Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

good success, under the title of Eily manner in which, after a long suppresO'Connor. In 1830, Griffin put forth sion, it had at last found its way to the two more Irish sketches, entitled “ The stage: Rivals” and “ Tracey's Ambition," which were evidently written in a “ The following play has been brought hurry, and on the whole inferior to before the public under rather peculiar cirtheir predecessors. His last produc- cumstances. The author of The Colletion, « Tales of the Five Senses,” ap

gians,' to whom it owed its origin, had, in peared in 1832. They must be pro

the early part of his literary career, a strong nounced inferior to “ The Collegians

turn for dramatic writing; and, so long ago and “ The Munster Tales," although

as the year 1823, had produced no less than

four tragedies. The first of these was begun by no means deficient in the “dark,

while he was yet in his eighteenth year, and touching power,” which Carleton has

Gisippus, the last of them, before he had spoken of as the distinguishing excel. completed his twentieth. He went to Lonlence of his countryman and brother- don in the summer of that year, filled with labourer in the same field.

the high aspirings after literary fame which In that same year, Griffin was de are characteristic of that passion in early puted by his townsmen of Limerick to youth, and which were strengthened in his wait upon Thomas Moore at his cot- case by a temperament peculiarly ardent tage in England, and invite him to and sanguine, and by his want of experience stand for the representation of that

of the difficulties with which its attainment

is usually beset. His intention was to get city in Parliament. The poet declined

one of them performed at one of the great the proffered honour, but gave a warm

theatres, if possible; but, at that time, the reception to his visitant, and his bro

public taste was vitiated by managers who ther, who accompanied him. Griffin,

yielded to the depraved appetites of the mulalthough successful as a writer, and titude, instead of endeavouring to correct enjoying full reputation, began to grow them. * Mechanical wonders, cataracts of tired of the world, its cares, anxieties, real water, brilliant scenic representations, disturbing passions, and unsatisfactory and sights of an amphitheatrical and popular pleasures. He had been educated in character, usurped the place of the legitimate the Roman Catholic faith, and one of

drama, and after many distressing difficulhis sisters had already taken the veil.

ties, and much valuable time sacrificed in

the attempt, he gave it up as hopeless. After mature deliberation, he deter

Gisippus is the only one of these plays that mined to seclude bimself in a sort of

has been preserved amongst his papers; the semi-monastic life, in one of those re

rest there is no trace of, and it is presumed treats set apart in Ireland for devotees they have been destroyed. It may, perhaps, of the church to which he belonged. be interesting to notice what the author himIn 1838 he carried his design into exe- self says of it in a letter to his friends in cution, and joined the Society of the Ireland, a short time before he came to the “Christian Brotherhood” (whose duty

determination above-named :-' But wbat it is to instruct the poor), in their es

gives me the greatest satisfaction respecting tablishment at Cork. During the se

it, is the consciousness that I have written cond year of his novitiate, he was

an original play. That passion of revenge

you know was threadbare.' (He alludes to attacked with typhus fever, and died

the subject of one of his former pieces.) on the 12th of June, 1840, at the early

" Banim bas made some suggestions which I age of thirty-six and a few months.

have adopted; I will finish it immediately, The stone which covers his remains is place it in his hands, and abide the result marked by the simple words, “ Brother in following other pursuits.'” Gerald Griffin."

After Griffin's death, the tragedy of The preface goes on to say that Gisippus was found amongst his pa- Gisippus was submitted to more than pers. When acted at Drury-lane, in one competent professional authority, 1842, the subjoined preface appeared who admitted the high merit of the with the printed copies, and told the work, but feared its success in repre

This is easily written, and has long been the popular outcry, but practically it is a mistake. Managers, unless they aspire to be martyrs, must follow, and cannot lead, the public taste. Dr. Johnson said, and truly, more than one hundred years ago, “The stage but echoes back the public voice." Does any one suppose that the classic John Kemble would have introduced Horses and Madame Saqui, if the state of the exchequer had not given him a broad hint that something eccentric was necessary to prop up high legitimacy?

sentation. Finally, it was placed in condemned, might greatly promote the the hands of Mr. Macready, who, after progress of good taste.” baving perused it, pronounced a de- A few examples of the caprice of cided opinion in its favour, and deter- audiences, as regards the acceptance mined to sustain the principal cha- or rejection of different plays, may ilracter. The play was acted with lustrate the question more convincingly success, undoubtedly, and received than argument. Otway's Don Carlos warm approbation from successive an- is a poor tragedy in rliyme, but it was diences; but the treasury did not fill, infinitely more applauded, and better the repetitions were not numerous, and followed for many years, than either Gisippus, with all its acknowledged Thu Orphan, or Venice Preserved. A merit, remains no longer on the acting- coarse lampoon by Rochester, written list. During Mr. Macready's engage

at the time in his « Trial of the Poets ment in Dublin, in the early part of for the Bays," attests this extraordi. the summer of 1842, Gisippus was the nary success of a piece with very little first novelty, but was only acted twice. merit. The Provoked Wife was a Those who came admired and ap- failure, and Congreve's Way of the plauded, and the papers were lavish of World, his best comedy, was coldly their praise, but the most substantial received. The Distressed Mother, a indications of success, full houses, weak translation of Racine's Androwere reserved for another opportunity. maque, kept the stage with popularity Yet many a play of much inferior pre- for more than a hundred and twenty tensions has crammed a theatre to the years. The Wonder of Mrs. Centlivre, ceiling, and commanded a lasting at- one of the best comedies in the lantraction.

guage, was only acted six times the It has been laid down as an axiom first season, and was completely laid in theatricals, that good plays generally aside after the second. It only became succeed, and bad ones are usually un- a favourite when Garrick assumed Don successful. There are, however, so Felix in 1756, since which its attracmany exceptions to this general rule, tion has never declined, if well perthat success cannot with propriety be formed. Jones's Earl of Essex super. considered as the criterion of merit. seded Banks's and Brooke's, although Many plays offend the judicious few inferior to either. Douglas was rewhile they gratify the million, and vicé jected by Garrick, and when afterwards versâ. Dennis, writing above a hun produced at Covent Garden, commanddred-and-fifty years ago, in a treatise ed only nine repetitions. Yet it is one called “ The Impartial Critic," ob of the select few destined for immorserves—"To say that a play is good tality. The Minor was utterly con. because it pleases the generality of an demned in Dublin, but subsequently audience is absurd. Before a play can received with immense applause at the be concluded to be good, because it Haymarket. Cymun, a poor operatic pleases, we ought to consider who is piece, met with great success, while a pleased by it--they who understand, revival of Ben Jonson's Silent Woman or they who do not. They who un- proved a failure. Cobb's opera of The derstand! Alas! they are but few. Haunted Tower was acted above eighty He who writes to the many at present, times during the two first seasons, and writes only to them, and his works are now would fail to command a single sure never to survive his admirers. audience. Towards the conclusion of But he who writes to the knowing few the piece, the Baron of Oakland enters at present, writes to the race of man. with his sword drawn, and some old kind in all succeeding ages.” Holcroft, armour ridiculously put on. The low in the advertisement prefixed to bis comedian, to whom the part is assigned, comedy of The Vindictive Man, which always makes the most of this. We was condemned in representation, says bave seen Dowton descend to the disa _" It is published with no hope of de- reputable mummery: Mrs. Cowley riving profit, but to afford any person, seems to allude to this stage business, who shall be so disposed, an opportu- when she says in her preface to the nity to inquire how far it merits the “ Town before You"_* In a popular oblivion to which it was consigned by picce a favourite actor, holding a huge the audience." He adds, that " a re- sword in his left hand, and making visal of the public sentences passed at awkward passes with it, charms the our theatres on pieces approved avd audience, and brings sown such applauses as the bewitching dialogue of duced almost to a ponentity, particuFarquhar pants for in vain."* Shad- larly in the latter portion of the drama. well, in his preface to “ The Humo. This is a mistake in a young author rist,” says. The rabble of little peo- which practice would have rectified, ple are pleased with Jack Pudding, had the opportunity been afforded. and the rabble of fine people are more Admitting the errors and crudities of pleased with the trifles and fripperies inexperience, it would be difficult in of a play, or the trappings and orna- the whole range of the English drama ments of nonsense, than with all the to produce so good a play from any wit in the world.” The opinion would other writer at the same period of apply now as justly as in the reign of youth. It is much to be regretted, Charles II. A miserable opera called that the mind which was capable of The Woodman, written by the Rev. conceiving and completing Gisippus Bate Dudley, music by Shield, ran up-. at the unripe age of twenty, did not wards of thirty nights. Speculation, meet at once with fostering encourageone of Reynolds's worst comedies, was ment in the line to which it was at first acted thirty-six times, and The Cas- so strongly turned. If Shakspeare's tle Spectre drew forty-seven crowded early plays had been rejected, the world, houses during the first season. It is in all probability, would not bave posstill on the living list, and generally sessed those rare models of his maturer comes forth at Christmas to usher in genius, which stand alone on an unapthe humours of the pantomime. How- proachable elevation, and have never ard Payne's cento from many plays, been equalled by any uninspired pen. which he called The Tragedy of Bru- In concluding this paper, it is neces. tus, met with a great success, entirely sary to correct two or three preceding owing to the powerful acting of Ed- omissions and mistakes. Mrs. Lefanu, mund Kean. It had a run of fifty-two sister of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, nights, and for a time completely re- was the authoress of a good and suctrieved the failing exchequer of the cessful comedy, entitled The Sons of theatre. Paul Pry was acted forty- Erin, acted by the Drury-lane comone times during the season of 1823, pany at the Lyceum, and afterwards at in which it was first produced at the their new theatre, in 1812. Amongst Haymarket, and about seventy-three in Leonard Macnally's dramas should the next. After this let us be silent as to have been included an opera called success being a fair criterion of merit. The Tornado, produced at Crow-street, We could go on multiplying instances, in Dublin, in 1819, but only acted but enough have been adduced. three times, the last being the author's

The leading (perhaps the only im- night. Maturin's Renegade was brought portant) defect in Gisippus lies in the forward in Edinburgh, in 1831, under utter insignificance of the heroine, and the management of Mr. W. Murray, the total want of fernale interest. The who obtained a copy through Sir language is highly poetical, the versi- Walter Scott. The play was repeated fication fervid, harmonious, and ex- nine times, the last performance being pressive; there is abundance of highly- for the benefit of the widow and family wrought passion naturally depicted, of the author. Murray at first informand enough of incident, while the con- ed his pablic that the Renegade had struction of the play is essentially dra- “ never been acted on any stage," but matic. But the action centres too ex- withdrew the announcement when he clusively in one character. Fulvius is found that it had been anticipated in a good second, but Sophronia is re- Dublin.

J. W. C. 1

Dowton, in Major Sturgeon, always carried his sword strapped on his right side, and this was tolerated by a London audience. His adjutant or serjeant-major might have taught the train-band major better, and not have suffered him thus to expose himself.

ALBERICO PORRO; A TALE OF THE MILANESE REVOLUTION OF 1848.-PART V.

BY AN OFYICER OF THE SARDINIAN SERVICE.

CHAPTER XX.

THE BATTLE OF NOVARA. * The Piedmontese army, and especially its body of officers, was entitled to look back with pride to Novara. Under a consciousness of inferior force in the struggle, it showed a persevering sense of duty : some of its brigades fought with distinguished valour, and the artillery supported the high reputation which It had earned in the previous campaign."Military Events in Italy.

“ Fina che gh'è Ana in corp, gh' è annid speranza."– Poesie Scelte in Dialetto. SCARCELY had the first rays of light to the street; if I think longer on commenced to tinge the horizon, when the memory of the past, I shall go Porro was awakened from his restless mad." sleep by the shrill tones of the bugle, Porro, followed by the Baron in sicalling the men to arms. Instantly lence, left the room, and descended to arising, he was preparing to leave the the street, where, mounting two horses, room, when the door opened, and the they galloped through the narrow Baron Pinaldi entered, armed and ac- streets of Novara, already filled with coutred for the field of battle.

all the life and activity consequent on “So, Porro," he exclaimed, “you so large an army being collected in its have returned once more to join your neighbourhood, and proceeded towards gallant countrymen in arms, and fight the scene, where soon were to be decidthe fierce Austrian foe. I knew full ed the destinies of Italy. Alas! how well you would never desert the stand- few thought how fearful and disastrous ard of liberty so long as it waved in was to be the close of that mournful the breeze."

day - day for ever to be remembered “ Desert it! never I” answered Por- and wept over ! ro, with strong emotion.

“As long

Novara is a small town, situated beas I have life within me, an arm to tween two rivers—the Adoyna and Terraise, my sword shall flash in the broad dopio-running almost parallel to the daylight of heaven, to crush the demon Po. It is partly surrounded by a number ferocity of our implacable foe. Learn, of fortifications, which, however, from Baron, if I had cause formerly to fight the condition in which they were in from the Austrian country, humanity, want of repair and age, would contriclaiming me as their son — now I have bute little to the defences of the town. private wrongs, deep, terrible, to re- Before Novara extended a beautiful venge. The bride of my heart -- im- plain, on which was erected the dwell. prisoned — lashed - a minion of the ings of many a signor, and through Hapsburg, the atrocious enemy of my which meandered, in all the calmness peace she, in her grave now, calls of their placid beauty, several small upon me - do you hear ? - to avenge streams. “As a field of battle, it preher wrongs! And shall I-I who so sented many advantages: a rising here long and fondly looked forward to that and there, allowing a good position for moment when I could call her my own the artillery to fire from, and the nu.

shall I be deaf to that sacred call ? merous garden-walls acted as a kind No. Imprisoned by the fierce and of fortifications to assist in repelling an cruel oppressor ; my escape accom- enemy. During the whole night, Geplished, I instantly fled to join our no- neral Chrzanowski had been indefatible monarch — to revenge the wrongs gable in endeavouring to concentrate of Nina Ezzelinni - to die, if need be. his forces before Novara, in the expecMy last prayer : may that power, rear- tation of giving battle to the enemy. ed in human blood, be crushed and for In the centre was posted General Bes, ever annihilated ! But enough; let us with his division ; and on the left of him, forming the wing of the line of started on their perilous expedition, to battle, was the third one, under the gain whatever news they could of the command of General Perrone. On the movements of the enemy. In silence, right, under the command of General for a time, they pursued their journey, Durando, was posted the brigade of towards Garbayna, keeping a careful Aosta, supported by two battalions of look over the fairy plains before them, the queen; and the position was further which soon were to become scenes of strengthened by nature, and by a large desolation and misery. canal running in front, on which stood “I know not how it is, Porro," exa massive building, the Villa Citadella. claimed the Baron, breaking the siA short distance from the town of No- lence; “I have over me a feeling of vara, at San Mazzaro, was formed, in depression I cannot account for. May deep columns, the division commanded it not be, is my earnest prayer, the by the Duke of Genoa, aided by having forerunner of misfortune." the advantage of several guns; while “ I, too, since I became assured of further onwards, to defend the bank the positive orders given to General of the river Terdopio, was posted the Ramorino by the Commander-in-chief Lombard Dragoons, and several bat- to guard carefully the road to La Cava, talions, under the immediate command and which I discovered yesterday he had of General Saloroli.

most shamefully neglected to do, have Towards the small town of Olengo, the same dismal foreboding of evil. a short distance beyond San Mazzaro, Before my mind's eye comes a shadow Porro and the Baron pursued their - & gloom - a doubt ; treachery has journey. On their arrival there, they been at work, casting around us its found a small body of Lombard volun- omens of sinister events.” teers strongly posted, and of which the 6. Too true, I fear, are your progcommand had been delegated to the nostications. I have learnt, however, Baron Pinaldi. The arrival of Porro and it may be a satisfaction for you to and the Baron was greeted by that know the fact, General Ramorino has small and compact band of cavalry been recalled, and General Fanti apwith loud vivas and shouts of “ Viva pointed to the command of the fifth l'Italia ! Viva il Ré !” The whole of division. What a misfortune that our that small body was composed of young, noble monarch, yielding to the storms men of noble birth, the most part of of the Republican faction, appointed them members of the order of the Ven. to so important a post their idol, Ragatori. It was a noble sight, indeed, morino, who, we had too many reasons to gaze upon them, and know they to believe, was more friendly to the were all brought there animated by Austrian than to his country. Howone sole bope, one single feeling-the ever, the fault bas been repaired; and pure and holy love of country. Ab! let us hope our evil foreboding will had every man that day been filled vanish at the sight of the Austrian with the same indomitable energy and barbarians; and our deeds show we are spirit — had not the treachery of the worthy to uphold the standard of Italy's Republican party betrayed the high freedom.” and chivalrous King, who had risked “ You are wrong, Pinaldi ; the his all at the shrine of Patriotism - a treachery of Ramorino is almost irredifferent tale might be recorded, and parable. I allude not to the terrible that day bave been, not loaded with disadvantage we will fight under, nor disastrous and fatal evils, but full of to the loss sustained in not checking brave and glorious results. Alas! for the Austrian sooner on his hitherto the hour when Italy too readily gave triumphant march, but to the anxiety, ear to the vain dreams of wild theo- the doubt that has spread amongst the rists, whose only ambition was their Sardinian ranks, of treachery being at own selfish and personal aggrandize- work. The army will no longer fight ment: passion, vanity, the aim; ruin, with the same valour and confidence disorder, the end !

in their own strength, whilst brother After carefully inspecting the small disbelieves in the honour of his brobody under the command of the Baron, ther." Pinaldi and Porro determined on re- The two companions had now passed connoitering the country beyond Olen- Garbayna, and yet not a sign of the go. Directly they had refreshed them- enemy appeared in sight. Turning to selves with a hasty breakfast, they the right, they rode towards the steep

« ПредишнаНапред »