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that the Scene continues. Before the interview between J. Shore and Ilastings takes place, Alicia has left the house in anger; and the force used in this scene is that of endeavouring to conduct her to her chamber. Hastings might presume on her not calling out, on her being illattended, and on his own rank and valour if any one should attempt to interfere. Nor does the entrance of Jane Shore after Alicia is gone out appear improbable.There is no necessity certainly for the audience to " sup. 66 pose her to have been in her first sleep.” Alicia had parted from her, supposing she was about to retire to her slumbers; but a variety of causes might have prevented her going to bed immediately, particularly her devotions; and one of her domestics might inform her of Lord Hastings' arrival, and she might come to him as soon as her devotions were over, or, had she been retiring to rest, as soon as she had made herself ready to go to her noble benefactor, as she supposes him to be.
Mrs. Inchbald, in her Remarks on this play, says, “ The parting scence between her”(Alicia)" and the con66 demned Hastings, where he forgives her, as the cause " of his immediate execution, has something more af. 66 fecting than the last scene of the drama, where Shore “ forgives his dying wife. The husband's pardon comes, “ after time has softened, and penitence mitigated, his 6 wrongs the lover forgives a more fatal injury, and “ its consequences that moment impending.” p. 5.
I can by no means allow the injury of being the cause of the death of another to be greater than that of a wife in being unfaithful to her husband; and there is as much to be forgiven on the part of Alicia as of Hastings. H. had betrayed and then proved false to her, and her compassing his death was accidental, not designed.* It was necessary, therefore, that they should 6 mutually exchange forgiveness.”
* Alicia expressly declares this in her last interview with Hastings. But her speech to him when she goes out in the second act (especially as it stands in the original) appears evidently to imply some design against his life. Io her speech to herself, on J. Shore shewiog her her petition, her intention seems to be solely to bring " the wanderer"
" to his forsaken home agaio," Tbis, perba ps, was her determinasiop op farther reflection,
Mr. C. says, (p. x.) “ Lord Hastings is described, or “ rather describes himself, as a patriot, who
66 Would die with pleasure for his country's good.”
« But when this great virtue made so striking a part of 6 this self-applauding hero's character, it is a pity that “ his patriotism is shaded with such despicable properties " as certainly ought not to be found in company with it. “ For can any instance be given of a more debased, un66 grateful, mean, and cowardly action than his conduct 66 exhibits towards the generous Dumont, from whom he “ had received his life, after forfeiting it by a behaviour 66 characteristic only of a bully and assassin? What can 66 be more profligate and rascally than his attack upon 6 Jane Shore, in the moment when she had thrown hero self at his feet, and was pouring forth her acknow“ ledgments for the protection he had shewn her through 6 his interest with the Duke of Gloster? He must be a 6 very ingenious poet who could invent a more effectual w way of blackening the human character than by an " action of this sort. Neither can the language that this « noble patriot holds towards Alicia, (so favoured as he 65 has been by her) be considered as the language of a 66 gentleman: it is unmanly, gross, and cruel."
It may be useful here to state some particulars of the real history of Hastings:
Sir WILLIAM DE Hastings was the eldest son and heir to Sir Leonard who died in 1456. When Edward the IVth. ascended the throne, March 4, 1460-1, Sir Wm., for his faithful services to Richard Duke of York, was appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household and of North Wales, and was created Baron Hastings of Ashby de la Zouch, and admitted into the order of the Garter. In 1469, he was appointed Ambassador to Lewis the XIth of France. In 1470, when, by the superior power of Henry VI. then reinforced by the levies of Richard Nevil Earl of Warwick, Edward IV. was forced to quit England and implore assistance from his brother-in-law, Charles Duke of Burgundy, the Lord Hastings, though husband of that Earl's sister, attended Edward to and from the continent, and assisted
with a considerable body of followers at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury, fought on April 14, and May 4, 1471: bụt after the last of these actions, his zeal harried him on to be accessary to the death of Prince Edward, son of Henry VI. taken prisoner in that battle; and thereby stained his reputation which was otherwise truly respectable. In that year he was made Captain of Calais and its dependencies. When Edward the Vth on the death of his father succeeded to the throne, Lord Hast. ings, not suspecting the views of the Duke of Gloster, was very active in advancing him to the chief administration, as protector to the young Edward; but disap. proving the reports spread to the prejudice of the infant King and his brother, the Duke of Gloster, dreading the abilities and virtues of Lord Hastings, ordered him to be executed on a charge of treason. His corpse was interred in St. George's chapel at Windsor. He married Catharine, widow of William Lord Bonville and Harrington, and daughter of Richard Nevil Earl of Salisbury, and father of Richard Earl of Warwick before-mentioned, and by that lady, who died 1504, he had four sons and one daughter. See Collins's Peerage. 4th Edn. Vol. III. p. 8.
From this account it appears, that Lord Hastings was a married man with a family; and Horace Walpole doubts his having been connected with Jane Shore, from the circumstance of the Marquis Dorset having been the person accused of practising witchcraft with her, as appears from Richard's Proclamation against him, and not Lord Hast. ings. We must consider Hastings, therefore, in Rowe's play as the Creature of the poet, and I fear, however profligate and contemptible the character may be in many respects, it is not out of nature to draw one, possessing a great deal of what is commonly called patriotism, and much personal courage, yet possessing great depravity and meanness; and the lesson to be derived from the lives and the ends of these characters is an excellent warning against illicit love.
Dr. Johnson says of Alicia, that she is a character “ of empty noise, with no resemblance to real sorrow or
" to natural madness.” (Life of Rowe, p.71.)Dr.Warton, on the other hand, in his Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, having noticed some of the beauties in the dying scene of Jane Shore in the fifth act, adds, “ The inter66 view betwixt Jane Shore and Alícia, in the middle of 66 this act, is also very affecting; where the madness of " Alicia is well painted.” (3d Edn. Vol. I. p. 283.) Mrs. Inchbald attempts to reconcile these seemingly opposite opinions of great critics, by supposing that they “ spoke as spectators, not as readers: and the one had “ seen a good, and the other a bad actress, perform the “ part.” (p. 4.) This, I think, very probably, may have been the case. Mrs. Siddons, certainly, after having repeatedly acted the character of Jane Shore with applause, undertook that of Alicia, as one written with great strength, and suited to her highest powers. In this edition the violence of Alicia is in some degree lowered.
Dr. Warton, in the Essay just quoted, speaking of Rowe and this play, says, that it is “ the most interesting " and affecting of any he has given us: but probability is « sadly violated in it by the neglect of the unity of time. " For a person to be supposed to be starved, during the 66 representation of five acts, is a striking instance of the “6 absurdity of this violation.” (p. 281.) And Dr. Johnson says, that “ In the construction of his dramas, 66 there is not much art; he is not a nice observer of the 66 Unities. He extends time and varies places as his “ convenience requires. To vary the place, is not, in " my opinion, any violation of Nature, if the change be 66 made between the acts; for it is no less easy for the “ spectator to suppose himself at Athens in the second « act, than at Thebes in the first: but to change the 6 scene, as is done by Rowe, in the middle of an'act, is " to add more acts to the play, since an act is so much a of the business as is transacted without interruption." (p. 71.)
That it is desirable to observe the Unities, where it can be done without sacrificing greater advantages, I rea. dily allow; and if a Drama should be so constructed, that no more time should be supposed to elapse than that
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of the representation, that the scene should never change, nor the action be interrupted by breaks, called acts, and that all the incidents and all the exits and entrances should appear natural, it would be a finished picture. On the ancient stage, where there was no change of scene, this was in a great degree necessary. But, with us, the case is different. Our Dramas are not the exhibition of a single picture, but of a series of pictures. An act, strictly speaking, is certainly “ so much of the bu
siness as is transacted without interruption.” But the custom of our theatre is to divide the play into such portions, with such intervals between, as may give both the audience and the performers time to rest, and to make such arrangements as may be necessary. It does not appear material, therefore, whether these changes are im- . mediately from one to another, or with an interval between, the mind turns from one scene to another, as it does from one picture to another in the same room where a series are exhibited. Where any interval of time is supposed to elapse, the mind most readily admits it at that point where there was an interval in the action. The time which passes in the play of Jane Shore is five days, three of which pass between the fourth and fifth acts. The play opens on the day before The Council ; Jane Shore and Hastings are sentenced on that day, which is in the fourth act; and, in the fifth act, it appears that Jane Shore has been three days wandering about without food. As far as my own imagination is concerned, I must acknowledge, that, provided the performer looks and speaks as if she were perishing from hunger, I can just as well admit that it is the same person I saw at the beginning of the play, and in the fourth act, as that she is Jane Shore.
Of the catastrophe Mr. Cumberland says, that, 66 though simple and affecting,” it " is meagre, languid, 66 and palpably but little calculated for stage effect.” (p. xii.) Against this decision I will merely appeal to those who have read the play, and to those who have seen it performed; not merely to those who have seen it played by the exquisite powers of Mrs. Siddons and other celebrated actresses, but to those