TIIE REGICIDE; OR, JAMES THE FIRST | what I had to expect in the capacity of an author, OF SCOTLAND.

when I first professed myself of that venerable

fraternity, I should, in all probability, have A TRAGEDY.

spared myself the incredible labour and chagrin (

have since undergone: but, as early as the year PREFACE.

1739, my play was taken into the protection of HATEVER reluctance I have to trouble one of those little fellows who are sometimes

the public with a detail of the mortifica- called great men; and, like other orphans, aegtions I have suffered, in my attempts to bring the lected accordingly. ensuing performance on the stage, I think it a duty Stung with resentment, which I mistook for incumbent upon me, to declare my reasons for pre-contempt, 1 resolved to punish this barbarous insenting it in this extraordinary manner; and, if the difference, and actually discarded my patron; explanation shall be found either tedious or trifling, consoling myself with the barren praise of a few I hope the candid reader will charge my imperti- associates, who, in the most indefatigable manner, nence upon those who drove me to the necessity employed their time and influence in collecting of making such an ineffectual appeal.

from all quarters observations on my piece, which, Besides, I Hatter myself, that a fair representa in consequence of those suggestions, put on a new tion of the usage I have met with will be as a appearance almost every day, until my occasions beacon, to caution other inexperienced authors | called me out of the kingdom. against the insincerity of managers, to which they Soon after my return, I and my production might otherwise become egregious dupes; and, were introduced to a late patentee, of courteous after a cajoling dream of good fortune, wake in mernory, who (rest his soul!) found means to all the aggravation of disappointment.

amuse me a whole season, and then declared it Although I claim no merit from having finished impracticable to bring it on till next year; advisa tragedy at the age of eighteen, I cannot help ing me to make my application more early in thinking myself entitled to some share of indul- the winter, that we might have time to concert gence for the humility, industry, and pastience such alterations as should be thought necessary have exerted during a period of ten years, in for its successful appearance on the stage.--But which this unfortunate production hath been ex- I did not find my account in following this wholeposed to the censure of critics of all degrees; and some advice; for, to me, he was always less and in consequence of their several opinions, altered, less at leisure. In short, after sundry promises, and (I hope) amended, times without number. and numberless evasions, in the course of which

Had some of those who were pleased to call he practised upon me the whole art of procrasti. themselves my friends been at any pains to de- nation, I demanded his final answer, with such serve the character, and told me ingenuously obstinacy and warmth, that he could no longer resist my importunity, and refused my tragedy in with such adrantage as should make ample plain terins. - Not that he mentioned any material | amends for all my disappointments. objections to the piece itself, but seemed to fear But here too I reckoned without my bost. my interest was vot sufficient to support it in the The master of Covent Garden theatre bluntly representation; affirming, that no dramatic com- rejected it, as a piece altogether unfit for the position, however perfect, could succeed with an stage; even after he had told me, in presence of English auclience by its own merit only; but another gentleman, that be believed be should not must entirely depend upon a faction raised in its venture to find fault with any performance which behall.-Incensed at this unexpected declaration, I had gained the good opinion of the honourable I reproached him bitterly for having trifled with person who approved and recominended my play. me so long; and, like my brother Bayes, threat- Bafiled in every attempt, I renounced all hopes ened to carry iny performance to the other of its sceing the light, when a humane lady of house.

quality interposed, so urgently in its behalf, with This was actually my intention, when I was my worthy friend the other manager, that he very given to understand by a friend, that a nobleman complaisantly received it again, and had recourse of great weight bad expressed an inclination to to the old mystery of protraction, which he exer. peruse it; and that, as interest was requisite, 1 cised with such success, that the season was al. could not do better than gratify his desire with most consumed, before he could afford it a readall expedition. I committed it accordingly to the ing. My patience being by this time quite care of my counsellor, who undertook to give me exhausted, I desired a gentleman, who interested a good account of it in less than a fortnight: but himself in my concerns, to go and expostulate four months elapsed before I heard any tidin s of with the vaticide: and indeed, this piece of friend. my play; and ihen it was retrieved by pure acci- ship he performed with so much zeal, upbraiding dent (I believe) from the most dishonourable bim with his evasive and presumpluous bebas apartment of his lordship's house.

viour, that the sage politician was enraged at his Euraged at the behaviour of this supercilious reprimand; and in the mettle of his wrath, propeer, and exceedingly mortified at the miscarriage nounced my play a wretched piece, deficient in of all my efforts, I wreaked my resentment upon language, sentiment, character, and plan. My the innocent cause of my disgraces, and forth with friend, who was surprised at the hardiness and condenned it to oblivion, where, in all probability, severity of this sentence, asking how he came to it would have for ever slept, like a miserable abor-change his opinion, which bad been more favourtion, had not a young gentleman of learning and able when the tragedy was first put into his hands; taste waked my paterual sense, and persuaded me he answered, that his opinion was not altered, not only to rescue it from the tomb, where it had neither had he ever uttered an expression in its lain two whole years, but also to new model the favour. plan, which was imperfect and undigested before, This ras an unlucky' assertion-for, the other and mould it into a regular tragedy, confined immediately produced a letter which I had rewithin the unities of the drama.

ceived from the young nobleman two years before, Thus improved, it fell into the hands of a gen- beginning with these wordstleman who had wrote for the state, and hap- “ Sir, I have received Mr. L-'s adstrer; pened to please him so much, that he spoke of it who says, he thinks your play has indubitable very cordially to a young nobleman, since de- merit, but has prior promises to Mr. T-n, that ceased, who, in the most generous man er, as an honest man, cannot be evaded.”—And concharged himself with the care of introducing it to clading thus, “ As the manager has promised the public; and, in the mean time, honoured me me the choice of the season next year, if you'll be with his own remarks, in conformity to which, it advised by me, rest it with me." was immediately altered, and offered by his lord- After having made some remarks suitable to ship to the new manager of Drury-lane theatre. the occasion, my friend left him to chew the end It was about the latter end of the season when of refection, the result of which was, a message this candid perserage, to whom I owe many ob- to my patroness, importing, (with many expres. ligations for the exercises of patience he has set sions of duty) that neither the circumstances of me, received the performance, which, some weeks his company, nor the advanced season of the after, he returned, assuring my friend that he was year, would permit him to obey ber command, pre-engaged to another author, but if I could be but if I would wait till next winter, and during prerailed upon to reserve it till the ensuing win the summer, make such alterations as I baf ter, he would bring it on.- In the interiin, my agreed to, at a conference with some of his prionoble patron left London, whither he was doomed cipal performers, he would assuredly put my play never to return; and the conscientious manager in relicarsal, aud in the mean time give me an next season, instead of fulfillin: his own promise obligation in writing, for my further satisfaction. and my expectation, gratitied the town with the lI would have taken him at his word, without production of a player, the fate of which every hesitation, but was persuaded to dispense with the body knows.

proffered security, that I might not seem to doubt I shall leave the reader to make his reflections the influence or authority of her ladyship-The on this event, and proceed to relate the other par- play, however, was altered and presented to this ticulars of fortune, that attended my unhappy upright director, who renounced his engagement, issue, which, in the succeeding spring, bad the without the least scruple, apology, or reason good luck to acquire the approbation of an emin assigned. nent wit, who proposed a few amendments, and Thus have I in the most impartial manner, recommended it to a person,' by whose infinence, (perhaps too circumstantially) displayed the conI laid my account with scoing it appear at last, duct of those playhouse managers with whun I



have had any concern, relating to my tragedy: standing of the public, to which I owe and ac. and whatever dispetes have happened between the knowledge the most indelible obligation for former actors and me, are suppressed as frivolous aniino- favours as well as for the uncommon encouragesities unworthy of the reader's attention.

ment I have received in the publication of the fola Had I suffered a repulse when I first presented lowing play. my performance, I should have had cause to complain of my being excluded from that avenue to the public favour, which ought to lie open to all men of genius; and how far I deserve that dis

PERSONS OF THE DRAMA. tinction, I now leave the world to decide; after I have, in justice to myself, declared that my hopes

MEN. of success were not derived from the partial ap

King of Scotland. plause of my own friends only, but inspired (as

Angiis. some of iny greatest enemies kuow) by the ap

Dunbar. probation of persons of the first note in the re

Ramsay. public of taste, whose countenance, I vainly ima

Athol. gined, would have been an effectual introduction

Stuart. to the stage.

Grime. Be that as it will, I hope the unpreju liced ob

Cattau. server will own), with indignation and disdain, that every disappointment I have en lured was an 2ccumulated injury; aud the whole of my adversary's

Queen. conduct, a series of the most unjustifiable equivo

Eleonora." cation and insolent absurdity: for, though he may be excusable in refusing a work of this kind,

GUARDS, ATTENDANTS, ETC. either on account of his ignorance or discernment, surely, neither the one nor the other can vindicate his dissimulation and breach of proinise to the author.

ACT I. SCENE I. Abuse of prerogative, in matters of greater im

A Convent in Perth. portance, prevails so much at present, and is so generally overlooked, that it is almost ridiculous

ANGUS, DUNBAR. to lainent the situation of authors, who must either, at once, forego all opportunities of acquiring reputation in dramatic poetry, or humble But that my duty calls, I would decline themselves so, as to sooth the pride, and bumour Th’unwelcome office. Now, when Justice waves the petulance of a mere Goth, who, by the most

Her flaming sword, and loudly claims her due, preposterous delegation of power, may become Thus to arrest her arm, and offer terms sole arbiter of this kind of writing. Nay, granting that a bard is willing to prosti- is to my apprehension wcak, and suits

Of peace to traitors, who avow their crime, tute bis talents so shamefully, perhaps he may But little with the majesty of kings. never find an occasion to practise this vile condescension to advantage: for, after he has gained Why sleeps the wontea valour of our prince? admission to a patentee (who is often more difficult of access than a sovereign prince) and even Not to th' ensanguin'd field of death alone made shift to remove all other objections, an in- Is Valour limited: she sits serene surmountable obstacle may be raised by the ma- In the delib'rate council; sagely scans nager's avarice, which will dissuade him from The source of action; weighs, prevents, provides, hazarding a certain expense on an uncertain issue, And scorns to count her gluries, from the feats when he can fill his theatre without running any Of brutal force alone,risk, or disobliging his principal actors, by putting

- What frenzy were it them to the trouble of studying new parts — To risk our fortune on th'unsure event

Besides, he will be apt to say within himself, of one occurrence, naked as we are “ If I must entertain the town with variety, it is to unforeseen disaster, when the terms but natural that I should prefer the productions We proffer may retard th' impending blow? of my friends, or of those who have any friends -Butter to conquer by delay: the rage worth obliging, to the works of obscure strangers, Of Athol's fierce adherents, flush'd with hope who have nothing to recommend them but a Of plunder and revenge, will soon abate, doubtful superiority of merit, which, in all likeli- And ev'ry hour bring succour to our cause. hood, will never rise in judgment against me.”

DUNBAR. That such have been the reflections of patentees, I believe no man of intelligence and veracity Well hast thou taught me, how the piercing eye will deny; and I will venture to affirm, that on Of calm sagacity, excels the dint the strength of interest or connection with the Of headstrong resolution.--Yet, my soul stage, some people have commenced dramatic Pants for a fair occasion to revenge authors, who otherwise would have employed My father's wrongs on Athol's jinpious head! their faculties in exercises better adapted to their | Yes, Angus, while the blood of March revolves capacity.

Within my veins, the traitor shall not find After what bas been said, any thing by way of His perfidy forgot-But what of this? application would be an insult on the under. What are my private injuries compar'd


To those he meditates against the state!

DUNBAR. Against a prince with ev'ry virtue gracd

Then will I strive, That dignifies the throne, to whom the ties

With unremitted ardour, to subdue of kindred and allegiance could not bind His faithless heart: not ev'n the sacred bond

Her coy reluctance; while I scorn the threats

Of frantic jealousy that flames unrein'd Of friendship unreserv’d!—For well thou know'st,

In Stuart's breast!-But see! the fair one comes, The king securely listen'd to his voice,

In all the pride of dazzling charms array'd.
As to an oracle,

'Twas there indeed
He triumph'd in his guile! Th’uuwary prince,

Sootb’d by his false professions, crown'd his guilt
With boundless confidence; and little thought

That very confidence supply'd his foe

Something of moment, by a fresh dispatch
With means to shake his throne!-While Atholled | Imparted to the king, requires in haste
Jlis royal kinsman thro' the dang'rous path The presence of my sire.
Of sudden reformation, and observ'd

What murmurs issu'd from the giddy crowd.
Each popular commotion he improv'd

Forbear a while By secret ininisters; and disavowd

Thy parley with the foe; and here attend Those very measures he himself devised!

Our consultation's issue. Thus cherish'd long by his flagitious arts,

[Erit Angter. Rebellion glow'd in secret, 'till at length His scheme mature, and all our loyal thanes

At their own distant homes repos'd secure,
The flame burst out.-Now from his native hills,

With his accomplice Grime, and youthful heir,
Impet’ous Stuart, like a sounding storm

Ile rushes down with five revolting clans;

Ill it suits Displays a spurious title to the crown,

A soldier's tongue to plead the canse of love, Arraigns the justice of this monarch's sway,

Iv phrasé adapted to the tender theme:
Aud by this sudden torrent, means, no doubt, But trust me, beauteous wonder! when I swear
To sweep him from the throne.

Not the keen impulse and impatient hope

Of glory, glowing in the warrior's breast,

With more awaken’d transport, tilld my soul Aspiring villain!

When the fierce battle rag'd, than that I feel A fit associate has he chose: a wretch

At thy approach!—My tongue has oft reveald Of soul more savage breathes not vital air,

The dictates of my heart; but thou, averse Than Grime:--but Stuart 'till of late, maintain'd With cold disdain, hast ever cbill'd my hopes, A fairer fame.

And scorn’d my profferd vows-

A cherish'd hope expires

O youth, beware!
In his dishonour too!-While Stuart's ear

Let not the flow'ry scenes of joy and peace, Was deaf to vicious counsel, and his soul

That faithless passion to the view presents, Remained unshaken, by th' enchanting lure

Ensnare thee into woe!--Thou little know'st Which vain ambition spread before his eye,

What mischief lurks in each deceitful charm; He bloom'd the pride of Caledonia's youth,

What griefs attend on love.
In virtue, valour, and external grace:-
For thon, sole rival of his fame, wast train'd

To martial deeds, in clincs remote.

Keen are the pangs

Of hapless love, and passion unapprov'd:

But where consenting wishes meet, and vows
O thane!

Reciprocally breath'd confirm the tie,
Whatever wreaths from danger's steely crest

Joy rolls on joy, an inexhausted stream! My sword hath won; whatever toils sustain'd And virtue crowns the sacred scene with peace! Beneath the sultry noon, and cold, damp night,

ELEONORA. Could ne'er obtain for me one genial smile Of her, who bless'd that happy rival's vows Illusion all! the phantoms of a mind With mutual lore!-Why should I dread to own That, o'er its present fate repining, courts The tender throbbings of my captive heart! The vain resource of fancy's airy dreams.The melting passion which has long inspir'd War is thy province.-War be thy pursuit. My breast for Eleonora, and implore

A parent's sanction to support my claim?

O! thou wouldst tell me, I am savage all-

Too much estrang'd to the soft arts of life,
Were she more fair and gentle than she is, To warı thy breast? Yes, war has been my
And to my partial eye nought e'er appeard War's rough sincerity,unskill'd in modes (school
So gently fair, I would approve thy claim Of peaceful commerce-Soften'd not the less
To her peculiar smiles.

To pious truth, humanity, and love.



And why, alas ! am I the destin'd wretch Yes: I were envious to refuse applause, That must inflict them!-Agonizing thought! When ev'ry mouth is open'd in thy praise.- I yielded up my fond, believing heart I were ungrateful not to yield thee more,

To him who basely left it, for the charms Distinguish'd by thy choice; and tho' my heart Of treacherous ambition! hapless Stuart! Denies thee love, thy virtues have acquir'd How art thou chang'd! how lost! thy cruel fate, Tbesteem of Eleonora.

Like a false harlot, smiles thee into ruin!

0! thy words
Would fire the hoary hermit's languid soul

Enter STUART disguised like a priest. With ecstasies of pride!-How then shall I,

Elate with every vainer hope that warms

Th' aspiring thought of youth, thy praise sustain
With moderation ?-Cruelly benign!

The mighty schemes of empire soar too high Thou hast adorn'd the victim; but, alas!

For your distinction, daughter. Simple woman Thou likewise giv'st the blow !

Is weak in intellect, as well as frame,

Tho' Nature's hand And judges often from the partial voice
With so much art has blended ev'ry grace That soothes her wishes most.
In thy enchanting form, that ev'ry eye

(Discovering himself. With transport views thee, and conveys unseen

ELEONORA. The soft infection to the vanquish'd soul,

Ha, frantic youth! Yet wilt thou not the gentle passion own, What guilty purpose leads thy daring steps That vindicates thy sway!

To this forbidden place?-Art thou not come ELEONORA.

Beneath that sacred veil, the inore to brave

O gilded curse! Th'avenging hand of Heav'n?
More fair than rosy Morn, when first she smiles
O'er the dew-brighten'd verdure of the spring!

No-that I tread
But more deceitful, tyrannous, and fell

The paths of danger, where each bosom pants Than syrens, tempests, and devouring flame! With keen revenge against me, speaks aloud May I ne'er sicken, languish, and despair The feryour of my love-My love misplac'd! Within thy dire domain - Listen, ye powers ! Else, would'st thou not receive the gen'rous proof And yield your sanction to my purpos'd vow- With anger and disdain.--If e'er my breast



Have I not cause
For ever let me pine

To drive thee from my heart?-Hast thou not lo secret misery, divorc'd from hope!

chas'd But ah, forbear! nor forfeit thy own peace

All faith, and truth, and loyalty from thine? Perhaps in one rash moment.

Say, hast thou not conspir'd against thy prince?

A prince! who cherish'd thee with parent's zeal, SCENE IV.

With friendship honour'd thee, and ev'ry day

With bounteous favour crown'd thy rising wish?

Curse on his arts !-his aim was to enslave

-From the tower That fronts the hills, due north, a moving host

Th' aspiring soul, to stifle and repress

Th' energing dictates of my native right,
Is now descry'd: and from the southern gate
A cloud of dust is seen to roll, the gleam

To efface the glowing images within,
Of bumish'd arms oft thro' the dusky sphere

Awak'd by glory, and retain by fraud
Salutes the dazzled eye;-a loyal band

The sceptre he usurps!
With valiant Ramsay, from the banks of Tweed,
That hastens to our aid.—The first, suppos'd

Insidious charge! The rebel trajn of Athol.-By command

As feeble as unjust! for, clear as day, Of Angus, I attend thee, to demand

In course directAn audience of the foe.


In idle argument
I follow straight. Let us not now consume the precious hour;

[Exit Herald. The middle stream is pass’d; and the safe shore Whate'er is amiably fair-whate'er

Invites our dauntless footsteps_Yonder Sun Inspires the gen'rous aim of chaste desire,

That climbs the noon-tide arch, already sees My soul contemplates and adores in thee!

Twelve thousand vassals, marching in the train Yet will I not with vain complainings vex Of warlike Athol; and before the shades Thy gentle nature.--My unblemish'd love

Of ev'ning deepen, Perth's devoted walls Shall plead in my behalf. [Exit Dunbar. Will shake before tliem-F'er the tempest roars, SCENE V.

I come to snatch thee from th' impending storm


O impotent of thought!-0! dead to shame!
Adieu, brave youth! Shall I for pompous infamy forego
Why art thou doom'd to suffer fruitless pains ? Th’internal peace that virtue calls her own?





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