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What can I do less than dedicate this Tragedy to you? This is a question which you cannot answer; but I can-I cannot do less; and if I could do more, I ought, and would.

I was a perfect stranger to you. You read my play, and at once committed yourself respecting its merits. This, perhaps, is not saying much for your head-but it says a great deal for your heart; and that is the consideration which, above all others, makes me feel happy, and proud, in subscribing myself,

Your grateful Friend and Servant,

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London, May 20, 1820.

THIS Play was written in great haste, and, no doubt, abounds in defects—but it is a question, whether it would have been less imperfect, had I taken a year to compose it. It was resolved and executed in about three months, in the inidst of very numerous and arduous avocations. To a distinguished individual who suggested to me the idea of writing it, I shall ever feel grateful.

I owe the public an apology for the last act; and this is my apology-History gives two accounts of the manner of Appius's death; one, that he committed suicide: the other, that he was destroyed privately by the Tribunes. Had I selected for any catastrophe, the latter incident, the character of the tyrant had stood too prominent; by adopting the former, I should have violated the respect due to a Christian audience. After having excited such an interest for Virginius, it would have been indecent to represent him in the attitude of taking the law into his own hands. I therefore adopted the idea of his destroying Appius in a fit of temporary insanity, which gives the catastrophe the air of a visitation of Providence.

I am most sensible of the very great degree in which I am indebted to the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden; and I beg them to believe that I feel more than 1 can very readily express. To forget what I owe to the Theatre where my Play was first performed, would be ungrateful; and, under any circumstances, to admit the acknowledgment of it would be unprincipled and mean. I take, therefore, this opportunity of thanking, also, the Company of the Glasgow Theatre.


APPIUS. Toga and purple stripe, flesh legs, and red sandals. General's armour, toga, and stripe flesh legs, and sandals.



HONORIUS. Toga, with red bands; and sandals.


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Plain togas and armour, and black sandals.

Plain togas and mourning, and russet sandals.

Lamberkeens, armour, and white kilt, flesh legs, and sandals.

Citizens, as in Coriolanus, brown stuff dresses, flesh legs, and russet sandals. CNEIUS.-Plain toga.

VIRGINIA.-Plain white; white robe, trimmed with white fringe; plain white ribbon tied round her head, and hanging down behind. SERVIA.-White dress; red robe, trimmed with yellow; plain white ribbon tied round her head, and long ends hanging down behind.


The Conductors of this Work print no Plays but those which they have seen acted. The Stage Directions are given from their own personal observations, during the most recent performances.

The instant a Character appears upon the Stage, the point of Entrance, as well as every subsequent change of Position, till its Exit, is noted, with a fidelity which may in all cases be relied on; the object being, to establish this Work as a Standard Guide to the Stage business, as now conducted on the London boards.


R. means Right; L. Left; R. D. Right Door; L. D. Left Door; S. E. Second Entrance; U. E. Upper Entrance; M. D. Middle Door.


R. means Right; L. Left; C. Centre; R. C. Right of Centre ; L. C. Left of Centre.

The Reader is supposed to be on the Stage facing the Audience.






Cast of the Characters in the Tragedy of Virginius, at the Theatres-Royal, Covent Garden and Drury

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Lane, 1826.

In love ith Virginia..
Brother of Icilius...

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Daughter of Virginius

Miss Foote.

Her Nurse


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Citizens, Male and Female-Soldiers, Lictors, &c.

SCENE, Chiefly Rome.

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The passages marked with inverted commas are omitted in the representation.


Written by J. H. Reynolds, Esq. and spoken by Miss Booth.

[Speaking behind.] NAY, Mr. Fawcett, give me leave, I

pray :

The audience wait, and I must have my way.

What! curb a woman's tongue !—As I'm alive,
The wretch would mar our old prerogative!
Ladies! by very dint of pertinacity,
Have I preserv'd the glory of loquacity.


Oh! could you gaze, as I am gazing now,
And see each man behind, with gather'd brow
And clenched hand (tho' nought my spirit damps)
Beckoning, with threats, my presence from the lamps:
Each, as I broke my way, declared how well
His art could woo you to be peaceable!
One is well robed-a second greatly shines
In the nice balance of cast iron lines;

A third can sing-a fourth can touch your tears-
A fifth-"I'll see no more!"-a fifth appears,
Who had been once in Italy, and seen Rome;
In short-there's quite a hubbub in the Green-Room.
But I a very woman-careless-light-

Fleet idly to your presence, this fair night;
And, craving your sweet pardon, fain would say
A kind word for the poet and his play.

To-night, no idle nondescript lays waste
The fairy and yet placid bower of taste :
No story, piled with dark and cumbrous fate,
And words that stagger under their own weight,
But one of silent grandeur-simply said,
As tho' it were awaken'd from the dead!
It is a tale-made beautiful by years ;-
Of pure, old, Roman sorrow-old in tears!
And those, you shed o'er it in childhood, may
Still fall and fall-for sweet Virginia!

Nor doth a crowred poet of the age
Call the sweet spirits from the historic page!
No old familiar dramatist hath spun
This tragic, antique web, to-night-but one,
An unknown author, in a sister land,
Waits, in young fear, the fiat of your hand.

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