Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/76

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64
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

anybody set the example of laughing. It did not, indeed, expire at once. Lewis produced a few more 'romances' from the German in the next few years, and wound up with the melodrama Timour the Tartar, produced in 1811 at Covent Garden, to rival Colman's popular Bluebeard, and permit the introduction of horses upon the stage. Coleridge's wrath was roused a little later by Maturin's Bertram, which had been preferred to his own Zapolya. In the Biographia Literaria, really a plaintive expostulation due to his sufferings from want of due recognition, he was weak enough to fall foul of his rival, and denounces Bertram as an incarnation of the obnoxious spirit. The 'German' drama, he explains, is not really German at all. It was a bastard product of English sentimentalism. The Germans had been reading Young's Night Thoughts and Hervey's Meditations, and Clarissa Harlowe. They adapted the sickly sentimentalism, fostered by these writers, to the machinery of ruined castles and trap-doors, and skeletons and dungeons, first turned to account in the Castle of Otranto. The unhallowed brew which resulted should properly be called the Jacobinical drama, and its absurdities are illustrated by a sharp attack upon Maturin's drama. To most