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baldry as Bartholomew Fair, by pretending to exalt it above such exquisite productions as The Tempest and Much Ado about Nothing, it is an act of warrantable retaliation to expose his vanity.
It is not always however that he betakes himself to these malked attacks upon that sublime genius, which he professed to admire almost to idolatry, it must be owned he sometimes meets him upon equal ground, and nobly contends with laudable emulation for the chaplet of victory : What I now particularly have in my eye is his Masque of the Queens.
Many ingenious obfervations have been given to the public upon Shakespear's Imaginary Beings; his Caliban, Ariel, and all his family of witches, ghosts, and fairies have been referred to as examples of his creative fancy, and with reason has his superiority been asserted in the fabrication of these præternatural machines, and as to the art with which he has woven them into the fables of his dramas, and the incidents he has produced by their agency, he is in these particulars still more indisputably unrivalled; the language he has given to Caliban, and
no less characteristically to his Ariel, is so original, fo inimitable, that it is more like magic than invention, and his fairy poetry is as happy as it can be: It were a jest to compare Æschylus's ghost of Darius, or any ghost that ever walked, with the perturbed spirit of Hamlet : Great and merited encomiums have also been passed upon the weird sisters in that wonderful drama, and a decided preference given them over the famous Erichtho of Lucan: Preferable they doubtless are, if we contemplate them in their dramatic characters, and take into our account the grand and awful commission, which they bear in that scene of tragic terror; but of their poetical superiority, simply considered, I have some doubts; let me add to this, that when the learned commentator was instancing Lucan's Erichtho, it is matter of some wonder with me, how he came to overlook Jonson's witches in the Masque of the Queens.
As he has not however prevented me of the honour of bringing these two poetic champions together into the lists, I will avail myself of the occasion, and leave it with the spectators to decide upon the contest.
I will only, as their herald, give notice that the combatants are enchanters, and he that has no taste for necromancy, nor any science in the terms of the art, has no right to give his voice upon the trial of fkill.
" If Witch. Where has thou been, fifter?
Killing swine. 86
3d A Lailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap, - And mouncht, and mouncht, and mouncht-Give
me, quoth I! " Aroint thee, witch, the rump-fed ronyon cries. • Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o'th' Tyger; “ But in a lieve I'll thither fail, “ And like a cat without a tail, a l'll do I'll do I'll do, * 2d Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
Thou art kind. If And I another. ~ 3d Witch. I myself have all the other, "And the very points they blow, * All the quarters that they know " I'th' shipman's card. “ I will drain him dry as hay,
“ Sleep shall neither night nor day :* Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid; « Weary fev'n-nights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine ;
* Tho' his bark cannot be lost,
Look, what I have.
Here I have a pilot's tirumb, '“ Wreckt as homeward he did come.
" If Witch. A drum, a drum! “ Macbeth doth come.
" All. The weird fisters hand in hand, " Posters of the sea and land, “ Thus do go about, about, 46 Thrice to thine and thrice to mine, * And thrice again to make up nine. 66 Peace! the charm's wound up:"
" Dame. Well done, my hags! « But first relate me what
have fought, 6 Where
you have been and what you have brought. “ ift Hag. I have been all day looking after " A raven feeding upon a quarter ; " And soon as she turn'd her beak to the south, - I snatcht this inorsel out of her mouth.
“ 2d Hag. I last night lay all alone « O'th' ground to hear the mandrake grone, " And pluckt him up, tho' he greiv full low, < And as I had done the cock did crow.
" 6th Hag. I had a dagger; what did I with that? * Kill'd an infant, to have his fat ; “ A piper it got at a church-ale, " I bade him again blow wind in it's tail.
166 7th Hag.
" 7th Hag. A murderer yonder was hung in
" The sun and the wind had firunk his veins;
“ 8th Hag. The scrich-owl's eggs and the feathers
“The blood of the frog, and the bone in his back,
I have been getting, and made of his skin "A purset to keep Sir Cranion in.
“gth Hag. And I ha' been plucking (plants among) “ Hemlock, henbane, adder's tongue,
Night-shade, moon-wort, libbard's-bane, “ And twice by the dogs was like to be ta’en. “ 11th Hag. I went to the toad, breeds under the
wall, “ I charm'd him out, and he came at my call, “ I scratcht out the eyes of the owl before, “ I tore the bat's wing-What wou'd you have more?"
Dame. Yes, I have brought (to help our vows)
11 Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Twice and once the hedge-pig whin'd. 3d Harper cries, sis time, 'tis time!
if Round about the cauldron go, « In the poison’d entrails throw.