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tained at comparatively a very early companies her in her theatrical paráýe; and it is more to be wondered suits. She is an only daughter, at that perfection can be attained and has five brothers, one of whom after, than before the age of twenty, is two years older than herself; the by persons who have been early initi- others are all very young. From ated in the business of the stage. - her earliest age she evinced a After that period, art alone will im- strong predilection for the stage, prove the performer; and art is but
even before she saw a theatre or a a miserable substitute for nature. It performer. Her father disliking sets bad examples to junior can- the profession resisted her inclinadidates, corrupts the national taste, tion, considering it childish and ro. and prepares the public mind for mantic; but, finding her immoveably pantomime and gorgeous pagean. attached to the pursuit, he procured try, instead of leading it to the ad. through the kind offices of Lady miration of chaste exhibitions of C. Lindsay an introduction to Mr. the legitimate drama. Pantomimic George Colman, and Mr. Harris : representations and displays of tin- who, after hearing her read (being sel magnificence will never take a only thirteen years of age) a portion firm hold of public approbation, of the character of Belvidera, prowhile good tragedies and comedies · nounced her to possess a powerful, are supported by performers of adco , clear, and melodious voice, with quate abilities, which lose their in- many other requisites for eminence Huence on the national taste only in the profession. Miss Kelly rewhen they are badly represented.ceived the principal part of her A good play badly acted, is far education at Mrs. Philips's school worse than a pantomime or “ Alex Tenterden Street, Hanover Square. ·ander the Greal, well performed; After her appearance on the stage at which they may easily be by very Cheltenham and Brighton, and prelindifferent performers. But it is vious to her going to Dublin, she at any timei inore agreeable to see received some professional instruca pantonrime well performed, than tion from Mr. Macready, and to witness the murder of a good since her return he has been kind -tragedy.
enough to give her much used * For such reasons as these we ful information. In the month of always receive with pleasure the June, 1819, she made her first apo announcement of a youthful débu- pearance at Cheltenham, under the tante, and we candidly confess that, protection of Lady Faulkner, and in every enterprize that honours performed the characters of Amelia human nature, we expect more na- Wildenheim ; Amanthis, in the tural talent from youth than from Child of Nature; Belvidera, &c. age. But any further disquisition on After playing for six nights there this subject would lead us far be she was sent to Paris, under the yond our limits; and, 'with cheer: protection of an old and intimate fulness and entire devotion, we friend of her father, who superhasten to pay our 'homage to the intended her education with parenfirst ferhale tragedian of the English tal kindness, and afforded her every
opportunity of mixing in the first "Miss Frances HARRIET Kelly circles of that gay city. Shortly was born on the 30th of June, 1805, after her return from France, in 'in South Audley Street, Grosvenor May the following year, she visited Square, London. She is of middle Cheltenham for six nights, playing stature, extremely well formed, and Portiu, Belvidera, and Ella Rosenher features are intelligent and feme- berg. From this place she went to nine. Her father, Captain Kelly, Brighton, at her own expense, is a gentleman of a very old and where she remained for four respectable family in the West of months playing Juliet, Belvidera, Ireland. He joined the 96th regi: Evadne, Alicia, and the range of ment during the American war, and first characters. On the 18th of was an intimate friend of the late January, 1821, she appeared on the Earl of Guildford; by whose. la- Dublin stage, where she was highly mented death he sustained an ir- appreciated, and became a great reparable loss. Miss, Kelly has a vourite in the character of Juliet ; mother living, who invariably ac- and afterwards perforined Belvidera,
Jane Shore, Desdemona, Monimia, only characters she has performed Isidora in Mirandola (with "Mr. since her appearance in the metro Yoang), Portia, Mrs. Haller, Mrs. polis, our observations will be necesBeverley, Mrs. Oakley, &c. &c. sarily limited ; and the more so, as « . She returned to England in June, we intend to confine them to her reand played for a month
at Birming- presentation of the character of Jrham, Nottingham, and Derby; after liet, with which all our readers must which, in March, 1822, Mr. Harris de familiar. again engaged her for the Dublin From the moment of Miss Kelly's stage, to support Mr. Young; where, first appearance at Covent Garden in addition to her former characters, Theatre, in the character of Juliet, she performed Alexina, Galanthe, she has heen acknowledged the very Amy Robsart (in a drama entitled first of our dramatic heroines. Her Kenilworth), fourteen successive extreme youth-her previous obscunights to crowded houses, Bertha rity—the declining state of the conin the Point of Honour, Imoinda in cern, which she was designed to reOroonoko, and Minna in the Pirate. cover and exalt-have all conspired She continued there until the Theatre with her professional powers to closed in June; when she visited create an interest in her behalf, sufDrogheda, Limerick, Galway, Ennis, ficient to sustain a successful comand Cork; a theatrical tour that petition against all the established occupied her for four months; and, performers and glittering appendbefore she left the last-mentioned ages of the rival theatre. Although place she was engaged for Covent Miss O'Neil may be thought to have Garden. In Ireland Miss Kelly was been more successful in the declamapatronized by the principal families, tory passages, yet in those, where and it does not appear to be true, as the feeling is subdued, the passion inviduously stated in the London quick and vehement, the transition Papers, that her great talents were abrupt, or the situation overwhelmeither coldly received or unappre ing-in short where nature had more ciated by our more mercurial neigh- to do than 'art, Miss Kelly is her bours." "It is no part of their cha- superior, and possesses head, and racter to be cold in their admiration, heart, and voice, to answer the full avaricious of their applause, or im- demands of the tragic muse. pervious to the charms of female In the balcony scene, where Roexcellence let us be at least as ge- meo first sees Juliet in private, we Derous as they and impute just mo, discover in this accomplished actress tives; it was owing to the distresses a total abandonment of heart and of that ill-fated Island, and the con- soul to the tender passion with which sequent want of ability, that the she is absorbed, and a modesty alike Irish resigned to this more favoured unrestrained by artful coquetry, or metropolis the glorious and delight- the wily heartlessless of prudery. Her ful task of duly rewarding TRAN- words never precede the emotions SCENDANT MERIT.
of her heart; they are, as they should On the 14th of November last, Miss be, the consequence and not the Kelly made her successful début in
precursor of her emotion. The exthe character of Juliet, at the Thea. quisite variety of her voice and motre Royal Covent Garden, and was
tion at once evinces her profound received with the most enthusiastic knowledge of her immortal author, applause; she continues occasionally and her capability of personifyto repeat this fasinating character, ing the variations of conflicting, or and always with the same success. rapidly succeeding feelings. She On a subsequent night she appear. seeins to be no imitator of the uned as Margaret, in Mr. Shiel's new happy fair-she is Juliet herselftragedy of the Huguenot, but the she appears the sad victim of the character is far too monotonous for a passion she represents. When Rofull display of her abilities; she, how
meo says ever, made the most of it, and was
-Alack ! there lies more peril in thine warmly applauded. On the 31st ult.
eye;. she represented Rutland, in the Earl Than iwenty of their swords.. of Essex, a tragedy which nothing but such performers as Miss Kelly The wistful gaze of undissembled and Mr. Macready could have ren- passion seems to arrest all her faculdered tolerable. As these are the ties. Her eyes, which in the letter
scenes seem to wander with a hea. for having required
of him to swear venly distraction, and seem to be to the fidelity of his attachment; every where and no where, are now while she seems, at the same time, immoveably fixed on those of Romeo, to inhale the soft and enchanting inand drink the delicious poison of toxication of love.
Her “ sweet love. They seem not to rest upon, love adieu," and her “ good night, but to devour their object. The fol- good night," were still more lowing passage always excites the enchanting, more enthusiastic, more angst rapturous applause;
lovely, more infatuating, la Dost thou dove me? I know thou wilt pronouncing these syren exclamasays Ay;
tions, her very soul almost appeared And I will take thy word!
in view. It seemed to come forward
and converse in her countenance ; The rapid manner in which she
and so it did, so far as feeling can utters the words “I know thou wilt say-Ay," implying a certainty of embody the invisible, and inconceiv
able nature of the mind. an affirmative answer, mingled with
Her interview with the Nurse in a half suspicion of its sincerity, is
the second act is exquisitely perirresistible. It is what, in inferior
formed, and the mere reader of the performers, would be called a hit,but in her it is an ebullition of the
play can have but a very inadequate
idea of the beauty of this scene-her purest and deepest nature. In the following passage she exhibits the eagerness to meet the Nurse, whom
she fondly hails as the harbinger of purest taste:
joyful news, and her exclamation 'Rom. Lady, by yonder blessed moon,
4 O heaven ! she comes." 'Jul. O swear not by the moon, fills every heart with participating Before Romeo has finished his sen
expectation ; while joy, mingled 'tence, the moment he has uttered the
with fear and apprehension, is word,“ moon,” her tenderness takes
strongly pourtrayed in her coun. instant aların, she waits not to bear
tenance. Though joy would seem the words "I vow," her sensibility
to be predominant, yet she dreads to and ent passion prove them to be
become acquainted with the fearful redundant; she exclaims “O swear
tidings. In the third act, where the not by the moon with hurried
Nurse returns and leads her to supspeech and a tremulous feeling, that
pose that Romeo has been slain, we prove her knowledge that nature
never saw, indeed we never conneeds no oaths to bind her, and,
ceived even in idea, so exquisite an when they are thought necessary,
image of enraged innocence; when they are as easily broken as made.
she cries outWhen Juliet utters
" What devil art thou that doest tor
ment me thus." " Do not swear at all;"
The furies seemed seated on her she falls on the balcony, and is ab- brow; every feature was pregnant sorbed in that fulness of affliction, with page, but yet it was rage withthat denotes her heart to be entirely out a sting:
She soon expiated, Romeo's, without requiring a pledge however, the crime of becoming an in return, relying on her own inno
infuriate ; and presented us with the cent and ample love to detain, as finest picture of repentance and selfwell as to win, his affections. This reproach that imagination can conpassage is always received with
ceive. unanimous and reiterated applause. After having bewailed the death Indeed the whole of the balcony of Tybalt, the banishment of Romeo, scene is an example of the most fi- and inveighed with severity against nished acting ; so much so, that it is her lover, she answers her Nurse's more easy to imagine her really in invectives against Romeo with the love, than to believe any actress most impassioned energy. The pascould so naturally affect a passion sage commences which she does not feel, and which
Blistered be tby tongue, she never perhaps has felt. When she pronounces the words
Her transition from the highest eu- Well do not swear."
logy on her lover to a just' and
tender recollection, how ill that euher eyes, her countenance, her every logy'agreed with her previous upfeature, seem to claim forgiveness braidings, is exquisitely natural ;
she is overwhelmed with the mingled in sweetness, artlessness, and nature emotions of tenderness, of love, and" There is no influence lost upon her of self-condemnation. Phe line, for she responds to the lightest iOb! what a wretch was I to'chide pulse ; the highest excellence in
dramatic representation. - Art and him so.
study only serve to counteract or is the most excellent and most ap- suppress the divine enthusiasm of plauded passage of her whole per- nature: the eyes no longer speak formance.
the eloquent language of love, no In the garden scene in the third longer brighten with hope, or lanact, where she endeavours to con- guish with despair. Every moment vince Romeo that it is not yet day, is marked with affectation,
and every in order to detain him, she surpasses attitude is constrained and unnatural. all her predecessors. He who could The truth of these observations hear her without emotion repeat the never, perhaps, has been more trifollowing words, when Romeo is umphantly illustrated than in the in the very act of parting from her, fair subject of the present memoir. must have drank the milk of tigers We never saw the secret workings in his infancy.
of indomitable love more powerfully
displayed, or more ably sustained O heaven! I bave an ill-divining soul : Methinks I see thee, now thou’rt throughout. Her characteristic ex
cellence seems to consist in giving parting from me, As one dead in the bottom of a tomb; expression to the different emotions, Either my eye-sight fails; or thou
which naturally arise at the same look'st pale.
instant from the opposite influences
by which she is acted upon. A We have no space to do justice to secret foreboding of her unhappy this exquisite tragedian; her whole fate throws a browner shade over performance of Juliet is excellent. her happiest and most animated moThe swallowing of the draught is in ments, so that even her joy seems the first style of acting ; and the mingled with melancholy musings. terror of the catastrophe is exhi. This is an excellence of difficult bited in all its plenitude.
attainment, and Miss Kelly seems Miss Kelly's chief excellence evi. to have made it her particular study. dently consists in the delineation of She has studied it, however, only the deeper and intenser passions. from her own feelings, or in real If we mistake not, however, her life: whenever human nature is acted natural manners ate of a more gay upon by different influences, they and playful character than those excite that tumultuous crowd of of Miss O'Neil, and consequently emotions, which confine themselves we think her more likely to succeed not to the heart, but manifest their in comedy than her predecessor. existence in the expression and agiHer action is natural and unem- tation of the countenance. This barrassed ; every movement seems strong tide of mingled emotions is to arise from the impulse of the
not merely to be found in the action moment, though her attitude is not and expression of this lovely actress ; perhaps always so imposing as Miss she seems to have the same comO'Neil's. The cause seems to be, '
mand over her voice that she has that Miss O'Neil threw more of over her passions, affections, and her own mind and intellectual con- sympathies, ception of character into her action, In fine, what has been said of and consequently was partly guided the character of Juliet, by an able by her feelings, and partly by her modern critic, may be justly applied reason; but Miss Kelly seems not to Miss Kelly's performance. “ It to reason at all. She is the mere is, indeed, one of perfect truth and creature of the influences by which sweetness. It has nothing forward, she is acted upon. She would seem "nothing coy, nothing affected or never to have considered how she coquettish about it;—it is a pure ought to act in any particular situ- effusion of nature. It is as frank tion, but permits herself to be car- as it is modest. Its delicacy does ried away instinctively by the in- not consist in coldness and reserve, fluence, which the situation exerts but in combining warmth of imagiover her at the moment. What she nation and tenderness of heart with loses, therefore, in dignity she gains the most voluptuous sensibility."
On the ilth of August, 1797.ro
S. B. R
* In allusion to the monument in St. Paul's,