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SCENE I.-An open Place. Thunder and lightning.
Enter three Witches. 1 WITCH. When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain ?
2 WITCH. When the hurly-burly's done, When the battle's lost and won.
3 WITCH. That will be ere the set of sun.
Upon the heath.
ALL.C Paddock calls :- :-anon !-
SCENE II.-A Camp near Forres. Alarum without.
Attendants, meeting a bleeding Captain.
This is the sergeant,a * When the hurly-burly's done, —] The word “hurly-hurly,” explained by Henry Peachan in “ The Garden of Eloquence,” 1577, to signify uprore and tumultuous stirré, occurs in a much earlier work, More's Utopia, translated by Ralphe Robinson, 1551 :" Furthermore, if I should declare unto them, that all this busy preparance to war, whereby so many nations for his sake should be brought into a troublesome hurleyburley, when all his coffers were emptied, his treasures wasted, and his people destroyed."
6 There to meet with Macbeth.] Pope, to remedy the defective verse, reads, “There I go to meet Macbeth;” Capell, “There to meet with great Macbeth ;” and Steevens,—
" 3 Witch. There to meet with-
Macbeth.” © ALL. Paddock calls: &c.] The folio prints these lines as if spoken in chorus by the three witches; but the distribution commonly adopted by modern editors,
“ 2 Witch. Paddock calls :-anon.-
Hover through the fog and filthy air,"is certainly preferable. The dialogue throughout, with the exception of the two lines, ** I come, Graymalkin!” and “ Paddock calls :-anon !_” was probably intended to be sung or chaunted.
This is the sergeant,---] Sergeants were not formerly the non-commissioned officers now so called, but a guard specially appointed to attend the person of the king; and, as Minsheu says, to arrest Traytors or great men, that doe, or are like to contemne messengers of ordinarie condition, and to attend the Lord High Steward of England, sitting in judgement upon any Traytor, and such like.”
Who, like a good and hardy soldier, fought
Doubtful it stood :
KING. O, valiant cousin! worthy gentleman !
CAP. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
Dismay'd not this
• And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, &c.] The old text has, “— damned Quarry," &c.; but the fact that quarrel, a most appropriate word, occurs in the corresponding passage of Holinshed, is almost certain proof that the latter term is the genuine reading “Out of the westerne Iles there came unto him [Makdowald) a great multitude of people, offering themselves to assist him in that rebellious quarell.”— History of Scotland.
• Which ne'er shook hands, &c.] “Which” has been altered, and perhaps rightly, to And
direful thunders break; &c.] The word break is wanting in the folio 1623, and was supplied by Pope out of the subsequent folios, which read, breaking.".
d As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks; &c.] Johnson interprets this, " cannon charged with double thunders;" and observes truly that cracks was a word of such emphasis and dignity, that in this play the writer terms the general dissolution of nature the crack of doom.
I cannot tell:-
KING. So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
[Exit Captain, attended.
The worthy thane of Ross.
From Fife, great king;
Great happiness !
King. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Ross. I'll see it done.
Old text, Enter Rosse and Angus. - that seems to speak things strange.] Johnson proposed, "that teems to speak things strange;" and Mr. Collier's annotator, with characteristic vapidity, “ that comes to speak,” &c.; but compare, Scene 5,
“ Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal.” b – with terrible numbers,–] Pope's transposition, “numbers terrible,” is, prosodically, an improvement.
Bellona's bridegroom -] By. "Bellona's bridegroom” is meant, not Mars, as Steevens too hastily concluded, but the leader of the royal host, Macbeth.
d – proof,–] Armour.
e Saint Colmes’-inch, --1 Inch or inse is Erse and Irish for island, and Colmes'-inch Low Inchcomb, is a small island in the Frith of Forth, near Edinburgh, wit) an abbey upon it, dedicated to St. Columb. See note by Steevens ad l. in the variorum edition.