against the surmised and false fained law Salike, which the Frenchmen alledge euer against the kings of England in barre of their just title to the crowne of France. The very words of that supposed law are these, In terram Salicam mulieres nè succedant, that is to saie, Into the Salike land let not women succeed; which the French glossers expound to be the realm of France, and that this law was made by King Pharamond: whereas yet their owne authors affirme, that the land Salike is in Germanie, between the rivers of Elbe and Sala, &c." p. 545.

It hath lately been repeated from Mr. Guthrie's" Essay on English Tragedy," that the portrait of Macbeth's wife is copied from Buchanan," whose spirit, as well as words, is translated into the play of Shakspeare: and it had signified nothing to have pored only on Holinshed for facts.

"Animus etiam, per se ferox, prope quotidianis conviciis uxoris (quæ omnium consiliorum ei erat conscia) stimulabatur."This is the whole, that Buchanan says of the lady; and truly I see no more spirit in the Scotch, than in the English chronicler. "The wordes of the three weird sisters also greatly encouraged him, [to the murder of Duncan] but specially his wife lay sore upon him to attempt the thing, as she that was very ambitious, brenning in unquenchable desire to beare the name of a queene." Edit. 1577, p. 244.

This part of Holinshed is an abridgement of Johne Bellenden's translation of the noble clerk, Hector Boece, imprinted at Edinburgh, in fol. 1541. I will give the passage as it is found there: "His wyfe impacient of lang tary (as all wemen ar) specially quhare they ar desirus of ony purpos, gaif hym gret artation to pursew the thrid weird, that sche micht be ane quene, calland hym oft tymis febyl cowart and nocht desyrus of honouris, sen he durst not assailze the thing with manheid and curage, quhilk is offerit to hym be beniuolence of fortoun. Howbeit sindry otheris hes assailzeit sic thinges afore with maist terribyl jeopardyis, quhen they had not sic sickernes to succeid in the end of thair lauboris as he had had." P. 173.

a book never existed. It is a mistake for Tullius of old Age, printed with The Boke of Frendshipe, by John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester. I believe the former was translated by William Wyrcestre, aliaș Botoner.

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But we can demonstrate, that Shakspeare had not the story from Buchanan. According to him, the weirdsisters salute Macbeth, "Una Angusiæ Thamum, altera Moraviæ, tertia regem.' -Thane of Angus, and of Murray, &c. but according to Holinshed, immediately from Bellenden, as it stands in Shakspeare: "The first of them spake and sayde, All hayle Makbeth, thane of Glammis,— the second of them said, Hayle Makbeth, thane of Cawder; but the third sayde, All hayle Makbeth, that hereafter shall be king of Scotland." P. 243.

"1. Witch. All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

"2. Witch. All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

"3. Witch. All hail, Macbeth! that shall be king here


Here too our poet found the equivocal predictions, on which his hero so fatally depended. "He had learned of certain wysards, how that he ought to take heede of Macduffe; and surely hereupon had he put Macduffe to death, but a certaine witch whom he had in great trust, had tolde, that he should neuer be slain with man born of any woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bernane came to the castell of Dunsinane." P. 244. And the scene between Malcom and Macduff in the fourth Act is almost literally taken from the Chronicle.

Macbeth was certainly one of Shakspeare's latest productions, and it might possibly have been suggested to him by a little performance on the same subject at Oxford, before King James, 1605. I will transcribe my notice of it from Wake's Rex Platonicus: "Fabulæ ansam dedit antiqua de Regiâ prosapiâ historiola apud Scoto-Britannos celebrata, quæ narrat tres olim Sibyllas occurrisse duobus Scotia proceribus, Macbetho et Banchoni, et illum prædixisse Regem futurum, sed Regem nullum geniturum ; hunc Regem non futurum, sed Reges geniturum multos. Vaticinii veritatem rerum eventus comprobavit. Banchonis enim è stirpe potentissimus Jacobus oriundus." P. 29.

A stronger argument hath been brought from the plot of Hamlet. Dr. Grey and Mr. Whalley assure us, that for this, Shakspeare must have read Saxo Grammaticus in Latin, for no translation hath been made into any modern

language. But the truth is, he did not take it from Saxo at all; a novel called The Hystorie of Hamblet, was his original a fragment of which, in black letter, I have been favoured with by a very curious and intelligent gentleman, [Mr. Capell] to whom the lovers of Shakspeare will some time or other owe great obligations.

It hath indeed been said, that "IF such an history exists, it is almost impossible that any poet unacquainted with the Latin language (supposing his perceptive faculties to have been ever so acute,) could have caught the characteristical madness of Hamlet, described by Saxo Grammaticus*, so happily as it is delineated by Shakspeare.

Very luckily, our fragment gives us a part of Hamlet's speech to his mother, which sufficiently replies to this observation" It was not without cause, and juste ocea sion, that my gestures, countenances and words seeme to proceed from a madman, and that I desire to haue all men : esteeme mee wholy depriued of sence and reasonable understanding, bycause I am well assured, that he that hath made no conscience to kill his owne brother, (accustomed to murthers, and allured with desire of gouernement without controll in his treasons,) will not spare to saue himselfe with the like crueltie, in the blood, and flesh of the loyns of his brother, by him massacred: and therefore it is better for me to fayne madnesse then to use my right senses as nature hath, bestowed them upon me. The bright shining clearnes therof I am forced to hide vnder this shadow of dissimulation, as the sun doth his beams vnder some great cloud, when the wether in summer time Quercasteth: the face of a mad man, serueth to couer my gallant countenance, and the gestures of a fool are fit for me, to the end that guiding my self wisely therin I may preserue my life for the Danes and the memory of my late deceased father, for that the desire of reuenging his death is so ingrauen in my heart, that if I dye not shortly, I hope to take such and so great vengeance, that these countryes shall for euer speake thereof. Neuertheless I

*"Falsitatis enim (Hamlethus) alienus haberi cupidus, ita astutiam veriloquio permiscebat, ut nec dictis veracitas deesset, nec acuminis modus verorum judicio proderetur." This is quoted, as it had been before, in Mr. Guthrie's Essay on Tragedy, with a small variation from the Original. See edit. fol. 1644,

P. 50.

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must stay the time, meanes, and occasion, lest by making ouer great hast, I be now the cause of mine own sodaine ruine and ouerthrow, and by that meanes, end, before I beginne to effect my hearts desire: hee that hath to doe with a wicked, disloyall, cruell, and discourteous man, must vse craft, and politike inuentions, such as fine witte can best imagine, not to discouer his interprise : for seeing that by force I cannot affect my desire, reason alloweth me by dissimulation, subtiltie, and secret practises to proceed therein."

But to put the matter out of all question, my communicative friend, above-mentioned, Mr. Capell, (for why should I not give myself the credit of his name?) hath been fortunate enough to procure from the collection of the Duke of Newcastle, a complete copy of the Hystorie of Hamblet, which proves to be a translation from the French of Belleforest; and he tells me, that "all the chief incidents of the play, and all the capital characters are there in embryo, after a rude and barbarous manner: sentiments indeed there are none, that Shakspeare could borrow; nor any expression but one, which is, where Hamlet kills Polonius behind the arras: in doing which he is made to cry out, as in the play, a rat, a rat!"-So much for Saxo Grammaticus!


It is scarcely conceivable, how industriously the puritanical zeal of the last age exerted itself in destroying, amongst better things, the innocent amusements of the former. Numberless Tales and Poems are alluded to in old books, which are now perhaps no where to be found. Mr. Capell informs me, (and he is in these matters, the most able of all men to give information,) that our author appears to have been beholden to some novels, which he hath yet only seen in French or Italian: but he adds, "to say they are not in some English dress, prosaic or metrical, and perhaps with circumstances nearer to his stories, is what I will not take upon me to do: nor indeed is what I believe; but rather the contrary, and that time and accident will bring some of them to light, if not all."

W. Painter, at the conclusion of the second Tome of his Palace of Pleasure, 1567, advertises the reader, "bicause sodaynly (contrary to expectation) this volume is risen to a greater heape of leaues, I doe omit for this present time sundry novels of mery deuise, reseruing the

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same to be joyned with the rest of an other part, wherein shall succeede the remnant of Bandello, specially sutch (suffrable) as the learned French man François de Belleforest hath selected, and the choysest done in the Italian. Some also out of Érizzo, Ser Giouanni Florentino, Parabosco, Cynthio, Straparole, Sansouino, and the best liked out of the Queene of Nauarre, and other authors. Take these in good part, with those that haue and shall come forth."-But I am not able to find that a third tome was ever published: and it is very probable, that the interest of his booksellers, and more especially the prevailing mode of the time, might lead him afterward to print his sundry novels separately. If this were the case, it is no wonder, that such fugitive pieces are recovered with difficulty: when the two tomes, which Tom. Rawlinson would have called justa volumina, are almost annihilated. Mr. Ames, who searched after books of this sort with the utmost avidity, most certainly had not seen them, when he published his Typographical Antiquities; as appears from his blunders about them: and possibly I myself might have remained in the same predicament, had I not been favoured with a copy by my generous friend, Mr. Lort. en

Mr. Colman, in the Preface to his elegant translation of Terence, hath offered some arguments for the learning of Shakspeare, which have been retailed with much confidence, since the appearance of Mr. Johnson's edition.

"Besides the resemblance of particular passages scattered up and down in different plays, it is well known, that the Comedy of Errors is in great measure founded on the Menæchmi of Plautus; but I do not recollect ever to have seen it observed, that the disguise of the Pedant in The Taming of the Shrew, and his assuming the name and character of Vincentio, seem to be evidently taken from the disguise of the Sycophanta in the Trinummus of the said author*;

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* This observation of Mr. Colman is quoted by his genious colleague, Mr. Thornton, in his translation of this play: who further remarks, in another part of it, that a passage in Romeo and Juliet, where Shakspeare speaks of the contradiction in the nature of love, is very much in the manner of his author: "Amor-mores hominum moros et morosos efficit.

"Minus placet quod suadetur, quod disuadetur placet. " Quom inopia'st, cupias, quando ejus copia'st, tum non evelis," &c.

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