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master into a Dean, became at least dignified when he ceased to be serviceable to society :-that, bred at Westminster and Dublin for the church, he chose what he thought a better market for his attainments, and went upon the stage:--that he managed in Dublin, and afterwards was at Drury Lane, and Covent-Garden,-are facts every body have in their possession.
The incident which drove him from Dublin, on a scrupulosity for punctilio, in not repeating a few lines from Mahomet, is attributed by most people to that pertinacity which partakes of obstinacy rather than proper firmness.--In a theatre, as in other situations of human intercourse, incessant allowance must be made for popular insanity. Sheridan's example will form no preces dent for those who follow him.-What the people like, they may, perhaps without offence, like to have again. Nor will, nor should any casual construction of dramatic despotism, over-rule a popular wish, to mount any pas'sage that can carry double, and thus mark it, as morally improving, poetically potent, or politically true. The decorum of the French theatre is not the less proverbial, because Voltaire's Zaire was encored from the first scene to the last. ! Sheridan thinking otherwise, certainly did right in
abiding by what he thought-but he could abide no · longer in Ireland. He came to London, and played both with Rich and Garrick-His highest salary was -4001. a year. - To find a city brick, and to leave it marble, was an imperial work, and worthy of imperial praise.-Sheridan's merit is similar, in the proportion that the Dube lin theatre bore to all the structures of Rome. .. He found the theatre in beggary, because fitted only for the resort of those who are worse than beggars the dissolute and the ignorant. He reformed it altogether. He gave it discipline. The feats of a Bear-Garden and a Puppet-show gave way at once to proper objects, intellectual and moral.-Garrick, Woffington, and Barry, were with him in his second season, on his stage together." And thus, by fair provocations of the popular pleasure, by conspicuous subservience to popular use, he · was enabled to aggrandise the establishment, to the mutual profit of himself and the public.
The receipts of the Dublin theatre, before his time, were from 2000l. to 30001. and 40001. a year. And he further told the writer of this account, that in the second season above-mentioned, his annual charges, on different engagements, exceeded 11,0001.-With the public, such as we find it, there is no surer hope than the operation of public spirit. ,. .
His conduct in the management, is remembered by something even better than magnificence. They who are in the way of hearing anecdotes of this sort, always mentioned Mr. Sheridan as punctilious to his promise, in the true and liberal performance,
It is for this, and other personal qualities of good account, that his memorial is thought worth preserving , • In the great relative duties of a husband and a father, he had no blame, and much praise. "The preference of his family to himself, was always exemplary. It is posi.. tively true, that at one period, led merely by a vague idea, that foreign air, and foreign language, might be serviceable to his family, he quitted the stage, and every other view of gain in Great Britain, and went with his wife and four children to France. They lived above eighteen months at Blois,
If labour can be estimated by its effects, he must have had skill in forming the minds of children, as well as the power of making large sacrifices to their support--for how else, sine re, et sine spe, could he have made one son Secretary at War, and the other, such a parlia.. mentary leader, as to be a candidate for any office that he pleases, in the land!
To increase this wonder, and to shew how some men can make much out of little, Sheridan stinted none of the exterior claims of a gentleman :--His dress, his habitation, his hospitality, when he exercised it, were all rather above than below expectation, at par. He for many years thought riding was among the necessaries of life; and if Swift could be seen “ in dirty shoes' at Lord Oxford's table, it was what Sheridan never was at dinner time. . .
The resources from which he did all this, for he was top well principled to run in debt, was management, indeed but something more.--He was very active, patient, undisdaining of small expedients, and persevering in the use of them. Not Johnson, Watts, nor Milton, could be more magnificently just on the condescensions
of literature. When his profession no longer was pro. ductive, he was reading, or he wrote. With a bravery of temper that much became him, and with a fair parade, he contrived to aggrandise little things, and make of much moment what in itself was not momentous.--Of the seven and forty years he had to live on his wits, and his wits were not the most thriving in the world, it is well known how short a time he was on the stage.--His pension he had about twenty years—the nominal value of it was but 2001. a year-after the deductions of land-tax and the sixpenny duty, but 1601. remained !-The rest of his supply came froin the miscellaneous aids just mentioned, and surely therefore to be mentioned with incessant praise!
Sheridan was not a little sought after as a companion; though he was far from excellently companionable ; though he was at times talkative til, he was almost troublesome, and tenacious till he was rude: though he was more remarkable perhaps for hiding ignorance than shewing knowledge. His forte was anecdote; his foible, its undue repetition.
His professional merits, if no more is said about them than they deserved, will lie in a small compass Such is the magic of fine writing, it can make us think almost as it pleases. Churchill had given Sheridan some current praise, and so people were contented to take him. But that was soon over: for what has neither lustre nor weight, cannot long possibly pass.
As an actor, he might have occasional energy, and more frequently an air of science about him. But through the entire conduct of a drama, that science and that energy were neither characteristic nor consequential. He was not very fertile in original resources, nor happy in applying the resources of other people. He was not to be huddled in the common mob, who may be actors on mechanism and tradition : but as ambitious of first, rate rank, he was to be dismissed as aukward, indiscriminating, cold, and unprevailing.
Sapientia prima est, " Stultitiâ caruisse, Discretion and decorum in general, he wanted not; though in a particular instance or two, he was absurd beyond all example. It was in Romeo and Juliet-his part was Romeo : and not having quite so good an opinion of the other actors as himself, he despoiled Mercutio .
character of Floretta with admirable vivacity and humour. Being willing to take leave of her friends in character, and make a " swana like end.". she suug the following Address, written for the occasion by Mr. Colmau :
Think, think not this a vain obtrusion,
Farewell and bless you all for ever! ... Madame Storace made her first appearance on the English stage 'in Adela, in the Haunted Tower, on the first night of that Opera, and was the principal support of all the operas composed by her brother, the late eminent composer. She retires in full possession of her powers, and we are happy to add, in that state of honourable independence, with which great professional talents ought always to be rewarded. As a singer she had vast power, execution and science; as an actress, she had no equal in her line. Her manner was peculiar to herself, possessing ease, archness, naiveté and inexhaustible spirit. In all her parts she was unrivalled, and we have no hope of meeting with an adequate successor to her in such characters as Adela, Lilla, Margaretta, Floretta, Caroline, &c. her loss is much to be regretted.
June 1. The MYSTERIOUS BRIDE, is the production of Mr. Skeffington, and, if it cannot boast of any high degree of poetical merit, the story is not without interest, and the dramatic effect is at times powerful. The scene is laid in Transylvania, in the fourteenth century, and the following is a slight sketch of the fable:
Elisena; (Mrs. H. Siddons) daughter of the Bohemia king, has been sent under the conduct of an officer called Armanski, (Mr. Siddons) to heuited in marriage with Almaric, (Mr. Putnam) Prince of Transylvnnia.
Previous to her departure, the Bohemian Monarch bad given a medallion to Armanski, with the uame of Elisena marked in diamonds.-Elisena is ignorant of this circumstance, as the present was
intended as an agreeable surprise to the Prince on the day of marriage.
Oswald, (Mr. Raymond) an ambitious favourite of the Prince. had conceived a daring design of imposing his sister Olfrida, (Mrs. Harlowe) on his master for the long expected Princess. Enamoured by the portrait artfully presented by the brother, the Prince hails Olfrida as his long expected bride.
In the mean time, the ruffians of Oswald attack Armanski and his train in the forest of Moldavia, rob him of the medallion, and every other proof-they seize the Princess, and plunge Armanski in a river. When Elisena arrives, two ruffians are about to mur. der hertouched with pity, they save her life, and disguise her as a peasant. She is hired as a servant at au inn, by Bollman, (Mr. Paliner) and his waiter Miesco, (Mr. De Camp) a generous rustic. She here meets the Prince, and captivates him, at a fete-yet dare not disclose herself, dreading the vengeance of Oswald and Olfrida, Miesco is shortly enamoured of Elisena, but when she discloses her real situation, he nobly renounces his passion, and devotes himself with zeal to her welfare. As the Prince and Olfrida are about to be united, Armanski, who had been been saved by the care of some peasants, arrives at the moment he accuses Oswald and Olfrida, who retort the charge of imposture. Armanski asks the Prince for the medallion, in whieh the portrait of Elisena is concealed by a seeret spring He then urges the false Elisepa to prove herself the daughter of his master, by shewing the diamond which opens the medallion,-she falters-Elisena points to the letter E, the Prince opens the medallion, and the title of Elisena is confirmed. The piece ends with the defeat of the impostors, and the union of Almaric and Elisena.
COVENT GARDEN. MAY
28. Mr. INCLEDON's Night.] Duenda. Carlos, Mr. Incledon ; Antonio, Mr. Bellamy; Ferdinand, Mr. Taylor. Clara, Mrs. Dickons; Louisa, Miss Bolton. Love á la Mode."
36. King Lear--Harlequin and Mother Goose.
JUNE 1. [Mr. FARLEY's Night.] Alexander the Great. Alexander, Mr. C. Kemble; Clytus, Nr. Cooke ; Lysimachus, Mr. Brunton; Hephestion, Mr. Claremont; Cassander, Mr. Chapman. Roxana, Miss Smith, Statira, Mrs. H. Johnston ; Parisatis, Miss Bristow-Vauxhall Gala-Oscar and Malvina. Malvina, Miss Adams. • 2. (Mr. BLANCHARD's Night.] Inkle and Yarico. Inkle, Mr. Bellamy; Trudge, Mr. Blanchard ; Sir Christopher Curry, Mr. COOKE. Yarico, Mrs. DickonsRaymond and Agnes.
3. - [Mr. TAYLOR's Night.] Man of the World Recruiting Sergeant-Deserter of Naples. .
4. [Benefit of Messrs. Ashleys'.] The Messiah, 6. King Lear-Harlequin and Mother Goose.
7. (Mrs. MATTOCKs's last Benefit.] Wonder. Don Felix, Mr. Cooke. Violante, Miss Smith ; Isabella, Mrs. H. Johnston ; Flora, Mrs. Mattocks Garrick's Ode on Shakspeare, by Mr. Cook ERaymond and Agnes. . .!