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many wanton stabs at the reputation soon entertains us with an account of a and livelihood of poor players had most asinine speech he made, at the been given by their malignant stilet- most asinine ceremony of presenting tos ; how much acute and poignant bim with a gold cup, which was delivmisery a remark of theirs, penned in ered to bim by Palmer. And in a drunkenness, or folly, or spite, must page or so afterwards, he gets so dehave occasioned to luckless actors, lighted with his oratory, that he again whose very bread depended probably favours us with another most brilliant on the way in which a manager might harangue, delivered by him at the have regarded the lucubrations of the opening of the Wolf Club, of which he puppy critic. A congeniality of soul was the appropriate grand-master. drew these fellows to Kean. Their Its design was to howl, as its name imword was potential over the apprentice- plies, everybody who had any chance boys and young Whigs of the pit—the of rivalling the quack actor, who got milliners of the gallery and their beaux them together, though Kean here -and the ladies of the saloons. Even
to insinuate that they were decent people at that time used to read merely a drunken set of soakers, who the play-house critiques of the Exami- met to make themselves “comfortaner: and as impudence frequently ble," p. 130. He was at last obliged passes for talent, and blustering always to knock it up. The opening sentence terrifies those who do not think for of the speech is too good. Conceive themselves, some ten years ago they such a man as Kean beginning an orawere looked upon by the theatrical tion thus :people as models of elegance, deep “GENTLEMEN ! (there was not one reading, and acumen. The whole in the room, except a few gentlemen tribe puffed Kean, and silenced the of the press)—Gentlemen and brovoice of common sense.
thers ! Creatures whom the most paltry of “ If we look to tradition, our arts the two-pennies of London would not and sciences, our laws and governnow admit as gratis contributors, then ments in embryo were uncertain, disdirected the 6 taste of the town.” putable, and vague.” They went about crim, crisp, and This is a deep discovery. jaunty, weaving chaplets of laurel, and “ To accomplish perfection in any venting sonnets on one another. You degree, (there being of course various heard a sugh at every corner about fine degrees of perfection,) has been, and gusto, and virtu, and keeping, and will remain, the work of ages and conthose down-looking Greeks, of whom, stant perseverance. by the way, they could not spell the “ I am THEREFORE aware of the difnames, far less read them, if written in ficulties we have to encounter in bringtheir native characters. Poor devils ! ing our little society,” &c. &c. &c. When we look back at their happy What an Argal ! Arts, sciences, state, our heart is sometimes “ wae” laws, governments, ages, and tradiwithin us on reflecting that it was we tion, lugged in by the head and shoulwho marred their Elysium-a feeling ders, to preface the formation of a which, however, fades in an instant all drunken club! The force of pathos away when we recollect that they used could no farther go. the power they possessed to insult He went in 1818 to France-dined merit-o outrage decency-to vilify with Talma—and got a snuff-box from religion—to puff meanness—and to be- some French players—all of which slaver all that was glorious and vener- important events are duly dated. It is able in the land. These were Kean's from circumstances of this kind, that patrons—they pronounced him a se we conclude it must be an auto-biogracond Garrick, and the town bent in phy, for surely no man alive would prostrate reverence before the fetid take the trouble of finding out, that, on breath of the oracle.
the 15th of July, 1818, Kean dined Under the auspices of this gang, with Talma, or would care a pinch of Kean went on and prospered. He snuff whether, on the day afore-men
We copy it
tioned, he had gone supperless to bed. wise. None of your outlandish diaAfter this, we have bim acting in How- monds, therefore, which cost siller, ard Payne's most stupid of all stupid when we can get our own cairngorms plays, Brutus, very much to his own for nothing. The inscription on the contentinent. He tells us, that the sword is worthy of them that gave, leading feature of his acting was dig- and him who received. nity, “ dignity approaching to the sub- as it appears in this authentic tome, p. lime, and downright simple energy.” 136. This is too audacious. Kean act Bru
This sword was presented tus with dignity! Howard Payne
EDMUND KEAN, write a play in which anybody could
When he appears on the stage, act with dignity! Author and actor
AS were worthy of one another.
Macbeth We next slur over his indefensible
The King of Scotland. conduct to poor Jenny Porter, and her What it means is beyond our capaplay of Switzerland -as also his beha- city. viour to Bucke's Italians. He owns Next follow his adventures in Amehe had the worse of the latter contro- rica, briefly related for good reasons; versy ; but defends his letter in answer and the whole is wound up by a good tu Bucke, by saying that it was written deal of puffing, on some of his freaks under angry feelings. He must have of ostentatious generosity. Some inbeen not angry with Bucke only, but solent language of his to a tavernwith the language of the country, for it keeper in Portsmouth, comes in for its was full of words misspelt from be- share of applause, but the story is simgioning to end—just such a fine com- ply this: When Kean was a strolling position as he some time after had player, he asked this man for half-athe folly to write to John Bull, and pint of porter; and Boniface would which Bull, with malicious mirth, print- not give it to him until be paid the ed verbatim as it came from the pen of
penny beforehand-such was the shabthe writer.
by appearance of the poor fellow. Good old Sir John Sinclair after this We think the man was quite right, as makes his appearance, with the silly every one ought to take care of his own epistle which he wrote on the occa- property.
Afterwards, when Mr. sion of some foolish people of our Kean was rich, this landlord, as landmodern Athens having clubbed their lords will do, came bowing and scrapshillings to buy Kean a sword. It ing to him, and Kean remembering the was an unjustifiable and cruel proceed- indignity of having been refused tick ing, after all; for the sword being un for a penny, made a most indignant fortunately too large for Kean's body, speech, and left the house. He knit he appeared, whenever he was tied to his brow, he says, most awfully, and it, like a poor cockchaffer transfixed among much other stuff, be announced by a huge corking-pin. Sir John fa- himself as “ The same Edmund Kean vours jis correspondent with some re- that I was fifteen years ago, when you marks on swords, and on the history of insulted me. Look at me again, sir. Macbeth, very pleasant to read, and What alteration beyond that of dress quite germane to the purpose. The do you discover in me? Am I a betsword, he tells him, is of the true ter man than I was then ?". &c. &c. Highland make,' whence we conclude Heaven help us! Here is nonsense that the Celtic Society was at the in all its altitudes ! To be sure, he was bottom of the business, for it is quite not a better man-very possibly he fit for them. It is adorned, more- might have been a worse man--but over,
" with some of the most valuable he was decidedly richer-better on stones that Scotland produces.” We 'Change The landlord, when he saw flatter ourselves that 'that is a touch poor Mr. Kean, was afraid of his moredolent of the north side of the ney, and refused him credit- when he Tweed. It is good to be merry
and saw rich Mr. Kean, he looked to a 43 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.
good stiff bill—and that made all the pretending to enact such characters as difference. Kean was never so besot- he has taken on himself to murder. ted as when he imagined the compli Here ends the auto-biography. We ment paid to his purse was paid to his go no farther, having nothing to do person.
with Kean except to expose quackery, “On Kean's acting," continues he, puffing, and humbug. He is going
we decline offering any criticism; he down very fast, and we flatter ourselves is beyond it.” Quite beyond it in- that this Life of his, though intended deed—but there are two kinds of be- for a different purpose, will freshen his yonds, above and below. A way a trifle down the ladder of popuactor never trod the stage- we mean, larity.
BIOGRAPHY OF THE LATE JANE TAYLOR.*
WE have few readers, old or young,
We feel by no means sure that the to whom the name of the Au- Evenings at Home, and the Parent's thor of Display, and, in part, of the Assistant, will not outlive the demand Original Poems and Hymns for Infant for the works of the Author of WaverMinds, can be unknown; and by none ley, and that Mrs. Barbauld's exquisite who are acquainted with her produc- Prose Hymns for children will not surtions, will the intimation have been vive, as they deserve to do, much of received without concern, that their the poetry of the day. We might, friend and their children's friend rests perhaps, still more confidently predict, from her labours. To bestow on works that the name of the Author of Little for children the talent and the toil Henry and his bearer, and that of the which, otherwise directed, might have venerable writer of the Cheap Reposicommanded the higher honours of lite. tory Tracts, will be had in lasting rerary fame, may seem a self-denying membrance. Society certainly could exercise of genius; but there is no spe. better dispense with one half of the cies of literary labour that yields so literary world, than with these unprepure a reward, or that ensures for the tended benefactors of the infant race. writer sa permanent a remembrance. And among them, no inferior rank will For who ever ceases to recollect with be awarded to Jane Taylor. interest the favourites of his childhood, We have not the means of ascerthe books connected with his earliest taining all the productions for which impressions, and to which, perhaps, he the public are indebted to her pen. is able distinctly to trace a beneficial The Original Poems for Infant Minds influence in the formation of his cha- was, we believe, the first that brought racter ? The “ Divine Songs" of Dr. its anonymous authors into general Watts, perhaps his happiest produce favour. In this work, the speculation tion, and one that has survived the of the publishers, Miss Taylor was asmore ambitious labours of most of his sociated with her elder sister, Mrs. contemporaries, will always be suffi- Gilbert, and another lady.† Many of cient to perpetuate and endear his the poems were, we have been given
And we may safely predict, to understand, absolutely juvenile prothat our children and our children's ductions, and they are unequal. The children will be the faithful conserva success of the publication, however, tors of works which display equal ge was unprecedented: a second volume nius and equal piety, in connexion with followed, a third for younger children, the peculiar tact and address which and a fourth, consisting of hymns, qualify woman pre-eminently to be which has the most merit of the series. the teacher of the young.
Of these little volumes, many thou
* The Contributions of Q. Q. to a periodical Work: with some Pieces not before published. By the late Jane Taylor. 2 vols. 12mo. pp. 596. London 1824.
Miss Taylor's are distinguished by the initials J. and J. T.
sands annually have regularly been Rhyme on Morals and Manners,” the sold for between fifteen and twenty boldest literary effort on which its years; and though they have given Author had yet ventured, and unquesrişe to many attempts at imitation, tionably displaying, in parts, the most they remain, and are likely to remain, genius and reach of thought. The unequalled for their originality, exqui- title was not happily chosen, and the site adaptation, and admirable simpli- work was less adapted to be popular, city. The Original Hymns for Sun- than the Tale; its sale, accordingly, day Schools” bave had a still more ex- though successful, has not kept pace tensive circulation. These, though of with that of its predecessor.† So rich course every consideration was sacri- was the poetry, however, in point and ficed to the most literal plainness of ex- force of expression, in delicacy of sentipression, have nevertheless much beau- ment, and occasionally, in both pathos ty: they exbibit religious truth brought and humour, that it led us to anticidown to the very humblest level, yet pate productions of a still higher cast. without being vulgarized. The fourth But in this expectation we were not to hymn in particular, beginning,
Miss Taylor's failing health soon "Jesus, who lived above the sky,'
after this publication, rendered the exis one of the happiest attempts to trans- citement and exhaustion of literary late the truths of religion into the dialect composition too much for a frame of of infant thought, without compromis- fragile texture. All that she could ing the proprieties of language, that we venture to undertake were short and have ever met with.
desultory papers, and the present volIn 1810, Miss Taylor contributed
umes consist of those interesting resome poems to a little volume, the mains. Her brother informs us that, joint production of a few friends, and with the exception of two or three not now more than ever an interesting me- before published, they appeared in the morial, entitled, “ The Associate Min- Youth's Magazine during the course of strels.” The Remonstrance to Time the seven years beginning with 1816, is a beautiful and touching Poem. The and ending with 1822, when Miss Birthday Retrospect is also but too Taylor's declining health obliged her characteristic of the tendency to melan- to desist entirely from literary occupacholy which is observable in some of tions. Miss Taylor's poems.
As the volume
Very soon after the commencement of is out of print, we should have been her regular contribations to the Youth's pleased to see these
Magazine, my sister,' says Mr. Taylor, had poems,
reason to believe that, through the medium other fugitive pieces of the same Au- of its pages, she had succeeded in gaining, in thor,* incorporated with the present a high degree, the attention of a very large work.
number of young persons. An assurance so
encouraging inspired her with the earnest In 1815, appeared “Display, a desire to improve the favourable impression Tale for young People,” the first pub- she had made, for promoting the best interlication to which its author had the grave or gay she never lost sight of this ob
ests of her readers; and whether she was courage to affix her name. Our opin- ject. Her friends have generally concurred ion of it has been already given, and
in the opinion that many of these pieces are the public have sufficiently proved that that a republication of them was due to their
among the happiest efforts of her pen, and we did not over estimate it. We have merit. In compliance with this opinion, only to regret that the wish we then she had revised and prepared for the press
the greater part of the papers, not long beexpressed, was destined never to be fore her last illness; and she left with me satisfied, -to receive more of such instructions for the publication of the tales from the same pen.
This whole.' followed, in 1816, with “ Essays in Should the contents be as new to our
* We recollect to bave seen one or two hymns with Miss Taylor's initial in some popular collections, and at least one poem in an early volume of the Edinburgh Annual Register.
† The Essays have reached a fourth, Display a tenth edition.
readers as they were to us, they will humble one, and such as did not hold receive with no ordinary gratification out to its contributors any inducement this interesting legacy. Had Miss to extraordinary effort. But, with Taylor never published any thing be- Miss Taylor, the prospect of efficient fore, these papers would be sufficient usefulness was an adequate stimulus; to entitle her to rank very high among and in writing for the Youth's Magaour best moral writers. Many of zine, she appears never to have excusthem would have been esteemed accep- ed herself from taking all the pains table contributions in the days of the that could have been inspired by a Spectator, or the Rambler. It ought, trembling solicitude for fame. indeed to be recollected, that they The papers are seventy-nine in numwere written for young persons; that ber. As a mere list of the contents the choice of subject, as well as the would give little idea of their nature, unpretending style, has been deter- we shall at once proceed to select a mined by this circumstance ; that the few specimens of their varied characmedium through which they found ter. The first that we shall take, is of their way to the public, was a very a sportive cast,
THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM. An old clock that had stood for fifty years four bours : perhaps some of you, above in a farmer's kitchen without giving its own- there, can give me the exact sum. er any cause of complaint, early one sum The minute hand, being quick at figures, mer's morning, before the family was stir- instantly replied, “ eighty-six thousand four ring, suddenly stopped.
hundred times." Upon this, the dial-plate (if we may credit “ Exactly so," replied the pendulum : the fable) changed countenance with alarm; “well, I appeal to you all, if the thought of the hands made an ineffectual effort to con this was not enough to fatigue one ? and when tinue their course ; the wheels remained mo I began to multiply the strokes of one day tionless with surprise; the weights hung by those of months and years, really it is no speechless; each member felt disposed to lay wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect: the blame on the others. At length the dial so after a great deal of reasoning and hesita. instituted a formal inquiry as to the cause of tion, thinks I to myself, I'll stop.' the stagnation; when hands, wheels, weights, The dial could scarcely keep its countewith one voice protested their innocence. bance during this harangue ; but, resuming But now a faint tick was heard below, from its gravity, thus replied :--the pendulum, who thus spoke :
“Dear Mr. Pendulum, I am really aston“I co.fsmyself to be the sole cause of ished that such a useful, industrious person as the present stoppage; and am willing, for yourself should have been overcome by this the general satisfaciion, to assign my reasons. sudden suggestion. It is true you have done The truth is, that I am tired of ticking. a great deal of work in your time.
So we Upon hearing this, the old clock became so have all, and are likely tudo; and, although enraged that it was on the point of striking. this may fatigue us to think of, the question
“ Lazy wire !” exclaimed the dial-plate, is, whether it will fatigue us to do : would holding up its hands
you now, do me the favour to give about half • Very good !” replied the pendulum, a dozen strokes, to illustrate my argu“it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, ment. who have always, as every body kn..ws, set The pendulum complied, and ticked six yourself up above me,---it is vastly easy for times at its usual pace.---" Now," resumed you, I say, to accuse other people of lazithe dial, “may I be allowed to inquire, if ness! You, who have had nothing to do all that exertion was at all faiiguing or disathe days of your life but to stare people in greeable to you ?" the face, and to amuse yourself with watch “ Not in the least,” replied the pendulum: ing all that goes on in the kitchen! Think, cc it is not of six strokes that I complain, I beseech you, how you would like to be por of sixty, bot of millions." shut up for life in this dark closet, and wag “Very good,” replied the dial, “but recbackwards and forwards, year after year, as ollect that although you may think of a milI do,”
lion strokes in an instant, you are required 66 As to that,” said the dial, “ is there not to execute but one ; and that however often a window in your house on purpose for you you may hereafter have to swing, a moment to look through ?"
will always be given you to swing in.”. " For all that," resumei the pendulum, “ That consideration staggers me, I con“ it is very dark here; and although there is fess," said the pendulum. a window, I dare not stop, even for an in “ Then I bope,” resumed the dial-plate, stant, to look out. Besides, I am really “we shall all immediately return to our duty; weary of my way of life; and if you please, for the maids will lie in bed till noon if we I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my stand idling thus." employment. This morning I happened to Upon this, the weights, who had never be calculating how many times I should have been accused of light conduct, used all their te tick in the course only of the next twenty- influence in urging him to proceed: when,