Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/75

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63
THE IMPORTATION OF GERMAN

in 1794), Schiller's Robbers, and Goethe's Stella.[1] Holcroft had been prevented by the wisdom of the authorities from producing The Robbers, though in 1799 J. G. Holman was allowed to give a properly corrected version as The Redcross Knights. Stella it seems, though translated in 1798, was never performed. Its fame, however, is known to all English readers through the inimitable Rovers of the Anti-Jacobin. The fact suggests a curious oversight of later years. Carlyle afterwards rebuked William Taylor for asserting that the play ends by an agreement of the two ladies to live with one husband. This, says Carlyle, is only true of the French version. In point of fact, it was also true of Goethe's first redaction. If Carlyle had forgotten this, he might surely have remembered The Lovers, where it is explicitly quoted as the precedent for the catastrophe.

Whether the wit of Canning and his friends gave a death-blow to the 'German Drama'—the drama, that is, of which Kotzebue was the main representative—must be uncertain. The fashion was bound to vanish, one might think, as soon as

  1. Holcroft also published a series of translations of German, Italian, French, and Spanish plays, chiefly by his daughter Fanny, in The Theatrical Recorder, 1805-6.