Otway, Thomas (1652-1685) (DNB00)
OTWAY, THOMAS (1652–1685), dramatist, born at Trotton, near Midhurst, Sussex, on 3 March 1651-2, was only son of Humphrey Otway, at the time curate of Trotton. The father, after graduating from Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A. 1635, and M.A. 1638), was admitted a pensioner of St. John's College in the same university (Mayor, Admissions to St. John's College, 1. 43). In his son's infancy he became rector of Woolbeding, three miles from Trotton. A successor was appointed to the rectory in 1670, which was doubtless the year of Humphrey Otway's death. He was poor, and left his son (the latter tells us) no inheritance beyond his loyalty. A silver flagon, still used in holy communion in Woolbeding church, bears an inscription stating that it was the gift in 1703 of Humphrey Otway's widow Elizabeth. Thomas was educated at Winchester College. His name appears in the 'Long Roll' for 1668 as a commoner, and one of five boarding in college. About 1739-40 a 'marble,' with his name, the date '1670,' and the initials 'W. C.' and 'J. W.' carved upon it, was placed in sixth chamber in college. The initials apparently represent the names of those who erected the memorial — William Collins, the poet, and Joseph Warton, who were scholars and prefects in 1739-40. In his vacations, spent at Woolbeding, Otway seems to have beguiled a part of his leisure by scribbling scraps of Latin over the parish register, in which his signature may still be seen attached to many irrelevant Latin quotations. On 27 May 1669, at the age of seventeen, he entered Christ Church, Oxford, as a commoner. Among his chief friends there was Anthony Cary, fifth viscount Falkland, some five years his junior, who matriculated at Christ Church on 21 May 1672. Otway was from an early age devoted to the theatre, and Falkland, who shared his sympathies, seems to have encouraged his dramatic predilections (cf. Caius Marius, Ded.) Leaving the university in the autumn of 1672, without a degree, he made his way to London. Introducing himself to Mrs. Aphra Behn, he eagerly accepted her proposal that he should play the small part of the king in her ' Forc'd Marriage, or the Jealous Bridegroom,' which was on the point of production at the theatre in Dorset Gardens. The experiment proved a complete failure. 'The full house put him to such a sweat and tremendous agony [that], being dash't, [it] spoilt him for an actor' (Downes, Roscius Anylicanus, 1708, p. 34). Otway did not appear on the stage again, but thenceforward occupied himself in writing plays.
Some success attended his earliest effort. In 1675 there was produced, at Dorset Garden Theatre, a tragedy by him, in five acts of heroic verse, entitled 'Alcibiades.' The story was drawn, with many modifications, from Nepos and Plutarch. There is much bombast and no indisputable sign of talent in Otway's treatment of his theme. At a later date he apologised for making his hero a 'squeamish gentleman' (Don Carlos, Pref.) ; but the title-role in the hands of Betterton proved attractive, while Mrs. Betterton and Mrs. Barry, who on this occasion 'gave the first indication of her rising merit,' were acceptable to the audience in the parts respectively of Timandra and Draxilla (Genest, i. 177 ; Davies, Dramatic Miscellanies, iii. 179). The Earl of Rochester commended the piece, and brought Otway to the notice of the Duke of York. 'Alcibiades ' was at once published, with a dedication to Charles, earl of Middlesex (2nd edit. 1687).
A year later Otway achieved a wider reputation (Langraine). On 15 June 1676 a license was granted for the performance at Dorset Gardens of his 'Don Carlos,' another rhyming play. The plot was adapted from a French historical romance of the same name by the Abbé St. Réal, which had been published in London in an English translation in 1674. Schiller's 'Don Carlos' is drawn from the same French original, and the many close resemblances between the English and German plays have offered a suggestive field for criticism in Germany (Ueber Otway's und Schiller's Don Carlos, von Jacob Lowenberg, Lippstadt, 1886 ; Otway's, Schiller's und St. Real's Don Carlos, von Ernst Müller, Markgroningen, 1888). Betterton played Philip II, and 'all the parts were admirably acted' (Downes). The piece, despite the sanguinary extravagances of its concluding scene, was repeated ten consecutive nights, and 'got more money than any preceding tragedy' (ib.) The statement in Cibber's 'Lives' that it was played thirty nights together is an obvious exaggeration. In his 'bession of the Poets' Rochester writes that the piece filled Otway's pockets. Betterton told Booth that 'Don Carlos' 'was infinitely more applauded and better followed for many years than' any other of Otway's productions (Letters of Aaron Hill; Genest, i. 191). Only one revival after Otway's death is noted by Genest—that at Drury Lane on 27 July 1708, when Barton Booth played Philip II ; but, according to Davies (iii. 179), it was acted again about 1730 at Lincoln's Inn Fields, with Boheme as Philip and Mrs. Seymour as the queen, and its reception restored the falling fortunes of that playhouse. The first edition was published in 1676, with a dedication to the Duke of York, and a preface in defence of 'Alcibiades,' its predecessor. According to the preface, Dryden, who is referred to as 'an envious poet,' asserted that 'Don Carlos' 'contained not one line that he would be author of.' A coolness between Otway and Dryden followed, but proved of short duration. A fourth edition of 'Don Carlos' was dated in 1695, and a fifth 'corrected' in 1704.
Betterton's faith in Otway was now established, and early in 1677 he brought out two dramas by him, both adaptations from the French. The first, 'Titus and Berenice,' a tragedy in three acts of rhyming verse, was adapted from Racine ; the second, 'The Cheats of Scapin,' a farce, was adapted from Moliere. Both tragedy and farce were acted on the same night in February 1676-7, and were published shortly afterwards in a single volume, which was dedicated to Lord Rochester. A reprint appeared in 1701. Mrs. Barry played in both pieces ; Betterton only in the tragedy, where he took the role of Tit us. The farce kept the stage till the present century. The approval bestowed on his version of ' Scapin encouraged Otway to try his fortune in comedy. His first original comedy, 'Friendship in Fashion' (in prose), was licensed for performance at Dorset Gardens on 31 May 1678. The dedication of the published version (1678) was accepted by the Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, who had already patronised 'Alcibiades.' Betterton played 'Goodvile, the hero, and Mrs. Barry the heroine, Mrs. Goodvile. The tone is frankly indecent, and its interest centres in very flagrant breaches of the marriage tie ; but it was considered at the time to be 'very diverting,' and won 'general applause' (Langbaine). A change in public taste and moral feeling led, however, to its being summarily hissed off the stage when, after an interval of thirty years, it was revived at Drury Lane on 22 Jan. 1749-60, with Mrs. Clive in the part of Lady Squeamish.
Otway had no lack of noble patrons. The king's natural son, Charles FitzCharles, earl of Plymouth, and his old fellow-student, Lord Falkland, were among them, together with the Duke of York, Rochester, and Middlesex, whom he had eulogised in very fulsome dedications. His humbler friends included the small poet Richard Duke [q. v.], with whom he exchanged complimentary verses, and Shadwell, according to Rochester, was Otway's 'dear zany.' But his indulgence in drink threatened his prospects, and his amours caused him frequent embarrassment. For the actress Mrs. Barry, who filled leading Earts in the initial performances of nearly all is plays, he conceived an absorbing passion, which largely contributed to the ruin of his career. The lady became Lord Rochester's mistress, and treated her humbler admirer with coquettish disdain. Rochester, indignant at the presumption of his youthful protege, avenged himself by some insolent lines on Otway in his 'Session of the Poets.' Six passionate letters from Otway to Mrs. Barry appeared in 'Familiar Letters ... by John, late Earl of Rochester,' 1697 (pp. 77 sqq.), and have often been reprinted with Otway's works.
Rendered desperate by the actress's scorn, and kept poor by his excesses, Otway enlisted in the army sent in 1678 to Holland. On 10 Feb. in that year he obtained a commission, through the favour of Lord Plymouth, as ensign in the Duke of Monmouth's regiment of foot. He remained in the Low Countries throughout the year, receiving on 1 Nov. a commission as lieutenant to Captain Baggott, in Monmouth's regiment (Dalton, English Army List, i. 208, 222).
Late in 1679 Otway had returned to London. His military excursion had not improved his pecuniary position or his health, and he lost no opportunity in later life of lamenting the hardships which soldiers had to face. But his abstinence from literary effort matured his powers, and in his next tragedy, 'The Orphan,' he proved himself a master of tragic pathos. Here he employed for the first time blank verse, and never abandoned it in his later tragedies. 'The Orphan' was produced in February 1680, at Dorset Gardens, with Betterton as Castalio, Mrs. Barry in the famous part of Monimia, the injured heroine, and Mrs. Bracegirdle, then a girl of six, as Cordelio, a pert page (Genest, i. 279). Castalio remained one of Betterton's favourite parts (Cibber, Apology, ed. Lowe, i. 1 16). In the prologue Otway betrayed strong tory sympathies by enthusiastically congratulating the Duke of York on his return from Scotland. The published edition of 1680 was dedicated to the Duchess of York.
Less successful was his 'History and Fall of Caius Marius,' which Betterton produced very soon after 'The Orphan.' Otway, who had apparently written part of it while abroad, acknowledged in the prologue that half was borrowed from Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet.' With his Shakespearean excerpts he combined reminiscences of Plutarch's 'Life of Marius.' Lavinia, who is Otway's adaptation of Juliet, was played by Mrs. Barry ; but such enthusiasm as the performance evoked was due to the acting of Underbill and Nokes in the characters respectively of Sulpitius (an adaptation of Mercutio) and the Nurse. The play, which Otway dedicated to Lord Falkland, was revived 18 Feb. 1707 for Wilks's benefit at the Hay market, when the part of Lavinia was undertaken by Mrs. Bracegirdle (Genest, ii. 365); and two other revivals at Drury Lane in 1715 and 1717 are noted by Genest. Reprints of the published version are dated 1692 and 1696.
In 1681 Otway composed his second comedy, 'The Soldier's Fortune,' in which he incidentally turned to account his disappointing experiences as a soldier in Flanders. It 'took extraordinarily well' (Downes), but its coarseness exceeded that of the most dissolute productions of the day. Otway, by way of defending his work against the charge of indecency which some ladies (he lamented) raised against it, quoted Mrs. Behn's remark, that 'she wondered at the impudence of any of her sex who would pretend to an opinion in such a matter.' Betterton took the part of Beaugard, a reckless gallant, and Mrs. fearry that of Lady Dunce, the wife of a city alderman, who seeks to become Beaugard's mistress. The printed edition was dedicated to Thomas Bentley the publisher. The piece was revived at Drury Lane in 1708 and 1716; ran for six nights at Lincoln's Inn Fields, with Quin as Beaugard, in January 1722 ; and, reduced to two acts, was performed at Covent Garden on 8 March 1748.
In February 1681-2 Otway's supreme effort in tragedy, 'Venice Preserved,' saw the light at the theatre in Dorset Gardens. In prologue and epilogue he scattered contemptuous re- ferences to the popish plot, and sneers at the whigs, and he drew a repulsive portrait of Shaftesbury in the character of Antonio, a lascivious senator. Betterton appeared as Jaffier,and Mrs. Barry as Belvidera; the piece was at once published by Hindmarsh, and was dedicated to the Ducness of Portsmouth (cf. a facsimile reprint by Rowland Strong, Exeter, 1885). When performed anew on 21 April 1682, Dryden, whose relations with Otway had become friendly, contributed a prologue welcoming the Duke of York's return to London; and Otway wrote a special epilogue for the occasion, which was published as a broadside.
Otway's last play was a comedy called 'The Atheist,' a continuation of 'The Soldier's Fortune.' A portion of the confused plot is drawn from the novel of 'The Invisible Mistress,' assigned to Scarron. It was produced at Dorset Gardens in 1684. Betterton appeared as Beaugard, and Mrs. Barry as Porcia. When published it was dedicated to Lord Elande, son of the Marquis of Halifax.
Otway's growing reputation does not seem to have substantially increased his means of subsistence. But the accepted stories of his habitual destitution are apparently exaggerated. For the acting rights of 'The Orphan' and 'Venice Preserved' the theatrical manor paid him 100l. apiece (Gildon); and Tonson is said to have paid hrm 15l. for the copyright of the latter. In dedicating his 'Soldier's Fortune' to the publisher Bentley, Otway commended him for duly paying for the copy. At the same time he derived small sums by writing prologues and epilogues for other dramatists productions. In 1682 he contributed the prologue to Mrs. Behn's 'City Heiress,' and in 1684 that to Nathaniel Lee's 'Constantino the Great,' when Dryden wrote the epilogue. Verses by him preface Creech's translation of 'Lucretius,' 1682, and in 1680 he contributed an English rendering of Ovid's 'Epistle of Phoedra to Hippolytus' to the co-operative translation of Ovid's 'Epistles,' in which Dryden took part. A few poems by Otway found a place in Tonson's 'Miscellany Poems,' 1684, and he published in a separate volume an autobiographical meditation in verse, 'The Poet's Complaint of his Muse, or a Satire against Libels, a poem by Thomas Otway,' London, 1680, 4to. But his pecuniary resources fell below his needs, and on 30 June 1683 he borrowed of Tonson 11l., for which the receipt, with Otway's signature, is still extant (Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. p. 71). 'Kind Banker Betterton' is also saia to have lent him money on 'the embrio of a play,' and to have repaid himself by appropriating the profits due, according to custom, to the author from the third day's performance (Poems on Affairs of State, 1698, pt. iii. p. 55).
Altnough Mrs. Barry's obduracy was an enduring torment to him, there is some evidence that he sought the good graces of a more notorious personage, Nell Gwynne. On 1 June 1680 he witnessed Nell's signature to a power of attorney which enabled one James Fraizer to receive her pension (Memorial of Nell Gwynne, ed. W. H. Hart, 1868). The strength of his political opinions brought upon him another kind of anxiety. His support of the Duke of York excited the enmity of the whig poetaster, Elkanah Settle, with whom, according to Shad well, he fought a duel.
Otway's harassed life reached its close in April 1686, when he was little more than thirty-three years old. The manner of his death is matter of controversy. The earliest account is supplied by Anthony a Wood, who says that ' he made his last exit in an house in Tower Hill, called the Bull, as I have heard.' According to Oidys, the Bull was a sponging-house ; Giles Jacob describes it as a public-house. Dennis the critic, writing in 1717, asserts (Remarks on Pope's Homer, p. 6) that Otway 'languished in adversity unpitied, and dy'd in an alehouse unlamented.' Dennis is also credited with the statement that Otway had an intimate friend, 'one Blackstone, who was shot. The murderer fled towards Dover, and Otway pursued him. In his return he drank water when violently heated, and so got a fever which was the death of him' (Spence, Anecdotes, p. 44). According to the well-known story which first appeared in the 'Lives of the Poets' assigned to Theophilus Cibber, 1753 (ib. 336), Otway's end was more sensational. Cibber agrees with his predecessors in stating that, to avoid the importunity of creditors, Otway had retired in his last days to a public-house on Tower Hill. But, he adds, 'it is reported 'that, after suffering the torments of starvation, the dramatist begged a shilling of a gentleman in a neighbouring coffee-house on 14 April 1685. The gentleman gave him a guinea, whereupon Otway bought a roll, and was choked by the first mouthful. The authenticity of these details may well be questioned ; they rest on no contemporary testimony, and did not find admission into Otway's biography until sixty-eight years after his death. Wood and Langbaine both state that he was writing verse up to the time of his death.
Otway was buried on 16 April 1685 in the churchyard of St. Clement Danes. A mural tablet, with a long Latin inscription, was placed, in the last century, in the church at Trotton, his birthplace, and is still extant there. He is described as 'poetarum tragicorum qui Britannia enotuerunt facile princeps.' 'His person was of the middle size, about 5 ft. 7 in. in height, inclinable to fatness. He had a thoughtful, speaking eye' (Oldys, Notes on Langbaine ; Gent. Mag. 1745, p. 99). Dryden wrote of his ' charming' face, and Sir Peter Lely, Mrs. Beale, Ryley, and Knapton all seem to have painted his portrait. Lely's picture was reproduced in mezzotint by William Faithorne, jun. ; Mrs. Beale's picture was engraved in 1741 by Houbraken while it was in the possession of Gilbert West, the poet ; that by Ryley was drawn by J. Thurston and engraved by T. Bragg while it was in the possession of T. H. Prentice. According to Oldys, 'there is an excellent beautiful original picture of Mr. Otway, who was a fine, portly, graceful man, now among the poetical collection of the Lord Chesterfield. I think it was painted by John Ryley, in a full-bottom wig, and nothing like that quakerish figure which Knapton has imposed on the world,'
Two authentic works by Otway were published posthumously. 'Windsor Castle : a Monument to our late Sovereign K. Charles II of ever Blessed Memory,' a poor panegyric, appeared in quarto in the year of Otway's death. Perhaps Wood made a confused allusion to this work when he wrote : 'In his sickness he was composing a congratulatory poem on the inauguration of King James II.' Next appeared an unattractive ?rose translation from the French : 'The listory of the Triumvirates : the first that of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus ; the second that of Augustus, Anthony, and Lepidus; being a faithful collection from the best historians and other authors concerning that revolution of the Roman government which hapned under their authority. Written originally in French, and made English by Tho. Otway, lately deceased,' London, 8vo. Langbaine, who noted Otway's special affection for punch, says that 'the last thing he made before his death' was 'an excellent song on that liquor.' This may be identical with a drinking-song, not included in Otway's collected work, which Mr. E. F. Rimbault printed from a manuscript source in 'Notes and Queries' in 1852.
Otway left an unfinished tragedy which, according to Langbaine, was 'more excellent than all of them,' but was 'by some malicious or designing persons suppressed, either hereafter to set up a reputation to themselves by owning it, or to procure a profit by selling it for their own' (Dramatic Poets, p. 107). The piece is noticed in an advertisement in the 'London Gazette' 25-9 Nov. 1686, and in L'Estrange's 'Obsenator' of 27 Nov. 1686: 'Whereas Mr. Thomas Otway sometime before his death made four acts of a play, whoever can give notice in whose hands the copy lies either to Mr. Thomas Betterton or to Mr. William Smith at the Theatre Royal shall be well rewarded for his pains.' It does not appear that the missing copy came to light. In 1719 a feebly bombastic tragedy, called 'Heroick Friendship, a tragedy by the late Mr. Otway,' was published in London. The publisher vaguely asserts that it is probably Otway's work ; but it has no intrinsic claim to that distinction.
In his own day all Otway's work was popular.
There was a time when Otway charm'd the stage ;
Otway, the hope, the sorrow of our age ;
When the full pitt with pleas'd attention hung
Wrap'd with each accent from Castotio's tongue;
With what a laughter was his Soldier read,
How mourned they when his Jaffier struck and bled!
('Satyr on the Poets,' in Poems on Affairs of State, 1698, pt. iii. p. 55).
In comedy Otway's efforts were contemptible, and excepting his adaptation of Moliere's 'Scapin,' of which Genest notes nine revivals between 1706 and 1812, none long held the stage. As the author of 'Venice Preserved,' Otway, however, proved himself a tragic dramatist worthy to rank with the greatest of Shakespeare's contemporaries. But he was the disciple of no English predecessor. Well read in the writings of Shakespeare, he paid equal attention to those of Racine, and in 'Venice Preserved' these two influences are visible in equal degrees. The plot was drawn from the Abbé St. Réal's 'Conjuration des Espagnols contre la Venise en 1618,' of which an English translation had appeared in 1675. But Otway modified the story at many points by grafting on it Belvidera, a deeply interesting female character ; and, while he accepted the historical names of the conspirators, he subordinated the true leader of the conspiracy, the Spanish envoy in Venice, the Marques de Bedamar, to Jaffier and Pierre, who were historically insignificant. He is thus solely responsible for the dramatic interest imported into the tale. According to his version of it, Priuli, a senator of Venice, has renounced his daughter, Belvidera, because she has married Jafner, a man poor and undistinguished. Pierre, a close friend of Jaffier, persuades him, when smarting under Priuli's taunts, to join a conspiracy which aims at the lives of all the senators. Jaffier is led to confide the secret of the plot to his wife, and her frenzied appeals to him to save her father goad him into betraying the conspiracy to the senate, and sacrificing his dearest friend. The irrelevant scenes, in which Antonio, a caricature of Shaftesbury, is mercilessly ridiculed by Aquilina the courtesan, are a serious blot on what is otherwise a great work of art. M. Taine, alone among critics, detected some humour in these foolish episodes. In the rest of the piece Hazlitt has justly drawn attention to ' the awful suspense of the situations; the conflict of duties and passions; the intimate bonds that unite the characters together and that are violently rent asunder like the parting of soul and body; the solemn march of the tragical events to the fatal catastrophe that winds up and closes over all.' Throughout, the language is as simple and natural as the sentiments depicted. 'I will not defend everything in is "Venice Preserved,"' wrote Dryden in his preface to Fresnoy's 'Art of Painting,' 1695, 'but I must bear this testimony to his memory, that the passions are truly tricked in it, though perhaps there is somewhat to be desired, both in the grounds of them and in the height and elegance of expression ; but nature is there, which is the greatest beauty.' Pope's verdict on Otway, that he 'failed to polish or refine,' is deprived of its sting by the fact that he passes the same censure on Shakespeare. Byron, although professing great admiration for Otway '8 work, declared Belvidera to be utterly detestable (Byron, Works, ed. Moore, iii. 371).
The play was translated into almost every modern language. In France it was imitated by De la Fosse in his tragedy of 'Manlius' (1698). Voltaire preferred the French adaptation to Otway's original, because De la Fosse followed St. Réal's historical narrative less closely than Otway, and gave his dramatis personæ fictitious Roman names instead of the historical names drawn by Otway from St. Réal (Voltaire, Le Brutus, avec un Discours sur la Tragedie, Paris, 1731, p. ix). A more literal French translation appeared at Paris in 1746 in 'Le Theatre Anglois' (tom. v.), and on 5 Dec. 1746 a third version, prepared by M. de la Place, was performed at the Comeclie Française. A prologue, spoken by 'le sieur Roseli,' dwelt on the refinement attaching to the stage traditions of France as compared with those of England. De la Place's acting edition was published as 'La Venise sauvée,' in 1747. The performance seems to have met with a qualified success. 'Venice Preserved,' like 'Don Carlos' and 'The Orphan,' was introduced in French translations into 'Chefs d'Œuvre des Theatres Etrangers,' Paris, 1822 (tomes ii. and iv.) Subsequently Balzac represents the heroine, in his 'Melmoth Reeoncilié,' as drawing her 'nom de guerre' of Aquilina from the courtesan in 'Venise sauvee.' A Dutch version of 'Venice Preserved ' — 'Het Gered Venetie, Treurspel ' — was made through the French by G. Muyser at Utrecht in 1755 ; and a German translation was published about the same date. In its German dress the piece reached St. Petersburg, where a Russian version, rendered from the German by Ya. Kozelsky, under the title of 'Vozmushchenie,' was published in 1764. A second German and a first Italian translation are each dated 1817.
'The Orphan,' the only other piece by Otway which reached a high level of art, contains numerous passages of great tenderness and beauty. The sufferings of the heroine, Monimia, excite all the pity inseparable from great tragedy, and justify William Collins's well-known reference, in his 'Ode to Pity,' to 'gentlest Otway,' who 'sung the female heart.' Mrs. Barry, who originally filled the heroine's part, is said to have invariably burst into genuine tears in the course of the performance, and critics are unanimous in the opinion that no person of ordinary sensibility can read it without weeping as copiously as 'Arabian trees' drop 'their medicinal gums' (Hazlitt). Sir Walter Scott wrote : 'The canons of Otway in his scenes of passionate affection rival at least, and sometimes excel, those of Shakespeare. More tears have been shed, probably, for the sorrows of Belvidera and Monimia than for those of Juliet and Desdemona' (Miscellaneous Prose Works, vi. 356). But the catastrophe of 'The Orphan' turns on Monimia's mistaking Polydore for his brother Castelio on the night of her secret marriage to the latter. The improbabilities which characterise the incident diminish the reader's sympathy, and Voltaire's condemnation of 'le tendre et élegant Otway' for his treatment of this situation seems deserved (‘Du Théâtre Anglais,’ in Œuvres Complètes, 1837, ix. 60). The plot, it should be noted, resembles that of Robert Tailor's ‘Hog that has lost his Pearl’ (1614), and is said to be derived from the Earl of Ossory's ‘English Adventures by a Person of Honour,’ 1676, where Castalio's experiences are assigned, without any historical warrant, to Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. A similar legend is told of the brothers Edward and Francis Russell, sons of Francis Russell, second earl of Bedford (d 1585) (cf. Pennant, Journey from Chester to London; Walpole, Letters, ed. Cunningham, ed. Cunningham, ix. 355).
Thomson the poet ranked the parts of Monimia and Belvidera with those of Hamlet and Othello, and many of the greatest actresses owed to these rôles the leading triumphs in their careers. As Belvidera, Mrs. Barry was succeeded in turn by Mrs. Porter, Mrs. Seymour, Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Siddons, and Miss O'Neill; while Garrick and J. P. Kemble played both Pierre and Jaffier with notable success. Mills, Quin, and Mossop were also popular exponents of Pierre's part, and Macready filled it for many years. As Monimia, Mrs. Oldfield, Mrs. Porter, and Mrs. Cibber all excelled. Miss O'Neill was the last eminent actress to essay the part. Garrick often played Chamont, Monimia's brother. ‘The Orphan’ and ‘Venice Preserved’ both remained stock pieces until the present century. Twenty revivals of ‘Venice Preserved’ are noticed by Genest, the latest at Drury Lane on 6 April 1829, with Young as Pierre and Miss Phillips as Belvidera. Sixteen performances of ‘The Orphan’ are described by Genest between 1707 and 1815, on 2 Dec. of which year it was played at Covent Garden, with Charles Kemble as Chamont and Miss O'Neill as Monimia. Many modifications were introduced into the text of both pieces. J. P. Kemble printed an acting version of ‘Venice Preserved,’ from which the scenes with Antonio were omitted; this was thrice published, in 1795, 1811, and 1814 respectively. A performance of ‘Venice Preserved,’ by the boys of Otway's old school (Winchester), took place in 1755, when a prologue was written by Robert Lowth [q. v.], afterwards Bishop of London.
The earliest collected edition of Otway's plays appeared in 1713, in two volumes; an edition in three volumes is dated 1757; a fuller edition, with some account of Otway's life and writings, was issued in 1768 (3 vols.); a fourth edition was dated 1812 (2 vols.) The best is that edited by W. T. Thornton in 1813 (3 vols.) ‘Don Carlos,’ ‘The Orphan,’ ‘The Soldier's Fortune,’ and ‘Venice Preserved’ were reprinted in the ‘Mermaid Series’ (1891), edited by Roden Noel. Otway's chief plays figure in all the collections of the English drama, and his poems may be found in ‘Works of the most celebrated Minor Poets,’ 1750, vol. iii., and in the collections of Dr. Johnson (1779), of Dr. Anderson (1793, vol. vi.), T. Park (1806, vol. i.), and Alexander Chalmers (1810, vol. viii.)
[Johnson's Lives of the Poets, ed. Cunningham, i. 211 sq.; Langbaine's English Dramatick Poets, 1691, p. 395 (with Oldys's manuscript notes in Brit. Mus. copy, c. 28 g. 1, and Haslewood's notes in Brit. Mus. copy of 1699 edit. c. 45, d. 16); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iv. 168; Mr. Gosse's Seventeenth-Century Studies; Davies's Dramatic Miscellanies, iii. 176–253; Genest's Hist. Account of the Stage, passim; Alexandre Beljame's Le Public des Hommes de Lettres en Angleterre au Dix-huitième Siècle, 1660–1744, Paris, 1881; Ward's Hist. of English Drama; Joseph Cradock's Works, iv. 381 (poem on Otway); information kindly supplied by the Very Rev. the Dean of Winchester, formerly rector of Woolbeding, and by Mr. C. W. Holgate of The Palace, Salisbury.]