Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/73

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61
THE IMPORTATION OF GERMAN

finally given up on account of the growing ridicule of the German drama.

Scott, we are told, was himself restrained from German extravaganzas by the good taste of his beloved William Erskine, and Lewis's chief influence seems to have been in encouraging the taste for ballads which resulted in the Border Minstrelsy and The Lay of the Last Minstrel. Lewis's own collection, the Tales of Wonder, was a clumsy miscellany, which fell flat when it at first appeared. Meanwhile, he was one of the leaders in introducing the passion for German plays which marked the end of the century. The British public, it must be confessed, did not show a very discriminative taste. Lewis's Castle Spectre, founded on an early romance of his own, had a run of sixty nights in 1798, and is said to have made more money than any play for twenty years. It was eclipsed next year by Sheridan's Pizarro, adapted from Kotzebue, which when published passed through twenty-nine editions. The Stranger, also from Kotzebue, was performed in 1798, and two other translations appeared at the same time. 'Who has e'er been at Drury must needs know The Stranger,' according to the authors of Rejected Addresses, where an exposition