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Though Booth, from the possession of these qualifications, must by attending to them, have necessarily reached the top of his profession, it was not till the production of Cato that he gained his eminence; and as the manner by which he obtained this part shews ingenuity and address on his side, as well as judgment on the side of the managers, we shall here relate it.

When Mr. Addison carried this admirable tragedy to the green-room, he, of course, as the author, read it first to the players: but being a man of uncommon bashfulness and diffidence, after this he desired Cibber would supply his place, who read it so much to the satisfaction of the author, that he requested him to perform the part of Cato.

Cibber, though otherwise a vain man, knew his own forte too well to risk his reputation in a character so much out of his way; he therefore preferred the part of Syphax, whilst Wilks took that of Juba. Cato, however, still remained undisposed of, till they both agreed that Booth would be the most likely representative, from figure, voice, and judgment, of this virtuous Roman: but Wilks, fearing that Booth would think himself injured in being cast for so venerable a character, (he being then a young man,) had the good nature to carry the part to his lodgings himself; to inform him of its importance; and to persuade him, if necessary, to accept it.' Booth, who told this anecdote to Victor, said, he sunk the importance of the character, and seemed to accept it entirely at the manager's desire; which condescending behaviour, with his performance of the part so much to the delight and admiration of the audience, gave both Wilks and Cibber the greatest pleasure.” However, when the consequences began soon after to appear, viz. a reputation and interest to obtain a special licence from the Queen to be included as fourth manager of the theatre, this pleasure was converted into remorse and disappointment, and ended with one of the managers (Dogget) retiring in disgust from the stage for eyer.

The parts which Booth principally distinguished himself in, beside Cato, were Pyrrhus, Othello, Brutus, Lear, Marc Antony, Aurengzebe, Jaffier, the Ghost in Hamlet, &c.

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ever equalled him; apd perhaps none ever excelled him iu touching the passions, particularly that of love.

But though Otway possessed, in so eminent a degree, the rare talent of writing to the heart, yet he was not very favourably regarded by some of his contemporary poets ; nor was he always successful in his dramatic composis tious. After experiencing many reverses of fortune, in regard to his circumstances, but generally changing for the worse, he at last died wretchedly in a public house on Tower-Hill, April 14, 1685, whither he had retired to avoid the pressure of his creditors. Some have said, that hunger compelling him to fall too eagerly upon a piece of bread, of which he had been some time in want, the first mouthful choaked him, and instantly put a period to

his days.

SIR RICHARD STEELE

Was horn about the year 1677, in Ireland, in which kingdom one branch of the family was possessed of a considerable estate in the county of Wexford. His father, a counsellor at law in Dublin, was private secretary to James Duke of Ormond, but he was of English extraction, and his son, while very young, being carried to London, he put him to school at the Charter-house, whence he was removed to Merton College, in Oxford, where he was admitted a post-master in 1692. His inclidation and genius being turned to polite literature, he commenced author during his residence in the university, and actually finished a comedy; which, however, he thought fit to suppress, as unworthy of his genius. Mr. Steele was well-beloved and respected by the whole society, and had a good interest with them after he left the university, which he did without taking any degree, in the full resolution to enter into the ariny.

This

step was highly displeasing to his friends; but the ardour of his passion for a military life rendered him deaf to

any

other proposal. Not being able to procure a better station, he entered as a private gentleman in the horse-guards, notwithstanding he therehy lost the succession to his Irish estate. However, as he had a flow of good nature, a generous openness and frankness of spirit, and a sparkling vivacity of wit,--these qualities rendered him the delight of the soldiery, and procured him an ensign's commis

sion in the guards.

In the mean time, as he had made choice of a profession which set him free from all the ordinary restraints on youth, he spared not to indulge his inclinations in the wildest excesses,

Yet his gaieties and revels did not pass without some cool hours of reflection, and in these it was that he drew up his little treatise, entitled The Christian Hero, with a design, if we may believe himself, to be a check upon his passions. · For this use and purpose it had lain some time by him, when he printed it in 1701, with a dedication to Lord Cutts, who had not only appointed him his private secretary, but procured for him a company in Lord Lucas's regiment of fusileers. The whole plan and tenour of our author's book was such a flat contradiction to the general course of his life, that it became a subject of much mirth and raillery : but these shafts had no effect; he persevered invariably in the same contradiction, and, though he had no power to change his heart, yet his pen was never prostituted to his follies. Under the influence of that good sense, he wrote his first play, which procured him the regard of King William, who resolved to give him some essential marks of his favour; and though, upon that Prince's death, his hopes were disappointed, yet, in the beginning of Queen Anne's reign, he was appointed to the profitable place of Gazetteer. He owed this post to the friendship of Lord Halifax, and the Earl of Sunderland, to whom he had been recoinmended by his school-fellow, Mr. Addison, That gentleman also lent him an helping hand in promoting the comedy, called The Tender Husband, which was acted in 1704, with great success. But his next play, The Lying Lover, found a very different fate. Upon this rebuff from the stage, he turned the same humourous current into another channel; and, early in the year 1709, he began to publish The Tatler; which admirable paper was uudertaken in concert with Dr. Swift. His reputation was perfectly established by this work; and, during the course of it, he was made a commissioner of the stamp-duties, in 1710. Upon

Upon the change of the ministry the same year, he sided with the Duke of Marlborough, who had several years entertained a friendship for him ; and, upon his Grace's dismission from all employments, in 1711, Mr. Steele addressed a letter of thanks to him for the services done to his country. However, as our author still continued to hold his place in the stainpoffice under the new administration, he forbore entering

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