, the dramatist, has just died in England
, at the age of seventy-eight years. He was born in Cork, when Kemble
were in the first day of their triumphs at Drury Lane.
At the age of twenty-four he made the acquaintance of Edmund Kean
, for whom he wrote his first play, a melodrama, called "Leo
, the Gipsey
." In 1815 his tragedy of "Calus Gracehus" was produced at Belfast
, and afterwards he wrote "William Tell
" for Macready
His "Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green
," produced in 1828, was a failure despite such an attractive Bass
as Ellen Tree, and despite, too, the elaborate pains bestowed on the play by the disappointed author.
He found ample future compensation for that and one or two other less complete failures in "Love," "The Hunchback
," "The Love Chase
," and "The Wife."
The London Athenaeum,
in a notice of the death of Knowles
, thus describes his later years:
If in some respects he was treated here as prophets are wont to be in their own country, and gentlemen are who, being heroes, are not so to their valets de chambers,
beyond the Atlantic
he had an ovation, which, however, would have been more valuable were it not that ovations are made there for the mediocrities of the hour as well as for the men whose names live.
"Age gently descended on him, and therewith came cares and much meditation; and the world was somewhat startled to hear that the old actor and post had 5 come a Baptist preacher and writer.
His success at Exeter Hall was not overwhelming, but it was a success; and it was curious to see the interest with which the good, pious women of the May meetings looked up from their knitting or their provision bag to base at the strange being who had been a play actor, my dear, but was happily converted, and so forth.--Knowles
was an earnest man in his last as in his earlier vocations, but in his curiousness he lost none of his old cheerfulness of spirit.
He did not become a retired monk, like Ballico, and Gerald Griffin
, but was still a good man of the world while busiest in showing the way to the next.
He was a capital story teller, and a smoker of the good old school of men who seemed inspired by the pipes which rested on their lips.
His dignity as post he asserted by declining a small annuity offered him; but he accepted one of $200 per annum, conferred by Sir Robert Peel
His last days were spent patiently amid much pain, and he pursed away calmly in his seventy-eighth year, leaving a reputation in an age when reputations are not easily made."