« السابقةمتابعة »
note * To the observations of Mr. Steevens I have only to add, that the songs, beginning, Come away, &c. and Black spirits, &c. being found at full length
his last performance, by Sir William Lower, we may conclude, that he was as early a writer, and at least as old, as Shakspere :
6 Tom Middleton his numerous issue brings,
- And his white locks shew master of his art." The following dramatick pieces, by Middleton, appeat to have been published in his life-time.-Your Five Gallants, no date.-Blunt Master Constable, or the Spaniard's Night Walke, 1602.-Michaelmas Term, 1607.--The Phænix, 1607. -The Family of Love, 1608.--A Trick to catch the Old One, 1608.--- A Mad World my Masters, 1608.--The Roaring Girl, or Moll Cutpurse, 1611.–Fair Quarrel, 1617.--A Chaste Maid of Cheapside, 1620.- A Game at Chesse, 1625.-Most of his other plays were printed, about thirty years after his death, by Kirkman and other booksellers, into whose hands his manuscripts fell.
* 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first words of the song in the 4th act, beginning Black spirits, &c. but have lately discovered the entire stanza in an unpublished dramatick piece, viz. " A Tragi-Coomodie called The WITCH ; long since acted by his Majesties Servants at the Black Friers; written by Tho. Middleton.” The song is there called A charme-song, about a vessel.” The in The Witch, while only the two first words of them are printed in Macbeth, favour the supposition that
other song omitted in the 5th scene of the third act of Macbeth, together with the imperfect couplet there, may likewise be found, as follows, in Middleton's performance. -The Hecate of Shakspere, 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: .
“ Heccat, Heccat, come away. ) : “ Hec. I come, I come, I come,
" With all the speed I may,
“ With all the speed I may, " Wher's Stadlin?
" Heere.] in the aire.
“ Heere.] in the aire.
We lack but you, we lack but you: Sintheaire.
“ Come away, make up the count. ) “ Hec. I will but ’noynt, and then I mount,
There's one comes downe to fetch “ A spirit like his dues, a cat descends) A kiské, a coll, a sip of blood :
And why thou staist so long
“I muse, I muse,
Middleton's piece preceded that of Shakspere; the latter, it should seem, thinking it unnecessary to set down verses which were probably well known, and perhaps then in the possession of the managers of the
Globe “ Hec. Oh, art thou come?
“ What newes, what newes?
S above. Refuse, refuse. « Hec.] Now I am furnish'd for the flight. “ Fire.] Hark, hark, the catt sings a brave treble in her
owne language. “ 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 shines faire,
“ Over woods, high rocks, and mountains,
“ No ring of bells, &c.] above. « Fire. 7 Well mother, I thank your kindness: you must be gambolling i'th'aire, and leave me to walk here, like a fool and a mortall. Exit, . . Finis Actas Tertii."
Globe theatre. The high reputation of Shakspere's performances (to mention a circumstance which in the
This Fire-stone, who occasionally interposes in the course of the dialogue, is called, in the list of Persons Repregented ". The Clowne and Heccat's son.". Again, the Hecate of Shakspere says to her sisters :
" I'll charm the air to give a sound,
[Musick. The Witches dance and vanish. The Hecate of Middleton says on a similar occasion: " Come, my sweete sisters, let the aire strike our tune, " Whilst we shew reverence to yond peeping moone.”
[Here they dance and Exeunt. In this play, the motives which incline the witches to mischief, their manners, the contents of their cauldron, &c. seem to have more than accidental resemblance to the game particulars in Macbeth. The hags of Middleton, like the weird sisters of Shakspere, destroy cattle because they have been refused provisions at farm-houses. The owl and the cat (Grey Malkin) give them notice when it is time to proceed on their several expeditions. Thus Shakspere's Witch :
“ Harper cries;~'tis time, 'tis time." Thus too the Hecate of Middleton ;
“ Hec.] Heard you the owle yet ?
The course of these observations will be more than once insisted upon) likewise strengthens this conjecture ; for it is very improbable, that Middleton, or any other poet of that time, should have ventured into
The Hecate of Shakspere, addressing her sisters, observes, that Macbeth is but a wayward son, who loves for his own ends, not for them. The Hecate of Middleton has the same observation, when the youth who has been consulting her retires :
“ I know he loves me not, nor there's no hope on't." Instead of the grease that's sweaten from the murderer's gibbet, and the finger of birth-strangled babe, the witches of Middleton employ " the gristle of a man that hangs after sun-set,” (i. e. of a murderer, for all other criminals were anciently cut down before evening) and the “ fat of an unbaptized child." They likewise boast of the power to raise tempests that shall blow down trees, overthrow buildings, and occasion shipwreck; and, more particua larly, that they can make miles of woods walk.” Here too the Grecian Hecate is degraded into a presiding witch, and exercised in superstitions peculiar to our own country. So much for the scenes of enchantment; but even other parts of Middleton's play coincide more than once with that of Shakspere. Lady Macbeth says, in act II.
- the surfeited grooms Domock their charge with snores, 1 bave druggid