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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

XII. The Georgian Drama

§ 4. Lesser Playwrights

Early in the seventies, public taste changed and became old-fashioned. Cradock’s Zobeide (1771) was copied from an unfinished play by Voltaire; the anonymous A Hour before Marriage (1772) was modelled on Molière’s Marriage Forcé. O’Brien, indeed, kept to sentimental comedy by producing The Duel (1772), founded on Sedaine’s Le Philosophe sans le Savoir; but, in the same year, Mason composed Elfrida, with a Greek chorus. Kenrick’s Duellist (1773) was founded on the character of Colonel Bath in Amelia; Colman the elder borrowed from Plautus and Terence to produce Man of Business, and Cumberland drew inspiration from Adelphi to write Choleric Man, both in 1774. General Burgoyne, who, in age and associations, belonged to the old school, now felt himself drawn to the theatre and produced The Maid of the Oaks (1774), in which the irate parent of classical comedy storms because his son marries without his consent, and the witty and fashionable Lady Bab fools Dupely by disguising herself in a fête champêtre. But the two authors who most profited by, and influenced, this reversion to humour and episode were Goldsmith and Sheridan.