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RELATING TO THE "TWO DRAMAS OF CALDERON"
but these plays are more difficult than all the others put together: and I have no spur now.
To R. C. Trench.
Market Hill: Woodbridge.
February 25, '65.
And I took up three sketched out Dramas, two of Calderon, and have licked the two Calderons into some sort of shape of my own, without referring to the Original. One of them goes by this Post to your Grace; and when I tell you the other is no other than your own Life's a Dream," you won't wonder at my sending the present one on Trial, both done as they are in the same lawless, perhaps impudent, way. I know you would not care who did these things, so long as they were well done; but one does n't wish to meddle, and in so free-and-easy a way, with a Great Man's Masterpieces, and utterly fail: especially when two much better men have been before one. One excuse is, that Shelley and Dr. Trench only took parts of these plays, not caring surely—who can?-for the underplot and buffoonery which stands most in the way of the tragic Dramas. Yet I think it is as a whole, that is, the whole main Story, that these Plays are capital; and therefore I have tried to present that whole, leaving out the rest, or nearly so; and altogether the Thing has become so altered one way or another that I am afraid of it now it's done, and only send you one Play (the other indeed is not done printing:
neither to be published), which will be enough if it is an absurd Attempt. For the Vida is not so good even, I doubt: dealing more in the Heroics, &c.
I tell Donne he is too partial a Friend; so is Cowell: Spedding, I think, would n't care. So, as you were very kind about the other Plays, and love Calderon (which I doubt argues against me), I send you my Magician.
To W. E. Crowfoot.
Market Hill, Woodbridge.
I believe I shall send you in some few days the last Print I shall ever dabble in: taken, though not translated, from two of Calderon's most famous ones; the Story and Moral of which will interest you a little, and may interest some others also. Edward Cowell's return from India set me on finishing what I had left and put away these nine years; but I print, not to publish, but because I think they will interest a few people.
To C. E. Norton.
Little Grange, Woodbridge, Suffolk.
(Post Mark Dec. 8.) Dec. 9, '75.
P. S. I am doing an odd thing in bethinking me of sending you two Calderon Plays, which my friend Mrs. Kemble has spoken of also in your Country. So you might one day hear of them: and if you liked what came
RELATING TO THE "TWO DRAMAS OF CALDERON "
before, wish to see them. So here they are, for better or worse; and at any rate, one Note of Thanks (which I doubt you will feel bound to write) will do for both, and you can read as little as you please of either. All these things have been done partly as an amusement in a lonely life: partly to give some sort of idea of the originals to friends who knew them not: and printed, because (like many others, I suppose) I can only dress my best when seeing myself in Type, in the same way as I can scarce read others unless in such a form. I suppose there was some Vanity in it all: but really, if I had that strong, I might have done (considering what little I can do) like Crabbe's Bachelor—
'I might have made a Book, but that my Pride
In the not making was more gratified.'1
1 Tales of the Hall. Book X. (vol. VI. p. 246).