Page images
PDF
EPUB

metropolis was concerned. “ Auld tion-the one swinging in chains Clootie," clapped his wings, and upon his gibbet, the other lying crowing out, “ Long live the system, murdered in his shroud of silk. The soon soared above the spires of fault of this is laid, and most unDublin. As he rose into the ele- justly, upon the savage disposition of ments, a laugh that seemed upborne the lower orders of the people. The upon a cloud of whiskey almost Irish peasant is truly a maligned and stunned and stupefied his faculties; misrepresented character. Descrilied it was from the Beefsteak Club in to strangers as naturally vicious, he full chorus-one-half were bowing is, in fact, only the victim of a system the Viceroy out of the room, and which is so. By nature, he is a gethe rest were toasting “ the exports nerous, and even a noble creatureof Ireland.” Now these men were the his errors are conventional, forced magnates of the land, yet the “elo- on him by a policy as unwise as it is quent cup” only inspired them into unfeeling; and then, by an argument discord-music, which has power to as untrue as it is illogical-he is ar“ soften rocks," has none over the raigned as the cause of evils, of “ savage breast” of faction.

which, in reality, he is but the effect. A mere point of time sufficed to Driven by despair to deeds of horror, exhibit the whole country to one he is accused of cruelty-disheartenwhose “passage of a hemisphere ed from industry by the denial of its was but as the waving of a wing." rewards, he is accused of indolenceIt lay outspread beneath him, and so living in a country which he hears is far as nature was concerned, a beau- free, he finds himself the bondsman tiful picture it was. Hill and dale of some hereditary absentee-belongcovered with a carpet of verdure- ing to a community which boasts itrivers without number fit for all the self Christian, he knows there is a purposes of navigation-mountains penalty attached to his creed—he is of rifted rock that seemed to rise condemned to hopeless misery in this above the landscape, but to heighten world, and then impeded in securing its sweetness by the contrast-lakes a reversionary reparation in the next. of such extent that old Neptune Heaven is obscured to him, and earth would have seemed to claim domi- is made a purgatory. If the Irish nion within the very bosom of the peasant ventures upon a little farm, land, was it not that earth redeemed it is instantly visited by worse than her empire by the little tufted islets the plagues of Egypt,the non-rethat embellished them—such was sident landlord overloads it with rent the scene which the first morning's his pettyfogging agent requires a eye beheld in Ireland. Man, na- perquisite for forbearance—the Proture's last, and in that country, her testant parson takes its heterodox. worst production, had not yet defiled tithe--the Catholic priest gleans next it. *

in the name of God-and, last of all, It was strange to observe, as it comes some locust of taxation to lay were in a bird's-eye view, the varied it bare of every living thing, except population which deformed that sur- the litter of children who howl the face-there was every form and mountain echoes into hoarseness ! grade of human wretchedness, from What can be expected from such the slave, who shivered in the breeze extremity of suffering ? Nothing, without a rag to cover him, up to except what actually does take place the petty despot, who heartlessly-periodical visitations of rape, masdespoiled him of all he had left to sacre, and famine, succeeded by the give—the pittance of his labour. Stillness, not of peace, but of desoEach were pitiable, and it was hard lation. * It so happened that, to say which was most so, the plun- when Satan was in the midst of his derer, or the plundered—the one suf- survey, he had a refreshing view of fering from the penalty inflicted, the a practical part of the systemother from the anticipated reprisal. twelve fathers of families Though this outcast people are dragged along to the shore, chainamong the most patient that crawled together, for instant transportaunder the canopy of heaven, still that tion, followed by the cries of their reprisal, at times, has taken place widows and their orphans—never terrible to both, and difficult of elec- again, perhaps, were they to be

were

hold the face of friend or kindred:', the chuckle of the triumphant plus -but who can say they did not de- ralist, whose very nose gave token serve the deprivation?--they had dared of “ the glorious memory," and beto take a walk in the open air for half fore whose vision a mitre danced in an hour after sunset, without being able the perspective! Three cheers from to account satisfactorily for the excurs the soldiery completed the glories of sion.-Alas! alas! is there not in the church militant, and the devil that Arab tribe of legislators, whose rebellowed them as far upward as he restless humanity roves across the could, lest heaven should not hear ocean to convert the Hindoo and re- them.-Soaring along he cursed Tom deem the Hottentot-is there not one Paine and his labours, and wished whose sympathy can postpone its within his heart the Turks would travels to act for a moment the Sa- become such Christians as the Irish. maritan at home? Is the fellow-sub- Elated with what he saw, Satan ject less deserving than the foreigner cast a farewell glance over the island, --the white man than the negro- and departed. He felt that whatthe christian than the infidel ? Away ever appearances it might assume, it with that vagabond spirit of philan- was his, and for ever-he felt that thropy which strides over the pros- whatever green spots or peaceful intrate body of its neighbour to roam tervals there might arise within it, around the world in search of exotic still it was only a political volcano, calamities. If the Christian religion filled with internal fire, and ready be their stimulus, or its spirit their for a fresh eruption. A populaincentive, the very next scene was tion, uneducated, impoverished, and one by which their morals, their hu- oppressed—a government vacillatmanity, and their faith should be ing and divided an establishment equally embarrassed—it was suffi- gorgeously provided for the few, by, cient to make nature shudder and the reluctant privations of the many Christianity ashamed—the devil bap- -a system of rackrent, tithing, and pened to look down upon a church- taxation almost without equivalent, yard, as by law established'-a and apparently without end- a clergy crowd of mourning friends and kin- preaching lowliness and professing dred were about to bid a last fare- poverty, yet wallowing in wealth and well to one they loved and honoured, shouting ascendancy-an absentee and the pastor of their faith knelt aristocracy, without either sympathy. down to offer over the grave his or pity, through the veins of whose parting benediction.

At the very tenantry the blood of the land is moment when every heart was bowed sucked-power struggling for the res and every eye was dimmed, another tention of its monopoly-superstition, pastor-a Christian pastor +-entered burning for its revenge and its ag. at the head of an armed soldiery to grandisement-a selfish spirit of disdrive heterodox affliction from the sension in all, with scarce a redeemfreehold of the church!!-As the mi- ing quality of patriotism in any litary rushed across the grave, a few these were the materials on which, loose stones falling on the coffin Satan built the foundation of his emseemed to speak the awful reproach pire, and on these he relied, defying of another world—it was echoed by Prince Hohenlohe and all his works.

. See the accounts under the insurrection act in the south.
+ See the recent occurrences in some parts of Ireland.

OBSERVATIONS ON “ THE GHOST-PLAYER'S GUIDE," And on the invariable Tendency to Corpulence in Shakspeare's Ghosts :

TOGETHER WITH

CURSORY REMARKS ON SWEARING. MR. UMBRA, who has written so in which the paunches of ghosts elaborately in favour of half-starved should be, when they visit the spirits, in the last number of the glimpses of the moon to hunt for London MAGAZINE, has clearly glow-worms (a foolish light, by the paid much attention to the condition way, to hunt by!) And, certes, he has chalked out the path which of adequate representation. At any ghosts should walk, as strictly as rate there are a hundred characters though they were about to do some more difficult ;-Puck, Titania, Musspiritual-Barclay match of 1000 tard-seed, Macbeth, Pease-blossom, miles in 1000 hours ;-but, having Coriolanus, the Witches, &c. Mr. myself devoted much time and Umbra would except from the liabilithought to Shakspeare's ghosts, and ty to answer the question, several of finding my conclusions to differ ma- these characters as utterly unrepreterially from those of Mr. Umbra, I sentable ; but surely it is not more am tempted to examine his essay in difficult for Ariel to take a ground several of its parts, and to offer my floor in a cowslip, than for the Ghost simple notions on the sort of bodies in Hamlet to sink in the earth, or to which ghosts ought to be. Mr. smell the morning air. “ The King" Umbra would have them poor, airi- is supposed to smell the morning air ; fied, thin things, seen at a distance, –and, Ariel may be supposed to and gliding to and fro on feet which sneak into a flower.

[graphic]

Or proper “prate not of their whereabout;"-he cowslips for the occasion can be had would shoe them with felt, dress at Covent-Garden ;-cowslips as cathem in an atmosphere of blue gauzė, pacious as cabriolets : or indeed very and send them about, with nothing little creatures may be hired for but the wind on their stomachs, to Ariels. If fit bodies could not easily walk the night. I am not with Mr. be obtained for certain characters, Umbra, and, respectfully be it spoken, Romeo and Juliet could not be perI think Shakspeare himself would formed for want of an Apothecary; protest (could he be consulted) he in- neither could Macbeth proceed in the tended the senior Mr. Hamlet, the paucity of a Fleance. But to the defunct Mr. J. Cæsar, Henry and business in hand. Company at Bosworth, and Banquo I pass over the general remarks on at the banquet, to be all solid, sub- the poetical beauty of the Ghost in stantial, positive people,-spirits in Hamlet,—which I believe no reader good case--not exactly Lamberts of can deny; and come to the rules the air, but “the substantials, Sir which Mr. Umbra lays down for all Giles, the substantials;" certainly future Ghost-players, and which rules not a set of whining vaporous Mas- I shall take leave to demolish one by ter Slenders and Master Silences, one, and with little remorse,—for can sneaking about the earth as though there be a more heinous sin than to they were after henroosts and or- erect a lying direction-post in our chards. 1 am of Shakspeare's opi- spiritual paths. Mr. Umbra's first. nion -and therefore let good-man rule is as follows :Umbra look to his Essay! I shall not only entirely overthrow all his

In the first place : under the present rerules for famished ghosts, but shall gime, the ghost marches in a mathematical show how incorrect he is in his ideas right line across the stage, within trunof spiritual attire. If indeed there cheon's length of the foot-lights. Now is any thing on earth I understand, it it is an unnecessary one. By this means,

this is about as ill-judged a proceeding ás is ghostly tailorship! Oh! I could whatever unhappy defects the body corpodevise such a pair of breeches for a ral of the ghost may labour under, whether spirit, as Banquo would jump at: they it be redundant in point of flesh, or curtailshould be made of a stuff to weared in point of stature, whether it be supwell—everlasting, cut by the shears ported on pins or pillars,—whatever be its of Fate!

defects, they are sure to be glaringly exhiI have little to say in reply to the bited, while thus paraded before the auquestion of " which character in dience, wántonly paraded, in the full blaze Shakspeare is most difficult to play?” of the burners, and for the whole breadth The Fool in Lear would puzzle the of the stage. Besides, any lapse in the Fool in Life, but a sensible man gait, a trip or a faux-pas, any law or fismight make something of the part: or a basin-shaped helmet

, nay the very

sure in the panoply, an ill-fitting greave, Hamlet, played “as he ought to be, crackling of the buckram, can be recognot as he is," might perhaps be an nized with the utmost facility, whilst the answer to the question. The ghosts Apparition thus stalks, upon the very brow, I think, enacted according to my in- I may say, of the orchestra, near enough fallible rules, are perhaps the easiest to shake hands if he chose it, with his sub.

1

funary acquaintances in the pit, and at a in describing the visit to Hamlet, pace funereal, as if to invite an inquisition says which he is seldom prepared to defy. Now there is not the smallest necessity that the

A figure like your father, Ghost should expose himself, with so much Arned at point, exactly, cap-à-pė, danger to the solemnity of the scene, in Appears before them,--and with solemn this barefaced manner; there is nothing

march in the part which calls upon him to display

Goes slow and stately by them; thrice he his

walk'd and accoutrements (both of which person are generally of such a description as should By their oppress'd and fear-surprized eyes, court the shade) like a peripatetic brother Within his truncheon's length? at Bartholomew Fair. The first rule, then,

There is in truth no one passage to be observed by the judicious Ghostplayer, is,--dever to let his desire for ad which warrants the ghost in being miration tempt him to the front of the kept in the back-ground. He is å stage, unless the mechanism of the piece stately, solemn, well-informed percompel him to transgress this salutary pre. sonage that does not blink the quescept. Let the ghost always appear in the tion (except when too rudely put by back ground; or, if necessary, let him walk Horatio); but, haying to out with down the stage by the side scenes, disap- a murder to his son, appears in his pearing as distantly from the proscenium as

armour and original figure, and uses possible. In short, -- let him alwuys be at

no disguise. What therefore bethe most distant point of visibility, and be as dim, as shadowy, and indefinite, as is he be always "at the most distant point

comes of the direction of Umbra, that compatible with being scen.

of visibility, and be as dim, as shadowy Now in my first place, why should and indefinite, as is compatible with bea not ghosts march in a mathematical

ing seen. right line across the front of the stage? or rather what could justify In the second place: our Ghost-players, the ghost in glimmering indistinctly instead of sweeping over the stage in a suit in at the back. He cannot indeed comporting with the dignity and darkness approach too near the foot lights, of the scene, generally choose to faunt it in which are the only things that could

a crimson scarf, or a blanket.cloak tastily supply the glow-worm's place or suspended from the shoulder after the man

ner of an hussar's hanging-jacket, or fallwarrant the allusion to it; and as to ing over the corslet like a waggoner's his dress crackling,or his foot catching, smock-frock. I speak of such ghosts as I the apprehension is wholly idle and have lately seen at our two great houses : groundless. The armour or clothing if others of the fraternity show a better of a ghost is not necessarily ethereal judgment in the choice of their wardrobe,

" in complete steel,” that is the they are to consider themselves as not afe phrase; now I put it to any reason- fected by this criticism. But as for those able man to say whether a creature gentlemien-ghosts who dress themselvès out so habited is bound to walk as if he as if they were going to a masque or a were in wool? Then the allusion fancy-ball, in garments foreign to their to stumbling is beneath my notice;

character, it is proper that I should inform and even if a false step were com

them,--they quite mistake the matter. The mitted, could that be improper in a player's Guide, in allusion to this circum

second rule, promulgated by the Ghostfallen spirit, who clearly must have stance, is this, videlicet : that a ghost been accustomed to it? - Mr. Umbra should rear no faring colours whatevers would keep the ghost ever in the back- but (if he must wear clothes at all), be as ground, or set him sneaking down dark and as dismal as an alchemist or an the side scenes on tiptoe, like a cat undertaker, as muffled and mysterious as a after a tomtit, as though forsooth the monk or a mourner. This hint should be business of the scene would admit directed perhaps rather to the managers of it, or the speeches of the haunted than to the performers, as it is not always warrant it: for instance, Horatio in in the power of a ghost to choose his own the first scene says, “ I'll cross it, the managers of the two houses aforesaid,

clothes. And I would earnestly beseech though it blast me.' And Marcel lus anou exclaims “shall I strike at lion which blazes upon their scenery, and

to convert a little of the superfluous bulit with my partizan!” Now how fickers upon the tops, taits, and toes, of could Horatio intercept a ghost at a their dancers, into a suit of apparel fit for a distance, or Marcellus strike at a gentleman-ghost to appcar in. thing out of all reach. Horatio too,

The Ghost ought to appear in a complete exertion. Having thus proved the suit of armour: I should not contend that ghost's original to have been, in existit be “ steel,” though the text so advises ence, a gentleman of aldermanic perus, because this would be perhaps super. son and propensities, I come to jus=; fluous on account of the distance; but it tify a transfer of the suet to his should be a splendid and entire suit of warlike panoply, -burnished tin we will say. scribed to Hamlet as

ethereal image. The ghost is des The effect night be heightened, if neces

a figure like

I sary, by a thin, gauzy, sombre raiment your father”-Horatio says, thrown over the armour, which would give knew your father ; these hands are a cloudy, indefined appearance to the not more like;" and, on its first apfigure ; but by attending to the first rule of pearance, Marcellus asks of Horatio always keeping in the back ground, this ** Is it not like the King ?” to which part of the paraphernalia might be dis. the reply is “ as thou art to thypensed with. A crest of black and waving self !” Hamlet knows his parent the plumes would confer altitude and majesty moment the Ghost enters-and could where these qualifications rarely exist, sci

all these speeches and confirmations licet, in the persons of ghost-players in be borne, if a poor silent withered general, who are for the most part fat little fellows of about five feet and an inch, with anatomy of a man were to glide in Canopus bellies and bandy legs.

no more like my father, than I to Here Mr. Umbra is throughout is not to be endured. It is mon

Hercules !” The idea of a thin ghost quite at fault, and I must take the

strous ! liberty of proving him to be so. But to the last sentence in the extract I bra in his mode of apparelling our

I agree not either with Mr. Ummust first reply, as it clearly proves spirit. Why should “a ghost wear that the author's notion of the Ghost

no flaring colours whatever”?--Supis not such as a sensible man should entertain; it is to my understanding life-time to have admired a crimson

pose the old King Hamlet in his a covert objection to the comfortable scarf, or to have been partial to a and reasonable corpulence of the spi- loose cloak; would it be reasonable rit, an objection which I will oppose

or fair in us to have expected his so long as I have an ounce of flesh on my bones. I do solemnly, assert jacket? Oh no!“ Let him, says Mr.

spirit to forsake a favourite colour or that the Ghost in Hamlet ought to be Umbra, meaning the Ghost, be as fat, weighty, and impressive-not. a dark and as dismal as an alchemist thing to ride feather weight for a sil

or an undertaker.” Zounds! (for I ver cup-but a person that might

go to scale," and not be found get nearly out of patience) Zounds! wanting in the lists: a substantial, rit have been known as the King ?

I say, how would such a dowdy spigood, ghost ! In the first place, to go What a pretty figure would such a back to the ghost's original, it is very long stick of slate pencil cut before clear from evidence on record that the following description of his late Hamlet's father was a man of rather

lamented Majesty. a corpulent turn. His habits bespeak it. He describes himself as having See, what a grace was seated on this brow, been sleeping in his orchard—his Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself; custom always of an afternoon,”- An eye like Mars to threaten and com

mand; we all know that men who sleep after dinner, are not your puny, wiry A station like the Herald Mercury fellows,but rogues that run to

New lighted on a Heaven-kissing hill; belly,-varlets that have consider, Where every God did seem to set his seal,

A combination, and a form indeed, able linings to their waistcoats. Old To give the world assurance of a man. Mr. Hamlet was just one of these. His son, in referring to his picture, Is a King, thus admirably fashionexclaims, “ Could you on this faired, to be libelled by a gloomy old mountain leave,” &c. This moun- pope of a ghost, as Mr. Umbra would tain could have but one explanation! endeavour to make him? I do agree, Besides, Hamlet himself, who may I admit, with Mr. Umbra in this, that be expected to take after his father, the dress ought to be armour-but I is mentioned as being fat and scant protest against its brightness being of breath,” that is, pursy, like his rendered sombre by gauze,ếor the parent ;-full, and puffy at a little warlike panoply being “ read at a

60

-now

« PreviousContinue »