The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4.
carried, in meaner metal, the countenance of our Founder, that godly and royal child, King Edward the Sixth, the flower of the Tudor name—­the young flower that was untimely cropt, as it began to fill our land with its early odors—­the boy-patron of boys—­the serious and holy child who walked with Cranmer and Bidley—­fit associate, in those tender years, for the bishops, and future martyrs of our Church, to receive, or, (as occasion sometimes proved,) to give instruction.

  “But, ah! what means the silent tear? 
    Why, e’en ’mid joy, my bosom heave? 
  Ye long-lost scenes, enchantments dear! 
    Lo! now I linger o’er your grave.

  “—­Fly, then, ye hours of rosy hue,
    And bear away the bloom of years! 
  And quick succeed, ye sickly crew
    Of doubts and sorrows, pains and fears!

  “Still will I ponder Fate’s unaltered plan,
  Nor, tracing back the child, forget that I am man."[1]

[Footnote 1:  Lines meditated in the cloisters of Christ’s Hospital, in the “Poetics,” of Mr. George Dyer.]

* * * * *

ON THE TRAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEARE.

CONSIDERED WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR FITNESS FOR STAGE-REPRESENTATION.

Taking a turn the other day in the Abbey, I was struck with the affected attitude of a figure, which I do not remember to have seen before, and which upon examination proved to be a whole-length of the celebrated Mr. Garrick.  Though I would not go so far with some good Catholics abroad as to shut players altogether out of consecrated ground, yet I own I was not a little scandalized at the introduction of theatrical airs and gestures into a place set apart to remind us of the saddest realities.  Going nearer, I found inscribed under this harlequin figure the following lines:—­

  “To paint fair Nature, by divine command
  Her magic pencil in his glowing hand,
  A Shakspeare rose; then, to expand his fame
  Wide o’er this breathing world, a Garrick came. 
  Though sunk in death the forms the Poet drew,
  The Actor’s genius bade them breathe anew;
  Though, like the bard himself, in night they lay,
  Immortal Garrick called them back to day: 
  And till Eternity with power sublime
  Shall mark the mortal hour of hoary Time,
  Shakspeare and Garrick like twin-stars shall shine,
  And earth irradiate with a beam divine.”

It would be an insult to my readers’ understandings to attempt anything like a criticism on this farrago of false thoughts and nonsense.  But the reflection it led me into was a kind of wonder, how, from the days of the actor here celebrated to our own, it should have been the fashion to compliment every performer in his turn, that has had the luck to please the Town in any of the great characters of Shakspeare, with the notion of possessing a mind congenial with the poet’s; how people should come thus unaccountably

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The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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