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To he Brynnane to-gyddyr hále.
Of hat Wode (hare) ilka man
Dat man is nowcht borne of Wyf
De Knycht sayd, 'I wes nevyr borne ;
• Now sall hi Tresowne here tak end;
cola, ard all the other invaders of Scotland after him, have pursued. After passing the Forth, probably at the first ford above Stirling, they marched down the coast of Fife, no doubt taking Kennauchy, the seat of Macduff, in their way, where they would be joined by the forces of Fife; thei.ce they proceeded, gather. ing strength as they went, attended and s. pported (likt Agricola) by the shipping, which the Northumbrians of that age had in abundance, ["valida clisse, says Sim. Dun. col. 187, describing this expedition,) and turned west along the north coast of Fife, the shipping being then stationed in the river and firth of Tay. Macbeth appears to have retreated before them to the north part of the kingdom, where, probabiy, his intei est was strongest. D. Macpherson.
L. 398.] This appears to be historic truth. But Boyse thought it did not make so good a story, as that Macbeth should be slain by Macduff, whom he therefore VOL. VII.
Dus Makbeth slwe hai han
405 In Latyne wryttyne to rehers;
Rex Macabeda decem Scotie Septemque fit annis,
410 From the non-appearance of Banquo in this ancient and authentick Chronicle, it is evident that his character, and conse. quently that of Fleance, were the fictions of Hector Boece, who seems to have been more ambitious of furnishing picturesque incidents for the use of playwrights, than of exhibiting sober facts on which historians could rely. The phantoms of a dream,* in the present instance, he has embodied, and
gives to airy nothing “ A local habitation and a name.” Nor is he solicitous only to reinforce creation. In thinning the ranks of it he is equally expert; for as often as lavish slaughters are necessary to his purpose, he has unscrupulously supplied them from his own imagination. “I laud bim,” however, “I praise him," (as Falstaff says) for the tragedy of Macbeth, perhaps, might not have been so successfully raised out of the less dramatick materials of his predecessor Wyntown. The want of such an essential agent as Banquo, indeed, could scarce have operated more disadvantageously in respect to Shakspeare, than it certainly has in regard to the royal object of his flattery; for, henceforward, what prop can be found for the pretended ancestry of James the First? or what plea for Isaac Wake's most courtly deduction from the supposed prophecy of the Weird Sisters? “ Vaticinii veritatem rerum eventus comprobavit; Banquo. nis enim e stirpe potentissimus Jacobus oriundus.” See Rex Platonicus, &c. 1605. Steevens.
works up to a proper temper of revenge, by previously sending Macbeth to mur. der his wife and children. All this has a very fine effect in romance, or upon the stage. D. Macpherson.
* Lord Hailes, on the contrary, in a note on his Annals of Scotland, Vol. I, p. 3, charges Buchanan with having softened the appearance of the Witches into a dream of the same tendency; whereas he has only brought this story back to the probability of its original, as related by Wyntown, Steevent.
THE troublesome Reign of King John was written in two parts, by W. Shakspeare and w. Rowley, and printed 1611. But the present play is entirely different, and infinitely superior to it.
Pope. The edition of 1611 has no mention of Rowley, nor in the account of Rowley's works is any mention made of his conjunction with Shakspeare in any play. King John was reprinted, in two parts, in 1622. The first edition that I have found of this play, in its present form, is that of 1623, in folio. The edition of 1591 I have not seen. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson mistakes, when he says there is no mention, in Rowley's works, of any conjunction with Shakspeare. The Birth of Merlin is ascribed to them jointly, though I cannot believe Shakspeare had any thing to do with it. Mr. Capell is equally mistaken, when he says (Pref. p. 15) that Rowley is called his partner in the title-page of The Merry Devil of Edmonton.
There must have been some tradition, however erroneous, upon which Mr. Pope's account was founded. I make no doubt that Rowley wrote the first King Fohn; and, when Shakspeare's play was called for, and could not be procured from the players, a piratical bookseller reprinted the old one, with W. Sh. in the title-page. Farmer.
The elder play of King John was first published in 1591. Shak. speare has preserved the greatest part of the conduct of it, as well as some of the lines. A few of those I have pointed out, and others I have omitted as undeserving notice. The number of quotations from Horace, and similar scraps of learning scattered over this motley piece, ascertain it to have been the work of a scholar. It contains likewise a quantity of rhyming Latin, and ballad-metre; and in a scene where the Bastard is represent. ed as plundering a monastery, there are strokes of humour, which seem, from their particular turn, to have been most evidently produced by another hand than that of our author.
Of this historical drama there is a subsequent edition in 1611, printed for John Helme, whose name appears before none of the genuine pieces of Shakspeare. I admitted this play some years ago as our author's own, among the twenty which I published from the old editions; but a more careful perusal of it, and a further conviction of his custom of borrowing plots, sentiments, &c. disposes me to recede from that opinion. Steevens.
A play entitled The troublesome Raigne of John King of England, in two parts, was printed in 1591, without the writer's name. It was written, I believe, either by Robert Greene, or George Peele; and certainly preceded this of our author. Mr. Pope, who is very inaccurate in matters of this kind, says that the former was printed in 1611, as written by W. Shakspeare and W. Rowley. But this is not true. In the second edition of this old play, in 1611, the letters W. Sh. were put into the title-page to deceive the purchaser, and to lead him to suppose the piece was Shakspeare's play, which, at that time, was not published.
Though this play have the title of The Life and Death of King Fohn, yet the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life, and takes in only some transactions of his reign to the time of his demise, being an interval of about seventeen years.
Theobald. Hall, Holinshed, Stowe, &c. are closely followed, not only in the conduct, but sometimes in the very expressions, throughout the following historical dramas, viz. Macbeth, this play, Richard II, Henry IV, two parts, Henry V, Henry VI, three parts, Richard III, and Henry VIII.
“A booke called The Historie of Lord Faulconbridge, bastard Son to Richard Cordelion,” was entered at Stationers? Hall, Nov. 29, 1614; but I have never met with it, and therefore know not whether it was the old black letter history, or a play upon the same subject. For the original King John, see Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing
Steevens. The Historie of Lord Faulconbridge, &c. is a prose narrative, in bl. I. The earliest edition that I have seen of it was printed in 1616.
A book entitled Richard Cur de Lion was entered on the Sta. tioner' Books in 1558.
A play called The Funeral of Richard Cordelion, was written by Robert Wilson, Henry Chettle, Anthony Mundy, and Michael Drayton, and first exhibited in the year 1598. Malone.
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