SCOTT, Sir WALTER (1771-1832, Scottish novelist and poet)
'...Many parts of the poetry are eminently beautiful, though I fear the grave length of the piece and some obscurity of plot would render it unfit for dramatic representation. There is also a fine tone of supernatural action...to me it has a very powerful effect... drama is addressed chiefly to the eyes, and as much as can be by any possibility represented on the stage should neither be told or described. Of the miscellaneous part of a large audience many do not understand and many cannot hear either narrative or description but are solely intent upon the action exhibited. It is I conceive for this reason that very bad plays written by performers themselves often contrive to get through and not without applause while others immeasurably superior in point of poetical merit fail merely because the author is not sufficiently possessed of the trick of the scene or enough aware of the importance of the maxim pronounced by no less a performer than Punch himself (at least he was the last authority from whom I heard it) Push on Keep moving...It contains notwithstanding many passages of eminent beauty many specimens of most interesting dialogue... consult some professional person of judgement and taste - I should regard friend Terry as an excellent mentor - and I believe he would concur with me in recommending that at least one third of the drama be retrenched...I am sure your own excellent sense which I admire as much as I do your genius, will give me credit for my frankness in these matters. I only know that I do not know many persons on whose performances I would venture to aver so much criticism...'
Allan Cunningham (1784-1842), Scottish poet and author, was apprenticed as a stonemason. In 1814 he became clerk of the works in the sculptor Francis Chantrey's studio, a post he retained until Chantrey's death in 1842. Published from a photocopy.