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32. The London Prodigal, 16c5. There is good ground for thinking that The London Prodigal was written long before 1605; but not allording any marks to ascertain the precise time of its composition, and not dcferving any very minute inquiry, it is here ascribed to that year, in which it was published.

Shakspeare's name is printed in the title page of this play, as well as in three other contested pieces;- Pericles, Sir John Oldcastle, and i Yorkshire Tragedy. But how little the booksellers of that time fcrupled to avail themselves of his name, in order to procure a fale for their publications, appears from its being prefixed to two of Ovid's Epifiles, (which have ever since been published among his poems) though they were translated by Thomas Heywood; and printed (as Dr. Farmer has observed) in a work of his entitled Brytaine's Iroy, fol. 1609', before they were ascribed to shakspeare.

33. King LEAR, 1605. The tragedy of King Lear was entered on the books of the Stationers' company Nov. 26, 1607, and is there men· tioned to have been played the preceding Christmas, before his majesty at Whitehall. But this, I conjecture, was not its first exhibition. It seems extremely probable that its first appearance was in 1605; in which year the old play of K. Leir, that had been entered at Stationers' hall in 1594, was printed by Simon Stafford, for John Wright, who, we may presume, finding Shakspeare's play successful, hoped to palm the spurious one on the publick for his . ;

Our author's king Lear was not published till 1608. Harínet's Declaration of Popis Impofures, from which Shakspeare borrowed some fantastick names of Ipirits, mentioned in this play, Was printed in 1603.

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NOT E S. a " These two epistles, being so pertinent to our historie, I thought necessarie to tranfiate."--Bryt, Troy, p. 211.

o Shakspeare has copied one of the pallages in this old play. This he might have done, though we should suppose it not to have been published till after his X. Lear was written and acted; for the old piay had been in potičilion of the stage for many years before 100%;

34. MACBETH,

MaDr. Farmare's playthor of age, wobe likew

34. MACBETH, 1606. From a book entitled Rex Platonicus, cited by Dr. Fare mer, we learn that king James, when he visited Oxford in 1605, was addressed by three students of St. John's college, who personated the three weird sisters, and recited a short dramatick poem, founded on the prediction of those sybils, (as the author calls them) relative to Banquo and Macbeth.

Dr. Farmer is of opinion, that this little piece c preceded Shakspeare's play; a supposition which is strengthened by the silence of the author of Rex Platonicus, who, if Macbeth had then appeared on the stage, would probably have mentioned something of it. It should be likewise rememberce, that there sublisted at that time á spirit of oppofition and rivalship between the regular players and the academicks of the two universities; the latter of whom frequently acted plays both in Latin and English, and seem to have piqued themselves on the superiority of their exhibitions to those of the established theatres d. Wishing probably to manifest this superiority to the royal pedant, it is not likely that they would chufe for a collegiate interlude, a subject, which had already appeared on the public ftage, with all the embellishments that the magick hand of Shakspeare could bestow.

This tragedy contains an allusion to the union of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, under one sovereign, and also to the cure of the king's-evil by the royal touch®; but in what year that pretended power was

NOTES: • In Rex Platonicus it is called Lusiuncula.

d Ab ejusdem collegii alumnis (qui er cothurno tragico et socco comico principes femper habebantur) Vertumnus, comedia faceta, ad principes exhilarandos exhibetur. Rex Platonicus, p. 78.

Arcadiam refiauratam Ifiacorum Arcadum lectissimi cecinerunt, unoque opere, principum omniumque fpectantium animos immensa et ultra fidem affecerunt voluptate; fimulque patrios ludiones, eth exercitatiffimos, quantum interfit inter scenam mercenariam & eruditam docuerunt, Ib. p. 228. See also the lines quoted above from the Return from Parnassus, and A&t IV. Sc. ii. of that piece, which was acted publickly at St. John's college in Cambridge. , • Macbeth, A. IV. Sc. i. ii. [X2]

affumed

assumed by king James I. is uncertain. Macbeth was not entered in the Stationers' books, nor printed, till 1623.

In The Tragedy of Cafar and Pompey, or Cæfar's Revenge, are these lines:

“ Why think you, lords, that 'tis ambition's fpur

“ That pricketh Cæsar to these high attempts?” If the author of that play, which was published in 1607, should be thought to hare had Macbeth's soliloquy in view, (which is not unlikely) this circumstance may add some degree of probability to the supposition that this tragedy had appeared before that year:

" I have no four
“ To prick the sides of my intent, but only
“ Vaulting ambition, which o'er-leaps itself

“ And falls at the other”At the time when Macbeth is supposed to have been written, the subject, it is probable, was confidered as a topick the most likely to conciliate the favour of the court. In the additions to Warner's Albion's England, which were first printed in 1606, the story of “ the Three Fairies or Weird Elves," as he calls them, is shortly told, and king James's descent from Banquo carefully deduced.

Ben Jonson, a few years afterwards, paid his court to his majefty by his Masque of Queens', presented at Whitehall, Feb. 12, 1609; in which he has given a minute detail of all the magick rites that are recorded by king James in his book of Dæmonologie, or by any other author ancient or modern.

Mr. Steevens has lately discovered a Mf. play, entitled THE WITCH, written by Thomas Middletons, which ren

ders NOT E S. f Mr. Upton was of opinion that this masque preceded Macbeth. But the only ground that he states for this conjecture, is, " that Jonson's pride would not suffer him to borrow from Shakespeare, though he stole froin the ancients."

& In an advertisement prefixed to an edition of A Mad World my Masters, a comedy by Thomas Middleton, 1640, the printer says, that the author was “ long since dead."' Middleton probably died soon after the year 1626. He was chronologer to the city of Lon, don, and it does not appear that any masque or pageant, in bonour of the Lord Mayor, was set forth by him after that ders it questionable, whether Shakspeare was not indebted to that author for the first hint of the magick introduced in this tragedy. The reader will find an account of this fingular curiosity in the note 6. –To the observations of Mr.

year. " With all the speed I may, • The Triumph of Health and Prosperity at tbe Iriauguration of the most wort by Broeber, ibe Right Hon. Curbbero Basket, draper; composed by Thomas Middleton, draper, 1626, 410. [ X 3]

Steevens NOT E S. year *. From the dates of his printed plays, and from the enTuing verses on his lait performance, by Sir William Lower, we may conclude, that he was as early a writer, and at least as old, as Shakspeare:

11 Tom Middleton his numerous issue brings,
6 And his last mufe delights us when she fings :
“ His halting age a pleasure doth impart,

" And his white locks fhew maiter of his art.” The following dramatick pieces by Middleton appear to have been published in his life-time.- Pour Five Gallants, 1601,Blurt Master Confiable, or the Spaniard's Night Walke, 1602.Michaclmas Term, 1607,- The Phænix, 1607.- The Family of Love, 1608.- A Trick to catch the Old One, 1608.-A Mad World my Mafiers, 1608.-- The Roaring Girl, or Moll Cutpurse, 1611.Fair Quarrel, 1617.- À Chafie Maid of Cheapfide, 1620.-A Game at Chelli, 1625 - Most of his other plays were printed, about thirty years after his death, by Kirkınan and other booksellers, into whose hands his manuscripts fell.

b In a former note on this tragedy, I have said that the original edition contains only the two first words of the song in the 4th act, beginning-Black Spirits, &c; but have lately discovered the entire stanza in an unpublished dramatic piece, viz. “ A Tragi-Coomodie called The Witch; long since acted by his Ma.ties Servants at the Black Friers; written by Tbo. Middleton.The song is there called—“A charme-fony, about a vessell.” The other song omitted in the 5th scene of the 3d act of Macbeth, together with the imperfect couplet there, may likewise be found, as follows, in Midd eton's performance.-The Hecate of Shakespeare, says:

" I am for the air, &c.” The Hecate of Middleton (who like the former is summoned away by aerial spirits) has the same declaration in almost the same words:-“ I-am for aloft,” &c. Song.) Come away, come away:

in the aire. Heccat, Heccat, come away. ? 6. Hec. I come, I come, I come,

66 With

Steerens I have only to add, that the songs, beginning, Come away, &c. and Black spirits, &c. being found at full

length NOTES. “ With all the speed I may, " Wher's Stadlin?

“ Heere.] in the aire.
66 Wher's Puckle?

" Heere.] in the aire.
“ And Hoppo too, and Hellevaine too,
“ Welack but you, we lack but you: { in the aire.

« Come away, make up the count. J 6. Hec. I will but 'noynt, and when I mount.

:-1:1.0| There's one comes downe to fetch his dues, cat descends. 1

{A kifle, a coll, a sp of blood:
(And why thou itaitt so long

Sabove " I muse, I muse, " Since the air's so sweet and good. $6 Hec. Oh, art thou come?

“What newes, what newes?
" All goes still to our delight,
“ Either come, or els

above,

Refuse, refuse. « Hoc.] Now I am furnish'd for the flight. Fire.] Hark, hark, the catt fings a brave treble in her owne

language, ko Hec, going up.] Now I goe, now I flie,

Malkin my sweete spirit and I. " Oh what a daintie pleasure 'tis

" To ride in the aire,

" When the moone Thines faire
" And fing, and daunce, and toy and kiss !

“ Over woods, high rocks and mountains,
6 Over seas, our mistris' fountains,
$6 Over steepe towres and turrets,
“ Wesly by night 'mongst troopes of spiritts.
" Noring of bells to our cares founds,
“No howles of woolves, no yelpes of hounds;
" No, not the noyse of waters’-breache,
“ Or cannons'throat, our height can reache.

66 No ring of beils, &c.] above. Fire.) Well mother, I thank your kindness: you must be gainbolling i’ th’aire, and leave me to walk here, like a foole and a mertall. Exit.

Finis Aftus Terci." This Fire-fione, who occasionally interposes in the course of the dialogue, is called, in the list of Persons Represented, -" The Clowne and Heccat's son."

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