fatal words Siddons could never melt to tender “My grave is like to be my marriage ness. I wish that all persons, who bed”-you saw the infusion of a new imagine that a fair brow and a blue principle into her character. She eye could never awe the soul as thenceforth displayed the thoughtmajestically as those of a darker fulness of a devoted being. The complexion, had seen Miss O'Neill's bliss of loving and of being loved, look of offended dignity, when Jaf was ever present with her-but she fier, in Venice Preserved, seems to knew that she was playing a deep doubt her power to keep the secret and desperate game. She had seen of his plots. I forget the exact words death from afar, and the shadow of

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his coming form visibly deepened orisons, been irradiated by a light so around her spirit, even until the dark lovely, power himself enfolded her in his mantle. I have mentioned the fine

“ That eye, of most transparent light,

Would almost make a dungeon bright.” touch of nature with which Miss O' Neill completed the masquerade The vision passes like a dream. scene-I have, therefore, only to add Juliet has heard that Romeo is bathat during its progress, her perfor- nished-she has parted from him, mance was delightful. Her manner of and though the wedded lovers, after receiving the guests, as they entered, tearing themselves away, have rewas not that of an actress, playing the turned yet again and rushed into angraceful, but of a noble and high-bred other and yet another embrace, still girl, moving in heraccustomed sphere. the irrevocable hour has divided them. It may seem to be small and trivial I can see her now, determined to enpraise to say, that she was exqui- counter all the nameless horrors of sitely lady-like; but, if the word the vault, bidding good-night, it may Lady be taken in its old chivalric be for the last time, to her unconsense, undebased by modern asso scious mother. How solemnly, how ciations, surely the praise is neither prophetically, how drearily, falls that small nor trivial. In the balcony sad good-night upon the ear! How scene, she accomplished the difficult different from the good-night which task of making Juliet's love—the it was bliss to repeat, again and again, growth of an hour appear natural, and hear repeated from a lover's lips? probable, and withal modest. There was an innate sense of delicacy

" Farewell - God knows if we shall meet gleaming through the fervour of her

again !" words, like the tender pearly tint be This is the dirge to which that plainneath the radiant colours of the opal. tive voice now wakes such melanOne did not feel that she “should choly music. But I am not going have been more strange.” The deep to rehearse a tragedy, and I neither enthusiasm of her general manner want to weep myself, nor to make was relieved and lightened by an oc my reader weep. I shall therefore casional sportiveness. When she

When she leave Juliet to swallow the potion, to called

back Romeo, after having dis- wake in the tomb, and to consign hermissed him, nothing could be more

self to it for ever. The truth is, that sweetly conscious, more smilingly I have not Mrs Dykes's love of dying delicate, than the manner in which scenes represented on the stage. The she pronounced the words,

earlier portions of a tragedy always,

give me the most pleasure, and ap" I had forgot why I did call thee back.” pear to me to display a performer's

powers most truly. The delicate It was one of those felicities which gradations of human feeling are a take the ear and heart by surprise far higher test of ability than the inimitable-almost unrememberable. screaming and daggering, and deathIt was one of those wonderful effects rattling, all of which I would banish in which the human voice triumphs to the hospital. In this one respect, -for what instrument could rivas its at least, the French stage is more cisoul-speaking inflections ? Nothing vilized than ours.—I have only one but the feeling of the moment could more observation to make on the trahave produced a tone and manner gedy of Romeo and Juliet. As it is so perfectly consonant to the situa now acted, Romeo's love for Rosation and the scene.

It could never lind is entirely omitted; because, in have been rehearsed. But what a good troth, his inconstancy, as the vision rises before my inward eye of turtle-doves call it, would shock our the timid, thoughtful, blushing, yet most sentimental sensibilities. It has still dignified bride, whose passion, been pronounced a blemish even by about to be hallowed by sacred rites, high authorities. So, we know, it has trembled into a more intense, a seems, more of the human heart than deeper holiness! Never has the cell Shakspeare! Is it probable or posof Friar Lawrence, even though an

sible that such a character as that of gels may have looked down upon his Romeo could have never felt the



sion of love, till he saw Juliet ? Has Now Miss O'Neill may be said to not every imaginative, and passion

move along the way of real life with ate nature, whether male or female, a soul of power,-nay more, she been compelled by “ the strong ne threw an imaginative influence over cessity of loving;” to deck some idol the way of common life. If I may be in the niches of its own creation, be- allowed the use of that much abused fore the true deity of its worship has figure-antithesis, she idealized the appeared? I know something of these real, and realized the ideal. Her love things, Mr North, though I am an old was heroic,-her pity was as the dew bachelor, and I pronounce that no from heaven,-her sorrow, though one ever fell truly in love at three- the sorrow of a mortal, and-twenty, who had not had many

“ Was bright loves since he was fifteen. I dare

With something of an angel light.” say that neither you nor I have remained in the blessed state from not Ambition, revenge, &c. deal in lofty knowing what love is. You, I hear, phrases, and marked expressions of are about to prove to the world, that countenance; but there is nothing of you have no insuperable objections this sort to bolster out the milder (so to matrimony. I vow I will dance called) passions. A heart and soul at your wedding, and choose the and plastic features are all that these youngest and prettiest girl in the last have to depend upon. As thereWho knows but that my turn

fore the difficulties, in this kind, are may come next ?-No, no! Shaks- greater, so ought success to be atpeare never soared more nobly above tended with a greater triumph. Mrs the dull marshes of common-place, Siddons, I should say, possessed drathan when he broke up the ground of matic talent in the highest degree,Romeo's heart to receive the celes the palm of genius I should award to tial plant of love by the plough-share Miss O'Neill. In real feeling of the of Miss Rosalind's eye, and fertili- character which she represented, I zed it by love-sick tears from his own.

must think that Miss O'Neill far transI have been more particular in my

cended Mrs Siddons. Stationed benotice of Miss O'Neill's performance hind the scenes, I have watched the of Juliet, both because I think it was

latter as she left the stage, after a her finest character, and because it wondrous burst of dramatic power,is that which, as acted by Miss Kem- I have seen her arms fall composedly ble, is now exciting the fever of the by her side, her face pass in one intown. I now return to the question, stant from the extreme of expression “ Is the style of Mrs Siddons a finer to her common look. The wings of style than that of Miss O'Neill ?” Mrs the stage once passed, she was no longSiddons was unrivalled in the repre

er Belvidera, or Mrs Beverly-but sentation of the more terrible pas

Mrs Siddons. I have observed Miss sions-such as ambition, hatred, re

O'Neill, in similar circumstances, venge, &c. Now, are these passions retaining the impress of the passion more noble in their essence than love,

which had really entered into her pity, sorrow, and the other milder

heart. There can be no doubt but that feelings? I think not. The first are


wept real tears. I have her own all selfish in their origin and end;

authority for it. Professor L

, my their conflicts are great, but their re

very dear friend, and old school-fel. sults are mean. The last are not low, who resides at Cambridge, told only noble but ennobling. As a great

me that when Miss O'Neill visited that poet of our own day observes : university, and acted at the Barnwell A potent wand does sorrow wield;

theatre, he asked her whether it was

true that she really shed tears during Repentance is a tender sprite,

the performance of affecting parts. She If aught on earth have heavenly might,

acknowledged that she did. “But you 'Tis lodg’d within her silent tear.” must not think, (she continued,) that


such tears are painful. They are renAnd the same great poet affirms that dered pleasing by the consciousness he can desire no loftier destiny, of fiction. They are such as one - If he along that lowly way,

would shed in reading a pathetic stoWith sympathetic heart, may stray, ry. Moreover, the strong state of exAnd with a soul of power,”

citement naturally brought on by per

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forming the applause-the tears of one great result--as every part tends those around me,-all conspire to towards the effect of the whole—so, elerate me, and to draw such tears in Miss O'Neill's acting, every ray of from my eyes as all great emotions genius was but a component part of are calculated to produce. Were they one refulgent orb. She did not strain such tears as guilt or agony really after insulated graces, or surprising shed, I must have been dead long a exhibitions of momentary powergo.” Now I ask you, Mr North, did neither was any portion of her part not this explanation shew at once ge hurried over, or even carelessly nius and good sense,-genius to feel, touched, as if it were insignificant. good sense to disclaim more feel She did not appear to be husbanding ing than was natural, or indeed pos her strength for one ranting speech, sible? Rousseau wept thus over the or a few starts and screams. From sorrows of his own Heloise. We more the beginning to the end she was the often hear of, than see heroines, whose being she represented. Not somebeauty is improved by crying, and times only, but continually, she was instead of saying with Tommy Moore, agitated by the same fears, awakened

by the same hopes, impelled by the " You look so lovely in your tears,

same motives of action—as might be That I must bid you shed them still,”

supposed to influence the character I should be disposed to address my which she delineated. This contimistress, were she much given to the nuity of feeling was marvellously evimelting mood, in the following dis- dent in the expression of her countich

tenance. I remember being particu“ You look so frightful in your tears, · sentation of Mrs Oakley in the Jea

larly struck with this, in her repreThat I must beg you'll take a pill;"

lous Wife. While conversing on invidelicet, to get rid of the blue devils. different subjects—while apparently But Miss O'Neill really did look rambling from the main plot of the lovely in her tears. In the charac- piece—there was always an air of ter of Mrs Haller, she reminded me anxiety-a wandering of the eye-a (I hope it is not spoken irreverently) slight abstraction—which indicated of that beautiful exclamation in Holy that there was an under-current of Writ—“ Oh! that my head were wa more important thought. In society, ters, and mine eyes a fountain of as well as in solitude, she was still tears, that I might weep. day and the uneasy, jealous wife. Miss ('night!” To use an old simile, she Neill's performance of this very chalooked like a lily bent beneath a racter sufficiently refuted the invi. thunder-shower. Tears were her dious assertion that she did not sucrest, her food, her luxury—she was ceed in comedy. When I speak of streped in tears. Yet she did not comedy, I must be understood to after the old tragedy custom, bran mean the drama of real and everydish her pocket-handkerchief in the day life, in distinction to the drama face of the audience. She did not of ideal and heroic life. As there has get it ready as if she were pumping been much misapprehension on this up her tears by some nice hydraulic point, I will explain myself more calculation-but, with a trembling, particularly. The word comedy, and sometimes, a hurried band, she according to its Greek derivation, felt for it, and drew it forth, and merely signifies something sung, or seemed to strive rather to hide than chanted. Dante used it in this sense, to display her gushing grief. The when he gave a name to his immorscene, in which she restores the tal poem. When dramatic performjewels to her husband, was almost ances were no longer accompanied too beart-rending to be contempla- by the chorus, the sense of the word ted. It pressed upon the senses with became more restricted; and, perthe conviction of reality. Her Mrs haps from some association of a Haller, in particular, and, indeed, all lighter kind, with the idea of a muher characters, in general, possessed sical accompaniment, it at length was the rare merit of an unbroken unity used in distinction to the loftier and of design. As, in a perfect picture, severer style of the dramatic muse, every accessory is harmonized by But, as men love the widest possible the master's hand so as to produce extremes of distinction between one

“ But,

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thing and another, comedy was, by was herself, and was, therefore, ad-
degrees, so far arrested from its pri- mirable. Had she made a good romp;
mitive signification as to be the sym she would have been Miss O'Neill
bol of something highly ludicrous. If no longer. Do not, therefore, ye
we take the word in this latter sense, dear dramatic critics, insist upon
I must own that I should have been finding an intellectual turtle, (com-
sorry had Miss O'Neill excelled in bining all tastes of fish, flesh, and
the comic department of her art. fowl,) in every, or in any great act-
Old humorists, young coxcombs, old ress that may be thrown upon our
virgins smitten by the tender pas “ bank and shoal of time.”-
sion, are all the fitting dramatis per bless me, all this time you have said
sone of this kind of comedy-not so nothing about that essential article
young and beautiful girls. Playful --the voice !” Not expressly, Mr
the sweet creatures may be, sportive Pinchbeck; but can you not gather
as the first breeze in May—but comic from the flowers of my discourse the
they must not be. Only consider honey of a voice rich as hybla, power-
for a moment whether, in real life, ful as Lacryma Christi, piercing as
the dashing, intriguing, repartee-ma- Champaigne, tender as May-dew?
king young ladies are to be tolera- No; you cannot, for you are only a
ted? Why, then, should we admire drone, and never gathered any honey
them on the stage? Could a girl in your life, and have nothing of the
who turned bar-maid to get a hus- bee about you, but the sting. I must
band, or who pretended to be an now, my patient brethren, bring
idiot to escape one--could a widow, my discourse to a finish,” as the
full of her jokes, or a wife full of parson said, after having divided
plots, (Heaven grant Mrs Gentle be his sermon into sixty-three heads,
neither one nor the other !) ever pre- all of which he touched upon in the
tend to more than a watering-place course of the evening. Farewell, my
respectability ? For Miss O'Neill to patient readers, and farewell, Mr
have romped through the Romp, North. Should I have pleased you,
rattled through the Widow Cheer- you may, perhaps, hear from me
ly, or simpered a-la-chambermaid again, for I must tell you, that, al-
through Miss Hardcastle, would to though I once contributed to the
me have been profanation. But there Gentleman's Magazine, I cannot find
is another kind of comedy, called in my heart to prefer it to Black-
genteel. I hate the term, but let it wood's another striking instance of
pass—in which the principal female my freedom from all old prejudices !
character may have all the liveliness You must allow me to conclude with
of real talent, combined with the re a Sonnet, which an ingenious young
finement of real feeling, and may be friend of mine has indited to the me-
high-minded, yet, (to use your own mory of Miss O'Neill. It is too much
words, Mr North, for I cannot find in the modern style to please me, who
better,) " earnestly and keenly alive am of opinion that all good writing
to all the cheerful and pleasant hu- expired with the last generation.
manities and charities of this every. However, as the thoughts are toler-
day sublunary world of ours.” In able, it may go down now-a-days.
such characters as these Miss O'Neill

Shakspeare's own Juliet ! oft I vainly try
To pierce the mystery of thy two-fold life;
Once thou didst shake all hearts with passionate strife,
Once thou wert ever in the public eye,
And not a smile of thine, or murmur'd sigh,
But waked a thousand plaudits, and was rife
With potent magic. Now, thou art a wife
And round thee dwells a calm reality.
Men speak of thee as dead—thy glory scan
As of a wonder that hath past away;
And yet thou see'st the household light of day,
And human hopes and fears thy being fan!
Oh! thou, who art to other souls a gleam
Of Fancy, art thou to thyself a dream?

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