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gave the imagination a new and fresh empire of paganism, with its temples, and rites, and altars, without the stale associations of pedantry. Some of the sentiments and descriptions in Pizarro are said to have originally formed part of Sheridan's famous speech on the impeachment of Warren Hastings! They are often inflated and bombastic, and full of rhetorical glitter. Thus Rolla soliloquises in Alonzo's dungeon: ‘O holy Nature! thou dost never plead in vain. There is not of our earth a creature, bearing form and life, human or savage, native of the forest wild or giddy air, around whose parent bosom thou hast not a cord entwined of power to tie them to their offspring's claims, and at thy will to draw them back to thee. On iron pinions borne, the blood-stained vulture cleaves the storm, yet is the plumage closest to her heart soft as the cygnet's down; and o'er her unshelled brood the murmuring ring-dove sits not more gently.” Or the speech of Rolla to the Peruvian army at the consecration of the banners:
[Rolla's Address to the Peruvian Army.]
My brave associates! partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame! Can Rolla's words add vigour to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts? No! you have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours. They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule. We, for our country, our altars, and our homes. They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and a power which they hate. We serve a monarch whom we love—a God whom we adore ! Where'er they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress; where'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship. They boast they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error. Yes, they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride! They offer us their protection; yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs—covering and devouring them ! They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise. Be our plain answer this: The throne we honour is the people's choice; the laws we reverence are our brave fathers' legacy; the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hopes of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this, and tell them, too, we seek no change, and least of all such change as they would bring us.
Animated apostrophes like these, rolled from the lips of Kemble, and applied, in those days of war, to British valour and patriotism arrayed against France, could hardly fail of an enthusiastic reception. A third drama by Kotzebue was some years afterwards adapted for the English stage by Mrs Inchbald, and performed under the title of Lovers' Vows. ‘The grand moral of the play is to set forth the miserable consequences which arise from the neglect, and to enforce the watchful care of illegitimate offspring; and surely as the pulpit has not had eloquence to eradicate the crime of seduction, the stage may be allowed a humble endeavour to prevent its most fatal effects. Lovers' Vows also became a popular acting play, for stage-effect was carefully studied, and the scenes and situations skilfully arranged. While filling the theatres, Kotzebue's plays were generally condemned by the critics. They cannot be said to have produced any permanent bad effect on our national morals, but
they presented many false and pernicious pictures to the mind. “There is an affectation, as Scott remarks, “of attributing noble and virtuous sentiments to the persons least qualified by habit or education to entertain them; and of describing the higher and better educated classes as uniformly deficient in those feelings of liberality, generosity, and honour, which may be considered as proper to their situation in life. This contrast may be true in particular instances, and being used sparingly, might afford a good moral lesson; but in spite of truth and probability, it has been assumed, upon all occasions, by those authors as the groundwork of a sort of intellectual Jacobinism. Scott himself, it will be recollected, was fascinated by the German drama, and translated a play of Goethe. The excesses of Kotzebue were happily ridiculed by Canning and Ellis in their amusing satire, The Rovers. At length, after a run of unexampled success, these plays ceased to attract attention, though one or two are still occasionally performed. With all their absurdities, we cannot but believe that they exercised an inspiring influence on the rising genius of that age. They dealt with passions, not with manners, and awoke the higher feelings and sensibilities of the people. Good plays were also mingled with the bad: if Kotzebue was acted, Goethe and Schiller were studied. The Wallenstein was translated by Coleridge, and the influence of the German drama was felt by most of the young tS. One of those who imbibed a taste for the marvellous and the romantic from this source was MATTHEw GREGoRY LEwis, whose drama, The Castle Spectre, was produced in 1797, and was performed about sixty successive nights. It is full of supernatural horrors, deadly revenge, and assassination, with touches of poetical feeling, and some wellmanaged scenes. In the same year, Lewis adapted a tragedy from Schiller, entitled The Minister; and this was followed by a succession of dramatic pieces –Rolla, a tragedy, 1799; The East Indian, a comedy, 1800; Adelmorn, or the Outlaw, a drama, 1801; Rugantio, a melodrama, 1805; Adelgitha, a play, 1806; Venoni, a drama, 1809; One o’Clock, or the Knight and Wood-demon, 1811; Timour the Tartar, a melodrama, 1812; and Rich and Poor, a comic opera, 1812. The Castle Spectre is still occasionally performed; but the diffusion of a more sound and healthy taste in literature has banished the other dramas of Lewis equally from the stage and the press. To the present generation, they are unknown. They were fit companions for the ogres, giants, and Blue-beards of the nursery tales, and they have shared the same oblivion.
The most important addition to the written drama at this time was the first volume of JoANNA BAILLIE's plays on the passions, published in 1798 under the title of A Series of Plays : in which it is attempted to Delineate the Stronger Passions of the Mind, each Passion being the Subject of a Tragedy and a Comedy. To the volume was prefixed a long and interesting introductory discourse, in which the authoress discusses the subject of the drama in all its bearings, and asserts the supremacy of simple nature over all decoration and refinement. “Let one simple trait of the human heart, one expression of passion, genuine and true to nature, be introduced, and it will stand forth alone in the boldness of reality, whilst the false and unnatural around it fades away upon every side, like the using exhalations of the morning. This theory—which anticipated the dissertations and most of the poetry of Wordsworth—the accomplished dramatist illustrated in her plays, the merits of which were instantly recognised, and a second edition called for in a few months. Miss Baillie was then in the thirty-fourth year of her age. In 1802 she published a second volume, and in 1812 a third. In the interval, she had produced a volume of miscellaneous dramas (1804), and The Family Legend (1810), a tragedy founded on a Highland tradition, and brought out with success at the Edinburgh theatre. In 1836 this authoress published three more volumes of plays, her career as a dramatic writer thus extending over the long period of thirtyeight years. Only one of her dramas has ever been performed on the stage; De Montfort was brought out by Kemble shortly after its appearance, and was acted eleven nights. It was again introduced in 1821, to exhibit the talents of Kean in the character of De Montfort; but this actor remarked that, though a fine poem, it would never be an acting play. The author who mentions this circumstance, remarks: ‘If Joanna Baillie had known the stage practically, she would never have attached the importance which she does to the development of single passions in single tragedies; and she would have invented more stirring incidents to justify the passion of her characters, and to give them that air of fatality which, though peculiarly predominant in the Greek drama, will also be found, to a certain extent, in all successful tragedies. Instead of this, she contrives to make all the passions of her main characters proceed from the wilful natures of the beings themselves. Their feelings are not precipitated by circumstances, like a stream down a declivity, that leaps from rock to rock; but, for want of incident, they seem often like water on a level, without a propelling impulse.” The design of Miss Baillie in restricting her dramas each to the elucidation of one passion, appears certainly to have been an unnecessary and unwise restraint, as tending to circumscribe the business of the piece, and exclude the interest arising from varied emotions and conflicting passions. It cannot be said to have been successful in her own case, and it has never been copied by any other author. Sir Walter Scott has eulogised ‘Basil's love and Montfort's hate’ as something like a revival of the inspired strain of Shakspeare. The tragedies of Count Basil and De Montfort are among the best of Miss Baillie's plays; but they are more like the works of Shirley, or the serious parts of Massinger, than the glorious dramas of Shakspeare, so full of life, of incident, and imagery. Miss Baillie's style is smooth and regular, and her plots are both original and carefully constructed; but she has no poetical luxuriance, and few commanding situations. Her tragic scenes are too much connected with the crime of murder, one of the easiest resources of a tragedian; and partly from the delicacy of her sex, as well as from the restrictions imposed by her theory of composition, she is deficient in that variety and fulness of passion, the ‘form and pressure’ of real life, which are so essential on the stage. The design and plot of her dramas are obvious almost from the first act —a circumstance that would be fatal to their success in representation. The unity and intellectual completeness of Miss Baillie's plays are their most striking characteristics. Her simple masculine style, so unlike the florid or insipid sentimentalism then prevalent, was a bold innovation at the time of her
112 *Campbell's Life of Mrs Siddons.
two first volumes; but the public had fortunately taste enough to appreciate its excellence.
Miss Baillie was the daughter of a Scottish minister, and was born in the manse of Bothwell, county of Lanark, in 1762. Her latter years were spent in comparative retirement at Hampstead, where she died in 1851. Besides her dramas, Miss Baillie wrote some admirable Scottish songs and other poetical pieces, which were collected and published under the title of Fugitive Verses. In society, as in literature, this lady was regarded with affectionate respect and veneration, enjoying the friendship of most of her distinguished contemporaries. Lockhart, in his Life of Scott, states that Miss Baillie and her brother, Dr Matthew Baillie, were among the friends to whose intercourse Sir Walter looked forward with the greatest pleasure, when about to visit the metropolis.
[Scene from De Montfort.]
[De Montfort explains to his sister Jane his hatred of Rezenvelt, which at last hurries him into the crime of murder. The gradual deepening of this malignant passion, and its frightful catastrophe, are powerfully depicted. We may remark, that the character of De Montfort, his altered habits and appear- | ance after his travels, his settled gloom, and the violence of his passions, seem to have been the prototype of Byron's Manfred and Lara.]
De Montfort. No more, my sister; urge me not again; | My secret troubles cannot be revealed. From all participation of its thoughts My heart recoils: I pray thee, be contented. Jane. What ! must I, like a distant humble friend, Observe thy restless eye and gait disturbed In timid silence, whilst with yearning heart I turn aside to weep? 0 no, De Montfort ! A nobler task thy nobler mind will give; Thy true intrusted friend I still shall be. De Mon. Ah, Jane, forbear ! I cannot e'en to thee. Jane. Then fie upon it ! fie upon it, Montfort ! There was a time when e'en with murder stained, Had it been possible that such dire deed Could e'er have been the crime of one so piteous, Thou wouldst have told it me. De Mon. So would I now—but ask of this no more. All other troubles but the one I feel I have disclosed to thee. I pray thee, spare me. It is the secret weakness of my nature. Jane. Then secret let it be: I urge no further. The eldest of our valiant father's hopes, So sadly orphaned: side by side we stood, Like two young trees, whose boughs in early strength Screen the weak saplings of the rising grove, And brave the storm together. I have so long, as if by nature's right, Thy bosom's inmate and adviser been, I thought through life I should have so remained, Nor ever known a change. Forgive me, Montfort; A humbler station will I take by thee; The close attendant of thy wandering steps, The cheerer of this home, with strangers sought, The soother of those griefs I must not know. This is mine office now : I ask no more. De Mon. Oh, Jane, thou dost constrain me with thy loveWould I could tell it thee! Jane. Thou shalt not tell me.
Nay, I'll stop mine
ears, Nor from the yearnings of affection wring What shrinks from utterance. Let it pass, my brother. I’ll stay by thee; I’ll cheer thee, comfort thee; Pursue with thee the study of some art, Or nobler science, that compels the mind
To steady thought progressive, driving forth All floating, wild, unhappy fantasies, Till thou, with brow unclouded, smilest again; Like one who, from dark visions of the night, When the active soul within its lifeless cell Holds its own world, with dreadful fancy pressed Of some dire, terrible, or murderous deed, Wakes to the dawning morn, and blesses heaven. De Mon. It will not pass away; 'twill haunt me still. Jane. Ah! say not so, for I will haunt thee too, And be to it so close an adversary, That, though I wrestle darkling with the fiend, I shall o'ercome it. De Mon. Thou most generous woman : Why do I treat thee thus? It should not be— And yet I cannot—0 that cursed villain : He will not let me be the man I would. Jane. What sayst thou, Montfort? Oh! what words are these ! They have awaked my soul to dreadful thoughts. I do beseech thee, speak | By the affection thou didst ever bear me; By the dear memory of our infant days; By kindred living ties—ay, and by those Who sleep in the tomb, and cannot call to thee, I do conjure thee, speak | Ha! wilt thou not ? Then, if affection, most unwearied love, Tried early, long, and never wanting found, O'er generous man hath more authority, More rightful power than crown or sceptre give, I do command thee! De Montfort, do not thus resist my love. Here I entreat thee on my bended knees. Alas! my brother ! De Mon. [Raising her, and kneeling.] Thus let him kneel who should the abased be, And at thine honoured feet confession make. I’ll tell thee all—but, oh! thou wilt despise me. For in my breast a raging passion burns, To which thy soul no sympathy will own— A passion which hath made my nightly couch A place of torment, and the light of day, With the gay intercourse of social man, Feel like the oppressive, airless pestilence. O Jane ! thou wilt despise me. Jane. Say not so: I never can despise thee, gentle brother. A lover's jealousy and hopeless pangs No kindly heart contemns. • De Mon. A lover's, sayst thou? No, it is hate black, lasting, deadly hate Which thus hath driven me forth from kindred peace, From social pleasure, from my native home, To be a sullen wanderer on the earth, Avoiding all men, cursing and accursed. Jane. De Montfort, this is fiend-like, terrible ! What being, by the Almighty Father formed Of flesh and blood, created even as thou, Could in thy breast such horrid tempest wake, Who art thyself his fellow? Unknit thy brows, and spread those wrath-clenched hands. Some sprite accursed within thy bosom mates To work thy ruin. Strive with it, my brother ! Strive bravely with it; drive it from thy heart; 'Tis the degrader of a noble heart. Curse it, and bid it part. De Mon. It will not part. I've lodged it here too long. With my first cares, I felt its rankling touch. I loathed him when a boy. Jane. Whom didst thou say? De Mon. Detested Rezenvelt ! E’en in our early sports, like two young whelps
Of hostile breed, instinctively averse,
Heaven's lightnings Jane. I cannot now speak to thee. De Mon. I have killed thee. Turn, turn thee not away! Look on me still ! Oh! droop not thus, my life, my pride, my sister! Look on me yet again. Jane. Thou, too, De Montfort, In better days was wont to be my pride. De Mon. I am a wretch, most wretched in myself, And still more wretched in the pain I give. O curse that villain, that detested villain | He has spread misery o'er my fated life; He will undo us all. Jane. I’ve held my warfare through a troubled world, And borne with steady mind my share of ill; For then the helpmate of my toil wast thou. But now the wane of life comes darkly on, And hideous passion tears thee from my heart, Blasting thy worth. I cannot strive with this. De Mon. What shall I do?
Female Picture of a Country Life.]
Even now methinks Each little cottage of my native vale Swells out its earthen sides, upheaves its roof, Like to a hillock moved by labouring mole, And with green trail-weeds clambering up its walls, Roses and every gay and fragrant plant Before my fancy stands, a fairy bower, Ay, and within it too do fairies dwell. Peep through its wreathed window, if indeed The flowers grow not too close; and there within Thou’lt see some half-a-dozen rosy brats, Eating from wooden bowls their dainty milkThose are my mountain elves. Seest thou not Their very forms distinctly?
I’ll gather round my board All that Heaven sends to me of way-worn folks, And noble travellers, and neighbouring friends, Both young and old. Within my ample hall, The worn-out man of arms shall o' tiptoe tread, Tossing his gray locks from his wrinkled brow With cheerful freedom, as he boasts his feats Of days gone by. Music we’ll have; and oft The bickering dance upon our oaken floors Shall, thundering loud, strike on the distant ear Of 'nighted travellers, who shall gladly bend Their doubtful footsteps towards the cheering din. Solemn, and grave, and cloistered, and demure We shall not be. Will this content ye, damsels?
Shall have its suited pastime: even winter
[Speech of Prince Edward in his Dungeon.]
Doth the bright sun from the high arch of heaven,
[Description of Jane de Montfort]
[The following has been pronounced to be a perfect picture of Mrs Siddons, the tragic actress.]
Page. Madam, there is a lady in your hall Who begs to be admitted to your presence. Lady. Is it not one of our invited friends? Page. No; far unlike to them. It is a stranger. Lady. How looks her countenance? Page. So queenly, so commanding, and so noble, I shrunk at first in awe; but when she smiled, Methought I could have compassed sea and land To do her bidding. Lady. Is she young or old? Page. Neither, if right I guess; but she is fair, For Time hath laid his hand so gently on her, As he, too, had been awed. Lady. The foolish stripling! She has bewitched thee. Is she large in stature? Page. So stately and so graceful is her form, I thought at first her stature was gigantic; But on a near approach, I found, in truth, She scarcely does surpass the middle size. Lady. What is her garb 2 Page. I cannot well describe the fashion of it: She is not decked in any gallant trim, But seems to me clad in her usual weeds Of high habitual state; for as she moves, Wide flows her robe in many a waving fold, As I have seen unfurled banners play With the soft breeze. Lady. Thine eyes deceive thee, boy; It is an apparition thou hast seen. Freberg. [Starting from his seat, where he has been sitting during the conversation between the Lady and the Page.] It is an apparition he has seen, Or it is Jane de Montfort.
This is a powerful delineation. Sir Walter Scott conceived that Fear was the most dramatic passion touched by Miss Baillie, because capable of being drawn to the most extreme paroxysm on the stage.
GEORGE CoIMAN, manager of Covent Garden Theatre, was an excellent comic writer, and produced above thirty pieces, a few of which deservedly keep possession of the stage. His Jealous Wife, founded on Fielding's Tom Jones, has some highly effective scenes and well-drawn characters. It was produced in 1761; five years afterwards, Colman joined with Garrick and brought out The Clandestine Marriage, in which the character of an aged beau, affecting gaiety and youth, is strikingly personified in Lord
Ogleby.—ARTHUR MURPHY (1727–1805), a voluminous and miscellaneous writer, added comedies as well as tragedies to the stage, and his Way to Keep Him is still occasionally performed.—HUGH KELLY, a scurrilous newspaper writer, surprised the public by producing a comedy, False Delicacy, which had remarkable success both on the fortunes and character of the author: the profits of his first third night realised £150—the largest sum of money he had ever before seen—‘and from a low, petulant, absurd, and ill-bred censurer, says Davies, ‘Kelly was transformed to the humane, affable, goodnatured, well-bred man.’—The marked success of Kelly's sentimental style gave the tone to a much more able dramatist, RICHARD CUMBERLAND (1732– 1811), who, after two or three unsuccessful pieces, in 1771 brought out The West Indian, one of the best stage-plays which English comedy can yet boast. The plot, incidents, and characters—including the first draught of an Irish gentleman which the theatre had witnessed—are all well sustained. Other dramas of Cumberland, as The Wheel of Fortune, The Fashionable Lover, &c., were also acted with applause, though now too stiff and sentimental for our audiences.—GoLDSMITH thought that Cumberland had carried the refinement of comedy to excess, and he set himself to correct the fault. His first dramatic performance, The Good-natured Man, presents one of the happiest of his delineations in the character of Croaker; but as a whole, the play wants point and sprightliness. His second drama, She Stoops to Conquer, performed in 1773, has all the requisites for interesting and amusing an audience; and Johnson said, “he knew of no comedy for many years that had answered so much the great end of comedy-making an audience merry. The plot turns on what may be termed a farcical incident—two parties mistaking a gentleman's house for an inn. Such an adventure, however, is said to have occurred to Goldsmith himself. He was returning to school after the holidays on a
to modern comedy.
borrowed hack, and being overtaken by night in the streets of Ardagh, he inquired with a lofty confident air—having a guinea in his pocket-for the best house of entertainment in the town. A wag pointed to the house of the squire, a Mr Featherston, and Goldsmith entering, ordered supper and a bottle of wine, with a hot cake for breakfast in the morning ! “It was not till he had despatched this latter meal, and was looking at his guinea with pathetic aspect of farewell, that the truth was told him by the good-natured squire.’-(Forster's Life.) This was a good foundation for a series of comic mistakes. But the excellent discrimination of character, and the humour and vivacity of the dialogue throughout the play, render this piece one of the richest contributions which has been made The native pleasantry and originality of Goldsmith were never more happily displayed, and his success, as Davies records, ‘revived fancy, wit, gaiety, humour, incident, and character, in the place of sentiment and moral preachment.’
[A. Deception.] [From She Stoops to Conquer.] LAND Lond and Tony LUMPRIN.
Landlord. There be two gentlemen in a post-chaise at the door. They’ve lost their way upon the forest, and they are talking something about Mr Hardcastle.
Tony. As sure as can be, one of them must be the gentleman that's coming down to court my sister. Do they seem to be Londoners?
Land. I believe they may. They look woundily like Frenchmen.
Tony. Then desire them to step this way, and I'll set them right in a twinkling. [Exit Landlord.] Gentlemen, as they mayn't be good enough company for you, step down for a moment, and I’ll be with you in the squeezing of a lemon. [Exeunt Mob.] Fatherin-law has been calling me a whelp and hound this half-year. Now, if I pleased, I could be so revenged upon the old grumbletonian. But then I am afraid —afraid of what? I shall soon be worth fifteen hundred a year, and let him frighten me out of that if he can.
Enter LANDLoad, conducting MARLow and HASTINGs.
Marlow. What a tedious uncomfortable day have we had of it! We were told it was but forty miles across the country, and we have come above threescore. Hastings. And all, Marlow, from that unaccountable reserve of yours, that would not let us inquire more frequently on the way. Mar I own, Hastings, I am unwilling to lay myself under an obligation to every one I meet; and often stand the chance of an unmannerly answer. Hast. At present, however, we are not likely to receive any answer. Tony. No offence, gentlemen; but I am told you have been inquiring for one Mr Hardcastle in these parts. Do you know what part of the country you are in 7 Hast. Not in the least, sir; but should thank you for information. Tony Nor the way you came? Hast. No, sir; but if you can inform usTony. Why, gentlemen, if you know neither the road you are going, nor where you are, nor the road you came, the first thing I have to inform you is that—you have lost your way. Mar. We wanted no ghost to tell us that. Tony. Pray, gentlemen, may I be so bold as to ask
the place from whence you came? 15 115