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Malone believed that the mention of the equivocator who committed treason enough for God's sake' was suggested by the trial of Garnett the Jesuit, in March 1606, for participation in the Gunpowder Plot, and that of the farmer who hanged himself on the expectation of plenty,' by the scarcity of corn in the autumn of the same year. The latter reference would be quite as apposite if we supposed it to be made to the abundant harvest of any other year, and the Jesuit doctrine of equivocation was at all times so favourite a theme of invective with Protestant preachers, that it could not but be familiar to the public, who in those days frequented the pulpit as assiduously as the stage.

We have however a more precise indication in the Journal of Dr. Simon Forman (privately printed by Mr. Halliwell, from a manuscript in the Ashmolean Museum), who writes as follows:

'In Macbeth, at the Globe, 1610, the 20th of April, Saturday, there was to be observed first how Macbeth and Banquo two noblemen of Scotland, riding through a wood, there stood before them three women, fairies or nymphs, and saluted Macbeth, saying three times unto him, Hail, Macbeth, king of Codor, for thou shall be a king, but shall beget no kings, &c. Then said Banquo, What, all to Macbeth and nothing to me ? Yes, said the nymphs, Hail, to thee, Banquo; thou shall beget kings, yet be no king. And so they departed, and came to the Court of Scotland, to Duncan king of Scots, and it was in the days of Edward the Confessor. And Duncan bade them both kindly welcome, and made Macbeth [sic] forthwith Prince of Northumberland, and sent him home to his own castle, and appointed Macbeth to provide for him, for he would sup with him the next day at night, and did so. And Macbeth contrived to kill Duncan, and through the persuasion of his wife did that night murder the king in his own castle, being his guest. And there were many prodigies seen that night and the day before. And when Macbeth had murdered the king, the blood on his hands could not be washed off by any means, nor from his wife's hands, which handled the bloody daggers in hiding them, by which means they became both much amazed and affronted. The murder being known, Duncan's two sons fled, the one to England, the [other to] Wales, to save themselves; they being fled, they were supposed guilty of the murder of their father, which was nothing so. Then was Macbeth crowned king, and then he for fear of Banquo, his old companion, that he should beget kings but be no king himself, he contrived the death of Banquo, and caused him to be murdered on the way as he rode. The next night, being at supper with his noblemen, whom he had bid to a feast, to the which also Banquo should have come, he began to speak of noble Banquo, and to wish that he were there. And as he thus did, standing up to drink a čarouse to him, the ghost of Banquo came and sat down in his chair behind him. And he, turning about to sit down again, saw the ghost of Banquo which fronted him so, that he fell in a great passion of fear and fury, uttering many words about his murder, by which, when they heard that Banquo was murdered, they suspected Macbeth. Then Macduff fled to England to the king's son, and so they raised an army and came into Scotland, and at Dunscenanyse overthrew Macbeth. In the mean time, while Macduff was in England, Macbeth slew Macduff's wife and children, and after, in the battle, Macduff slew Macbeth. Observe also how Macbeth's queen did rise in the night in her sleep, and walked, and talked and confessed all, and the Doctor noted her words.'

We have given the foregoing passage with modern spelling and punctuation. We learn from it that Dr. 'Forman saw Macbeth for the first time on April 20, 1610. bability it was then a new play, otherwise he would scarcely have been at the pains to make an elaborate summary of its plot. And in those days the demand for and the supply of new plays were so great, that even the most popular play had not such a ‘run' nor was so frequently' revived' as at present. Besides, as we have shown, there is nothing to justify the inference, still less to prove, that Macbeth was produced at an

In all pro

earlier date. In Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle, a burlesque produced in 1611, we find an obvious allusion to the ghost of Banquo. Jasper, one of the characters, enters with his face mealed,' as his own ghost. He says to Venturewell, v. i. (vol. ji. p. 216, ed. Dyce),

When thou art at thy table with thy friends,
Merry in heart and fillid with swell wine,
I'll come in midst of all thy pride and mirth,

Invisible to all men but thyself.' This supports the inference that Macbeth was in 1611 a new play, and fresh in the recollection of the audience.

We now turn to a question of greater interest-whether any other dramatist besides Shakespeare had a hand in the composition of Macbeth. In the folio, iii. 5. 33, is a stage direction, Musicke and a Song,' and two lines below, Sing within. Come away, come away, &c.' In iv. 1. 43 is another stage-direction, Musicke and a Song. Blacke Spirits, &c.' Davenant, in his alteration of Macbeth, published 1673, supplied these ' et ceteras,' as we have mentioned in our Notes, by words which were supposed to be his own till they were found in Thomas Middleton's play of The Witch, which was discovered in MS. by. Steevens, in 1779. This play contains many other points of resemblance to Macbeth, as for instance (p. 268, ed. Dyce), Hecate says of Sebastian, who has come to seek her aid, I know he loves me not. Compare Macbeth, iii. 5. 13. In p. 314:

For the maid servants and the girls o'th' house

I spiced them lately with a drowsy posset.'
Compare Macbeth, ii. 2. 5, 6.
In p. 329:-

* Hec. Come my sweet sisters ; let the air strike our tune.' Compare Macbeth, iv. I. 129.

To these may be added 'the innocence of sleep,' p. 316, and there's no such thing,' p. 317, which remind us of Macbeth, ii. 2. 36, and ii. 1. 47. In p. 319, the words I'll rip thee down from neck to navel,' recall Macbeth, i. 2. 22.

There are other passages in Middleton's play which sound like faint echoes of Shakespeare, and there is a strong general likeness between the witches of the two dramas, notwithstanding that the Hecate of the one is a spirit, of the other an old woman.

Steevens, perhaps influenced unconsciously by a desire to exalt the importance of his discovery, maintained that Shakespeare had copied from Middleton, a view which Malone at first acquiesced in, but subsequently controverted. Indeed, given two works, one of transcendent excellence, the other of very inferior merit, it is much more probable that the latter should be plagiarised from the former than vice versa, if plagiarism there be.

We have no means of ascertaining the date of Middleton's play. We know that he survived Shakespeare eleven years, but that he had acquired a reputation as early as 1600, because in England's Parnassus, published in that year, a poem is by mistake attributed to him. (See Dyce's account of Middleton, prefixed to his edition of his works.)

If we were certain that the whole of Macbeth, as we now read it, came from Shakespeare's hand, we should be justified in concluding from the data before us, that Middleton, who was probably junior and certainly inferior to Shakespeare, consciously or unconsciously imitated the great master. But we are persuaded that there are parts of Macbeth which Shakespeare did not write, and the style of these seems to us to resemble that of Middleton. It would be very uncritical to pick out of Shakespeare's works all that seems inferior to the rest, and to assign it to somebody else. At his worst he is still Shakespeare; and though the least "mannered' of all poets, he has always a manner which cannot well be mistaken. In the parts of Macbeth of which we speak we find no trace of this manner. But to come to particulars. We believe that the second scene of the first act was not written by Shakespeare. Making all allowance for corruption of text, the slovenly metre is not like Shakespeare's work, even when he is most careless. The bombastic phraseology

of the sergeant is not like Shakespeare's language even when he is most bombastic. What is said of the thane of Cawdor, lines 52, 53, is inconsistent with what follows in scene 3, lines 72, 73, and 112 sqq. We may add that Shakespeare's good sense would hardly have tolerated the absurdity of sending a severely wounded soldier to carry the news of a victory.

In the first thirty-seven lines of the next scene, powerful as some of them are, especially 18–23, we do not recognise Shakespeare's hand; and surely he never penned the feeble 'tag,' ii. 1.61,

•Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.' Of the commencement of the third scene of the second act, Coleridge said long ago : ‘This low soliloquy of the Porter, and his few speeches afterwards, I believe to have been written for the mob by some other hand.' (Lectures on Shakespeare, &c., vol. i. p. 249.)

If the fifth scene of act iii. had occurred in a drama not attributed to Shakespeare, no one would have discovered in it any trace of Shakespeare's manner.

The rich vocabulary, prodigal fancy, and terse diction displayed in iv. 1. 1-38, show the hand of a master, and make us hesitate in ascribing the passage to any one but the master himself. There is, however, a conspicuous falling-off in lines 39-47, after the entrance of Hecate.

In iii. 5. 13 it is said that Macbeth 'loves for his own ends, not for you;' but in the play there is no hint of his pretending love to the witches. On the contrary he does not disguise his hatred. “You secret, black, and midnight hags!' he calls them. Similarly, lines 125-132 of the last-mentioned scene, beginning

• Ay, sir, all this is so ' and ending

• That this great king may kindly say

Our duties did his welcome pay,' cannot be Shakespeare's.

In iv. 3, lines 140-159, which relate to the touching for the

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