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child, out of the grave, ?or the skin, bone, or any part of the
dead person, to be employed or used in any manner of witchcraft,
sorcery, charm, or enchantment; 4. or shall use, practise, or
exercise any sort of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment; 5.
whereby any person shall be destroyed, killed, wasted, consumed,
pined, or lamed in any part of the body; 64 That every such person
being convicted shall suffer death." This law was repealed in our
own time. Thus, in thi' time of Shakspeare, was the doctrine of
witchcraft at once established by law and by the fashion, and it
became not only unpolite, but criminal, to doubt it; and as
prodigies are always seen in proportion as they are expected,
witches were every day discovered, ant! multiplied so fast in some
places, that Bishop Hall mentions a village in Lancashire, where
their number was greater than that of the houses. The Jesuits and
sectaries took advantage of this universal error, and endeavoured
to-promote the interest of their parties by pretended cures of
persons afflicted by evil spirits; but they were detected and
exposed by the clergy of the established church. Upon this general
infatuation Shakspeare might be easily allowed to found a play,
especially since he has followed'with great exactness such
histories as were then thought true; nor can it be doubted that the
scenes of enchantment, however they may now be ridiculed, were both
by himself and his audience thought awful and affecting. Johnson.
In the concluding paragraph of Dr. Johnson's admirable introduction
to this play, he seems apprehensive that the fame of Shakspeare's
magic may be endangered by modern ridicule. I shall not hesitate,
however, to predict its security, till our national taste is wholly
corrupted, and we no longer deserve the - fi...
|Country of origin:
• Ohio. Secretary Of State
||246 x 189 x 4mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - Trade
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