Gilbert's Letter to The Times of 18 September 1891
Issue 33433, pg. 7 col E


A Point of Taste


Sir,--At the recent unveiling of the statue to Christopher Marlowe, the Hon. and Rev. Canon Fremantle is reported to have asked, in the course of his speech, "Why is it that our English nation, so capable of literary excellence, had hardly produced any really great playwright in these latter days?"

It is, unfortunately, too true that, although we have several capable dramatic writers among us, we have none who have any claim to be considered great. But was it polite or tactful on the part of the honourable and reverend orator to impress this unpleasant fact upon an assemblage of gentlemen intimately connected with the stage, and among whom was that excellent dramatist, Mr. A. W. Pinero? Probably we have not many great divines among us, but what would be thought of Mr. Pinero if, finding himself in the society of a number of clergymen engaged in honouring the memory of (say) Bishop Latimer, he ventured to make such an assertion to such an assembly? It might be quite true, but it would not be pretty to say so.

I am your obedient servant,

September 17.
W.S. GILBERT
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