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the highest order, and his feelings could be instantaneously excited; but his person was without either dignity or grace, and his eye, though well placed for expression, wanted colour, as his face, though rather handsome, was too fleshy to shew all the muscular action, in which expression resides. He was neglectful too of such aids as might have been had to his figure. He paid not the slightest attention to costume, and was indifferent even as to the neatness or fitting of his dress. He affected to care nothing about it. He pleased himself that he could at length make you forget the want which needed not to have existed. All his excellencies were perfectly concomitant with propriety of dress. Had he studied appearance, his Lear might have been venerable. Al though his Hamlet could not be the mould of form,' it might easily have been the glass of fashion;' but he never looked even to the linings of the suit he wore; and once boasted that he had played, I think, ten characters consecutively, in the same coat. His conceptions were grand, and beautiful, and just; but they were often baffled by his execution of them. When Henderson's Lear was first discovered, he looked like Falstaff sitting as Henry the Fourth; and when Lear speaks in his sleep, and fancying himself on the point of gaining the battle, exclaims, Charge, charge upon the flank,' the tones were exactly those with which Falstaff encourages Hal in the combat with Percy; and excited a titter from so unsuitable a recollection. He had indeed made Falstaff his own, and the jolly knight seemed rather too kindly to have returned the compliment; for that vast soul of humour more or less informed all his other characters.



The power of Henderson was analytic. He was not contented with the mere light of common meaning,―he shewed it you through a prism, and refracted all the delicate and mingling hues, that enter into the composition of any ray of human character. Besides the philo. sophic ingenuity of such a design, he had a voice so flexible, that its tones conveyed all that his meaning would insinuate. I will try at least to make this clearer by an instance, and it shall be taken from a common book, The Sentimental Journey,' which every body has read to himself; and few, who have heard Henderson, would, I should think, venture to read to another. It opens with this trite remark, They order this matter, said I, better in France.' As it stands, it is a plain assertion, nothing more. As Henderson contrived to speak it, you felt that vanity was trying to take credit for foreign travel, without having stirred from home,-that it was not hearsay which he would deliver, but personal experience that he would insinuate. You knew from him distinctly, that it was a truth finessed. Let any other reader try this, and he will find what a task he has undertaken, and how little he can do. Often with powers of mimicry, that used to be thought exact, have I tried to give to my ear once more what it received from his utterance; but I am sure that something was wanting in every effort.

"He would sometimes delight to shew, without language, the rapid and opposite emotions, as they rise and chace each other in the mind. A masterly effort of this kind was Falstaff's reading the letter from Mrs. Ford, in the presence of the foolish carrion' Mrs. Quickly.

First, you saw that he had his belly full of Ford ;'-her messenger even was an object of detestation. He glanced over the beginning of the letter, and pished at its apologies. He turned again to the messenger, to see how her air was in unison with the language of her mistress. The cudgel of Ford then seemed to fall upon his shoulders, and he shrunk from the enterprize. He read a sentence or two of the letter, a spark of lechery twinkled in his eye, which turned for confirmation of his hopes upon love's ambassadress; and thus the images of suffering and desire, of alarm and enjoyment, succeeded one another, until at last the oil of incontinency in him settled above the water of the Thames, and the divinity of odd numbers determined him to risk the third adventure.'

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"In this bow of Ulysses few actors of the present day presume to shoot. Munden once told me, he had been all his life trying to make up his mind to it.' I am quite sure that he would stand the next to Henderson in the part. But he may, and probably will, close his career, and leave Falstaff unattempted.

"While treating of the comic powers of Henderson, I may be allowed to allude to those sportive effusions, which constituted a great charm in his society. One of his scenic inventions was the following. He represented Mr. Garrick in full preparation for the Jubilee at Stratford, calling upon his old master Johnson, to recite to him the Ode to Shakspeare. The Doctor was occupied sartorice, repairing some part of his dress,-a favourite cat was sporting about his chair; and the apprehensive author was trying to cover, by his brilliant recitation, the literary defects of his Ode. He gave you the most perfect imitation of Garrick. The critic thundered out his objections, and the writer timidly defended his composition. The sage rejoined with new point and more decisive manner; the reciter fluttered in hopeless and breathless alarm; and the style of Johnson's criticism was as like, as the voice and action of either pupil or master. I could wish that this effort, in particular, had been taken down, as he delivered it. There have been few imitations of the Johnsonian style of criticism so exact, and none so diverting. The Ode lay sufficiently open to an acute critic, and Henderson had well studied the remarks of the Doctor upon some of the minor poets.

"There were many other pleasantries, which my late amiable friend, his widow, used to remind me of, as we sat together reviewing the past; and I frequently requested her to write what she recollected of these jeux d'esprit; but I fear nothing was ever done. Who, besides, was there in existence to give them voice and gesture, and preserve, as he did, faithful copies of the distinguished originals? He used to revive his Garrick also in some of the busy scenes of his management. His . interviews with ladies of distinction,his interference for them with the box-office; aud mixed up a bustle of so much anxiety and smartness, importance, and politeness, as shewed the infinite details of theatrical superintendance in his time, and the restless diligence with which Garrick attended to every thing conducive to his success. I believe most of these exhibitions to have been grounded upon actual occurrences.

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"While I am thus recalling the charms of Henderson's society, I

must not omit those of his occasional readings to his friends, and which the public during Lent enjoyed at Freemason's Hall; 'where, with the elder Sheridan, he presented one of the most attic entertainments that was ever given. Henderson read chiefly from Sterne, whom he made very peculiarly his own; from Swift, from Prior, from Cowper, and a variety of amusing and interesting fugitive pieces, brought by him into general notice, and adorned with flashes of genuine humour, and the most exquisite sensibility. Here I saw, sitting in the front, the graceful form of Mrs. Siddons, and in her expressive countenance witnessed the triumph of the reader's skill. Lower down in the hall, was the fine and manly figure of Kemble, standing up with fixed attention, to hear from a rival artist some of the very pieces, which his early efforts had rendered the favourites of other and very different audiences.

"Such were the attractions in my early years. They have left im. pressions never to be effaced, I cannot expect to have many readers who remember these exhibitions of talent;-nearly forty years have passed away since they delighted and instructed us: all, therefore, that I can hope to do, is to keep the memory of them alive, till some great and original master of the art arise among us; that he may catch, from what has been done, the ambition to renew so refined an enjoyment, and redeem us as a people from minor amusements, which degrade at once our morals and our taste, and render the chance of better things rather an object of our prayers than our expectations."

The part chosen by Mr. Kemble for his first appearance was Hamlet. This play has excited more discussion in the critical world than perhaps all the other productions of its great author; but, while the commentators have been perplexed even to understand it, with the people at large it has ever been a chief favourite.

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"I remember speaking once with Mr. Kemble upon the question agitated among the critics, whether Othello or Macbeth were our poet's greatest production. The critics,' said he, may settle that point among them; they will decide only for themselves. As to the people, notice this, Mr. Boaden: take up any Shakspeare you will, from the first collection of his works to the last, which has been read, and look what play bears the most obvious signs of perusal. My life for it, they will be found in the volume which contains the play of Hamlet.' I dare say, in my time, some hundred copies have been inspected by me; but this test has never failed in a single instance."

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The character was, upon the whole, judiciously selected to suit the powers of the actor. The dignity of his person, his deliberation and solemnity, his measured deportment, and meditative character of countenance and demeanour, were all advantageous; while the defects of his voice were neither so annoying nor so incongruous as in many other parts. He speedily convinced the critical part of his audience that he

thought for himself, and had studied both his profession and his author with intensity and discrimination. Departing from the conventional mode long established by custom, and implicitly adopted by mediocrity, he ventured upon many new readings, several of which are noted by Mr. Boaden :

"A pretty extensive list of such points is before me, noticed by myself and by others, where Mr. Kemble differed from Garrick or Henderson, or both. I am therefore quite sure that I do not attribute to the beginning of his career what I only noticed in the progress. The points too are curious in themselves, and merit to be here preserved; besides, that criticism unexemplified is as fruitless as metaphysics where the terms are not defined. We must have the passage literally before us, to know what we talk about. The first objection was to an emphasis. He was introduced to say,

"Tis an un-weeded garden, that grows to seed.'

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"But Mr. Kemble thought, and justly, that unweeded' was quite as intelligible with the usual and proper accent as the improper one; and besides, that the exquisite modulation of the poet's verse should not be jolted out of its music, for the sake of giving a more pointed explanation of a word already sufficiently understood.

"Sir, my good FRIEND, I'll change that name with you.' "Thus Mr. Kemble, upon Horatio's saying to Hamlet that he was his poor servant ever. Dr. Johnson conceives it to mean, I'll be your servant, you shall be my friend.' In which case the emphasis would rest thus

"Sir, my good FRIEND, I'll change that name with you.' "Perhaps, it may be rather, 'Change the term servant into that of friend. Consider us, without regard to rank, as friends. Henderson evidently so understood it, for he said,

"I'll change that name with You.'"

The precise import of this line is not very clear, although it is not possible widely to mistake it. Mr. Boaden's exposition appears to be the most reasonable that can be given.

"It was, I think, a novelty, when, after having recognized Horatio and Marcellus by name, Mr. Kemble turned courteously towards Bernardo, and applied the 'Good even, sir,' to him. The commentators were too busy in debating whether it should be evening or morning, to bestow a thought as to the direction of this gentle salutation.

"It was observed how keenly Kemble inserted an insinuation of the King's intemperance, when he said to Horatio and the rest,—

"We'll teach you to DRINK deep,-ere you depart.'"

This last reading was, we think, decidedly wrong. The observation appears to be a mere colloquial pleasantry. It is most desirable to ascertain with precision the sense of an author; but we altogether disapprove of eliciting a meaning which was never intended.

"He restored, with the modern editors of Shakspeare, Dearest foe,' and Beteeme the winds of Heaven;' and he was greatly censured for doing so, because, as the first term is unknown to the moderns in the sense of most important, or, as Johnson thought, direst, and the word beteeme not known at all, the critic said, it might show reading so to speak them, but did not show clear meaning; a thing of more moment to a popular assembly. This is a question, I am sensible, on which a great deal may be said; but let it be observed, that it involves the integrity of a poet's text. For the present, let it rest.

66 6 My father, methinks I see my father,'

"Professor Richardson terms this the most solemn and striking apostrophe that ever poet invented.' Mr. Kemble seemed so to consider it-the image entirely possessed his imagination; and accordingly, after attempting to pronounce his panegyric

"He was a man, take him for all in all,'

a flood of tenderness came over him, and it was with tears he uttered, "I shall not look upon his like again.'

"I know the almost stoical firmness with which others declaim this passage; and the political opposition affected between the terms KING and MAN; but I must be excused, if I prefer the melting softness of Kemble, as more germane to the weakness and the melancholy' of Hamlet.

"Did you not speak to it?'

(To Horatio.)

"Not only personally put to Horatio, for this must certainly be done, with emphasis or without, (as the others had said they did not speak to the spectre, and had invited Horatio, that he might do so,) but emphatically and tenderly, as inferring from the peculiar intimacy between them, that he surely had ventured to enquire the cause of so awful a visitation. Mr. Steevens, from a pique which Mr. Kemble explained to me, thought fit to annoy him upon this innovation; and, without naming the object of his sarcasm, has left it in the margin of his Shakspeare.


'Be it remembered,' says that editor, that the words are not, as lately pronounced on the stage, Did not you speak to it?' but "Did you not speak to it?' How awkward will the innovated sense appear, if attempted to be produced from the passage as it really stands in the true copies!

"Did you not speak to it?'

The emphasis, therefore, should most certainly rest on speak.' "Here is, in the first place, a nis-statement.

Mr. Kemble never did so speak; but always placed the pronoun you before the negative ; and, as to the awkwardness, it may be more difficult to discover than the critic was aware.

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Shakspeare, when putting a question very personally indeed, preserves this very arrangement. As thus to Banquo in Macbeth:

"Do you not hope your children shall be kings?"


"Mr. Kemble, however, told me, that he had submitted this to Dr.

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