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R. JOHNSON thought it necessary to prefix to this play an apology for Shakespeare's magic;-in which he says, 66 A poet, who should now make the whole action of his tragedy depend upon enchantment, and produce the chief events by the assistance of supernatural agents, would be censured as transgressing the bounds of probability, be banished from the theatre to the nursery, and condemned to write fairy tales instead of tragedies." He then proceeds to defend this transgression upon the ground of the credulity of the poet's age; when "the scenes of enchantment, however they may be now ridiculed, were both by himself and his audience thought awful and affecting." By whom, or when (always excepting French criticism), these sublime conceptions were in danger of ridicule, he has not told us; and I sadly fear that this superfluous apology arose from the misgivings of the great critic's mind. Schlegel has justly remarked that, "Whether the age of Shakespeare still believed in witchcraft and ghosts, is a matter of perfect indifference for the justification of the use which, in Hamlet and Macbeth, he has made of pre-existing traditions. No superstition can ever be prevalent and widely diffused through ages and nations without having a foundation in human nature: on this foundation the poet builds; he calls up from their hidden abysses that dread of the unknown, that presage of a dark side of nature, and a world of spirits which philosophy now imagines it has altogether exploded. In this manner he is in some degree both the portrayer and the philosophier of a superstition; that is, not the philosopher who denies and turns into ridicule, but, which is still more difficult, who distinctly exhibits its origin to us in apparently irrational and yet natural opinions."-In another place the same admirable critic says "Since The Furies of Eschylus, nothing so grand and terrible has ever been composed: The Witches, it is true, are not divine Eumenides, and are not intended to be so: they are ignoble and vulgar instruments of hell. They discourse with one another like women of the very lowest class; for this was

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