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tration of the mournful feelings--of the vehement and ravaging passions. She acts from the intensity of her emotions. She is a great performer, because, in similar circumstances in real life, she would have been a dauntless heroine, or perchance an impassioned criminal. The glance of indignation, the thrill of horror, the wail of despair, the pangs of jealousy, the delight of revenge, are represented by her with such inimitable truth, that they seem not to be assumed, but to emanate from a being fraught with these passions. They flow from her as from their natural fountain ; they gush forth like pent-up waters on the bursting forth of a lake in the mountains.
Phèdre is perhaps the most touching of Mademoiselle Rachel's representations. The wonderful delicacy with which Racine has softened whatever might be repugnant to modern feelings in that pathetic drama ; the dreadful agony of love contending with modesty, passion with duty ; the despair consequent on the rejection of an absorbing passion, by the man to whom existence had been devoted, were given by her with the utmost possible effect. In Hermione, there is more room for variety of performance. The tragic emotions are only called forth in their full violence in the last two acts ; but there they were given with the whole and terrible powers of the actress. In Chimène, too, in Corneille's noble tragedy of The Cid, she appears with equal force, and in a different character. If Phèdre represents the passions which distracted woman in antiquity, Chimène portrays her noblest attitude amid the chivalrous manners and elevated feelings of modern times. The contest of love with duty, of tenderness with pride, of the passion for glory with the impulse of the heart, which Corneille has there so admirably represented, met with a responsive echo in her bosom, and penetrated the breasts of all who witnessed it. In Les Horaces she was equally admirable. The contest between Roman patriotism and maidenly affection-between the agonies of love and the dictates of duty, which Livy so touchingly portrayed, and the poet has so admirably expanded, presented a worthy field for her dignified powers.
We prefer her in the tragedies of Corneille to any other parts. She is not tender enough for Racine, discursive enough for Voltaire ; but the noble sentiments and stately
verses of Corneille, interspersed with his occasional vehement bursts of passion, are peculiarly adapted for her magnificent powers. When we behold his pieces thus sustained, and recollect that it is the expiring genius of the French stage amidst the deluge of romantic barbarism, which is there embodied in so noble a form, we are impressed with the most melancholy feelings, and are tempted to exclaim, with the poet, on seeing the representation of ancient greatness by Kemble
“Thou last of all the Romans, fare-thee-well !"
A most erroneous estimate would be formed of Miss Helen Faucit and Mademoiselle Rachel's powers by the amount of present celebrity which they enjoy in ordinary society. You constantly hear in the world that the
of great performers is past; that there are now no Garricks or Siddons's in existence—that the degradation of the stage is owing to the want of genius in the performers. There never was a greater mistake. The fault is not in them, but in ourselves. The testimony of one who is old enough to have beheld both, and saw Siddons and Kemble early in life, when excellence, especially in woman, produces the strongest impression, may be relied on for the assertion, that the performances of these two actresses were never outdone in the olden time. Why, then, are they not, as their great predecessors were, overloaded by a nation's gratitude ? Because the nation has become incapable of appreciating them ; because the multitudes who now fill the theatres have become impatient for ruder and more sensual attractions. Admiration of them is confined to the really educated and refined ; and how many are they in society ? Not one in a hundred ! It is “ Free Trade in Theatres” which has ruined the stage. A class has come to form the majority in every theatre, which is incapable of appreciating anything which is not addressed to the senses. In these days a majority rules everything, and the majority who now fill our theatres are ill-informed persons, alive only to the impulse of the
Thence the decline of the drama. In the days of Kemble and Siddons, ten minor theatres were not catering in London for the desires of an ignorant and sensual multitude ; they had not to contend with the “ Crusaders,” or
“ Mrs Caudle's Curtain Lectures ;" the “ Pas des Déesses” did not attract crowds by the prodigal display of female charms. In every country, and in every art, there is a period of purity in the national taste, and a period of corruption. We have fallen into the sere leaf.
Mademoiselle JENNY LIND created so great a sensation while her performances lasted, that any account of the British Theatre during the last half century may justly be regarded as imperfect which did not give some description of her wonderful powers. As a vocalist she is in some respects supreme : her power of prolonging a single note, of warbling on a single key, is unrivalled. She is charming in pastorals and lighter pieces : her delineation of Innocence in the Sonnambula, and of arch but yet faithful gaiety in the Figlia del Regimento, were inimitable, and have deservedly won for her the marvellous reputation which she enjoys. But as a tragic actress she cannot be said to have risen to great eminence. Her Lucia di Lammermoor and Norma were failures. Her powers were not adapted for these deeply tragic parts.
She is the Calderon, not the Schiller of dramatic poetry; the Aminta of Tasso or the Pasto Fido of Guarini would suit her better than either Phèdre or Juliet. Within her appropriate limits she is fascinating and delightful, and we know not whether to admire most her enchanting vocal powers, or the sweetness, simplicity, and pathos of her acting. But she is not inspired by Melpomene, and would do well not to attempt the higher flights of the tragic muse.
If these flights are unsuitable to Mademoiselle Jenny Lind, as much are they adapted to her great rival on the opera stage, Madame Grisi. It is impossible to witness the chief parts of this celebrated performer without feeling that, in addition to her extraordinary vocal powers, she is a great tragic actress. Her period of life, figure, and mental temperament render her unsuitable for the expression of the tender passions. She has nothing pastoral or winning in her composition. She is not the person to play Lucia di Lammermoor or the Sonnambula. But in the delineation of the tragic passions——in the expression of jealousy, grief, hatred, anger, or despair-she is supremely great. Her figure, too large for juvenile characters, is admirably adapted
for the dignified matron ; her countenance, eminently expressive, portrays all the strongest passions which can agitate the breast; her voice, powerful and melodious beyond example, alternately melts our hearts with the emotions of pity, and thrills them with the agonies of terror. There is nothing that is now, or ever was, on the stage superior to the last scenes of her Norma and Lucretia Borgia,
(BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, Feb. 1847 ]
"FREE TRADE,” say the Americans, “is another word for direct taxation, and direct taxation is another word for repudiation of states' debts.” The Americans are right; it is so : and the strongest proof of these propositions is to be found in the conduct of the Americans themselves. The subject, however, is one not less interesting on this than on the other side of the Atlantic. It involves the fortune and the temporal prosperity of every man in the kingdom ; and we do not hesitate to say that, on the embracing of correct views on this all-important subject by the constituencies of the United Kingdom, the maintenance of the public credit, the upholding of the public prosperity, the ultimate existence of England as an independent nation must come to depend.
We hear much, in the popular phrase of the day, of “great facts." We will
We will assume “free trade” as a “great fact.” We will not stop to inquire how it was brought about, or whether, by any means, it could have been avoided. As little shall we stop to ask whether direct or indirect taxation is the best, or whether a mixture of both is to be recommended. We shall not inquire whether it is better to pay taxes on the price of the articles we purchase, when the amount is not perceived, or, if perceived, seldom objected to, at least against Government, and when the disagreeable operation of paying money is compensated, in some degree, by the pleasure derived from the article purchased, -or to pay them at once to the tax-gatherer, when we get nothing for our ample disbursements but a bit of paper from the collector to remind us of