Charles F. (Charles Frederick) Forshaw.

In memoriam; tributes to the memory of the late Sir Henry Irving online

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• ■ 234

Wall, William


Walsh, Adnrew T.


Weller, Bernard

. . 242

White, Joseph

. . 243

White, Rev. F. de Lacy, B.A.

• . 245

Wignall, J. M.

• • 247

Wolstencroft, Rev. E. M.


Yates, Henry

.. 350

The last signature of Sir Henry Irvino.

(Slxxit) Sit H)eslDerium XTam
Carl Capitis.

From the FREEMASON, October 2ist, 1905.

" The late Bro. Sir Henry Irving was initiated in the
Jerusalem Lodge, No. 167, by the late Sir William G. Cusins,
P.G. Organist, in the year 1877, but it was not until the year
1882 that he was passed and raised in the same lodge by the
present Grand Secretary, Sir Edward Letchworth. On the
occasion of his taking the Second Degree, the ceremony was
performed in the presence of his late Royal Highness the Duke
of Albany. Bro. Irving remained a subscribing member of the
Jerusalem Lodge until his death. He became a subscribing
member of the Savage Club Lodge, No. 2190, and was its first
Treasurer, and retained that position until his death. He was a
Vice-President of the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, a life
Governor of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, and a
Subscriber to the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution."

Prefatory Sonnet.

DRAW down the Curtain, for the Act is o'er —

The last great tragic Act that comes to all ;
And it is meet, though Nations wide deplore

That thus he answered to the Prompter's Call /
The Play is finished — a more perfect Play

Was never Staged on this terrestrial sphere ;
The Scene, unparalleled in realms of day

In its completeness was without compeer t
Great is the Drama of all human Life —

Sorrow and laughter, sin and shame and tears ;
Trials and troubles, suffering and strife,

Hope, doubt and longing, certainty and fears —
We felt all these, when by his master mien
He showed them to us as they should be seen I

Chas. F. Forshaw.


He's passed away, England's greatest actor.

Full of honours, full of years ;
True to life, he acted well the parts,

'Mid pleasure, joy, and tears.

" Into Thy hands, oh Lord ; into Thy hands,"
In a matchless pleading voice was given ;

A dying prayer, and tragic in its swiftness
Came the answer' d prayer from heaven.

Westminster Abbey — in that sacred spot
He is to sleep, to find a resting place

Among the great, the noble, and the good —
The finest and the best of England's race.

Stockport A dvertiser.



To wait the coming of the illustrious dead,

I kneel at noon within the Abbey's walls,

Where are true poesy's memorials ;

The sunHght dwelling upon Shakespeare's head

Sometimes upon a marble statue falls,

And sometimes seeks a tired king's marble bed,

Tinging his cheek to feign the lifeblood's red,

When sudden at my side a whisper calls :

" Wherefore these honours to an actor's bones,

Mixed with the bones of poet and of king; "

Methinks I answered : " Certes, more than thrones

Is art eternal, and a welcoming

Murmur the poets here in marble tones,

Since actors live the poems that they sing."




Tis no great soldier whom we weep,

Bred up in warfare's cruel school ;
Nor do the watchers vigil keep

Beside a statesman born to rule.
The life-track of the man we mourn,

Was not encumbered with the slain ;
Nor were his rivals over-borne,

By arts suggestive of chicane.

He did not write his honoured name

Amongst the pundits of the age ;
Nor Bar nor Pulpit brought him fame,

Nor birth a goodly heritage.
'Twas his hard lot for long to plod,

Commerce for him supphed no hoards ;
The path in life he bravely trod

Was found upon the playhouse boards.

Yet, aided by his self-control.

He fought successfully with fate,
And gained at last a splendid goal

Which showed him to be truly great.
Unwearying in his desire.

His duties fitly to discharge,
He thus was able to acquire,

The honour of the land at large.


His watchwords, " Thoroughness ! " and " Art ! "

Inspired him with unceasing zest ;
And, whatsoever was his part,

He always gave the world his best.
His aim was high, and he can claim.

Now that his long Ufe-fight is o'er.
That he has left the actor's name

More honoured than it was of yore.

But he is gone ! True to his trust

Right to the end his part he played,
Till, sorely wounded by Death's thrust.

His exit finally he made ;
And we, lamenting him whose loss

Two nations has o'erwhelmed in gloom,
Bring of white immortelles a cross

To place on Henry Irving's tomb.



Isidore G. Ascher, B.C.L.

Time shrivels life, like winds that smite the leaves,

And change and death, like vultures, seize and prey

Upon the petty lives of every day ;

The callous world jogs on and no one grieves.

But ages keep what inspiration weaves.

And fervid souls who vitalize hfe's play

Of care and grief and passion and love's sway,

Exalt what genius wakens and achieves !

Mourn the great soul whose voice is heard no more,
Who reached the heart of joy and tenderness.
Whose thought illumined what the world may store.
Mourn him for gifts which none may dispossess.
For all he sought and reached and gave — to move
A sorrowing world to worship and to love !

Public Opinion.


Rev. A. Frewen Aylward, M.A.

Player of many parts, he played the best

The part Dame Nature gave him for life's span ;

Always, to all, — till came his call to rest,
A kindly, noble-hearted, gentleman !

Leicester Post.


Herbert Bairstow.

The fleeting years of one short life are past,
And silence reigns before the footlights now ;
The call so sudden makes us start aghast,
While grief and sorrow mantle many a brow.
As with some mystic power he swayed the world.
And held enraptured every human heart ;
His poignent precepts fearlessly he hurled,
And played the man, no matter what the part !
Oh ! Irving thou has left us that behind
Will keep thy memory ever with us green.
We loved thee for thy purity of mind,
Thy courtesy, thy courage and thy mien.
Sleep on, dear Irving in thy well-earned rest.
In harness thou wast taken — It seemed best !


Herbert Bairstow.

The " Vale of Tears " is past ; the Light of Day

Breaks on the soul of one who's " Crossed the Bar,"
The last word's spoken in the Human Play —

We mourn his loss, all people near and far.
He touched the heart as with some potent speD,

Life's drama he portrayed with master mind,
He made emotions in the bosom well,

And in his words left lasting good behind.
The final Act is reached, the curtain falls.

And everlasting sleep has closed those eyes ;
His work is done ! but that great work recalls

The magic of his powers as there he lies
Serene and silent, bowed in God's commands,
" Into Thy hands, O Lord ! Into Thy hands 2 "

Bradford Daily Argus.


Henry Barber.

Mankind at large all actors are
Upon the mighty human stage ;

Though everyone is not a star
Who in such acting doth engage.

Each one who helps that throng to swell
Has got a certain part to play ;

And parts which some perform right well
Some others scarcely e'er essay.

Among the former class was he
Who now to other scenes hath gone !

Though not before 'twas his to see
The splendid triumphs he had won.

Broad were his views, and keen his sense
Of what in man was right or wrong,

His influence was thus immense

Throughout the land with old and young.


Mourned by a nation for his worth
Of character, which ever stood

High 'mongst the sons of mother earth,
In thwarting wrong and doing good.

Then let his ashes 'mong the great
Of British worthies be at rest ;

And may he in another state
Be counted as a welcome guest !

East Cumberland News.


George Barlow.

Crowned by a world whose heart his genius swayed,
Through dim October Ught a great man goes
From ceaseless labour to supreme repose :

The arduous part has been superbly played.

Death summoned, — and no dallying foot delayed :
The curtain falls that for the long toil rose.
To that strange stage no human eyesight knows

He passes, trusting, hopeful, undismayed.

Missing the actor changed into a friend,
His London for a moment feels alone.

Once more the Abbey's solemn arms extend

Welcome. No sound of ringing trumpets blown

Marshals this valiant spirit to his end.

But Memory's hands will rear his silent throne.


W. H. Barraclough.

He bid his long and last farewell to fame,

And to his much-loved art,
Whilst panting not for ease. No mandate came

From Death's uplifted dart
That closed its hurried bent with ruthless heed
To hush the world in mourning at the deed.

Often, amid the throes of life's unrest,

We sought brief interludes,
Wherein he told its tragic interest

In terms of many moods.
And knew the good, the brave, the passionate
Virtue's reward, the villain's fitful fate.

Perchance in some long lost to will and sin,

A pose imperious
Would still the welling soul, and wake within,

Love for the serious.
For oft the measure of his motions stung
More than the utterance of human tongue.


He acted not his part, but lived to life
Each guise and r61e he took ;

As counsellings against the weakness rife
In life's impassioned book.

For with his cult of wise example lays

All admiration and a nation's praise.

With classic art, he played his part,

In ev'ry line and cast ;
He lived a-stage, from youth to age,

And great unto the last.


Rutland Barrington.

He died in harness ! With his faiUng breath

He spoke the prelude fitting such a death —

" Into Thy hands, O Lord ! " — and for Life's stage

What better exit — finer closing page ?

And through the sorrow born of loss so great

There sounds a note of joy at such a fate !

'Tis what he wished himself ! His wish fulfilled

Brings consolation — bids our grief be stilled !

On whom shall fall his mantle — not in Art,
But in that inner life, in which his part
Was that of counsellor, unswerving friend.
His greatest joy a helping hand to lend !
The Head of his Profession ! And his wage —
A dignity undreamt of for the stage !
Walk warily, ye others ! Nor forget
The grand example Henry Irving set.

Evening Standard.


M. J. o.

" Into Thy hands, Lord, into Thy hands ! "
So the great actor breathes his final prayer
In that last effort (little thought so then)
Of work and witness for his fellow men.
Ah ! what a seal to his life's work is there !
Out of that greatness, unto him God-given,
Still greater heights of greatness he achieved ;
With steadfast purpose wrought what he believed
To teach the people life's true meanings well,
And help them to its riches. Is it strange
His name should be a very household word ?
In every heart and home a chord be stirred
At his great passing hence ? O fitting way !
Straight from the fervent, commendatory prayer
He left us, with the words upon our hearts !
No agonising scene to spoil the hush.
Into the silence went to meet his call.
And render up to God his task complete.
Greatest of all in this. Could he have chosen
Or those who loved him most, no better way
For this transition to hfe's higher stage
Might there be found. When history on her page
Records this, with those nobly spoken words,


" The readiness is all," their mighty spell

Shall work in coming generations well,

No loud-voiced grief must fall beside that bier !

Simple, though great, our national mourning be ;

Softly " The Bells," in which his voice we hear,

Tell out their burden. And though he has passed

Beyond the veil, he still shall speak to us,

Bringing new treasures from our stores of old,

For we, with Irving, Tennyson behold

And Shakespeare moving in our midst to-day,

With soul-wrought messages to all mankind.

Till by such inspiration ever led

Higher and higher, shall we, too, some day find

Our little parts with theirs in God's light manifest.

The pattern-bearers these — we, workers with them blest !

Birmingham Weekly Mercury.


R. Bassetti.

Our Irving dead, —

Aye, greatest actor of our time,

Hath passed away.
No warning voice ; nor token that

The scene that day
Would be his last of portraiture.

And, had he choice ?
That man who loved his varied parts,

And raised to best ;
What fitter ? for great Becket died

At post the best !
That scene was Duty's portraiture !

And kindly deed !

As much himself ; as inborn right

To stand as head
Of sympathising kindred stars

Who mourn him dead.
His gift that day of signature.


For anxious lad

Did but express a people's voice !

Which on life's stage
Gave man of worth his fitting place.

For on his age
Great Irving leaves Fame's signature.

Bradford Daily Argus.


R. Bassetti.

Gone from life's stage the man,
Whose portraiture of frenzied dread,
Of hate, or love, none so.

Hath truly shown ; nor can.

Gone, as he wished of late,

" In harness," and last noble stand,
The martyred priest at post

Of duty — throne of great.

Gone from the glare and whelm
Of stage he raised to noble worth ;
Gone to our garnered host.

In Fame's calm resting realm.

" Into Thy hands, O Lord,
Into Thy hands," O fitting words ;
For last of him we give

Into Thy hands O Lord.

Bradford Weekly Telegraph.


W. Bathe.

Irving is dead ! He who so oft and well

Hath feigned death, at last in truth succumbs

To the Arch-enemy of man, and " shuffled off

This mortal coil " with warning brief ; or e'er

Had failed that great dramatic power.

Which so long triumphantly displayed.

In deep soliloquy oft-times he mused

On the great mysteries of Futurity ;

Now hath entered " the undiscover'd country

From whose bourne no traveller returns."

Grim Death doth claim him — but his Genius lives !

And, high emblazoned on the scroll of Fame,

Encircled by an immortal laurelled wreath

In golden characters, is largely writ.

Torquay Directory.


Charles Beddoes.

Elegiac. We mourn to-day A noble soul who's passed

Beyond the range of mortal ken, To realms unknown,

untrod by men.
And O, the void created here. By loss of him we held

so dear.
For loved was he on every hand, By high and low

throughout the land.
King, Queen, and Lords of grand estate, Patrons of

Art, the good, the great,
All unto him their tributes bring, For Irving was ac-
knowledged king
Of his own sphere. And while these pay Their homage

in respectful way.
To memories dear, may I, a man Of humble birth and

lowly clan,
My people's tribute now express ; For as the greater so

the less,


Mourn sadly round the actor's bier, And to his memory

' drop a tear.
A retrospect. My memory's cast Among the pleasures

of the past ;
I 'sit within a crowded hall, O'er which there seems to

slowly fall
Magnetic power ; until the throng, Seem by a mystic

force so strong
To lose themselves, their souls are swayed By what is

on the stage pourtrayed.
With breathless spell they watch the Jew Who seeks in

Court to claim his due —
His avarice and greed to sate Is weak revenge as cruel

as Fate —
Ignoble part 'twould seem, maybe, To be pourtrayed

by such as he,
Yet e'en in this he could impart A glamour, as by

magic art ;
That chained his hearing-watcher, till Set free again at

Irving's will .
Loud plaudits ring. Applausive cheers Resound about

the villain's ears
For villainy by him pourtrayed Seemed with uphfting

power arrayed,
And all who watched him play the part Saw there

expressed dramatic art —
Excelsior. Though on the stage The greatest villain of

the age,
He could the power of evil ban. For off the stage he

played the man.


Elegiac. So now he's dead, We mourn for him whose

spirit's fled,
His magic voice, his potent will ; Gone to the grave —

forever still.
No more will he his powers display, No more his eloquence

will sway,
Our souls to realms of psychic heights, No more we'll

watch behind the lights ;
His charming form. For now 'tis said — In our blind,

mortal way, " He's dead."
Can it be true ? I'll not believe That he whose passing

hence we grieve
Has ceased from hfe. Can mortals scan The range of

God's eternal plan
Of Hfe. Who'll say when passed from here There is

not yet a finer sphere
Of Being, where the " person " hves, When substance,

subtler, freer, gives
A greater scope wherein to show How powers but feebly

spent below
May in sublimer grandeur be Brought into visibility
Perfecting, aye, as on time rolls In the Beyond — The

World of Souls.
Then, Irving, as I think of thee, I'll picture thee not

dead, but free
From hmitations of the flesh Which bound thee in a

strong enmesh ;
Emancipated from the thrall Of human ills ; beyond

them all ;


Vibrating in a higher state, Unfolding ever as ye wait
The call to yet a nobler height. And, maybe, when

we've clearer sight
We'll look through this — the grosser plane, And catch

a glimpse of thee again.
And as thy spirit face we scan. We'll see in thee a super

Then Irving, " Au revoir " we'll say, We'll greet thee

in the Perfect Day.


C. Beddoes.

Le \roi est tnorl. Can it be true that he who long

before our gaze
Hath pictured scenes of psychic hfe, of human fraility,

darksome ways,
And noble love — whose matchless power could avarice

and greed pourtray
Until e'en evil lost its sin and, coursing through him,

on the way
Partook the nature of the man through whom it flowed

until it stood
Revealed — a thing of sin and greed — yet, so depicted,

ah, how good !

Can it be true le roi est mort ? the king who for a purpose

strove —
Who found a realm, unhallowed, dark, but, circhng it

with robe of love,
Uphfted it from darkened spheres, and, bidding error,

blight, begone,
Created new a nobler state, where purity and virtue

And in his kingdom, nobly won — on proud preeminence,

his own —
He lived, he loved, and rightly ruled as monarch on

a well-won throne.


Elegiac. Le roi est mort. There tolls a mournful

parting knell.
" A vanished hand," a voice now stilled ; a memory

sad, a long farewell.
He rests at peace, his task is o'er ; for him a crown

superbly won.
The Master's smile, a welcome home — " Thou good

and faithful one, well done ! "
Yet mourn him not — with him 'tis well. There's hope

in e'en a last " good-bye " ;
Our chant, Le roi est mort, shall cease for one eternal

Vive le roi.

Wolverhampton Express.


J. J. Bell.

Real death at last, true sorrow after years
Of much tremendous tragedy and woe ;
For him real rest beyond the rest we know,

For all the world his rare art won true tears.

Long time he held our hearts, our eyes, our ears

With wonder, beauty, grandeur, terror, glow
Of ancient pageantry, and sounding show,

And woke at will our loves, our hates, our fears.

And now no human plaudits pass behind

That curtain quick and dark which fell to stun

All hearts who knew his goodly soul and mind.

And never more, tho' miUions cry as one,

Can we recall his presence, tired yet kind.

For now 'tis surely God who says " Well done ! "

Glasgow Herald.


Arthur Bennett.


" Into Thy hands, O Lord, into Thy hands,"

Sooner or later each of us must fall ;

And, now, " the noblest " actor " of them all,"
Whose fame has spread through all our Enghsh lands.
No more behind the flaming foothghts stands

To mimic Death's pale form, so gaunt and tall ;

No longer comes, however we may call,
To take the plaudits which his skill commands.

Never again shall thousands of bright eyes
Follow the wrathful lightnings of his own.
Or multitudes become one mighty ear
To catch the secret of his tragedies :

To the four winds his strenuous frame hath flown ;
His strong, sweet, generous spirit is not here.



I saw him first as " Hamlet," long ago,
When first the doors of Thespis opened wide
To my enchanted feet ; and eager-eyed.

Perceived the dark green curtain rising slow,

And heard the music steaUng from below.

And watched a new world round its orbit gUde,
My soul within me strangely satisfied

To see old Shakespeare represented so ;

And, last, in " Becket," " Waterloo," " The Bells "—
Three several triumphs in one splendid day —
And, as the curtain finally descended.
Joined in the thunder which such power compels :
He heard, and answered in his gracious way,

Then said " Good-night ! God bless you ! " and
so ended.


But yonder, midst the greatest of our dead.
We lay the little that is left of him ;
With honest tears a nation's eyes are dim ;

The organ thunders grandly overhead ;

The last great resurrection words are said ;
And, as the mourners gather round the rim
Of the cold grave, the clustering cherubim

Drop tears of pity on the sacred bed ;


Whilst he who mutely lies by Garrick's side
Has taken the dead " Davy " by the hand ;
Seen the great fallen Becket face to face,
And peradventure told him how he died ;
Met Tennyson within " the silent land,"

And at the feet of Shakespeare found a place.


Joseph Bentley.

Exit, Archbishop,

Becket, farewell !
The years in their courses

Thy fame shall forth tell :
As " The Bells " ring thy requiem

All tongues shall declare
Our loss, though thy gain,

No time can repair.

Bradford Daily Telegraph.


Henry B. Blunt, M.B. CM.

Ring down the curtain, lower ev'ry light
Upon the stage, and let the music cease !
His part is played, and his reward is peace,
Thus, homeward bound, he steps into the night.

From lowly grade, to its exalted height.

He raised the art, that he had made his bride ;
And in her arms befittingly he died,
Whose service had been ever his deUght.

O'er distant lands had spread his great renown,
And thousands flocked to see the man of parts :
Upon the stage, the brightest star that shone !

But now, beyond our mortal gaze he's gone.

And left behind him sad and aching hearts.
His part is played, so ring the curtain down.

Wakefield Express.


F. T. Bramston, M.A.

Without a poet who can see ?
The splendours of his destiny ;
Without a poet who descry ?
The glories of the earth and sky ;
Without a poet, why the world
Might with darkness well be furled.

But with a poet light is here

The very swineherd walks in fear ;

The varied landscapes take a tone,

By himself he is ne'er alone.

For here and there, and everywhere,

He feels, and knows, he has a share.

But yet the greatest bards may sing
The choicest pour their offering ;
These : stolid mortals take to scan
These messages from God to man.
Truths at which fine spirits cower,
Unfit are they for such a dower.


A fountain, but a fountain sealed ;
Irving comes ! all now revealed ;
Such is the living voice we see,
That Holy Writ doth here agree.
How should our sordid souls attain
To Christian Truth, the highest gain ?

Unless God said, " Ye heralds go
Proclaim the Truth to high and low ;
Mark the result for Hght will shine.
The sequel of the voice divine.
Frequent the church, the courts, the stage,
The voice it vivifies the page."

The actor's art ! well, what a power—
The thoughtless go to waste an hour ;
" But lo ! I ne'er expected this —
" Convicted, what ? I've done amiss.
" Into God's house, I've often strayed,
" Scorned have I, while others prayed.

" But here, while others laugh and play,

" My stony heart melts all away ;

" I gather all my strength, but fall—

" Conscience has struck me all in all.

" Is it me surprise has taken ?

" I know not, but oh ! how shaken ! "


Irving, well done ! our thanks are due
Unto our God for giving you ;
For the more can't see or tell
They know to read, but yet can't spell.
Their idle eyes roam o'er the page,
But fool to them is one with sage.

Unless the actor's art were here.
The highest truths were all a smear ;
A smear, a blot, whate'er you will,
To ordinary readers still.
The very words of God to man
Unthinking men still fail to scan.

The voice, the human voice divine ! —
If the blest sun but failed to shine,
You know what earth would be below.
The beauties here would never show
The very diamond darkness be.
Beauties fair light we owe to thee.

So all that prophets, poets wrote,

Without a speaker, few could note ;

The voice gives Hfe, the voice imparts

A power, most subtle, of all arts —

Greatest. We cull it well, divine

By hearing. True ! God's light doth shine.


Lydia Brownswood.

God of our fathers ! Thou hadst all their trust,
And givest every lamp of Hope and Life ;

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Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Frederick) ForshawIn memoriam; tributes to the memory of the late Sir Henry Irving → online text (page 3 of 8)