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The Battle of Hexham; or, Days of Old; a play in three acts   By: (1732-1794)

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[Illustration: BATTLE OF HEXHAM MARGARET STRIKE NOT ON THY ALLEGIANCE ACT II. SCENE III PAINTED BY HOWARD PUBLISHD BY LONGMAN & CO ENGRAVD BY STOW]

THE BATTLE OF HEXHAM; OR, DAYS OF OLD;

A PLAY, IN THREE ACTS;

BY GEORGE COLMAN, THE YOUNGER.

AS PERFORMED AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, HAYMARKET.

PRINTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE MANAGERS FROM THE PROMPT BOOK.

WITH REMARKS BY MRS. INCHBALD.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, AND ORME, PATERNOSTER ROW.

WILLIAM SAVAGE, PRINTER, LONDON.

REMARKS.

Mr. Colman acquaints his readers, in his Preface to this play, dated 1808, that it was written near twenty years ago: then, stating, as an apology to his jocose accusers, this reason for having made Shakespeare the model for his dialogue that plays, which exhibit incidents of former ages, should have the language of the characters conform to their dress he adds "To copy Shakspeare, in the general tournure of his phraseology, is a mechanical task, which may be accomplished with a common share of industry and observation: and this I have attempted (for the reason assigned); endeavouring, at the same time, to avoid a servile quaintness, which would disgust. To aspire to a resemblance of his boundless powers, would have been the labour of a coxcomb; and had I been vain enough to have essayed it, I should have placed myself in a situation similar to that of the strolling actor, who advertised his performance of a part" "In imitation of the inimitable Garrick."

"The Battle of Hexham" has been one of the author's most popular works; and has, perhaps, to charge its present loss of influence with the public, to those historical events of modern times, which have steeled the heart against all minor scenes of woe, and deprived of their wonted interest the sorrows of Queen Margaret and her child.

There is a short, but well known narrative, written by one Clery, an humble valet de chambre which, for pathetic claims, in behalf of suffering majesty and infant royalty, may bid defiance to all that history has before recorded, or poets feigned, to melt the soul to sympathy.

Nor can anxiety be now awakened in consequence of a past battle at Hexham, between a few thousand men, merely disputing which of two cousins should be their king, when, at this present period, hundreds of thousands yearly combat and die, in a cause of far less doubtful importance.

The loyal speeches of Gondibert, in this play, his zeal in the cause of his sovereign, every reader will admire yet one difficulty occurs to abate this admiration Did Gondibert know who his sovereign was ? This question seems to be involved in that same degree of darkness, in which half the destructive battles which ever took place have been fought.

The adverse parties at Hexham had each a sovereign. Edward the Fourth was the lawful king of the York adherents, as Henry the Sixth was of those of Lancaster; and Edward had at least birthright on his side, being the lineal descendant of the elder brother of Henry the Fourth, and, as such, next heir to Richard the Second, setting aside the usurper. But, possibly, the degraded state of Henry the Sixth was the strongest tie, which bound this valiant soldier to his supposed allegiance; for there are politicians so compassionate towards the afflicted, or so envious of the prosperous, they will not cordially acknowledge a monarch until he is dethroned. Even the people of England never would allow the Bourbon family to be the lawful kings of France, till within these last fifteen years[1].

The youthful reader will delight in the conjugal ardour of Adeline; whilst the prudent matron will conceive that, had she loved her blooming offspring, as she professes, it had been better to have remained at home for their protection, than to have wandered in camps and forests, dressed in vile disguise, solely for the joy of seeing their father... Continue reading book >>




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