Born: Renèe de Bossu, classical scholar, 1631, Paris; Jacques Boileau, French theologian, 1635; Caroline Lucretia Herschel, astronomer, 1750, Hanover; Madame Campan, historical writer, 1752.
Died: Tiberius Claudius Nero, A.D. 37, Misenum; the Emperor Valentinian III, assassinated 455; Alexander III of Scotland, 1286; Lord Berners, translator of Froissart, 1532, Calais; Richard Burbage, original performer in Shakspeare's plays, 1618-19, Shoreditch; Johann Severin Vater, German linguist and theologian, 1826, Halle; Gottfried Nees von Esenbach, botanist, 1858; M. Camille Jullien, musician, 1860.
Feast Day: St. Julian, of Cilicia, martyr, about 303. St. Finian, surnamed Lohbar (or the Leper), of Ireland, 8th century.
Everything connected with Shakspeare and his works possesses a powerful interest to cultivated Englishmen. So little, indeed, is known of our great dramatist, that we are in some instances, perhaps, too ready to make the most of the simplest trifles pertaining to his meagre history. But Richard Burbage, the actor, who first personated Shakspeare's leading characters, and whose eminence in his art may have suggested many of the noble mind creations which now delight us, merits a niche in the temple of Shalespearean history, second only in rank to that of the great master of nature himself. Burbage, the son of a player, was born about 1564. His name stands next to that of Shakspeare in the licences for acting, granted to the company at the Globe Theatre, by James I, in 1603. Little more can be learned regarding his career, than what is stated in the many funeral elegies written on his death. One of these, of which an incorrect copy was first printed in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1825, thus enumerates the principal characters he performed:
He's gone, and with him what a world are dead,
Friends, every one, and what a blank instead!
Take him for all in all, he was a man
Not to be snatched, and no age ever can.
No more young Hamlet, though but scant of breath,
Shall cry, ' Revenge!' for his dear father's death.
Poor Romeo never more shall tears beget
For Juliet's love and cruel Capulet:
Harry shall not be seen as king or prince,
They died with thee, dear Dick (and not long since),
Not to revive again, Jeronimo
Shall cease to mourn his son Horatio:
They cannot call thee from thy naked bed
By horrid outcry; and Antonio's dead.
Edward shall lack a representative;
And Crookback, as befits, shall cease to live.
Tyrant Macbeth, with unwashed bloody hand,
We vainly now may hope to understand.
Brutus and Marcius henceforth must be dumb,
For ne'er thy like upon the stage shall come,
To charm the faculties of ears and eyes,
Unless we could command the dead to rise.
Vindex is gone, and what a loss was he!
Frankford, Brachiano, and Malvole.
Which sought the bankrupt merchant's pound of flesh,
By woman-lawyer caught in his own mesh.
What a wide world was in that little space,
Thyself a world-the Globe thy fittest place!
Thy stature small, but every thought and mood
Might throughly from thy face be understood;
And his whole action he could change with ease
From ancient Lear to youthful Pericles.
But let me not forget one chiefest part,
Wherein, beyond the rest, he moved the heart;
The grieved Moor, made jealous by a slave,
Who sent his wife to fill a timeless grave,
He slew himself upon the bloody bed.
All these, and many snore, are with him dead.
It must be cited as no mean evidence of Burbage's merit as an actor, that the fame of his abilities held a prominent place in theatrical tradition, down to the days of Charles the Second, when Flecknoe wrote a poem in his praise, inscribed to Charles Hart, the great performer after the Restoration.
Burbage was performing at the Globe Theatre on the 29th of June 1613, when that classic edifice was burned down, very shortly after Shakspeare had given up the stage, and retired to his native town. And it is, in all probability, owing to this irremediable disaster, that not one line of a drama by Shakspeare, in the handwriting of the period, has been pre-served to us. The play in performance, when the fire broke out, was called All This is True-supposed, with good reason, to be a revival of King Henry the Eighth, under a new name. This we learn from a contemporary ballad, On the Pitiful Burning of the Globe Play-house, in which Burbage is thus mentioned:
Out ran the knights, out ran the lords,
And there was great ado,
Some lost their hats, some lost their swords,
Then out ran Burbage too;
The reprobates, though drunk on Monday,
Prayed for the fool, and Henry Condy.
Elegiac effusions poured forth like a torrent on the death of Burbage. The poets had been under heavy obligations to the great actor, and felt his loss severely. By one of those written by Middleton, the dramatist, the tradition which represents Burbage to have been a successful painter in oil, as well as an actor, is corroborated:
On the Death of That Great Master If His Art and Quality, Painting and Playing
Astronomers and star-gazers this year,
Write but of four eclipses-five appear:
Death interposing Burbage, and their staying,
Hath made a visible eclipse of playing.
The lines remind one of Dr. Johnson's saying, that the death of Garrick had eclipsed the gaiety of nations. The word 'staying,' at the end of the third line, refers to the players being then inhibited from acting, on account of the death of Anne of Denmark, Queen of James the First ; who died at Hampton Court, just a fortnight before Burbage.
The abilities and industry of Burbage earned their due reward. He left landed estate at his death producing £300 per annum ; equivalent to about four times the amount at the present day.
He was buried in the church of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, and the only inscription put over his grave were the simple and expressive words: Exit Burbage.
M. Jullien is likely to be under-estimated by those who remember only his peculiarities. His name is so closely associated with Promenade Concerts, that the one is almost certain to suggest the other; and his appearance at those concerts was so remarkable, so unusually conspicuous, that many persons remember his vanity rather than his ability. In dress and manner he always seemed to say, 'I am the great Jullien;' and it is not surprising that he should, as a consequence, earn a little of that contempt which is awarded to vain persons. But the estimate ought not to stop here. Jullien had really a feeling for good music. Although not the first to introduce high-class orchestral music to the English public at a cheap price, he certainly was the first who succeeded in making such a course profitable night after night for two or three months together.
His promenade concerts were repeated for many successive years, and so well were they attended, that the locomotion implied by the word 'promenade' became almost an impossibility. Of the quadrilles and mazurkas, the waltzes and polkas, played on those occasions, high-class musicians thought nothing: but when Jullien, with a band of very admirable performers, played some of the finest instrumental works due to the genius of Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Haydn, such as the 'Choral' and ' Pastoral Symphonies,' the 'Symphony Eroica,' the 'Jupiter Symphony,' the 'Italian' and 'Scotch Symphonies,' and the like, persons of taste crowded eagerly to hear them. He knew his players well, and they knew him: each could trust the other, and the consequence was that the symphonies, concertos, and overtures were always admirably performed.
He found the means of making his shilling concerts pay, even when hiring the services of an entire opera or philharmonic band; and by his tact in doing this, he was enabled year after year to present some of the highest kind of music to his hearers. The rapt attention with which the masterpieces were listened to was always remarkable; the noisy quadrilles were noisily applauded, but Jullien sewed that he could appreciate music of a higher class, and so did his auditors. His life was a remarkable one, humble at the beginning, showy in the meridian, melancholy at the close.
Born in 1810, he was in early life a sailor-boy, and served as such at the battle of Navarino. About 1835 his musical taste lifted him to the position of manager of one of the public gardens of Paris. His success in this post induced him to visit London, where his Promenade Concerts were equally well received.. In 1851 his troubles began, owing to unsuccessful speculations at the Surrey Gardens and Covent Garden Theatre. Barely had he recovered from these when his mind became affected, and his death, in 1860, took place in a lunatic asylum at Paris.
PRINCE HOHENLOHE'S MIRACULOUS CURES
On the 16th of March 1823, Prince Hohenlohe wrote a letter which, connected with subsequent events, produced a great sensation among that class of religious persons who believe that the power of working miracles still exists. Three or four years before that date, Miss O'Connor, a nun in the convent of New Hall, near Chelmsford, began to be affected with swellings in one hand and arm. They became gradually worse, and the case assumed an aggravated form. A surgeon of Chelmsford, after an unsuccessful application of the usual modes of cure, proposed to send for Dr. Carpue, an eminent London practitioner. He also failed: and so did Dr. Badeley, the physician of the convent.
At length, after more than three years of suffering, the poor nun tried spiritual means. The Superioress or Lady Abbess, having heard of certain extraordinary powers alleged to be possessed by Prince Hohenlohe, wrote to him, soliciting his prayers and advice in reference to Miss O'Connor. In his reply, dated as above, the Prince directed that on the 3rd of May (a high festival in the Roman Catholic Church), at eight o'clock in the morning, the sufferer should make confession, partake of the Sacrament, and offer up fervent prayers: and stating that, on the same day and hour, he also would pray for her. At the appointed time, Miss O'Connor did as had been directed: and, according to the account given, her pains immediately left her, and she gradually recovered. The facts were attested by Dr. Badeley: and the authorities of the convent mentioned that he was a Protestant, as if to disarm suspicion concerning the honesty of his testimony.
This Prince Hohenlohe was a young religious enthusiast. There is no just ground to believe that he was an impostor. Like Joanna South-cote, he sincerely credited his own possession of some kind of miraculous power. He belonged to a branch of an ancient sovereign family in Bavaria. Having become an ecclesiastic, he was very fervent in his devotions. In 1821, when about twenty-nine years of age, his fame as a miraculous curer of diseases began to spread abroad. The police were ordered to watch the matter; for there were hundreds of believers in him at Bamberg; and even princesses came to solicit his prayers for their restoration to health and beauty. The police required that his proceedings should be open and public, to shew that there was no collusion; this he resisted, as being contrary to the sacred character of such devotional exercises. They therefore forbade him to continue the practice: and he at once retired into Austria, where the Government was likely to be more indulgent.
His fame spread to England, and on the 3rd of January 1822, there appeared an advertisement so remarkable that we will give it in full:
To Germans, Foreign Merchants, and Others. -Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe.-Whereas several public journals, both foreign and domestic, have announced most extraordinary cures to have been performed by Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe: This is to entreat that any one who can give unerring information concerning him, where he now is, or of his intended route, will immediately do so: and they will thereby confer on a female, labouring under what is considered an incurable malady, an obligation which no words can describe. Should a gentleman give the information, his own feelings would sufficiently recompense him: but if a person in indigent circumstances, ten guineas will with pleasure be given, provided the correctness of his information can be ascertained.-Address to A. B., at Mrs. Hedge's, Laundress, 9, Mount Row, Davies Street, Berkeley Square.
There is a touching earnestness about this, which tells of one yearning to fly to any available succour as a relief from suffering: whether it was obtained, we do not know.
In France, twelve witnesses deposed to a fact which was alleged to have occurred in the Convent of St. Benoit, at Toulouse. One of the nuns, named Adelaide Veysre, through an injury in the leg, had her foot twisted nearly round: and for six months she endured great suffering. During a. visit which the Cardinal Bishop of Toulouse paid to her, to administer spiritual consolation, she begged him to apply to Prince Hohenlohe. He did so, and penned a letter dated May 22, 1822. The Prince, in reply, directed that on the 25th of July, the feast of St. James (patron of monks), solemn prayer should be offered up for her recovery. The Bishop performed mass in the invalid's chamber on the appointed day; and, it is asserted, that when the Holy Wafer was raised, the foot resumed its proper position, the first stage in a complete recovery.
In 1823, Dr. Murray, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, avowed his belief in the following narrative :-Miss Mary Stuart, a nun in the Ranelagh Convent at Dublin, who had been afflicted with a nervous malady for four years, having heard that the 1st of August was a day on which Prince Hohenlohe advised all sufferers to pray solemnly for relief, begged that every-thing should be done to give effect to the ceremony. Two priests and four nuns joined her in mass, and before the day was ended, her recovery had commenced. The facts were sworn to before a Dublin magistrate. The Rev. Robert Daly afterwards wrote to Dr. Cheyne, an eminent physician who had previously attended. Miss Stuart, asking whether in his opinion there was any miraculous interposition, or whether he could account for the cure by natural causes. The physician, in a courteous but cautious reply, simply stated that he found it quite easy to explain the phenomenon according to principles known in every-day practice. Dr Cheyne seems to have considered the ailments of such persons as in a great measure dependent on nervous exhaustion and depression of mind, and the convalescence as arising chiefly from mental elevation and excitement.
There is no necessity for suspecting willful distortion of truth in these recitals. All, or nearly all the Prince's patients were young females of great nervous susceptibility: and they as well as he were doubtless sincere in believing that the cures were miraculous. Modern medical science regards such facts as real, but to be accounted for on simply natural principles.