William Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 6

By Brian Vickers | Go to book overview

very far short indeed, of the energy and all-commanding interest of Shakespeare’s, and their comedies, I suspect, are even greatly inferior to Jonson’s both in plot and humour. (II, 166-7)


309.

Arthur Murphy, Garrick’s Shakespeare

1801

From The Life of David Garrick, Esq. (2 vols, London, 1801).

On Murphy see the head-note to Vol. 4, Nos 140, 161.

[Garrick’s debut as Richard III]

Garrick scorned to lacky after any actor whatever; he depended on his own genius, and was completely an original performer. All was his own creation: he might truly say, ‘I am myself alone!’ His first appearance on the London stage was at Goodman’s Fields on the 19th of October 1741. The moment he entered the scene the character he assumed was visible in his countenance; the power of his imagination was such that he transformed himself into the very man; the passions rose in rapid succession, and before he uttered a word were legible in every feature of that various face. His look, his voice, his attitude changed with every sentiment…. The rage and rapidity with which he spoke


The North!—what do they in the North,
When they should serve their Sovereign in the West? [4.4.484f.]

made a most astonishing impression on the audience. His soliloquy in the tent-scene discovered the inward man…. When he started from his dream he was a spectacle of horror. He called out in a manly tone, ‘Give me another horse;’ [5.3.177]. He paused, and, with a countenance of dismay, advanced, crying out in a tone of distress, ‘Bind up my wounds;’ [1.77] and then, falling on his knees, said in the most piteous accent. ‘Have mercy Heaven!’ [178] In all

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