Page images

gically, the other successfully; " and it is not in the " least unlikely,” (says the author of that article in the Biogr. Dram. Edn. 1812. Vol. III. p. 379) “ that these 6 different acts might at different times be performed to " the play, to suit the various tastes of the audience ;

as we find to have been expressly the practice with regard to Romeo and Juliet, as altered by Mr. James " Iloward; which see under our account of that play." Same Vol. p. 222. See Aglaura, Vol. II. p. 9.

This alteration of Douglas was performed at Lady De Crespigny's Private Theatre, April 4, 1789, not in the year 1790, as I have before stated. The Prologue spoken on the occasion is printed in the European Magazine for June 1789, Vol. XV. p. 492. Her Ladyship speaks of her work in these unassuming terms :

16 In the following alterations I have endeavoured to

preserve such. parts of each speech as tended to affect « the passions, which I think are more agreeably in“ terested when joined to a ray of hope, than when 6 united to despair.

“ I am conscious of my great inability to keep up to “ the spirit of the author, but hope that the gratification

arising to our feelings from this more pleasing, and I “ think more just, conclusion of the drama will com

pensate for all deficiencies.
“ Those passages where I have taken the words or
sense of the author are given in Italics.

“ Being now, so many years after, called upon for “ the alterations, I must observe, that however reluctant “ I might have felt, or whatever objections there were “ to my taking the liberty of altering a work of so “justly-celebrated an author as Mr Home, there was

one circumstance which obliged me to conquer that " reluctance, and to set aside any objections to my do

ing so, which was the being to perform the part of “ Lady Randolph with my own son as Douglas. I felt e certain that I could not have gone through the part in “ its usual form. I had neither abilities strong enough “k to encounter such difficult scenes, nor feelings-languid enough not to be overcome by them from maternal sen

sations; and however deficient my other arguments “ might be in favour of the alterations, my own feelings

must, in the above case, have excited attention, and “will, I hope, plead my excuse for the liberty I

The same apology was made in the concluding lines of the PROLOGUE mentioned before, written by Mr. Fitz

66 took."


6 If in our Play some alter'd Scenes you find,

They owe their merit to a Female Mind, 66 Whose tender bosom, e'en in fictious grief, “ Shrunk from the woe that can't admit relief; 66 And felt the DRAMA went beyond its art, " Rending the chords that nerve a Mother's heart! “ Such motives might the sternest censure bend, “ And change the Critic to th' approving Friend !"

I have made some few alterations from the original maFuscript with Lady De Crespigny's assent.

DOUGLAS, Act V. page 315.

Enter DOUGLAS with a sword in each hand..

Doug. My mother's voice!
I can protect thee still.

Lady Rand. He lives, he lives :
For this, for this to Heaven eternul praise !
But sure I saw thee fall?

Doug. It was Glenaloon.
Just as my arm had master'd Randolph's sword,
The villain came behind me ;-but I slew him.
Lady Rand. Thanks, gracious Heav'n! To see thee

safe, my son, Fills with such boundless joy this grateful heart, That I can scarce give utterance to my transports.

Enter OLD NORVAL. 0. Nordal. Fly, Douglas, fly! Forgive me, noble

Lady -
But, as your valiant son is dear to you,
O send him hence! The time admits not now
Of explanation.- Treach'ry seeks his life,
And the next moment may be big with horrors.

Lady Rand. Full well I know he is no welcome guest On these his own domains.-Alas, my child !

Doug. Must I then perish by a villain's hand!
Cut off from nature's and from glory's course!

-Oh! might I die, as my brave father fell,
Turning with nervous arm the tide of battle,
Like him, I'd smile serene, and welcome death !
But thus unknown to fall! And yet, methinks,
Some noble spirits, judging by themselves,
May form conjecture what I might have prov'd,
And think life only wanting to my fame.
But who shall comfort thee?

Lady Rund. Olinger not, my son.—To Douglas' tent
This moment speed thy steps. He will protect thee.
Yet, as thou journey'st-lorrid, horrid thought!
Th’ assassin's knife may drink thy precious blood !
My son, my son, my dutiful and brave,
How proud I am of thee and of thy valour!
What joy unlook'd-for did this bosom feel,
When, but to-day, I thought of growing old
Amid a race of thine! And, now, alas!
My fears for thy dear life blast ev'ry hope.
Will this my pilgrimage of woe be clos'd
With horror so distracting, as to lose
By treach'ry's hand, the son, the darling son,
Whose restoration cheer'd my drooping heart!
Whose virtues surely, will arise to Hear'n,
And plead a parent's cause !-But, baste, begone.-
And yet the better way to guide thy steps,
Alas! I know not. With that good old man
Speed to a caye near Carron's cliff's, and there.

Remain till dawn shall favour thy escape
To Douglas' tent.-And now-heart-rending moments!
I know not how to speak it-we must part.
May guardian Angels shield thee:--Tis too much-
Too much for

Oh! [Faints in the arms of Douglas, who throws away

his sword to assist her.] Doug. Oh, Heav'n! she dies! she dies ! Help, help! for mercy's sake! To yonder cot

[Speaking to 0. Norval, who goes out
Fly for assistance.--My beloved mother,
Live, live! behold thy son, whom gracious Hear'n
Doth spare to comfort thee. She breathes, she moves!
How fares it, madam?

Lady Rand. [recovering] Save him, O save him!
O stop your barb'rous hands!
Where is my, son ?-

Doug. Compose yourself-behold him-He is safe.

Lady Rand. And art thou safe, my child? Still, Still I fear. [While Lady R. is leaning on Douglas, Lord Rax.

DOLPH enters with his sword drawn.
Lord. Rand. Ha! Have I found you ? in fond dalli-

ance too!
Now then for vengeance-Villain, take the fruits
Of thy presumptuous love! Note'en her arms
Shall yield thee shelter-False, dissembling woman!
Thy perfidy shall seal the traitor's doom,

[He attempts to stub Douglas, but Lady R. seizes

his arm.

Lady Rand. Stop, vile assassin! pierce this woe-word


But spare, O spare my SON!

Lord Rand. [drops his sword.] Thy son ! Amazement!
Lady Rand. I falling on her knees.] Spare him, spare

him to me!
His precious life at any price I'll buy..
My castle, my domains, I want them not;:
His life is all I ask,-- grant it, Randolph

Lord Rand. Thy son! It cannot be—but rise, unfold This dark, mysterious tale.

Lady Rand. The vile Glenalvon, That harden'd villain, first discover'd him, And urg'd thee 'gainst thy nature to destroy My long-lost child.-Yet I preserv'd that wretch, That treacherous kinsman, from a husband's wrath, Nor let thee know his villainous attempts Against the sacred honour of thy wife. And he repaid me, like the wretch he was, He sought to stain thy soul with Douglas' blood! Lord Rand. With Douglas' blood! Thy words are

full of wonder.
May I believe thee? Is that youth thy son?

Lady Rand. Ha! knew you not he was ?
Lord Rand. NeverBut explain-
Lady Rand. Then learn, that Douglas, wond'rous as

it seems,
Was his great father, and my wedded lord.
I see amazement dogh with-hold your words,
But, oh! give way to mercy.
Lord Rund. Amazing chance !- Thy words unlock

my senses.
I feel thy sufferings,-thy long-hidden woes
Pierce thro' my heart-that true and faithful heart,
Where thou, Matilda, evermore must reign.

Lady Rand. My tragic tale,
When time more aptly serves, I will unfold.
Nor can I longer doubt its power to move
Thy gen'rous nature, which, with joy, I see
Is still unchang'd, spite of Glenalvon's arts.

Enter an OFFICER.
Oficer. My noble lord, one of the daring villains,
Whose sword assail'd thy life, has of himself
Surrender'd to thy mercy, declaring
Who led him to attempt the horrid deed.
Lord Rand. And hare you learnt the game of his em-


« PreviousContinue »