IN ALL AFFECTIONATE ADMIRATION,
WILLIAM C. MACREADY, ESQ.
HIS MOST GRATEFUL AND
I had for some time been engaged in a Poem of a very different nature, when induced to make the present attempt; and am not without apprehension that my eagerness to freshen a jaded mind by diverting it to the healthy natures of a grand epoch, may have operated unfavourably on the represented play, which is one of Action in Character rather than Character in Action. To remedy this, in some degree, considerable curtailment will be necessary, and, in a few instances, the supplying details not required, I suppose, by the mere reader. While a trifling success would much gratify, failure will not wholly discourage me from another effort: experience is to come, and earnest endeavour may yet remove many disadvantages.
The portraits are, I think, faithful; and I am exceedingly fortunate in being able, in proof of this, to refer to the subtle and eloquent exposition of the characters of Eliot and Strafford, in the Lives of Eminent British Statesmen now in the course of publication in Lardner's Cyclopædia, by a writer whom I am proud to call my friend; and whose biographies of Hampden, Pym, and Vane, will, I am sure, fitly illustrate the present year—the Second Centenary of the Trial concerning Ship-Money. My Carlisle, however, is purely imaginary: I at first sketched her singular likeness roughly in, as suggested by Matthew and the memoir-writers—but it was too artificial, and the substituted outline is exclusively from Voiture and Waller.
The Italian boat-song in the last scene is from Redi's Bacco, long since naturalized in the joyous and delicate version of Leigh Hunt.
(Theatre-Royal Covent Garden, May 1, 1837.)
|Charles the First||MR.||DALE.|
|Earl of Holland||HUCKEL.|
|Sir Henry Vane||THOMPSON.|
|Wentworth, Viscount Wentworth, Earl of Strafford||MACREADY.|
|The younger Vane||J. WEBSTER.|
|Denzil Hollis||G. BENNET.|
|Earl of Loudon||BENDER.|
|Maxwell, Usher of the Black Rod||RANSFORD.|
|Balfour, Constable of the Tower||COLLETT.|
|Lucy Percy, Countess of Carlisle||HELEN FAUCIT.|
|Presbyterians, Scots Commissioners, Adherents of Strafford,
Secretaries, Officers of the Court &c. Two of Strafford's Children.