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prodigious things; like the sportsman described by Virgil, who is tired of pursuing game, and wishes for a nobler chace : Spumantemque dari pecori inter inertia votis Optat aprum, aut sulvum descendere monte leonem, · Garrick at the same time was weary of his situation in a country town. He longed for a more splendid scene, where he might enlarge his views. He and Johnson exchanged sentiments, and resolv ed on an expedition to the metropolis. · · ·
Mr. Walmsley was consulted on the occasion. He had a regard for young Garrick, and wishing that he should complete his education, wrote to Mr. Colson, a celebrated mathematician, at that time master of the school at Rochester, requesting that he would take the pupil, whom he recommended in strong terms, under his tuition. He says of Garrick-" He is a very sensible young man, and a good scholar; of a sober and good disposition, and as ingenious and promising a young man as ever I knew in my life." It appears that Mr. Colson was willing to comply with his friend's request, and accordingly Garrick and Johnson set off for London on the 2nd of March, 1737. The precise day is ascertained by Mr. Walmsley's second letter of that date, in which he says, " Garrick, and another neighbour of mine, one Mr. Samuel Johnson, set out this morning for London together. · Davy Garrick will be with you early in the next week, and Mr. Johnson goes to try his fate with a tragedy, and to see to get himself employed in some translation from the Latin or the French."
With this recommendation, the two friends sallied out to seek their fortunes. The city of Litchfield had 'the honor of sending forth in one day the two greatest geniuses in their different walks, that have been known in modern times. Garrick
was entered a student of Lincoln's Inn on the oth of March, 1737, but his finances did not enable him to pursue that profession. Nor did he remove to Rochester, to place himself under Mr. Colson. About the end of the year, his uncle arrived from Lisbon, with intent to settle in London. His design was frustrated by a fit of illness, which in a short time put an end to his days. He left his nephew David joool. and to each of his brothers and sisters the sum of sool. Upon this event, Garrick had recourse to Mr. Colson, and remained several inonths under that gentleman's patronage. During his stay at Rochester, his father, Captain Garrick, died of a lingering illness, and his wife did pot survive him above a year. They left three sons, Peter the eldest, David and George, and, beside them, two daughters. David Garrick took his leave of Mr. Colson, and returned to the metropolis. Sublime geometry had no attraction for him whose ruling passion was the dramatic art. The law was likewise too dry a study-the briars and brambles of that science deterred himn from thinking any more of Lincoln's Inn. Peter, his eldest brother, had entered into the business of a wine-merchant, and in 1738, David was induced to enter into partnership. The famous Samuel Foote used to say, “ He remembered Garrick living in Durham-yard, with three quarts of vinegar in the cellar, calling himself a wine-merchant!" It is certain, however, that he served all the houses in the veighbourhood of the two play-bouses, and at those places was a member of different clubs with the actors of the time. He loved to indulge in a vein of criticism on the several performers, and, to illustrate his remarks, he mounted the table, and displayed those talents for mimickry, for which he has been much celebrated in the character of Bayes. .
bic From this time the profession of an actor was the object of his ambition. The stage, at that period, was in a low condition. Macklin had played Shylock with applause, and Quin was, bez yond all doubt, a most excellent performer. *Mrs. Pritchard and Mrs. Woffington shone in genteet comedy, and Mrs. Clive made the province of hus inour entirely her own she deserved to be called the COMIC MUSE. And yet the drama was sunk to the lowest ebb: in tragedy, declamation roared in a most unnatural strain rant was passion whining was grief-vociferation was terror--and drawling accents were the voice of love. Comedy was reduced to farce and buffoonery. Garrick saw that nature was banished from the stage, but he flattered himself that he should be able to revive a better taste, and succeed by the truth of limita. tion. He was, in consequence, now resolved to launch into the theatrical world, and accordingly, in the beginning of 1740, he dissolved partnership with his brother, Peter Garrick. He passed the remainder of the year in preparation for his great design--he studied the best characters of Shakes speare and of our comic writers with all his atterns tion but at last he was frightened by the diffi. culties that stood in his way. A new school of acting was to be established, and the atteinpt, he was aware, would be called innovation. He shrunk back, not being sure of his own power. But the impulse of nature was not to be resisted his genius drove him on. His friend, Mr. Giffard, was the manager of the theatre in Goodman's fields. Garrick consulted him, and, by his advice, des termined to make an experiment of himself at a country theatre. The scheme was settled, and they both set out for the city of Ipswich, where, in the summer of 1741, there was a regular company of comedians. Garrick's diffidence was still so
great that he 'assumed the name of Lyddal, and that he might remain unknown, he chose for bris fost appearance the character of Aboan, in the tragedy of Oronooko. : In that disguise he passed the rubicon ; but his reception was such, that in a few days he ventured to throw off his black complexion, and shew himself in the part of Chamont, in the Orphan, The applause he met with encouraged him to display his powers in comedy. The inhabitants of Ipswich were not the only attendants at the theatre, the gentlemen all round the country went in crowds to see the new performer. Ipswich has teason to be proud of the taste and judgment with which they gave the warmest encouragement to a promising genius. The people of that city were the first patrons of a young actor, who in a short time became the brilliant ornament of the English stage. .
Garrick, from that time spoke on all occasions of the encouragement he received at Ipswich with pride and gratitude. He used to say, that if he had failed there, it was his fixed resolution to think no more of the stage, but the applause he met with inspired him with confidence. He returned to town before the end of the summer, resolved in the course of the following winter to present himself before a London audience. To gain this point, he Concerted all his measuresar-but the road before him was by nio means open. It was necessary to pro. cure a station at one of the theatres. For that purpose he offered his service to Fleetwood, and after him to Rich. The two managers considered him as a mere strolling actor, a vain pretender to the art, and rejected him with disdain. They had reasong however, in the following season, to repent of their conduct. Garrick applied to his friend Giffard, the manager of Goodman's Fields, and agreed to act under his management at a salary of five pounds a week: Having gaived confidence in his powers from the encouragement he rceived at Ipswich, he resolved to think no more of subordinate characters, but to strike a hold stroke, and set out at the very head of the profession. The part he chose was Richard II]. a great and arduous undertaking He had studied the character, and his feelings told him that he should be able to acquit himself with reputation. Old Cibber had long before prepared the play, with considerable alterations; and the new matter introduced by him was with great judgment selected from Shakespeare himself. He acted Rio chard with great applause, and he tells he made Sandford bis inodel." He adds, that Sir John Vanbrugh told him, that “ he never knew an actor profit so much by another you have the very look of Sandford, his gesture, gait, speech, and every motion of him; and you have borrowed them all to serve you in that character.!? But this borrowing so exactly and minutely from a contemporary actor does not convey the idea of a great tragedian. In fact, Cibber was a most exceļlant comedian, but by no means qualified for the great emotions of the tragic muse : his voice was feeble, swelling frequently to a drawling tone, and altogether ill suited to the force and energy of Richard. Garrick scorned to lacky after any actor whatever ; he depended on his own genius, and was completely an original performer. All was his own creation-he might truly say, “ I am myself alone!". His first appear ance on the London stage was at Goodman's Fields, on the 19th of October, 1741. The moment he entered the scene, the character be assumed was visible in his countenance; the power of his imagination was such, that he transformed himself into the very man: the passions rose in rapid sucs, cession, and before he uttered a word, were legible in every feature of that various face. His look, his: