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prompter. Secondly, it is certain that when Dr. Simon Forman saw Macbeth acted at the Globe in 1610, the Ghost of Duncan did not appear; for he has left the following minute description of what occurred at the banquet;
The night, being at supper with his noblemen, whom he had bid to a feast, (to the which also Banquo should have come,) he began to speak of noble Banquo, and to wish that he were there. And as he thus did, standing up to drink a carouse to him, the ghost of Banquo came, and sat down in his chair behind him. And he, turning about to sit down again, saw the ghost of Banquo, which fronted him, so that he fell in a great passion of fear and fury, uttering many words about his murder, by which, when they heard that Banquo was murdered, they suspected Macbeth." (See Mr. Collier's Introd. to the present play, p. 95.)
Mr. Knight, who gives a long Excursus on the Ghosts (partly by a correspondent and partly by himself), and who confesses that he is strongly inclined towards the opinion that the second spectre is that of Duncan, observes, “To make the ghost of Banquo return a second time at the moment when Macbeth wishes for the presence of Banquo is not in the highest style of art." I cannot help thinking that the introduction of two ghosts would have been less artistic than bringing back the ghost of Banquo: we have, indeed, in Richard III. (act v. sc. 3) eleven ghosts on the stage at once; but there is a vast difference between ghosts walking in and out of a banqueting-hall crowded with company, and ghosts standing, in the dead of night, before the tents of two sleeping princes.
If Shakespeare had brought in the ghost of Banquo a third time, and had also made the murder of Lady Macduff precede the banquet, no doubt some ingenious gentleman would have come forward to prove that the third ghost was Lady Macduff's.
"This passage has occasioned much dispute; and supposing the arguments equally balanced, we should prefer the reading of all the old copies. Malone would alter inhabit then,' to inhibit thee, or forbid thee, which was the meaning of inhibit: according to what we think the true reading, Macbeth means to say, that he will not refuse to meet the Ghost in the desert." COLLIER.
Here Mr. Collier has followed the punctuation of the later folios, without mentioning that of the first folio; he has not stated by whom the original reading was altered; nor is it possible to discover from his note the precise meaning which he attaches to "inhabit."
In the first folio, the line stands thus;
"If trembling I inhabit then, protest mee."
and so it is printed by Mr. Knight. Pope altered "inhabit" to "inhibit," and Steevens "then" to "thee;" both which changes were adopted by Malone, who observes that the correction of Steevens is strongly supported by the punctuation of the first folio.
Mr. Knight is mistaken in stating that "Horn Tooke was the first to denounce this alteration:" Tooke merely repeats what Henley had said in defence of "inhabit," i. e. ' remain within doors.'
For my own part, though I think Nares was rather bold in pronouncing the old reading to be "evident nonsense (Gloss. in v.), I must yet entertain strong doubts whether "inhabit" can be right; and the more so, because Malone has adduced two passages (one of them from Shakespeare) where "inhabited" is unquestionably an error of the press for "inhibited."
SCENE 6.-C. p. 151.
Sent he to Macduff?
Lord. He did and with an absolute, Sir, not I;'
The cloudy messenger turns me his back,
And hums, as who should say, 'You'll rue the time
That clogs me with this answer.'"
The semi-colon placed after "Sir, not I," destroys the meaning of the passage. The construction is:-" and the
cloudy messenger turns me his back with an absolute Sir, not I' [received in answer from Macduff], and hums, as who should say," &c.
"The old stage-direction is, Enter Hecate, and the other three Witches.' What other three Witches' are intended does not appear perhaps we ought to read only, Enter Hecate, and other three Witches,""&c. COLLIER.
"What other three Witches' are intended" is plain enough, the three who now enter for the first time, there being already three on the stage: the number of Witches in this scene is six.
SCENE 1.-C. p. 156.
"A show of eight Kings, and BANQUO last, with a Glass in his Hand."
"Such is the old stage-direction, which, being complete in itself, and applicable to what follows, there is no sufficient reason for altering, as has been done in the modern editions." COLLIER.
Applicable to what follows"!! It makes Banquo bear a glass in his hand; while, on the contrary, Macbeth exclaims, that he sees the eighth King bearing it, and Banquo coming after him;
"I'll see no more :
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass,
Horrible sight!-Now, I see, 'tis true;
For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his."
Had Mr. Collier really read this speech, when he sent his note to press ?
Here Mr. Collier has no note.
Mr. Knight remarks, "This should be probably shaghair'd." Assuredly it should: formerly, hair was often written hear (see p. 95); and "shag-heared" was doubtless altered by a mistake of the transcriber, or the original compositor, to "shag-ear'd." King Midas, after his decision in favour of Pan, is the only human being on record to whom the latter epithet could be applied.
SCENE 3.-C. p. 177; K. p. 54.
'What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug," &c. Mr. Knight says, "We are not sure about this word. The original reads cyme." But he may rest satisfied that "senna" is right: the long list of drugs in The Rates of Marchandizes, &c. furnishes no other word for which cyme could possibly be a misprint.
A reading caught from Malone's last ed. (found also in Shakespeare, 1803). All the old copies have,
"So in Deloney's ballad in praise of Kentishmen, published in Strange Histories,' 1607, (reprinted by the Percy Society) they conceal their numbers by the boughs of trees :—
This ballad was written, unquestionably, before the year 1600." COL
As far as regards the illustration of Shakespeare's text, the above note is nothing more to the purpose than those notes, containing parallel passages from Pope's Homer, &c., which were so unmercifully piled up by some of the commentators. Had Shakespeare an eye to Deloney's trumpery ballad when he wrote the present scene? Certainly not: we know that he derived the circumstance of "the wood" from Holinshed. Nor did Deloney (as Mr. Collier seems to suppose) invent the incident in question: it forms a portion of William the Conqueror's history, and is narrated in all the early accounts of that monarch; moreover, it was versified by Deloney from the following passage of that very Holinshed who supplied Shakespeare with the materials for Macbeth.
"Now, bicause it cannot hurt to take great heed, and to be verie warie in such cases, they [the Kentishmen] agreed before hand, that when the duke was come, and the passages on euerie side stopped, to the end he should no waie be able to escape, euerie one of them, as well horssemen as footmen should beare boughes in their hands. The next daie after, when the duke was come into the fields and territories neere vnto Swanescombe, and saw all the countrie set and placed about him as it had beene a stirring and moouing wood, and that with a meane pace they approched and drew neare vnto him, with great discomfort of mind he woondered at that sight." Chron. vol. iii. p. 2, ed. 1587.
Concerning this notorious legend, on the line
First, in the Kentish Stremer was a Wood,"
Drayton puts a marginal note,
Expressing their freedom, as still retaining their ancient liberties, by surprizing the Conqueror like a moouing Wood."
taile of Agincourt, p. 14. ed. 1627.
SCENE 7.-C. p. 183.
"I cannot strike at wretched kernes, whose arms
Are hir'd to bear their staves."