Imagens da página

of whose humours perpetual laughter is produced.

Helen's scheme, of gaining her husband's affections by passing on him for a mistress, has been adopted with success by other dramatists; particularly by Shirley in the Gamester, and Cibber in his first comedy of Love's last Shift.

All's well that ends well, after having lain more than a hundred


undisturbed upon the prompter's shelf, was, in October, 1741, revived at the theatre in Drury-lane. Milward, who acted the King, is said to have caught a distemper which proved fatal to him, by wearing, in this part, a too light and airy suit of clothes, which he put on after his supposed recovery. He felt himself seized with a shivering; and was asked, by one of the players, how he found himself? * How is it possible for me,” he said, with some pleasantry, ' to be fick, when I have such a physician as Mrs. Woffington ? This elegant and beautiful actress was the Helen of the play.


А 4

A 4

His distemper, however, increased, and soon after hurried him to his grave.

So pleasing an actor as Milward deserves more than a slight remembrance. In the Memoirs of Garrick's Life, I spoke of him as one who was not without a great share of merit, but was too apt to indulge himself in such an extension of voice as approached to vociferation. He prided himself so much in the harmony and sweetness of his tones, that he was heard to say, in a kind of rapture, after throwing out some passionate speeches in a favourite part, that he wished he could salute the sweet echo, meaning his voice. His Lusignan, in Zara, was not much inferior to Mr. Garrick's representation of that part.

. Milward chose Booth for his madel; and, notwithstanding his inferiority to that accomplished tragedian, he was the only performer in tragedy, who, if he had survived, could have approached to our great Rofcius į who, though he would always have þeen the first, yet, in that case, would not


have been the only, actor in tragedy. Milward died about a fortnight after Garrick's first

appearance on the stage. The part of Parolles was, by Fleetwood, the manager, promised to Macklin ; but Theophilus Cibber, by some sort of artifice, as common in theatres as in courts, snatched it from him, to his great displeasure. Berry was the Lafeu, and Chapman the Clown and Interpreter. All's well that ends well was termed, by the players, the unfortunate comedy, from the disagreeable accidents which fell out several times during the acting of it. Mrs. Woffington was suddenly taken with illness as she came off the stage from a scene of importance. Mrs. Ridout, a pretty woman and a pleasing actress, after having played Diana one night, was, by the advice of her physician, forbidden to act during a month. Mrs. Butler, in the Countess of Rousillon, was likewise seized with a distemper in the progress of this play.


All's well that ends well, however, had such a degree of merit; and gave so much general satisfaction to the public, that, in spite of the superstition of some of the players, who wished and entreated that it might be discontinued, upon Mr. Delane's undertaking to act the King after Milward's decease, it was again brought forward and applauded.

Cibber's Parolles, notwithstanding his grimace and false spirit, met with encouragement. This actor, though his vivacity was mixed with too much pertness, never offended by flatness and insipidity. Chapman was admirable in the clowns of Shakspeare. Berry's Lafeu was the true portrait of a choleric old man and a humourist. Milward was, in the King, affecting; and Delane, in the same part, refpectable.

Under the direction of Mr. Garrick, in 1757, All's well that ends well was again revived. Mrs. Pritchard acted the Countefs ; Miss Macklin, Helen ; Mrs. Davies, Diana. Parolles, Woodward ; Lafeu, Berry; and Davies, the King. With the help of a pantomime, it was acted several nights.

Act I. Scene I.


I muft attend his majesty's command,
To whom I am in ward.

No prerogative of the crown, in the time of the feudal system, was esteemed more honourable, or was indeed more profitable, than that of wardship; nor was any part of kingly power more subject to fraudulent abuse, to tyranny and oppression. So cruelly had King John, and fome of his predecessors, exerted an undue influence over their wards, that the fourth, fifth, fixth, seventh, forty-third, and forty-fourth, articles of the great charter, are all expressly written with an intention to restrain the power of the crown within proper limits respecting wardships,


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »