ePub 版

Addle to marry his niece Timandra—at the catastrophe Sir John Winmore, Capt. Bellair and Ned Chollerick are married to Timandra, Flora and Melintha-^they are assisted by Decoy, who is a mercenary and rapacious match-maker—Freelove is married to Lucy, Sir John Winmore's cast mistress.

Richard the 3d was revived as altered by Cibber —it seems to have been printed without the names of the performers to the D. P. —this alteration is neither better nor worse than some other alterations that have been made from Shakspeare, but as it still keeps its place on the stage, it requires a more particular examination.

Cibber begins his play very quietly—like Homer—

"Non fumum ex fidgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem "Cogitat."

After some few speeches we are told—

"King Henry and ill fortune are familiar;

"He ever threw with an indifferent hand,

"But never yet was known to lose his patience."

This allusion to the gaming table was very natural in Cibber, the utmost that can possibly be said against it is, that it is an allusion not likely to have come into Lord Stanley's head, as gaming was not so fashionable in his time as in Cibber's.

When King Henry enters, he says—

"Would I were dead, if Heaven's good will were "so."

This line is taken from Henry 6th part 3d.

Next comes such a jumble of metaphors as one does not often meet with —

"When life's but a short chase, our game content, "Which most pursued, is most compell'd to fly; "And he that mounts him on the swiftest hope, "Shall often run his courser to a stand."

That the King should not know so distinguished a Nobleman as Lord Stanley is somewhat improbable; particularly as his Father had had several appointments under government, and been Chamberlain to the King himself—(Dugdale)—nor is it very likely that a Lieutenant of the Tower appointed by Henry the 6th should be continued in office by Edward the 4-th, and entrusted with the care of a prisoner of so much consequence Lord Stanley says—

"The English are high-mettled, Sir, and 'tis
"No easy part to sit 'em well—King Edward
"Feels their temper, and 'twill be hard to throw

Here Cibber seems to compare the English to a high-mettled horse, but it is not easy to comprehend what he means—the whole scene is wretched till Henry's last speech.

When Tressel enters Cibber borrows from Henry 4th, part 2d—what is said about Priam is so ill timed that it does Shakspeare no credit, and was not worth transplanting—Dryden observes that no man is at leisure to make sentences and similes when his soul is in an agony—Shakspeare says of Hotspur "his "spirit lent a fire, even to the dullest peasant in his "camp"—this is with manifest impropriety applied to Prince Edward, who was a youth.

King Henry. This Prologue lets me in
To a most fatal Tragedy to come.

This allusion to the stage is out of character. The description of Prince Edward's death is in part from Henry 6th part 3d—Shakspeare says—

"Speak like a subject, proud ambitious York! #**#*###*

"Whilst I propose the self.same words to thee."

Cibber says—
"Propose the self-same rebel words to thee."

It is difficult to conceive what Cibber meant by rebel words — if he meant rebellious words, this would be in direct opposition to the context—the Prince of Wales, speaking with his father's mouth, could not speak rebellious words to the Duke of York.

"The self■same words, rebel, to thee"

would be sense.

What is said about the frosty Caucasus &c. is from Richard the 2d—while Cibber was borrowing why did he omit?

"Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite
"By bare imagination of a feast."

Tho' to say the truth all these lines are too fanciful for a person in Henry's situation—Richard the 2d says—

"By heaven, I'll hate him everlastingly
"That bids me be of comfort any more."

This Cibber adopts but with his usual rage for change—Henry's last speech is altered from Richard the 2d Act 5th.

Hitherto Cibber has not given us any of the original play—in Gloster's Soliloquy, which follows, he foolishly omits the first 4 lines—the conclusion is in part from Henry 6th part 3d—it would have been better if he had inserted 6 lines more.

"Why I can smile and murder while I smile;

"And cry content to that which grieves my heart;

"And wet my cheeks with artificial tears

"And frame my face to all occasions:

"Can I do this and cannot get a crown?

"Tut! were it further off, I'll pluck it down."

Instead of which Cibber gives us 4 poor lines of his own.

The scene between the King and Gloster is taken from Henry 6th part 3d—with the addition of 3 or 4 insipid lines by Cibber—the Soliloquy is concluded from one of Gloster's in Richard the 3d—this scene, which Cibber has adopted, is not written in Shakspeare's happiest manner, and is inferiour to the

scenes which Cibber has omitted the 1st Act of

the original play required nothing but curtailment, and some unimportant alterations, but Cibber has omitted Clarence's dream and Queen Margaret's curses, which, as Dr. Warburton observes, are fine and artful—she prepares the audience, like another Cassandra, for the following Tragic revolutions.

[ocr errors]

Act 2d begins with an unimportant scene—Lord Stanley proposes to Tressel to go to Court (where Tressel, as a friend to Henry 6th could have no business) and speaks of Gloster's love to Lady Anne, which he could not possibly know—in Shakspeare Tressel attends on Lady Anne, but is a mute—Gloster enters—

"'Twas her excuse to avoid me—Alas!
"She keeps no bed—

"She has health enough to progress far as

"Tho' not to bear the sight of me.
"I cannot blame her—

These lines do Cibber credit—the conclusion of Gloster's speech and what he says about Edward are from Henry 6th part 3d—then follow some dull lines by Cibber.

The first 5 lines of Lady Anne's speech are from Henry 6th part 1st—what is said of Henry 5th is not at all suitable to Henry 6th—however as her speech in the Original is in part of it very poor, and as something was wanted, they may pass—Steevens in a note says that Cibber was so thoroughly convinced of the ridiculousness and improbability of this scene, that he thought himself obliged to make Tressel say—

"When future chronicles shall speak of this,
"They will be thought romance, not history."

If this play were altered so as to leave out this scene, the loss would not be great.

"My dukedom to a beggarly denier."

« 上一頁繼續 »