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attaining early in life the first rank in his pro- | the irresolute Macbeth, despising his remorse
and terror, she presented to the audience an
"This lady's delivery of dialogue (says Davies), whether of humour, wit, or mere sprightliness, was never surpassed, or perhaps equalled. Her fame daily increased from the eagerness with which the town flocked to see her in every new character. Not confined to any one walk in acting, she ranged through them all, and discovered a high degree of merit in whatever she undertook; her tragic powers were eminent, particularly in parts which required force of expression and dignity of figure. She excelled as the Queen in Hamlet, and as Queen Katharine in Henry VIII.; but the character which she made especially her own, was Lady Macbeth. She gave these parts importance by her action, as well as speaking; her few defects proceeded from a too loud and profuse expression of grief, and a want of grace in her manner; but her natural ease of deportment, and grandeur of person, concealed every minor failing. In the course of conversation, upon even trifling topics, she had a singular method of charming the ear; she uttered her words as Shakspeare advises the actors, smoothly and tripplingly from the tongue; and however voluble in enunciation her part might require her to be, not a syllable was ever lost.
"A remarkable instance of public regard was shewn to this lady when she first brought her daughter on the stage. Mrs. Pritchard stooped to play Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, in order to introduce Miss Pritchard in her attempt to act Juliet; the daughter's timidity was contrasted by the mother's apprehensions, which were strongly painted in their looks, and these were incessantly interchanged by stolen glances at each other. This scene of mutual sensibility was so affecting, that many of the andience burst into tears, and all were enthusiastic in their applause.
"In the year 1768, Mrs. Pritchard took leave of the public, in her favourite part, Lady Macbeth; and out of respect to that excellent Woman, Garrick performed the ambitious Thane, as it happened also, for the last time. Mrs. Pritchard's action, both before and after the murder, was strongly characteristical; it presented an image of a mind insensible to compunction, and inflexibly bent to achieve its purpose. When she snatched the daggers from
"She spoke her farewell epilogue with many tears and sobs, which were increased by the generous feelings of a numerous and splendid audience. She retired to Bath and died there, about four months after, of a mortification in her foot."
This lady was a little above the middle size, with a fair complexion, well made, but rather inclining to the embonpoint. Her hair was of a light auburn, and fell gracefully on her shoulders, particularly in those parts which required this mode of head-dress. Her features were regular, and corresponding; and though her eyes were not naturally strong, or distinctly brilliant, they gave a pleasing interest to her looks. To all these there was a certain modest gaité de cœur in her manner and address, that at once conciliated respect and affection.
Her chief excellence lay in the gentle and pathetic characters of tragedy; her Desdemona was a truly admirable effort; the whole part being so naturally sustained, that her audience was cheated into a belief that the sufferings she delincated were real. In her old age the manager of Covent Garden theatre induced her to return to the stage, as the rival of Mrs. Siddons, then in the zenith of her popularity. Competent judges have declared that Mrs. Barry was superior in pathos; but her fine powers were then impaired, and the triumph of her
and as she solemnly inquired, "Will all the perfumes of Arabia sweeten this little hand?" the throbbings of her heart were obvious both to the eye and the ear.
We mention this enchanting actress as the most perfect representative of Juliet that ever graced the stage. To a finely-proportioned form, a Grecian head and features exquisitely harmonized, was added a mind fully capable of conceiving the sublimity and terror of the concluding scenes in the character of Juliet. We see her still, as she moved in the light of her own loveliness through the more level business of the play. At first, all playfulness and girlish vivacity; then, as in the garden scene, her volatility of heart tinged with a shade of melancholy; the subtle fever of love stealing over her fine countenance, now giving its roses a deeper blush, and now leaving it as pale as monumental marble. In a little while, the timid, fearful maiden became, without any violence to the spectators' feelings, the resolute, heroic woman; and, in one scene, that in which Juliet swallows the sleeping potion, not even Siddons, in her noblest moments of inspiration, could excel her. As she proceeded with her terrible description of the horrors of the tomb, the vault of the Capulets seemed to rise: Tybalt, festering in his shroud, was no longer a dream of fancy; and the madness which usurped the brain of the trembling Juliet seemed amply accounted for. Nothing could equal this, unless it was her own acting, when on slowly awakening in the monument she becomes conscious of her situation; beholds Romeo just expiring; and, tired of the world and its sorrows, ends her own in the friendly arms of death.
school in London. In Barry Cornwall's Life of Kean, we find that Miss Carey afterwards claimed him, and made him accompany her in her visits, from house to house, as a vender of perfumery, which employment she followed in the vacancies between her strolling engagements. The boy was remarkable for his beauty, as well as for his readiness and mischief. He also appeared as a boy actor on the stage, and went through all the difficulties and dangers of a young player's life. We read of his playing
one of the little devils in Macbeth, under John Kemble's management, and tripping up the heels of his fellow-imps, for which he was chastised by the stately tragedian. We read also of his drawing a little audience around him in the green-room, by reciting portions of well-known tragedies. He also at this time officiated as one of the choir-boys in the Roman Catholic chapel.
He soon afterwards found another prolectress, a Mrs. Clarke, one of his mother's customers; she continued to befriend him for some time, and he was current among her acquaintances, at whose houses he used to exhibit, with his small muster of properties—“ a little bell, which he rung when the imaginary music was to begin, a hat and feathers, a sword and white gloves," some of the little plays he made for himself out of the "Fairy Queen."
Having absconded from Mrs. Clarke's house, and wandered about the country during three weeks, she gave him up, after having made a little benefit for him, and furnished him with a recommendation to a militia officer at Windsor. He went there, and joined a troop of strollers, with whom he appeared before George III.
It is impossible to follow him through the freaks and changes of his early days; from the Sans Souci, in Leicester-Square, to Sadler's Wells-to Bartholomew Fair, where he exhibited himself as an equestrian-to Madeira,-to Scotland-to Sheerness-to Ireland-to Rochester-where, on one occasion, "having no money to pay the toll of a ferry, he tied his wardrobe in his pocket-handkerchief, and swam across the river."
This highly talented actor was born on the 4th November, 1787. Doubts exist respecting his parentage; his father is supposed to have been Edmund Kean, the brother of Moses Kean, a tolerable mimic in his day. What is more strange, was his ignorance as to his mother. She was supposed to have been Miss Carey, the grand-daughter of Heary Carey, author of "The Dragon of Wantley," and other spectacle pieces. It seems that Kean believed that Missedness, vicissitude, and neglect. In 1806 he Tidswell was his mother, as she took care of obtained an engagement to play small parts at him in his childhood and sent him to a day- the Haymarket Theatre. He was Peter, in
About this time, something like a more settled purpose" to achieve greatness" appears to have animated him, and to have continued with him, though sadly interrupted by the irregularities of his conduct; indeed his life was one of wretch
the Iron Chest; Simon, in John Bull; a fiddler in Speed the Plough, etc. In 1807, he reappeared at Sheerness, as a man of all work. la 1808, we find him at Gloucester, where he made the acquaintance of his future wife; at Stroud, where he next went, he led in every department. Here he married, and afterwards accepted an engagement for himself and wife at Swansea; at this moment he was in such a desutate state, that their funds for the journey ́after an advance had been made to them) were not quite twenty shillings. Mr. Barry gives a most interesting narrative of this journey, which is one of the most striking instances on record, of the contrasts in the life of an acter. He gives it at length, he says, "in order that all our young readers may see how one of the high and crowned kings of tragedy was accustomed to travel, before they resolve irrecoverably to enrol themselves under those ragged and tawdry colours which float above the English drama-a sign and prophecy of the player's fortunes."—
Kean was afterwards a member of Cherry's rompany, and for some time remained stationary at Waterford. He then again was reduced to the misery of turning stroller, and travelled across the country to Dumfries in a tax-cart, with his wife and children. Here he announced has intention of giving entertainments, consisting of singing and recitation, and began his rampaign with one solitary auditor. From hence he worked his weary way up to London, where he was engaged for the Exeter Company, "to act every thing," at 21. a week, the largest salary he had yet received. Here he attracted the admiration of Dr. Drury, and through his interference, Mr. Arnold went to Dorchester to see him act. The result was an engagement, and on the 26th of January, 1814, he first appeared on the boards of Drury, in the character Shylock. His debut will not be soon forgotten.-"The house was empty of nearly all but rities and those who came in with orders, and the listlessness of the small spiritless audience, at the first night of a new Shylock, was the langoor which is not repose." There came on a small man, with an Italian face and fatal eye, which struck all. Attention soon ripened into husiasm; and never, perhaps, did Kean play with such startling effect as on this night to the surprised few. His voice was harsh, his style was new, his action abrupt and angular; but there was the decision,-the inspiration of geaus, in the tone, the look, the bearing,-the
hard unbending Jew was before us in the full vigour of his malignity-the injuries upon him and upon his tribe saddened in his eyes, but through them you could trace the dark spirit of revenge, glaring in fearful, imperishable fury. -That night was the starting-post on the great course upon which he was destined to run bis splendid race.
"The second, and, perhaps, the most perfect of his performances, was Richard the Third. Richard, as drawn by Shakspeare, is bold, bloody, and subtle-ambitious, daring, and deceitful— amorous and heartless-a courtier-a soldiera king. All the varieties of the character were played upon by the actor, as though they were so many keys of an instrument, and each difficult passage was mastered with a hand which only genius could stretch forth. The scene in which the murderer of Edward wooes Edward's widow, in the very progress of the funeral,—a scene generally conceived to be forced and out of nature,—was rendered, as it is, natural and eminently beautiful, by the most enchanting acting that ever was witnessed on the stage. Again, the beautiful description of the night before the battle, was delivered in a manner which touched description into pathos. The death was desperate and magnificent.
The Hamlet of Kean was generally thought to be all, or nearly all, that it should be,- -meditative, natural, and sweetly forlorn,—it quite took the heart captive. He looked the young and melancholy Prince, wandering in the desolation of his own thought and wrecked passion. He abandoned himself to the indolent sadness of the scene, and was more Shakspearian in his spirit than any other actor we have ever witnessed. The interviews with Ophelia were exquisitely touching; and the strange one, in which he burst into a raving rhapsody, was softened down by an evident suppression of feeling, and was finally touched with the most delicate tenderness, by his slowly returning after an abrupt departure, and, after gazing with inexpressible love and sadness at Orphelia, gently pressing her hand to his lips.
The Othello of Kean was the triumph of that great tragedian over the majestic horrors and gloomy dangers of the character. In the third act of that inimitable tragedy, the passion would not let him tame, and his spirit glared out in all its unquenchable and vivid fire. Those who have heard his "Farewell," can turn to their
The last character he attempted to play was
hearts and feel it still; for it was uttered in that forlorn tone which, once heard, can never be forgotten. What convulsive energy hurried him into the gloomy gulphs of jealousy and passion! How did he yearn to be incredulous and confiding! how did he struggle with a Laocoon's phrenzy in the coils of his serpent suspicions! With Kean has perished the only perfect piece of passionate acting that we ever beheld.
In Romeo and in Macbeth, Kean was grand only in parts, and by fits and starts. In the murder scene of Macbeth, and in the banishment scene in Romeo and Juliet, he rose into the full energy of his genius-but, generally, he was hurried, uneasy, and unequal.-In Lear
he struggled on to this beautiful and affecting apostrophe; and when he concluded the utterance of the words "Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!" he sank back, overcome with the weight
of prophetic truth upon a broken constitution, and never appeared again on the stage.
there were passages of singular force-in Richard the Second, he was, at times, deeply affecting-but nothing came up to his Othello, Richard, and Shylock.
No one as an actor had the ball so completely at his foot as Kean had, but the inveterate whims of genius lured him into every byepath of passion and pleasure. Frank in his nature, impetuous in his soul, he knew no calmness of object or enjoyment; "aut Cæsar aut nullus" was his motto, and he never disguised his vices or his virtues. With the genius to have been more than a Garrick in his art, he had the follies and passions at times to reduce him almost beneath a Cooke in his habits.
The death of this surprising actor took place at Richmond, on the 15th May, 1833. It was tranquil, as Death generally is, after a stormy and living life! He left no wealth behind; his fame, however, to those who admired him as
an actor, is "riches fineless!"
The Stratford Jubilee.
WHEN Garrick first proposed to institute a Jabilee, in honour of our immortal Shakspeare, the public formed very high expectations of the entertainment they were to receive. The design was certainly noble in itself, whatever might be the motives; and, in spite of all the ridicule and opposition which envy or malice exerted, it was carried into execution. It was allowed, by men of the first rank in the literary world, that no occasion of festivity ever was, or ever could be, more justifiable, than that of paying honours to the memory of so great an ornament to his country, as the inimitable Shakspeare.
In the Spring and Summer of 1769, great preparations were made in all parts of the town, against the approaching festival. A very large and magnificent octogonal Amphitheatre was erected upon the Bankcroft, close to the river Avon; and which, to please the prevailing taste, somewhat resembled Ranelagh Rotunda: it was capable of conveniently holding above one thousand spectators.
Upon the margin of the Avon, were ranged
nounced by firing the cannon, ranged upon the banks of the Avon, about five o'clock of Wednesday morning, the 6th of September, 1769, and immediately afterwards, the principal ladies were serenaded by a number of young men fantastically dressed, belonging to the theatre, with the following song, accompanied by hautboys, flutes, clarionets, guitars, and other in
"Let beauty with the sun arise,
To Shakspeare tribute pay;
With heav'nly smiles, and speaking eyes
"Each smile she gives protects his name,
The company were also entertained with the Warwickshire ballad, written by Garrick. The whole town being roused by these performances, the corporation assembled, about eight o'clock, in one of the principal streets. A public breakfast was held at the town, or Shakspeare's, hall, at nine, to which every purchaser of a guinea ticket for the various entertainments (the mas
thirty cannon (sixteen of them thirty-two pound-querade only excepted, which was rated sepaers, twelve cohorns, and some mortars, to be fired upon the opening of, and during the Jubilee; and an immense quantity of fire-works, and variegated lamps for the illuminations, were sent in two waggons from London, for the amusemeat of the company.
rately at half a guinea) was admitted, upon payment of a shilling, and regaled with tea.
A beautiful ribbon (afterwards formed into favours) was purposely made at Coventry, and called the Jubilee ribbon, which united and bended all the colours of the rainbow.
A medal, engraved by Mr. Westwood of Birmingham, similar to that worn by Garrick, was struck on this occasion, in copper, silver, and gold: these, as well as the ribbon, were eagerly bought up. On one side was a good eness of Shakspeare, with the following words from his own play of Hamlet,-"We shall A look upon his like again;" on the reverse, -Jubilee at Stratford, in honour and to the memory of SHAKSPEARE. Sept. 1769, D. G. Stew
The first opening of the Jubilee was an
See the title page of Vol. II.
The Steward came to the breakfast room soon after eight, to see that every thing was properly disposed for the reception of the company, as well as to be himself in readiness to receive them.
Previous to the arrival of the company, the Mayor and Corporation waited upon Garrick, at Shakspeare hall; where William Hunt, Esq. the Town Clerk, delivered to him the ensigns of his office, viz, a medal (on which was carved a bust of the bard, and richly set in gold) and wand, both made of the famous mulberry-tree.
From the Town hall, the company proceeded in regular order to the Church; where the oratorio of "Judith," composed by Dr Arne, was well performed in a large temporary orchestra, erected under the organ. This piece opened at eleven; and, at its close, Garrick, at the head of the performers, walked in procession from the church, attended by a large cavalcade of the nobility and gentry in their