Page images

This doone, there did arise such a tempest at sea, as a greater hath not been seene,” &c. STE Eve Ns. & 4 Some say, they [witches] can keepe devils and spirits, in the likeness of todes and cats.” Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, Book I. c. 4. To LLE.T. 10. Paddock calls —Anon.—j This, as well as the two following lines, is given in the folio to the three Witches. Preceding editors have appropriated the first of them to the second Witch. According to the late Dr. Goldsmith, and some other naturalists, a frog is called a paddock in the North ; as in the following instance in Casar and Pompey, by Chapman, 1602: & a Paddockes, todes, and watersnakes.” In Shakspere, however, it certainly means a toad. The representation of St. James in the witches' house (one of the set of prints taken from the Painter called Hellish Breugel, 1566) exhibits witches flying up and down the chimney on brooms; and before the fire sit grimalkin and paddock, i. e. a cat and a toad, with several baboons. There is a cauldron boiling, with a witch near it, cutting out the tongue of a snake, as an ingredient for the charm. A representation somewhat similar likewise occurs in Newes from Scotland, in a pamphlet already quoted. ST E E v ENs. 11. Fair is soul, and foul is fair :] i. e. we make these sudden changes of the weather. And Macbeth, speaking of this day, soon after says: So foul and fair a day I have not seen. WARE U R To N. B The

The common idea of witches has always been, that they had absolute power over the weather, and could raise storms of any kind, or allay them, as they pleased. In conformity to this notion, Macbeth addresses them in the fourth act : Though you untye the winds, &c. ST EE v ENS. I believe the meaning is, that to us, perverse and malignant as we are, fair is foul, and soul is fair. Joh N so N. This expression seems to have been proverbial. Spenser has it in the 4th book of the Faery Queen: “Then fair grew soul, and soulgrew fair in sight.” FARM ER. 16. This is the serjeant, Holinshed is the best interpreter of Shakspere in his historical plays; for he not only takes his facts from him, but often his very words and expressions. That historian, in his account of Macdowald’s rebellion, mentions, that on the first appearance of a mutinous spirit among the people, the king sent a serjeant at arms into the country, to bring up the chief offenders to answer the charge preferred against them; but they, instead of obeying, misused the messenger with sundry reproaches, and finally slew him. This serjeant at arms is certainly the origin of the bleed2ng serjeant introduced on this occasion. Shakspere just caught the name from Holinshed, but the rest of the story not suiting his purpose, he does not adhere to it. The stage direétion of entrance, where the &leeding captain is mentioned, was probably the work of the player editors, and not of Shakspere. - ST E R v EN s. 23. —Macdonel] According to Holinshed we should read Macdowald. The folio reads Macdona'old. STE E V ENs. 26. ofrom the western isles Of Kernes and Gallow-glasses is supplied;] Of and with are indiscriminately used by our ancient writers. So, in the Spanish Tragedy: “Perform'd of pleasure by your son the prince.” Again, in God's Revenge against Murder, hist. vi. “Sypontus in the mean time is prepared of two wicked gondaliers,” &c. Again, in The History of Helyas, knight of the Sun, bl.let. no date : “ —he was well garnished of spear, sword, and armoure,” &c. These are a few out of a thousand instances which might be brought to the same purpose. ST E E v ENs. 28. And fortune, on his damn’d quarry smiling, j Thus the old copy; but I am inclined to read quarre'. Quarrel was formerly used for cause, or for the occasion of a quarrel. The sense therefore is, Fortune smiling on his execrable cause, &c. This is followed by Dr. Warburton. - Jo HNSox. The reading proposed by Dr. Johnson, and his explanation of it, are strongly supported by a passage in our author's King John : & 4 And put his cause and quarrel “To the disposing of the cardinal.” MAlon E. The word quarrel occurs in Holinshed's relation of this very fact, and may be regarded as a sufficient proof of its having been the term here employed by Shakspere: “Out of the western isles there came to Bij Macdowald

[merged small][ocr errors]

36. —he unscan'd /in from the nave to the chops.j So, in Dido, Queene of Carthage, by Tho. Nash, 1594: “Then from the navel to the throat at once “He ript old Priam.” Sir E E V ENs. 39. As when the sun 'gins his reslečlion] The thought is expressed with some obscurity, but the plain meaning is this: As the same quarter, whence the blessing of day-light arises, sometimes sends us, by a dreadful reverse, the calamities of storms and tempests; so the glorious event of Macbeth's vićtory, which promised us the comforts of peace, was immediately succeeded by the alarming news of the Norweyan invasion. ST E E V E N s. Sir William Davenant’s alteration of this passage affords a reasonably good comment upon it : “But then this day-break of our victory “Serv'd but to light us into other dangers, “That spring from whence our hopes did seem to rise.” MA LoN E. , 4O. thunders break;] The word break is wanting in the oldest copy. The other folio and Rowe read breaking. Mr. Pope made the emendation. - STE Ev ENs. 53. As cannons overcharg’d with double cracks; So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the she ol The word cracks is used in the old play of King John, 1591, and applied, as here, to ordnance ; *

* —as

“—as harmless and without effect, “As is the echo of a cannon's crack.” MALONE. Thus, in Richard II. ačt i. “And let thy blows, doubly redoubled, “Fall,” &c. Steeve Ns. See Cracks, in catch-word Alphabet. 57. memorize another Golgotha,] That is, to transmit another Golgotha to posterity. The word, which some suppose to have been coined by Shakspere, is used by Spenser, in a sonnet to lord Buckhurst, prefixed to his Pastorals, 1579 : “In vaine I thinke, right honourable lord, “By this rude rime to memorize thy name.” WAR.Tox. 62. Enter Rosse and Angus.] As only the thane of Rosse is spoken to, or speaks anything in the remaining part of this scene, Angus is a superfluous character, the king expressing himself in the singular number: . Whence cam'st thou, worthy Thane # I have printed it, Enter Rosse only. STE E V EoN s. In scene III. Angus, who enters with Rosse, says to Macbeth, We are sent To give thee from our royal master thanks, &c. So that the old stage direction is certainly right. MA Lo N.E.

64. So should he look That seems to speak strange things.] i. e. that

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »