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the same general idea, more or less exaggerated. For both are tyrants, usurpers, murderers, both aspiring and ambitious, both courageous, cruel, treach

But Richard is cruel from nature and constitution. Macbeth becomes so from accidental cir'cumstances. Richard is from his birth deformed in body and mind, and naturally incapable of good.Macbeth is full of " the milk of human kindness," is frank, sociable, generous. He is tempted to the cominission of guilt by golden opportunities, by the instigations of his wife, and by prophetick warnings. Fate and metaphysical aid. conspire against his virtue and his loyalty. Richard, on the contrary, needs no prompter, but wades through a series of crimes to the height of his ambition from the ungovernable violence of his temper and a reckless love of mischief. He is never gay but in the prospect or in the success of his villanies : Macbeth is full of horrour at the thoughts of the murder of Dun- ! can, which he is with difficulty prevailed on to commit, and of remorse after its perpetration. Richard has no mixture of common humanity in his composition, no regard to kindred or posterity, he owns no fellowship with others, he is "himself alone.” Macbeth is not destitute of feelings of sympathy, is accessible to pity, is even made in some measure the dupe of his uxoriousness, ranks the loss of friends, of the cordial love of his followers, and of his good name, among the causes which have made bim weary of life, and regrets that he has ever seized the crown by unjust means, since he cannot transmit it to his posterity

" For Banquo's issue have l '6'd my mind
For them the gracious Duncan have I murther'd,
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kiugs."

In the agitation of his thoughts, he envies those whom he has sent to peace. · Duncan is in his grave; after life's fitful fever he sleeps well."--It is true, he becomes more callous as he plunges deeper in guilt,“ direness is thus rendered familiar to his slaughterous thoughts," and he in the end anticipates his wife in the boldness and bloodiness of his enterprises, while she for want of the same stimulus of action, is “ troubled with thick coming fancies that rob her of her rest,” goes mad and dies. Macbeth endeavours to escape from reflection on his crimes by repelling their consequences, and banishes remorse for the past by the meditation of future mischief.This is not the principle of Richard's cruelty, which resembles the wanton malice of a fiend as much as the frailty of human passion. Macbeth is goaded on to acts of violence and retaliation hy necessity ; to Richard, blood is a pastime. There are other decisive differences inherent in the two characters. Richard may be regarded as a man of the world, a -plotting, hardened knave, wholly regardless of every thing but his own ends, and the means to secure them -Not so Macheth. The superstitions of the age, the rude state of society, the local scenery and cuistoms, all give a wildness and imaginary granderr to his character. From the strangeness of the events that surround him, he is full of amazement and fear; and stands in doubt between the world of reality and the world of fancy. He sees sights not shewn to

mortal eye, and hears unearthly musick. All is tumult and disorder within and without his mind; his purposes recoil upon himself, are broken and disjointed; he is the double thrall of his passions and his evil destiny. Richard is not a character either of imagination or pathos, but of pure self-will. There is no conflict of opposite feelings in his breast. The apparitions which he sees haunt him only in his sleep; nor does he live like Macbeth in a waking dream. Macbeth has considerable energy and manliness of character; but then he is “subject to all the skyey influences.” Ele is sure of nothing but the present moment. Richard, in the busy turbulence of his projects, never loses his self-possession, and makes use of every circumstance that happens as an instrument of his long reaching designs. In his last extremity can we only regard him as a wild beast taken in the toils : never entirely lose our concern for Macbeth; and he calls back all our sympathy by that fine close of thoughtful melancholy,


• My way of life is fallen into the sear,
The yellow leaf; and that which should accompany old age,
As honour, troops of friends, I'must not look to have;
But in their stead, curses, not loud but deep,
Mouth-honour, breath, which the
Would fain deny, and dare not."

poor heart

We can conceive a common actor to play Richard tolerably well; we can conceive no one to play Macbeth properly, or to look like a man that had encountered the Weïrd Sisters. All the actors that we have ever seen, appear as if they had encounter

ed them on the boards of Covent-garden or Drurylane, but not on the heath at Foris, and as if they did not believe what they had seen. The Witches of MACBETH indeed are ridiculous on the modern stage, and we doubt if the Furies of Æschylus would be more respected. The progress of manners and knowledge has an influence on the stage, and will in time perhaps destroy both tragedy and comedy. Filch's picking pockets in the Beggar's Opera is not so good a jest as it used to be : by the force of the police and of philosophy, Lillo's murders and the ghosts in Shakspeare will become obsolete. At last, there will be nothing left, good nor bad, to be desired or dreaded, on the theatre or in real life. A question has been started with respect to the originality of Shakspeare's Witches, which has been well answered by Mr. Lamb in his notes to the “Specimens of Early Dramatick Poetry.”

T'hough some resemblance may be traced between the charms in MACBETH, and the incantations in this play, (the Witch of Middleton) which is supposed to have preceded it, this coincidence will not detract much from the originality of Shakspeare. His Witches are distinguished from the Witches of Middleton by essential differences. These are creatures to whom man or woman plotting some dire mischief might resort for occasional consultation. Those originate deeds of blood, and begin bad

impulses to men. From the moment that their eyes V first meet with Macbeth's he is spell bound. That

meeting sways his destiny. He can never break the fascination. These Witches can hurt the body ;

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those have power over the soul.---Hecate in Middleton has a son, a low buffoon: the hags of Shakspeare have neither child of their own, nor seem to be descended from any parent. They are foul anomalies,

whom we know not whence they are sprung, nor whether they have beginning or ending. As they are without human passions, so they seem to be without human relations. They come with thunder and lightning, and vanish to airy musick. This is all we know of them.-Except Hecate, they have no names, which heightens their mysteriousness. The names, and some of the properties which Middleton has given to his hags, excite smiles. The Weïrd Sisters are serious things. Their presence cannot co-exist with mirth. But, in a lesser degree, the Witehes of Middleton are fine creations. Their power too is, in some measure, over the mind. They raise jars, jealousies, strifes, like a thick scurf

o'er life."

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