Page images


PR623 B34





1. THE MACARONI. Com, by Robert Hitchcock. Performed at York. Svo. 1773. It was once acted at the Haymarket.


2. THE MACARONI. We are told that such a piece exists in MS. which was written some time between 1770 and 1780, but was, probably, never performed; though the copy which our informant had seen had several passages marked for omission, in the same manner as plays belonging to theatres usually have. Might it not be an abridgment of the foregoing article?

3. MACBETH. Trag. by W. Shakspeare. Fol. 1623. This play is extremely irregular, every one of the rules of the drama being entirely and repeatedly broken in upon yet, notwithstanding, it contains an infinity of beauties, both with respect to language, character, passion, and incident. The incantations of the witches are equal, if not superior, to the Canidia of Horace. The use this author has made of Banquo's ghost, towards heightening the already heated imagination of Macbeth, is inimitably fine. Lady Macbeth, discovering her own crimes in her






v.3 MAIN

sleep, is perfectly original, and admirably conducted. Macbeth's soliloquies, both before and after the murder, are masterpieces of unmatchable writing; while his readiness of being deluded at first by the witches, and his desperation on the discovery of the fatal ambiguity, and loss of all hope from supernatural predictions, produce a catastrophe truly just, and formed with the utmost judgment. In a word, notwithstanding all its irregularities, it is certainly one of the best pieces of the very best master in this kind of writing that the world ever produced. The plot is founded on the Scottish history, and may be traced in the writings of Hector Boethius, Buchanan, Holingshed, &c. in Heywood's Hierarchy of Angels, and in the first book of Heylin's Cosmography. The entire story at large, however, collected from them all, is to be seen in a work, in three volumes 12mo. entitled Shakspeare Illustrated, vol. i. The scene in the end of the fourth act lies in England. Through all the rest of the play it is in Scotland, and chiefly at Macbeth's castle at In




"This play (says Dr. Johnson) "is deservedly celebrated for the "propriety of its fictions, and "solemnity, grandeur, and variety "of its action; but it has no nice "discriminations of character: the " events are too great to admit the "influence of particular disposi"tions, and the course of the ac"tion necessarily determines the “conduct of the agents.

"The danger of ambition is "well described; and I know not "whether it may not be said, in "defence of some parts which now "seem improbable, that in Shak

[blocks in formation]


"that of many others, has always "been lessened by a circumstance, "which I would fain submit to "the consideration of managers, "the introduction of a chorus "of witches much more numerous "than was intended by Shak

speare. According to the ut"most latitude allowed by any "construction of his play, the "number of these should not ex"ceed six; and there is indeed "much reason to believe, with "Mr. Ritson, that Hecate should "not have more than three visible "attendants. The direction En"ter Hecate and the three other "witches,' when there are already "three upon the stage, is probably erroneous, no other three having "before been mentioned. As far as relates to the witches, it appears to mean Manent; in the way that in the printed copies "of many plays, all the characters, "who are to remain upon the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"is merely detested; and though
"the courage of Macbeth pre-
serves some esteem, yet every
"reader rejoices at his fall."

[ocr errors]

Mr. Harris, in his Philosophical Arrangements, observes of this tragedy:

"It is not only admirable as a "poem; but is, perhaps, at the "same time one of the most moral "pieces existing. It teaches us "the danger of venturing, though "but for once, upon a capital "offence, by showing us that it "is impossible to be wicked by "halves; and that we cannot "stop; that we are in a manner "" compelled to proceed; and yet "that, be the success as it may, "we are sure in the event to be"come wretched and unhappy."

An anonymous critic objects, and we think justly, to the stage practice of a numerous chorus of witches. After paying a tribute of praise to the chief characters, as performed by Mr. Kemble and Mrs Siddous, he adds, “but my "pleasure, and, I am persuaded,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

may intend, their countenances,

[ocr errors]

as soon as they are recognised, "throw an air of burlesque upon "the whole. The women, who "are generally pretty enough, to "be-witch us in a sense very dif"ferent from Shakspeare's, are "often employed in laughing with "each other, and sometimes with "the audience, at their dresses, "which they think frightful, but "which, in fact, conceal neither "their bright eyes, nor rosy lips, Inor, scarcely, their neat silk "stockings. Now all this inter"ruption to the solemn influence "of the scene may be avoided by "an easy alteration in the per"formance. The fine words of "the incantations (partly Shak"peare's and partly Middleton's), "the highly-appropriate music of "Locke, the harmony of our best "voices may all be preserved, and "the scene rescued from its pre"sent violation, by stationing the "whole chorus behind the scenes, "partly on the ground and partly "aloft, to make their responses "in the intervals of the spells of "Hecate and her three attendants. "The music would indisputably "be heard with an effect more "suitable to the occasion; and "our eyes would not then per"suade us to think of the play"bill, instead of Macbeth."

great splendour. The admirable music by Mr. Locke is still retained.

5. MACBETH, the Historical Tragedy of (written originally by Shakspeare). Newly adapted to the stage, with alterations by J. Lee, as performed at the Theatre in Edinburgh. Svo. 1753. Language is not strong enough to express our contempt of Mr. Lee's performance. If sense, spirit, and versification, were ever discoverable in Shakspeare's play, so sure has our reformer laid them all in ruins. Criticism disdains to point out each particular mischief of this monkey hand; but yet, gentle reader, accept the following specimen of its atteinpt to improve the well-known incantation with which the fourth act begins:

4. MACBETH. Trag. with all the alterations, amendments, additions, and new songs. Acted at the Duke's Theatre. 4to. 1674. This alteration was made by Sir William Davenant.

Downes the prompter says, that Nat Lee, the poet, having an inclination to turn actor, had the part of Duncan assigned to him on this revival, but did not succeed in it. His name, however, stands against the character in the printed copy. It was performed with

1. Witch.

No milk-maid yet hath been bedew'd.
2. Witch.
But thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
3. Witch.

Twice and once the hedge-pig whin'd,
Shutting his eyes against the wind.

1. Witch.

Up hollow oaks now emmets climb.

2. W'itch.

And Hecate cries, 'Tis time, 't is time
3. Witch.

Then round about the cauldron go,
And poison'd entrails in it throw.
1. Witch.

Toad (that under mossy stone,
Nights and days has, thirty-one,
Swelter'd venom sleeping got)
Boil first in the enchanted pot, &c. &c.

6. MACBETH. Trag. by Wm.
Shakspeare. Collated with the old
and modern editions. 8vo. 1773.
7. MACBETH. Tragedy, by
Shakspeare. With
Notes and Emendations, by Harry
Rowe, &c. Printed at York.
8vo. 1799. The criticisms and
emendations are more amusing
than solid.

8. MACBETH. Trag. by Shakspeare. Revised by J. P. Kemble,

Sunshine after Rain. A Farce, in two acts, by T. Merchant. 8vo. No date. [1795.] This entertainment, which is said to have been performed with the most flattering approbation at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, was printed at Huddersfield, in a volume, including also the author's "Fit

[ocr errors]

gitive Pieces in Prose and Verse." The name of Merchant, we understand to have been a fictitious one, assumed at that time by Mr. Thomas Dildin.-There is little plot, but considerable humour, in this piece, which has been since acted, for a benefit, at Covent Garden, under the latter title only.

and now first published as it is acted at Covent Garden Theatre. Svo. 1803.

9. THE MACKE (a game at Cards). A Play. Acted by Henslowe's Company, Feb. 21, 1594. Not printed.

10. MADAM FICKLE; or, The Witty false One. Com. by Thomas Durfey. Acted at the Duke's Theatre. 4to. 1677. This author, who, in regard both of plot and character, was certainly one of the greatest plagiaries that ever existed, has prefixed to this play a motto from Horace, viz. Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum, which Langbaine has, humorously enough, explained to imply, "That "he could not write a play without "stealing." At least, however, he has given no proof to the contrary of such explanation in the piece before us, which is wholly made up from other comedies. For instance, the character of Sir Arthur Old-Love is a plain copy of Veterano, in The Antiquary; as is also the incident of Zechiel's creeping into the Tavern Bush, and Tilburn's being drunk under it, &c. of the scene of Sir Reverence Lamard and Pimpwell, in The Walks of Islington and Hogsdon. There are also several hints in it borrowed from Marston's Fawn. The scene is laid in Covent Garden.

11. THE MAD CAPTAIN. Opera, by Robert Drury. Acted at Goodman's Fields. Svo. 1733. Pro-* logue spoken by the author.

12. A MAD COUPLE WELL MATCH'D. Comedy, by Richard Brome. 8vo. 1653. This play met with success, and was revived, with some very trivial alterations by Mrs. Behn, under the title of The Debauchee; or, The Credulous Cuckold, and reprinted in 4to.1677.


14. THE MAD-HOUSE. A Rehearsal of a new Ballad Opera, burlesqued, called THE MADHouse, after the manner of Pasquin, by R. Baker. Acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields. 8vo. 1737.

15. THE MAD-HOUSE. Mus. Ent. by W. C. Oulton. Acted in Dublin. 12mo. 1785.

16. THE MAD LOVER. TragiCom. by Beaumont and Fletcher. Fol. 1647; 8vo. 1778. This play is particularly commended by Sir Aston Cokain, in his copy of verses on Fletcher's plays. The scene lies at Paphos. The plot of Cleanthe's suborning the priest to give a false oracle, in favour of her brother Syphax, is borrowed from the story of Mundus and Paulina, in Josephus, book xviii. ch. 4.

17. THE MAD LOVER. There would seem to have been an opera, with this title [See ACIS AND GALATEA, Masque, by Motteux]; but we have not met with it; nor do we find it mentioned in any former list.

18. THE MADMAN. Burletta. Performed at Marybone Gardens. 4to. 1770.


« PreviousContinue »