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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

But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
That I may tell pale hearted fear, it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder.-—What is this,
Thunder. 3 An Apparition of a Child crowned, with

a Tree in his Hand, rises:
That rises like the issue of a king;
And wears upon his baby brow the round
And top of sovereignty 24 ?

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
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill25
Shall come against him.

[Descends. Macb.

That will never be;
Who can impress the forest26 ; bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root ? sweet bodements!

Telecon's Rebellious head27, rise never, till the wood

Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time, and mortal custom.—Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing; Tell me (if your art
Can tell so much), shall Banquo's issue ever
Reign in this kingdom ?

Seek to know no more.
Macb. I will be satisfied: deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know:-
Why sinks that cauldron ? and what noise28 is this?

1 Witch. Show! 2 Witch. Show! 3 Witch. Show!
All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart29;
Come like shadows, so depart.


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.'
Andrew of Wyntoun uses both accents.

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
Beis set upon the Mount Sinay,
Quhen the Lowmouud besides Falkland

Be liftit to Northumberland.'
26 i. e. command it to serve him like a soldier impressed.

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-
quo following
Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo;

Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs:-And thy hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first:
A third is like the former:-- Filthy hags!
Why do you show me this ?-A fourth ?-Start,

What! will the line stretch out to the crack of

doom30 ?
Another yet?-A seventh ?- I'll see no more:-
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass31,
Which shows me many more; and some I see,
That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry32 :
Horrible sight!-Now, I see, 'tis true;
For the blood-bolter'd33 Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.-- What is this so?

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
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly? –
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprights34,
And show the best of our delights;

I'll charm the air to give a sound,
unitie? While you perform your antique35 round:

That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.

[Music. The Witches dance, and vanish. Macb. Where are they? Gone?-Let this per

nicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar! -
Come in, without there!

Enter Lenox.

What's your grace's will?
Macb. Saw you the weird sisters?

No, my lord.
Macb. Came they not by you?

No, indeed, my lord.
Macb. Infected be the air whereon they ride;
And damn'd all those that trust them!—I did hear
The galloping of horse: Who was't came by?
Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you

Macduff is fled to England.

Fled to England ?
Len. Ay, my good lord.
Macb. Time, thou anticipat'st36 my dread exploits :
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook,
Unless the deed go with it: From this moment,

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.
36 i. e. preventest them, by taking away the opportunity.

The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and

The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o'the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace37 him in his line. No boasting like a fool:
This deed I'll do, before this purpose cool:
But no more sights !-Where are these gentlemen?
Come, bring me where they are. [Ereunt.

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SCENE II. Fife. A Room in Macduff's Castle.

Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and Rosse.
L. Macd. What had he done, to make him fly the

Rosse. You must have patience, madam.
L. Macd.

He had none;
His flight was madness: When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors'.

You know not,
Whether it was his wisdom, or his fear.
L. Macd. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave

his babes,
His mansion, and his titles, in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch2: for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
All is the fear, and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.

My dearest coz',
I pray you, school yourself: But, for your husband,

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.

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