Puslapio vaizdai

Edward, Prince of Wales, was not mur- complexion was olive, his hair dark brown, dered, but was killed, as other soldiers and his cheeks were a little hollow. His were killed, in battle, “in the field by voice was notable for placidity and sweetTewkesbury.” King Henry the Sixth, ness. He was fond of rich apparel and who had become half imbecile, died of customarily wore magnificent garments. disease, aggravated by grief, and not by He was nervous and restless, as shown by the hand of an assassin. No evidence his habit of sheathing and unsheathing his exists proving that the young princes, dagger, and of sliding a ring off and on Edward and Richard, sons of King Ed- one of his fingers- the third finger of his ward the Fourth, were murdered, a rea- left hand. He was an expert, graceful sonable probability being that one of them dancer, a proficient horseman, and in batdied, in the Tower, of disease, and that the tle his expedition, agility, valor, and prowother was privily sent out of the kingdom, ess were extraordinary. As a qualifying and reappeared later, in the person of Per- fact touching his alleged "deformity,” it kin Warbeck. Queen Anne, wife of King might be remembered that, according to Richard the Third, died a natural death, apparently authentic chronicle, he could, precipitated by acute sorrow for the death and did, when accoutred in full armor, of their only child, Edward, and not by leap to the back of his horse without poison. The Duke of Clarence was put touching foot to stirrup. to death by his fierce and cruel brother, The text of Shakspere's play of “King King Edward the Fourth, who distrusted Richard III,” as customarily printed and and hated him, as also did Edward's wife, used, is an eclectic one, taken partly from Queen Elizabeth (Woodeville), and her the first Quarto, 1597, and partly from numerous relatives and partizans. Lord the First Folio, 1623. The text of the Hastings was slain because Richard knew Folio exhibits alterations of the original, him for a political opponent and suspected not, it is supposed, made by the author, him of being privily implicated in a plot but by the actors, either at the prelimito frustrate the Protectorate and assassi- nary tavern reading of the play, which nate the Protector. Richard dearly loved was of usual occurrence, or in the prohis mother, "the Rose of Raby," and he cesses of rehearsal and performance durwas at all times much under her influence; ing many years. It has been ascertained and also he dearly loved his wife Anne and recorded that "there are about one Neville, and when he became a widower, hundred and twenty new lines introduced he never entertained the purpose, but pub- in the Folio” (Knight), and that "the licly and officially disavowed it, of wed- Quartos contain important passages which ding his niece Elizabeth, a princess whom are not found in the Folio, while the Folio, subsequently the astute, crafty, cold- on the other hand, supplies passages, no blooded King Henry the Seventh took to less important, which are wanting in the wife, in order to fortify his usurped title Quartos” (Dyce). A justifiable inference to the English crown. In almost every would seem to be that the world does not, particular, although he was a stern ruler and never can, possess the text of "King and a fierce, sanguinary, restless antago- Richard III" exactly as Shakspere wrote nist, and not guiltless of cruel conduct, it. King Richard the Third was almost lit- Henry Irving caused a book to be erally the reverse of the man whom Shak- printed of Cibber's alteration of Shakspere's tragedy has blazoned as a monster, spere's tragedy, in which, by the use of for the lasting execration of the world. inks of different colors, the lines known or

Richard was not deformed, except that believed to be exactly those of Shakspere one of his shoulders was a little higher were shown, in contradistinction from the than the other. He was short of stature, lines selected by Cibber from other plays slender in figure, and possessed of uncom- by Shakspere, namely, “King Henry IV, mon strength. His neck was short, and Part Two,'

Part Two," "King Henry VI, Part Two, habitually his head was slightly inclined and Part Three,” “King Richard II,” and forward. His face was of the aquiline “King Henry V," and from lines origicast, his features were regular, and he had nal with Cibber. Among Cibber's verses, the large nose of the Plantagenet family. the most ambitious is the speech declaring, His eyes were dark and brilliant. His “Conscience! 't is our coin; we live by

[ocr errors]

parting with it.”. The statement put into celled, and intimates that when he died
the mouth of Richard, "I've lately had that character, among others, died with
two spiders crawling upon my startled him, a form of demise frequently named in
hopes,” etc., and the commandment, “Get theatrical memoirs.
me a coffin full of holes," etc., are Cib- Authentic record declares that neither
ber's, and not likely to be mistaken for Shakspere's tragedy nor any alteration of
Shakspere's. Three of Cibber's lines, how- it was acted between 1660 and 1710,-a
ever, are generally supposed to occur in period covering the last fifty years of
the original: “Off with his head! So Thomas Betterton's life. In 1667, how-.
much for Buckingham!” “Conscience, ever, Betterton acted Richard, not in
avaunt! Richard 's himself again!” and Shakspere's tragedy, but in a play called
"A little flattery sometimes does well." "The English Princess, or the Death of
Coarse as it is, Cibber's version of Shak- Richard the Third,” by John Caryll, a
spere's play was finally approved, for prac- person who in later years was secretary to
tical use, by both Henry Irving and Ed- Queen Mary, wife of King James the Sec-
win Booth, consummate masters of their ond, and who is agreeably remembered as
art, after each of them had made the ex- having suggested to Pope the subject of
periment of producing the original in a that poet's exquisite work of fancy, “The
condensed form. Neither of them, how- Rape of the Lock.” Pepys saw the first
ever, reverted to the use of the Cibber performance of “The English Princess,"

and in his “Diary" designates it “a most
The first attempt to restore Shakspere's sad, melancholy play, and pretty good, but
tragedy to the stage, even in a partial form, nothing eminent in it." Betterton's act-
was made by Macready, at Covent Gar- ing, as Richard, seems to have been excel-
den, in 1821, that great actor impersona- lent. Downes, a principal authority as to
ting Richard, with Helen Faucit as Queen the Betterton period, commends it by im-
Elizabeth. It did not succeed; that is, it plication, but does not describe it.
did not please the public, and it was with- Cibber's alteration of Shakspere's
drawn after a few performances had been “King Richard III” was first produced in

1700 at Drury Lane, and Cibber himself Old votaries of the theater --such, at appeared as Richard, giving a performance least, as have obtained any considerable which was accounted weak and even ridicexperience of that institution-are aware ulous. The merit of Cibber as an actor of the manner in which within the last consisted in his talent for comedy: as a fifty years Richard has usually been rep- tragedian he appears to have been a conresented. The notion of the conventional spicuous failure. In his own story of his tragedian has been that Richard is "a part performance of Richard he declares that to tear a cat in, to make all split," and he acted the part as he supposed that it accordingly the stage has often been the would have been acted by Samuel Sandscene for tiresome display of a scowling, ford, one of his contemporaries, and he mugging, ranting creature of extravagant describes Sandford as a man who "had deformity, as distinct from Nature as a sometimes an uncouth stateliness in his nightmare is from sense. The number of motion, a harsh and sullen pride of speech, actors who have assumed the part of Rich- a meditating brow, a stern aspect, occaard is prodigious, but the number of actors sionally changing into an almost ludicrous who have presented him as a possible and triumph over all goodness and virtue; and interesting human being, and not as a from thence falling into the most assuasive monstrosity, is few.

gentleness and soothing candor of a deThe first performer of Richard was signing heart." Burbage, but nothing is known of his The first unequivocally fine embodimethod of acting him or of the dress that ment of Richard the Third of which au

The anonymous elegy on that thentic description exists was that preactor's death,-a composition consisting of sented by David Garrick, at Goodman's eighty-six lines of heroic verse which, hav- Fields Theater, London, October 19, ing long existed in manuscript, was first 1741, when he acted that part for the first published in 1825,-mentions Crookback time. The important later performances as one of the characters in which he ex- of Richard, without exception, have been

he wore.

more or less affected by knowledge of that His question, "What do they in the example. Garrick unquestionably blazed North?" was shot forth with frightful the path for John Philip Kemble, who was celerity and rage. His action and delivtwenty-two years old when Garrick re- ery in the tent or dream scene expressed a tired from the stage, and for George Fred- frenzy of horror, fear, agony, and pathos, erick Cooke, Edmund Kean, William C. interpenetrated with the furious courage Macready, Junius Brutus Booth, Edwin of desperation. All accounts concur in Forrest, and their successors,— the inspir- designating the impersonation as wondering, enduring magic of his method being fully brilliant. Without doubt he set the vitality of impersonation combined with example; and it was not alone his art brilliancy of ex

that conquered, ecutive art.

but his genius. The achieve

The spirit that ment of Garrick

was in the man is has so often been

indicated by the noted that even a

words that Smolpassing reference

lett wrote about to it may seem

him, mentioning like “damnable

"the sweetness iteration”; yet it

and variety of his cannot here be

tones, the irreavoided. That

sistible magic of great actor aston

his eye, the fire ished his public

and variety of his by following a

action, the elecourse which in

gance of his attiour time would

tudes, and the not astonish any

whole pathos of body; that is to

his expression." say, he spoke, as

Garrick's Richfar as effect is

ard, it should be concerned, natu

added, has been rally, not rheto

characterized rically, and he

“a vulgar assasacted naturally,

sin.” Hogarth not artificially. It

said to him, reis not meant that

ferring to his he was a photog

widely contrasted rapher, -no one From and darine Onginal Pouncing on Enerd al lansington Place

impersonations of of his biographers

time I Lala

Abel Drugger conveys that imFrom an engraving by G. Vertue after a painting it Kensington Palace

(in Ben Jonson's pression,- but he

"The Alcheconcealed his

mist") and Richmechanism, he abjured the formal decla- ard the Third, "You are in your element mation which had been customary, he pro- when begrimed with dirt or up to your jected himself into the character, and he elbows in blood." caused the effect of nature by a judicious It does not appear that John Philip and expert use of art. The stage version Kemble interpreted the character with any of the play that he presented was Cibber’s notable accession of comprehensiveness or and in his employment of it he seems to power. He played the part at a time (in have made almost all the "points" that 1783) when Garrick's performance of it have been made by his followers. On his was still remembered, and the impression first entrance he presented, in face, person, that he made was comparatively faint. He and demeanor, an image of fierce vitality, was consistently princelike in manner, and dangerous force, sardonic humor, beguiling he seems to have pleased a fastidious taste duplicity, and smiling menace. His per- by his felicitous subtlety of inflection in formance was marked by incessant variety. delivery of the text.






he was

He ex


George Frederick Cooke, far less schol- fect impression of plausibility, yet it is arlike and accomplished than Kemble difficult to determine, from inspection of ("Black Jack," as he called him), but far the several portraits of him which exmore formidable and self-assertive, com- ist, precisely what his countenance might pletely eclipsed that noble actor, in the have revealed. The face of such a man character of Richard. Cooke unhappily as Richard would not, in Nature, be did himself lamentable injustice an ir- always an index to his evil mind. Cibreparable harm by hard drinking; but ber's best bit of invention is that which

a man of sturdy constitution, makes Richard, on entering the thronegreat force of character, and of wild, dis- room after the death of King Edward, cordant mental brilliancy. According to and on observing the grief of the comhis journal, he seems to have considered pany, apply a handkerchief to his eyes himself to be at times a dweller on the and murmur aside: “With all my heart! verge of insanity, and probably his view I 'll not be out of fashion!” At such a of his condition was correct. He acted point as that Cooke was an actor certain many parts. He shone as Falstaff, but he to excel, and it is probable that he did records that he never played the part to greatly excel when speaking Richard's exhis own complete satisfaction.

plicit, comprehensive summary of his own celled in such parts as Sir Giles Overreach, character, in the lines transferred by CibShylock, lago, and Richard. As Hamlet ber from "King Henry VI, Part Three," he failed, at least of popular approval, Act III, Scene 2: and probably because of complete incompatibility with the part. He was a stal- “Why, I can smile, and murder while I wart person, of commanding figure. His nose was large, long, and slightly hooked; And cry content to that which grieves my his forehead, high and broad; his eye

heart, brows were strongly marked and very

And wet my cheeks with artificial tears, Alexible. His demeanor was bold, his ges

And frame my face to all occasions." ticulation awkward: he made much use of waving arms and of the extended fore- Cooke, as Richard, wore for court dress finger of his right hand. His vocalism a doublet fastened by a broad, jeweled was exceptionally varied. Sometimes his belt, a short cloak edged with ermine, voice was harsh and grating, sometimes trunk-hose, pointed shoes, and a small, dulcet and insinuating, and often his close-fitting velvet hat turned up in front coarse tones suddenly alternated with his and embellished with a tall plume. smooth ones. He could discharge the Around his neck he placed a narrow, barbed arrows of sarcasm with scorching pleated, white ruff and a broad ribbon malignity and cruel effect, and he could sustaining an Order. At his side was utter hypocritical kindness with the soft a rapier, depending from a shoulder-belt accent of ingratiating sympathy. He incrusted with jewels. The face was cleanlacked refinement alike of mind and man- shaven, except for short, narrow sidener. He could dissimulate well. A capi- whiskers and a small mustache and chintal portrait of him as Richard was for tuft. The hair was short. In the latter many years one of the adornments of the part of the play, armor necessarily was vestibule of Daly's Theater, New York. substituted for the court dress. That picture exhibits Richard at the mo- Edmund Kean, whose personation of ment when, in Cibber's version of the Richard was accounted wonderful, was tragedy, he hears the bell that sounds the acquainted with the Garrick tradition as death-knell of the Princes in the Tower, to the acting of the part, and he had seen and when his visage, naturally, would Cooke on the provincial stage before either reveal exultation in his accomplished wick- Cooke or himself had appeared in London. edness, and thus it coincides with authen- In 1787 Cooke acted once in London, for tic testimony as to the actor's appearance, some person's benefit, but he did not forHe expressed the joyous malignity of mally and successfully appear in that capiRichard with a fidelity that was terri- tal till 1800, when he was in his fortyble. The actor's face seems not to have fifth year. Kean was on the scene there been one well framed to convey a per- as a child and as an obscure youth, but he

« AnkstesnisTęsti »