KEAN (EDMUND)

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Lot 84
KEAN (EDMUND)

Sold for £ 456 (US$ 548) inc. premium
KEAN (EDMUND)
Autograph verses, comprising twelve lines beginning: "Thou Tyrant Death, that doth abuse that power" and ending "To indulge the filial duties of my Soul/ And daily o'er My Parent drop a Tear", 2 pages, partly covered on the verso by a blue album-leaf and inscribed in a faded hand "Poetry and Autograph of Kean", slight dust-staining but overall in sound condition, 4to, [1833]

Footnotes

  • VERSES ON HIS MOTHER'S DEATH WRITTEN BY THE DYING KEAN; a lament for his mother, Ann Carey, an itinerant actress and street hawker who died only weeks before her son: the filial sentiments of these anguished verses being given added resonance by the fact that Kean's last performance was as Othello against his own son Charles's Iago on 25 March 1833. Kean was to collapse during this performance and die on 15 May. A close variant of these lines is printed by Walter Baynham in A Brief History of the Glasgow Stage (1892), where he states that "In the June of the year 1833 the house, furniture, books, &c., belonging to the late Edmund Kean at Bute came to the hammer. Amongst the tragedian's papers were found the following lines, which there is every reason to believe were penned by him" (p.94); a supposition born out by the fact that the present manuscript is in Kean's highly distinctive hand. (In Baynham's version line 9 ends "firm control" while ours reads "proud Controul"). Autograph material by Edmund Kean – greatest and most charismatic of all Romantic actors – is very rare: the last item recorded as having been sold at auction in ABPC is a cheque at Phillips on 16 March 1989 (lot 90).

Saleroom notices

  • The item illustrated in the printed catalogue as lot 84 is actually lot 82.
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