ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.
Who fain would make Parnassus a church-yard!
Oh! wonder-working Lewis! Monk, or Bard,
- How well the subject.—[MS. First to Fourth Editions.]
- A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind.—[British Bards, First to Fourth Editions.]
- [Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818), known as "Monk" Lewis, was the son of a rich Jamaica planter. During a six months' visit to Weimar (1792-3), when he was introduced to Goethe, he applied himself to the study of German literature, especially novels and the drama. In 1794 he was appointed attaché to the Embassy at the Hague, and in the course of ten weeks wrote Ambrosio, or The Monk, which was published in 1795. In 1798 he made the acquaintance of Scott, and procured his promise of co-operation in his contemplated Tales of Terror. In the same year he published the Castle Spectre (first played at Drury Lane, Dec. 14, 1797), in which, to quote the postscript "To the Reader," he meant (but Sheridan interposed) "to have exhibited a whole regiment of Ghosts." Tales of Terror were printed at Weybridge in 1801, and two or three editions of Tales of Wonder, to which Byron refers, came out in the same year. Lewis borrowed so freely from all sources that the collection was called "Tales of Plunder." In the first edition (two vols., printed by W. Bulmer for the author, 1801) the first eighteen poems, with the exception of The Fire King (xii.) by Walter Scott, are by Lewis, either original or translated. Scott also contributed Glenfinlas, The Eve of St. John, Frederick and Alice, The Wild Huntsmen (Der Wilde Jäger). Southey contributed six poems, including The Old Woman of Berkeley (xxiv.). The Little Grey Man (xix.) is by H. Bunbury. The second volume is made up from Burns, Gray, Parnell, Glover, Percy's Reliques, and other sources.
A second edition, published in 1801, which consists of thirty-two ballads (Southey's are not inciuded), advertises "Tales of Terror printed uniform with this edition of Tales
- Who fain would'st.—[British Bards, First to Fifth Editions.]