previous next

[483] short. Of society, however, I have not much to record. . . . . One evening the Count and Countess Circourt spent with us, at our lodgings, and made themselves very interesting, till quite late, by conversation about Italy, etc. And one evening I went alone to Tieck's, who read to a small party, consisting of Bulow, Sternberg, Mad. de Luttichau, and two or three others, some acute remarks of his own upon Goethe, whom he treated with admiration, indeed, but with an admiration more measured and discriminating than is usual among the Germans.

There remains still one evening more of which something special should be said,—an evening that we gave to seeing Hamlet, in Schlegel's excellent translation.

The house was entirely full, not a ticket remaining to be sold when the play began,—a fact which has not occurred before this season,— and the audience was excessively impatient of the smallest noise, in one case hissing a man for blowing his nose louder than they thought seemly. Almost the whole piece, as it stands in the original, was given, so that the representation lasted quite three hours and a half.

Taken as a whole, it was better given than I ever saw it. All the inferior parts, without exception, were well played. Polonius was no more ridiculous than the poet intended he should be; and the King was a bold, bad man, indeed, but had that force of character which his very crimes imply, and by which it is plain he overawes Hamlet, and checks Laertes. The ceremonies of a Court were well observed; and whatever belonged to the mechanism, scenery, dresses, and costumes of the piece was nicely considered and excellently carried through.

Ophelia was not tender and gentle enough, and treated her father and brother too much like a spoiled school-girl .. . . . Hamlet himself was a still greater failure. Devrient1 played it, and made it sentimental and weak, full of grimaces, starts, and extravagances, and wanting princely dignity everywhere. The ghost was very good, shadowy,. . . . and each time had a long, thin, grayish cloak which swept like a veil and train, far behind. Hamlet most unsuitably fell on the ground at both visitations, though he kept his eyes fastened on the spectre continually. However, one or two things pleased me, even in Hamlet, and were new, as far as I know. In the talk about the stage he addressed the greater part of the remarks to Horatio, and not to the actor, in a very natural and easy manner, sitting the whole time; and in changing the foils he did it evidently because

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Emil Devrient (2)
Friedrich Tieck (1)
Ungern Sternberg (1)
Frederick Schlegel (1)
De Luttichau (1)
Laertes (1)
Wolfgang A. Von Goethe (1)
De Circourt (1)
M. De Bulow (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: