Really poetical plays—plays which are both poetic and strongly dramatic—are indeed exceedingly rare. Mr. Bottomley is one of the few who have produced such drama in English. For many years he printed his work privately, in beautiful editions for his friends; but of late several of the plays have been made available—King Lear’s Wife in Georgian Poetry, 1913-15, and in a volume of the same title, including Midsummer Eve and The Riding to Lithend, published in London last year.
Those who want more stories of this sort will find them in Thorgils and other Icelandic stories modernized by Mr. Hewlett; in the Burnt Njal, translated by Sir George Dasent, from which this story itself springs; and in the translations by Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris, the Saga Library—particularly the stories of the Volsungs and Nibelungs, and of Grettir the Strong.
louvre—a smoke-hole in the roof
thrall—a captive or serf
second sight—prophetic vision, as in Riders to the Sea and Campbell of Kilmhor
fetch—one’s double; seeing it is supposed to be a sign that one is fey or fated to die
wimpled—“clouted up,” as Hallgerd expresses it, in a headdress rather like a nun’s. A widow, apparently, might wear her hair uncovered
quean—in Middle-English, a jade; in Scotch, a healthy lass; the history of this word and of queen, which come from the same root, is strange and interesting
Romeborg—Rome; Mickligarth—Constantinople (Viking names)
Athcliath—evidently an Irish port
Markfleet—a fleet in an inlet of the sea
mote or gemote—a formal assembly for making laws
thing—assembly for judgment, or parliament; this is an early Icelandic meaning of the word thing
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PLAYS FOR READING IN HIGH SCHOOLS
+Thomas Bailey Aldrich+
MERCEDES: A tragic story of the inextinguishable hatreds and reprisals of the French invasion of Spain in 1810, and of a woman’s terrible heroism.
In Collected Works, Houghton Mifflin.
PAULINE PAVLOVNA: Cleverly executed, slight plot in dialogue, wherein the character of the hero is sharply revealed; reminiscent of Browning’s In a Balcony, though with a quite different scheme.
THE ARROW-MAKER: The tragedy of a noble medicine-woman of a tribe of California Indians, and of a weak and selfish chief.
Rococo: In which we discover a clergyman and his relatives in physical altercation over a rococo vase, and follow their dispute to a determinative conclusion.