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[217] The Pennsylvania journal and weekly Advertiser of 23 April, which contains a list of the players who were to take part. Godfrey did not live to see his play, but died in 1763, two years before it was published. This play, the first written by an American to be produced by a professional company, is a romantic tragedy, laid in Parthia about 200 B. C., and is written in blank verse of a flexible and dignified character. It is no unworthy beginning for American dramatic poetry, but it led at the time to no school of writing. It is interesting, however, to note that at a later period the most significant literary drama in this country was produced in the field of tragedy to which The Prince of Parthia belongs.

The Pre-Revolutionary period was purely a tentative one. The work of Charlotte Lenox, who was born here but whose plays were written and played in England, hardly concerns us, while such plays as Ponteach, by Major Robert Rogers (1766), or The disappointment of Col. Thomas Forrest (1767), since they were not acted, fail to be significant, however tragic the recital of Indian wrongs in the former or however comic the hoax described in the latter may be. The Conquest of Canada, performed at the Southwark Theatre in Philadelphia, 17 February, 1773, has been sometimes referred to as “the second American play,” but its author, George Cockings, was an Englishman, who wrote the play while in Boston, and it is in any case of little value either in matter or form.

On 20 October, 1774, the Continental Congress convened and passed a recommendation in its Articles of Association — that the colonists “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainments.” Douglass and his “American Company,” which had occupied the theatres in the colonies for almost a quarter century, left for the West Indies and the first period in the history of the American drama was closed.

During the Revolution a number of political satires were written, none of them, however, in strict dramatic form. The most important are The Adulateur (1773) and The group (1775), by Mrs. Mercy Warren, of Boston, The fall of British tyranny (1776), by John Leacock, and the anonymous farce The Blockheads (1776), which has been attributed to Mrs.

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