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or COMPENDIUM( of
e most Cirious Useful Subjects inevery Brauch
Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge,
For JANUARY, 1783.
Memoirs of Mr. Kemble, with a striking Likeness of that celebrated Theatrical
To the Editor of the Hibernian Magazine. univerfity of Douay, in order to his be
O one, perhaps, of his profeffion has been more univerfally the topic of discourse, and fubject of admiration, than Mr. Kemble. What is the reafon, that the moment our understanding bows to the open difplay of a man's public talents, our curiofity fhould begin fo bufily to pry into the retired fcenes of his private life? Severer moralifts may anfwer, that while Reafon adores the facred fire of public fame, Envy throws up the embers of private action, in hopes that the may at least dim the luftre of the blaze. Sometimes this may be a true reply; in my cafe it is not; or if it were, yet these very embers may ferve only to feed the flame: the man, in whom private worth unites itself to public abilities, has a double claim upon us, for our eftecm and admiration; and I feel infinite pleasure from the profpect of the memoirs I have undertaken to write, when I reflect, that the gentleman I am to fpeak of is truly of this defcription. My information is drawn from the pureft fources, from his fellow collegians abroad, and from his contemporaries at home.
Mr. Kemble was born in Lancashire, and placed very young at the celebrated Roman Catholic academy in Staffordshire; where he chewed fo early, and uncommon a tafte for letters, as induced his father to fend him to the English college in the Hib. Mag. Jan. 1783.
ing qualified for one of the learned profeffions. Mr. Kemble did not for fome time make any figure in the schools; he was, however, from his admiflion in the univerfity, noted for the happiness of his memory, and a talent, that indeed gave an early promife of his prefent excellence, I mean his delivery; for, which he was already fo much admired, that though nobody ever went to hear the fpeeches of any other ftudent, yet the whole body of fellows and profeffors conftantly crouded the hall whenever Mr. Kemble was to pronounce an oration. The intervals he Inatched from neceffry ftudies, our hero dedicated to the perfecting himself, and the most promifing of his companions, in the tragedies of Cato and Julius Cæfar, in which, his reprefentations of Cato and Brutus were thought matter pieces. The time at laft arrived for Mr. Kemble to lift himself into a more honourable celebrity. The poets were put into his hands. His earliest compofitions were approved by all, and a latin eclogue he wrote on the death of the late king of France, did his college, as well as, himself, great credit; for it was allowed to be the most elegant piece the university produced on that occafion. In the height of his academical reputation, Mr. Kemble forfook bis ftudies, and returned to England.
After fome time fpeut in deliberating on what employment be fhould choofe for himself, natural indiation, not to men