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ftinguish that perfon from all others who have the fame calt of features, and the fame tint of complexion. In like manner do the minds of men differ from each other. There are in thefe alfo general marks of difinction; quicknefs, or clearnefs, or want of apprehenfion; a feverity or a mildness of temper; tendernefs or violence in the paffions. But no affemblage of thefe will together form the character of any individual: for he has fome predominant principle; there is a certain proportion in which his qualities are mixed; and each affects the other. Thofe qualities check that principle, though at the fame time they are themfelves controuled by it for nothing is abfolutely pure and fimple in h's compofition; and, therefore, if his peculiarities do not appear, no refemblance of him can be seen.
"The force of character is fo ftrong, that the most violent paffions do not prevail over it; on the contrary, it directs them, and gives a particular turn to all their operations. The most pathetic expreffions, therefore, of the paffions are not true, if they are not accommodated to the character of the perfon supposed to feel them; and the effect upon the fpectators will be weak, when fo much of the reality is wanting in the imitation. Such general expreflions of the paffions are, in poetry, like thofe which in painting are called Studies; and which, unless they are adapted to the features, circumftances, and difpofitions of the feveral perfonages, to whofe figures they are applied, remain mere ftudies ftill, and do not connect with the portrait or history-piece into which they are introduced.
Yet the generality of dramatic writers, and more especially of
thofe who have chofen tragedy for their fubject, have contented themfelves with the diftant refemblance, which indifcriminate expreffions of paffion, and im, erfect, because general marks of character, can give. Elevated ideas become the hero; a profeffed contempt of all principles denotes a villain; frequent gufts of rage betray violence, and tender fentiments thew a mildness, of difpofition. But a villain differs not more from a faint, than he does in fome particulars from another as bad as himfelt: and the fame degrees of anger, excited by the fame occafions, break forth in as many feveral tha cs, as there are various tempers. But thefe diftinguishing peculiarities between man and man, have too often efcaped the observation of tragic writers. The comic writers have, indeed, frequently caught them; but then they are apt to fall into an excefs the other way, and overcharge their imitations: they do not fuffer a character to fhew itself, but are continually pointing it out to obfervation; and by thus bidding the fpectator take notice of the likenefs, tell him all the while that it is but a reprefentation. former is commonly the defect of the French tragedies, which are therefore infipid, even when they abound with poetry and paffion: and the latter is a fault common in the English comedies, which makes them difgufting, though they are full of wit, good fenfe, and humour. The one falls fhort of character, the other runs into caricature; that wants refemblance, and this is mere mimickry.
"Shakespeare has generally avoided both extremes; and, however faulty in fome refpects, is in this, the most effential part of the drama, confidered as a repre
fentation, excellent beyond comparifon. No other dramatic writer could ever pretend to fo deep and fo extenfive a knowledge of the human heart; and he had a genius to exprefs all that his penetration could difcover. The characters, therefore, which he has drawn, are masterly copies from nature; differing each from the other, and animated as the originals, though correct to a fcrupulous precition, The truth and force of the imitation
recommend it as a fubject worthy of criticifm: and though it admits not of fuch general rules as the conduct of the fable, yet every feveral character furnishing a variety of remarks, the mind, by attending to them, acquires a turn to fuch obfervations; than which nothing is more agreeable or more useful in forming the judgment, whether on real characters in life, or dramatic reprefentations of them."
Diftin&t CHARACTERS of MACBETH and RICHARD III.
[From the fame Work.]
Mind fo framed and fo tortured as that of Macbeth, when the hour of extremity preffes upon him, can find no refuge but in defpair; and the expreffion of that defpair by Shakespeare, is perhaps one of the finest pictures that ever was exhibited. It is wildness, inconfiftency, and disorder, to such a degree, and fo apparent, that "Some fay he's mad; others who leffer hate him,
Do call it valiant fury: but for certain,
It is prefumption without hope, and confidence without courage: that confidence refts upon his fuperftition; he buoys himself up with it against all the dangers that threaten him, and yet finks upon every fresh alarm:
"Bring me no more reports; let them
Till Birnam wood remove to Dunfinane,
When I behold-Seyton! I fay, this pufh
Will cheer me ever, or disease me now.
I have lived long enough; my way of
Is fali'n into the fear, the yellow leaf."
By these reflexions, by those which
"I'll fight, till from, my bones my flesh
He then impetuoufly gives his or-
Send out more horfes; fkirr the coun-
Hang thofe that talk of fear.”—
He repeats them afterwards with impatience. Though the enemy is fill at a distance, he calls for his armour; notwithstanding Seyton's remonftrance that it is not needed yet, he perfists in putting it on; he calls for it eagerly afterwards; he bids the perfon who is affiling him, difpatch; then the moment it is on, he pulls it off again, and directs his attendants to bring it after him. In the mid of all this violence and hury, the melancholy which preys upon him fhews ittelf, by the fympathy he expreffes fo feelingly, when the difeafed mind of Lady Macbeth is mentioned; and yet
neither the troubles of his confcience, nor his concern for her, can divert his attention from the ditire's of his fituation. He tells her phyfician that the Thanes fly from him; and betrays to him, whose affistance he could not want, and in whom he did not mean to plate any particular confidence, his apprehensions of the English forces. After he has forbid thofe about him to bring him any more reports, he anxiouf. ly enquires for news; he dreads efcorns; at least he recurs to his fuery danger which he fuppofes he peritition, as to the only relief from his agony; and concludes the agi tated icene, as he had begun it, with declaring that he
"--will not be afraid of death or bane, Till Birnam forcit come to Dunfinane."
At his next appearance he gives his orders, and considers his fituation more calmly; but ftill there is no fpirit in him. If he is for a fhort time fedate, it is because
"-he has furfeited with horrors; Direnefs, familiar to his daughterous thoughts,
Cannot now start him."
He appears composed, only because he is become almost indifferent to
every thing: he is hardly affected by the death of the Queen, whom he tenderly loved: he checks himfelf for wifhing fhe had lived longer; for he is weary himfelt of lite, which in his estimation now
"Is but a walking fhadow; a poor player,
That ftruts and frets his hour upon the ftage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an ideot, full of found and fury, Signifying nothing". Yet though he grows more careless about his fate, he cannot reconcile himself to it; he fill flatters himfelf that he fhall efcape, even after
he has found the equivocation of the fiend. When Birnam wood appeared to come towards Dunfinane, he trufts to the other affurance; and believes that he
"Bears a charmed life, which muft not yield
To one of woman born.".
His confidence however, begins to fail him; he raves as foon as he perceives that he has reafon to doubt of the promifes which had been made to him, and fays,
"If this which he avouches does ap
There is no flying hence, nor tarrying here,
I'gin to be a weary of the fun,
And with the ftate o' th' world were now undone.
and then patiently endeavours to perfuade this injured adverfary to defit from fo unequal a combat; for he is confident that it must be fatal to Macduff, and therefore tells him,
"Thou lofelt labour;
As eafy mayeft thou the intrenchant
With thy keen fword imprefs, as make
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
But his reliance on this charm be-
Ring the alarum bell:-Blow, wind! lol in defpair, his habits recur to go
At least we'll die with harness on our
But fenfible, at last, that he is driven to extremity, and that
"They've tied him to a flake; he cannot fly,
But, bear-like, he must fight the course," he fummons all his fortitude; and, agreeably to the minlinefs of character to which he had always formed himfelf, behaves with more temper and fprit during the battle than he had before. He is fo well recovered from the diforder he had been in, that the natural fenfibility of his difpofition finds even in the field an opportunity to work; where the declines to fight with Macduff, not from fear, but from a confci oufnefs of the wrongs he had done to him he therefore anfwers his provoking challenge, only by faying
"Of all men elfe I have avoided thee:
vern him; he difdains the thought of difgrace, and dies as becomes a foldier. His laft words are
"I will not yield,
And to be baited by the rabble's curse.
And thou oppos'd being of no woman
Yet will I try the laft: before my body
And damn'd be he that first cries Hold,
If this behaviour of Macbeth required, it would receive illuftration, by comparing it with that of Richard in circumstances not very ditierent. When he is to fight for his crown and for his life, he prepres for the crifis with the most perfect evenness of temper; and rifes as the danger thickens, into ardour, without once ftarting out into intemperance, or ever finking
But get thee back; my foul is too much into dejection. Though he is fo
With blood of thine already."
far from being fupported, that he
is depreffed, as much as a brave fpirit can be depreffed, by fupernatural means, and instead of having a fuperftitious confidence, he is threatened by all the ghofts of all whom he has murthered, that they will fit heavy on his foul to-morrow,
he foon fhakes off the impref
fion they had made, and is again as gallant as ever. Before their appearance he feels a prefentiment of his fate; he obferves that he
"has not that alacrity of fpirit, Nor cheer of mind, that he was wont to have:"
and upon fignifying his intention of lying in Bofworth field that night, the reflexion of where to-morrow? occurs to him; but he pushes it a fide by answering, Well, all's.one for that: and he ftruggles against the lowness of fpirits which he feels, but cannot account for, by calling for a bowl of wine, and Instead of applying to bufinefs.
giving way to it in himfelf, he attends to every fymptom of dejection in others, and endeavours to difpel them. He afks,
"My lord of Surry, why look you
He reprefents the enemy as a troop only of banditti; he urges the inexperience of Richmond; and he animates his foldiers with their
"Ancient word of courage, fair St. George,"
the effect of which he had before intimated to the Duke of Norfolk ; when, having explained to him the difpofition he intended, he asks him,
"This, and St. George to boot! what
think'ft thou, Norfolk?"
He deliberately, and after having furrey'd the vantage of the ground, forms that difpofition by himself; for which purpose he calls for ink and paper, and being informed that it is ready, directs his guard to watch, and his attendants to leave him; but, before he retires, he iffues the neceffary orders. They are not, like those of Macbeth, general and violent, but temperate and particular; delivered coolly, and diftinctly given to different perfons. To the Duke of Norfolk he trufts the mounting of the guard during the night, and bids him be ready himself early in the morning, He directs Catefby to
"Send out a pursuivant at arms
He bids his menial fervants