Eyre, Edmund John (DNB00)

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EYRE, EDMUND JOHN (1767–1816), dramatist, son of the Rev. Ambrose Eyre, rector of Leverington and Outwell, Cambridgeshire, was born 20 May 1767 (School Reg.) and entered Merchant Taylors' School when ten years old. In 1785 he was appointed exhibitioner—first on Parkin's and afterwards on Stuart's foundation—at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, but left the university without graduating to join a theatrical company. After having had considerable provincial experience as a comedian, he made his first appearance at Drury Lane in 1806 in the character of Jaques in ‘As you like it.’ He is said to have been a ‘respectable rather than a great actor’ (Biog. Dram.), but the former epithet is inapplicable to his domestic life. He died 11 April 1816, leaving a large family of doubtful legitimacy. As a writer he was industrious and versatile. He was the author of two poems, ‘A Friend to Old England,’ 4to, 1793, and ‘The Two Bills’ (a political piece), 4to, 1796, and of some ‘Observations made at Paris during the Peace,’ 8vo, 1803, but his reputation rests upon his dramatic pieces, some of which are not without merit. Included among them are the following: 1. ‘The Dreamer Awake’ (farce), 8vo, 1791. 2. ‘Maid of Normandy’ (tragedy), 8vo, 1793. 3. ‘Consequences’ (comedy), 8vo, 1794. 4. ‘The Fatal Sisters’ (dramatic reading), 8vo, 1797. 5. ‘The Discarded Secretary’ (historical), 8vo, 1799. 6. ‘The Tears of Britain, or Funeral of Lord Nelson’ (dramatic sketch), 8vo, 1805. 7. ‘Vintagers’ (melodramatic reading), 8vo, 1809. 8. ‘High Life in the City’ (comedy), 1810. 9. ‘The Lady of the Lake’ (Sir W. Scott's poem dramatised) (melodrama), 1811. 10. ‘Look at Home,’ 1812.

[Biog. Dram. ed. 1812, i. 223, 781; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors (1816), p. 111; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 414; Genest's Hist. of the Stage, viii. 202; Robinson's Reg. of Merchant Taylors' School, ii. 143.]

C. J. R.