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first appeared there prominently in 1814, Byron to Moore, February 19, 1814,– when he was twenty-seven.
The come- "By Jove! he is a soul! Life-Naturedian George Fawcett Rowe (1835–1889), Truth-without exaggeration or diminumany years ago told me that his father,
tion. Kemble's Hamlet is perfect, but resident in Exeter, had been acquainted Hamlet is not Nature. Richard is a man, with Kean, and that Kean had said to him, and Kean is Richard!” The opinion thus "I have the style of Cooke; but nobody expressed, if viewed as criticism, is worthwill notice it, because I am so much less, Hamlet being quite as much Nature smaller." The almost fanatical admiration as Richard is, and as much a man; but that Kean felt for Cooke is recorded in viewed as indicative of the effect produced the memoirs of both of them, and remem- upon a poet of marvelous genius by an brance of it seems to justify credence that actor of kindred poetic sensibility it is into some extent Kean truly was a disciple structive. of that singular genius. In youth every Kean's principal dress, as Richard, conactor has a model.
sisted of much the same kind of garments Cooke died in New York in 1812, and as were worn by Cooke-trunk-hose, doubKean, on the occasion of his first visit to let, ornamental cloak, and ribbon with an this city, in 1820, caused his remains to be Order on it; but he wore top-boots, his hat removed from a vault beneath St. Paul's was of a toadstool shape, and his wig was Church and buried in the churchyard, and made of curly, black hair, somewhat thick. likewise placed a monument there, which In his right hand he carried, during a part still stands at Cooke's grave. The story of the play, a military truncheon. The that Kean took the forefinger bones of deformity of the figure was indicated by Cooke's right hand, carried them to Eng- disproportion of the left shoulder. Sevland, had them wired together and hung eral changes of costume are required in upon his parlor wall, and made such an any performance of Richard; the particuado about the relic that Mrs. Kean finally lar specification of all of them, as became disgusted and threw it away, has ployed by the chief distinguished actors, long been in circulation and is known to would occupy much space.
Kean's cosbe true. To what extent Kean modeled tume, as noted, is that which he wore his performance of Richard on that of after the Duke of Glo'ster had become Cooke it would be impossible to judge. King of England. Kean's "stage busiEach of those actors was, obviously, of a ness” as Richard was extraordinary for turbulent nature, much given to the mak- diversification and expressive intelligence. ing of tremendous outbursts of passion, His thoughtful, absorbed demeanor when, but no two men could be more dissimilar preliminary to the terrific dream scene, he than they were in physical constitution traced on the ground, with the point of and appearance.
Cooke's face could ex- his sword, the plan of battle, the night beceptionally well express the evil passions. fore the furious encounter on Bosworth Kean's features were regular and hand- Field, is remembered and recorded as havsome, and while his face and person com- ing had a wonderfully impressive effect. ported perfectly, as he guided and used The personation throughout was animated them, with the terrible characters of Rich- by a dominant, buoyant, electrical, thrillard the Third and Sir Giles Overreach, ing spirit. The dying king's frantic they were made to suit equally well with thrusts with his naked arm, as though he those of the loving Octavian and the mele still held his sword, after he had been ancholy, pathetic Stranger. Cooke was struck down, mortally wounded in the robust, while Kean was slender, and his combat with Richmond, were noted as height was only five feet, six and three very terrible, and that business has requarter inches.
appeared in the performances of many later Kean's portrayal of Richard is extolled actors. by the competent authorities of William Macready played Richard for the first Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt to such an extent time in London in 1819, at Covent Garof enthusiasm that inquiring judgment be- den, appearing in the Cibber version of comes perplexed in the presence of a mul- the tragedy. His success with the public tiplicity of adulation. “Just returned was decisive.
(He had played the part from seeing Kean in Richard," —so wrote five years before at Bath.) Critical opin
ion on the subject was various, but in ef- and in several instances they have defect it was favorable. The actor's method clared that at first sight of him they in the wooing of Lady Anne was com- thought him insignificant, but, on seeing mended for winning sincerity, the dissimu- for the first time his impersonation of lation, obviously, not having been variega- Richard, they were not merely astonished, ted by any gleams of sarcasm. His fever- but completely overwhelmed with amazeish, executive promptitude in directing the ment, by his revelation of a prodigious disposal of the bodies of the murdered force and an impetuous, fiery, terrible pasprinces was essentially tragic. Leigh Hunt sion, of the capability of which nothing in specified the exact spirit of the perform his appearance and deportment had given ance, intimating that it was marked by them the slightest hint. In the opening ardent, sanguine gaiety. That, in Cib- scenes of the tragedy he was comparaber's arrangement of the play, is a perva- tively calm, no doubt intending that the sive attribute of the character, for Cibber's character, under the stress of continually Richard is not at any moment till the changing circumstances, should evince itdream scene shown as a man capable of self gradually, and preparing the way for sensibility, and his anguish in that scene is an overwhelming effect of contrast when as unwarranted as it is unexpected. When he became completely aroused. In the sucMacready presented “King Richard III," ceeding passages of storm and fury he was in a partly restored form, March 12, 1821, stupendous. That accomplished actor and at Covent Garden, and repeated his per- expert judge of acting John Sleeper Clarke, formance of Richard, he caused a startling - who married the tragedian's daughter effect, in the council scene, by an electrical Asia,- told me that nothing could exceed outburst of fury upon Hastings, and he in the effect of terror Booth's aspect, acmade a brilliant point at the moment when tion, and delivery when he said: Richard, in that scene, bares his withered arm. Kean had done this before him, so
“What do they in the North, that Kean must also have garnished Cib- When they should serve their sovereign in ber with a little more of Shakspere than
the West ?" the laureate had provided. The version of the play then used by Macready was Among the recorded peculiarities of one made by "Mr. Swift of the Crown Booth's performance, mention is made of Jewel Office," and improved by the actor his slow first entrance, long stride, and himself; but it did not in fact very widely self-communing delivery of the opening differ from that of Cibber. The adver- speech, in which his elocution was exceptisement of it referred to Cibber's altera- tionally elaborate. His tones were varied tion as “ingenious.” If it really were so to suit each figure of speech. He prothere would have been no reason for re- nounced the word “ocean" as one of three verting to the original, which is impracti- syllables, and he gave a rising inflection to cable, as a whole, chiefly because of its the phrase "glorious summer," as if to
suggest a flood of radiance by means of The renown of the elder Booth as sound. He maintained a watchful, crafty, Richard was great in his lifetime, and the specious, beguiling demeanor until the tradition of his astounding performance crown had been gained, and then he asof the part still survives. Booth was a sumed the imperial manner of royalty. quiet, reserved, modest, unpretentious He restored to the text the questions "Is man, whose aspect and customary de- the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd? meanor in private gave no intimation, Is the King dead ?" and he delivered them however slight, of the tremendous power in a rising torrent of mingled scorn and and fire that were in him. I have never passion, and with intense energy. From forgotten the thrill of dread that was the moment of the King's outset to meet imparted by his baleful aspect, his incisive, rebellion till the moment of his death on sonorous voice, and his malign aspect, as the field of battle he was like a whirlPescara, in “The Apostate." Persons wind, and he carried all before him. who acted with him when he played Rich
Edwin Forrest acted Richard in a conard have favored me with descriptive rec
He was burly, loud, ollection of his performance of that part, and violent, presenting a transparent vil
lain. He was jocosely exultant and McCullough, who greatly liked and adstrongly effective in the expression of sar- mired Forrest, was for some time a memdonic irony. His representation of Rich- ber of his theatrical company, and his ard's nightmare was correctly and effec- anecdotes of him were often happily illustively attended with convulsive struggles trative of the veteran's peculiar character. and with tremendous blows at the air, When McCullough acted Richard he
significant of contention with phantoms gave a good imitation of Forrest-nothof armed enemies. He specially approved ing more. of his acting in the scene of Richard's The principal dress of Forrest as Richwooing of Lady Anne, in which he laid ard comprised a belted doublet; a cloak, great stress upon animal magnetism. In with a heavy fringe of ermine; kneeconversation with John McCullough he breeches; low-cut velvet shoes; a velvet particularly called the attention of that hat studded with jewels and garnished with actor to what he deemed his invincibility long plumes; a thick, black wig from in that passage, and McCullough long which long curls depended, reaching to afterward mentioned the matter to me. the shoulders; a dress sword, and leather