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in Ireland. He had been bred to the law. She was born in the year 1714. At the age of eleven, possessing a strong propensity to the stage, she applied to Booth, Wilks, and Cibber, the then managers of the Theatre Royal, who, finding she had a good voice, and had made some proficiency in singing, gave her an engagement, but had no higher idea of her than as one qualified to entertain the audience with a song between the acts of the play, or to perform the part of some innocent country girl; and she first appeared before the public the next season, in 1727 (sixty years after Nell Gwynn, and in the year King George II. succeeded to the throne). There is an engraving of her, soon after her first appearance (to be found in the print shops), as Phillida, &c. One evening, through the indisposition of an actress, she undertook the part of Nell, the cobler's wife, in the “ Devil to Pay;" her great comic powers were immediately manifest to the audience, and she soon became a great favourite with them. At the age of twenty-one, she married G. Clive, Esq., son of Baron Clive.
This lady was formed by nature to represent a variety of lively, laughing, droll, humorous, affected, and absurd characters. She possessed such a stock of comic humour, that she had but little more to do, than to perfect herself in the words of a part, and leave the rest to nature; she created several parts in plays, of which the author scarcely furnished an outline; and many dramatic pieces are now lost to the stage, for want of her animating spirit to preserve them.
A more extensive walk, in comedy, than that which Mrs. Clive possessed, can hardly be imagined. The chamber-maid, in every varied shape to which art or nature could lead her; characters of caprice and affectation, from the high-laced Lady Fanciful, to the vulgar Mrs. Heidelberg ; country girls, romps, hoydens, and dowdies ; superannuated beauties, viragoes, and humourists. To a strong and melodious voice, with an ear for music, she added all the sprightly action requisite to a number of parts in ballad farces. She had an inimitable talent in ridiculing the extravagant action, impertinent consequence, and insignificant parade of the female Opera singer. She displayed her excellence in this stage mimicry, in the “ Lady of Fashion," in Lethe. Her mirth was so genuine, that, whether it was re
strained to the arch sneer, or the suppressed halflaugh, widened to the broad grin, or extended to the downright burst of loud laughter, the audience was sure to accompany her. He must have been more or less than man, that could be grave, when Clive was disposed to be merry.
After Mrs. Clive retired from the stage, she resided near Strawberry Hill, not far from Twickenham; and her company was always courted by women of the highest rank, to whom she rendered herself very agreeable. Her conversation was a mixture of uncommon vivacity, droll mirth, and honest bluntness; and she delighted in all opportunities of being universally serviceable. This amiable woman died at her house, near Strawberry Hill, December 6, 1785, aged 74, and lies buried in Westminster Abbey.
JOHN KANE, THE COMEDIAN. This facetious votary of Thalia, when informed of the death of O'Reilly, who was a favourite comedian in Dublin, exclaimed, “Dead! poo! You mane dead drunk; faith and troth, no man living has been so often dead as poor O'Reilly." But having been at length assured
that he was bona fide gone, he cried, “ By the powers, he'll never forgive me, he'll lay his death at my door,- I know he will, for I was the first man that taught him to drink whiskey !"
IN 1772, the King of Denmark prohibited hissing, or any equivalent marks of disapprobation, in the Copenhagen Theatres. This despotic order was occasioned by a riot at one of the houses, which arose from an author having exposed a critic on the stage, who had treated his productions with unmerited severity.
LOYALTY OF THE PLAYERS.
The adherence of the players, with scarcely an exception, to the cause of Charles I. has always been strongly insisted upon by our dramatic historians, and, no doubt, with perfect justice. Were the following paragraph, however, to be taken in any other light than that of a mere joke, it would tend to throw great doubt upon this asserted loyalty. It is extracted from a Mercurius Familosus of September 12, 1655. This was an indecent, bantering kind of paper, published during Cromwell's usurpation.
66. The players at the Red Bull, and all the jack puddings at Southwark fair, last Friday, listed themselves for Soldiers. A little after a great rout was given, and some prisoners taken, which, presently paying their ransom, were released.
So were the puddings and the fiddlers,
The Play-house thunder was formed much in the same way, and from the same materials, from the earliest ages of the English drama, down to the reign of George the Third, as will appear from the following lines of the prologue to
Every Man in his Humour.”
No creaking throne comes down, the boys to please;
The theatrical artillery of the sky appears,