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way; but, when you became another's, I must impression upon a heart that, according to conconfess I did then rebel, had foolish pride temporary authority, was wholly given up to enough to promise myself I would in time recov- avarice. Otway was poor, and, with the exceper my liberty; in spite of my enslaved nature, tion that he had the intellectual beauty of fine I swore against myself I would not love you; eyes, his face was very ordinary; for he says in I affected a resentment, stifled my spirit, and one of these letters: “I find how careless Nawould not let it bend so much as once to up- ture was in framing me; seasoned me hastily braid you; each day it was my chance to see or with all the most violent inclinations and desires, be near you: with stubborn sufferance I resolved but omitted the ornaments that should make to bear and brave your power; nay, did it often those qualities become me.” * Here was not too successfully. Generally with wine or con- the man to charm Elizabeth Barry. Yet it is a versation I diverted or appeased the demon that strange psychological problem that she who could possessed me; but when at night returning to portray so exquisitely all the tenderness, passion, my unhappy self, to give my heart an account and the abandon of the purest, noblest love should why I had done it so unnatural a violence, it was be herself insensible to it. then I always paid a treble interest for the short But to return to his dramatic career. In 1677 moments of ease which I had borrowed; then he produced a translation of Racine's “Bérénice," every treacherous thought rose up, and took your under the title of “Titus and Berenice,” and with part, nor left me till they had thrown me on my it, as an afterpiece, an adaptation from Molière, bed and opened those sluices of tears that were called “The Cheats of Scapin,” neither of which to run till morning. This has been for years my calls for any notice. In 1678 he composed his best condition. . . . I love you with that tender- first comedy, “Friendship in Fashion,” a work ness of spirit, that purity of truth, and that sin- utterly unworthy of his pen, for while, like all the cerity of heart, that I could sacrifice the nearest comedies of the Restoration, it is grossly licenfriends or interests I have on earth, barely but tious, it is destitute of the wit and elegance which to please you : if I had all the world it should be frequently redeemed them. Yet it suited the yours, for with it I could be but miserable if you taste of the age, and seems to have been highly were not mine. ... I love, I dote, I am mad successful. and know no measure. . . . I charm and here Ere it was produced, however, Otway had conjure you to pity my distracting pangs; pity started upon a new career. It could not be supmy unquiet days and restless nights; pity the posed that, loving as he did, he could long refrenzy that has half-possessed my brain already, main on amicable terms with his successful rival, and makes me write thus ravingly; the wretch even although that rival was that almost indisin Bedlam is more at peace than I am. . .. pensable thing to a poet of that age, a generous Everything you do is a new charm to me; and patron. He and Rochester quarreled, and he though I have languished for seven long tedious thus made one of the bitterest and most maligyears of desire, jealousy, and despair, yet every nant enemies that it was possible for man to be minute I see you, I still discover something new cursed with. He was at once attacked by all and more bewitching. . . . You can not but be the host of libelers and so-called critics whom sensible I am blind, or you would not so openly the Earl had at his command, and, in the dedicadiscover what a ridiculous tool you make of me. tion to “Friendship in Fashion,” he complains I should be glad to discover whose satisfaction I of being treated worse by them than a bear was was sacrificed to this morning; for I am sure by the Bankside butchers. This baiting and your own ill nature could not be guilty of invent- badgering, and a desperate effort to break from ing such an injury to me, merely to try how the toils of his hopeless passion, caused him to much I could bear, were it not for the sake of abandon literature-for ever, as he probably ansome ass that has the fortune to please you ... ticipated, but for only a very short time, as it fell you, whose business in life is to pick ill-natured out. The young Earl of Plymouth, a natural son conjectures out of my harmless freedom of con- of the King's, and his stanchest friend, procured versation to vex and gall me with, as often as you are pleased to divert yourself at the expense * This thought is again beautifully expressed by of my quiet."
Jaffier (“Venice Preserved," Act I., Scene 1): In the last of these letters he upbraids her for “ Tell me why, good Heaven, breaking an appointment she has made to meet Thou mad'st me what I am, with all the spirit, him in the Mall. Not content with turning a Aspiring thoughts, and elegant desires deaf ear to all his solicitations, it is evident that
That fill the happiest man? Ah! rather why this cruel, heartless woman made them a subject
Didst thou not rather form me sordid as my fate,
Base-minded, dull, and fit to carry burdens ? of ridicule and amusement for her aristocratic
Why have I sense to know the curse that's on me? lovers. Devotion and genius could produce no Is this just dealing, Nature ?"
him a cornet's commission in a regiment which, “ Caius Marius" is a curiosity of dramatic under the command of the Duke of Monmouth, literature; for while the subject is the wars of was bound for Flanders. Here, apparently, was Marius and Sylla, the plot of “Romeo and Jua new and honorable career opened to the un- liet" and a great portion of the language of that happy man. But Fortune is never weary of per- play are bodily incorporated with it—as Otway secuting some of her victims. Within a few indeed confesses in the prologue. Romeo is remonths King Charles, in consideration of a secret christened Marius Junior, and Juliet becomes the bribe from Louis XIV., had consented to disband daughter of Metellus, a Roman senator. Merhis army in order that the French might dictate cutio is called Sulpitius, and speaks the Queen their own terms to the confederates, and the Mab speech, sadly mutilated, however, and much peace of Nimiguen cast our poet destitute upon more of the admirable wit of the part; but when the world. Nothing could exceed the shameful he ceases to speak the language of Shakespeare treatment suffered by the discharged English he becomes a very stilted and bloodthirsty Rosoldiers who were left destitute in a foreign land, man-indeed, quite a different person. Sylla to get home again as best they could, with only stands for Paris ; and Lavinia's nurse in the debentures in their pockets, which it was ex- language of Juliet's, calls him “a man of wax." tremely difficult to cash, instead of their pay. The nurse's scenes are given almost intact, as In his next comedy, “The Soldier's Fortune,” are also the balcony and the death-scenes. In Otway alludes to this adventure in a speech put the latter Otway anticipates Garrick's alteration, into the mouth of Courtine : * 'Twas Fortune and makes Lavinia awake before her husband's made me a soldier, a rogue in red, the grievance death, which is much in accordance with the of the nation; Fortune made the peace just when story upon which the play is founded. Friar we were on the brink of a war; then Fortune Lawrence is turned into a Flamen, and is the disbanded us, and lost us two months' pay; same important instrument in the catastrophe Fortune gave us debentures instead of ready that he is in the original ; all his fine speeches, money, and by very good fortune I sold mine however, are omitted. A more extraordinary and lost heartily by it, in hopes the grinding ill- piece of patchwork can not be conceived than this natured dog who bought it will never get a shil- work. Otway writes at his worst, and the splenling for it.” Rochester, in “ The Session of the did fragments of Shakespeare that are scattered Poets,” describes Otway as returning to England among his rubbish, without any attempt-or if starving, ragged, and vermin-stricken.
there be it is not apparent-to weld these inconDuring his brief camp-life his pen had not gruous elements into anything like an homogebeen idle. In the epilogue to “Caius Marius” neous whole; the tone and style of the Marius
scenes have not any keeping with those of the “ For know our poet, hen this play was made,
borrowed ones, and the transition from one to Had naught but drums and trumpets in his head,
the other is most violent. Yet this monstrous H' had banished poetry and all her charms, production usurped the place of Shakespeare's And needs the fool would be a man-at-arms. beautiful play upon the stage for about seventy No 'prentice e'er grown weary of indentures years, until Theophilus Cibber brought out a Had such a longing mind to such adventures." version of the original, during his brief manage
The date of this play is given, both in Geneste ment at the Haymarket in 1748; and Garrick at and in the “Biographia Dramatica,” as 1680; Drury Lane, and Rich at Covent Garden, soon but this is seemingly a mistake, if we are to take afterward repeated the laudable experiment. But for granted that Otway returned to London in the still the work was marred by many interpolations, same year as that in which the peace was con
and Garrick's alterations are even now preserved cluded, 1678, for in the closing couplet of this in the prompt-books of country theatres. same epilogue he says :
“The Soldier's Fortune," although set down
in the “ Biographia Dramatica" as produced in “ But which amongst you is there to be found, Will take his third day's * pawn for fifty pound?
1681, I should conjecture, from the passage I Or now he is cashiered will fairly venture
have previously quoted, which alludes so directly To give him ready money for's debenture ?
to his recent military adventures, was written Therefore when he received that fatal doom,
and acted at least two years earlier. The reThis play came forth in hopes his friends would come,
marks upon “Friendship in Fashion " apply with To help a poor disbanded soldier home.”
equal force to this second comedy.
The year 1680 opened propitiously for our * The receipts of the third day's performance of a
poet. His bitter enemy, Rochester, worn out play were all the dramatists of this period usually received for their labors. How small was the remunera
with debauchery, was, in his thirty-fourth year, tion may be judged by the above mention of fifty pounds lying upon his death-bed, and it was during this as a doubtful sum.
season that the first of Otway's two immortal
works, “The Orphan,” was brought upon the by a vigorous and not unmusical blank verse. stage. The plot of this play is derived from a We are prepared for the catastrophe with conromance published in 1676, entitled “ English summate art. The opening scene acquaints us Adventures,” in which is introduced, as an epi- with the rivalry of the two brothers for the love sode, a story of the supposed early life of Charles of Monimia; and, in spite of their protestations Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. The romance, which of mutual affection, we can perceive the dark upon the title-page is said to have been written clouds gathering in the distance. Polydore is a by “a person of honor," is conjectured by one little jealous of his brother as being the elder, of Otway's editors to have been the composition and Castalio, half ashamed of his honorable inof Lord Orrery. Whether this remarkable his- tentions, but sure of the lady's preference, speaks tory had any foundation in truth is more than almost lightly of his love, and challenges Polydoubtful; it may be briefly told. Charles Bran- dore to win her if he can. In the second act don and his brother, who have been reared in portents of the coming doom begin to appear. the retirement of a country mansion, both fall in Chamont arrives and tells his sister how he has love with a very beautiful orphan who has been seen her in a dream, her "garments flowing left to the guardianship of their mother, and who loose, and in each hand a wanton lover, which resides under the same roof with them. The by turns caressed her"; and how, on his way to brother is the favored suitor, and secretly mar- Acasto's house, he was met by a witch who bade ries the lady without taking Charles into his con- him hasten to save a sister. His fiery and imfidence. On the nuptial night Charles overhears patient questionings sound like the mutterings of their assignation—“three soft taps” at the bride's a coming storm. Polydore sets on his page to chamber-door will be the signal for the bride- watch the lovers; the boy reports to him the groom's admittance, but he must not speak, as passionate love-scene of which he is the witness, his mother lies in the next room. Furious with and leaves him brooding over revenge. While disappointed passion at his brother's deceit, and the chaplain is reading the marriage service, a having no thought that it is more than a mere dark foreboding falls upon the gentle bride, tears intrigue he is crossing, he resolves to contrive drown her eyes, and trembling seizes her soul. some means of keeping his brother out of the It would be difficult to find a scene of more way and taking his place. He succeeds too well. breathless suspense in the whole range of the The catastrophe is a tragic one: the innocent drama than that in which Polydore, having overadulteress dies of a broken heart upon the dis- heard the appointment, approaches the bridal covery of the treason, and her husband soon fol- chamber. Will he succeed in his horrible delows her to the grave, while Charles, stung with sign? is our anxious thought as he communes remorse and horror, becomes a wanderer in with himself in soliloquy. He gives the signalforeign lands.* The story is closely adhered to it is answered—the door is unbolted, and he goes in Otway's play, and here and there passages are in. There is a pause of horror. Then Castalio transcribed almost verbatim; but the catastrophe enters, repeats the signal, and, treated as an imis more powerfully wrought out than in the ori- postor by Monimia's maid, who appears at a ginal, and two new characters are introduced window above, is refused admittance. In the -Chamont, the heroine's brother, a hot-headed next act Castalio, furious at what he considers and somewhat brutal young soldier, and the his wife's perfidy and caprice, yet never dreaming father of the two brothers, Acasto, a brave, noble of the terrible truth, casts her off. While she is man who, disgusted with the falseness and in- lost in wonder and distress at his strange congratitude of courts, has retired from the world. duct, of which rage prevents him giving any exThis character, it has been suggested, was meant planation, Polydore enters. Believing th to typify the Duke of Ormond, whom Charles he who gave the second signal on the previous had treated so ungratefully, and whose adminis- night, she upbraids him with his conduct. Sudtration in Ireland was then being so fiercely de- denly his confident air and ambiguous words cried by the Shaftesbury faction. A speech put arouse a horrible suspicion. Tremblingly she into his mouth in the first scene of the second cries : act gives considerable probability to the conjec
“Will you be kind and answer me one question ? ture. From the first to the last scene of this power
I'll conjure you by the gods and angels,
By th' honor of your name that's most concerned, ful play we have everywhere indications of a
To tell me, Polydore, and tell me truly, master hand; rhyme, which had long since been
Where did you rest last night?” abandoned by Dryden himself, is here replaced
“ Within thy arms," is the reply. * The episode is given entire in Thornton's edition With a cry of horror she falls into a swoon. of Otway's works.
But soon he learns the terrible truth that over
whelms him with remorse. In desperation he “Oh! think a little what thy heart is doing :
Have trod the path of life together : jects, as she does also his desperate urging that
One bed has held us; and the same desires, they shall fly together. A message being brought
The same aversions still employed our thoughts ; to Castalio that Monimia is dying, he forgets his
Whene'er had I a friend that was not Polydore's?
Or Polydore a foe that was not mine? wrongs and casts himself at her feet to implore
E’en in the womb we embraced, and wilt thou forgiveness.
For the first fault, abandon and forsake me? “Oh, were it possible that we could drown In dark oblivion but a few past hours,
Leave me amidst afflictions to myself, We might be happy!"
Plunged in the gulf of grief, and none to help
me?" she cries in anguish. To which he replies:
But Polydore persists in his purpose, calls him
base-born villain, coward-until, goaded beyond “ Is't then so hard, Monimia, to forgive A fault, when humble love, like mine, implores dore rushes upon the point. Then with his dy
endurance, Castalio draws his sword—and Polythee? For I must love thee, though it prove my ruin.
ing breath he confesses the foul wrong he has
done. But in the wordsWhich way shall I court thee? What shall I do to be enough thy slave,
“ Hadst thou, Castalio, used me like a friend, And satisfy the lovely pride that's in thee ?
This ne'er had happened ; hadst thou let me know I'll bend to thee, and weep a flood before thee,
Thy marriage, we had all now met in joy "Yet pry'thee, tyrant, break not quite my heart."
he pleads its extenuation, and reveals to his But she can not speak her shame; she res
wretched brother the Nemesis of his own duplinot let loose the horrors of revenge that must city. Monimia dies broken - hearted, Castalio follow such a revelation : she can but tell him stabs himself, and upon this dark picture the curthey must never meet more, and implore him to tain descends. forbear inquiring further. But again he bursts
The male characters of “The Orphan," with forth in passionate entreaty:
the exception of Acasto, have few virtues to com
mend them to our sympathy. Chamont, who, Why turn'st thou from me? I'm alone already. Methinks I stand upon a naked beach,
although the part was played by Garrick in his Sighing to winds, and to the seas complaining,
earlier years, has little to do with the movement Whilst afar off the vessel sails away,
of the plot, shocks us by his ruffianly language Where all the treasure of my soul's embarked :
to the good Acasto, and rages and storms with Wilt thou not turn ?-Oh ! could those eyes but brutal vehemence upon the smallest provocaspeak,
tion; Polydore naturally excites our abhorrence, I should know all, for love is pregnant in 'em:
and until affliction has fallen upon him even CasThey swell, they press their beams upon me still : talio does not stand high in our esteem. But Wilt thou not speak? If we must part for ever,
Monimia is a creation of female purity and genGive me but one kind word to think upon, tleness worthy to stand by the side of DesdeAnd please myself withal, whilst my heart's break- mona, and it is impossible to give her higher ing."
praise. The pathos of tragedy could scarcely
go beyond the awful destiny which Fate weaves Ah, poor Castalio! "* is all Monimia can around this lovely and innocent victim. That reply as she rushes from him. Then enters Poly- pruriency of thought which in the nineteenth dore, and now with another masterly stroke of century is mistaken for modesty, and the cynical, art Otway makes Castalio turn to him, the villain sensual coarseness of an audience vitiated by who has wrought all the mischief, for consola- burlesque, have long since banished this noble tion. Mad, desperate, seeking death at his broth- work from the stage, although incidents, alluer's hands, Polydore breaks into pretended rage sions, and double entendres, as long as they are at his deceit in not making him a confidant of free of poetical clothing, are still freely tolerated. his marriage, and heaps the most opprobrious
In the same year as that in which “The Orepithets upon his head in the hope of stinging phan" appeared, Otway published his one imhim to a quarrel. But Castalio has only gentle portant poem, “The Poet's Complaint of his remonstrances to oppose to his reproaches : Muse," from which I have made extracts. Its
principal value consists in the light it throws upon * Mrs. Barry used to produce a wonderful effect in his own early life, and its reference to the politithese words,
cal factions of the time.
In 1682 came his masterpiece, “ Venice Pre- “ Though the bare earth be all our resting-place, served." The plot of this tragedy is founded Its roots our food, some cliff our habitation, upon St. Réal's “Conjuration des Espagnols," I'll make this arm a pillow for thy head: and is the story of a famous conspiracy plotted
And as thou sighing ly'st, and swelled with sorrow, for the destruction of the Venetian Republic in
Creep to thy bosom, pour the balm of love 1618. It may be interesting, to those unac
Into thy soul, and kiss thee to thy rest : quainted with this episode of history, to know
Then praise our God, and watch thee till the morn
ing." that Jaffier and Pierre are historical characters. Pierre was a corsair captain in the service of the
But no string of detached quotations could republic, a bold, daring spirit; Jaffier was also in give an adequate idea of the pathos and beauty the service of the state. One or two of the that pervade every scene between this ill-starred scenes, notably the meeting of the conspirators, pair." As in “ The Orphan,” the catastrophe is are almost literal transcriptions from the Abbé's led up to with consummate dramatic art. In the book; but the arrangement of the plot and inci- first scene, the relentless Priuli, Belvidera's fadents, the catastrophe, and the one supreme char- ther, thrusts the ruined Jaffier from his doors, acter, Belvidera, are Otway's own. While, if refusing all assistance to his poverty; in this possible, exceeding even “ The Orphan ” in ten- moment of fierce despair the desperate man enderness, there is more masculine power, a firmer counters the conspirator Pierre, the chosen friend grasp of character in “ Venice Preserved” than of his heart, who has just come from his house, in any other of its author's works. The gay, and who tells him that all his goods are seized bold villain Pierre, who in the hour of despair by the law, and that his wife is homeless : rises to an heroic virtue, is well contrasted with the more gentle, passionate, yet somewhat weak- “ Hadst thou but seen, as I did, how at last minded Jaffier; both, as true and sharply drawn Thy beauteous Belvidera, like a wretch studies of human nature, are greatly superior to
That's doomed to banishment, came weeping forth, Polydore and Castalio; while Monimia's is but Shining through tears, like April suns in showers an outline beside the more finished portrait of
That labor to o'ercome the cloud that loads 'em ; her Venetian sister. Belvidera is all woman;
Whilst two young virgins, on whose arms she
leaned, honor, faith, in the masculine sense of those
Kindly looked up and at her grief grew sad, words, all the world she is ready to sacrifice for
As if they catched the sorrows that fell from her; the safety of the man she loves. What is it to
E'en the lewd rabble that were gathered round her that he has pledged himself, that men have
To see the sight, stood mute when they beheld trusted their lives to his keeping, and that his
her, treachery will be their destruction ? She can see Governed their roaring throats and grumbled pity : but one form stretched upon the rack, but one I could have hugged the greasy rogues ; they pleased head laid upon the block-so that that be saved,
me." let all perish! Wedded lovers are usually insipid upon the stage as well as in romances, and
After such a picture it requires but little to it is no slight indication of Otway's genius that persuade him that there is a braver remedy for it has succeeded in surrounding the loves of this sorrow than to die miserably: unhappy pair with such beautiful romance and
Revenge ! the attribute of gods ; they stamp it absorbing pathos. During the last century the
With their great image on our natures.” fine lines and passages of this play were as frequently quoted as those of Shakespeare, and And so he is led into the conspiracy, which such speeches as the following have familiar dooms every senator to death and Venice to fire ring even at the present day, when this noble and sword. Pierre pledges himself for Jaffier's work is no longer represented upon the stage:
faith, and so in earnest is the acolyte that he de
livers Belvidera as hostage to the conspirators. “Can there in woman be such glorious faith? Sure all ill stories of thy sex are false ;
“ To you, sirs, and your honors, I bequeath her, O woman, lovely woman ! Nature made thee And with her this; when I prove unworthyTo temper man; we had been brutes without you.
[Gives dagger. Angels are painted fair to look like you ;
You know the rest-then strike it to her heart." There's in you all that we believe of Heaven,
But Renault, to whom she is confided, proves Amazing brightness, purity and truth, Eternal joy, and everlasting love.”
false to his trust, and at night invades her cham
ber. In a scene of great power she reveals to There are few passages in English dramatic her husband the gross indignity she has suffered. poetry that in passionate tenderness can surpass Then for the first time he explains to her the the following speech of Belvidera to her husband: nature of the plot to which he has engaged him