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PRINTED BY G. AULD, GREVILLE-STREET, HOLBORNS
FOR COTTA, TUBINGEN ;
in . .. OF... .
If the Translator of the following. Draina has but moderately succeeded in his attempt, he conceives that a Preface to recommend a work of Schiller to the English Public would be superfluous. Should he have quite failed in his undertaking, he is also well aware, that the penetration of that Public is such, that no panegyric of his could recommend a mutilated performance to its attention.-Notwithstanding these considerations, he is induced, by reasons which he hopes will not be deemed entirely unsatisfactory, to prefix a short Preface to this work.
He has been so fortunate as to witness the immediate effect produced, by the representation of
the piece, on a German Audience; he has heard not only very general approbation, but at the same time some tokens of partial disapprobation; and thinks that possibly a double advantage may arise from a short view of the piece, which, while it reconciles to propriety and to truth the points objected to by some German critics, may clear the way for his English readers and enable them to form á more adequate judgment of the merits not only of the whole together, but also of its, constituent parts.
The Author has taken his view of the interest attending this historical fable from a new point. The action commences after the commissioners have sentenced Mary. Elizabeth has not yet signed the death-warrant. In the short period between this and her death, the poet has brought an astonishing variety of interest into action, and most of the circumstances, which constituted that of former plays on this subject, are only touched in the dialogue.
The characters appear to be all drawn with wonderful propriety.--It was objected at the re
presentation of the tragedy, that Mary, by acknowledging in the first Scenes of the first Act, her guilt in conniving at the murder of her husband, departs too much from the character required of a heroine, and abases herself in the eyes of spectators, who are expected to pity her misfortunes.
If a faultless character were, for the purposes of the Drama, a conditio sine quá non, I fear that the history of the world would furnish very few subjects for either heroes or heroines. Mary is represented as what she must be; she is the gold of the mine, intrinsically precious ; yet burthened with much extrinsic impurity, which lessens, at the first glance, the value of the royal ore. The fiery or deal is necessary to develope the metal from the substances with which it is mixed; with every process, her innate worth becomes more and more conspicuous, till at length quite freed from the fortuitous excrescences which deformed her, she enforces that respect, which was perhaps before due to the virtuous part of her character. I know not whether the representation of such a character, with all its imperfections on its head, may not