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Rambles in Cumberland. No. 2. 323 To Scandal,--Manslaughter,
Language and Poetry of Scotland, 337 True Affection,
Prospectus. miscellaneous description. Withoitt It has frequently been the subject teristics of a Magazine or a Review,
pretending to the distinctive characof much complaint, that Glasgow, the it will contain the most prominent and second City in Great Britain, not- ' riseful qualities of both, with this exwithstanding its vast wealth and exten- i sve population, produces no Periodical ception, that Political and Religious
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the whole circle of his tiny. fellow The following account of this meritorious goblins. Performer is token from a wry elegant Soon after this misfortune he was work entitled the British Theatrical Gallery, removed from the Theatre and placed containing Portraits with Memoirs of emia nent Performers; it is edited
by dir. D. at his first school, añl was already Terry, a Gentleman who not only ranks
remarked for the expressive heauty of very high as an actor, but is distinguished his countenance, contrasted with a for his love of Literature and the Arts. weakly and unpromising growth of his
From the memoirs which have been limbs. A subsequent period of his published at various times of Mr. childhood is said to have passed under Kean, numerous as they are, it is the care of Miss Tidswell ani actress nevertheless rather a difficult and a lately belonging to the Drury-lane delicate task to extract a very satis- company, from whom he received a factory sketch of his biography: Ac. truly maternal attention. During the cording to one accqunt, which indeed time he was with this lady, he kejit. avows the obscurity as well as seanti-flis theatrical talents in practice by ness of its information, Edmund Kean several obscure trials, and went at last was born in Gray's-inn, in the year by her recommendation, to some small 1789; while ancther' which assumes theatre in Yorkshire, and though not a more 'voluminous minutness of de- yet fourteen years old is reported to tail, dates his birth two years earlier have played with success some of the and states it to have taken place in most leading characters in tragedy ; Castle-street, Leicester-square, on the very shortly after he went to Windsor, 4th November 1787 ; it also asserts where by the ability he displayed in that his fasher Aaron Kean was bro- some declamatory recitations, le atther to the well known Moses Kean, tracted the notice of Dr. Drury, through a ventriloquist and mimic of consider- whose friendly means he obtained some able notoriety, and that his mother opportunities of a more regular edu? was a daughter of Saville Carey, who cation, after which he launohed fairly if it be the same person with George and finally into all the wild and ada Saville Carey, was like his father venturous vicissitudes of a strolling Henry Carey, a dramatic author of actor's life. some celebrity, and also for one season Changing from company to coman actor at Covent-garden Theatre. pany he now traversed nearly the whole
Thus it appears, that he was by of the kingdom, and his ardent mind birth connected with tire stage, and and good spirits seem to have bom indeed it seems tolerably certain that him lightly and manfully through many his infant powers were applied to it as of those chequered scenes of distress
as they could be serviceable ; and difficulty, mortification and deamong other anecdotes of his early spondency to which such a life is life, it is related that, at the time when exposed. His talents embraced every Mr. J. P. Kemble first produced the department of the drama, and he per. Tragedy of • Macbeth' at the Drury- formed tragic, comic, vocal and panto lane Theatre, and attempted to give mimical parts, with a combination of additional effect to the cauldron scene vigour and carlessness, an ease and by introducing “ the black spirits and cocentricity that always made him the white, red spirits and grey” io mingle mark of notice and gained him the in the incantations of the witches, the favour of the audience. disapprobation the audience bestowed Birmingham, Sheerness, Sevenupon this innovation was heightened Oaks, Tunbridge-wells, Swansea, and to excess by an accidental stumble of Waterford, Weymouth, Exeter, and little kear in the dance that prostreted lGuernsey, were successively the scene
of his labours; and it is a singular fact that the wreath of fame is waiting that this extraordinary man whose their brows at the hands of the public ; genius within a few years, was des- fto be sure the public, if they are pertined to form a new era in the history mitted to come before it generally of the stage, and to give a new feature convinces them of their mistake, but, to the theatrical taste of the nation, as generally indeed only to verify the passed the whole summer of the year distich of Butler, that 1806 in London, unknown and un- “ A man convinced against his will noticed at the little theatre in the “ Is of the same opinion still.” Haymarket, performing the most trifl- While Mr. Kean was at Guernsey, ing and subordinate parts of the drama, the critics of that island either could adding thereby another instance to not, or would not perceive in him any many of the low and apparently hope- promises of that superiority which the less obscurities to which the finest whole kingdom was shortly to acknowtalents are liable for a time to be con- ledge, and are reported to have treated demned, and shewing how necessary his performance of Richard the Third even to such talents, is patience both with such gross severity as to call to endure and labour. The stage as forth a retort from the actor, which much as any other art, demands, before convinced his audience of his spirit, skill and exceilence can be acquired whatever doubts they may have had of in it, a long and luborious apprentice- his talents; the consequence of which ship, a fact which though proved by was, a riot in the theatre and the event the history of all who have attained to ual loss to Mr. Kean, who by this any settled eminence, (it may not al- time was a husband and a father, of together be out of the way here to his situation in the company. remark) appears seldorn to be adverted He left Guernsey soon after this, to, scarcely indeed to be believed, unlucky event and arrived at Weyhy many who witressing only its effects mouth, where his companions from in public, unfortunately imbibe a desire whom he had been so harshly separated, to embrace and pursue it. No youth were performing: rejecting the offer of tolerable understanding ever believed of a re-engagement in it, he enlisted in the most enthusiastic moments of under Mr. Lee, manager of the Taunadmiration produced by music, that ton Theatre, in which town he met he could take up, a fiddle and at his with great encouragement, and at the first attempt command the strings, as close of the season repaired to Dorit were by intuition, “ to an utterance chester; it was here while sustaining of harmony; nor ever fancied he, the whole range of heroes from those might snatch the pencil and the pa. of the sock and buskin to him of the Lette and at one effort rival the painter's motley vest and wooden sword, (in performances on the canvas; yet such which he is said to have been excellent) is the singular infatuation respecting that he was visited by Mr. Amold, the actor's art, that inanagers are per- then the acting manager at the Theatre petically applied to, by young people. Royal Drury-Lane ; his old friend of good edụcation, and good sense Dr. Drury, it appears had not fortoo in other matters, who never having gotten him, and having lately witnessed once trod upon a stage, and having his professional improvement at Exeter merely committed to memory a few had written, in strong terms of recomof the principal and most difficult mendation concerning him, to Pascoe characters, apply in perfect confidence Glenfell, Esq. By the active influence of their competency for a regular en- of this gentleman, the attention of the gagement to lead the business, nothing Drury-Lane Committee of Managedoubting their completa success, and ment was turned towards him, and an
engagement for three years concluded least, the ascendancy over public opinthrough the agency of Mr. Arnold. ion with the noble and accomplished
Upon Mr. Kean's arrival in town a tragedian who had hitherto " bome misunderstanding scems to have arisen" solely sovereign sway and masterbetween the committee and Mr. Ellis- dom," but they were compelled neverton, who was then conducting one of theless to acknowledge the daringness, his minor theatrical speculations, called originality, and vigour of his attacks. the Olympic, and who claimed a prior
Without therefore presuming to right of engagement to the services of decide (which were it possible, would Mr. Kean ; after some small delay in the present instance be indelicate) however this mistake was adjusted in between the relative merits of the old favour of the committee, and on the and new school, as they have been 26th of January, 1814, Mr. Kean termed ; merits peculiar to each, and made his first appearance at the Theatre both great, it may he remarked byuho Royal Drury-Lane in the character of way, that it is the lot of actors, more Shylock in • The Merchant of Venice.' especially perhaps than of any other His success was decided and the ap- class of persons, to be subjectedrto the plause tumultous, and he repeated torture of that taste which Gray has the character six times, but it was not distinguished as the only taste of ortill his first performance of Richard dinary minds, the “ qoni de comparaithe Third, on the 12th of February son," such ininds, incapable of perfollowing, that his talents can be said ceiving and understanding the specific to have blazed in full splendor upon excellence either of an actor, an author, the town; after which both the extent or a composition, can easily select a and the duration of his popularity may standard of decision from known and almost be said to be unparallelled in acknowledged excellence, by which the the annals of the stage.
merits or demerits of every new aspirer Perhaps no actor ever reached so to fame, must be compared and tried rapid an altitude in public favour and and judged, as caprice, passion or premaintained it more vigorously for such judice may dictate. The standard of a length of time ; the cbbing of po- comparison too, as it is the instrument pularity is proverbially as quick and of weakness becomes consequently often extensive as its flood, and that the the instrument of cruelty and injustice ; latter has continued, with so little va- for if the miserable claimants to popuriation to follow Mr. Kcan, may fairly lar applause who are measured by it, be adduced as an indication of the chance to approach its dimensions, genuine as well as powerful nature of they are condemned as having only his attraction.
the talent of imitation, and if its proLike all bold and original innova- 'portions vary they are condemned as have tors Mr. Kean has given rise to the ing no talent; and are thus reduced to a most violent factions of criticism, which dilemma about as equitable as that of may be regarded as a proof that the poor wretches formerly accused of Mr. Kean was no common man. witchcraft, who were cast into the Many who had long slumbered in a water, where if drowned they were prosettled belief of the unastailable su- nounced innocent, but were hanged as periority of their favourite school of guilty if they unluckily swam. But tragic acting, the school, certainly of why need this be ? why should we so much erudite labour, majestic dignity, circumscribe our own enjoyment, as to poetical refinement, grande:ır, elegance shut our eyes to the peculiar and proand grace, were awakened and alermee per glory which belongs to cach parfor the stability of their critical code ; ticular star, and in which it differs from they denied the legitimacy of the new another? why, when speaking of invader, who threatened to divide at' eminent persons in any art, should we