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ments were brought into this part of the world by those who returned from their eastern expeditions. But there War is always some distance between the birth and maturity 20 of folly' as of wickedness: this opinion had long exista big ed, though perhaps the application of it had in no forestitur going age been so frequent, nor the reception fo gene- Si opi ral. Olympiodorus, in Photius's extracts, tells us of the one Libanius, who practised this kind of military mathe gic, and having promifed χωρις οπλιτων κατα βαρβαρων ενερ- πει, yers, to perform great things against the Barbarians with a Chand out soldiers, was, at the instance of the empress Placidia, put to death, when he was about to have given proofs of his abilities. The emprefs Mewed some kinda, calon ness in her anger, by cutting him off at a time so con i venient for his reputation.

But a more remarkable proof of the antiquity of this the per notion may be found in St Chrysostom’s book de Sacere Rlisia dotio, which exhibits a scene of enchantments not exceeded by any romance of the middle age: he suppofes a spectator overlooking a field of battle attended by one that points out all the various objects of horror, men the engines of destruction, and the arts of Naughter. Δεικνυτο δε ετι παρα τους εναντιους και πεπομεν8; ιππας δια τινός μαγγανείας, και οπλιτας δι αερος φερομενυες, και πασης λoντεια; Oui xas odsæv. Let him then proceed to thew him in the opposite armies horses flying by enchantment, armed men transported through the air, and every power and form of magic. Whether St Chrysostom believed that fuch performances were really to be seen in a day of battle, or only endeavoured to enliven his description, en by adopting the notions of the vulgar, it is equally cerita tain, that such notions were in his time received, and that therefore they were not imported from the Sara. cens in a later age; the wars with the Saracens, however, gavé occasion to their propagation, not only as bigotry naturally discovers prodigies, but as the icene of action was removed to a great distance. The Refor. mation did not immediately arrive at its meridian, and though day was gradually increasing upon us, the goblins of witchcraft still continued to hover in the twilight.

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Jo the time of queen Elizabeth was the remarkable trial by those of the witches of Warbois, whose conviction is still comut there memorated in an annual sermon at Huntingdon. But Daturity in the reign of king James, in which this tragedy was ng exist- written, many circumstances concurred to propagate no fore- and confirm this opinion. The king, who was much o gene: celebrated for his knowledge, had, before his arrival in

England, not only examined in person a woman accuary ma led of witchcraft, but had given a very formal account zow spin of the practices and illusions of evil spirits, the com

pacts of witches, the ceremonies used by them, the

manner of detecting them, and the justice of punishing e given them, in his dialogues of Demonologie, written in the te kind Scottish dialect, and published at Edinburgh. This fo con- book was, soon after his acceffion, reprinted at Lon

don; and as the ready way to gain king James's favour

was to flatter his speculations, the system of DæmonoSacero hlogie was immediately adopted by all who desired ei. not exother to gain preferment or not to lose it. Thus the {uppo- doctrine of witchcraft was very powerfully inculcated ; ded by and as the greatest part of mankind have no other reahorror, fon for their opinions than that they are in fashion, it ughter

. cannot be doubted but this persuasion made a rapid progress, fince vanity and credulity co-operated in its avour. The infection soon reached the parliament, who, in the first year of king James, made a law by

which it was enacted, chap. xii. That “ if any perd form fon shall use any invocation or conjuration of any

evil or wicked spirit ; 2. or shall consult, covenant with, day of entertain, employ, feed or reward any evil or cursed ptiouspirit to or for any intent or purpose ; 3. or take up

any dead man, woman or child out of the grave,---or the skin, bone, or any part of the dead person, to be employed or used in any manner of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment; 4. or shall use, pradlife, or exercise any sort of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or endantment; 5. whereby any person shall be destroyed, illed, wasted, consumed, pined, or lamed in any part the body; 6. That every such person being convict

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Thus, in the time of Shakespeare, was the doctrini of witchcraft at once established by law and by the fa Thion, and it became not only unpolite, but criminal to doubt it; and as prodigies are always seen in pro portion as they are expected, witches were every day discovered, and multiplied so far in some places, tha bishop. Hall mentions a village in Lancashire, wher their number was greater than that of the houses. The Jesuits and Sectaries took advantage of this universa error, and endeavoured to promote the interest of thei parties by pretended cures of persons afiliated by ever spirits ; but they were detected and exposed by the cler gy of the established church.

Upon this general infatuation, Shakespeare might bi easily allowed to found á play, especially fince he ha followed with great exactness such histories aś wer then thought true; nor can it be doubted that the scenes of enchantment, however they may be ridiculed were both by himself and his audience thought awsu and affecting. JOHNSON.

It may be worth while to remark, that Milton, whe left behind him a list of no less than CII. dramatici subjects, had fixed on the story of this play among thi rest. His intention was to have begun with the arriva of Malcolm at Macduff's castle. “The matter of Dun can (says he) may be expressed by the appearing of hi ghoft.” It should seem from this last memorandum that Milton disliked the licence that his predecessor had taken in comprehending a history of such length withir the short compass of a play, and would have now writ ten the whole on the plan of the ancient drama. could not surely have indulged so vain a hope, as that of excelling Shakespeare in the Tragedy of Macbeth.

Macbeth was certainly one of Shakespeare's later productions, and it might possibly have been suggester to him by a little performance on the fame subject a Oxford, before king James, 1605. I will transcrib

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dün ohy notice of it from Wake's Rex Platonicus : " Fabulæ

Iníam dedit antiqua de Regiâ profapiâ historioia apud doctring coto-Britannos celebrata, quæ narrat tres olim Sibyl: Criminabanchoni, et illum predixisse Regem futurum, fed Re.

the rights occuriile duobus Scotiæ proceribus, Macbetho et a in progrem nullum geniturum; hunc Regem non futurum, sed ces, the frentus comprobavit. Barchonis enim è ftirpe Poten'try dageges geniturum multos. Vaticini veritatem rerum -, wheredimus Jacobus oriundus." p. 29: Liniverequently been told, that I unwittingly made Shake. es. Td Since I made the observation here quoted, I have of the peare learned at least in Latin, as this must have been by er language of the performance before king James. the clerone might perhaps have plausibly said, that he proba:

y picked up the story at second-hand; but mere acci. might be sent has thrown an old pamphlet in my way, intitled = he hade Oxford Triumph by one Anthony Nixon, 1605,

hich explains the whole matter : “ This performance, Chat the Anthony, was first in Latinė to the kinge, then in

diculed lich to the queene and young prince ;” and, as he at a whics on to tell us, “ the conceipt thereof, the kinge

very much applaude." It is likely that the friendly on, whter, which we are informed king James once wrote

Shakespeare, was on this occasion. Farmer.

This play is defervedly celebrated for the propriety of Dur action, but it has no nice discriminations of charac... 2 arriva is fictions, and solemnity, grandeur, and variety of andun ticular dispofitions, aw, the course of the action ne. & of h ; the events are too great to admit the influence of llor ha arily determines the conduct of the agents.

The danger of ambition is well described; and I know »w wri whether it may not be said in defence of some parts

ich now seem improbable, that, in Shakespeare's as there it was necessary to warn & illusive predictions.

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edulity against vain The paflions are directed to their true end. Lady s late coeth is merely detested ; and though the courage

Macbeth preferves some esteem, yet. every reader rem bjects at his fall. JOHNSON.

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