« ZurückWeiter »
So, all hail, Macbeth, and Banquo!
1 Witch. Banquo, and Macbeth, all hail !
Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more!
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? Or have we eaten of the insane root;3
1 By Sinel's death,] The father of Macbeth. Pope.
His true name, which however appears, but perhaps only typo. graphically, corrupted to Synele in Hector Boethius, from whom, by means of his old Scottish translator, it came to the knowledge of Holinshed, was Finleg. Both Finlay and Macbeath are common surnames in Scotland at this moinent. Ritson.
2- blasted hea:h - Thus, after Shakspeare, Milton, Paradise Lost, B. 1, 615:
" their stately growth though bare
“ Stands on the blasted beath.” Steevens. 3 metaisoms eaten of the insane root,] The insane root is the root , which makes insane. Theobald.
The old copies read~" on the same root.” Reed.
Shakspeare alludes to the qualities anciently ascribed to hemlock. So, in Greene's Never too late, 1616: “You gaz'd against the sun, and so blemished your sight; or else you have eaten of the roots af bemlock, that makes men's eyes conceit unseen objects." Again, in Ben Jonson's Sejanus :
“ they lay that hold upon thy senses,
" As thou hadst snuft up bemlock.” Steevens. The commentators have given themselves much trouble to ascertain the name of this root, but its name was, I believe, unknown to Shakspeare, as it is to bis readers; Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch having probably furnished him with the only knowledge he had of its qualities, without specifying its name. In the Life of Antony, (which our author must have diligently read) the Roman soldiers, while employed in the Parthian war, are said to have sufiercd great distress for want of
That takes the reason prisoner?
Macb. Your children shall be kings.
You shall be king. Macb. And thane of Cawdor too; went it not so? Ban. To the self-same tune, and words. Who's here?
Enter Rosse, and ANGUS. Rosse. The king hath happily receiv'd, Macbeth, The news of thy success: and when he reads Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, His wonders and his praises do contend, Which should be thine, or his : Silenc'd with that, In viewing o'er the rest o' the self-same day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afеard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as tale,
provisions. " In the ende (says Plutarch) they were compelled to live of herbs and rootes, but they found few of them that men do commonly eate of, and were enforced to taste of deem that were never eaten before; among the which there was one that killed them, and made them out of their wits; for he that had once eaten of it, his memorye was gone from him, and he knew no manner of thing, but only busied himself in digging and hurling of stones from one place to another, as though it had been a matter of great waight, and to be done with all possible speede.
Malone. 4 His wonders and bis praises do contend,
Which should be thine, or his: &c.] i. e. private admira. tion of your deeds, and a desire to do them public justice by commendation, contend in his mind for pre-eminence..Or, There is a contest in his mind whether he should indulge his de. sire of publishing to the world the commendations due to your heroism, or whether he should remain in silent admiration of what no words could celebrate in proportion to its desert.
Mr. M. Mason would read wonder, not wonders ; for, says he, " I believe the word wonder, in the sense of admiration, has no plural.” In modern language it certainly has none; yet I cannot help thinking that, in the present instance, plural was opposed to plural by Shakspeare. "Steevens.
Silenc'd with that, 1 i. e. wrapp'd in silent wonder at the deeds performed by Macbeth, &c. Malone.
B. As thick as tale,) Meaning, that the news came as thick as a tale can travel with the pust. Or we may read, perhaps, yet better:
As thick as tale,
Came post with post; and every one did bear
We are sent,
Rosse. And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
Ban. What, can the devil speak true?
That is, posts arrived as fast as could be counted. Johnson. So, in King Henry VI, P.III, Act II, sc.i:
“ Tidings, as swiftly as the post could run,
“Were brought,” &c. Mr. Rowe reads--as thick as bail. Steevens.
The old copy reads-Can post. The emendation is Mr. Rowe's. Dr. Johnson's explanation would be less exceptionable, if the old copy had- As quick as tale. Thick applies but ill to tale, and seems rather to favour Mr. Rowe's emendation.
“ As thick as hail," as an anonymous correspondent observes to me, is an expression in the old play of King John, 1591 ;
“_ breathe out damned orisons,
" As thick as bail-stones fore the spring's approach.” The emendation of the word can is supported by a passage in King Henry IV, P. II:
“And there are twenty weak and wearied posts
“ Come from the north.” Malone. Dr. Johnson's explanation is perfectly justifiable. As thick, in ancient language, signified as fast. To speak thick, in our author, does not therefore mean, to have a cloud, indistinct utteriince, but to deliver words with rapidity. So, in Cymbeline, Act III, sc. ii :
- say, and speak thick,
“ To this same blessed Milford.”
“ And speaking thick, which nature made his blemish,
“ Would turn &c.—To seem like bim.”
6 To herald thee &c.] The old copy redundantly reads-Only to herald thee &c. Steenens.
In borrow'd robes?
Who was the thane, lives yet;
Glamis, and thane of Cawdor:
That,'trusted'home, 8 Thrusted
T w ith Norway;] The old copy reads:
with those of Norway. The players not understanding that by “ Norway” our author meant the king of Norway, as in Hamlet
“ Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,” &c. foisted in the words at present omitted. Steevens.
There is, I think, no necd of change. The word combin'd be. longs to the preceding line:
“ Which he deserves to lose. Whe'r he was combin'd
“ With those of Norway, or did line the rebel,” &c. Whether was in our author's time sometimes pronounced and · written as one syllable, whe'r. So, in King Fobn:
“Now shame upon you, whe’r she does or no." Malonę. 8 — trusted home,] i. e. entirely, thoroughly relied on. So, in All's Well that Ends Well:
" — lack'd the sense to know
“ Her estimation bome.” Steevens. The added word home shows clearly, in my apprehension, that our author wrote-That thrusted home. So, in a subsequent scene:
“ That every minute of his being thrusts
“ Against my nearest of life.” Thrusted is the regular participle from the verb to thrust, and though now not often used, was, I believe, common in the time of Shakspeare. So, in King Henry V:
“ With casted slough and fresh legerity.” Home means to the uttermost. So, in The Winter's Tale:
“ all my sorrows
“ You have paid home.” It may be observed, that "thrusted home” is an expression used at this day; but “ trusted home,” I believe, was never used
Might yet enkindle you' unto the crown,
Two truths are told,
at any period whatsoever. I have had frequent occasion to remark that many of the errors in the old copies of our author's plays arose from the transcriber's ear having deceived him. In Ireland, where much of the pronunciation of the age of queen Elizabeth is yet retained, the vulgar constantly pronounce the word thrust as if it were written trust; and hence probably the error in the text.
The change is so very slight, and I am so thoroughly persuaded that the reading proposed is the true one, that had it been suggested by any former editor, I should without hesi. tation have given it a place in the text. Malone.
9 Might yet enkindle you ] Enkindle, for to stimulate you to seek. Warburton. A similar expression occurs in As you Like it, Act I, sc. i: " nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither."
Steevens. Might fire you with the hope of obtaining the crown. Henley.
I Two truths are told, &c.] How the former of these truths has been fulfilled, we are yet to learn. Macbeth could not be. come thane of Glamis, till after his father's decease, of which there is no mention throughout the play. If the Hag only an. nounced what Macbeth already understood to have happened, her words could scarcely claim rank as a prediction. Steevens,
From the Scottish translation of Boethius it should seem that Sinel, the father of Macbeth, died after Macbeth's having been met by the weird sisters. “Makbeth (says the historian) revolvyng all thingis, as they wer said be the weird sisteris, began to covat ye croun. And zit he concludit to abide, quhil he saw ye tyme ganand thereto; fermelie belevyng yt ye thrid weird suld cum as the first two did afore.” This indeed is inconsistent with our author's words, “By Sinel's death, I know, I am thane of Glamis;"_but Holinshed, who was his guide, in his abridgment of the history of Boethius, has particularly mentioned that Sinel died before Macbeth met the weird sisters: we may there. fore be sure that Shakspeare meant it to be understood that Macbeth had already acceded to his paternal title. Bellenden only says, “ The first of thaim said to Macbeth, Hale thane of Glammis. The secound said,” &c. But in Holinshed the relation runs thus, conformably to the Latin original: “ The first of them spake and said, All haile Mackbeth, thane of Glammis