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All this exposed him to some ridicule ; imminent preparation. Had he never but ridicule was the only redress left to written anything but the “Melodies,” the sufferer, for the sentence of the he would deserve immortality, and that licenser is as absolute as were the laws his name should be embalmed in the of the Medes and Persians. Against memory and gratitude of his fellowhis fiat there is no appeal.
countrymen, down to the latest geneWhen Colman was examined before rations. The music of a people is one the committee of the House of Com. of the most valuable, as well as most mons, which sat on the Theatrical agreeable, of their historical records. Question, he was asked whether he It breathes in every note their characexpunged all oaths or profane swear- ter, feelings, deeds, sufferings, wrongs, ing from the plays submitted to his re- hopes, and aspirations. It tells of the vision. He answered, " Invariably." glory of the past, the despondency of
"Did you ever count the number of the present, and the lofty anticipations oaths in your own comedies of the of the future. It excites to what may Heir at Law and John Bull ?"
be, by an appeal to what has been. “Never ; but I dare say there are a It generates poetic ardour, strengthens great many."
the love of the solum natale, and unites “ Which you disapprove of ?" thousands in one common bond of sym« Undoubtedly."
It is, at the same time, " Do you not think it would have an excitement and a solace, and be. been better to have omitted them ?" comes, as Johnson said in his epitaph
“Much better. They disfigure the on Goldsmith, affeclúum potens ac scenes in which they are introduced, lenis dominator. He who wields this and injure the humour."
controlling agent with equal power, “Then,” concluded the chairman, taste, and discrimination, will obtain thinking to clench the argument, "you more sway over the heart and mind are sorry now that you wrote either of than the routine minister or general those comedies?”
who coerces his followers into passive “Quite the contrary,” rejoined the obedience, but fails to inspire them licenser ; “I rejoice exceedingly to with ardent enthusiasm. Viewed in have made a good pudding, although this light, Burns in Scotland, and I regret that any bad plums should Moore in Ireland, must ever be consi. bave crept into it."
dered as public benefactors. The It would be foreign to the plan of “ Bard of Erin," as he is exclusively this series to follow the career of called, has justly earned his title; but Moore through all the phases of literary he has worthy predecessors, who decelebrity, and to dwell upon the multi- serve to “rank in the same file," and plied offspring of his genius, whether amongst them we may enumerate in poetry or prose. We therefore leave Thaddeus Ruddy, William Carolan, him when he ceased to court laurels from and Thomas Dermody. We hope to the hand of the dramatic muse. Six dedicate a few pages to this famed volumes of his biography have already triumvirate with an early opportuappeared, and more are, doubtless, in nity.*
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 threo times, at the Hawkins'-street Theatre, then under the management of Mr, W. Abbott.
TIE 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 mind 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 fought 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 tbat 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 refugee, 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 had to Sir Walter Scott. He saw its me. procured 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 un. pected patrons being straight-laced precedented price of four shillings 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 nos three first romances, “Montorio, or tions on many subjects, was neverthe. the 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 ners and literature where the poet and phiDrury-lane, has entirely succeeded, and it losopher have got the better of the man ; has sufficient merit to deserve the success it where the reality does not mould the imagihas met with. We had read it before we saw nation, but the imagination glosses over the it, and were on the whole disappointed with reality; and where the unexpected stroke of the representation. Its beauties are rather true calamity, the biting edge of true passion, those of language and sentiment than of ac- is blunted, sheathed, and lost, amidst the tion and situation. The interest flags very flowers of poetry strewed over unreal, unfelt much during the last act, when the whole distress, and the flimsy topics of artificial plot is known and inevitable. What it has humanity prepared beforehand for all occaof stage effect is scenic and extraneous, as sions." the view of the sea in a storm, the chorus of knights, &c., instead of arising necessarily These sentences are elaborately out of the business of the play. We also turned, and we do not feel by any object to the trick of introducing the little
means sure that we perfectly underchild twice to untie the knot of the catas
stand what is meant to be conveyed ; trophe. One of these fantoccini exhibitions in the course of a tragedy is quite enough.
but they furnish a good sample of the "The general fault of this tragedy, and
work from which they are quoted. of other modern tragedies that we could
Hazlett's volume deserves a corner in mention, is, that it is a tragedy without
every dramatic library, less for the business. Aristotle, we believe, defines tra- value of the critical opinions, than for gedy to be the representation of a serious the importance of the theatrical events action. Now, here there is no action: there which are therein recorded and comis neither cause nor effect. There is a want mented on the first appearance in of that necessary connexion between what
London of Miss Stephens, Miss Foote, happens, what is said, and what is done, in
Mrs. Mardyn, Miss O'Neill, Mr. which we take the essence of dramatic inven- Macready, and Edmund Kean ; the tions to consist. It is a sentimental drama -it is a romantic drama, if you like; but
return of Mrs. Siddons, after her reit is not a tragedy, in the best sense of the
tirement, to gratify the Princess Charword. That is to say, the passion described
lotte, and the farewells of John Bandoes not arise naturally out of the previous
nister and John Kemble. But let us circumstances, nor lead necessarily to the leave Hazlitt and return to Bertram. consequences that follow. Mere sentiment The opening speech of Imogine is voluntary, fantastic, self-created, begin- contains very inusical and affecting ning and ending in itself; true passion is
poctry; the numbers glide in liquid natural, irresistible, produced by powerful harmony, the images and reflections causes, and impelling the will to determine actions. The old tragedy, if we understand
flow with mingled grace and beauty.
The wedded dame, whose heart is not it, is a display of the affections of the heart and the energies of the will; the modern
given to her husband, is discovered in romantic tragedy is a mixture of fanciful
soliloquy over the miniature of an exaggeration and indolent sensibility; the
earlier lover :former is founded on real calamities and real
" Yespurposes; the latter courts distress, affects The limner's art may trace the abfent feature, horror, indulges in all the luxury of woe, And give the eye of distant weeping faith and nurses its languid thoughts and dainty
To view the form of its idolatry :
But, oh! the scenes 'mid which they met and sympathies to fill up the void of action. As
parted the opera is filled with a sort of singing peo- The thoughts, the recollections sweet and bitterple, who translate everything into music, the
Th'elysian dreams of lovers, when they lovodmodern drama is filled with poets and their
Who shall restore them? mistresses, who translate everything into “Less lovely are the fugitive clouds of eve, metaphor and sentiment. Bertram falls And not more vanishing. If thou couldst speak, under this censure. It is a Winter's Tale,
Dumb witness of the secret soul of Imogine,
Thou might'st acquit the faith of womankind! a Midsummer Night's Dream; but it is not
Since thou wert on my midnight pillow laid, Lear or Macbeth. The poet does not de- Friend hath forsaken friend - the brotherly tio scribe what his characters would feel in given Been lightly loosed—the parted coldly metcircumstances; but lends them his own
Yea, mothers have with desperate hands wrought thoughts and feelings out of his general re- To little lives which their own bogoms lent. flections on human nature, or general obser- But woman still hath loved if that indeed vations of certain objects. In a word, we
Woman e'er loved like me." hold for a truth that a thoroughly good tragedy is an impossibility in a state of man- Bertram's description of the mono
• “View of the English Stage," pp. 287, 288.
tony of a monkish life, furnishes another tragedy, condemning the whole as a very fine passage :
tissue of disgraceful and unnatural im* Yea, thus they live, if this may life be called,
morality. He would not even allow Where moving shadows mock the parts of men.
it the 'redeeming quality of poetical Prayer follows study, study yields to prayer- language or imagery. Unequal it Beli echoes bell, till wearied with the surmons, The ear doth ache for that last welcome peal,
certainly is; there are lofty flights and That tolls an end to listless vacancy."
occasional descents, but it would be
impossible, by the most minute dissecThere were some points in Kean's tion, to cull from Bertram such å 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, dripe.** instance, as the ebullition of feeling in That the plot of Bertram is mörally the line
defective no one can deny; but the "God bless thee, child-Bertrátu hath kissed thy
objection applies even more strongly
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 deár 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 mar. rupts him by his presence
tyr. The audience were so carried . of Why art thou here? There was a hovering angel
away by the acting, and the nerve of Just lighting 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 ; þut with Bertramher tall, commanding figure rather overshadowed him, and naturally
“We met in madness and in guilt we parted;" enough he would have preferred a and Bertram observes that his re. heroine 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 was thinking of retirement, preparing Not stolen upon his secret bower of peace, to adjust his cloak for a last farewell,
And breathed a serpent's venom on his flower I" 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 bad sounded. In When after four or five repetitions, the original manuseript, the arch-fiend and a reading of the printed play, the in person figured amongst the dra. plot began to be thoroughly under. matis personæ ; 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 predulged 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
I should have mated him in fields of death I
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 withwhich 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 alone 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 afthe 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 if Fredolfo
. had never been written, the better part of the two. Five re- and better if Walter Scott had not sepetitions 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 regret for the misfortune thor. Many years have elapsed since of his protege. “Let him try again," we read the play, but we 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
ú Let us lie down on beds of fire together, taste.” It has been said that the
And wallow in fercé 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 au. once 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 bis 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