« 이전계속 »
ment of compassion different which the mind gives to each. If this is so, they may, perhaps, instead of heightening the sum total of the catastrophe, by taking from each other, rather serve to diminish it. One other cause could possibly be assigned why the catastrophe strikes in this manner, and that is, that Agis's imprisonment, from which period the conspirators might, if they would, have put him to death, may possibly, with some minds, finish the main action in the fourth act; and if this should be so, the deaths oiAgis, Lysander, and Euanthe, in the fifth act, may not mark the general catastrophe, or sum total of distress, but appear as so many relations of so many various events, each of which is attended with a different, and not one uniform sentiment. Thus, if the fate of Sparta is supposed to be determined in the fourth act, we are left in the fifth to do no more than survey the different ends of those who followed it. We may pity Euanthe—pity and applaud Lysander for his generosity—approve of Agis for his benevolence and stoicism, and detest the others. But the mind is not absorbed in one general passion or sentiment, of which all the particular ones are only so many parts which easily mix and blend together; and such is, and ought to be, the tragic catastrophe.— Those reflections which I have thrown loosely together since I received Mr Pitt's letter, did not, \ Vol. I. F
own, occur to me before ; both as being no critic in such performances, and for being charmed, as I still am, with every detached scene of your piece, which I look upon as far the best of the kind I have read. But, on finding objections from a quarter for which I have so great deference, I was tempted to try if I could discover where the real strength of them lay; not only as success is scarce to be expected when objections from such people remain; but, as I know your genius and ability to be such as can easily free this play from them, orcompose another as good, where none such shall exist. I will not pretend to answer for the pertness of any of the observations I have made, being quite a novice in those matters; But, as I write you with great freedom, I not only submit them to you, but at same time what occurs to me; if you shall be of opinion that either those objections, or what I have said on them, is material. What occurs to me then is this; that I apprehend, with your genius and facility of composition, you will find it perhaps both an easier, a more agreeable, and a more successful task, to set about composing an entire new piece, where you will be master of the whole, and thereby enabled, with ease, to avoid every objection which has been made; while at the same time you can transfuse the whole of that poetical spirit, truth of character and interest, and beauty of diction, which has been, I will take upon me to say, so justly admired in
this. Should this be your own opinion, I dare say
"James Oswald." "Wandsworth, 15th June, 1750."
The suggestion of Mr Pitt was obeyed, and the play materially corrected; but neither the corrections of the author, nor the patronage of those friends, prevailed on Garrick to bring it on the stage. Afterwards, when the success of Douglas had given Mr Home considerable reputation, and principally, I believe, when he had become a favourite and companion of Lord Bute, and through him was patronised by the Prince of Wales, Garrick made no difficulty of bringing out this tragedy, in which he played the part of Lysander himself; and though he criticised, in the following letter, parts of the plan of the tragedy, and some of the scenes in detail, his indulgence for the author got the better of his judgment, and he brought out the tragedy without any of the alterations which he had suggested. It is amusing, when one recollects his absolute refusal of this play at a prior period, to peruse this letter, as well as the short note which I read along with the first part of this paper, from that celebrated actor and manager, whom the muses, I am afraid, interested somewhat in proportion as they were in favour at Court.
"Nov. 5, 1757. « My Dear Sir,
"I sit down to write you in the midst of drums, trumpets, and, above all, the roarings of the mighty Bajazet; we are celebrating the glorious and immortal memory as loudly as we can, but I have stole away to say a word to you upon Agis. I have read the three acts over and over again; the language and characters in general please me. The subject itself is of the least dramatic kind, (viz. political aud sentimental,) not but there are some affecting scenes in these three acts ; and if your two last are gloriously poetical, I will insure you both fame and profit. I could wish, if you have rough-written the whole, that you would immediately repair to this place, that we might confer upon these matters, for it will be impossible to say every foolish thing I have to say to you by letter. Some of the scenes are rather heavy, particularly that between Rhesus and Euanthe, and that between Agis and Lysander, in the second act. I likewise think that Lysander comes too suddenly upon the stage, for Agis has but just quitted it; Euanthe speaks a soliloquy, then enters Rhesus, giving an account of Lysander's arrival and victory, and that he was with Agis. Now, is it possible to conceive that Agis could get to the Senate, meet Lysander there, and that the necessary matters between them could be dispatched in the time so short a scene can be performed? The first scene of the lovers is not, in my opinion, so interesting and affecting as that in the third act, and indeed you'll say that it ought not to be so; but all I mean is this, that their first scene in the first act is not in proportion so well written and magical as their last, or that in the third act. If you and your friends should think me in this a little too hypercritical, 1 shall very readily submit to better judgments. But now for something of