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All this exposed him to some ridicule; but ridicule was the only redress left to the sufferer, for the sentence of the licenser is as absolute as were the laws of the Medes and Persians. Against his fiat there is no appeal.
When Colman was examined before the committee of the House of Com. mons, which sat on the Theatrical Question, he was asked whether he expunged all oaths or profane swearing from the plays submitted to his revision. He answered, “Invariably.”
“ Did you ever count the number of oaths in your own comedies of the Heir at Law and John Bull ?"
“Never ; but I dare say there are a great many."
" Which you disapprove of ?"
“Do you not think it would have been better to have omitted them ?”
“Much better. They disfigure the scenes in which they are introduced, and injure the humour.”
“ Then,” concluded the chairman, thinking to clench the argument, “ you are sorry now that you wrote either of those comedies ?"
“Quite the contrary," rejoined the licenser ; “I rejoice exceedingly to have made a good pudding, although I regret that any bad plums should bave crept into it."
It would be foreign to the plan of this series to follow the career of Moore through all the phases of literary celebrity, and to dwell upon the multiplied offspring of his genius, whether in poetry or prose. We therefore leave him when he ceased to court laurels from the hand of the dramatic muse. Six volumes of his biography have already appeared, and more are, doubtless, in
imminent preparation. Had he never written anything but the " Melodies,” he would deserve immortality, and that his name should be embalmed in the memory and gratitude of his fellowcountrymen, down to the latest generations. The music of a people is one of the most valuable, as well as most agreeable, of their historical records. It breathes in every note their character, feelings, deeds, sufferings, wrongs, hopes, and aspirations. It tells of the glory of the past, the despondency of the present, and the lofty anticipations of the future. It excites to what may be, by an appeal to what has been. It generates poetic ardour, strengthens the love of the solum natale, and unites thousands in one common bond of sympathy. It is, at the same time, an excitement and a solace, and be. comes, as Johnson said in his epitaph on Goldsmith, affeclúum potens ac lenis dominator. He who wields this controlling agent with equal power, taste, and discrimination, will obtain more sway over the heart and mind than the routine minister or general who coerces his followers into passive obedience, but fails to inspire them with ardent enthusiasm. Viewed in this light, Burns in Scotland, and Moore in Ireland, must ever be consi. dered as public benefactors. The “ Bard of Erin," as he is exclusively called, has justly earned his title; but he has worthy predecessors, who deserve to “ rank in the same file, and amongst them we may enumerate Thaddeus Ruddy, William Carolan, and Thomas Dermody. We hope to dedicate a few pages to this famed triumvirate with an early opportunity.
In 1802 a comedy, entitled Tryal's All, was acted at the Crow-street Theatre, in Dublin, which was fathered by Mr. J. D. Herbert, an actor in the company, whose real patronymic was Dowling. In the “ Familiar Epistles” it is said that the true author was Lewis, a free-speaking patriot of the day, who desired to preserve a dramatic incognito. The point is of little consequence, as the play met with no success; and although printed at the time, is now entirely out of sight. Herbert, in 1836, published a small volume, called "Irish Varieties," which contains some amusing anecdotes. He was a painter as well as an actor, but not particularly eminent in either art.
It should have been mentioned in an earlier place, that JAMES MURPHY FRENCH, a brother of the more celebrated Arthur Murphy, and a native of Dublin, wrote a comedy, called The Brothers, and a farce, under the name of The Conjurer, both acted in London, but never printed. Miss Ispell, an Irish lady, said to be a near relative of Oliver Goldsmith, produced a play, in Dublin, with considerable success, called The Poor Gentlewoman, acted and printed in 1811. This same lady, in 1825, wrote an opera, called The Cavern, or the Outlaw, the music for which was composed by Sir John Stevenson. It was only acted three times, at the Hawkins'-street Theatre, then under the management of Mr, W. Abbott.
THE REV. C. R. MATURIN.
The year following that which gave written in 1804, when he was in his the genius of Thomas Moore to his twenty-fourth year, the last in 1812. country (1780) witnessed the birth of Two he published on his own account, CHARLES ROBERT Maturin, in the and without adding to his worldly same city. His inind and imagination store. For the copyright of the third were deeply imbued with the true poetic Mr. Colburn gave him £80. During fervor, but not sufficiently restrained by the five years which followed, he fouglit the controlling check of sound taste on, struggling with embarrassments, and judgment. His Pegasus frequent- and little noticed, and, as has happen. ly ran away with him, or soared into a
ed to many others, victimised by the cloudy atmosphere, through which it insolvency of a friend, for whom he became difficult to follow its erratic had bound himself in a heavy bond, course. Maturin distinguished himself which he was obliged to pay to the at school and college, married for love last farthing. before he acquired his degree, and hav. In 1816, Maturin's crushed spirit ing taken orders, obtained, through sprang up with one elastic bound, by the interest of his wife's brother, then the unexpected success of his tragedy Archdeacon of Killala, the curacy of of Bertram, which was produced at Loughrea, which he afterwards ex- Drury-lane on the 9th of May in that changed for that of St. Peter's in Dub- year, and ran for twenty-two successive lin. This brilliant preferment afforded nights to crowded houses. The play a miserable pittance of some £80 or was originally offered to Mr. Frederick £90 per annum.
His father was a Jones for the Dublin theatre, in 1813, French foundling and refuger, whose but rejected as unfit for representation. only income was derived from the In the following year the luckless auoffice of inspector of roads for the pro- thor was persuaded to send the MS. vince of Leinster, which his friends bad to Sir Walter Scott. He saw its meprocured for him. He had nothing rit, and strongly recommended it to to bestow upon his numerous progeny, Lord Byron, at ihat time a most zealous of which Charles was the ninth son, and influential member of the Drury. beyond education, and the mystery at- lane committee. The theatre wanted tached to his own origin. The curate a play with a strong original part for of St. Peter's soon found that his do. Kean; the opportunity was favourmestic claims increased rapidly, while able; the great actor exerted himself his resources remained fixed at a most with transcendant ability; a young insufficient minimum. A large family debutante, Miss Somerville, afterwards and a small stipend appear to be inse. Mrs. Bunn, came out with great sucparable from the condition of a clerical cess in the important character of the subaltern, from the days of Mr. Abra. heroine, and the business was done. bam Adams down to the present year
Maturin became, at one bound, a li. of grace inclusive. To increase his terary lion, and, what was better, narrow means, Maturin took to the
found his purse, for the first time, well dull drudgery of preparing students for lined with crowns. His profits from college ; and to relieve the intolerable the theatre amounted to several hunweight of pedagogism, solaced and in- dred pounds; Murray gave a large sum dulged his fancy at the same time, by for the exclusive right of publication, writing novels. His friends and ex. and printed seven editions at the unpected patrons being straight - laced precedented price of four shiltings and and particular, he feared to injure his sixpence a copy. prospects by an open avowal of such a Hazlitt, who although coxcombical, questionable line of composition. His and overflowing with preconceived no. three first romances, “Montorio, or tions on many subjects, was neverthethe Fatal Revenge,” « The Wild Irish less acute and clear, when he wrote (as Boy,” and “The Milesian Chief,” le sometimes did) from impulse, and were published under the assumed without prejudice, has criticised Matuname of Dennis Jasper Murphy. He rin's first dramatic effort with analyti. kept his secret, and for a time without cal minuteness. He writes as fol. suspicion. The first of these tales was
“ The new tragedy of Bertram, at Drury-lane, has entirely succeeded, and it has sufficient merit to deserve the success it has met with. We had read it before we saw it, and were on the whole disappointed with the representation. Its beauties are rather those of language and sentiment than of action and situation. The interest flags very much during the last act, when the whole plot is known and inevitable. What it has of stage effect is scenic and extraneous, as the view of the sea in a storm, the chorus of knights, &c., instead of arising necessarily out of the business of the play. We also object to the trick of introducing the little child twice to untie the knot of the catastrophe. One of these fantoccini exhibitions in the course of a tragedy is quite enough.
“ The general fault of this tragedy, and of other modern tragedies that we could mention, is, that it is a tragedy without business. Aristotle, we believe, defines tragedy to be the representation of a serious action. Now, here there is no action : there is neither cause nor effect. There is a want of that necessary connexion between what happens, what is said, and what is done, in which we take the essence of dramatic inventions to consist. It is a sentimental drama -it is a romantic drama, if you like; but it is not a tragedy, in the best sense of the word. That is to say, the passion described does not arise naturally out of the previous circumstances, nor lead necessarily to the consequences that follow. Mere sentiment is voluntary, fantastic, self-created, beginning and ending in itself; true passion is natural, irresistible, produced by powerful causes, and impelling the will to determine actions. The old tragedy, if we understand it, is a display of the affections of the heart and the energies of the will; the modern romantic tragedy is a mixture of fanciful exaggeration and indolent sensibility ; the former is founded on real calamities and real purposes ; the latter courts distress, affects horror, indulges in all the luxury of woe, and nurses its languid thoughts and dainty sympathies to fill up the void of action. As the opera is filled with a sort of singing people, who translate everything into music, the modern drama is filled with poets and their mistresses, who translate everything into metaphor and sentiment. Bertram falls under this censure. It is a Winter's Tule, a Midsummer Night's Dream; but it is not Lear or Macbeth. The poet does not describe what his characters would feel in given circumstances; but lends them his own thoughts and feelings out of his general reflections on human nature, or general observations of certain objects. In a word, we hold for a truth that a thoroughly good tragedy is an impossibility in a state of man.
These sentences are elaborately turned, and we do not feel by any means sure that we perfectly understand what is meant to be conveyed ; but they furnish a good sample of the work from which they are quoted. Hazlett's volume deserves a corner in every dramatic library, less for the value of the critical opinions, than for the importance of the theatrical events which are therein recorded and commented on the first appearance in London of Miss Stephens, Miss Foote, Mrs. Mardyn, Miss O'Neill, Mr. Macready, and Edmund Kean ; the return of Mrs. Siddons, after her retirement, to gratify the Princess Charlotte, and the farewells of John Bannister and John Kemble. But let us leave Hazlitt and return to Bertram.
The opening speech of Imogine contains very musical and affecting poctry; the numbers glide in liquid harmony, the images and reflections flow with mingled grace and beauty. The wedded dame, whose heart is not given to her husband, is discovered in soliloquy over the miniature of an earlier lover :u Yes The limner's art may trace the absent feature, And give the eye of distant weeping faith To view the form of its idolatry : But, oh! the scenes 'mid which they met and
Bertram’s description of the mono
• “View of the English Stage,” pp. 287, 288. VOL. XLVI.NO. CCLXXIV.
tony of a monkish life, furnishes another tragedy, condemning the whole as a very fine passagei
tissue of disgraceful and unnatural im
morality. He would not even allow " Yca, thus they live, if this may life be called, Where moving shadows mock the parts of men.
it the redeeming quality of poetica! Prayer follows study, study yields to prayer- language or imagery. Unequal it Bell echoes bell, till wearied with the summons,
certainly is; there are lofty flights and The ear doth ache for that last welcome peal, That tolls an end to listless vacancy."
occasional descents, but it would be
impossible, by the most minute dissecThere were some points in Kcan's tion, to cull from Bertram such a acting which he never surpassed, and
specimen of purely, contemptible bainto which he threw all the epigram- thos as is contained in the following matic strength of his peculiarly origi- line of the critic's own tragedy of nal style, telling powerfully upon the Remorse : audience from the combined effect of truth and startling novelty. Such, for
" A ceaseless sound of dripping water, drips." instance, as the ebullition of feeling in That the plot of Bertram is morally the line
defective no one can deny ; but the "God bless thee, child-Bertram hath kissed thy
objection applies even more strongly child !"
to other plays that still hold possession And again
of the stage. The writer of this arti
cle happened to be seated in the pit "The wretched have no country! That dear name on the first night. Those were the Comprises home, kind kindred, fostering friends,
good, old, wholesome dramatic days, Protecting laws-all that binde man to man; But none of these are mine! I have no country !" when you stationed yourself at the
doors two or three hours before they And finally, when left alone, he is
opened, and immolated the tails of about to pray; and the prior inter- your coat with the stoicism of a marrupts him by his presence
tyr. The audience were so carried "Why art thou here? There was a hovering angel away by the acting, and the nerve of Just liglating on my heart, and thou hast scared it." the dialogue, that they lost sight of
the details. The positive criminality We cannot readily point to any ex- of Imogine was obscurely covered, or tracts from any other modern play it might have been a dangerous stumthat surpass or even stand in fair com.
bling-block. She says merely to her petition with those. Kean was well
confidant, speaking of her interview supported by Miss Somerville ; but
with Bertramher tall, commanding figure rather overshadowed bim, and naturally
“ We met in madness and in guilt we parted;" enough he would have preferred a and Bertram observes that his reheroine of less majestic proportions. venge on St. Aldobrand ought to have
Walter Scott had originally recom- assumed a bolder character:mended Bertram to John Kemble, but
« I should have bearded him in halls of pride ! failed to draw his attention to it. He
I should have mated him in fields of death 1 was thinking of retirement, preparing Not stolen upon his secret bower of peace,
And breathed a serpent's venom on his flower !" to adjust his cloak for a last farewell, and cared not to undertake a new All this is less explicit than the character, after the eleventh hour of usual evidence in a criminal court. his theatrical life had sounded. In When after four or five repetitions, the original manuscript, the arch-fiend and a reading of the printed play, the in person figured amongst the dra plot began to be thoroughly undermatis persone ; but this extravagance stood, it was too late to recall the fiat was judiciously excised. There was a of approbation by which the tragedy dashing novelty, a vigour, and fresh
had been stamped. ness about Bertram which, on the The animosity of Coleridge may be first night, took the professed critics accounted for thus. Animated by the who were present by surprise, and success of Remorse, he sent a second forced them to join involuntarily in tragedy to the Drury-lane Committee. the applause of the public. Coleridge Bertram was brought before them at formed a solitary exception. In his the same time, and appeared the more "Biographia Literaria," he has in- eligible of the two. To prevent prę. dulged in a most truculent and deli- tenders claiming it as their own, which berately- weighed attack on the new many were inclined to do, Maturin abandoned his incognito, and boldly Charles Kemble, and Macready. Such avowed the authorship: By this step a combination of talent, it might be he opened the doors of fashion to his supposed, would command success for approach, but those of church prefer- anything, even the veriest commonment added an additional bolt or two place trash that could be consigned to to the impediments by which he had memory; and yet Fredolfo, despite hitherto found them closed against the reputation of the author, the adhim. His pecuniary profits in the mitted vigour of some of the scenes, meantime exceeded one thousand the poetic beauty of detached passages, pounds, and conjured up a perspective and the most loyal efforts of these vision of relays of tragedies in em. great performers, was unequivocally bryo, to be embodied at will, from condemed by a full house, and with. which should spring up exhaustless drawn after the first representation. supplies. From this dream he was It was impossible to excite interest for rudely awakened by the total failure Fredolfo, the hero, who is known to of Manuel, which was produced on be a murderer from the beginning. the 8th of March, 1817, within ten Berthold (a deformed miscreant), admonths after the birth of Bertram. mirably acted by Yates (according to Kean expected to do wonders with the the criticisms on the following mornhero, who had a mad scene written ing), takes the lead throughout the expressly for him. He had long been two first acts. Then comes Wallenanxious to show his powers in the de. burg, with an increase of villainy too lineation of insanity, and Lear at painful to bear. Berthold gives place that time was interdicted, in conse- to a dæmon of superior rank to himquence of the mental aberration of the self ; Wallenburg kills Adelmar ; venerable old sovereign George III. Fredolfo kills Wallenburg; Urilda dies The great success of Bertram caused between grief and terror, on the body undue expectations to be excited by of her lover; and the guilty Fredolfo the promise of a second play from the is left alonc in his misery to bury the same pen, and the result was attended dead. The whole partakes too much by corresponding disappointment. The of the wholesale murder ridiculed in play was evidently written in a hurry, Tom Thumb, and reminds us forcibly for a purpose, and although there are of the exclamation of Merlin, when passages of fine imaginative writing, he comes in to alter the state of af. the plot is too confused, and the in. fairs at the end of that renowned traterest not well concentrated. Kean gedy, “S'blood ! what a scene of was dissatisfied with the little effect he slaughter's here!" It would have been produced, and complained that De well for the literary fame of Maturin Zelos, a villain, acted by Rae, was
never been written, the better part of the two. Five re- and better if petitions closed the short existence of duced the obsequious Constable to
, this ill-fated tragedy. Lord Byron at publish it, on the chance of putting a the time was absent in Italy, and ex- few pounds into the pockets of the aupressed much regręt for the misfortune thor. Many years have elapsed since of his protegé. " Let him try again," we read the play, but tve remember he said, in a letter to Murray, who being much struck by the singular had sent him a copy of the play, which extravagance of the speech, in which he published, notwithstanding its fail
Fredolfo says ure, “he has talent, but not much
* Let us lic down on beds of Aré together, taste." It has been said that the
And wallow in fierce ease." noble bard sent Maturin a cheque for £500 to solace him under this or So unequal is genius, and so strangesome similar disappointment. Nothing ly may the most profound experience daunted, the “wild Irish parson,” as be deceived, when a question is subConstable called him, tried his band mitted to the decision of a mixed auonce more on a third tragedy, called dience. Fredolfo, but this time he shifted his Maturin felt bitterly, both in heart ground, and went over to the camp of and purse, the failure of all his dra. the enemy at Covent Garden. Fredolfo matic hopes. He had launched into was acted there on the 12th of May, expenses on prospects that were never 1819. The characters were repre- realised; and the remainder of his life sented by Miss O'Neill, Young, Yates, became a struggle for subsistence, and
if Fredolfo badalter Scott had not se