« ZurückWeiter »
Lean. Now I have another temper, a mere stranger
Bian. I praise not that;
for a world :
Lean. Now thou com'st home to me; a kiss for that word.
Bian. No matter for a kiss, sir; let it pass;
Moth. (Aside.) I am glad he's here yet
Lean. Speak, what's the humour, sweet,
Bian. Is there no kindness betwixt man and wife,
There's many a disease kiss'd in a year by't,
Lean. How? a whole fortnight! why, is that so long?
Bian. 'Tis time to leave off dalliance ; 'tis a doctrine
Moth. (Aside.) Here's one fits him ;
[A Messenger from the Duke knocks within. Who knocks? Lean. Who's there now? Withdraw you,
[Exit Biancha." The Witch of Middleton is his most remarkable performance; both on its own account, and from the use that Shakespear has made of some of the characters and speeches in his Macbeth. Though the employment which Middleton has given to Hecate and the rest, in thwarting the purposes and perplexing the business of familiar and domestic life, is not so grand or appalling as the more stupendous agency which Shakespear has assigned them, yet it is not easy to deny the merit of the first invention to Middleton, who has embodied the existing superstitions of the time, respecting that anomalous class of beings, with a high spirit of poetry, of the most grotesque and fanciful kind. The songs and incantations made use of are very nearly the same. The other parts of this play are not so good; and the solution of the principal difficulty, by Antonio's falling down a trap-door, most lame and impotent. As a specimen of the similarity of the preternatural machinery, I shall here give one entire scene.
“ The Witches' Habitation.
Enter Heccat, Stadlin, Hoppo, and other Witches.
Hec. Aye, is't not, wenches,
Hop. Our's will be more to-night.
Stad. Briefly, in the copse,
Hec. 'Tis high time for us then.
Stad. There was a bat hung at my lips three times
Hec. You are fortunate still,
Hec. Prepare to flight then.
Stad. Hye then, Heccat!
[They ascend. Enter Firestone.
Fire. They are all going a birding to-night. They talk of fowls i' th' air, that fly by day, I'm sure they'll be a company of foul sluts there to-night. If we have not mortality affeared, I'll be hang’d, for they are able to putrify it, to infect a whole region. She spies me now.
Hec. What, Firestone, our sweet son ?
Fire. A little sweeter than some of you; or a dunghill were too good for me.
Hec. How much hast there?
Fire. Nineteen, and all brave plump ones; besides six lizards, and three serpentine eggs.
Hec. Dear and sweet boy! What herbs hast thou ?
Fire. Here's pannax too. I thank thee; my pan akes, I am sure, with kneeling down to cut 'em.
Hec. And selago,
Fire. Every blade of 'em, or I am a moon-calf, mother.
Hec. Hie thee home with 'em.
Fire. Aloft, quoth you? I would you would break your neck once, that I might have all quickly ( Aside). —Hark, bark, mother! They are above the steeple already, flying over your
head with a noise of musicians. Hec. They are indeed. Help me! Help me! I'm too late
SONG, (in the air above).
Come away, come away!
Hec. I come, I come, I come, I come,
With all the speed I may,
With all the speed I may.
And Hoppo too, and Hellwain too:
the count! Hec. I will but ’noint, and then I mount.
(A Spirit descends in the shape of a Cat). (Above)There's one come down to fetch his dues ;
A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood;
Since th' air's so sweet aud good?
What news, what news Spirit. All goes still to our delight,
Either come, or else
Hark, hark! The cat sings a brave treble in her
Now I go, now I fly,
To ride in the air
When the moon shines fair,
Over woods, high rocks, and mountains,