Play List:

1. The Rath Boys

2. The Witchfinder

3. A Madcap Prince

4. Corinne

5. The Queen of Connaught

6. The Nine Days’ Queen

7. The Mormons

8. The Shadow of the Sword

9. Lucy Brandon

10. Storm-Beaten

11. Lady Clare

[Flowers of the Forest]

12. A Sailor and His Lass

13. Bachelors

14. Constance

15. Lottie

16. Agnes

17. Alone in London

18. Sophia

19. Fascination

20. The Blue Bells of Scotland

21. Partners

22. Joseph’s Sweetheart

23. That Doctor Cupid

24. Angelina!

25. The Old Home

26. A Man’s Shadow

27. Theodora

28. Man and the Woman

29. Clarissa

30. Miss Tomboy

31. The Bride of Love

32. Sweet Nancy

33. The English Rose

34. The Struggle for Life

35. The Sixth Commandment

36. Marmion

37. The Gifted Lady

38. The Trumpet Call

39. Squire Kate

40. The White Rose

41. The Lights of Home

42. The Black Domino

43. The Piper of Hamelin

44. The Charlatan

45. Dick Sheridan

46. A Society Butterfly

47. Lady Gladys

48. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown

49. The Romance of the Shopwalker

50. The Wanderer from Venus

51. The Mariners of England

52. Two Little Maids from School

53. When Knights Were Bold

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ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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THEATRE REVIEWS

31. The Bride of Love (1890)

 

The Bride of Love
by Robert Buchanan.
London: Adelphi Theatre. 21 May, 1890 (matinée).
London: Lyric Theatre. 9 June to 11 July, 1890.
London: Crystal Palace. 10 and 12 June, 1890 (matinées).

(Harriett Jay played the role of Psyche.)

 

The Era (26 May, 1888 - p.8)

     MISS HARRIETT JAY will produce at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, on the afternoon of June 21st, a new poetical play, written expressly for her by Mr Robert Buchanan. In the drama, the subject of which is pure Greek, both mortals and immortals figure as characters. The performance will be under the immediate patronage of the Right Hon. the Countess of Dudley and other distinguished ladies, and the proceeds will be given to Dr. Eldridge Spratt’s Sanatorium for Diseases of the Heart at Brighton. At a fashionable concert for the same charitable purpose, to be given at Dudley House, Park-lane, on Wednesday evening, June 6th, Lady Randolph Churchill, Mrs Ronalds, the Countess Breda, Madame Samuell, Mdlle, de Lido, and Miss Harriett Jay will assist.

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The Morning Post (28 May, 1888 - p.3)

     Mr. Robert Buchanan has written for Miss Harriett Jay a new drama upon a Grecian theme, which will be produced at a matinée at the Prince of Wales’ Theatre on June 21. The performance will be under the patronage of the Countess of Dudley, and the proceeds will be given to Dr. Eldridge Spratt’s Sanatorium for Diseases of the Heart at Brighton.

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The Sheffield Evening Telegraph (28 May, 1888 - p.2)

A VERSATILE GENIUS.

     Mr. Robert Buchanan is about to make an attempt to conquer a new world or two. He produced simultaneously a short while ago a successful novel, the poem of the season and a couple of comedies. Now, in co-operation with Dr. Mackenzie, he is about to produce an opera. Nor is this all. In consequence of the success of “Partners” at the Madison Theatre, New York, Mr. Buchanan has been commissioned to write another comedy to succeed that play. The poet-novelist-dramatist fought very hard to gain a footing on the stage. Now presumably he has secured a firm one.

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The Stage (1 June, 1888 - p.9)

     The Bride of Love, a new poetical play, written by Robert Buchanan, and consisting of two acts, a prologue and an epilogue, will be produced by Miss Harriett Jay at a Prince of Wales’s Theatre matinée on June 21. An introduced bridal song, the words of which are translated from the Greek—the scene of the play is laid in Greece—has been specially composed by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie. Miss Jay will appear in the principal part, and the performance will be given in aid of Dr. Eldridge Spratt’s Brighton Sanatorium for Diseases of the Heart, and will be under the patronage of, among others, the Countess of Dudley. The Bride of Love will probably be played at a series of matinées following the date I have mentioned.

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The Bristol Mercury (12 June, 1888 - p.3)

     Miss Harriett Jay’s production of a new play by Mr Robert Buchanan is postponed till the autumn.

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The Era (1 December, 1888)

     MISS HARRIETT JAY has been suffering with an affection of the eyes, which has compelled her to delay the rehearsals of Mr Buchanan’s Greek drama. The scenery, however, is in active preparation, and the play will very shortly be produced.

 

[Note:
These are the earliest references I’ve come across to The Bride of Love. Since I’ve found no evidence that the play was performed before 1890 (to which the rest of the material in this section refers) I thought it less confusing to leave The Bride of Love in its present position in the chronological list of Buchanan’s plays.]

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The Era (1 March, 1890 - p.10)

     MR ROBERT BUCHANAN has in preparation a romantic Greek drama, which will shortly be produced, with Miss Harriet Jay in the principal part.

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The Derby Daily Telegraph (3 March, 1890 - p.3)

     Mr. Robert Buchanan has signed a contract with Messrs. Gatti to collaborate with Mr. G. R. Sims in the new play for the Adelphi, which will be a departure from the pieces familiar at that home of successful melodrama. In the meantime, Mr. Buchanan is preparing for immediate production a romantic Greek drama, in which Miss Harriette Jay is to make her reappearance. The scenery is well advanced, and the play may be looked for about Easter.

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The Manchester Weekly Times (22 March, 1890 - p.6)

     A new departure in theatrical adventures will be inaugurated by Mr. Robert Buchanan at the Prince of Wales’s about a fortnight after Easter. A Greek tragedy, entitled “The Bride of Love,” will be played, in the afternoons only. Miss Harriet Jay will take the part of Psyche, and Mr. Thalberg that of Eros. No trouble is being spared to make the costumes and scenery perfect. Dr. Mackenzie is writing the music for two songs. The chorus will be undertaken by pupils of the Royal Academy of Music.

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The Stage (28 March, 1890 - p.11)

     In last week’s London appeared an interview with Miss Harriett Jay, during the course of which that clever lady confessed that before long she would undertake a part in Robert Buchanan’s new four-act blank verse play, The Bride of Love, promised at a matinée. In this Miss Jay has a character over which she went into raptures with her interviewer, for she said to him in answer to his question, “Have you a good part?”: “Such a one as it has been the dream of my life to play. It is a piece which one should play and be satisfied with having lived long enough to do so.” From which I take it that a rare intellectual treat is shortly to be placed before the critics. Mr. Buchanan does not say nasty things about the matinée; he is content to benefit by it.

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The Sydney Morning Herald (30 April, 1890 - p.4)

     “The Bride of Love” is the title of a mythological play founded by Mr. Robert Buchanan on the Greek legend of “Eros and Psyche.” The play was written for Miss Harriett Jay, by whom it was to have been produced shortly after Easter. Two choric songs—“Love is Lord of All” and “O, thou, divine Urania’s Son” (the last freely translated from the famous epithalamium of Catullus)—have been set to music by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie. Mr. Buchanan, by the way, is greatly in demand just at present. Having been accused of hasty work of late, he explains that many of his pieces were written long ago. “When it is remembered that for nearly 15 years I produced nothing on the stage, although I wrote much with a view to ultimate production, my present seeming activity may be understood. ‘Sophia’ was offered to many managers years before an accident secured its production at the Vaudeville, and I have still by me plays which have been pronounced, as ‘Sophia’ was pronounced, unlikely to succeed in representation. These facts may, perhaps, encourage aspiring dramatists not to despair of ultimately overcoming the prejudices of many managers against any kind of dramatic experiment.”

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The Glasgow Herald (2 May, 1890 - p.7)

     MR ROBERT BUCHANAN has now settled the cast for his new mythological play in verse, “The Bride of Love,” which will be produced at the Adelphi on May 21st. Miss Ada Cavendish (Mrs Frank Marshall), who since her widowhood has temporarily retired from the profession, will return to the stage to play Aphrodite (otherwise Venus). Miss Harriett Jay will be Psyche, Mr Thalberg Eros, Miss Letty Lind Euphrosyne, Miss Clara Jecks Eridon, Mr Bassett Roe Lycas, and Mr Leonard Outram Atalantia. For this performance Dr A. C. Mackenzie has consented to compose music especially for two choruses—“O Divine Urania,” and “Love is lord of all.”

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The Era (3 May, 1890 - p.8)

     “THE BRIDE OF LOVE,” Mr Robert Buchanan’s Greek play, will be produced at a matinée at the Adelphi on the 21st inst. On this occasion Miss Ada Cavendish is announced to make her reappearance on the stage, and to sustain the part of the Goddess Aphrodite. The cast will include also Miss Harriett Jay as Psyche; Mr Thalberg as Eros; Mr Lionel Rignold, Zephyros; Miss Clara Jecks and Miss Marie Fraser as respectively Eridon and Erotim; and Miss Letty Lind, whose saltatory skill will be displayed in the character of Euphrosyne.

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The Derby Daily Telegraph (17 May, 1890 - p.2)

     Mr. Robert Buchanan is a high-flyer. He has done everything worth doing in literature, and he intends to exploit the stage before he finishes with it. He has adapted, translated, written original dramas and comedies on safe and successful lines, and now he will have a turn at the topsey-turveydom, of which Mr. Gilbert is a past master. Next Wednesday afternoon will see the production of his “Bride of Love” at the Adelphi. The exact course of its whimsical plot is still a secret, but there is a prologue in the old mythological heaven in which Dan Cupid plays a big share. The Temple of Venus and the Garden of Psyche are among the scenes, and an epilogue points the moral. A very strong cast has been secured, including Miss Ada Cavendish (her first appearance since the death of her husband, the scholar and critic), Miss Letty Lind, Miss Clara Jecks, and Miss Harriet Jays. Some of the songs interspersed through the piece are very charming, I hear, having been composed for the occasion by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie. Mr. Buchanan has thrown himself into the melting pot with a vengeance, and everyone is very curious over the result.

bridead2

[Advert for The Bride of Love from The Times (21 May, 1890 - p.8).]

 

The Times (22 May, 1890 - p.8)

ADELPHI THEATRE.

     The myth of Eros and Psyche, originally told by Apuleius and dramatized in later days by Molière and Corneille, has given an inspiring if difficult subject to a modern playwright. Mr. Robert Buchanan, whose play entitled The Bride of Love was produced at the Adelphi Theatre yesterday afternoon, has treated the classical story with a free hand, and the result is a piece which, although it leaves much to be desired and although it is capable of much improvement, has many pleasing features. In the first act, of which the scene is the summit of a mountain in Cyprus, Aphrodite (Miss Ada Cavendish), Eros (Mr. T. B. Thalberg), and Zephyros (Mr. Lionel Rignold) are introduced. Aphrodite is jealous because her worship on earth is neglected by reason of the charms of Psyche. Eros, by no means the mischievous Cupid of legend but a young divinity who is feeling his strength, appears in the guise of one wearied of celestial society. Zephyros is, so to speak, the clown of the piece. At the outset the play drags heavily and it is only after Aphrodite has left the scene that human interest is introduced. At the invitation of Zephyros, Eros looks down upon Psyche (Miss Harriet Jay) sleeping upon the hillside, and then commands Zephyros to waft her to the mountain. There follows a pretty passage, in which the god places a ring on the finger of the sleeping maiden. He then determines to woo her in mortal shape. The second act is no better than the first. At the outset a ludicrous row of Kings propose in turn for the hand of Psyche and are rejected. Her father, Methonos (Mr. A. Brydone), consults in his anger the oracle of Aphrodite, and Psyche is doomed to be chained to a rock at the edge of the sea awaiting the advent of a monster. The spiteful delight of her  sisters, Creusa and Hyla, is well portrayed by Miss Ada Ferrar and Miss Frances Ivor. Psyche is duly chained to the rock and, with great promptitude, released by Eros; but up to the end of the act the weariness produced by the long succession of proposing Kings does not wear away. When the curtain rises there is a great and welcome change. In an enchanted garden Eros wooes Psyche, and the occasion becomes an excuse for an admirable cymbal dance by Miss Letty Lind in the character of Euphrosyne. In an evil moment Eros allows Methonos, Creusa, and Hyla, with two Kings, to be brought into the enchanted garden, and a bitter scene follows in which the sisters taunt Psyche because she avows herself the bride of Prince Nobody of No Man’s Land. On their departure Eros vows, by Styx and Acheron, to grant Psyche any prayer she may offer, and, in pursuance of the vow, reveals his divinity to her. Then the curse of blindness falls upon her. The final scene of the act is touching and effective. It evoked tumultuous applause from the crowded house. In the final act the repentance of Aphrodite is portrayed. Psyche wanders blind and groping on to the stage and dies in the arms of Eros; but in the meanwhile Aphrodite has interceded with Zeus and Psyche is brought to life, destined to be immortal, through the instrumentality of Euphrosyne, who strews her body with flowers. When the curtain dropped for the last time the audience showed its satisfaction by repeated calls for the actors and the author. On the whole, Mr. Buchanan has cause for satisfaction. Miss Harriet Jay played the part of Psyche admirably; Mr. Thalberg, aided by his looks, was a commendable Eros as soon as the play began to move. But there were plenty of mistakes. The part of Zephyros is somewhat coarsely conceived; Mr. Rignold did not improve upon the author’s conception. Errors in pronunciation were numerous, and it ought surely to have been possible to teach some of the actors beforehand that Creusa is not to be pronounced “cruiser,” that the first syllable in Eros is not quite the same as that in era. The music, by Mr. Walter Slaughter, is pleasing. In this connexion particular mention may be made of an epithalamium in the third act, and of a hymn, in the last act, composed expressly for the occasion by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie.

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The Daily News (22 May, 1890)

MUSIC.
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. . .

MR. BUCHANAN’S “BRIDE OF LOVE.”

     Mr. Robert Buchanan’s play “The Bride of Love,” produced at the Adelphi yesterday, is a new version of the well- worn story of Eros and Psyche, invented by Apuleius, and already told in prose and verse by many a dramatist and poet. The legend now appears in the form of a four-act play, for the most part in scholarly blank verse, the monotony of which is relieved by a part-song and some less important incidental music from the pen of Mr. Walter Slaughter, who conducted, and two choral odes by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie. It is a part of Mr. Buchanan’s design to increase the interest of the story by investing his immortals with various mundane feelings and attributes. It is for this reason that, although the narrative of the sudden love of Eros for Psyche, their marriage, and the ill effects of that particular sin of feminine curiosity which proves as fatal to them as to Elsa and Lohengrin, is followed with tolerable fidelity; yet the character of the mortal- hating Aphrodite is softened down in maternal solicitude for her eldest son, while the Zephyr becomes a veritable Figaro in assisting the young couple in their courting; and gods and mortals alike are represented as impotent against the all- conquering power of love. By a beautiful allegory also Psyche is in the last act depicted as passing through the valley of death, and, having by the will of Zeus thus attained immortality, she is united for eternity to her earthly husband, the young god Eros. It is, indeed, upon the love of Psyche and Eros that the plot chiefly centres, and, despite a certain amount of redundancy and a few anachronisms which will doubtless disappear at subsequent performances, Mr. Buchanan has contrived to tell a very ancient story in an undoubtedly engaging and sympathetic manner. The play was admirably mounted; and although some of the performers were obviously unaccustomed to the delivery of blank verse, yet the principal artistes, who included Mrs. Harriett Jay as Psyche, Miss Ada Cavendish as Aphrodite, Mr. Thalberg as Eros, and Mr. Lionel Rignold as a comic Zephyr, were, together with the author, deservedly called to the front after the last  act. In regard to the music, Mr. Walter Slaughter’s part-song of “Elemental Spirits” in the second act was unfortunately spoilt by a faulty performance. But more pains were taken by a choir of ladies with a two-part Epithalamic chorus in the second act, sung to a harp accompaniment, two flutes and cymbals filling up the intervals (Dr. Mackenzie thus replacing the trigonon and pipe of ancient Greece), and with a choric ode in praise of love, from the same pen. Unfortunately, the piece was not provided with an overture or entr’acte music, although it was generally felt by the musical members of the audience that a play so high in literary aim deserved something far better than the dance pieces which yesterday did duty in this respect.

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St. James’s Gazette (22 May, 1890 - p.3-4)

“THE BRIDE OF LOVE” AT THE ADELPHI.

     “The distinctive aim of tragedy,” Schlegel wrote, “is to establish the claims of the mind to a divine origin; to show that its earthly existence must be disregarded as vain and insignificant, all sorrows endured and all difficulties overcome.” A similar purpose is claimed by Mr. Robert Buchanan for his new poetical play “The Bride of Love,” produced yesterday afternoon at the Adelphi Theatre. For the basis of the piece he has had recourse to the old mythological legend dealing with the loves of Psyche and the immortal Eros. Lest, however, his treatment of the well-known story should be called in question, the author hastens to repudiate any intention of investing it with either the form or the spirit of Greek drama. By so doing he disarms criticism, which might otherwise be disposed to take exception to certain of his innovations. The public, however, will doubtless be content with the fact that Mr. Buchanan has provided a play not only interesting in itself but containing several scenes of considerable beauty. It is true that he never seems capable of entirely divesting himself of his nineteenth-century mantle. Only the other day it was observed in the palace of Justinian, and now we catch glimpses of it even among the Olympians. Zephyros, in “The Bride of Love,” who longs for “sport more spicy” and has a quick eye for a pretty maiden, is as modern as Lutin in Mr. Gilbert’s “Wicked World” or King Phanor in “The Palace of Truth.” Something, however, may be taken as conceded to the public desire for a due proportion of comedy in a piece, whether its introduction be consistent or not. More successful is Mr. Buchanan in his graver moments. The story of Eros’s descent to earth, his rescue of the despairing Psyche, their separation and final reunion, is told by him in verse which, if it does not quite touch the loftiest heights, runs trippingly and introduces not a few passages of much tenderness and passion. That it received yesterday fullest justice from all the performers can hardly be said. In form and bearing Mr. Thalberg makes an ideal Eros; but, whether from nervousness or some other cause, he spoke his words throughout the first two acts so hurriedly as to render them almost unintelligible. At the end of the third, however, when, prompted by woman’s curiosity, Psyche to her own undoing, demands and learns her lover’s name, Mr. Thalberg exhibited genuine force. Here, too, Miss Harriett Jay was seen at her best. Her Psyche, it may be admitted, does not possess all the qualities of an ideal conception, but within certain limits it is an excellent and well-balanced performance. To Miss Ada Cavendish, as Aphrodite, was extended a warm and generous welcome on her return to the stage, which she has deserted too long. Actresses of her calibre are, unfortunately, only too rare at present, and her playing yesterday showed that she is still in perfect possession of her old powers. To each word was given its full significance, and every gesture was charged with meaning. Space forbids more than the mere mention of Miss Clara Jecks, Miss F. Ivor, Miss Ferrar, and Messrs. L. Rignold, Bassett Roe, and L. Outram, who all lent strength to an otherwise admirable cast. But a special word of praise must be given to Miss Letty Lind for her graceful dancing. The music, which forms an important factor in the piece, is from the pens of Dr. A. C. Mackenzie and Mr. W. Slaughter, who have also to be congratulated on their melodious setting of the different songs and choruses, excellently interpreted by Mr. Stedman’s choir. It only remains to add that the play has been handsomely mounted, and obtained a very favourable reception from the large audience assembled.

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The Scotsman (22 May, 1890 - p. 6)

LONDON THEATRICALS.

     LONDON, Wednesday night.— A new poetical play—for that is the title of “The Bride of Love” on the programme, by Mr Robert Buchanan—was given at the Adelphi Theatre this afternoon. Before dealing with the plot it will be best to quote the author’s preliminary note, prefixed to certain excerpts from the play which were handed to the critics. Mr Buchanan says “The Bride of Love” is founded on the beautiful Greek legend of “Eros and Psyche,” preserved for posterity in the “Golden Ass” of Apuleius. Perhaps no subject is associated with so many illustrious names; for it has been versified by La Fontaine, dramatised by Molière with the assistance of Corneille (who at 65 years of age wrote the famous perfervid invocation of L’Amour), graced by the songs of Quinault and the music of Lulli. The original L’Amour was Baron; the original Psyche, Mademoiselle Molière; and the original Zephyr Molière himself. The passion conceived by La Molière for young Baron during the representations of “Psyche” led to the fatal estrangement between the great author-actor and his wife.
     The present author’s treatment of the legend is practically new and original, and has nothing in common with either the form or the spirit of Greek drama, or with the “tragédie-ballet” of Molière. It has been well remarked, however, that there is a curious and sympathetic likeness between the fancifulness of early Greek mythology and that of mediæval fairy lore. Eros, the eldest born of Aphrodite, is the embodiment of fully-developed though still young godhead, and is not in any way to be confounded with the Cupid of popular imagination. The story of Psyche’s love and loss has been well described as an allegory of the human soul in its passage upward—and hence, of course, the name. In the fourth act of the present play Psyche actually passes through the shadow of death, and arising thence glorified, realises not only the old Greek idea of apotheosis, but the modern Christian sentiment of the resurrection of the spiritualised body. The story of the piece is simple in the extreme. Eros, a god, loves Psyche, a mortal, and his devotion brings upon her a double doom. In the first place, the jealousy of Aphrodite, who cannot bear to hear of her loveliness, and desires to save her son from an ignominious love, condemns her to a fate like that of Andromeda, and then Psyche’s request that Eros should declare his name and station brings upon her total blindness, the fate of those who inquire too curiously of the gods. In the end she dies, but is brought back from death by Aphrodite, who relents and restores her to the arms of Eros. Mr Buchanan is a poet, and this piece is indubitably poetical. He is also a dramatist, but it cannot be said that, save here and there, it is dramatic. It has grace and prettiness, but it lacks action and variety. As an example of the blank verse in which it is written, we may quote the following speech of Eros, in which, before he sees Psyche, he is bewailing his condition on the heights of Olympus, being, in fact, bored to death:—

Heigh O! I would I were some merry mortal,
A mountaineer, a tiller of the earth,
A happy warrior on a battlefield;
To be in leading-strings and yet a god,
To be divine and yet a prisoner,
To deal at will to all, to men or gods.
The loving rapture I may never share;
There’s not a herd boy down in yonder dales
I do not envy. He at least can love!
Sits ’mid the shade in the sweet summer time,
With strong arm circled round some brown girl’s waist,
And busses her with a great smacking kiss
To crown his joy withal. I, lord of love’s self,
Whose breathing fills the air with love,
Am the one loveless thing in all the world!

The play was competently acted. Miss Harriett Jay, as Psyche, has good intentions and is evidently an earnest student of acting, but her execution leaves a good deal to be desired. She has tenderness, but she lacks power. Miss Ada Cavendish, who has come back to the stage, was an imposing Aphrodite; and Miss Ada Ferrar, in a comparatively small part showed herself a charming actress and one of the most capable of young ladies who now throng the stage. Mr Thalberg was a competent Eros, and other characters were fairly sustained. Mr Walter Slaughter’s music was most tuneful, and Miss Letty Lind won much applause for her dancing. The whole performance was received with great applause.

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The Glasgow Herald (22 May, 1890 - p.7)

     MR ROBERT BUCHANAN’S new poetical play, “The Bride of Love,” produced at the Adelphi to-day, is a classical work on practically new lines. The story is that of Eros and Psyche as told by Apuleius of old, and as versified by La Fontaine and dramatised by Moliére and others. In Mr Buchanan’s piece the immortals are, however, strongly endowed with human sympathies. In the first act, the scene of which is laid in the classical heaven, Aphrodite resides with her children, who include her eldest born, the god Eros. Eros is depicted as the embodiment of fully developed though still young god-head. His mother explains to her attendant Zephyr (who by the way throughout the play is a comic character) that she does not wish her eldest born “to contract all the wild errors of the elder gods.” Zephyr philosophically believes there are other reasons, and declares that Aphrodite has a purely mortal fear of growing old, and “is afraid of becoming a grandmother.” The act is chiefly taken up by a description of the gradually increasing manly feeling of Eros, his first vision of the beautiful Psyche, and his determination to secure her for his bride. His mother, Aphrodite, wills it otherwise, and in the second act, when six of the principal Kings of Greece and its neighbourhood come to claim Psyche for wife, the goddess causes her oracle to command Psyche, in accordance with the old legend, to be chained to a rock, and there to be wedded to the monster which shall come from the sea. A chorus of “elemental spirits,” the music of which is by Mr Walter Slaughter, is here interposed, and was sung behind the scenes. The monster proves to be Eros himself, who, in the next act, that is to say in the Garden of Love, is found married to Psyche. Here is sung a beautiful “Epithalamium,” or wedding ode, for female voices, written by Dr A. C. Mackenzie. Its melodious character is emphasised by its simple accompaniment from a harp, the interludes being filled in by two flutes and the cymbals, as typical of the pipe and lyre of ancient Greece. The ode is followed by the dance of Euphrosyne, undertaken by that graceful artist Miss Letty Lind.

     AFTER this some of Psyche’s former admirers and her jealous sisters are introduced, and induce the bride to ask the question of the origin and family of her husband. Female curiosity in the Greek play is no less fatal than in Wagner’s “Lohengrin.” Psyche having unknowingly set eyes upon a god is stricken with blindness and loses her husband, who returns to the Pagan paradise. In the last act, the scene of which is identical with that of the first, the disconsolate Eros has returned to heaven, and has gained the sympathy of his mother, who for her son’s sake proceeds to Mount Olympus in order to beseech the gods to save her eldest-born from his misery. Psyche, too, is introduced among the immortals, and with the graceful thought which appears in the old legend her human attributes die, thus rendering her an immortal who can be united to her beloved Eros for eternity. The Choric song in praise of love, again accompanied by harp and flute, has been contributed by Dr Mackenzie, and with the announcement of Psyche’s immortality the play closes. The serious interest of the piece is enlivened not only by the comic character of Zephyr, but also by an amusing scene in the Garden of Love, in which Eros, using his power of inspiring affection, causes the kings who were previously suitors for the hand of his wife to fall desperately in love with her two disagreeable sisters. The play, which is written in blank verse, is an admirable literary effort, and although some of the lengthy speeches must be abbreviated it is a worthy example of Mr Buchanan’s dramatic abilities at their best. The play was mounted with taste, and was on the whole admirably played, particularly as to the Aphrodite of Miss Ada Cavendish—who thus made her first appearance on the stage since her widowhood—and as to the Eros of Mr Thalberg and the comic Zephyr of Mr Lionel Rignold. Miss Harriet Jay, although somewhat overweighted in the trying scenes in the third and fourth acts, must also be commended for her very careful rendering of the engaging part of Psyche. At the end of the performance Mr Robert Buchanan was called to the footlights and was applauded by a very large audience.

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The Morning Post (23 May, 1890 - p.3)

ADELPHI THEATRE.
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     Mr. Robert Buchanan’s new poetical play, “The Bride of Love,” in four acts, was produced on Wednesday afternoon, and proved to be in every way a remarkable dramatic work. The stage has so little association with poetry in these days, that a play of imagination is a welcome contrast to the devices of the stage carpenter and the mechanical characters of the sensational drama. Mr. Buchanan in his earlier days of authorship was better known as a poet than as a dramatist, and many of his old admirers will be disposed to welcome his return to poetic forms. There was something approaching to the classical in the representation of “The Bride of Love.” Scenic effects and music lent their aid, and choral odes were introduced, composed by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie, principal of the Royal Academy of Music, while other incidental music was composed by Mr. Walter Slaughter, who conducted the orchestra and chorus. The choral odes were given by Mr. Stedman’s choir, and new scenery and costumes enhanced the effect of Mr. Buchanan’s play, which is founded upon the Greek legend of Eros and Psyche, to be found in the “Golden Ass” of Apuleius. The subject has often tempted the dramatist and poet. Molière, assisted by Corneille, dramatised it, and songs of Quinault and music by Lulli were added. Molière took part in the piece, and became but too fascinated with the attractions of the representative of Love. Mr. Buchanan, while recalling these instances of the treatment of the story for the stage, claims that he has given a practically “new and original” treatment of the subject which has nothing in common with the Greek spirit or with the “tragedy-ballet” of Molière. The story of the love and fate of Psyche has served as an allegory of the human soul, and in the concluding act of the play the author has made an attempt to idealise the Greek legend by making Psyche actually pass through the shadow of death and arise glorified in accordance with Christian sentiment. In these passages we have the essence, so to speak, of the play, and the moral is that “Where Love abides Death hath no victory;” that beyond and above the power of the gods there is a law which attests that “Death is but the shadow of a dream.” This is the poetical side of the play, but Mr. Buchanan, in a manner not unlike that adopted by Mr. W. S. Gilbert in his “Pygmalion and Galatea,” mixes up some very mortal ideas and mortal personages with his Greek characters. They make effective scenes, and add life to the subject. With Mr. Fenton’s new scenery, Dr. Mackenzie’s expressive music, choral effects, beautiful costumes, and excellent acting, “The Bride of Love” is presented with attractions not likely to be ignored by the playgoer, especially by the frequenter of the theatre who has had enough and to spare of the commonplaces of modern drama. Varied degrees of merit marked the acting. Some performers naturally enough feel ill at ease in classic garb, but for the most part the performance was very satisfactory, and in many instances especially so. Miss Ada Cavendish was most warmly welcomed as the Goddess Aphrodite, her stately appearance being well suited to the character, and her delivery of Mr. Buchanan’s lines was worthy of their grace and tenderness. Miss Clara Jecks, sprightliest of modern actresses, represented Eridon with excellent effect. Mr. Lionel Rignold made a quaint figure of Zephyros, and pretty zephyrs and other fanciful figures were seen surrounded by a chorus of graces and elementary spirits. Mr. Bassett Roe, Mr. Leonard Outram, and Miss Ada Ferrar agreeably represented Lycas, Atalantos, and Creusa, and Miss Harriett Jay appeared as Psyche. Miss Jay has some of the best lines to deliver, and gave them with appropriate grace of diction and with ample fervour and passion. Mr. Thalberg, as Eros, was seen to advantage. He spoke the poetical lines with dignity and expression, and made a graceful and tender lover. Mr. Buchanan received the most cordial encouragement in his enterprise, being called for and greeted enthusiastically at the close.

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The Sheffield Daily Telegraph (23 May, 1890 - p.4)

[FROM OUR LADY CORRESPONDENT.]

                                                                                                       LONDON, Thursday.

     A large audience, consisting chiefly of artistic celebrities and art critics, assembled yesterday afternoon in the Adelphi Theatre to give a warm greeting to Miss Harriet Jay, who, after a long absence from the stage, re-appeared in a new piece by Robert Buchanan, called “The Bride of Love.” The piece, a version of the well-known love story of Eros and Psyche, though it contains some beautiful writing, is too slow and of too classic an interest to please the jaded taste of nineteenth century playgoers, but as a series of picturesque and beautifully mounted scenes it cannot fail to delight artistic people.
     The most charming scene in the drama is that on which the curtain rises at the beginning of the third act—a scene in the Garden of Eros, with the summer moon rising over the city domes and spires. Beneath a screen of beech leaves a number of gracefully dressed Greek girls dance a slow and stately measure, singing a hymn to Hymen, of which the music, like that of most of the choruses, has been composed by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie, principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Letty Lind, as Euphrosyne, looking the incarnation of the spring in pale green draperies girdled about the slim figure, with white ribbon bretelles, danced a graceful cymbal dance as only Letty Lind can dance, and of course had an encore.
     Miss Harriet Jay looked picturesque and graceful in her beautifully arranged Greek draperies. In the first act she appeared in a Greek dress of soft, creamy white material, the under-dress bordered with gold in a Greek pattern. Heavy gold balls were attached to the upper drapery, and a plain gold waistbelt, gold shoulder clasps, and a gold fillet in the wavy brown hair gave the finishing touches to the picturesque dress. Later in the second act Miss Jay laid aside her chiton or upper drapery, and appeared in the simple white under-dress, with a wreath of small white flowers instead of the fillet on her hair. In the third act in the garden she wore a Greek dress of the palest pink silk muslin, most artistically draped, with pointed sleeves reaching to the elbow, falling from the under part of the arm. At the close of the piece beautiful bouquets were handed to Miss Jay and to Miss Ada Cavendish, who received a warm greeting from her many old friends. She scarcely looked the somewhat trying part of Aphrodite, goddess of love. She wore flowing draperies of white silk, with a gold key pattern, richly jewelled waist belt and shoulder clasps, and a scarf of pale blue muslin suspended from the shoulders. Very beautiful were the dresses worn by Miss Frances Ivor and Miss Ada Ferrar as Creusa and Hyla, the jealous sisters of Psyche. The former wore pale mauve draperies, the under-dress being of soft silk in a lighter shade, the upper one trimmed with a pattern in silver. Hyla, whose hair was elaborately decorated with gold chains and fillets, wore an over-dress of silk crape in a golden green shade, with broad stripes of red and other colours over an under-dress of amber silk. Miss Clara Jecks and two other young loves fluttered about in pretty little wings, rose wreaths, and a modicum of dainty drapery.
     Among those in front were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Buchanan, who watched the play from the box to the left of the stage, the former appearing before the footlights at the close, in answer to a loud call for “author.” Miss Annie Irish, in a soft grey dress and grey hat with feathers; Mrs. Horace Neville (Miss Annie Rose), in a fawn costume, with lilac silk vest and floral toque; Miss Rosine Filippi, in a quiet costume of black silk and dark red woollen material; were among the many members of the profession who looked on from the stalls and the circle. Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Wilde, Mr. Clement Scott, and Mr. Rawdon Knowles were among the representatives of criticism and literature present.

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The Athenæum (24 May, 1890 - No. 3265, p.683)

THE WEEK.

     ADELPHI—Afternoon Performance: ‘The Bride of Love,’
a Play in Four Acts. By Robert Buchanan.
    
SHAFTESBURY.—‘Judah,’ a Play in Three Acts.
By Henry Arthur Jones.

...

     MR. BUCHANAN has dramatic grip. Give him a skeleton and he can, as has been abundantly proven, clothe it with respectable flesh; but he has been scarcely wise in meddling with the legend of Cupid and Psyche. It is not, of course, his fault that legends concerning “Olympus’ faded hierarchy” when seen on the stage are associated with the idea of music by Offenbach or Gilbertian satire. One strong scene, in order to vindicate his reputation as a dramaturge, Mr. Buchanan has obtained. It is necessarily that in which Psyche, insisting upon the gratification of her wish, gazes on the unveiled godhead of her spouse, and shrinks back scorched into blindness by the dazzling presence. This portion of the play was powerful and stimulating. The remainder, though written in workmanlike style and not lacking either idea or expression, is as remote from Greek as it can well be. With the treatment of the subject we have no disposition to find fault. What is really wrong is the atmosphere. In spite of himself Mr. Buchanan has yielded to the influence of his predecessors. A Venus who has grown old and is expressly declared to be a bit of a shrew, and a Cupid who goes to bed early at night, having apparently to be up early in order to go to a board school, need the accompaniments of Offenbach rather than of Mr. Slaughter or Dr. Mackenzie; and a plump and indolent Zephyros, who indulges in comic asides and fulfils to Eros the functions which Mercury did not always scorn to render to Jupiter, comes out of the ‘Wicked World.’ During no inconsiderable portion of the play we seemed to be contemplating ‘Cinderella,’ and more than half the third and best act was a species of alteration in the love scenes in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ with Zephyros for an elderly and obese Puck. Mr. Buchanan’s play was received with much favour. It has none the less, it is to be feared, few elements of enduring vitality.
     One lovely piece of pure Greek beauty there was, the dance of Euphrosyne, rendered with an accompaniment of clanging cymbals by Miss Letty Lind. One could not, indeed, resist the wish to see a figure and style so typically virginal and Greek in the character of Psyche. Psyche herself was played with much earnestness, and in the end with some passion, by Miss Harriett Jay. Miss Ada Cavendish, as Aphrodite, spoke with an elocution the rest might copy with advantage. Mr. Thalberg looked well, and gave with much spirit the rôle of Eros. With a better delivery he would be a very acceptable representative of the part. Mr. Lionel Rignold acted with no extravagance in the strange freaks of Zephyros, and Miss Clara Jecks and Miss Marie Fraser were pleasing in subordinate figures. Mr. Buchanan should dip again into Keats before he meddles with a theme such as this, and after so doing will probably henceforward leave it alone.

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The Era (24 May, 1890 - p.9)

“THE BRIDE OF LOVE.”
_____

A New Poetical Play, in Four Acts, by Robert Buchanan.
Produced at a Matinée at the Adelphi Theatre,
on Wednesday, May 21st, 1890.

IMMORTALS.

The Goddess Aphrodite  ...     Miss ADA CAVENDISH
Eridon                     ... ... ...     Miss CLARA JECKS
Erotion                    ... ... ...     Miss MARIE FRASER
Cupidon                  ... ... ...     Miss JENNY HUMM
Euphrosyne             ... ... ...     Miss LETTY
LIND
Zephyros                 ... ... ...     Mr LIONEL
RIGNOLD
Phosphoros             ... ... ...     Miss SOMERSET
Two Young Zephyrs    ... ...     Miss STEAD
                                               Miss B. FERRAR
Eros                       ... ... ...    Mr T. B. THALBERG

MORTALS.

Methonos                 ... ... ...     Mr ALFRED BRYDONE
Lycas                      ... ... ...    Mr BASSETT
ROE
Atalantos                  ... ... ...     Mr LEONARD OUTRAM
Nassrad                    ... ... ...     Mr E. LENNOX
The King of Circassia    ... ...     Mr C. M. HALLARD
The
King of Thule      ... ... ...     Mr HENRY
BAYNTUN
Glaucus                   
... ... ...    Mr H. ARNCLIFFE

Hyla                         ... ... ...    Miss FRANCES
IVOR
Creusa                     ... ... ...    Miss ADA FERRAR
Psyche                     ... ... ...    Miss HARRIETT JAY

     The Bride of Love, as a “note” from the author informed us prior to production, is founded on the beautiful Greek legend of “Eros and Psyche,” preserved for posterity in “The Golden Ass” of Apuleius, a subject already associated with the illustrious names of La Fontaine, Molière, and Corneille. Mr Buchanan claims on behalf of his treatment of the legend that it is practically new and original. In undertaking his task, however, he seems to have had in mind the Gilbertian style of fairy comedy, to have invented a comic god, and then to have repented of his work without finding courage enough to destroy it. How otherwise are we to account for the presence of that Zephyros, who, without any fault on the part of his representative, vulgarises every scene in which he appears, and makes a terrible blot upon a work which is replete with fancy and is rich in poetic feeling? The story of Psyche’s love and loss, as Mr Buchanan reminds us, has been well described as an allegory of the human soul in its passage upward. “In the fourth act of this play Psyche actually passes through the Shadow of Death, and, arising thence glorified, realises not only the old Greek idea of Apotheosis, but the modern Christian sentiment of the resurrection of the spiritualised body.” Well, so beautiful a theme, we take it, should not be marred by the introduction of the modern vulgarisms of a Zephyros with his comic make-up after the fashion of the late Mr Buckstone in burlesque, and his coarse satire directed at a “wicked world,” where wakeful wives learn husband’s secrets as they babble in their sleep, and slippered kings in palaces creep by night to kiss their saucy scullery maids. This introduction apart we have nothing but praise for Mr Buchanan’s play, which held the attention of a large audience on Wednesday, and caused them to forget the brilliant spring sunshine that had been left with something of regret. Eros, the eldest born of Aphrodite, says Mr Buchanan, “is the embodiment of fully-developed, though still young, godhead, and is not in any way to be confounded with the Cupid of popular imagination.” He is, however, the lord of love, though loveless, and we meet him on the cloud-surrounded summit of a mountain on the island of Cyprus. He is in mood impatient and almost angrily argues with Aphrodite, who rebukes his complainings by reminding him that “power and its privileges still are ours—to reign and to be feared.” It would be “better to reign not and be loved,” answers Eros.

There’s not a herd-boy down in yonder dales
I do not envy. He at least can love!
Sits ’mid the shade in the sweet summer time,
With strong arm circled round some brown girl’s waist,
And busses her with a great smacking kiss
To crown his joy withal.

In this mood Zephyros finds him; directs his attention to the beauteous mortal Psyche; obeys his bidding and brings her sleeping to his presence and restrains his new-found rapture by reminding him that—

         In the tablets of the gods
’Tis written: Should a god reveal himself
In godlike shape, or name his heavenly name
To one of mortal birth, that mortal’s eyes
Never shall look upon the light again.

Here is foreshadowed the catastrophe that forms the most powerful scene in the play. Psyche is returned to earth bearing upon her hand the ring there placed by Eros. She is wooed by kings and princes, but rejects them all, and in rejecting arouses the wrath of her father. The oracle is consulted; Psyche is condemned to be chained to a rock, and, like another Andromeda, to be threatened by a monster of the deep. “I am thy monster,” presently cries Eros, and Psyche, with chains unloosed, is clasped in his loving arms. In the “Garden of Eros” she should find a happy home; but misery comes of curiosity. Her wish to see her kinsfolk has been gratified, and they have taunted her with being the mistress of a Prince Nobody, and yet another boon she craves—the knowledge of her loved one’s name. Eros is bound to answer; to reveal to mortal the immortal. Psyche is stricken blind. In the fourth act Psyche is again enfolded in her lover’s arms, but dies. Then cries Eros—

O Zeus, send down thy cruel thunderbolt,
And smite me, too! O Death, kind Death, come hither,
And place me with my love!

But hark! the spirit voices sing,

Rejoice, for Love is Lord, for Love is Lord!
     Creation wakes and lives, at his sweet call!
Kingly and fair he walks the starry sward,
Rules Heaven and Earth, adoring and adored,
     Since He is Lord of all!

Rejoice, for Day hath come, and Night hath fled!
     New worlds are wak’ning where his bright feet fall!
Flowers of new life from his soft hands are shed!
He wakes the quick, and shall awake the Dead,
     For Love is Lord of all!

“Lord of all!” The words inspire Eros with hope afresh, hope that is encouraged by the words of Aphrodite.

                                   Where Love abides,
Death hath no victory. Beyond the power
Of e’en immortal gods subsists the Law
By which they live and are. That Law attests
That Death is but the Shadow of a Dream!

And then the end.

EROS.    She stirs, she breathes! Her eyes are opening!
             She lives, she lives!
PSYCHE.                  Eros, my love, where art thou?
             A cloud of brightness—Light—and thou within it,
             My Lord, my Master.

The beauty of this story and the poetic charm of these scenes were heightened in no small degree by the incidental music, and notably in the instance of the introduction of Dr. Mackenzie’s epithalamium at the opening of the third act. The sweetly flowing melody of this hymn to Hymen fairly enchanted the house, and its repetition was demanded with an amount of enthusiasm that was not to be resisted. Other tuneful and telling numbers in the song of the elemental spirits and in the dance for Euphrosyne reflected credit on the musical skill of Mr Walter Slaughter, who conducted the orchestra.
     The most important part, Psyche, was intrusted to Miss Harriett Jay, who delivered her lines with pleasant distinctness and excellent expression, and, particularly in the scenes of Psyche’s blindness and tearful despair, succeeded in exciting the warmest sympathies of her audience. A most worthy companion picture was the Eros of Mr Thalberg. This young actor, if we remember rightly, made his mark a year or so ago among the “dramatic students,” and his noble bearing, his musical voice, lending additional beauty to the poetry of the lines that fell to his share, the impatience of the earlier scene, the rapture that comes with the love for Psyche, and the woe and great despair after the dread catastrophe, all depicted with rare force and feeling, made a deep impression upon the house, and secured for the clever artist unstinted admiration. Miss Ada Cavendish, who made her reappearance on the stage on this occasion, had a very cordial reception, and quickly reasserted her claims to favour by the vigour and elocutionary skill she brought to bear upon the part of Aphrodite, jealous of Psyche’s fame, determined on her destruction, but repentant and forgiving in the end, and assisting to make the mortal immortal as herself. Mr Lionel Rignold, as far as was possible, avoided the temptations to extravagance offered by the incongruous character of Zephyros. Miss Clara Jecks spoke well the few lines given to her in the part of Eridon; while Miss Frances Ivor and Miss Ada Ferrar gave prominence and distinction to respectively the characters of Hyla and Creusa, Psyche’s jealous and spiteful sisters, by a spell wooed and won by Lycas and Atalantos, at first determined lovers of Psyche, who were represented with much earnestness by Messrs Bassett Roe and Leonard Outram. Miss Letty Lind was warmly cheered for her incidental dance as Euphrosyne; and the minor characters were all in able keeping. The play had the advantage of new scenery by Mr. F. G. Fenton, painted by order of Mr Oscar Barrett, who proposes to give two representations at the Crystal Palace; and in the musical department excellent work was done by Mr Stedman’s well-trained choir. There was loud and general applause after the fall of the curtain, and it was continued until Mr Buchanan appeared in the midst of those who had given such excellent interpretation to his beautiful play.

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Manchester Times (24 May, 1890)

AFTERNOON CHAT.
_____

[BY OUR LADY CONTRIBUTORS.]
_____

. . .

     The most interesting dramatic event of the present week has been the reappearance, after a long absence from the stage, of Miss Harriet Jay, who received a warm welcome from a house packed with her many friends. The mythological drama, the “Bride of Love,” by Miss Jay’s friend and relative, Mr. Robert Buchanan, is a version of the world known story of Eros and Psyche. Though it contains some exquisite prose and verse—notably the songs which Dr. Mackenzie has set to music, and the pretty verses which Letty Lind, as Euphrosyne, repeated so prettily as she scattered flowers on the body of the dead Psyche—except as a series of charming pictures, beautifully mounted, the piece is little likely to please the taste of present day play-goers who crave for more sensation than there is in Mr. Buchanan’s drama. Nothing could be prettier than the pictures presented by the Princess Psyche (Miss Harriet Jay) and her fellow-actors in their artistic Greek dresses, among them being Miss Ada Cavendish (widow of the late Frank Marshall), who is returning to the stage, and will soon be seen in the provinces. The most charming scene was that in the garden of Eros, with the summer moon rising above the city towers and domes, and a crowd of graceful Greek girls treading a stately measure to the sound of a chorus composed by Dr. Mackenzie. Letty Lind never looked prettier or danced more gracefully than in the cymbal dance which followed the chorus. Wonderful was the skill with which she managed her clinging draperies of pale green, which fell to the ribbons that bound her green sandals round the shapely ankles. The loose bodice had bretelles of narrow white ribbon, which also girdled the fulness about the slim waist. Miss Annie Irish, prettily dressed in grey, with a grey plumed hat, Mrs. Horace Neville (Miss Annie Rose) in a fawn cloth dress with full lilac silk vest, Miss Rosina Filippi, in black silk and dark red, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Wilde, Mr. Clement Scott, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Buchanan were among those who applauded Princess Psyche from boxes, stalls, and circle. At the close of the performance bouquets were handed to Miss Jay and to Miss Ada Cavendish.

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Reynolds’s Newspaper (25 May, 1890)

ADELPHI THEATRE.

     Wednesday was a busy day in the London theatres, and a remarkable one, for it gave us, not only Mr. Jones’s interesting play of “Judah,” but something still more novel, the dramatization of a Greek myth by Mr. Robert Buchanan, at the Adelphi Theatre. In many respects nothing so beautiful has been seen on the stage in recent years. Had the acting been equal to the authorship, we should have had a most powerful representation. The story of Eros and Psyche is an exquisite legend preserved in the “Golden Ass” of Apuleius. Eros, the eldest-born of Aphrodite, falls in love with Psyche, a mortal. But, in Mr. Buchanan’s words, the eternal doom is that—

In the tablets of the gods
’Tis written: Should a god reveal himself
In godlike shape, or name his heavenly name
To one of mortal birth, that mortal’s eyes
Never shall look upon the light again!

Impelled by doubt and curiosity, Psyche implores a revelation as to the identity of her lover. Eros can refuse her nothing. Psyche is struck blind and dies, but by the favour of Zeus is immortalized and given to Eros for ever. The scene opens on the summit of a mountain in Cyprus, the abode of Aphrodite. It is a pity more care was not taken with the furnishing of this scene. The clouds surrounding the abode of the goddess bear scarcely any resemblance to clouds, and two lumps of wood, plastered over with some artificial flowers, can hardly be taken to represent the Asphodel meads of Heaven. The spirit-sick Eros is induced to the love of Psyche by his comic and somewhat mischievous body-servant, Zephyros. Psyche having refused all lovers, her angry father, the King of Cyprus, consults the oracle. It is decreed, upon the instigation of Aphrodite, who is determined that her son shall now know love, that Psyche be chained to a rock, and devoured by a sea-monster. Chained she is; but Eros carries her away to his enchanted garden, where the fatal secret is revealed, and the destiny is fulfilled. It would be difficult to exceed the beauty of this scene. Before the curtain is drawn, the melodious sound of a flute and the occasional clash of a cymbal is heard. The curtain rises. Maidens in the moonlit garden of Eros are singing an epithalamium, or marriage song, composed by Dr. Mackenzie, principal of the Royal Academy of Music. They also tread a choral dance, weaving in and out and round about in graceful, stately measure. What a charming picture! How beautiful these many-coloured Greek costumes! How they grace and dignify the wearers! Then appears Miss Letty Lind, in the character of the mirth-giving Euphrosyne. Cymbals in hand, she dances a Greek measure to music composed by Mr. Slaughter, the composer of “Marjorie,” who conducted the orchestra. There is the scene as depicted on some old Greek vase. It melts away. The unseen fate moves forward to the impassioned cry of despair of the god as he reveals his fatal secret, and vanishes from the sight of his doomed bride, upon whose cry of woe the curtain falls. In the last act we are taken again to heaven, where, on the intercession of Aphrodite, life is restored to Psyche, and she is immortalized. Mr. Thalberg, who played Eros, looked the part to perfection, and after he recovered from a nervousness which made him monotonous in the first act, declaimed the beautiful lines of his part with rare elocutionary skill and grace. Miss Ada Cavendish was not seen to much advantage in the character of Aphrodite. Excellent actress as she is in many respects, her style was too ponderous and stagy for the conception of the goddess; nor, although she worked conscientiously and carefully, can Miss Harriett Jay be called an ideal Psyche, a part in sympathy with which so much depends. Miss Jay’s mode of delivery is not what could be desired, nor did she convey the notion of the half-spiritualized being whom she was intended to represent. The Zephyros was a somewhat incongruous element. A low comedy character amid serious and tragic surroundings, struck one as a little out of place and taste, Mr. Alfred Brydone, as the King of Cyprus, spoke his lines with great effect; and Miss Francis Ivor and Miss Ada Ferrar were effective as Hyla and Creusa, the jealous and cruel sisters of Psyche. Mr. Buchanan has composed a beautiful play. His blank verse is smooth, melodious, and at times highly poetical. He well deserved the ringing cheers which greeted his appearance on the stage in response to loud calls at the conclusion of the piece.

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Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper (25 May, 1890 - p.6)

ADELPHI THEATRE.

     Whatever theatrical respect may have once been entertained for the mythological residents of Olympus has been almost destroyed by the burlesque writer. Nowadays, when the gods appear upon the stage, they are expected to indulge in topical ditties or breakdowns. This was one of the many difficulties Mr. Robert Buchanan had to face in producing, on Wednesday afternoon, his poetical play The Bride of Love. To this spirit of ridicule indeed he made a slight concession in representing Zephyros as a species of comic commentator on the events of the play, and in entrusting the character to such a favourite comedian as Mr. Lionel Rignold has become since he played the Jew money-lender in London Day by Day. Miss Letty Lind, too, from the Gaiety, as Euphrosyne, had one of those dances in clinging drapery in which she excels, and the audience insisted on an encore. There are some exceedingly good poetic passages in the work for Psyche and Eros, and a vein of genuine dramatic interest is struck when the mortal who has become the bride of the God of Love, as the consequence of her persistent demand to know his name, is stricken with blindness and dies, to be afterwards restored to life, at the intercession of Aphrodite, as an immortal. To appease Aphrodite’s jealousy Psyche is, Andromeda-like, bound to a rock, but there is no monster to conquer when Eros appears as her deliverer. The third and fourth acts of the play on Wednesday went very well, the accessories here including, besides new scenery, a couple of choral odes for female voices, composed by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie. The remainder of the incidental music was by Mr. Slaughter. Psyche had a charming representative in Miss Harriet Jay, who more than realised anticipations. Miss Ada Cavendish (the Aphrodite) was warmly welcomed on her return to the stage; Miss Clara Jecks made much of the sprightly Eridon; Mr. T. B. Thalberg was the Eros, and in less important parts Miss Ada Ferrar, Mr. Bassett Roe, and Mr. Leonard Outram distinguished themselves. The play was well received throughout.

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The Derby Daily Telegraph (26 May, 1890 - p.3)

     Another new work that first saw light on Wednesday last, was the long promised poetical play by Mr. Robert Buchanan, entitled “The Bride of Love,” which was produced at a matinee at the Adelphi Theatre. Founded on the mythological story of “Eros and Psyche,” the play is written in exquisite language, and aided by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie’s melodious hymns and choruses, a success was won without so much as a dissentient voice. Unquestionably, writes one of the leading critics, Mr. Buchanan’s play was a relief after the recent surfeit of farcical absurdity and declassicised comedy with which the stage has been surfeited. It was a gala day for the imaginative, and surely the lovers of unadulterated fun will not grudge one afternoon among the flowers of poetry and under the green trees of culture.

     There must have been scores of dramatists, continues the same authority, who have gone to the beautiful Greek legend of “Eros and Psyche” for inspiration at the very fountain head. Here we find Perseus and Andromeda; here we trace Pygmalion and Galatea with the god-given blindness, except that the punishment falls here on the woman and not on the man; here is a distinct trace of King Lear perplexed by the vagaries of his daughters; here the germ of the child’s story of Cinderella, her spiteful sisters, and the amorous Prince; here suggestion after suggestion of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and here also a dramatic position with associations which recall the modern scene in which the gardener’s son, Claude Melnotte, and the proud beauty of Lyons are discovered.

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The Penny Illustrated Paper (31 May, 1890 - p. 3)

     Most notable of recent matinées was the Adelphi performance of Mr. Robert Buchanan’s mythological play “The Bride of Love,” which was so favourably received that Mr. Horace Sedger is anxious to run it at the Lyric till the provinces claim Miss Ada Cavendish. This proved a musical dramatic poem of signal merit, the music being composed by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie and Mr. Walter Slaughter, the clever composer of “Marjorie.” In “The Bride of Love” that talented and favourite actress Miss Ada Cavendish—far too long absent from the stage—met with an enthusiastic reception, which evidently stimulated her to deliver the stern lines of Aphrodite with the greatest possible artistic effect. In a word, Miss Ada Cavendish imbued the part with that touch of Nature which is the triumph of Art. Mr. Thalberg, the handsome Eros, would have done well to have studied the fine elocution of Miss Cavendish, then he would not have clipped his words and bitten his sentences as he did in the early acts. When this intelligent and rising young actor got into the full fling of his love-making with the beauteous Psyche, he improved materially. The third act was the most dramatic of the piece. It was here that Miss Letty Lind, personification of the poetry of motion, danced her seductive measures as Euphrosyne, and here that some of the most charming verse was spoken, such as this gem from the lips of Psyche:—

Thus is Love born—
Not with long coaxing like a hothouse flower,
But instantaneously—a happy star
That bursts to life, and finds itself in heaven!
I saw his eyes—they kindled light in mine!
I heard his voice—the music of my dreams!
I took his hand, I fell upon his heart;
And pillow'd there, I knew it was my home!

Enjoying the advantage of being acted in its two principal parts by Miss Ada Cavendish and Miss Harriet Jay, “The Bride of Love” went admirably. The sparkling “Puck”-like Eridon of sprightly Miss Clara Jecks, the vivacious Hyla and Creusa of Miss Frances Ivor and Miss Ada Ferrar, and the Lycas and Atalantos of Mr. Bassett Roe and Mr. Leonard Outrum were also praiseworthy, as were the low-comedy and mirth-moving efforts of Mr. Lionel Rignold to assume the lightsome character of Zephyros.

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The Graphic (31 May, 1890)

THEATRES.

     IF Whitsun week is, as usual, barren of theatrical novelties, the week that precedes it has this year been at our theatres one of remarkable activity and enterprise. Mr. Henry Arthur Jones’s new play entitled Judah, at the SHAFTESBURY, would in itself be sufficient to give distinction to this brief period of the present dramatic season; but besides this we have had Mr. Robert Buchanan’s mythological verse play, The Bride of Love, at the ADELPHI; and Mrs. Bancroft’s first essay in the way of dramatic authorship, in the shape of a new two-act play, entitled A Riverside Story, at the HAYMARKET; not to speak of Mr. James Mortimer’s play, entitled Queen’s Counsel, at the COMEDY; or the two matinée productions of Tuesday last. The modern English drama may not yet have reached any very high level; but at all events it is not stagnating. The prizes held out to the successful are brilliant, the ambition of the younger school of dramatic workers is stimulated by the ample encouragement offered them through the constant increase in the number of high class theatres; and the time is clearly at hand when the answer to the Frenchman’s humiliating question, “Y-a-t-il un Théâtre Anglais?” will be too obviously in our favour, even for the readers of the Paris Figaro.

. . .

     Mr. Buchanan’s mythological play in four acts is a pretty modification of the old story of how the Princess Psyche came to be numbered with the immortals through her love for the god Eros. Departing from the heathen view, the author treats this lovely fable as an allegory of the Christian doctrine of the progress of the soul through the Valley of Death to life eternal. It is a pity that he should have deemed it necessary to concede to the supposed tastes of modern audiences by introducing a low comedy immortal in the person of Mr. Lionel Rignold; but in other respects it must be allowed that his treatment of his theme is refined, and that some of the lyrics rise to a high level of poetical fervour. Miss Harriett Jay acquitted herself with grace and tact in the trying part of Psyche, and Miss Ada Cavendish, returning to the stage after a prolonged absence, maintained at least the dignified presence of Aphrodite, and spoke her lines with a due sense of their musical cadence. Mr. Thalberg, if he did not exactly “confess the god,” made a fervent and presentable Eros. Music of some merit was provided for the play by Mr. Walter Slaughter and Dr. Mackenzie. Miss Letty Lind’s graceful and elegant dance with cymbals was justly applauded; nothing more picturesque of its kind, indeed, has been seen on the modern stage.

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The Theatre (1 June, 1890)

     In “The Bride of Love,” produced at an Adelphi matinée on May 21st, and which we can but here barely notice, Mr. Buchanan is at once true and false to his poetical and artistic instincts. Verbal beauties abound, and mythological intricacies are resolved with an ingenuity that is commendable. The low comedy of the play, however, rings false in its connection, and frequently verges on vulgarity, and the possible beauty of the whole is missed through a wilful writing- down to the smaller intellects of an audience. The piece was generally well rendered.

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The Derby Daily Telegraph (2 June, 1890 - p.3)

     “The Bride of Love,” so successfully produced at a recent Adelphi matinee, will be transferred next week to the nightly bill of the Lyric Theatre. The talented author, Mr. Robert Buchanan, has, it is stated, received offers from three West End managers to place it in their programmes, but it has been decided that the Lyric is the best suited to the production. Dr. Mackenzie’s beautiful odes, which won such general admiration, will have the advantage of a full orchestra under the direction of Mr. Walter Slaughter, the composer of “Marjorie.”

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The Stage (6 June, 1890 - p.11)

     Last week I stated that Robert Buchanan’s Bride of Love would shortly be placed in the evening bill of a theatre. As a matter of fact, it will be staged at the Lyric on Saturday next. Considerable alteration has, I understand, been made in the piece, and a great improvement will be noticed in the introduction of more music than was heard at the matinée performance. Miss Ada Cavendish, Miss Harriett Jay, and Mr. Thalberg will resume their original parts.

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The Morning Post (9 June, 1890 - p.5)

     THE CRYSTAL PALACE.—The first performance this season at the Crystal Palace of a grand evening ballet is fixed for Thursday evening, previous to the display of fireworks. Pending the production of the new ballet, which is in active preparation, “A Golden Dream,” so successfully performed during the season of 1889, will be reproduced. To-morrow and Thursday afternoons there will be two special performances at the Crystal Palace of Mr. Robert Buchanan’s new mythological drama (recently produced with marked success at the Adelphi Theatre), entitled “The Bride of Love,” in which Miss Harriett Jay, Miss Ada Cavendish, and Mr. T. B. Thalberg will appear, supported by a powerful company.

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The Daily News (11 June, 1890 - p.3)

LYRIC THEATRE.

     We so recently dealt with Mr. Robert Buchanan’s “The Bride of Love,” when the play was produced at a matinée at the Adelphi, that little more than a bare announcement is required of its transference to the evening programme at the Lyric Theatre. The parts of Aphrodite, Psyche, and Eros are again entrusted to Miss Ada Cavendish, Miss Harriett Jay, and Mr. Thalberg, and, indeed, the only important change in the cast is the substitution for Mr. Lionel Rignold of Mr. Ernest Hendrie, who is an amusing representative of the comic minor-deity Zephyros. Miss Luna is now entrusted with the dance of Euphrosyne in place of Miss Letty Lind; while Dr. Mackenzie’s two choice odes still add to the interest of the second and last acts. Mr. Buchanan’s piece is preceded by Mr. Alec Nelson’s “By the Sea,” a little piece based upon “Jean Marie.”

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The Standard (12 June, 1890 - p.3)

LYRIC THEATRE.
_____

     This handsome theatre, hitherto the home of light opera, a form of entertainment regarded as frivolous by serious-minded persons, has been selected for the regular nightly performance of Mr. Robert Buchanan’s poetical drama, The Bride of Love. In welcoming this contribution to a school of dramatic art that has for many years suffered almost total neglect, we pointed out, when the play was produced at an Adelphi matinée, certain defects which marred its force and true poetic beauty. With regard to the performance at the Lyric, it may be said that Miss Ada Cavendish, Mr. Thalberg, and Miss Harriet Jay resume their original characters, and that the two last-named artists already evince more power in their respective parts than they did at the first rendering of the play. Mr. Ernest Hendrie does his best as Zephyros, and so does Miss Luna as Euphrosyne, but the latter is scarcely an acceptable substitute for Miss Letty Lind. Dr. Mackenzie’s beautiful wedding chorus is still effective, and not a few among the audience would rejoice if there were more incidental music of equal worth.

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The Stage (13 June, 1890 - p.12)

THE LYRIC.

     On Monday evening, June 9, 1890, was produced here (after having been brought out at a matinée performance at the Adelphi, on May 21 last) the poetic play in four acts, by Robert Buchanan, entitled:—

The Bride of Love.

IMMORTALS.

The Goddess Aphrodite  ...   Miss Ada Cavendish
The God Eros       ... ... ...    Mr. T. B. Thalberg
Eridon                   ... ... ...    Miss Laura Linden
Erotion                  ... ... ...    Miss Marie Fraser
Cupidon                ... ... ...    Miss Emmie Bowman
Zephyros               ... ... ...     Mr. Ernest Hendrie
Phosphoros           ... ... ...     Miss A. Somerset
A Young Wind     ... ... ...    Miss Beatrice Ferrar
Euphrosyne           ... ... ...     Miss Luna

MORTALS.

Methonos             ... ... ...    Mr. Alfred Brydone
Atalantos              ... ... ...    Mr. Leonard Outram
Lycas                    ... ... ...     Mr. Bassett Roe
The King of Circassia    ...     Mr. C. M. Hallard
The King of Thule      ... ...     Mr. Henry Bayntun
Hyla                     ... ... ...    Miss Frances Ivor
Creusa                 ... ... ...    Miss Mary Kingsley
Princess Psyche        ... ...    Miss Harriett Jay

     That the higher reaches of dramatic art are served by a play such as The Bride of Love there can be no doubt. The playhouse finds itself taken out of its own air into the ether beyond, where are the pleasures of the imagination. And they are felt scarcely to be pleasures bodiless, impalpable, only half-evident, as though the gleams of a will o’ the wisp among the shadows of the mind. It is the great charm of The Bride of Love that so much of it, for all the gossamer, the fantasy, the miracle, is made quick to us through the common sorrows and joys. The imagination becomes stimulated through the heart. All the senses are alert, deftly prompted by form, by colour, by sound, by movement; beneath, lying deeper, helping all, dominating all, is the master passion of our human being. That the aim is to show Love not only in human conditions but also sublimated, makes the purpose, if more difficult of achievement, then not less true or less strong. There is still the heart-beat, bringing Eros down to us from his heights, even as it lifts Psyche up to them. Hence, instead of the cold formalism of many efforts in this stage manner, or the unsatisfying abstraction, often the incongruity and sheer preposterousness—instead there is a theme highly imaginative, finely transcendental, suffering a theatric exposition that pleases by outward graces, that takes firm hold by inherent powers.
     Whether, lucid as Mr. Buchanan’s treatment has been, and effective, the pretty shallows will not be appreciated more than the noble depths is open to considerable doubts. For the full strength of The Bride of Love to be realized, the allegoric and other more subtile meanings must first be understood. Will the average audience, more or less unsophisticated in these matters, find too much mystery in the play as it is presented? There is, as we have said, the strong note to which human nature rings responsive; and, lowering the ground of argument, there is much of the ordinary stagecraft—with here and there a flaw. We do not under-estimate these recommendations; but, assuming that playgoers may not be quite so apt as they ought to be in interpretation, what then? Should there not to be a spectacular element to fall back upon? Beautiful scenery and accessories may be pointed to, fair faces and forms, ensembles that the artist must envy. But it is all upon an exceedingly small scale in a large theatre. One can sympathise with the author who shrinks from decking out his play to the danger of its spirit. Mr. Buchanan, however, whatever his conscientiousness, could have gone much farther than he has done without any sacrifice of artistic principle. We look for Aphrodite’s celestial court, and do not find it. Has Eros the eldest born, no attendants? Where are the sylphs of the air, the nymphs of the heavens? Or, coming to earth, why have the kings who have journeyed to woo Psyche no kingly retinues? Why has the temple no scene of priests and vestals, with chant and music roll? Such note of interrogation might easily be prolonged, but there is no need to labour it. Illustration of this sort surely would help rather than hinder the poetic scheme, for which reason, leaving the mercenary consideration of drawing audiences out of the question, so small a share of really consonant display is the more remarkable and the more regrettable. More of song and of Dr. A. C. Mackenzie’s exquisite music would also be welcome on the same grounds; and more of dance, too. Let not Mr. Buchanan think we would advise him to turn his delightful work into a mere spectacle, however enhanced the chances of popular success. But the material adjuncts might be far more attractive than they are, to the actual benefit of The Bride of Love and the immense improvement of the play’s prospects with large classes of theatregoers.
     The details of Mr. Buchanan’s variation of the beautiful Greek legend of Eros and Psyche were given at length in THE STAGE immediately after the Adelphi production. To recur to them now would be superfluous, for The Bride of Love remains unaltered but for one or two minor corrections and the transposition of a speech at the end. The present cast shows a few changes from the original, chief of them being those of Mr. Ernest Hendrie vice Mr. Lionel Rignold as Zephyros, Miss Laura Linden vice Miss Clara Jecks as Eridon, and Miss Mary Kingsely vice Miss Ada Ferrar as Creusa. Mr. Hendrie’s performance, if not to be praised as perfect, is highly commendable. The jovial and burly, but swift-footed Zephyros is conceived in a vein of comedy difficult in itself to body forth, and greatly complicated since supernatural fun that appears natural—as it must to effect its purpose on the stage—seems like a contradiction in terms. Mr. Hendrie plays the huge fellow with, so to speak, really delicate cogency of humour, marred only by a low comedy touch now and again. Miss Laura Linden as the bright Eridon, and Miss Mary Kingsley as the proud Creusa, take their places in the cast with entirely satisfactory results, either playing with much grace and finish in a part which wants in its degree considerable tact and skill. Miss Luna, who seeks to tread in Miss Letty Lind’s witching footsteps, cannot be called a good substitute as Euphrosyne. prominent among the old members of the cast are Miss Ada Cavendish as the vengeful Aphrodite, Miss Harriett Jay as Psyche, and Mr. T. B. Thalberg as Eros. Concerning the ladies there is nothing new to add to our former remarks. Mr. Thalberg’s Eros has gained in repose and in breadth. Mr. Thalberg has wisely moderated his method of speech, though it is still not without fault. His appearance in the part is excellent, but it cannot be said that his performance conveys as far as it might the great ardour, the high authority of young godhood. But it is an advance upon a more than good first assumption. Messrs. Alfred Brydone (Methonos), Bassett Roe (Lycas), leonard Outram (Atalantos), C. M. Hallard, and H. Bayntun, the three first-named especially, continue to be of much service to the play. Miss Frances Ivor is Hyla, as before, and also as before, is Hyla very satisfactorily. Miss Marie Fraser might deliver Erotion’s lines somewhat more musically than she does. Miss A. Somerset and Miss Beatrice Ferrar make pleasing appearances in small parts; and how pretty a rosy Cupidon is little Miss Emmie Bowman! The choric songs of Dr. Mackenzie are sung with precision and effect by members of the Stedman choir; the stage-management is of the most efficient character under Mr. E. B. Norman; and the music is well nigh perfectly performed by the orchestra conducted by Mr. Walter Slaughter, by whom the incidental portions, the dance, and the songs have been composed.
     Manifestations of approval were liberal throughout the performance on Monday evening, and upon the fall of the curtain there were loud calls for the principals. When they had appeared, and re-appeared, cries of “Author” were raised and repeated until, the curtain lifting again, Mr. Buchanan was disclosed, the central figure standing out in sable evening dress against the dramatis personæ in the delicate hues in which the fancy of the author and “Karl” had painted, and the practical skill of Messrs. Nathan had invested them.
     Miss Harriett Jay, with much natural charm and elocutionary art, spoke the subjoined prologue, written by the author:—

To-night we seek to picture to your gaze
What poets dream’d of in diviner days—
The radiant gods of Hellas, long since fled,
So dim and distant now men deem them dead!
And if we seek, upon our mimic stage,
To bring the Forms of that celestial age,
We ask your help; for such pure fantasy
Demands illusion from the eyes that see
To aid the art which seeks to realize,—
Since what is commonplace to common eyes,
What to the cynic is but dull and bare,
Is fair to those who try to think it fair!
Wherefore, if we should fail to paint to-night
Things once so beautiful and heavenly bright,
Forgive us—help us—do not scorn our dream;
Think us not what we are, but what we fain would seem!

Our tale is old as Love, yet ever new,
As Love shall be so long as men pursue
And maids are woo’d. Right noble is Love’s line,
From godlike Eros to St. Valentine!
Lord of the beating heart and yearning breast,
Life of the world, still godlike and still blest,
Love shall abide,—a living power and token,
Wherever sweethearts kiss or vows are spoken!
The cloud uplifts—the scene grows light and gay,
As in those golden days long passed away;
The mist of human care dissolves, to show
How Love came down from Heaven, long ago!

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The Era (14 June, 1890)

THE LYRIC.
_____

On Monday Evening, June 9th, the New Poetical Play,
by Robert Buchanan, entitled
“THE BRIDE OF LOVE.”

IMMORTALS.

Goddess Aphrodite  ...     Miss ADA CAVENDISH
God Eros         ... ... ...     Mr T. B. THALBERG
Eridon             ... ... ...    Miss LAURA LINDEN
Erotion            ... ... ...    Miss MARIE FRASER
Cupidon          ... ... ...    Miss EMMIE BOWMAN
Zephyros         ... ... ...    Mr ERNEST HENDRIE
Phosphoros     ... ... ...    Miss A. SOMERSET
A Young Wind ... ... ...     Miss BEATRICE FERRAR
Euphrosyne     ... ... ...    Miss LUNA

MORTALS.

Methonos       ... ... ...    Mr ALFRED BRYDONE
Atalantos        ... ... ...    Mr LEONARD OUTRAM
Lycas              ... ... ...     Mr BASSETT ROE
King of Circassia ... ...    Mr C. M. HALLARD
King of Thule  ... ... ...     Mr HENRY BAYNTUN
Hyla               ... ... ...    Miss FRANCES IVOR
Creusa           ... ... ...    Miss MARY KINGSLEY
Princess Psyche  ... ...     Miss HARRIETT JAY

     “In consequence of its triumphant success on its first production.” With this justifiable boast was Mr Buchanan’s poetic play revived on Monday, and put into the bill for a run at the Lyric Theatre. Its success at the Adelphi matinée was a triumphant one, triumphant beyond expectation, for it is not often that a poetic play, produced on a brilliant day in early summer, arouses the enthusiasm of those who have been tempted from the sunshine to witness it. The play, it will be remembered, is founded on the beautiful Greek legend of “Eros and Psyche,” with treatment which is practically new and original. In speaking of the Adelphi production we remarked that the author in preparing the work had in mind the Gilbertian style of fairy comedy; that he invented a comic god; repented of his work, but lacked courage to destroy it. This was Zephyros, who vulgarised every scene in which he appeared, and supplied the only blots on a play replete with fancy and rich in poetic feeling. The beautiful suggestion of the fourth act—Psyche, Mr Buchanan reminds us, actually passes through the Shadow of Death, and arising thence glorified realises not only the old Greek idea of Apotheosis, but the modern Christian sentiment of the resurrection of the spiritualised body—this suggestion, we insisted, ought not to be spoiled by the comic “wheezes” of a Zephyros recalling the late Mr Buckstone in burlesque, and giving off passages out of harmony with the prevailing tone of the play. It is proverbial, however, that nothing succeeds like success, and success having attended the initial representation of The Bride of Love, we cannot affect to be surprised that the author has been content to leave well alone, and, indeed, it must in fairness be admitted that Zephyros on a second introduction did not appear quite so objectionable as at first, notwithstanding that he indulged in a little excessive pantomime and still talked of tradesmen who in their sleep cried females’ names not belonging to their wives, and of kings in palaces who at night put on slippers to creep and kiss their saucy scullions. These blemishes on Monday night, as before, were pardoned—were, indeed, almost lost sight of in listening to the many sweetly poetical passages in which the play abounds, and in following the course of true love for Eros of poor Psyche, afflicted so terribly through her irrepressible curiosity. A few unimportant changes have been made in the piece since the first representation, the most notable being the rising of Eros from the sea in the second act, instead of appearing suddenly from behind the temple of Aphrodite, to deliver his beloved one chained to the rock. Miss Harriett Jay resumed her original part as Psyche, playing it, if possible, with even more grace and tenderness than at first, and she certainly succeeded in securing for the hapless heroine a full measure of sympathy. The gem of the play is the passage in which Psyche describes to her sisters the birth of her love for Eros, and this Miss Jay delivered with a full appreciation of its beauties; her audience listened with rapt attention and delight. Hyla to Psyche has said, “We thought thee loveless, yea, an icicle, devoted to eternal maidenhood,” and this is how Psyche makes reply—

And so I seemed—till, at my lord’s first kiss,
My soul awoke, e’en as a frozen world
Wakes at the kiss of spring. Thus is love born—
Not with long coaxing, like a hothouse flower,
But instantaneously—a happy star
That bursts to life, and finds itself in Heaven!
I saw his eyes—they kindled light in mine!
I heard his voice—the music of my dreams!
I took his hand, I fell upon his heart,
And, pillow’d there, I knew it was my home!

Mr Thalberg, too, played his original character, and, more distinct and more impassioned than at the Adelphi, repeated his success, and was admired of all present. Mr Bassett Roe, Mr Leonard Outram, Mr Alfred Brydone, Mr C. M. Hallard, Mr Henry Bayntun, Miss Frances Ivor, Miss Ada Cavendish, and Miss Marie Fraser again appeared, and gave distinction to the parts associated with their names, while “new blood” was introduced in the persons of Mr Ernest Hendrie, Miss Laura Linden, Miss Emmie Bowman, Miss Mary Kingsley, and Miss Luna. Mr Hendrie treated the part of Zephyros with praiseworthy delicacy, and extracted considerable humour from it. Miss Linden was splendidly emphatic as Eridon, and Miss Kingsley as Creusa was a worthy successor to Miss Ada Ferrar. Miss Luna followed Miss Letty Lind as Euphrosyne, but in her incidental dance did not make us forget that charming exponent of the saltatory art. The original music by Dr. Mackenzie and Walter Slaughter was again admired, and one or two supplemental numbers found deserved favour.
     A new prologue was supplied by r Buchanan for the introduction of The Bride of Love to the Lyric, and it was spoken with happy and effective expression by Miss Harriett Jay as follows:—

To-night we seek to picture to your gaze
What poets dream’d of in diviner days—
The radiant gods of Hellas, long since fled,
So dim and distant now men deem them dead!
And if we seek, upon our mimic stage,
To bring the Forms of that celestial age,
We ask your help; for such pure fantasy
Demands illusion from the eyes that see
To aid the art which seeks to realise,—
Since what is commonplace to common eyes,
What to the cynic is but dull and bare,
Is fair to those who try to think it fair!
Wherefore, if we should fail to paint to-night
Things once so beautiful and heavenly bright,
Forgive us—help us—do not scorn our dream;
Think us not what we are, but what we fain would seem!

Our tale is old as Love, yet ever new,
As Love shall be so long as men pursue
And maids are woo’d. Right noble is Love’s line,
From godlike Eros to St. Valentine!
Lord of the beating heart and yearning breast,
Life of the world, still godlike and still blest,
Love shall abide,—a living power and token,
Wherever sweethearts kiss or vows are spoken!
The cloud uplifts—the scene grows light and gay,
As in those golden days long past away;
The mist of human care dissolves, to show
How Love came down from Heaven, long ago!

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Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper (15 June, 1890 - p.6)

LYRIC THEATRE.

     Having taken so much pains with his poetic play The Bride of Love, it was hardly likely that Mr. Robert Buchanan would rest content with the single performance at a matinée at the Adelphi recently. The elegant theatre in Shaftesbury-avenue being available, he has transferred the piece thither with nearly all the former cast and with increased spectacular effect. The musical element also is extended, and Dr. A. C. Mackenzie’s fine choric odes—the epithalamium and “Love is Lord of all”—as well as Mr. Walter Slaughter’s agreeable incidental strains, receive adequate justice from a band conducted by the last-mentioned composer, and from a strong force of youthful vocalists. The play makes a successful appeal both to eye and to ear, whilst, on the whole, but little fault could on Monday be found with the acting, or with the delivery of Mr. Buchanan’s refined and tuneful verse—of course making allowance for the regrettable circumstance that so few young men on the stage can at the present time speak anything but prose—and by the way, not always that correctly. Miss Harriett Jay, who, as Psyche, now recites a prologue asking for illusion “for such pure fantasy,” acts with grace and infinite tenderness, particularly in the third act, when the Princess is persuaded by her envious sisters to press her lover—Eros himself—to disclose his name, and when answered is stricken blind. No actress who hesitated to throw heart and soul into her work could hope to realise the author’s delicate conception of the character. Mr. Ernest Hendrie represents with some tact the attendant Zephyros, a character that seems to us a mistake as limned by Mr. Buchanan, who, we may be sure, had reasons for his policy. Miss Ada Cavendish is still the Aphrodite, and Mr. T. B. Thalberg remains the Eros. The scenery and tableaux form charming stage pictures. The production was in each of its details cordially approved on Monday.

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The Theatre (1 July, 1890)

“THE BRIDE OF LOVE.”

New poetical play in four acts, by ROBERT BUCHANAN.
First produced at the Adelphi Theatre, Wednesday afternoon, May 21, 1890.

IMMORTALS

The Goddess Aphrodite  ...     Miss Ada Cavendish
Eridon                       ... ...    Miss Clara Jecks
Erotion                      ... ...    Miss Marie Fraser
Cupidon                    ... ...    Miss Jenny Humm
Euphrosyne               ... ...    Miss Letty Lind

Zephyros                 ... ...     Mr. Lionel Rignold
Phosphoros             ... ...     Miss Somerset
Two Young Zephyrs } ...   Miss Stead
                                           Miss B. Ferrar
The God Eros         ... ...
  Mr. T. B. Thalberg

Chorus of Graces and Elementary Spirits.

MORTALS

Methonos (King of Cyprus)  ...    Mr. Alfred Brydone
Lycas (King of Azales)         ...    Mr. Bassett Roe
Atalantos (King of Thessaly) ...    Mr. Leonard Outram
Nassrad (King of Ethiopia)   ...    Mr. E. Lennox

The King of Circassia  ...     Mr. C. M. Hallard
The King of Thule        ...     Mr. Henry Bayntun
Glaucus (a Sea King)   ...     Mr. H. Arncliffe
Hyla                       ... ...    Miss Frances Ivor
Creusa                   ... ...    Miss Ada Ferrar
Psyche                   ... ...    Miss Harriett Jay

Attendants, Cupbearers, Soldiers, &c.

     Save in one character, Mr. Buchanan has turned to excellent account the beautiful legend of Eros and Psyche. It was a hazardous experiment, this endeavour to submit to playgoers, too prone now-a-days to turn everything into ridicule, so ethereal a subject, but by his poetic verse and dramatic treatment, the author commanded the interest and respect of an unusually critical audience.

bridetheatreillus1

The legend has been frequently dramatized, notably in ballet form by Moliére, and has been the foundation of burlesque and extravaganza, but Mr. Buchanan’s method is new and original. On the summit of a mountain we behold Eridon and Cupidon, children of Aphrodite, amusing themselves by shooting Love’s arrows among the throng of citizens below, and enjoying the effect their random shafts produce. The Goddess, jealously incensed at the neglect shown her altars in Cyprus and the almost worship bestowed on Psyche, through her oracle proclaims that the daughter of Methonos shall be chained to the Rock of Sacrifice to be devoured by a sea monster. Eros, eldest born of Aphrodite, is beguiled by his henchman, Zephyros, into gazing down the mountain, and beholds Psyche.

bridetheatreillus2

The god who has implanted love in every human breast, has never yet himself felt its power—his soul is at once inflamed. He rescues Psyche from the rock, and bears her away to the Garden of Love. Unalloyed happiness is theirs for a time, but envy and jealousy destroy it. Psyche’s sisters, Hyla and Creusa, taunt her that she knows not who is her lord. Up to this time she has refrained from asking, blissful in her ignorance, but now she presses Eros to grant her a last request, and he swears by “Styx and Acheron” to comply. She questions him as to who he is. In an agony of grief he is compelled, by his oath, to answer, for by the laws of Olympus it is written that—

“Should a god reveal himself
In god-like guise, or name his heavenly name
To one mortal birth, of that mortal’s eye
Never shall look upon the light again.”

Psyche is stricken blind as Eros vanishes, and is lost to her for ever. Aphrodite rejoices in the punishment of her rival, but her maternal love is so great that it conquers her hatred, when she beholds the agony of her son. Immortal, he cannot die, yet the endless future is to be to him one of heart-broken misery; sway as he will the destiny of others, he cannot influence his own loveless life. Zephyros, feigning the loved voice of Eros, entices Psyche to the mountain top where dwell the deities. Sightless, she follows, until once more she finds herself clasped in the embraces of her lover. But that embrace to her is death. Eros prays the gods that she may be restored to him, “Give me back the soul which ye have taken from me.—Say, ye gods, that love shall conquer death.” Aphrodite petitions Zeus that Psyche may be made immortal. Their prayers are granted. Psyche returns to life, this time immortal, with the words

“Eros, my love, where art thou?
A cloud of brightness—Light—and thou within it
My Lord—My Master.”

The discordant note that is struck in an otherwise exquisite allegory, is in the drawing of Zephyros, servant to Eros. His character is so specially modern and mundane. And exception may, perhaps, be slightly taken to the mortal and spiteful attributes of the sisters in the Garden of Love—a paradise—when Psyche, through Eros’ power, has given to them Lycas and Atalantos, the men they had long loved, but who had hitherto been insensible to passion for them. The scene in which the several kings sue for Psyche’s hand in Cyprus is powerfully written, and affords scope for good delivery, of which advantage in most cases was taken. In the Garden of Love was introduced a pas seul with cymbals, most gracefully danced by Miss Letty Lind.

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In her long retirement from the boards, Miss Ada Cavendish has lost none of her dramatic power, and her return to her profession was cordially welcomed. Miss Harriett Jay, for whom the part of Psyche has been written, after the first few lines delivered the text with sympathetic grace and true poetic feeling. Mr. T. B. Thalberg commenced weakly, hurrying his utterance in a lamentable manner. This was evidently from extreme nervousness, for he gradually improved, and in his last scenes left little to be desired. Mr. Lionel Rignold is not altogether to blame that he made of Zephyros a cockney attendant on his master. Mr. Brydone, Mr. Outram, and Mr. Roe did thorough justice to the lines entrusted to them.
     The “Bride of Love” was placed in the evening bill at the Lyric Theatre, June 9, 1890, with only the following changes in the cast: Eridon (Miss Laura Linden), Cupidon (Miss Emmie Bowman), Zephyros (Mr. Ernest Hendrie, who materially improved the reading of the character, and made it almost acceptable), Euphrosyne (Miss Luna, who gave the dance, but some of her lines were transferred to Aphrodite), and Creusa (Miss Mary Kingsley). The character of Nassrad, King of Ethiopia, was eliminated. Taken altogether, the later performance was an improved one, and Miss Harriett Jay spoke the most appropriate and delicately-written prologue that was introduced with graceful effect. As at the matinée, the music expressly composed by Dr. A. C. Mackenzie was thoroughly appreciated, and the beautiful Epithalamium in the second act was specially so well rendered by Mr. Stedman’s choir as to be enthusiastically redemanded. Mr. Walter Slaughter, who conducted the orchestra, had also composed some very tuneful incidental music (dance and songs). The costumes, designed by Karl, and executed by Messrs. Nathan, were most tasteful. As a first piece, Alec Nelson’s tender little drama, “By the Sea” (founded on “Jean Marie”), was very well acted by Mr. Leonard Outram (Jamie), Mr. A. Brydone (Robin Gray), and Miss Frances Ivor (Jeanie).

bridead

[Advert for The Bride of Love from The Stage (4 July, 1890 - p.8).]

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Miss Letty Lind - personification of the poetry of motion

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Next: Sweet Nancy (1890)

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