William Havard

1710-1778; actor and dramatist, appeared at Goodman’s Fields, 1730-37, and at Drury lane till retirement, 1769; depreciated in Rosciad; own plays, King Charles I, at Lincoln’s Inn Fields (1737), Regulus (Drury lane 1744), and The Elopement (Drury lane 1763); Havard is cites in Thomas Campbell’s Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland (1778). CAB ODNB DIW OCIL

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Charles I
(1937), ‘Charles in Prison’ [soliloquy]: ‘what art thou, Life, so dearly lov’d of all / What art thy charms that thus the great desire thee / And to retain thee part with pomp and titles? [.../...] I say farewell, and to the blow resign / That strikes me here and makes me more divine’. Also, ‘Fairfax and Cromwell’: ‘Why did I conquer - to repent of conquest? / Who, though I fought for liberty alone, / Will yet acquit me of the guilt that follows? / Will future ages, when they read my page [...] Spare me of the name of regicide?’

Regulus (1744): ‘A Dying Roman’s Advice’ [Regulus to Decius, ‘The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children; / Search out for hidden worth - and then regard it; / The noblest prospect to a Roman eye. Is greatness lifting merit up to fame / Let falsehood be a stranger to thy lips; / Shame on the policy that first began to tamper with the heart, to hide the thoughts! [...&c.]’.

Scanderbeg, ‘Scanderbeg’s temptation’ [to which the noble prince}: ‘Learn to be honest and subdue thy passions, / Study the charms of virtue, and detest / The guilty view that bids thee sell thy master / Nor once imagine at t’expense of honesty / to purchase happiness - a fruitless thought’. All for foregoing given in longer extract in Charles Read, ed., Cabinet of Irish Literature, 1876-78; as infra.)

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Charles Read, ed., A Cabinet of Irish Literature, 3 vols. (1876-78), calls him the son of a vintner; intended for a surgeon; left home for London; appeared Goodman’s Fields Theatre; Theatre Royal; good sense acknowledged; Scanderbeg (1733), founded on Lillo’s Christian Hero, but surpassed it; Campbell recounts that the manager ‘invited him to his house, took him up to one of its airiest apartments, and there locked him up for so many hours every day; ... nor released him ... till the unfortunate bard had repeated through the keyhole a certain number of new speeches in the progressive tragedy’ [of King Charles the First]; Charles I a success; Regulus (1774), less successful; Elopement, a farce, played only at author’s benefit; quit the stage in 1780; Garrick appeared his benefit, and he himself spoke his own valedictory epilogue after the play of Zara; d. 20 Feb. 1778; bur. Covent Gdn. Churchyard; Garrick wrote epitaph as ‘A Tribute to the Memory of a Character long known and respected’; Fielding had a high idea of his acting talent, next to Garrick; Regulus compared with Sheridan Knowles.

Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre (Tralee: The Kerryman 1946), William Havard, 1710-78; son of Dubliner vintner; his King Charles I (LIF Mar 1736/7, Shakespearean, portraying Cromwell as ambitious tyrant. The preface admits altering history to make an ending full of pathos. Lord Chesterfield alludes to it in his Speech in the House of Lords against the Bill for Licensing all Dramatic Performances, 1749 (and see Biog. Dram., ii, 92.), ‘a most tragical story was brought upon the stage, a catastrophe too recent, too melancholy, and of too solemn a nature to be heard of anywhere but from the pulpit.’ WORKS, Scanderbeg (Goodman’s Fields, Mar 1732), 1733, and Regulus (DL Feb. 1743/4, are both classical heroic tragi-comedies, with boastful heroes and distressed lovers, the later based on Livy. His last play, The Elopement (DL April 1763), not published.

Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1985), gives bio-data: b. Dublin 1710; successful plays include Scanderbeg (1732); King Charles the First (1737); Regulus, 1744; The Elopement (1763). d. 1778, with epitaph by Garrick. ODNB ?1710.

British Library holds [1] King Charles the First: an historical tragedy. Written in imitation of Shakespear, &c. [by William Havard.] Third edition. [Another edition] 59pp. J. Jones: Dublin 1737. 12o. 69pp. London: T. Lowndes 1765, 52pp., 8o. [another edn.] London [1810?] 12o. [2] King Charles the First .. Marked with the variations in the manager's book at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. [another edition.] [another edition] 47pp. London: W. Lowndes 1787, 12o. [3] King Charles the First; an historical tragedy, etc. [in five acts and in verse. by W. H.] [4] Ode on the Birth-day of [...] George, Prince of Wales, etc. [London 1751] 4o. [5] Regulus. A tragedy, etc. 64pp. Dublin: W. Smith 1745, 8o.

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