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ly than he did, His by-play is excellent. His manner of bidding his friends Good night," after pausing with the point of his sword, drawn slowly backward and forward on the ground, as if considering the plan of the battle next day, is a particularly happy and natural thought. He gives to the two last acts of the play the greatest animation and effect. He fills every part of the stage ; and makes up for the deficiency of his person, by what has been sometimes objected to as an excess of action. The concluding scene in which he is killed by Richmond is the most brilliant of the whole. . He fights at last like one drunk with wounds; and the attitude in which he stands with his hands stretched out, after his sword is wrested from him, has a preternatural and terrifick grandeur, as if bis - will could not be disarmed, and the very phantoms of his despair had power to kill.-Mr. Kean has since; in a great mea, sure, effaced the impression of his Richard III. by the superiour efforts of his genius in Othello, (his .masterpiece,) in the murder scene in Macbeth, in Richard II., in Sir Giles Overreach, and lastly in Oroonoko; but we still like to look back to his first performance of this part, both because it first assured his admirers of his future success, and be cause we bore our feeble but, at that time, not useless testimony, to the merits of this very original actor, on which the town was considerably divided for no other reason than because they were original.
The manner in which Shakspeare's plays hare been generally altered, or rather mangled by modern mechanists, is a disgrace to the English stage.
The patchwork RICHARD III., which is acted un. der the sanction of his pame, and which was manufactured by Cibber, is a striking example of this remark.
The play itself is undoubtedly a very powerful effusion of Shakspeare's genius. The groundwork of the character of Richard, that mixture of intellectual vigour with moral depravity, in which Shakspeare delighted to shew his strength-gave full scope as well as, temptation to the exercise of his imagination. The character of his hero is almost every where predominant, and marks its lurid track throughout. The original play is however too long for representation, and there are some few scenes which might be better spared than preserved, and by omitting which it would remain a complete whole. The only rule, indeed, for altering Shakspeare is, to retrench certain passages which may be considered either as superfluous or obsolete, but not to add or transpose any thiog. The arrangement and developement of the story, and the mutual contrast and combination of the dramatis persona, are in general as finely managed as the developed ment of the characters or the expression of the passiops.
This rule has not been adhered to in the present instance. Some of the most important and striking passages in the principal character have been omitted, to maké room for idle and misplaced extracts from other plays ; the only 'intention of which seems to have been to make the character of Richard as odious and disgusting as possible.:: 'It is apparently for no other purpose than to make
Gloucester stab King Henry on the stage, that the fine abrupt introduction of the character in the opening of the play is lost in the tedious whining morality of the uxorious king (taken from another play);-we say tedious, because it interrupts the business of the scene, and loses its beauty and effect by having no intelligible connexion with the previous character of the mild, well-meaning monarch. The passages which the unfortunate Hepry has to recite are beautiful and pathetick in themselves, but they have nothing to do with the world that Richard has to “ bustle in.” In the same spirit of vulgar caricature is the scene between Richard and Lady Anne (when his wife) interpolated without any authority, merely to gratify this favourite propensity to disgust and oathing. With the same perverse consistency, Richard, after his last fatal struggle, is raised up by some Galvanick process, to utter the imprecation, without any motive but pure malignity, which Shakspeare has so properly put into the mouth of Northumberland on hearing of Percy’s death. To make room for these worse than' needless additions, many of the most striking passages in the real play have been omitted by the foppery and ignorance of the prompt-book criticks. We do not mean to insist merely on passages which are fine as poetry and to the reader, such as Clarence's dream, &c. but on those which are important to the understanding of the character, and peculiarly adapted for stage effect. We will give the following as instances among several others. The first is the scene where Richard enters abrupt
ly to the queen and her friends to defend him. self :
“ Gloucester. They do me wrong, and I will not endure it.
Gray. To whom in all this presence speaks your grace ?
Gloucester. To thee, that hast nor honesty por grace ;
Nothing can be more characteristick than the turbulent pretensions to meekness and simplicity in this address. Again, the versatility and adroitness of Richard is admirably described in the following ironical conversation with Brakenbury:
“ Brakenbury. I beseech your graces both to pardon we.
Gloucester. E'en so, and please your worship, Brakenbury,
Brakenbury. With this, my lord, myself have nought to do.
Gloucester. What, fellow, naught to do with mistress Shore?
Brakenbury. What one, my lord ?
The feigned reconciliation of Gloucester with the queen's kinsmen is also a masterpiece. One of the finest strokes in the play, and which serves to shew as much as any thing, the deep, plausible manners of Richard, is the unsuspecting security of Hastings, at the very time when the former is plotting his death, and when that very appearance of cordiality and good humour, on which Hastings builds his confidence, arises from Richard's consciousness of having betrayed him to his ruin.' This, with the whole character of Hastings, is omitted.
Perhaps the two most beautiful passages in the original play are the farewell apostrophe of the queen to the tower, where her children are shut up from her, and Tyrrels description of their death. We will finish our quotations with them.
"Queen. Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower;
The other passage is the account of their death by Tyrrel:
“ Dightun and Forrest, whom I did suborn