...Mr. GALT'S Lives of the Players has probably cost him
as Many hours as the work on the History of the Drama • by Mr. COLLIER has consumed months. It will probablyeirculate more extensively than :the other—it may be more- profitable to the publisher. Mr. GALT has chosen the broad path and the smooth ; Mr. COLLIER the strait and the thorny. The anti. gullies of the stage are obscure, and require a great deal of groping, and searching, and collecting : the eccentricities and the whims, the follies and the vices, of the actors themselves, are -on
the surface. Mr. GALT has skimmed this surface. The book is not otherwise than agreeable ; it would have been difficult to make it dull. The life of an actor is so full of illusion, and departs so widely from the ordinary course of experience, that people cannot
fail to be struck with biographies in which extraordinary vicissi- tudes are more common than regular occurrences. Mr. GALT
had only to select his incidents, and moralize the tale. The
incidents are tolerably well selected ; the moralities might have been supplied by the candlesnuffer. In drawing upon the stores of his observation, in the invention and the de- lineation of character, in the tracing of and developing a whole life in all its details, Mr. GALT is inimitable ; yet when he comes
to speak generally—when he hazards observations on character at
large, society, or morality, he betrays the simplicity of a child, the ignorance of a peasant. In biography, he has only caught some of the pretension of the dogmatical author of the Lives of the Poets; of his solid sense and acute remark, not a trace is to be found. Mr. GALT does not write for fame when he lends himself to such compilations as these.
It would be difficult, in the whole course of individual history, to find in any one class .of persons a more curious collection of characters, a rarer museum of human varieties, than in the great body of ancient and modern actors. It also happens that players, feeling themselves the objects of public attention and interest,
have been more frequently led than others to the composition of autobiography. Vanity is the natural weed of the stage. And as most persons who tell their own story have something curious to tell, Mr. GALT has had the advantage of abridging his notices freni copious and original specimens of autobiography. Thus we may perceive the author has.well chosen his subject.
It may be observed that the women of this collection are more remarkable than the men: it would be impossible to collect from any other class a number of ladies of more eventful lives or more singular characters than those who adorn this compilation. Let the eye of the reader run over the names of NELL Gultrur, SUSANNA CENTLIVRE, Mrs. CHARKE (the most remarkable of all), Mrs. GEORGE ANNE BELLAMY, Mrs. BADDELY, Mrs. JORDAN. and Mrs. SIDDONS. Mrs. RoinersoN is omitted, and the list might be greatly increased.
The author commences his preface by saying, that "this com- pilation will probably be among the most amusing books in the language." We must add, that if it be not so (which it is not), it is the compiler's fault.