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EDUCATION OF CHILDREY. — The 'Cry and Prayer against the Imprisonment of Small Children,' in the present number, will arrest the attention of parents, and instructors of youth. In reading Part Fifth of LOCKHART's Life of Scott, we remark, in one of his letters to his son Walter, the fervent expression of sentiments in entire unison with those of our correspondent upon this subject; and Bulwer, in 'Ernest Maltravers,'embodies kindred views, in some sound and judicious remarks upon the education of the young. This over-tasking of immature intellects is exciting public attention, both abroad and at home. A work by a valued contributor to this Magazine, (A. BRIGHAM, M. D., of the New-York College of Physicians and Surgeons,) which treats of the abuse of the brain in children, was recently warmly commended in the Edinburgh Quarterly, and the positions of the writer enforced by unanswerable arguments adduced by the reviewer.
ALL THE MOTHER! —'Will the Editors of the KNICKERBOCKER, by inserting in their Magazine the accompanying lines, confer a favor upon a bereaved mother, who mourns the loss of a dear infant-boy?' Thus reads the modest envelope which covered the subjoined most touching and beautiful stanzas. Tears, such as seem, in several places, to have blotted the mss., were in our eyes as we read them. Are they original? Certainly, we have never seen them before. Whether original or translated, let us hope that the lady from whom we have received them, will not hereafter withhold her talents or taste from our pages.
THE MAJESTY OF THE HEAVENS. — We have received from the eminent philosopher, Dr. Dick, of Scotland, but too late for insertion in the present number, an original article, written for our pages, upon the subject of certain celestial phenoinena. Our readers are not ignorant of this distinguished author's comprehensive grasp of mind, and the depth and variety of his mental resources. In anticipating, therefore, a rich treat from his pen, they will run no risk of disappointment. "Great spirits ask great play-room ;' and in the present instance, we are almost overpowered with the extent and majesty of the philosopher's field of thought and vision. We say overpowered; for it is no easy task, after following such a writer as Dr. Dick along the 'pathway of the skies,' and amid the countless worlds that revolve in space, to bring one's imagination down to strait-lacing, mundane actuality. The soul is lifted to the Power that spread out the heavens like a curtain, and makes the clouds his pavilion; and is prompted to exclaim in the sublime language of a poet too little known to the worid :
Come, when still biglit
An atom in the host of worlds!
DINNER TO Mr. Forrest. — The dinner recently given to Mr. FORREST, by his native city, is pronounced to have been one of the most splendid ever had in 'Brotherly Love.' Hon. J. R. Ingersoll presided ; and, after the cloth was removed, addressed the company on the occasion of their meeting, and gave a toast complimentary to Mr. Forrest, who 'returned his grateful and moving thanks, in an address, whose power and effect,' it has been said, 'cannot well be conceived by any description with pen and ink. It rehearsed his career from his boyish days to the present time, with the brevity of a modest pride, but with the emotions of a generous heart. Briefly recounting his successes abroad, he said these latter honors had not so high a claim upon his gratitude as those which the citizens of his native Philadelphia had previously conferred upon him, in generous anticipation of future deservings. The whole address was fraught with that truest eloquence, whose source and fountain is the heart. The grace of the actor mingled with the emotion of the man, in happy and unstudied combination.' Many of the most eminent citizens of Philadelphia were among the large concourse who assembled to do honor to one who, both professionally and as an American gentleman, has reflected honor upon himself and his country, abroad as well as at home.
NATIONAL THEATRE. -- Mademoiselle Augusta, the graceful, brilliant and fascinating Augusta, and the almost equally charming Miss Turpin, have been the bright particular stars, since Mr. Vandenhoff bade us a temporary adieu, after his masterly personation of Sir Giles Overreach. The ever attractive La Bayadere, got up with liberality and good laste, worthy of all praise, was repeated many a time and oft, to full and sometimes crowded houses. Mr. MORLEY's 'Olifour' was more than respectable; and he is right, we think, in making the old judge less feeble and decrepid than Richings presents him, yet the latter is our favorite in this character. We scarcely know whether to prefer Horncastle or Jones in "The Unknown.' Jones sings sweetly, but of all moving automatons, he is the least lovely to look upon. The chief new features in the opera, however, are Miss Turpin, in the singing Bayadere, the full and effective choruses, and the dancing girls of the ballet. It is the best looking and best acting vocal company we have ever had on the stage. Of Augusta it is superfluous to speak. It is not her magnificent dancing alone, that pleases; it is her graceful agility, united with lady.like modesty and good taste in every movement, which wins golden opinions from all sorts of people. And how expressive are her beautiful and classic features in the pantomime! One scarcely believes, on hearing her 'Two Words' in the little piece of that name, that she has not spoken before.
The ballet and pantomime of 'La Somnambulé,' from which the opera of that name was taken, has also been successfully produced. It was first acied for Augusta's benefit, the fair danseuse in the part of Amina. The incidents are much the same as those of the opera, and the story was as well told as it could be by mere gesture; some of it indeed was admirable. Yet pantomime is better suited to the French, who are so peculiarly a people of gestures. We like rather to have the poetry of motion and poetry of found united.
Touching the other performances of the month, we have barely space to allude to a few of them. The 'Old English Gentleman' is one of the best pieces we ever saw performed; well written -- admirably acted --- quiet and natural, with no clap-trap or
startling incident, yet enlisting your interest to the last. The park scenery, the lawn, . and mansion in the dis ce, are beautifully represented. Mr. J. W. Wallack has
given us specimens of rare excellence in acting, in his character of Rattle, in 'Spring and Autumn,' Rolla, Erasmus Book-worm, “The Scholar,'Don Felix in ‘The Wonder,' and Master Walter, “The Hunchback.' In short, without curtailing farther particulars,' we would honestly commend to our readers the sterling drama in its purest form, as well as the rich musical attractions, at the National Theatre.
So much for cordial and unqualified praise, and the per contra balance is small. One hint, however, we would venture, and that is, that for the future the buffoonries of Jim Crow and 'Bone Squash Diavolo' be abolished. A little of the song, occasionally, as an interlude, is well enough, hut au reste, let it be dispensed with. This we think is the verdict of the public, however uproarious may be the groundlings and the gallery, in favor of those elegant entertainments.
PARK THEATRE Mr. Forrest. — This gentleman's last engagement has not, we are sorry to say, added to his reputation. A round of arduous characters has presented Mr. FORREST to his audiences with all those defects in his personations which have ever attended his attempts of Shakspeare. 'Othello,' of all Mr. Forrest's Shakspearean delineations, is the least objectionable; yet even this is only an exhibition of the man Othello,' without the mind. His gesture, voice, and emphasis are generally good ; but there is not the spiritual expression of the character at all. The genius, the soul, is wanting. He looks as Othello might have looked; he uses the same words; but he does not speak as Othello should speak; he does not shadow forth the inward construction of his mind, with all its strengths and weaknesses, its heroic confidences and its human misgivings, its agonies of hate springing from the depths of love ;' he does not do this, simply because he does not, and perhaps cannot, identify himself with the genius and spirit of the past. In the expression of jealousy, the great plague-spot which taints the whole of Othello's conduct, Mr. Forrest moulds his face into a distortion, the meaning of which we defy any living physiognomist to decipher. Is it rage, hatred, malice, envy, separate or conjoined? Or is it the unmeaning twisting of the muscles, which a mountebank or a madman could equally well cffect ? Whatever it may be meant to be, it is no more an expression of jealousy than of joy. It seems something borrowed from Bedlam; 'full of fury, and signifying nothing.'
When dressed for 'Lear,' Mr. Forrest's face, garments, and tout ensemble' are truly and effectively' got up;' and as he stands, a painter might choose him for a model of the ill-judging king, provided he had genius enough himself to conceive his true expression. But his acting of the character is physically and morally false. Lear bas declined into the vale of years, and it is his infirmities, as much as his paternal affection, which induce the wish for retirement. He leaves the throne, because he feels the infirmities of age upon him, and because, he desires that the evening of his life may pass quietly away, and give rest and peace to his venerable decline. Now in Mr. Forrest's delineation of this time-worn man, one would imagine that the animal strength of boyhood had rejuvenated the palsied limbs of fourscore years, or that a frolicksome youth had donned his grand-papa's wig and cane, and was giving a boisterous imitation of the old gentleman's squeaking treble, accompanied by a sturdy copy of the debilitated movements of his most weak hams.' Lear could never utter the curse upon his daughters as Mr. Forrest persists in giving it; or, if he could have called back the strong and healthy lungs of his youth, and collected every bodily energy for the withering effort, and made it, it would have been his last effort- his dying speech; and the play might end there, for any personal aid which the principal character could, in his material substance, have given it afterward. "The greatness of Lear,' says CHARLES LAMB, 'is not in corporeal dimensions, but in intellectual. The explosions of his passion are terrible as a volcano. They are storms, turning up and disclosing to the bottom that sea, his mind, with all its vast riches. It is his mind which is laid bare. The case of flesh and blood seems too insignificant to be thought on; even as he himself neglects it.' It is not in the curse alone, but throughout the play, that we see the great physical force of Mr. Forrest predominating over all the spiritual qualities which should be exhibited. The genius of the character seems forgotten ; probability is outraged; and instead of the old, injured, imbecile father, unable to draw even sympathy from his daughters, we see a stern, sinewy, implacable giant, with a white beard, possessing bone, muscle, and all sorts of physical energy, enough to pulverize his daughters, and 'drive their subjects before him like a flock of wild gecse.'
Mrs. Shaw. – Few who had the pleasure of seeing her, can have forgotten Mrs. Shaw, who made her first appearance in this country at the Park some year or two since. Returned from a western and southern tour, she has, during the past month, rë appeared at this house, and ably sustained her favorite characters. As ‘Julia,' in the 'Hunchback,'' Desdemona,''Cordelia' in tragedy, 'Christine' in the 'Youthful Queen,' and other personations, quite as difficult and as varied, she has maintained the good impression which her first engagement so justly created. With a very agreeable person, a perfect knowledge of stage business, a round, rich, and full voice, although sometimes monotonous, Mrs. Shaw has intellectual talents well worthy of the profession which she adorns. Unlike most of those who have gone the circuit of the western and southern theatres, she has returned with a good taste, upadulterated by the pernicious cant and fustian clap-trap, which is so much admired in the back woods of Kentucky, and prevails more or less through all the western theatres. Mrs. Shaw's manner is chaste and subdued. She is never betrayed into those indecent, passion-tearing, pockethandkerchief enormities, in which some of our popular actresses so effectively indulge. Where real talent exists, these availables of the 'rough and tumble school are justly despised; and it is only a consciousness of the lack of legitimate power, which can ever induce a performer to make use of them. Mrs. Shaw would be a most valuable addition to the stock company of the Park, which in the ladies' as well as the gentlemen's department, is yet sadly deficient. With the exception of Mrs. Wheatley, and Mrs. Vernon, there is not now at this house a lady performer worth listening to. Mrs. Richardson has been for some time indisposed, but we hope will soon be enabled to appear with all her well-remembered power. Miss Cushman is sometimes effective, and natural; always sprightly in farce; and, strange to say, not the worst Lady Macbeth in the world; but she will be guilty of the enormity of pantaloons. Mrs. Shaw would fill a great vacancy, and we sincerely hope, for the honor of Old Drury, that she may make her own terms, and that they may be accepted.
MADAME LECOMPTE, a danseuse of considerable celebrity, has greatly increased the attractions of the past month. Both as a dancer and pantomimic, Madame LECOMPTE has almost turned the heads of the good people. There is more skill and greater agility, more physical power and steady confidence, in all the many evolutions of this artiste, than has ever before been witnessed on the American stage. In 'La Bayadere' and the 'Fenella' of 'Massaniello,' she has won great applause, and the dollars, of large and delighted audiences.
'American Theatre,' Bowery. — The past month has again afforded us an opportunity of seeing Mr. Booth in some of his principal characters; and as usual, we must award him liberal praise for the admirable manner in which his personations, throughout his engagement, were sustained. We have so recently spoken of the performances of this gentleman, that it is unnecessary to go into detail in this place. We cannot forbear adverting, however, to his 'Sir Giles Overreach,' as recently presented, in terms of pointed laud. Who that heard and saw him in this part, will ever forget the scene where, in reply to 'Wellborn's' charge of indebtedness, seconded by 'Lady Allworth,' he exclaims, with a look of condensed passion and bitterness :
Good, good! Conspire
Yet, to shut up thy mouth, and make thee give