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The Surrender of Calais A Play, in Three Acts   By: (1732-1794)

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: SURRENDER OF CALAIS EUSTACHE. HERE TAKE THIS TRASH. ACT I. SCENE II PAINTED BY HOWARD PUBLISHD BY LONGMAN & CO ENGRAVD BY W POOLE]

THE SURRENDER OF CALAIS;

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 ORNE, PATERNOSTER ROW.

WILLIAM SAVAGE, PRINTER, LONDON

REMARKS.

In this drama are comprised tragedy, comedy, opera, and some degree of farce yet so happily is the variety blended, that one scene never diminishes the interest of another, but they all combine to produce a most valuable composition.

In the rank of excellence, the tragic parts are to be accounted foremost; and, among these, the original and admirable character of Eustache de St. Pierre stands first.

Other characters, of the author's invention, are likewise so prominent, that Edward, our renowned conqueror of Calais, is made, perhaps, the least interesting, as well as the least amiable, warrior in this whole dramatic field of glory: and yet, such is the equitable, the unbiassed judgment of the vanquished, they profess a just, a noble, an heroic reverence, for the bravery, and other qualities, of their triumphant enemies.

The exception to this general rule of patriotic courage in the French, is most skilfully displayed in one short speech, by a feeble and fearful citizen of the besieged town; in whom extreme terror of the besiegers is so naturally converted into malignant abhorrence, that the man who, in all Calais, is most ready to die for his king and country, is, by the aid of certain political logic from this alarmist, openly accused of disloyalty, because he will not slander, as well as fight, his foe. This speech, with some others, no less founded on the true disposition of lordly man, subdued by the humiliation of fear, would falsely imply that the play of "The Surrender of Calais" was of a later date than fifteen or sixteen years past, before which period the author must have had much less knowledge of the influence of apprehension in the time of war, than experience, or rather observation, has since had the means to bestow upon him.

It may be said, that Mr. Colman gave the virtues of justice and benignity to the valiant part of the French, merely as instruments to resound the praise of the English. Whatever were the author's views, the virtues remain the same, and honour the possessors of them, even more than their eulogiums can do honour to the British.

In the first act, the weak, mournful huzza, wrung from the throats of the half famished soldiers, and that military subordination exhibited between Ribaumont and La Gloire, upon the pronunciation of the word march , are happy stage occurrences, in which the reader's fancy will not perhaps delight, for want of the performer's tones and action. But there are other scenes so independent of the mimic art, that acting can rarely improve them Such is the scene in the Hall, the delivery of the keys, the farewell between the father and the son, with others equally impressive. But the highest panegyric that can be pronounced on this play is that "The Surrender of Calais" is considered, by every critic, as the very best of all the author's numerous and successful productions.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

ENGLISH.

KING EDWARD THE THIRD Mr. Williamson. HARCOURT Mr. Bland. SIR WALTER MANNY Mr. Usher. ARUNDEL Mr. Powell. WARWICK Mr. Nigh.

HERALDS, TRAIN BEARERS, SOLDIERS, &c.

QUEEN Mrs. Goodall.

ATTENDANTS Mrs. Taylor , Miss Fontenelle , Miss De Camp , Mrs. Powell , &c... Continue reading book >>




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