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Fair, in which he gives a fly glance at Shakespear— And then a substantial watch to have stolen in upon them, and taken them away with mistaking wordsas the fashion is in the stage practice.--It is plain he has Dogberry and Verges in his eye, and no less fo in the following, that he points his ridicule against Caliban and the romance of The TempeftIf there be never a servant-monster in the fair who can help it, he says, nor a nest of anticks? He is loth to make nature afraid in his pluys, like those that beget tales, Tempests and such like drolleries, to mix his head with other mens heels. If any of our commentators upon Shakespear have anticipated my remark upon these instances of Jonson's propensities to carp at their favorite poet, I have overlooked the annotation, but when I find him recommending to his audience such a farago of vulgar ribaldry 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 masked attacks upon that sublime genius, which he profefled 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 vic
tory: What I now particularly have in my eye is his Masque of the Queens.
Many ingenious observations 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 fuperiority 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 ftill more indisputably unrivalled; the language he has given to Caliban, and no lefs characteristically to his Ariel, is so original, so 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 paffed 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 kene of tragic terror; but of their poztical fur
periority, 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 occafion, 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 skill.
A failor's wife had chesnuts in her lap, • And mouncht, and mouncht, and mauncht-Give
me, quoth I!;
• 2d Witch, I'll give thee a wind,
Thou art kind.
“ zd Witch.
" 3d Witch. I myself have all the other, “ And the very points they blow, “ All the quarters that they know “ I th' fhipman's card. “ I will drain him dry as hay,
Sleep Thall neither night nor day “ Hang upon his pent-house lid; " He shall live a man forbid; " Weary sev'n-nights nine times nine • Shall he dwindle, peak and pine ; 66 Tho' his bark cannot be loft, " Yet it shall be tempest-toft. 5. Look, what I have. '" 2d Witch. Shew me, shew me.
Here I have a pilot's thumb, --« Wreckt as homeward he did come.
“ If Witch. A drum, a drum! " Macbeth doth come.
" All. The weird filters hand in hand, 66 Posters of the sea and land, “ Thus do go about, about, " Thrice to thine and thrice to mine, “ And thrice again to make up nine. “ Peace! the charm's wound up.".
T 0 N S O N.
“ Dame. Well done, my hags! “ But first relate me what you have fought, “ Where you have been and what you have brought.
" If Hag. I have been all day-looking after “ A raven feeding upon a quarter ; " And soon as the turn'd her beak to the fouth, " I snatcht this morsel out of lier mouth,
« 2d Hag “ 2d Hag. I last night lay all alone “ O'th' ground to hear the mandrake grone, • And pluckt him up, tho’he gew
full low, “ And as I had done the cock did crow.
« 6th Hag. I had a dagger; what did I with that? “ Killid an infant, to have his fat; “ A piper it got at a church-ale, " I bade him again blow wind in it's tail. “ 7th Hag.. A murderer yonder wag hung in
“ chains, P& The fun and the wind had trunk his veins ; “ I bit off a finew, I clipt his hair, itoniti " I brought off his rags that danc'd'in the air. • 8th Hag. The scrich owl's eggs and the feathers
66 black, “ 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. regi to ino
“gth Hag. And I ha' been plucking (plants among) • Hemlock, henbane, adder's tongue, ,
? " Night-shade, moon-wort, libbard's-bane, 65 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 yon have more ?"
Dame. Yes, I have brought (to help our vows) Horned poppy, cypress boughs," The fig-tree wild, that grows ont tombs, And juice that from the larch-tree comes, The bafilisk's blood, and the viper's skin And now our orgies let 's begin!!!