Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/70

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
58
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

undauntedly; attacked Götz von Berlichingen and Schiller's Robbers, and wrote The House of Aspen, adapted from a German play about the Vehm-Gericht. Ballads, however, were more to his taste than dramatic poetry, and at this point he came into contact with another author, whose fame has long faded. Matthew Gregory Lewis is chiefly known at present by vague memoirs of The Monk and by Byron's jingle: ' I would give many a sugar-cane, Mat. Lewis were alive again! ' Lewis should, however, be one of the leading names in the history of the German influence in England. He was three years younger than Scott; but was already famous. Lewis was the son of a man in the then enviable position of a proprietor of large sugar plantations; who could, therefore, live in England, buy boroughs, and take part in the game of politics. The son had distinguished himself as a boy actor at Westminster, and in 1791 went to see his mother, a beauty and a musician, who had separated from his father and settled at Paris. In 1792 the lad, then only seventeen, went off to Weimar, attracted by the fame of the great author of Werther. He learned German, and his literary ambition was roused. Mrs. Radcliffe had just begun to work the vein first opened by Horace