Imatges de pÓgina

his own phrase, had overstepped the modesty of nature in the exaggerated fierceness of her character, returns back to the line and limits of humanity, and that very judicioufly, by a fudden impreffion, which has only an instantaneous effect. Thus she may relapse into her former wickedness, and, from the fame fufceptibility, by the force of other impreffions, be afterwards driven to diftraction. As her character was not composed of those gentle elements out of which regular repentance could be formed, it was well judged to throw her mind into the chaos of madness; and, as fhe had exhibited Wickedness in its highest degree of ferocity and atrocioufnefs, the fhould be an example of the wildest agonies of Remorse. As Shakespear could moft exactly delineate the human mind, in its regular state of reason, so no one ever so happily caught its varying forms, in the wanderings of delirium.

The scene in which Macduff is informed of the murder of his wife and children, is so celebrated, that it is not neceffary to enlarge upon its merit. We feel there, how much

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much a just imitation of natural sentiments, on fuch a tender occafion, is more pathetic, than chosen terms and studied phrases. As, in the foregoing chapter, I have made fome obfervations on our author's management of the Præternatural Beings, I forbear to enlarge further on the subject of the Witches that he has kept closely to the traditions concerning them, is very fully fet forth, in the notes of a learned commentator on his works.

This piece may certainly be deemed one of the best of Shakespear's compofitions: and, though it contains fome faulty speeches, and one whole scene entirely abfurd and improper, which Art might have corrected or lopped away; yet Genius, powerful Genius only, (wild Nature's vigour working at the root!) could have produced such strong and original beauties, and adapted both to the general temper and taste of the age in which it appeared.






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HOUGH it is an agreeable task, upon the whole, to attempt the vindication of an author's injured fame, the pleasure is much allayed, by its being attended with a neceffity to lay open the unfairness and errors, in the proceedings of his antagonist. To defend is pleasant, to accuse is painful; but we must prove the injustice of the aggreffor's fentence, before we can demand to have it repealed. The editor of the late edition of Corneille's works, has given the following preface to the tragedy of Cinna: Having often heard Corneille and Shakefpear compared, I thought it proper to "fhew their different manner, in fubjects. "that have a resemblance. I have therefore



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