|Description:||Scene from King John, at the Princess' Theatre.
|Source:||The Illustrated London News, Apr 17, 1852, p. 309
|See Source:||Go to Source Images (8.7 MB)
|Review:||The Illustrated London News, Apr 17, 1852, pp. 309-310
The tragedy of "King John," with its magnificent appointments, still
continues to prove attractive. The character of the hero, notwithstanding his
crimes, commands sympathy, for the mind habitually recognises in him the majesty of
England and of the age in which he lived, rather than the mere individual. He
is a grand impersonation of the state. His weakness, his guilt, his religious
vacillation, all typify "the condition of England question," as mooted in his time; his
but, as it were, the plane on which move mighty public interests. An unsettled
state of power and opinion--a struggle for progress, and an uncertainty as to its
direction--a rude state of law, in which private vengeance had not yet assumed the
disguise of public justice--and the tottering condition of authority,
wherein well nigh
All form was formless; order, orderless--
these are the national marks, which present John to us as a representative
personage, bearing the yoke of his time and vicariously suffering its evil as his own.
To us this picture of regal sin and suffering has a deep meaning and moves the
reflective soul to intense emotion. Shakspeare [sic], in his rifacimento of
the old play, evidently felt all this; and added to the natural pathos of the story
by the exquisite snatches of poetry with which he adorned the original meagre dialogue.
The subject was worth his writing up, and he performed the task con amore. Witness
the fine touches which he has thrown over the prison scene between Hubert
and Arthur to
which this week we have devoted our illustration. Even the conceits with which
this colloquy is overrun only serve to set forth the innocence of childhood in a more affecting manner. Perhaps
the character of the Prince was never more beautifully interpreted than by Miss Kate
Terry, whose exquisite acting at Windsor Castle in the part much pleased her Majesty.
Of Mr. Ryder's Hubert, with its rough pity and manly devotedness, we have said
sufficient on a former occasion. To those who have witnessed the performance, our
illustration will prove pleasingly suggestive, and they will value it as a record of an excellent example
of really fine, natural, and powerfully pathetic acting, in one of the most distinguished
of Shakspeare's [sic] situations, marked with some of his best points and irresistibly
commanding the sympathies that are strongest in the noblest. Such dramas are
calculated to make the spectator brave and good.