Charles F. (Charles Frederick) Forshaw.

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

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Fall from the swaying trees

At the breath of the mighty Frost King,

And the sigh of the Autumn breeze.

So the touch of Death's great angel

With startling swiftness came ;

And through the hush of the midnight

God softly called his name !

He died, while each day laurels
Were added to his crown !
In the zenith of his triumph,
Death rung the curtain down.
And, it may be in the valley
Of the shadows and the fears
That the loud applause was ringing
To cheer his dying ears !


Within the ancient Abbey
Serenely may he sleep ;
Where, through the painted windows
The golden sunbeams creep
To rest in varied radiance
On many a mighty name,
Enshrined in deathless glory
Within this Niche of Fame !

There poet, author, actor
Rest calmly, side by side,
Rare souls, whose gifts forever
Are England's dearest pride !
And here we lay the genius
Who, through the changing years,
Has moved the heart of London
To rapture and to tears !


Owen Seaman.

Ring down the curtain, for the play is done.
Let the brief Ughts die out, and darkness fall,
Yonder to that real life he has his call ;

And the loved face beholds the Eternal Sun.



Virna SKeard.

NO| more]; for thee the music and the lights,
^ Thy magic may no more win smile nor frown ;
For thee, Oh dear interpreter of dreams,
The curtain hath rung down.

No more the sea of faces, turned to thine.

Swayed by impassioned word and breathless pause ;

No more the triumph of thine art, — no more
The thunder of applause.

No more for thee the maddening, mystic bells.
The haunting horror — and the falling snow ;

No more of Shylock's fury, and no more
The Prince of Denmark's woe.

Not once again the fret of heart and soul,
The loneliness and passion of King Lear ;

No more bewilderment and broken words
Of wild despair and fear.


And never wilt thou conjure from the past
The dread and bitter field of Waterloo ;

Thy trembhng hands will never pluck again
Its roses or its rue.

Thou art no longer player to the Court ;

No longer red-robed Cardinal or King ;
To-day thou art thyself— the Well-Beloved—

Bereft of crown and ring.

Thy feet have found the path that Shakespeare found.

Life's lonely exit of such far renown ;
For thee, Oh dear intepreter of dreams,

The curtain hath rung down.

Canadian Magazine.


Rev. James Silvester, M.A.

Son of the Drama, thou hast played thy part

As illustrator of the Immortal Seer,
In fiercest passions of the human heart

And darkest deeds of tragic fate and fear.
And though thine exit from life's stage has been

So swift and sudden, it becometh thee,
As falls the curtain on tlie historic scene

Of the great Primate's mortal agony.
For, said by thee, his words prophetic were,

And the high drama rose to the divine,
Through thy last utterance of the ancient prayer

Wherein thou didst thy labour's love resign.
And leave behind life's lesson to all lands —
" Into Thy hands, O Lord, into Thy hands."

Cheltenham Free Press.


Clarence Sinclair, M.D.

When shall we see such brilliant things again^?

Of villas in the Gallo-Roman times,

Such fascinating splendid architecture

Pictures that haunted sleep those charming'night. -

Baths, gardens, loggias adorned with statues,

And rows of marble busts that set us dreaming

Of fascinating Paris, and Versailles,

St. Cloud and artificial lakes and boats,

And glorious panoramas of fair France.

Sir Henry of rare accomplishment.

Of varied talents, and whatever means

He used to gain the object of his search,

All were artistic, and not one misplaced.

Expressive of the stage, the play, and plan,

Such subtle nicety of appreciation.

Of beauty, and true feeling of the soul.

For scene and incident, and just selection

Of things essential to the mise-en-scene.

That pleasing harmony and effect dramatic

Were sure to follow.

Ah me ! Messieurs ! I much misdoubt, our world

Will ever look upon his like again.


W. Hamlet Smith.

Now the curtain's down,

The lights are lowered again.
And he who played with smile and frown

Shall never smile again.

Known and loved and cheered,

He walked his generous way,
With knightly heart as still he neared

The climax of life's play.

All the world's a stage,

But only now and then.
A man seems greater than his age

And towers above all men.

Art his love. We tread

His steps with quickened breath,
Until the Summoner has led

Him to the Halls of Death.


King and prince and saint,

And lower joy and grief,
His art, unrivalled, still could paint

On love's unlettered leaf.

Now Mathias rests

From those accursed Bells ;
Ill-fated Charles has bade his guests

The saddest of farewells.

Saintly Becket falls

Beneath relentless feet ;
" The rest is silence " — which appals -

The muster roll's complete.

Now the curtain's down.

We go with fluttering heart,

And hold this man of high renown
Was greater than his part.

Birmingham Mercury.


Rev. W. A. Smyley.

Within Westminster's hallowed fane,
Among the good and great,

Irving — thy ashes rest in peace
God's final call to wait.

'Tis fitting so — he acted well

Through life a dual part ;
A life in private nobly spent

While Master of his Art.

No shadow falls upon his tomb ;

We ne'er shall see his peer ;
'No shadow save that cast at eve
By statue of Shakespeare.


And surely he deserved a place
To peerless Shakespeare nigh ;

Whose true ideal raised the art
That Shakespeare loved so high"!

The Stage has lost its noblest son ;

The curtain fell too soon
Upon a life both grand and pure

A Hfe cut off at noon.

Dead do you say ? He cannot die
Who lives to purpose true ;

And such the hfe great Irving hved
A life now lived anew.


Richard Spencer.

H ow dear to all his loved and well known name !

E ven to those who never knew the stage,

N o more sincere and honest son of fame

R etired so honoured who had served his age,

Y et though lost to the world, he'll Uve in history's page.

I n sacred tone the grand old Abbey now
R eceives one more beneath its ancient pile.

V irtue was writ upon his noble brow,

I n his true heart no room was there for guile;
N one there are left who now can fill his place,
G one is the sterling man of Christian zeal and grace.


John W. Stones.

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

Gently, like wearied child, he fell asleep,

And his sweet spirit took its welcome ilight

To Him Who made it. Not for him the couch

Of ling'ring sickness, or of haunting pain ;

His the swift passage from the press of hfe

To the quiet haven of the life Beyond ;

From very zenith of his fame he passed

To th' eternal peace ; and leaving no regrets

For work undone ; his great career was crowned

With end complete, and honour unsurpassed.

And now, alas ! his countrymen do bow,

In bitter grief, beside his honoured grave ;

For he was loved by all men, who himself

Did others love so much ; and England mourns

The brightest star of her rich galaxy

Of noble lives. Farewell, beloved chief !

Southport Visitor.


Arthur Bass Talbot.

The stage is clear, and for a time seems dark

Since he, who always took the title-role

In the Life-Drama of " The Gentleman,"

Made his last exit. Naught for us is left

But treasur'd visions of the parts he played.

That pass us, as the spectres pass'd Macbeth,

In long procession, bringing, not remorse.

But blessed memories of bygone joys.

For he, who mirror'd Nature to the hfe,

Was in himself one of her fairest works

Beyond all mimicry. Now he is gone,

And, at his loss, we who could shed salt tears

When by his art he practised on our grief.

Stand dry-eyed now ; tearless, because, though sad.

We feel that we may even smile at death

Who here has sorely overplayed his part ;


For Death himself can never take away
The lasting goodness wrought by Irving's Ufe
Upon Mankind, nor still the wave of love
That circl'd from his brave and generous heart.
The fount is dry, but in the gloomy deeps
Of human sorrow Uves the precious flow,
And yet shall hve, to quicken and increase
Until humanity and love are one.

Leicester Daily Post.


Alfred Turner.

Darken the stage and put away that mask !

He's done with the play.
Ta'en the last call — it found him at his task —

And swift, moved away.

He came when acting was a suppliant art,

All players lowly.
When Thespus fearing insult dwelt apart


The Theatre, nourished 'neath his benign sway.

Tasted some glory ;
Its servants came into the light of day

To tell their story.

All pomp and dignities left him unspoiled —

Aiming at Beauty ;
Striving hard, sometimes winning, sometimes foiled,

Always for Duty.


His genius fashioned a new form of art,

Drove the pendants out ;
With loving hands he struggled to impart

The Truth — dispel Doubt.

He died in the Hmelight facing the crowd,

Huzzas in his ears.
There ! There was his place, the curtain his shroud

Not much here for tears


Wm. Turner.

What man attains Perfection's dazz'ling height ?
Or, be supremely pure, can any say ?
Some shadow of the dark, ancestral night.
Clouds o'er the dawning of a perfect day.

Yet, there are souls who tower above the rest —
Those giants of the faulty, human race ;
Like eagles, soaring o'er their native nest,
And seem to pierce the borderland of space.

So, Irving ! Thou wert one who ever soar'd
In mental regions far above the crowd ;
Interpreter of him — our poet-lord —
Sweet Swan of Avon ! tJie Parnassus' brow'd.


Who taught us that this World was but a stage,
And we but players in its varied scenes ;
But that the Actor should, to Nature's page,
Hold up a mirror with its flashing gleams.

Here 'tis we trace thee, as a Man of Men —
A modern Bayard, flitting o'er life's stage —
Pure as a pearl, though tempted o'er again.
Without reproach — with Wisdom like a Sage.

So sweetly social, helpful to the weak,

A tower of refuge in the stress of life,

When storm-tossed comrades had thine aid to seek

Alas ! like thee, some sunken in the strife.

And on the Stage, we trace thee in that role —
Preaching a Sermon of all Time and Death —
That scared the philosophic Hamlet's soul,
And made him pause before the passing breath.

Again, we see thee, personate the Devil —
(In Faust) — the tempter who attacks and flees ;
And hold the " Mirror " to the source of evil.
To show the wiles of Mephistopheles.

Oh ! friend of all that's virtuous, pure and good ;
Thine was a noble and a happy lot ;
Fallen in the fight with Sin and Satan's brood —
Like Nelson, brave — if unlike Nelson, shot.


Honour the Brave, the Dutilul and True !

And Irving's hfe contained them, everyone ;

He gave us of his best. The more he grew

He taught our heads, and now our hearts are won.

He was a " Star " of chiefest magnitude
That shone, resplendent, in the World of Art ;
He charm'd the critics, pleased the multitude.
And lired with ecstacy both head and heart.

His ideal tower'd above the base, the low,
Nor could all understand his lofty aim :
May his great deeds for ever on us grow.
And he enshrined within our Hall of Fame !


Richard Vascy.

Who visits this Cathedral where we lay

Our dear Sir Henry down to his last sleep ;

May ask hereafter " What doth make this site,

To be so coveted by living men ? "

What makes this house, so full of inspiration ?

This pavement is not laid with polished stone,

Of var5dng hues, and on the massvie pillars

No veined marbles flash with costly gems,

And on the walls, and round the basement peering

Now and again, through fragrant incense cloud,

No statues, tombs, and paintings like were seen,

And minor altars flashing living lights.

And the high altar 'neath a roof of stars —

Of golden stars, and brilliant gems.

No ; none of those are here ! Then why, O why ?


What makes this site — this holy blessed site

So full of inspiration to the world, —

The world of Intellectuals, and brave men,

Of Science, Art, and Literature — why ?

It is the keenness of suggestion, springing

From close association of those sites

With vanished greatness, ne'er forgotten men.

Their name, their presence, their intense personal power.

Make barren rocks, and squalid villages,

All eloquent to hearts susceptible.

Of things above the mind of the Iconoclast,

Above the level of the Puritan,

Who stabled horses in cathedrals,

And mutilated man's divinest works.

Association doth imbue dead matter

With such suggestiveness that it exerts

Upon the heart and mind a wonderful

Reflexing influence, and clothes a place

With reverent memories, and sacred feeling.

That woods, and streams, and vales, and murmuring airs,

Are redolent of presence and sounds of music we have

heard long years ago.
And let the sweet religion of the spot.
Exert its influence over, and in us.
Not all that Science, Art, or Learning did
For me or mine, can take its place, I ween.
Ah, gentlemen ! I ask, don't you and I
Learn best from such as dear Sir Henry Irving,
How to appreciate the subtle beauties


The impassioned sweetness of poetic art,
Strength, tenderness, simplicity, and all
The nameless graces that no rules can teach ?
Then, if you want to know — to feel their spell,
Stand underneath this holy roof and muse
On Henry, Shakespeare, Tennyson, and listen
Till sweet ancestral music fills the soul,
With its soft undertones of tender song,
And brilliant declamation.


Olive Vertc.

Draw down the curtain. His last act is done

And Henry Irving walks the stage no more ;

His mimic hfe of tragic Art is o'er ;

Night has descended on his horizon.

As Wolsey, Shylock, Lear, our praise he won,

Excelled in scenic art, historic lore ;

Mathias in " The Bells " made hearts ache sore,

In Benedict was full of wit and fun.

Farewell, great Actor ! now a brilliant star

In Becket's character has nobly set.

He rests with Garrick, Sheridan and Parr

In th' Poet's corner with great honours crowned.

His soul now free from tragedy and fret

His body in the Abbey's sacred ground !


Louis H. Victory, F.R.S.L.

O, Hamlet, greatest of that princely band
That e'er the role of dreamy Dane essayed

To charm the eyes and ears of those who scanned
The ebon-minded Prince in black arrayed !

O, Becket, worthy of the poet's might,

Renowned thro' all this world's vast, flowering lands,

Who penned those words that brought thy spirit light —

" Into Thy hands, O God, into Thy hands ! "—

May we who strut this paltry stage of earth,
Who watched thee mimicing man's little strife,
Who saw thee hold the mirror up to life. —

May we, when we have done with dool and mirth.
Find peace in words that stilled thy soul's demands : —
" Into Thy hands, O God, into Thy hands ! "

Leinster Leader.


William Wall.

Come gather round me, one and all,

Ye heroes of Romance ;

Come Arthur King of England,

And Louis King of France ;

Come Royal Prince of Denmark's line,

And hear what I've to say.

Not one of you shall seem as great

As in a former day.



No more shall Shylock seal the bond,

Nor Polish Jew be slain ;

For the voice that trembled at the Bells

Can ne'er be heard again.

No more can Denmark's royal blood

By poisoned blade be shed ;

Laertes' work is now complete,

Her greatest Prince is dead.


I saw an old cathedral grand
When fell the shades of night,
By the altar an Archbishop stands
In his robes of black and white.
Close to the steps four warriors stride,
Full mailed, as if for fight.
They seized the aged prelate's robe
And then four swords flash bright.


Ah, me ! a woeful tragedy

Took place within our sight.

At the foot of the altar dying

The saintly prelate lay ;

Firm to the last, he raised his voice.

His farewell prayer to say ;

But the beauty of those simple words

Ring in our ears to-day.



So ends the mimic tragedy,
But oh ! who can say,
That a real and greater tragedy
Did not take place that day.
For the curtain scarce had fallen
On the poet's greatest play,
When cold in death, in harness yet,
Our grandest Actor lay.

Yet his fame remains for ever.
Our actor, old and grand ;
We ne'er shall see his equal
In this or any land.

Irish Truth.


Andrew T. Walsh.

Alas ! he is no more,
O ! what a fury blew the deadly blast,
That stretched that ever blooming flow'r,
That grew more lovely, hour by hour,
Upon the cold, cold earth at last.
He's gone ;
Gone to the stern, unsympathetic tomb.

The entrance door.
That leads to the land of hfe, or gloom ;

No more shall pour
The dawn of day to him ; the morning sun

Shall shine to him no more.


Alas ! he is no more,
October with his fierce and hoary head,
And breath that withers up the ill.
And wafts brown death o'er plain and hill,
Has scarce come in to find him dead.
Deplore his death. Who knew the tragic sage,

Could not but weep,
When he, the eternal idol of the stage

Had gone asleep.
Well may the world weep ; the Drama sky

Has lost its sun ;
And naught but mem'ry looms on high

To tell us what it's done.

Alas ! he is no more,

Mute is the voice, which bound us as a chain
Whatever was the theme, it breath'd
With pregnant energy that wreath'd
All hearts with its seductive strain.
And now,
Oh ! now. Alas ! how can we realise

This genius dead.
The Drama king, whose brain and eyes

The Drama led.
Who showed us where their beauty hes.

How can we think him dead.


Alas ! he is no more,

The voice that thrilled shall never thrill again ;

The eyes that thousands did inspire,

Shall ne'er more glance that soulful fire,

That wrought O ! more than ever speech could gain.

In dole
We'll mourn o'er his corpse, and lift our pray'rs

For his great soul ;
And shrine him in our hearts, amidst sad tears,

That mem'ries roll,
Such men as he ne'er die, for Deathless Fame

Will ever cling ;
To Irving's genius, Irving's name,

Great Drama's tragic king.

Weekly Freeman.


Andrew T. Walsh.

Gone is the soul all honoured ! Irving's dead !

Died while success benignly generous shone ;

Died full of honour, and his harness on ;

Died like the leaves, that in the Autumn fade.

The Winter had not come, nor had the frost,

But silently grim Death his visit made,

And snatched him in his flush. Alas ! we lost

That moment, not but him, but all the souls

His genius created. Gone ! ever gone !

Gone to the gloomy mist that shrouds us all ;

Where sound not breaks the air, nor one tear rolls

Such is the end ; the common and the great

Fall in a common grave, tho' one may be

Like one small drop, the other boundless sea.


Bernard Weller.

Greatness and gentleness together came,
Dear Master, in the magic of your fame.

You were so gentle in your greatness, we
Knew not the fulness of your empery :

Nor that you moved, above our common eyes,
As suns do in the farness of the skies.

O Chief of us ! Great-set, majestical.
And yet no higher than the hearts of all !

The Stage.


Joseph White.

With the sweet words of Becket's noble prayer
Still moist upon his hps, the Reaper passed
And called the weary toiler to his rest,
And never toiler wrought so hard as he,
Or carved a name so spotless and so fair
Upon the scroll of Fame. The lofty aim —
The strong, unwavering purposes that bend
The aspiring soul of genius to the task
Of labour, without which success comes not ;
The consecration of a strenuous hfe
To acts of sweet benevolence and love
That left the giver richer for the gift
Were his whose voice will never more arouse
The acclamations of his fellow-men.


Mourn I England, for the knightly son whose hfe

Rung, link by link, the chain that binds thy race

In the firm bonds of human brotherhood.

He conjured up the past and made it live —

A lesson and a menace to our age ;

He made articulate the thoughts that flit

Impalpably across the page of Time ;

And through the mirror of his subtle art

We looked into the very heart of man —

The cradle of the mystery which mocks

And baffles all the wisdom of the world.

Gentle of heart and mind, bespeaking love

In all and everything that felt the glow

Of his warm presence, he hath i)layed his part

Unto a perfect finish. All is o'er ;

From labour unto rest : " thro' night to light.

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

Liveypool Couritr.


Rev. F. dc Lacy White, B.A. F.R.S.L.

A NOBLE man has passed away,

Our hearts would fain have had him stay ;

But God's most holy will be done,

The sands of life their course had run.

His time was ripe for higher spheres,

So let us not give way to tears.

And yet our grief must have its way,

For hearts will bleed whate'er we say.

His genius shone in all his part,

He always acted true to art.

No wonder in Westminster's Fane,

His mortal ashes will remain ;

Till Resurrection joys he gains,

With no more partings, no more pains.


With no more sorrows, no more tears,
With no more trials, no more fears.
How exquisitely sweet his face,
Chiselled in sculpture's heavenly grace ;
In lovely smile and action bright,
His hfe he tried to make it right.
Enshrined in Briton's hearts so dear.
That no one need to make it clear.
For true in every list of fame.
Was ever to be found his name.
His charity forsooth benign
In glory did his soul resign ;
For ever will liis name be known,
As records long will now be shown.


J. M. Wignall.

" Into Thy hands, oh Lord, into Thy hands,"
Slipping away hke the silver sands,
The mighty soul of a mighty man,
Formed on the Creator's noblest plan.
Hushed is that voice on the silence of death.
Still lies that noble heart,
Ended the actor's part,
Fled is the melody as flies the breath.
Rest ye his casket there —

Turned to the skies ;
Earth shall that poor earth bear,

Life must uprise.
Darken the stage so gay,

Answer his calls ;
So ends life's grandest play,
The curtain falls.


Rev. E. M. WoUtencroft.

A GREAT Tragedian has passed away,

A star of the first magnitude has set,

Whose genius was creative to beget

In mortals the immortal in his day.

His chief ambition was to raise the race ;

He laboured long and strenuously on the stage

To kindle zeal afresh, in this our age.

For plays of sterling worth in every place.

Tragic his end ! In harness to the last,

His bark with sails unfurl'd has crossed the bar

To where no blighting tempests ere can mar

Elysian peace with comrades of the past.

His honour' d dust in Britain's noble fane

Is laid 'mongst those whose fame will never wane.


Rev. E. M. Wolstcncroft.

H onour'd by all a Teacher wise

E mblem of worth to heights did'st rise,

N ever surpass'd upon the stage

R ever^d Nestor of this age.

Y oke-fellow true 'mongst men a sage.

I ntent for good thy constant aim.

R espect world wide to day can'st claim ;

V ictor from youth in many a fight,
I ntrepid with life's goal in sight.

"N il desperandum," motto grand,

G ain'd for thee fame on every hand.


Henry Yates.

Lay him well down, to sleep with all his peers,

For weD he played his part while yet 'twas day,
In sunlight or by footlight through the years,

Till in the night the mask he threw away.
He trod the stage, and left it, plank by plank.

Free from the foulness heap'd upon its boards.
Till mirror'd nature held its own high rank,

Well-nich'd among his pure, unique records.

Lay him well down, and soundly let him sleep —

He travell'd far on roads that tire the feet.
Ere he could rest by wayside, or could reap

The seeds he scatter' d where cross winds did meet.
" Into Thine hands, O Lord, into Thine hands,"

Great Gleaner, may he safely shelter'd be,
Where kings, nor peoples, encores, nor commands

May check his role in " Love's Infinity ! "

Blackburn Telegraph.







CHA5. F. F0R5HAW. LL.D. F.R.5.A.I.

Member of the Council of the Royal Society of Literature and
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.





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Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Frederick) ForshawIn memoriam; tributes to the memory of the late Sir Henry Irving → online text (page 7 of 8)