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BETTERTON.

might wish or enjoin a sorrowsal son to execule

towards his future quiet in the grave. This “ BETTERTON (says Colley Cibber in his was the light into which Betterton ibrew this Apology) was an actor, as Shakspeare was an scene, which he opened with a pause of mute author, both without competitors; formed for amazement; then rising, slowly, to a solemn ibe mutual assistance and illustration of each trembling voice, he made the ghost equally other's genius. How Shakspeare wrote, all terrible to the spectator as to himself; and, in men who have a laste for nature may read, and the descriptive part of the nalural emotions know; but with higher rapture would he still which the ghastly vision gave him, the boldness be read, could they conceive how Bellerton of his expostulation was still governed by played him. Then might they know the one decency,-manly, but not braving; his voice was born alone to speak what the other only never rising into that seeming outrage, or wild knew to write. Could how Betterton spoke, defiance of what he naturally revered. But, be as easily known as what he spoke, then might alas ! to preserve this medium between mouthyou see the muse of Shakspeare in her triumph, ing and meaning loo little, lo keep the altention with all her beauties in their best array, rising more pleasingly awake, by a tempered spirit, into real life and charming her beholders. But, than by mere vehemence of voice, is of all the alas! since all this is so far out of the reach of master-strokes of an actor, the most difficult to description, how shall I shew you Belterton ? reach. In this pone yet have equalled Betterton. Should I, therefore, tell you, that all the “A farther excellence in Betterton was, that Othellos, Hamlets, Holspurs, Macbeths, and he would vary his spirit to the different chaBrutus's, whom you may have seen since his racters be acted. Those wild impatient starts, lime, have fallen far short of him! this still that fierce, and flashing fire, which he threw should give you no idea of his particular ex-into Hotspur, never came from the unrufled cellence. Let us see, then, what a parlicular lemper of his Brulus (for I have more than comparison may do; whether that may yet once seen a Brutus as warm as a Hotspur). draw him nearer to you. You have seen a When the Betterlon Brulus was provoked in Hamlet, perhaps, who, on the first appearance of his dispute with Cassius, his spirit flew only to his father's spirit, has thrown himself into all the his eye, his steady look alone supplied that straining vociferations requisite lo express rage terror, which he disdained an intemperance in and fury, and the house has thundered wilh ap- bis voice should raise to. Thus, with a settled plause, though the misguided actor was all the dignity of contempt, like an unheeding rock, while (as Shakspeare terms it) tearing a passion he repelled upon himself the foam of Cassius. into rags. I am the more bold to offer you this Not but in some part of this scene, where he particular instance, because the late Mr. Addi- reproaches Cassius, bis temper is not under this son, while I sat by him, to see the scene acted, suppression, but opens into ibat warmth which made the same observation ; asking me, with becomes a man of virtue; yet this is the basty some surprise, if I thought Hamlet should be spark of anger which Brutus endeavours lo in so violent a passion with the Ghost, wbich, excuse. though it might have astonished, it had not “ Betterton had so just a sense of what was provoked him? for you may observe in this true or false applause, that I have heard him beautiful speech, the passion never rises beyond say, that he never thought any kind of it equal an almost breathless astonishment, or an im- to an allentive silence: that there were many palience, limited by filial reverence, to in- ways of deceiving an audience into a loud one; quire into the suspected wrongs that may have but to keep them hushed and quiet, was av raised him from the peaceful tomb, and a desire applause which only truth and merit could 10 know, what a spirit so seemingly distressed, arrive at, of which art there never was an

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