On the Supernatural in Poetry

the softened remembrance of a sorrow long past, to prepare the mind to melt at one that was approaching, mingling at the same time, by means of a mysterious occurrence, a slight tremour of awe with our pity. Thus, when Belarius and Arviragus return to the cave where they had left the unhappy and worn-out Imogen to repose, while they are yet standing before it, and Arviragus, speaking of her with tenderest pity, as "the poor sick Fidele," goes out to enquire for her,–solernn music is heard from the cave, sounded by that harp of which Guiderius says, "Since the death of my dearest mother, it did not speak before. All solemn things should answer solemn accidents." Immediately Arviragus enters with Fidele senseless in his arms

"The bird is dead, that we have made so much of.
–How found you him?
Stark, as you see, thus smiling.
–I thought he slept, and put
My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness
Answered my steps too loud."–"Why he but sleeps!"

        * * * * *

"With fairest flowers
While summer lasts, AND I LIVE HERE, FIDELE,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave––"

            Tears alone can speak the touching simplicity of the whole scene. Macbeth shows, by many instances, how much Shakspeare delighted to heighten the effect of his characters and his story by correspondent scenery : there the desolate heath, the troubled elements, assist the mischief of his malignant beings. But who, after hearing Macbeth's thrilling question–
––"What are these,
So withered and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't?"––
who would have thought of reducing them to mere human beings, by attiring them not only like the inhabitants of the earth, but in the dress of a particular country, and making them downright Scotch-women ? thus not only contradicting the very words of Macbeth, but withdrawing from these cruel agents of the passions all that strange and supernatural air which had made them so affecting to the imagination, and which was entirely suitable to the solemn and important events they were foretelling and accomplishing. Another improvement on Shakspeare is the introducing a crowd of witches thus arrayed, instead of the three beings "so withered and so wild in their attire" About the latter part of this sentence, W––, as he was apt to do, thought aloud, and Mr. S–– said, "I, now, have sometimes considered, that it was quite suitable to make Scotch witches on the stage, appear like Scotch women. You must recollect that, in the superstition concerning witches, they lived familiarly upon the earth, mortal sorcerers, and were not always known from mere old women; consequently they must have appeared in the dress of the country where they happened to live, or they would have been more than suspected of witchcraft, which we find was not always the case."

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