Charles F. (Charles Frederick) Forshaw.

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

. (page 5 of 8)
Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Frederick) ForshawIn memoriam; tributes to the memory of the late Sir Henry Irving → online text (page 5 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Who cast his gifts on either side,

And to his ends, firm-visaged, went.

Who highly born himself, and kept
His thought well-casketed ; and yet —

Though none were with him when he wept-
Made many eyes, with gladness, wet.

Who walked the world, a King of Men ;

Made gold his slave to do his best ;
Gathered the harvest gaily, then

Sowed seed again : sans haste or rest.

Who won all hearts, yet held his own ;

Self-taught, sufficient in his strength ;
While something that did hedge his throne

Kept Insolence ever at arm's length.

Intense, adroit ; artist in all,

His strange magnetic mystery
Audience and actor held in thrall,

And crowned him with serenity.



131



It seems it was not in his plan
To see abridged his noble rate ;

The something grand about the man
Bade him expire— not abdicate.

For him no long monotony

While the grey twilight turned to black ;
He died as heroes hope to die —

Strong, and with harness on his back.

Close down the curtain of each eye ;

Lay the lean arms across the breast
And leave him in his dignity,

God knows that he has earned his rest.



E^a.



132



J. R. Eastwood.



Actor renowned, compeller of our tears,

Thou joinest thy compeers ;

Siddons, Macready, Burbage, Garrick, Kean

Beckon from the Unseen ;

While yet our plaudits rang, the summons came,

And thou art one with Fame.

O great interpreter of Shakespeare's Art,

Deep grief is ours to part.

And little, for the heart's sob, can we say

Beside thy breathless clay ;

Thy Ufe and death are calls on us to be

Strenuous, high-souled, hke thee !

Dying in harness, as the valiant die,

Who craves with purpose high

A better fate, a loftier eminence,

A nobler passing hence ?

Bring the immortal laurels for the pall,

And let the curtain fall !

Liverpool Courier.



133



J. R. Eastwood.



Who comes to share the rest

Of England's noblest, best,
Of bards in slumber laid
Beneath the Abbey's shade ?

Who is this latest guest ?

Garrick, he was thy mate ;
He trod with steps elate

The stern, steep paths of Fame,

Leaving behind a name
Among the truly great !

Kean, he was thy compeer ;
'Mid waiUng music here,

Where Shakespeare's brow sublime

Smiles lordship over Time,
We bear his laurelled bier !

134



We know, through tears that start,
His brighter, better part

Was more than genius gave ;

It Hes not in the grave,
It stirs the common heart.

For Christ-hke deed and word
What praise can earth afford ?
What fame beneath the sun
Can equal God's " Well Done " ?
" Into Thy hands, O Lord ! "



Liverpool Courier.



135



Harry Edlin.



" Farewell ! " came sadly with the final breath

That, passing to the Great Beyond, you drew ;
And we, made poorer by the Hand of Death,

Lay at your feet a branch of bitter Rue.
But here is Rosemary to wreathe your head —

To speak of all sweet memories can give ;
To tell you, though the Reaper call you dead,

Within our faithful hearts you still do live.



136



Jay Essbank.



Give us but just one more of such as he

Then three centuries had held enough,

Two such useful lives and lived by his example,

A monument of morals stand to teach

Full ten decades, the better way.

For England's honour, genius of the best

A world's approval claims, and gets ungrudgingly

An " Irving " only once, alas ! A Shakespeare's faithful

mirror.
Our concentrated best, none can be better
Take the world wide, and cull the highest genius
No one can e'er excel.

Adieu, " Sir Henry Irving," the best within thy sphere.
Thy mark is left, thou shalt not be forgotten.



137



Fred Fellows.



Greatest of all ! within thy ranks, at last we say
good-bye,
And bid farewell, as unto all the same,
The people and the nation mourns, the tears bedim the
eye,
But evermore shall last, the memory of thy fame.

Upon the stage of life, thy duty nobly done
Thyself. Thy name, they both untarnished lie

Honoured, respected, but now thy course is run
For all, alas ! at last, the time must come to die.

Was ever man so born, with talents like to thee
Was ever fame achieved, as thou thyself hast won ;

Now take thy well-earned rest, no more thy face we see,
Thy crown is gained, life's battle it is done.

Lie thou in peace, where Kings before thee rest
But none no greater, than thyself has proved

The nation's choice and one by far the best,

But yet we miss thee and all hearts are sadly moved.

138



Who shall thy mantle gird and stand before,
The people who with thee have spellbound stood :

Alas ! Alas ! we may not nevermore
Thy equal see be ere the man so good.

Rest thou ! thy toil, thy work was nobly done,

God grant that in the better land thy crown might be

As thou hast proved thyself, through life now run
A crown of gold, for all eternity.

Sunset faded in the West
Noble heart has gone to rest ;
Lost to view to memory dear,
Though we cannot see him here.



139



Frank Gallagher.



Hushed be your voices ! Gentle be your tread ?

Enthroned in glory, lies our Irving dead.

Never in history was his reign surpassed ;

Revered by all, he's " resting " now at last.
Yet will his mem'ry live from age to age,

Immortal genius ; veteran of the stage !

Ring down the curtain ; hfe's great act is o'er,

Vict'ry awaits thee on the golden shore.

In life a great example thou hast shown,

Now death has gently claimed thee for his own.
Goodbye — Goodbye.

Swansea Leader.



140



Rev. J. G. Gibson, LL.D. F.R.S.L.



Not born to fame, to fame he sought the way,

And found her distant, but most wondrous kind;

Distant, to nerve him, eager for the fray ;

And kind, with full reward for heart and mind.

Poor flotsam ! Yet he learned to steer his bark
Where feebler heart and less intense had failed ;

One goal before him, through both Ught and dark,
He saw the certain victory wisdom veiled.

A student he of real things and deep;

He scorned the flimsy passing vulgar cry ;
The Truth of hfe was more to him, awake, asleep,

Than all the tricks adventurers must try.

He sought in Art the great eternal power, —
The power he swift reclothed with mystic art :

The Truth enshrined in human lover's bower

Or wreathed with Tophet's flames to gloomy heart.

141



The law of nature from each crime he drew :
Each crime by penalty he washed full clean.

The jewelled smile of chastity anew

He made appear where erst a tear had been.

No pictures ever his of hopeless shame,

For darkest nights, for him, starlit, declared

That in our deepest gloom the Mighty Name
Destroyed the vilest sin, the sinner spared.

A high ideal of Man, and nobler still,

A something more than Man great Irving saw.

Which made his life his childhood's toil fulfil,
As Love absorbed the earher task of Law,

No weakling man, but faithful through the cloud.
He held aloft the artist's torch of Light,

Revealed the craven fear, nor e'er allowed

That victory was in doubt for Truth and Right.

High scorn he poured on timorous hearts who dared
Pollute the ear of any heavenly muse,

Or feared rude mobs. He never once despaired
Of giving unto all that all must use.

Nor Uved he in the clouds alone, to blend

His virtues in sweet academic word.
His friends, his foes — to all he was a friend,

Befriending ere he all their asking heard.



142



How carefully he builded, not alone

For self, and dying, hazy pleasure's sake.

Each stone was squared — each joint was shown
To be as fine as Love's cement could make.

Not rich ? Not he, as men count pelf and store,
Not rich ? Yes, richer than the gem-strewn mine.

The world is richer, purer, for the door
He opened wide anew for Art Divine.

'Tis eventide at last. He rests, sore tired.

Not tired of serving, helping to the last ;
But tired of weakness, though with Love inspired.

Longing to help whene'er the failure's past.

And as he rests a moment, having served,
His face illumines all with Heavenly Light.

As he had ever wished, and aye deserved.

His sleep is come while yet his eyes are bright.

A babe once more upon the Eternal Breast,

He whispers, " Into Thy hands, into Thy hands."

And slumbers on, to wake a child at rest.

And walk in peace upon the Heavenly Strands.

Freemason' s Chronicle.



143



Rev. W. J. Gomersall, F.R.S.L.



O, WHEREFORE moum ?
There was no long-drawn anguish in his death ;
No fever-stricken brow ; no pulsing breath ;
No waiting at the crossing of the bourne; —
Then, wherefore moum ?

O, wherefore mourn ?
He met his fate e'en as he wished to die ;
So pass earth's heroes oft from mortal eye,
Shedding a glory as they cross the bourne ; —
Then, wherefore mourn ?

O, wherefore mourn ?
His task was done, and noble was its aim ;
He raised the art he loved to classic fame ;
And hath not this reward across the bourne ? —
Then, wherefore mourn ?



144



O, wherefore mourn ?
He held the lamp of Shakespeare up to men,
And made his great creations live again ;
That mighty Soul now greets across the bourne ;
Then, wherefore mourn ?

O, wherefore mourn ?
His heart was never closed to human need —
For luckless ones how truly did it bleed !
And shall not Love be kind across the bourne ?
Then, wherefore mourn ?

O, wherefore mourn ?
England's Valhalla shrines his honoured dust ;
And poet's tomb and monumental bust
Illustrious make the crossing of the bourne ; —
Then, wherefore mourn ?



145



Ella Mary Gordon, F.R.S.L. LL.D.



One more sun now shines.
On the Heavenly height,

But on Earth one star
Sheds no more its light.

One more barque has sailed
To the distant shore ;

But the good he wrought
Lives for evermore.

Pure the high ideal ;

It could stand the test ;
And when wreaths were won,

He had earned his rest.

He had raised the stage

To a standard high ;
Thousands bless his name,

That life cannot die.

146



By devoted zeal,

Scholarly and grand,

By unceasing toil,

He enriched the land.

Sad are many lives,

They have lost a friend ;
Angels join Love's links

To a joyful end.

Sympathy's sweet rays
Warm the saddest heart ;

And Love's lasting lore ;
Death can never part.

Art lives ever more,
In sweet labour spent ;

For the gifts of mind
Are as treasures lent.

He revived grand lives ;

Earth is poorer now ;
But the laurel leaves

Rest upon his brow.

Culture's lovely buds
Blooming all around.

Are the flowers that spread
E'en on stony ground.

147



So the power of brain,
Given to the world,

Though the Hero rests
Leaves the flag unfurled.

He will ever stand
In the niche of Fame ;

And while ages last,
Art will bless his name.



148



Eleanor Gray,



The curtain fell !
Behind it was enacted the last scene
Greatly and well !

II.

Oh, Irving dead
Thou speakest, greater thy heroic mien
Than words ere said.

III.

Posterity
In thee will mark the grand historic man.
And honour thee.

149



IV.

In highest way.
By perfecting for Art thy cherished plan.
But we to-day



Mourn the lost friend,
And know his like will not be found again
Till our life's end.

VI.

The play is o'er !
This man will live in hearts and minds of men
For evermore !



150



Eleanor Gray.



" Into thy hands, oh, Lord ! into Thy hands ! "
Thus speaking to the unknown passed he hence
To be no longer ours, this man with tense
And forceful features, loved of all the lands.
Yet in our hearts, as was his wont, he stands
The Master, giving out his soul intense
For us and Art, who was in highest sense
A poet. Yea, his very name expands
The narrow limits of our hearts. He moved
Among us simply, with impassioned soul
Thro' shoals and intricacies to his goal.
Consummate Actor, perfect Friend, he proved
Life's problem by his life. And, oh, Beloved
We are the poorer since Death claimed his toll !



151



Claude Greening.



In the ancient Abbey's shade.
Now his mortal dust is laid
Who his life-part nobly played.

Whilst the solemn organ-note
Through the grey old fane doth float
Comes a swelling to the throat.



<<



Dust to dust." His mortal part
Lies within the Abbey's heart ;
Grief is ours and sorrow's smart.

But his spirit has upsoared,
There to meet its glad reward
From the Great Eternal Lord.



Star.



152



Claude Greening.



Farewell, thou chief of actors ! Ev'ry heart

Is sad that thou who play'dst so great a part,

Both on and off the stage, hast journeyed hence

To meet a good man's promised recompense.

Farewell ! Ah me, 'tis hard that word to say

And tears are springing to our eyes to-day ;

We scarce can realise that thou hast gone —

Thou whom we have so often gazed upon

With eyes of true affection and esteem.

Farewell, kind heart ! How little did we dream

That thou wouldst suddenly be called away

To stand before thy Maker ! Let me say

My fond adieu in silence and in tears.

No more thy kindly voice shaU reach our ears ;

Thy gen'rous hand no longer can bestow

Its lavish bounty on the poor below.

Great heart, good-bye ! We hope some day to meet

Thy kindly presence at Jehovah's Feet.



153



Claude Greening.



As, at the autumn wind's imperious call,

The leafage from the trees doth swiftly fall,

So fall the tears of sorrow from men's eyes

When, to their grief, a great and good man dies.

And good and great was he beyond a doubt

V/hose lamp of life has suddenly gone out,

And left a gloom behind whilst he upsoared

To meet the dazzling brilliance of the Lord

Of Highest Heav'n, into whose loving hands

His spirit he commended. Mankind stands

Appalled and silenced at this passing o'er.

From realms of Time to the Eternal Shore,

Of one so loved, so honoured, so esteemed.

How little had we guessed, or thought, or dreamed

That Henry Irving was about to hear

The call before his Maker to appear !



154



In English-speaking lands there is no eye
By grief unmoistened ; gloom hangs heavily
On all aUke, for he was not alone
A brilliant actor, but a man well known
By rich and poor for kindliness of heart.
He acted well in many a classic part,
But acting was not needed when he lent —
And this he did almost where' tr he went —
Assistance to the struggling a; id the weak ;
To him it was but natural to speak
The cheering word that sends one bravely on.
" Into Thy hands," O God, he now has gone.

Free Lance,



155



Sydney Grundy.



Into Thy hands, O Lord,

Into ,Thy hands !
Loosed is the silver cord.

Outrun the sands
Hear us, O Lord supreme,

Hear us who pray
That from Hfe's dream
We may awake one day
To meet again the good and great

Whom we have loved below.
Lord, grant that they be at the gate
When strikes our hour to go.

Outrun the sands !
His life's reward
Is in Thy hands, O Lord,

Is in Thy hands.



Referee.



156



Laura Halliday.



Spread purple pall, strew violet bloom,
The royal, not the sable hue
Should flaunt for one the whole world knew
A king of men, his compeers few.

On him the gods in favour poured
Their choicest gifts — charm, wisdom, skill,
A great soul, and the strong man's will
To wrest the gain from good and ill.

The richest gem in England's crown,
He loved and worshipped, set apart
In splendour, circled with such art —
He was the Man ! — no actor's part.

The actor's world he lifted up
From base report and evil sway
Into the purer light of day
Where art and beauty rule the play.



157



No need has he of praise, nor lack
Of friends to sing his virtues rare,
Who ever breathed the incensed air
His genius drew from all most fair.

Great Son of England, take thy rest,
Well-earned, the strenuous life can tell,
And though thy passing tolls a knell,
We bravely say, Hail and Farewell !

Leeds Mercury Supplement.



15M



James Hebbington, LL.D.



His great heart heaved, and for one moment lost

Its rhythmic beat. He heard but made no sign

When doleful sounds of anguish and despair

Smote on his ear, and thrilled to his heart's core,

But went his way amid the wrecks of war

O'er friend and foe, o'er man and horse he went.

To where the fight had been the deadliest,

And now alone with war's sad aftermath.

And none to see him but the silent stars.

He sudden paused beside two youthful forms.

In their last sleep,

His heart was noble, generous to a fault,

But hitherto his port was majesty.

With brow of high and somewhat stern command.

But by those forms, clasped in each others arms —

At sight of them, more child-like, beautiful,

Than ever tender memory brought to him,

His strong frame shook, and, kneehng down, he wept,

His gray hair mingling with the auburn locks.



159



J. S. Hill.



Great son of Thespis ! whom he brooded o'er
Through early years of struggle 'mid the poor.
In strenuous youth of brave pursuit of Fame
Against adversity, was lit the flame
Of fellowship with ev'ry human woe
And tragedy of passion's overflow.
Keenly thy vision plumbed the sombre deeps
Of human thought where passion darkly sleeps,
And too the various moods which rouse its force
To deeds of blessing or to deeds that curse.
Each changeful thought before our view arrayed
By thy deft skill, were livingly pourtrayed ;
And thus unfolded by thy matchless art
The subtle problems which perplex the heart,
Thy genius proved a mentor sage and wise
At once to warn, to comfort and advise.
Pure was thy life, a record nobly true
To sacred Art, and moral beauty too.
When names less faithful are to Fame forgot.
Thy name will live with those that perish not.



i6o



Elsie Hook.



The curtain falls — the cheering crowds are gone.
And Henry seeks at last some needful rest,

And finds it too ; for Henry's day is done !
One wild, fierce conflict in the heaving breast,

And all is ended — see ! the moon-beams play

O'er form majestic — pale, and cold as they !

In such a pause as this, thought wanders far —
Far out upon that dim and mystic sea —

Beyond the night, beyond the watching star —
That sea, that shore of Immortahty !

And feels 'tis true, that " ere the eye can wink "

The world is gained ! We're nearer than we think /



i6r



T. L. S. Inglis.



Of art ; yea, and of arts, sing we !

For each is fraught with fascination.
One and another, kindred be,

And mutual is their relation.
These attributes conjoint, partake

Of scientific bloom and beauty ;
And thus, beside, and in their wake,

Rehgion rules, and hke\vise duty.

Yea, and rehgion, pure and plain,

To art, is favourable, truly ;
Religion, likewise — such its strain —

Advances Art, amain and fully.
And as all good gifts are from God,

Religion, so, is potent, ever.
And art, that's comprehensive, broad,

This kindred tie, may no\vise sever.

In Nature's, and in Life's estate.
Art, and thus, arts, in meet relation,

To one another, dominate

Mankind throughout, and thrill Creation.

162



The liberal or fine arts ; such,

Altho' distinct, and separated
From arts mechanical, in touch,

Yet truly be ; and they're related.

Art, and thus arts, in their extent

And fervid fulness, thus related
Unto morahty, present

A phase that is appreciated.
Yea, and morahty implies

The recognition of Law, truly ;
And it, too, broadly signifies

Obedience to law, thus fully.

Ideal, precept, or whate're

Furthers and betters the condition
Of art and arts, in manner fair.

Let such obtain due recognition.
Not from without, but from within.

Art must receive consideration ;
And thus too, art, esteem to win.

Must help to mankind's elevation.

Poets, painters, thus whomsoe're,

Each, else, and all, mankind comprising,
Agreeably maintain and bear

A part in hfe, art realising.
And tho' each play their wonted part.

With varying degree of merit.
Yet something in the brain, or heart.

Tells them that art is of the Spirit.

163



The actor's art, pursued aright,

Is worthy of appreciation ;
And ah ! 'tis able to excite

True, noble thought, and inspiration.
Tho' " all's the world's a stage," and tho'

The diverse players we, comprising
Each, else, and all, yet even so.

Art, its due force, is exercising.

Sir Henry Irving — just, his claim

Unto a world-wide reputation —
His audience, ne'er put to shame !

And noble was his aspiration.
His art, and his time-honoured name,

Will e're receive due veneration ;
And ah ! his life-work, and his fame

Abide will, in perpetuation.



164



Nellie Isherwood.



Life's curtain falls ; and we with deep regret,
From earth's great stage, thine exit now deplores.
Thou wore'st " Fame's Laurels " well. Thou didst

command
Respect and honour. Now thy part is o'er,
And English Drama, which thou loved well,
Will miss its " Chief," aye, more than pen can tell.

Yet, even with thine honour ; all thy fame
True nobleness of heart and mind were thine.
Foremost in all sweet deeds of charity.
Before all men, thou bidst thy hght to shine.
Playing thy part right nobly and well,
Leaving a memory that for aye shall dwell.

165



Would that thy followers would learn from thee
How high, how noble, and how great is Art.
Would that like thee they ever would uphold,
The Stage's honour, and in every part
Display thy lofty aim, and teach mankind
That lessons true in Art we aye may find.

With words that fell from Martyr's lips of old,
" Into Thine hands, O Lord, into Thine hands."
Thine earthly course was finished, teaching all
That soon or late, we too must leave earth's strand.
That each our destined part should nobly play,
'Ere from the world's great stage we pass away.

Bolton Chronicle.



i66



Israel Thomas Jacob.



Deeply grieved in Wales were thousands

When they heard of Irving's death ;
And awhile in solemn silence

Old admirers held their breath.
So hard struck, indeed, they had been

That they scarcely could express
How the tidings them affected, —

How it plunged them in distress.

Autumn leaves, in golden splendour,

Basked in sunshine bright that morn ;
Made us feel 'twas well we had been

Here on earth midst beauty born ;
But when we our morning papers

Had unfolded, seen the news.
What a gloom — profound, o'erwhelming —

Over all did it diffuse !



167



Russet leaves in all their glory

Charmed no longer tearful eyes.
For they had become all sodden —

Hanging 'neath dull, leaden skies.
Like our most illustrous actor,

They, too, failed to give us mirth ;
And like him they're now returning

To the bosom of the earth.

Westminster henceforth will claim him,

For a place for him she's found ;
Where with England's greatest, noblest.

Lies his dust in hallowed ground.
Up aloft with those uplifted

Through his plays in many lands.
Now his soul in bliss is soaring.

Saying, " Lord, into Thy hands."



i68



J. J. Lane, F.R.S.L.



A PRINCE in Art hath fallen ; let the curtains close,
And grant our hero-actor well deserved repose ;
'Mong England's greatest sons : — the Poet, and the sage,
The man of Science, — and his compeer on the stage
Garrick ; with Shakespeare unsurpass'd : that man

of might
Gordon, the brave and true : defender of the Right
Gladstone ; Browning the mystic, all of deathless fame.
Lay Irving to his rest ; and there inscribe his name,
His talents, and virtues, in letters bold and deep.
To mark the hallow'd spot where now we stand and weep.



i6g



David Lawton.



Great actor wast thou, greater still as man ;
Beloved for thyself, and for thy art ;
Right nobly hast thou played thy worthy part
E'er since thy strenuous, upward Ufe began.
And though success was tardy, and the praise
Which helps great artists on to greater things
Was slow in coming, thou still strove to raise
And make thy calling rank with priests and kings.
Well hast thou earned thy rest, thou noble knight,
So 'mongst our noble dead thy dust we place
Beside the greatest, worthiest, of our race.
This honour all men own is thine by right
Of great achievements, which have brought thy name
World-wide regard, as well as world-wide fame.

H udders field Examiner.



170



Francis £. Legge.



If " all the world's a stage," as sang the Bard,
Who stands on highest pinnacle of fame ?
And we but players be, then laud the name
Of our chief dramatist, who held
" Th' mirror up to nature " that we might
" In looking on this picture and on this " discern
How each his part doth play for well or ill ;
Nor " lay the flattering unction to our souls " that
Wrong is right, and who, when " Th' times are out of

joint,"
Set forth the rightful place of " virtue, scorn, and vice,"
With well-proportioned skill did thus pourtray,
And we with wreath of laurel deck his brow to-day.

'Mid stately pageant, " dim. reUgious light,"


1 2 3 5 7 8

Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Frederick) ForshawIn memoriam; tributes to the memory of the late Sir Henry Irving → online text (page 5 of 8)