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Macb. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution,
thanks; Thou hast harp’d21 my fear aright:-But one word
more: 1 Witch. He will not be commanded: Here's
another, More potent than the first. Thunder. 1. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises. Арр.
Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!Macb. Had I three ears, I'd hear thee22. App.
Be bloody, bold, And resolute: laugh to scorn the power of man, For none of woman born shall harm Macbeth23.
[Descends. Macb. Then live, Macduff; What need I fear of
a Tree in his Hand, rises:
Listen, but speak not to't. App. Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are;
21 Harp'd, touched on a passion as a harper touches a string.
22 ‘Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.' This singular expression probably means no more than 'I will listen to thee with all attention."
23 "For none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.' So Holinshed :-"And surely hereupon he had put Macduff to death, but that a certeine witch, whom he had in great trust, had told him, that he should never be slaine with man borne of anie woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bernane came to the castle of Dunsinane. This phrophecy put all fear out of his heart.'
24 The round is that part of a crown which encircles the head : the top is the ornament which rises above it.
Macbeth shall never ranquish'd be, until
That will never be;
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
Seek to know no more.
25 The present accent of Dunsinane is right. In every subsequent instance the accent is misplaced. Thus in Hervey's Life of King Robert Bruce, 1729, which Ritson thinks a good authority :
Whose deeds let Birnam and Dunsinnan tell,
Wheu Canmore battled and the villain fell.'
Prophecies of apparent impossibilities were common in Scotland; such as the removal of one place to another, &c. Thus Sir D. Lindsay :
"Quhen the Bas and the Isle of May
Be liftit to Northumberland.'
27 · Rebellious head. The old copy reads dead; the emendation is Theobald's.
28 Noise in our old poets is often literally synonymous for music. Vide a note on the Second Part of King Henry IV. Act ii. Sc. 4.
29 “Show his eyes, and grieve his heart. And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart. -1 Samuel, ii. 33.
A show of eight kings and Banquo last with a glass in his hand
Eight Kings appear, and pass over the Stage in
order ; the last with a Glass in his Hand; BAN-
30 i. c. the dissolution of nature. Crack and crash were formerly synonymous.
31° This method of juggling prophecy is referred to in Measure for Measure, Act ii. Sc. 8:
and like a prophet
Looks in a glass, and shows me future evils.' In an extract from the Penal Laws against witches, it is said “they do answer either by voice, or else eet before their eyes in glasses chrystal stones, &c. the picture or images of the persons or things sought for.' Spenser has given a circumstantial account of the glass which Merlin made for King Ryence.-Faerie Queene, b. iii. c. 2. A mirror of the same kind was presented to Cambuscan, in the Squire's Tale of Chaucer: and we are told that a certaine philosopher did the like to Pompey, the which shewed him in a glasse the order of his enemics march.'-Boisteau's Theatrum Mundi, translated by John Alday, b. l. no date.
32 "That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry.' This was intended as a compliment to James the First: he first united the two islands and the three kingdoms under one head, whose house too was said to be descended from Banquo, who is therefore represented not only as innocent, but as a noble character; wherea according to history, he was confederate with Macbeth in the murder of Duncan.
33 In Warwickshire, when a horse, sheep, or other aniinal, perspires much, and any of the hair or wool, in consequence of such perspiration, or any redundant hunour, becomes matted into tufts with grime and sweat, he is said to be boltered; and whenever the blood issues out and coagulates, forming the locks
1 Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so :—But why
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
That this great king may kindly say,
[Music. The Witches dance, and vanish. Macb. Where are they? Gone?-Let this per
What's your grace's will?
No, my lord.
No, indeed, my lord.
Fled to England ?
into hard clotted bunches, the beast is said to be blood-boltered. When a boy has a broken head, so that his hair is matted toge. ther with blood, his head is said to be boltered (pronounced baltered). The word baltereth is used in this sense by Philemon Holland' in his Translation of Pliny's Natural History, 1601, b. xii. c. xvii. p. 370. It is therefore applicable to Banquo, who had 'twenty trenched gashes on his head.
34 i. e. spirits. It should seem that spirits was almost always pronounced sprights or sprites by Shakspeare's cotemporaries.
35 Antique was the old spelling for antick.
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
SCENE II. Fife. A Room in Macduff's Castle.
Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and Rosse.
He had none;
You know not,
My dearest coz',
37 i. e. follow, succeed in it.
1 'Our fears do make us traitors.' Our flight is considered as evidence of our treason.
2 Natural touch, natural affection.