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DUNCAN, King of Scotland :
Generals of the King's Army.
Noblemen of Scotland.
Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murderers,
Attendants, and Messengers. The Ghost of Banquo, and several other Apparitions.
SCENE, in the End of the fourth Act, lies in
England; through the rest of the Play, in Scotland; and, chiefly, at Macbeth's Castle.
Lady Macbeth.] Her name was Gruach, filia Bodhe. See Lord Hailes's Annals of Scotland, ii. 332. Ritson.
Androw of Wyntown, in his Cronykil, informs us that this personage was the widow of Duncan ; a circumstance with which Shakspeare must have been wholly unacquainted :
Dame Grwok, hys Emys wyf,
“The greys of affynyte." B. vi. 35. From the incidents, however, with which Hector Boece has diversified the legend of Macbeth, our poet derived greater advantages than he could have found in the original story, as related by Wyntown.
The 18th Chapter of his Cronykil, book vi. together with observations by its accurate and learned editor, will be subjoined to this tragedy, for the satisfaction of inquisitive readers.
Steevens. 2 - three Witches.] As the play now stands, in Act IV. Sc. I. three other witches make their appearance. See note thereon. STEEVENS.
ACT I. 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 hurlyburly's done', When the battle's lost and won ? :
! - hurlyburly's —
-] However mean this word may seem to modern ears, it came recommended to Shakspeare by the authority of Henry Peacham, who, in the year 1577, published a book professing to treat of the ornaments of language. It is called The Garden of Eloquence, and has this passage : "Onomatopeia, when we invent, devise, fayne, and make a name intimating the sownd of that it signifyeth, as hurlyburly, for an uprore and tumultuous stirre." HENDERSON. So, in a translation of Herodian, 12mo. 1635, p. 26 :
there was a mighty hurlyburly in the campe,” &c. Again, p. 324 : great hurliburlies being in all parts of the empire," &c.
REED. So, also, in Turbervile's Tragical Tales :
“ But by the meane of horse and man
“ Such hurlie burlie grewe.” Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. v. c. iii. st. 30:
“Thereof great hurly burly moved was." MALONE. Mr. Todd has the following note on the line quoted from Spenser: " None of the commentators have noticed, by any production from the literature of Scotland, the propriety of the dramatick poet's putting the expression into the Scottish hay's mouth. The expression is to be found in a book published indeed long after Shakspeare's time, but containing probably many old saws, entitled,
3 Wirch. That will be ere the set of sun ?.
Upon the heath: 3 Witch. There to meet with Macbeth *.
Adagia Scotica, or a Collection of Scotch Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. Collected by R. B. Very usefull and delightful, Lond. 12mo. 1668 :
“ Little kens the wife that sits by the fire
“ How the wind blows cold in hurle burle swyre :" that is, how the wind blows cold in the tempestuous mountain-top: for swyre is used either for the top of a hill, or the pass over a hill. This sense seems agreeable also to the Witch's answer: “ When the hurlyburly's done,” that is, the storm; for they enter in thunder and lightning. Boswell.
2 When the battle's lost and won :] i. e. the battle in which Macbeth was then engaged. WARBURTON. So, in King Richard III. :
while we reason here,
“ A royal battle might be won and lost.” So also Speed, speaking of the battle of Towton: “- by which only stratagem, as it was constantly averred, the battle and day was lost und won." Chronicle, 1611. Malone.
- ere set of sun.] The old copy unnecessarily and harshly reads
ere the set of sun." STEEVENS. 4 There to meet with Macbeth.] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope, and, after him, other editors :
“ There I go to meet Macbeth.” The insertion, however, seems to be injudicious. To “ meet with Macbeth " was the final drift of all the Witches in going to the heath, and not the particular business or motive of any one of them in distinction from the rest ; as the interpolated words, I go, in the mouth of the third Witch, would most certainly imply.
Somewhat, however, (as the verse is evidently imperfect,) must have been left out by the transcriber or printer. Mr. Capell has therefore proposed to remedy this defect, by reading
“ There to meet with brave Macbeth." But surely, to beings intent only on mischief, a soldier's bravery, in an honest cause, would have been no subject of encomium.
Mr. Malone (omitting all previous remarks, &c. on this passage) assures us, that—" There is here used as a dissyllable." I wish he had supported his assertion by some example. Those,