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short notice" by tin! Complete steel and complete steel only, I say! And let the Ghost ring his iron heel to the ground as he passes stately by. The airy vision should have the power of its fleshy forefather threefold!--and the steel attire, so divinely inhabited, ought to stalk by with additional energies. It should have the effect of a suit of armour going by steam! Ham. Arm'd, say you?
Hor. Arm'd, my Lord!
Hor. My Lord, from head to foot!
A ghost, so armed and so potential, was never intended to be a noiseless vapour moving about indistinctly and irresolutely. He is, throughout the play, described as a spirit awful, lofty of port, majestic, and imposing of gait! "We do it wrong," says Marcellus, " being so majestical, to offer it this show of violence." And Horatio appeals to it, not as to a flimsy half-seen dimarmoured sprite,
What art thou, that usurp'st this time of
Together with that fair and warlike form, In which the majesty of buried Denmark Did sometimes march?
Again, Marcellus says:
Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch!
And Horatio recollects the particular suit of armour the apparition wears, which he could never do under the abominable gauze with which Mr. Umbra would enshroud it:
Such was the very armour he had on, When he the ambitious Norway combated; So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polack on the ice.
I trust I have made it clear, on incontrovertible evidence, that the Ghost in Hamlet should be fat and imposing, that he should wear real armour, and keep as much in the eye of the lamps as possible.
It would, perhaps, be invidious to recommend any particular actor for this part; but, until a stouter gentleman of equal talent is seen, I shall be content with Mr. Egerton, who
weighs somewhere about eighteen stone, and is of a serious cast. He, who could have performed the part without stuffing is gone; but I should think a good ghost might be got from the City.
The concluding passage in Mr. Umbra's letter runs thus:
To the above remarks I have but this to add, with a particular view to the play of Hamlet, that the manner in which I have sometimes heard the Ghost utter the word "Swear!" when the prince invites Horatio and Marcellus to swear upon his sword, is a gross infraction of the decorum which should always be observed on the stage; it is bellowed through the sidescene by some fellow or other with a throat like a trombone, or in the tone of an enraged alderman. The voice should come from under the stage, as the text plainly expresses, and the greatest possible care should be taken to manage this scene, so as that the audience shall not laugh, instead of quake, through its representation.
I have yet to learn why a ghost's voice should be so exceedingly thin, airy, and tremulous. Hamlet does not remark that his father's voice is changed; and I therefore should incline to a full, wholesome, and manly voice for the King. Indeed, allowing a little for the solemnity of the hour, and conceding a paleness to the features, and a fixed lustre to the eye, I am not for having the Ghost vary a tittle from the gentleman whom he is destined to represent. I do not attach exactly the same meaning to the word "Swear!" here that all the commentators do; indeed, I find several allusions to the King's habit of swearing scattered throughout the intimate to us that he was rather adplay, as though Shakspeare would dicted to it in his lifetime.* Horatio says, "I'll cross it, though it bl—t me," by which he plainly shows that he remembered the consequence of crossing his Majesty. Hamlet himself exclaims on seeing him, "Be thou a spirit of health or goblin d-d!" as much as to convey that he would know his father by the reply: and he further inquires whether he brings "airs from Heaven, or bl-ts from Hell!" This is delicate ground to touch upon, and I therefore but touch
I understand it is clearly shewn by several old tattered Danish manuscripts, that King Hamlet was descended from Otho or Oatho the Great.
on it. The manner, however, in which Hamlet receives his ghostly father's directions to "Swear" at his associates, is sufficingly confirmatory of my reading of it. I see no reason therefore for the old gentleman mincing the word as Mr. Umbra directs.
A few words on Shakspeare's ghosts in general, and I have done. It may not have been observed, but it is a fact, that all Shakspeare's ghosts are fat and determined. Julius
Casar is not only jolly himself, but
RAPT by her two gray steeds, the car of Morn
Pouring from Heav'n's high crown): yet ere the cope
Now turn thee from the glorious skies, (so bright,
Phlegon, Ethon, Pyrois, and Eous, the four horses of the chariot of the Sun.
Of yon green hill he totters, carolling,
Or treading down the deep grass of the vale?-
The time's Arcadian, and the Naiads thus
Moan to their streaming urns ;-or through their canes,
Are true Parnassian, the sweet reeds of Castaly
Do blow their hollow trumpets in the downs,
Or the Thrax bard: for see! the lithe trees bow
A smother'd roar seems to attend his song,
Now drooping in the fervour of the glade
With emulous struggles,-then fall back, and laugh
Here in the bosom of the woodland, he,
Amid the sounding groves; and those green Maids,
Their rites mysterious to the vulgar eye,
And delicate unseen charms)—the Fountain Nuns,
JOHN LACY'S REPLY
THE LETTER OF TERENTIUS SECUNDUS, A “DRAMATIST OF THE DAY.”
improving,-these were the passions which sharpened my pen whilst I wrote my six Letters to Dramatists. Your favour of March last proved that better feelings might have inspired me to undertake this work; I judged too harshly of the age and the Irritable Tribe. Hope, and not De
quill; the "white-handed" goddess, now pointing to the stage, tells me it shall be regenerated.
SIR, Your letter, addressed to me, in the March number of the LONDON MAGAZINE, gave me, I confess, no little surprise. When I wrote my first "Letter to the Dramatists," my -object and expectation were, as I then expressed myself, merely to create a "nascent impulse towards legitimate dramatism;” I had no no-spair, should have sat upon my goosétion that before my "Postscript was a moon old, the principles upheld in it and the six preceding letters would be subscribed to by a "Dramatist of the Day," and a" successful" one. This was far beyond what, to speak less courteously than honestly, I had hoped from the prejudice of the age and the pertinacity of your profession: the age is indisputably voluptuous, effeminate, and sensual (to use the characteristic word of a contributor of last month),—it will therefore naturally reject all poetry but that which ministers to this its morbid disposition; your profession (the poetic) has never been remarkable for lending an ear to any suggestion which seems to impeach its profane infallibility,-inspiration, if not contrary to reason, is generally considered as above it. This twofold consideration damped my confidence, though not my ardour; I wrote earnestly, but (which you would scarcely suspect from my language) I wrote dejectedly; it would have been impolitic then, but I now acknowledge the truth, that I had but a faint hope of any result whatever from my Letters. They were dictated rather by a wish to vent my sorrow and my spleen at the final demise of Tragedy, than by the hope of revivifying her, though I dissembled my real feelings. Anger, indignation, and chagrin, upon seeing Melpomene, as I thought, banished from the only stage she had ever trod, since Thespis turned mountebank, with a natural step and familiar dignity, disdain upon finding her hereditary boards usurped by the sing-song Muse of Modern Poetry, -and the spirit of revenge, which felt a wretched gratification in condemning what I despaired of curing, in annihilating what I despaired of MAY, 1824.
I know not how far the above honest confession will plead my excuse for the severity and unkindness towards the Dramatists of the Day, with which you charge me in your epistle. I might perhaps allege with some degree of truth, that I was "cruel only to be kind," for I well knew that the only instrument to be applied, with the most distant chance of correcting your errors, was the scourge. You, however, seem to have had a better appetite for the "crustula." You say that I should have given you "time" and "encouragement." What! to confirm you in your mal-practices, and strengthen you in your false principles! For which of your good qua lities should I have praised you? for your plot-work, your passion, your versification, your running dialogue, or your delineation of character? For none of these: your own letter allows, on the part of yourself and your Fraternity, that your interest in them all is not worth a laurel-leaf. For your poetry, then? it remains that I should have lauded you for this your excellent qualification. Why, Sir, if it were possible to put my Letters to music, they might be sung to a harp with one string, and that string should sound nothing but poetry! poetry! poetry! So far from my Letters disallowing you the praise of being poets, they uniformly accuse you of being nothing else. If indeed you mean to say that, finding you so full of the poetical faculty, I should thence have encouraged you to hope for success in the drama, it is but replying,-that Milton, though he were clapped on the back by Aristotle or Longinus, would most pro