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THE

BRITISH DRAMA;

A COLLECTION OF THE MOST ESTEEMED

TRAGEDIES, COMEDIES, OPERAS, AND FARCES,

IN THE

ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

VOLUME FIRST.

LONDON:

PUBLISHED BY JONES & COMPANY,

8, ACTON PLACE, KINGSLAND ROAD,

1824.

Р 20 NOV 1954

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FATAL CURIOSITY:

A TRAGEDY,

IN THREE ACTS.

BY GEORGE LILLO.

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REMARKS. THE story of this Piece is very simple and affecting, and is said to have been founded on a fact which happened on the western coast of England. The circumstance of a son, long absent from his parents, keeping himself, on his return to visit them, for some time unknown, is unforced, while at the same time their inducement, from the depth of dis. tress and perury, to perpetrate his murder, for the sake of the treasures he had shown them, is productive of some very fine scenes of intermingled horror and tenderness. Mr. Lillo rendered the distresses of common and domestic life as interesting to the audiences as those of kings and heroes, and the ruin brought on private families by an indulgence of avarice, lust, &c. as the havoc made in states and empires by ambition, cruelty, or tyranny. His George Barnwell, Fatal Curiosity, and Arden of Feversham, are all planned on common and well-known stories ; yet they have always drawn tears from the audience, and even the critics have laid down their pens to take out the handkerchief.

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ACT I.

Yet man, of jarring elements compos’d,

Who posts from change to change, from the SCENE 1.-d Room in Old WILMOT's House.

first hour

Of his frail being till his dissolution,
Enter OLD WILMOT.

Enjoys the sad prerogative above him, 0. Wil. The day is far advanc'd ; the cheer- To think, and to be wretched.- What is life, ful sun

To him that's born to die! or what, that wisPursues with vigour his repeated course;

dom

[nothing! No labour lessens, nor no time decays Whose perfection ends, in knowing we know His strength or splendour: evermore the same, Mere contradiction all! A tragic farce, From age to age his influence sustains [tion Tedious though short, and without art elaDependent worlds, bestows both life and mo- Ridiculously sad

[b'rate, On the dull mass that forms their dusky orbs, Cheers them with heat, and gilds them

with

Enter RANDAL. his brightness.

Where hast been, Randal ?

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