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country, in a certain deep and profound way of thinking, and a certain unattractive carriage, inconsistent with the facility of manner of the Romans, and that all the cbaracters appear to be English gentlemen.
One of the great merits of Mr. Talfourd's tragedy is, tbat while the subject of bis play, and the working out of bis plot are classical, or not of the romantic school, be has avoided tbe acknowledged error of the French, and the suggested fault of Addison. An ancient Greek would have treated the subject differently ; but then, to bave done so, he must have possessed only the knowledge of antiquity. It is impossible for any one now to produce a play which can be compared with any of the Greek dramas. The poet, to do so, must cast off the events and knowledge of two thousand years. He must attach himself only to the joys and glories of the present life : bis passions and affections must be excited by, and fixed upon, that only which is within his grasp : his religion must be that of gratitude, not of supplication and contemplation. He must sacrifice moral effect for plastic beauty, and sublimity for description, otherwise, however good his play may be, there can be no approach to the Greek drama, except in forin. Mr. Talfourd has chosen a Greek story, imagined Greek characters, on whom the Greek agency is made to act, yet be has not produced a Greek play. He bas, ås A. W. Schlegel says of Goëthe's Jphigenia,“ produced not so much an antique tragedy as a reflected image of it-a musical echo; but it is an image of exceeding beauty, and
“ A thing of beauty is a joy for ever ;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
- Pass into nothingness." If Dugald Stewart be correct when he defines genius to be a cultivated taste combined with a creative imagination, then assuredly lon is an effusion of genius. Beauty and grace are its characteristics : the efforts of imagination are regulated and barmonised by good taste; the excitement produced is always mental-there is no unnecessary vehemence or overpowering energy—the spirit that pervades the whole is ever sweet and tender, touching and contemplative-it is finished throughout with delicacy, and even serenity of execution, and deeply infused with purity and loftiness of feeling. In so pure a strain is Ion written, that we doubt wbether its author be able to represent the naturally fierce and sullen passions of men, their coarser vices, the mixed motives, and strong and faulty characters by which affairs of moment are actually conducted, and we are more confirmed in our doubt from the circumstance, that although Adrastus is described in an early scene as a heartless tyrant, yet on the stage be wins our sympathies and excites our pity by the touching events of his youth, and the unmerited sufferings of bis manhood ; indeed, we must confess, that wbile he lives, he is the most interesting character in the drama.
The minds of men of genius are generally to a certain extent acted on and affected by the prevailing taste and feelings of the age they adorn. The terrifie events and mighty changes, the wonderful inventions and discoveries, and what are called “improvements of the last fifty years,” have created new wants and cravings of the buman mind. The authors of modern works of imagination too often offend good taste by pampering a vitiated appetite for the intense, the feelings they contain are frequently those of a maniac, and the sentiments often the extravagant rarings of a disordered imagination. In no one instance does the author of Ion fall into this error ; for although there is in bis pages sometimes a redundancy of imagery, the overflow of the imaginative resources, and once or twice somewhat too much of wbat Dr. Johnson accuses Lord Bolingbroke, “the gorgeous glitter of declamation," yet Mr. Talfourd in general never oversteps the modesty wbich nature enjoins : his language for the most part is sober, reasonable, and subdued, and consequendy touching and pathetic.
Ion will suffer most when compared with the models in imitation of which it is written. The construction of the plot is faulty, unskilfully managed, the catastrophe is too apparent to the audience, tantalised by delay through a considerable part of the fourth act. The sentiments are also occasionally clothed in language much above their merits. However touching the love between lon and Clemanthe, and it is conceived with equal tenderness and dignity, it would bave been better omitted; it is an episode inconsistent with the unity of the design ; it is a sacrifice made to our supposed taste, and is at variance with the general tone of the play. It bas been objected to Ion that it is only a dramatic poem, and not adapted for representation. Its triumphant success on the stage is at once an answer to the latter part of the objection. The remark that without action, tragedy cannot exist, but that it may exist without manners, is as old as Aristotle, and is not inapplicable to lon, in which there is little diversity of character or manners, but no want of action. The reflections, ethical assertions, diction, and conceptions, are subordinate to the action and the plot, which is another requisite for tragedy. The length of our remarks on the play itself, leaves us but little space to notice the acting. The lon of Mr. Macready did ample justice to the conception of the poet; he completely realized the pure and higb-minded youth ; the defects of bis appearance vanished before the genius of the actor ; his description of the warrior, when he writhed
“ In the last grapple of his sinewy frame,
With conquering anguish,” with his dying wife by his side, and the innocent offspring of their affection, “ spreading its arms for its own resting-place," was toucbing and pathetic beyond description-had the group been drawn by the pencil of Michael Angelo himself, it could not have been more vividly before ihe imagination. The dignity and solemnity with which he dedicates himself to the destruction of the king, in the beautiful speech commencing,
“ Ye eldest gods, Who in po statues of exactest form
Are palpable," it would be impossible to excel, or, perhaps, to equal. The whole of the last scene was a magnificent piece of acting. Macready's conception of it was only to be equalled by his execution :-if there was one part finer than another it was the beroic excitement of Ion when the slave informs him that the pestilence bas abated. We do not recollect ever having seen this eminent actor to more advantage. One of the chief merits of Mr. Macready is, that he is not great only in the principal scenes of a play, but that he is great tbroughout the whole character; he never descends from, nor does he ever reach, the huper-tragic to the infra-colloquial—he is always equal, always the being he represents. The Clemanthe of Miss Tree is a chaste, beautiful, and exceedingly correct performance; she delights the eye by her appearance, and charms the heart by ber grace and pathos; there is a strong contrast between her Clemanthe and that of Miss Faucit. The only other performance to be praised was the Ctesipbon of Mr. H. Wallack, which was correct as well as unpre. tending; the otber characters were respectably filled, but wbat is mere respectability in theatrical representation?
The HAYMARKET.-If the restoration of a true theatrical taste is to be, as it easily may, effected, no small praise will be due to tbe exertions of Mr. Morris and the acting of Miss E. Tree: 'Those excellent old plays which instructed and amused the educated and refined amongst our parents, are now only to be beard and appreciated by their children at the Haymarket. Miss E. Tree has long had no rival in English comedy ; the truth and interest of the characters of these old dramas, the spirit and freshness of their developement, the wit, and nice and delicate allusions of their conversations, are portrayed and given by ber in a manner which it is scarcely possible to surpass. Old theatrical going people refer us to the "stars" of their youth, as superior to any actors now on the stage, but the fact is, they are, in many respects, more changed than the stage.
Whatever might have been the merits of others, the Rosalina, the Portia, the Myrrha, the Clemanthe, the Lady Townley, Lady Teazle, Mrs. Lovemore, and Donna Olivia of Miss Tree will bear comparison with the most popular of bygone days; they are representations of great talent, correct feeling, and exquisite taste. One of the greatest theatrical treats we have received, for long, has been in witnessing the performance of As You Like it, at this theatre. Miss Tree's Rosalina is the perfection of acting. The wit, gaiety, and good-bumour, the provoking loquacity and coquetry of this, by far the inost fascinating of Shakspeare's comic female characters, were finely blended by Miss Tree with deep passion, romantic courage, and real fondness. In every interview with Orlando, she brought to our recollection Hazlitt's happy remark on this character. " She talks herself out of breath only to get deeper in love." Her answer to Orlando, wben he promises to love her “ for ever and a day," was so full of fervent love and pretending cruelty. Miss Tree completely delighted and fascinated the audience. Vandenboff's performance of the contemplative Jacques, “ good Monsieur Melancboly," and Webster's representation of that “natural fool,” Touchstone, were both exceedingly good ; there is a fellow-feeling, a mutual friendship, a resemblance in the midst of contrarieties between these characters, which draws them together. Miss Vincent's Celia is a correct and meritorious performance, as is also Mr. Vining's Orlando ; Mrs. Humby's Audrey is worthy of an extended notice. A new piece, called The Ransom, the plot of which is very skilfully worked out, affords ample scope for some most touching and pathetic acting by Miss Tree, in the part of Pauline le Blanc; the struggle between her fear of blasting her own character and wounding her patron's peace of mind is really painful to witness; we do not, however, see what moral is intended to be conveyed' by rewarding Edward Durval, who robs bis father, with the hand of Pauline, whose character he allows for some time to suffer by the imputation of bis own crime.
The English OPERA House.—The Farmer's Story is a very interesting piece, and very well sustained by Mrs. Keeley, Serle, Wrench, and Oxberry, and is inuch more instructive than the agricultural meetings at the Crown and Anchor. We bad intended some extended remarks on this house, which will not suffer in reputation under the present management, but must defer them until next month, as our space is limited.
Tue STRAND also must stand over until our next.
THE BEULAH SPA, NORWOOD.
There are some peculiarities in the cockney character, to which we cannot feel ourselves bound in candour to plead guilty. One of the most conspicuous of these oddities, and it forms a sort of oasis, as it were, in the dreary desert of the dry and unnatural life of the inhabitant of a metropolitan city, is the propensity wbich all such persons have to pant for ever after the pleasures of a country life, to devour with avidity all the tales which the poetical imaginations of speculative travellers have recorded of the beauties of lakes, and rivers, and monntains--abrond ; and to overlook, in scorn and neglect, the ready and tangible advantages which are within their grasp, because they are-at home. They languish for the wine of Shiraz, which they can never get, and omit to quench their thirst with good sparkling gooseberry, quite as fine, but more homely.
Never were we more convinced of this truth, than when, a few days ago, we were Janguishing in the sultry abandonment of a London June-day. A thousand times did we curse that cruel fate which binds us to a perpetual and tantalizing town life, scarcely allowing us to squeeze more than a few days length of string per month, and compelling us to a precipitate return so soon as the short furlough bas expired. Lemonade, and the last new novel, " a still upravished bride of quietness," were tried, and as soon abandoned, for there was a fever within, that no artificial freshness would allay, “the fever of vain longing." We, too, thought of the lakes of Switzerland, and the lakes of Killarney, of the groves of Athens, and then, alas! of the groves of Blarney ; for still the sad reality was too stern for imagination or for hope. There was no escaping from the horrid fact, that the unpruned effusions of many green contributors had to be trimmed, and that the editor's quantum bad yet to be composed. Tbe utmost, then, we could do, was to escape for a few hours. Whither? By sex or by land ? Steam has put water out of the question. By land then. Be it so.
From deep reflection on the ways and means, we were aroused by a note of invi. tation to the Beulah Spa at Norwood, with a hint from the writer that we should not, in all probability, think an hour spent there an hour lost. It turned the scale, and in less than an hour and a half we were driving up to the lodge. We countess we are partial to lodges, for the lodge is a sort of index to the parent mansion ; there is, in our opinion, more than one kind of Lodge's portraits. In this case the lodge pleased us much, for it is as pretty a specimen of the rough and rustic, of the better. than-gothic, as could be produced, and it harmonizes with the tone of the rest of the place. Having here furnished ourselves with the necessary preliminary information, we set out on our stroll through the grounds, accompanied by a gentleman, whose thorough knowledge of the plan of the establishment enabled us to become identified with all that it is intended to make of the place, as well as with what has already been effected. And we were not sorry that we were led out in the manner we have described; for it has afforded us an opportunity of saying what we really think is deserved, in favour of an institution which, in spite of the tendencies of the age to quackery, presents sterling attractions of usefulness and enjoyment.
The inveteracy of custom alone can have prevented the virtues of the saline spring at Beulab, from placing it long ago first on the list of Spas. It appears by the analysis of some of the first chemists of the day, including Mr. Farraday, that the water contains the most approved and necessary part of the mineral impregnation in a greater proportion than does any mineral spring in England. This, of itseli, is sufficient to stamp its value as a conducive to health. But when to the advantages of the mineral waters, are added those of the fine pure air of the place, and the many delights attainable within its compass, we can conceive but one possible obstacle to the full accomplishment of the object of the projector of the present improvements-that of making the Beulah Spa eventually a place of resort for the nobilitry and gentry who usually frequent watering places. This obstacle could only consist in the want there has bitherto been of amusements of that superior kind which alone please the higher classes of this country, and we feel convinced that it will be overcome, and the possibility of its after-occurrence prevented.
First among the attractions of the Spa are the grounds themselves, which have been laid out under the superintendence of Mr. Atkinson, in a manner that reflects high credit on tbat gentleman's taste. As a specimen of the art of landscape gardening they deserve to stand alone, but they have still higher attractions, for within a comparatively small compass is collected every thing that can charm the eye or rouse the imagination. Without the slightest appearance of design, the spectator is yet imperceptibly led to all that enjoyment of a perpetual variety of beauties, which is generally only to be attained by ten times the exertion in a much less confined space. A winding, naturally varied pathway, intersected at every few paces by others striking in all directions, and forming an almost interminable labyrinth of cool retirements, leads round the whole, and presents one from time to time with the most delightful prospects. Here there is a quiet nook, an “alley green,” shut out from all observation, though not from all connexion with the main path, in which the mind as instantly throws off the wearying coil of human affairs, as though it were a thousand miles from the “infernal” city; and but a few paces onward the eye opens on a distant prospect such as none but the freshness and fertility of our own country gives, and delightfully expanding the mind after the concentration of the more sylvan scenes in which it has but a moment before buried itself. Such is the perpetual variety which a walk round and amid these grounds presents. There is scarcely a form in which the beautiful growth of wood and underwood presents itself, that has not been seized upon and realized here. Every turn of the winding path presents a scene of a totally different kind from its predecessors, and yet without creating anything approaching to patchwork, for each part barmonizes with the others, forming a most delightful whole. Lakes, waterfalls, interspersed, with rustic bridges, and other appropriate accessories, form a happy reliei to the more woody scenery that prevails.
The artificial amusements will be on a scale and conducted in a spirit of harmony with these natural beauties. The plan embraces all the usual attractions of a watering place--and more. High, on a natural terrace, overlooking not only the immediate beauties of the grounds at its feet, but also the fine prospect of miles and miles of country, where the fresh green of the nearer land gradually deepens into the dark purple till it blends with the distant horizon, or brightens up under the rays of a summer sun, commanding such an eternal resting place for the weakened inental powers of ill-health, will be erected a range of handsome buildings in the modern, the more than classical, style of refined elegance. These will serve as residences for the patients who may be induced to make their stay for the benefit of the waters, while centrically to this terrace, an hitel will afford accommodation to more transient visitors. Withiu the grounds thenıselves, refectories, reading-rooms, and other similar means of enjoyment are erected, and they will be conducted on the principal of affording the utmost possible advantage to the visitors, with as little of the constraint of custom as possible. There is also a rustic colonnade, or promenade, of great extent, wbich affords to invalids protection from the heat or cold, at the same time that it allows them a beautiful prospect. A concert-room, in wbich the most refined tastes will be consulted, and a variety of miscellaneous amusements of a similar kind, also form parts of the general plan.
From all tbis, it will be readily seen that the Beulah Spa affords attractions of no ordinary kind. The change from wbat it was to what it is, is striking and complete. We can scarcely conceive a place more eligible for the combined purposes of fasbion and health. Its nearness to town (not such a nearness as would make it a place of common resort) is its great recommendation, because in enables patients to combine the benefits of the best professional treatment with the pure delights of rural retirement, and the more exciting ones of occasional town life. They can have both almost simultaneously. Still, as we hinted before, every thing will depend upon the completion of the plan, on the full bearing out of the programme. If all is done that is promised, and, we confess, ihat what has already been done is an earnest of good faith in this respect; the proprietor has nothing whatever to fear, for he must succeed. We are glad also to hear that many of the nobility and gentry have already patronised the place. We know that the waters have been long in use by the discerning-by those who prefer thinking for themselves to following in the stream of fashion, a stream, bythe-by, the course of which is easily to be turned. Indeed, we think those of the nobility who have been here have shown their taste, for the place is admirably adapted for pic-nic parties, and there is as much seclusion and retirement as one could enjoy in one's own park.
A great press of matter prevented us from noticing last month,
THE FETE CHAMPETRE, RECENT'S PARK.-Amongst the out-door amusements of the season, no one has been more attractive, or assembled a gayer or more fashionable company than the fête champêtre, held in the Regent's Park, on Thursday and Friday last, in aid of the Royal Dispensary for Diseases of the Ear. It is well when charity and innocent healthful recreation can be thus combined. Amongst the many benevolent institutions in this country, there are few that have stronger claims upon public sympathy than that for which the fête was given. The situation of the poor afflicted with deafness is most deplorable: they are but too frequently delivered over by it to utter destitution. Until within these few years they have had no public place of refuge or aid in their misfortune ; but now, through the untiring energy of one man in particular, (Mr. Harrison Curtis,) not only has such means of public relief been provided, but the branch of medical science in which they must hope for alleviation or cure of their malady greatly advanced. In general, the fête in support of the Royal Dispensary for Diseases of the Ear is got up with great spirit and rendered highly attractive. It was not less so on this than on any former occasion. In reference to the opinion, wbether correct or otherwise, which condemns fancy fairs, that feature in tbis fête has been done away with, and replaced by a musical entertainment. Sir G. Smart, Mori, Moralt, and others of our leading musicians, with Miss Bruce, Miss Rainsforth, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam, and the Hungarian singers, contributed to the concert got up in this instance. Miss Raipsforth sang a very pleasing new song, “A Coronet may gild thy Brow." Amongst the company which attended the fête, were the young Princes of Orange, accompanied by Count Stirum, Sir H. Johnstone and suite. The princes appeared greatly interested in examining some of the children who bad reaped the benefits of the institution, and especially two children, who had been born deaf and dumb, and bad been sent to the institution by command of his Majesty, and they highly complimented Mr. Curtis for the assiduity and skill wbich be has exercised' with so much success in the benevolent object of his life's study and ambition. Among those who contributed gratuitously and so generously to these amusements, we think it a duty to record the very prominent talents displayed by Miss Tipping, the favourite pupil of Sir George Smari. To much personal attraction, she adds all the requisites of a first-rate vocalist, and, we think, that she is destined one day, and that no distant one, to take the lead among English artistes. We are old-fashioned enough to think there is a blessing in reserve for that genius that is always ready at the call of philantbropy.
THE COMMERCIAL RELATIONS OF THE COUNTRY.
We have really nothing to add to what, on this subject, we stated last month. Upon the whole, we are doing very well; that is, if we are not enjoying a war-prosperity, neither are we suffering under a peace-adver