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i Witch. He will not be commanded: Here's another, More potent than the first.
Thunder. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises,
Macbeth! Macbeth ! Macbeth!
Be bloody, bold,
[Descends. Macb. Then live, Macduff; What need I fear of
in his Fand, rises.
Listen, but speak not.? . App. Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
3 Hud I three ears, &c.] Does Macbeth mean to say—that if bis sense of bearing were thrice what it is, &c. ?-or-that if the number of his ears were equal to that of the spectre's invocations of his name, &c.? Let the reader determine Steevens.
4 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 vanished till the wood of Bernane came to the castell of Dunsinane. This prophecie put all feare out of his heart.” Steevens.
5- take a bond of fute: 7 In this scene the attorney has more than once degraded the poet; for presently we have“ the lease of nature.” Steevens. 6
the round And top of sovereignty?] The round is that part of the crown that encircles the head. The top is the ornament th..t rises above it. Johnson
7 Listen, but speak not.] The old copy, injuriously tó measure, reads
Listen, but speak not to 't. Seevens.
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until
That will never be: Who can impress the forest ;' bid the tree Unfix his earth-bound root? sweet bodements! good i * Rebellious head," rise never, till the wood ucbellion, head
8- bigb Dunsinane hill -] The present quantity of Dur. sinane is right. In every subsequent instance the accent is misplaced. Thus, in Hervey's Life of King Robert Bruce, 1729, (a good authority):
“ The noble Weemyss, Mcduff's immortal son,
“ When Canmore battled, and the villain* fell.” Ritson, This accent may be defended on the authority of A. of Wyntown's Cronykil, B. VI, ch. xviii:
“A gret hows for to mak of were.
“ Tymbyr thare-til to drawe and stane, -" 'v. 120.
the Thane wes thare
"To byde Makbeth; - Steevens.
“ Quhen the Bas and the Isle of May
“Be lifted to Northumberland - ” T. Warton.
1 Rebellious head, rise never,] The old copy has—rebellious dead. Malone.
We should read-Rebellious head,-i. e. let rebellion never make head against me till a forest move, and I shall reign in safety. Tbeobald.
Mr. Theobald rightly observes, that bead means bost, or power:
66 That Douglas and the English rebels met;-
King Henry IV, P.I.
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
Seek to know no more.
[Hautboys. 1 Witch. Show! 2 Witch. Show! 3 Witch. Show!
All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; Come like shadows, so depart. Eight Kingos appear, and pass over the stage in order;
the last, with a glass in his hand: Banquo following. - Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo; down! Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls:4—And thy hair,
Again, in King Henry VIII:
“My noble father, Henry of Buckingham,
Fobnson. This phrase is not peculiar to Shakspeare: So, in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601:
" - howling like a head of angry wolves.” Again, in Look about you, 1600:
" Is, like a bead of people, mutinous.” Steevens. 2 — what noise is this?] Norse, in our ancient poets, is often literally synonymous for musick. See a note on King Henry IV, P. II, Act II, sc.iv. Thus also Spenser, Fairy Queen, B I, xii, 39:
“During which time there was a heavenly noise." See likewise the 47th Psalm: “ God is gone up with a merry noise, and the Lord with the sound of the trump.” Steevens.
3 Eight kings - “ It is reported that Voltaire often laughs at the tragedy of Macbeth, for having a legion of ghosts in it. One should imagine he either had not learned English, or had forgot his Latin; for the spirits of Banquo's line are no more ghosts, than the representation of the Julian race in the Æneid; and there is no ghost but Banquo's throughout the play.”Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakspeare, &e. by Mrs. Montagu. Steevens.
* Thy crown does sear mine ee-balls :) The expression of Macbeth, that the crown sears bis eye-balls, is taken from the
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first:
method formerly practised of destroying the sight of captives or competitors, by holding a burning bason before the eye, which dried up its humidity. Whence the Italian, abacinare, to blind.
Fobnson. 6 And tby hair,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first:
A third is like the former:) As Macbeth expected to see a train of kings, and was only inquiring from what race they would proceed, he could not be surprised that the hair of the second was bound with gold like that of the first; he was offend. ed only that the second resembled the first, as the first resembled Banquo, and therefore said:
- and tby air,
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
“ Your father's image is so hit in you,
“ As I did him." The old reading, however, as Mr. M. Mason observes, may be the true one. “ It implies that their hair was of the same colour, which is more likely to mark a family likeness, than the air, which depends on habit,” &c. A similar mistake has happened in The Maid's Tragedy, by Beaumont and Fletcher: “ Mine arms thus; and mine air (hair) blown with the
to the crack of doom?) i. e. the dissolution of nature. Crack has now a mean signification. It was anciently employed in a more exalted sense. So, in The Valiant Welchman, 1615:
“ And will as fearless entertain this sight,
Steevens. And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass,] This method of juggling prophecy is again referred to in Measure for Mec. sure, Act II, sc. vii:
“ - and like a prophet,
“ Looks in a glass, and shows me future evils.” So, in an Extract from the Penal Laws against Witches, it is said that “they do answer either by voice, or else do set before
Which shows me many more; and some I see,
their eyes in glasses, chrystal stones, &c. the pictures or images of the persons or things sought for.” Among the other knave. ries with which Face taxes Subtle in The Alchemist, this seems to be one:
" And taking in of shadows with a glass." Again, in Humor's Ordinarie, an ancient collection of satires, no date:
6 Shew you the devil in a cbrysta' glass.” Spenser has given a very circumstantial account of the glass which Merlin made for king Ryence, in the second canto of the third Book of The Fairy Queen. A mirror of the same kind was presented to Cambuscan in The Souier's Tale of Chaucer; and is John Alday's translation of Pierre Boisteau's Theatrum Mundi, &c. bl. I. no date: “A certaine philosopher did the like to Pompey, the which shewed bim in a glasse the order of his enemies march.” Steevens.
8 Tbat two-fold balls and treble scepters carry:) This was intended as a compliment to king James the First, who first united the two islands and the three kingdoms under one head; whose house too was said to be descended from Barquo.
Wrburton. Of this last particular our poet seems to have been thoroughly aware, having represented Banquo not only as an innocent, but as a noble character; whereas, according to history, he was confederate with Macbeth in the murder of Duncan. The flattery of Shakspeare, however, is not more gross than that of Ben Jonson, who has condescended to quote his majesty's ridi. culous book on Demonology, in the notes to The Masque of Queens, 1609. Steevens.
9 Ay, now, I see, 'tis true;} That the metre may be complete, I have supplied-ay, an adverb employed by our author in other places, to enforce his meaning. Steevens. •
1— the blood-bolter'd Banquo - To bolter, in Warwick. shire, signifies to daub, dirty, or begrime. “I ordered (says my informant) a harness-collar to be made with a linen lining, but blacked, to give it the appearance of leather. The saddler made the lining as he was directed, but did not black it, saying, it would bolter the horse. Being asked what he meant by bolter, he replied, dirty, besmear; and that it was a common word in his country. This conversation passed within eight miles of Stratford on Avon.”
In the same neighbourbood, when a boy has a broken head, sơ that his hair is matted together with blood, his head is said