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So they redoubled ftrokes upon the foe:
King. So well thy words become thee, as thy wounds: They smack of honour both. Go, get him surgeons,
Enter Roffe and Angus. But who comes here?
Mal. The worthy Thare of Rolle.
Len. What haste looks through his eyes ?
Role. God save the King !
Rose. From Fife, great King, Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky, And fan our people cold. Norway, himself with numbers terrible, (4) Aflisted by that most difoyal traitor The Thane of Cardor, 'gan a dismal conflict; "Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapt in proof, (5) Confronted him with self-comparisons, Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm, charg'd; why? because they redoubled strokes on the foe with twice the fury, and impetuofity, as before.
(4) Norway himself, with nun:bers terrible,
Asisted by that, &c.] Norway himself affifted, &c. is a reading we owe to the editors, not to the poet. That energy and contrast of expression are lost, which my pointing refiores. The sense is, Norway, who was in himself terrible by his own numbers, when afifted *by Cawdor, became yet more terrible. (5) 'Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapt in proof,
Confronted b m with self-comparisons,
Curbing bis lavish spirit.] Here again we are to quarrel with the transposition of an innocent comma; which however becomes dangerous to sense, when in the hands either of a careless or ignorant editor. Let us see who is it that brings this rebellious arm?. Why, it is Bellona's bridegroom: and who is he, but Macbeth. We can never believe, our author meant any thing like this. My regulation of the pointing restores the true meaning; that the loyal Macomb confronted the diNoyal Cawdor, arm to aim.
Curbing his lavish fpirit. To conclude,
King. Great happiness!
Rolje. Now Sweno, Norway's King, craves composition: Nor would we deign him burial of his men, 'Till he disbursed, at Saint Colmes-kill-ifle Ten thousand dollars, to our gen'ral use.
King. No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bofom int'rest. Go, pronounce his death ; And with his former title
greet Macbeth. Rolle. I'll see it done. King. What he hath-loft, noble Macbeth hath won.
SCENE changes to the Heath.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches. I Witch Here hast thou been, fifter ?
2 Witch. Killing swine. 3
Witch. Sifter, where thou? i Witch. A failor's wife had chesnuts in her lap, And mouncht, and mouncht, and mouncht. Give me,
2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
Witch. And I another.
He shall live a man forbid; (6)
2 Witch. Shew me, shew me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wrackt as homeward he did come. [Drum within,
3 Witch. A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come! All. The Weird fifters, hand in hand, (7)
(6) He fall live a man forbid :) i, e. as under a curse, an Intera di&tion. So, afterwards, in this play ;
By bis own interdiction stands accurs’d. So, among the Romans, an outlaw's sentence was aquæ & ignis inter• dictio. i.e. He was forbid the use of water and fire: which imply'd the necessity of banishment.
(7) The weyward sisters, band in band,] The Witches are here speaking of themselves; and it is worth an enquiry why they hould file themselves the weyward, or wayward fifters. This word in its general acceptation signifies, perverse, froward, moody, obftinate, untrastable, &c. and is every where so used by our Shakespeare. To content ourselves with two or three instances;
Fy, fy, how wayward is this foolish love,
Two Gent, of Verona.
Love's Labour lobo nd, which is worse. All you have done Is but for a wayward son.
Macbetb. It is improbable, the Witebes would adopt this epithet to themselves, in any of these senses; and therefore we are to look a little farther for the poet's word and meaning. When I had the first suspicion of our author being corrupt in this place, it brought to my mind the following passage in CHAUCER's Troilus and Cresseide. lib. ii. v. 618.
But O fortune, executrice of wierdes. Which word the glossaries expound to us hy fates or deftinies. I was foon confirm'd in my suspicion, upon happening to dip into Heylin's Cosmography, where he makes a fhort recital of the story of Macbeth and Banquo.
These two (Jays be,) travelling together thro' a forest, were met by three Fairies, Witches, Wierds, the Scots call them, &c.
I presently recollected, that this story must be recorded at more length by Helingshead; with whom I thought it was very probable
Posters of the sea and land,
go about, about,
Ban. How far is't call'd to Foris?—what are these,
Macb. Speak, if you can; what are you? 1 Witch. All-hail, Mabeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! 2Witch. All-hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! 3 Witch. All-hail, Macbeth! that shalt be King hereafter. Ban. Good Sir, why do you start, and seem to fear Things that do found so fair : l'th' name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed [To the Witches.
that our author had traded for the materials of his tragedy: and therefore confirmation was to be fetch'd from this fountain. Accordingly, looking into his history of Scotland, I found the writer very prolix and express, from Hector Boethius, in this remarkable story i and in p. 170. speaking of these Witches, he uses this expression.
But afterwards the common opinion was, that these women were either the weird fifters, that is, as ye would say, the goddesses of destiny, &c. Again, a little lower;
The words of the three weird filters also, (of whom before ye have heard) greatly encouraged him thereunto.
And, in several other paragraphs there, this word is repeated. I believe, by this time, it is plain beyond a doubt, that the word
wayo ward has obtain’d in Macbeth, where the Witches are spoken of, from the ignorance of the copyists, who were not acquainted with the Scotcb term : and that in every passage, where there is any relation to these Witches or Wizards, my emendation must be embraced, and we must read weird,
Which outwardly ye shew? my noble partner
3 Witch. Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none; So, all hail, Macbeth and Banquo !
1 Witch. Banquo and Macbeth, all-hail !
Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more ; By Sirel's death, I know, I'm Thane of Glamis ; But how, of Cawdor ? the Thane of Cawdor lives, A prosp'rous gentleman ; and, to be King, Stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor. Say, from whence You owe this strange intelligence? or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way, With such prophetick greeting :-speak, 1 charge you.
Witches vanish. Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has; And these are of them: whither are they vanilhid?
Macb. Into the air: and what seem'd corporal Melted, as breath, into the wind,Would they had staid ! Ban. Were such things here, as we do speak about? (8)
(8) Were such things here, as we do speak about? Or bave we eaten of the insane root, That takes the reason prisoner ?] The insane root, viz. the root which makes infane; as in HORACE Pallida Mors; nempè, quæ facit pala lidos.---This sentence, I conceive, is not so well understood, as I would have every part of Shakespeare be, by his audience and readers. So foon as the Witches vanish from the fight of Macbeib and Banquo, and leave them in doubt whether they had really seen such Appariti