Coleman, Edward (d.1669) (DNB00)

COLEMAN, EDWARD (d. 1669), musician, a son of Dr. Charles Coleman [q. v.], was a celebrated teacher of the viol, lute, and singing. He was the original composer of Shirley's fine lines in the 'Contention of Ajax and Ulysses,' beginning 'The glories of our blood and state,' on its production in 1653. In 1656 he sang the part of Alphonso in Davenant's ' Siege of Rhodes,' his wife Catherine being the lanthe, and Captain Cooke [q. v.] Solyman. At the Restoration, Coleman became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and on 21 Jan. 1662 he took John Lanier's place in the royal band, as 'a musician for the lute and voice,' with a salary of 40l. per annum, and a yearly allowance of 16l. 2s. 6d. for livery. Frequent glimpses of Coleman and his wife who was the first woman who appeared on the stage in England are met with in Pepys's Diary. On 31 Oct. 1665, at Pepys's house, ' Anon comes Mrs. Coleman and her husband, and she sang very finely; though her voice is decayed as to strength, but mighty sweet though soft, and a pleasant, jolly woman, and in mighty good humour. . . . But for singing, among other things, we got Mrs. Coleman to sing part of the opera, though she would not own she did get any of it without books in order to the stage; but above all her counterfeiting of Captain Cooke's part, in his reproaching his man with cowardice "Base slave, &c." she do it most excellently.' On 6 Dec. 1665 Pepys relates how he went with his wife and Mercer to Mrs. Pierce's, where they met the Colemans, who played and sang so that the diarist 'spent the night in an extasy almost,' and on 3 Jan. following Coleman ' sang my words I set, of "Beauty, retire," and they praise it mightily.' Mrs. Coleman does not seem to have sung on the stage on any other occasion than the production of the 'Siege of Rhodes;' neither she nor her husband took part in the revival of Davenant's work in 1662. Coleman is mentioned by a contemporary as 'one of the greatest renown for his abilities in singing.' He died at Greenwich on Sunday, 29 Aug. 1669. He seems to have been in bad circumstances, for administration of his goods was granted on 16 Sept. following to Thomas Loup, a creditor, his widow Catherine consenting. Compositions by Coleman are to be found in 'Select Musical Ayres and Dialogues,' and Playford's 'Musical Companion;' a few other songs by him are in the British Museum, Lambeth Palace, and Fitzwilliam Museum libraries.

[Authorities as under Charles Coleman (d. 1664); Cheque Book of the Chapel Royal, ed. Rimbault, pp. 94, 128, 214; State Papers, Chas. II, Domestic Series, xlix. Docquet; Pepys's Diary, ed. Braybrooke; Batchiler's Life of Susanna Perwich.]

W. B. S.