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'twas thine to make the bliss
Who look not smiles, and weep not tears;
The Vale of Avoca.
And I have stray'd by Avon's side,
Of nature's wild varieties;
I shudder'd to gaze on the haunts of men,
As I looked on that Vale, and its cloudless skies! Here there was loveliness, springing free
As the sparkling flowers, whose bright'ning beam And magical tints lay beauteously
Shrin'd in the brilliant and silent streamThere was a blue and motionless sky,
Where not a speck of another hue Stole in, to chequer the lovely dye Of that celestial and pathless blue.
Shrine of the heart! the pilgrim's pray'r,
'The Dramatic Observer.
From view-darkness had wrapt them all,
the soul's uncheck'd emotion
For ever bright, for ever gay,
I have not bid thee yet farewell!
Shrine of the heart!-not yet-not yet-
The Dramatic Observer.
Praise where you can-be candid where you must.
THE Melo-Drame is, perhaps, the most irregular branch of dramatic composition; its attributes are borrowed from Tragedy, Comedy and Opera, and while it partakes of their individual character, it combines the peculiarities of cach. Garrick and Foote, it is probable, never anticipated its introduction; for the one gathered all the hints which he thought worthy of improvement from the continental theatres, and the other copied broad and ludicrous nature in her laughing and ridiculous moods-but they went no further. In adapting an After-piece to our stage, they deemed consistency of character one of its chief beauties and most essential-a serious representation was not broken in upon by music, dancing and ribaldry; and a comic entertainment was seldom disturbed by the solemnity of tragic bombast. Perhaps Garrick received but a partial encomium on his merits when he was called the English Roscius,-while Foote's talents were fully appreciated in the title of the modern Aristophanes. Yet while we revere the taste of our predecessors, we should not unjustly disavow the claims of our cotemporaries, who have brought forward so novel an exhibition as the Melo-Drame. We believe the idea was originally suggested by the French, who are most prolific in productions of this kind, and to whom we are indebted for some of the best that are redresented in our theatres. To this class belongs the Vampire,"
The Dramatic Observer.
which was announced with a preamble likely to produce, if not interest, at least curiosity among the citizens. It was stated in the bills that when this piece was performed at Paris, it produced an effect almost electrical on the audiences-and that its story was founded on an old Levantic legend, which described the nature and avocations of those unearthly beings called Vampires. In a former number of this volume we have spoken, under the head of "Popular Traditions," respecting the superstitious belief entertained in many parts of the Continent on the subject of Vampirism. We will now simply offer an opinion on the Melo-Drame before us, which embodies all the horrors of that disgusting fiction.
Our Readers are already aware, that a Vampire is no less a personage than a blood-sucker-that he is gifted with the power of assuming the form and appearance of the deceased in all their living energiesand that he is permitted to walk the earth, winding himself into the affections of those credulous mortals that are most likely to fall under his snares. The author of the After-piece has tacked an additional fable to the romance of Vampirism, (it is at least new to us.) The Vampire is allowed to exist a limited time, before the expiration of which he must provide his appetite with a young maiden, whose bridal and death can alone save him from dissolution. When the last day of his charter arrives, all this must be accomplished before the moon sets-should he fail, his stipulated life is forfeited. This reminded us of the fairy tales which amused and terrified our childhood; -the offerings which were annually made to satiate the cruelty of Giants and Enchanters, and the distress occasioned by their enormous rapacity; it reminded us of Vathek, when he sacrificed the fifty children-it reminded us of the Tales of Terror-all of which we had patiently perused and silently concluded; but even with those recollections we could not sanction the representation of the "Vampire.”
The beautiful daughter of Lord Ruthven is captivated by one of those fiends, who possess, it would appear, a supernatural attraction. He woos her for the purpose of immolating her-the idea and the manner in which it is pursued are revolting. In an attempt he makes upon a peasant's bride he is assaulted and killed, he here uses another privilege; and, as he is dying, requests Lord Ruthven, who, deceived by his wiles, becomes his attached friend, to lay him on a hillock where the moon's light may fall on his body; this produces a resuscitation, and the Vampire appears the next morning at the Castle. The bridal ceremony goes forward, and the maiden feels a horror at sight of her intended husband, from having had a dream in which she saw him in his real character; still, however, the potent sway influences her and she yields; the last scene represents a Chapel, at the back a Gothic window, through which the sinking moon is discernible; the agitation of the Vampire to obtain his end before the moon sets-the distress of Lord Ruthven who now suspects him, and the agony of the vacillating bride, form the principal features of the catastrophe. Considerable interest is excited, and as the Priest is going to perform his office, the moon sinks into the sea; the madness of the Vampire succeeds; his coun
The Dramatic Observer.
tenance assumes a livid hue; at the same instant he is struck with lightning, the earth opens, and he is precipitated into the abyss.
We do not design this as an outline of the story, for it would be unpleasing to run through its changes and varieties. With respect to the authorship, we would remark, that the sentiments have little merit, the fable less, and the general conduct is injudicious. In placing the scene in the island of Staffa, we think the writer has departed from his authority. Surely the Hebrides have nothing to say to the superstitions of the Levant? But, however, waving these objections, we would remark, that if the excitement of a strong and general feeling among the auditory be any praise, the "Vampire" is entitled to it but we would exclude it from the stage, as it conjures up thoughts of so revolting and disgusting a nature that it is impossible to look at it without shuddering. The machinery of the piece is entitled to more attention than the composition. It is difficult to do justice to the exquisite scenery which has been produced on the Occasion; Fingal's cave, the Gothic Chapel, the moonlight, &c. are the most beautiful representations we have witnessed at any Theatre. In producing such variety of expensive scenes, the manager has not consulted his own interest; for in giving the town a taste for novelty of this kind, he will find it difficult to satisfy it in future with representations less brilliant and attractive. "Aladdin," the "Miller and his Men," the "Vampire," and a few more must have already deeply drained the funds, and it is not without regret we must pronounce that the support he has received is not adequate to his munificence.
On a retrospect of the attendance at the new Theatre we do not hesitate in saying that the public taste has evinced but little discernment. Mr. Young, Mr. Wm. Farren, and Miss Brunton, seldom attracted a good house, while an Opera, supported by indifferent performers, was generally received by a numerous auditory. Thus Tragedy and Comedy, the legitimate heads of all dramatic exhibitions, were neglected; and a musical melange, (for what else are most of our modern operas?) was followed and applauded. The shew and ustle of the Melo Drama afforded another resource-"Aladdin" ran nearly thirty nights-and those who had no relish for "Macbeth", or "Zanga", crowded to gaze on the flying Palace and magic lamp! Dramatic writers, judging from an estimate like this, would receive little encouragement ;-and might find an apology for scribbling Pantomimes and Burlettas to the total neglect of poetry and nature,
The last fortnight has been occupied by the Benefits of the several performers, upon which it is not usual to offer a criticism. We will, therefore conclude this number by stating the expected arrival of Miss Stephens, we believe in the course of the present month, who, it is anticipated, will recompense the manager for his late expenditure. We hope she may, and we feel we are joined in the wish by all those who entertain a generous sense of the liberality Mr. Harris has evinced.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.