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THOSE pathetic touches of nature which are given in all the above scenes with Hermia, render it impoffible to determine, which of them would furnish to an artist the best designs. Were I to felect, I would give the following portraits of her:

p. 7. So will I grow

A portrait from these lines, with fomewhat of the fame kind of sweet expreffion which is in the print of Mrs. Barry in Conftance, in Bell's first edition of King John. The arms and the attitude will be of courfe fomewhat altered expreffive of her addreffing herself to heaven, as well as to the Duke; and there fhould be imprinted in her face, the marks of that generous love, that prompted her to risk all for Lyfander—and of that firm attachment to him, who had bewitched her bofom, and who had fiol'n the impreffion of her fantasy with bracelets of his hair, and other mesfengers of ftrong prevailment in unharden'd youth. Somewhat of the fame attitude might be given that we see in No. 108, and No. 201, of the Estampes de Duffeldorf.

p. 9. How now my love? Why is your cheek fo pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast.

The above lines will give an opportunity of introducing Lyfander with Hermia. They may be drawn at half-length-or their portraits only may be taken. And this page will exhibit Hermia in a very different light from what the appears in, in the laft page; and fomewhat different from what she will appear in, at p. 52. Her appearance may be fomewhat fimilar to that of Helena, as defcribed in A.


Sc. 6

And i

And Helena of Athens fee thou find,

All fancy fick fhe is, and pale of cheer,
With fighs of love that coft the fresh blood dear.

p. 52. Lyf. One turf fhall ferve, &c.-Or, at that tender line of:

I mean that my heart unto yours is knit.

If fomewhat of the fame neat wildness of romantic fcenery, and the fame kind of engraving were introduced, as appears in the beautiful prints of Celia, by Kauffman, and of Marcella by Shelley: the above page might be pleasingly ornamented with half-lengths of Lyfander and Hermia as met in the wood, a league without the town, where he met her once with Helena to do obfervance to the morn of May; and the time they meet (a midfummer's night) is at that time,

when Phoebe doth behold Her filver vifage in the watry glass, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass.

THE drefs of Hermia in Bell's last edition, may be looked at; and the landscape in this print is far from unpleafing.

Page 50.

and fome keep back

The clamourous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders
At our quaint fpirits.

THIS play is only the dream of a fummer's night-but it is a dream in which Shakespeare has most pleasingly indulged his vifionary fancy and wild imagination. It was no doubt the production of those years " in which imagination is on the wing," and it is indeed the fine enthusiasm of

a ge

a genuine child of fancy and of genius. The magic of his mufe has bodied forth things unknown, and he has transfused a portion of that divine spirit which nature gave him, to airy nothings-to whom he has given a charm that will never fade. The fairies have been very properly termed the favourite children of his romantic fancy-many of his descriptions of them are wonderfully fanciful; and their pleasing sportfulness and mirthful delufions, were never recorded by a pen like Shakespeare's. He was (to ufe Mr. Garrick's words) the monarch of the enchanted land: and

What mortal, fprite, or fairy can deny
To fing their mafter's immortality.

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THE genius of Collins affembled them round the tomb of fair Fideleand they may well affemble to do homage round that of their fo potent master:

No wither'd witch fhall there be feen, 1
No goblin lead their nightly crew;
But female fays fhall haunt the green
And dress thy grave with pearly dew.*


THE fairies by moon-light, dance round his green bed,
For hallow'd the turf is, that covers his head.


There is a pleafing thought in the following lines of Mr. Holcroft.

Clad in the wealthy robes his genius wrought
In happy dreams was gentle Shakespeare laid;
His pleas'd foul wandering through the realms of thought,
While all his elves and fairies round him play'd:

Voltaire approach'd; straight fled the frolic band,

(For envy's breath fuch fprights may not endure) He pilfer'd many a gem, with trembling hand,

Then stabb'd the bard to make the theft secure!



Mrs. Montagu, it her chapter on the preternatural Beings of Shakefpeare, has honourably diftinguished and defended the fupreme power which he poffeffed over the fairy land; and the prefent Bishop of Worcester, in his letters on chivalry and romance, has not been less anxious in adorning the poet's memory, by treating in a very delightful manner on the caft of Shakespeare's magic-or on his predilection for the popular tales of elves and fairies and other enchantments of the gothic kind (in preference to pagan divinities): the allufion of which is fo grateful to the charmed fpirit.*


Ungrateful man! though vain thy black defign,

The attempt, and not the deed, thy hand defil'd;
Preferv'd by his own charms, and fpells divine,
Safely the gentle Shakespeare flept, and finil'd!

*AN anonymous female writer, has very pleafingly thanked Mrs. Montague for being the advo cate of Shakespeare. I will extract part of the lines:

Fair blooms the wreath thy generous hand has wove,
With laurels green thou deck'st thy Shakespeare's head,
Immortal genius doth the task approve,

And bids his poet's glories round thee spread.

O! could his fhade, where peace, where wifdom reigns,
Thy nervous page behold, with wonder fraught,
E'en there the bard would blefs thy friendly strains,
And own his magic felt, his genius caught.

There would he wish, (if there a wish can be)
Whene'er his Montagu from earth retires,
Her form on thofe feraphic realms to fee,
And tell the gratitude his bofom fires.

Mr. Sheridan has likewife paid her the following compliment:

Our hearts are pledg'd to Montagu's applaufe,
While Shakespeare's fpirit seems to aid her caufe-


If I am to propose à representation or drawing of these ideal beings, I am afraid no pencil will ever equal the paintings that Shakespeare has given of them—and with refpect to their perfons I must confefs myself


Well pleas'd to aid: fince o'er his facred bier

This female hand did ample trophies rear,

And gave the greeneft laurel that is worship'd there..

I will extract a few paffages from Mrs. Montagu's Effay; as well as from fome other writers, who have teftified the excellence of our poet on the fubject of preternatural beings.

THE poet, who can give to fplendid inventions, and to fictions new and bold, the air and authority of reality and truth, is master of the genuine fources of the Caftalian spring, and may justly be faid to draw his inspiration from the well-head of pure poefy. Page 135.

WHEN the Pagan temples ceafed to be revered, and the Parnaffian mount existed no longer, it would have been difficult for the poet of later times to have preferved the divinity of his mufe inviolate, if the weilern world too had not had its facred fables. While there is any national fuperftition which credulity has confecrated, any hallowed tradition long revered by vulgar faith; to that fanctuary, that afylum, may the poet refort.-Let him tread the holy ground with reverence; respect the established doctrine; exactly obferve the accustomed rites, and the attributes of the object of veneration; then shall he not vainly invoke an inexorable or abfent deity. Ghosts, fairies, goblins, elves, were as propitious, were as affiftant, to Shakespeare, and gave as much of the fublime, and of the marvelous, to his fictions, as nymphs, fatyrs, fawns, and even the triple Geryon, to the works of ancient bards. Our poet never carries his preternatural beings beyond the limits of the popular tradition. It is true, that he boldly exerts his poetic genius, and fafcinating powers in that magic circle, in which none durft walk but be: but, as judicious as bold, he contains himself within it. He calls up all the ftately phantoms in the regions of fuperftition, which our faith will receive with reverence. He throws into their manners and language a myfterious folemnity, favourable to fuperftition in general, with fomething highly characteristic of each particular being which he exhibits. His witches, his ghofts, and his fairies, feem fpirits of health or goblins damn'd; bring with them airs from Heaven or blafts from Hell. His ghosts are fullen, melancholy, and terrible. Every fentence, uttered by the witches, is a prophecy, or a charm ; their manners are malignant, their phrafes ambiguous, their promises delufive.-The witches cauldron is a horrid collection of what is most horrid in their fuppofed incantations.

is a fpirit, mild, gentle and fweet, poffeffed of fupernatural powers, but fubject to the command Ariel of a great magician.

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