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LOCAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF MACBETH.
view between Macbeth and the Weird Sisters. A more
dreary piece of moorland is not to be found in all Scol. SCENE II.—“A Camp near Fores."
land. Its eastern limit is about six miles from Fores, PROBABLY situated in the moors to the south of the and its western four from Nairn, and the high road from town, so as to intercept the march of the invaders from these places intersects it. This “ blasted heath” is witbFife to the royal residences of the north. Wide and out tree or shrub. A few patches of oats are visible almost level tracts of heath extend southwards from here and there, and the eye reposes on a fir-plantation Fores, amid which the march of an army might be dis at one extremity ; but all around is bleak and brown, cerned from a great distance. The stage-direction, made up of peat and bog-water, white stones, and “ Camp near Fores,” does not occur in the original; bushes of furze. Sand-hills and a line of blue sea, bealthough it is clear in the third scene that Macbeth yond which are the distant hills of Ross and Caithness, and Banquo are on their way thither :
bound it to the north ; a farmstead or two may be seen
afar off; and the ruins of a castle arise from amid How far is't called to Fores?''
a few trees on the estate of Brodie of Brodie on the
north-west. There is something startling to a stranger SCENE II.-“ St. Colmes' Inch."
in seeing the solitary figure of the peat-digger or rushInch ; Island, St. Colmes'; $t. Columba's.—This gatherer moving amid the waste in the sunshine of a island of St. Columba lies in the Firth of Forth, off the calm autumn day; but the desolation of the scene in coast of Fife, a little to the east of North Queensferry. stormy weather, or when the twilight fogs are trailing Alexander I. was wrecked on this island, and enter over the pathless heath or settling down upon the pools, tained by a hermit. In memory of his preservation,
must be indescribable. Alexander founded a monastery, to which great sanctity
Boece narrates the interview of Macbeth and Banattached for many centuries, and the remains of which quo with the Weird Sisters as an actual occurrence; are still conspicuous. It was often plundered by Eng
and he is repeated by Hollingshed. Buchanan, whose lish marauders; but it was so generally believed that mind was averse from admitting more superstitions the saint invariably avenged himself on the pirates, that than were necessary to historical fidelity, relates the the sacredness of the place, as the scene of conferences
whole scene as a dream of Macbeth's. It is now and contracts, remained unimpaired. The “ Norweyan scarcely possible, even for the imagination of the hisking” was probably compelled to disburse his “ten torical student, to make its choice between the scene thousand dollars” on this spot before burying his men
of the generals, mounted and attended by their troops, on the soil of Fife, in order to make his humiliation as meeting the Witches in actual presence on the waste solemn and emphatic as possible.
of the Harmuir, and the encounter of the aspiring
spirit of Macbeth with the prophets of its fate amid the SCENE III.-66 A Heath."
wilder scenery of the land of dreams. As far as the
superstition is concerned with the real history, the Poet Common superstition assigns the Harmuir, on the has bound us in his mightier spells. The Witches of borders of Elgin and Nairn, as the place of the inter Shakespeare have become realities.
SCENE III.--" Thane of Glamis.”
this spot, commanding a wide extent of level country,
bounded in one direction by the range of Dunsinane Glamis Castle, five miles from Forfar, is one of the hills, and within view of Birnam Hill. Tradition asfour or five castles in which the murder of Duncan is signs this old stronghold as the occasional residence of erroneously declared to have been perpetrated. Pre- | Macbeth; who, however, as will be seen elsewhere, vious to 1372, a small castle, two stories high, stood on could never have dwelled within stone walls. The
present magnificent edifice is above a hundred feet in magnificence, when “that original old castle,” as he height, and contains a hundred rooms; and the walls calls it, reared its lordly head above seven circles of of the oldest part of the building are fifteen feet thick. defensive boundaries, court-yards, ornamented incloAn ancient bedstead is preserved in it, on which it is sures, foss, avenue, barbican, embattled wall, and pretended that Duncan was murdered. Glamis Castle flanking tower. “Since then,” says Walter Scott, “ a is made by tradition the scene of another murder—that “ modern improver had the audacity to render this of Malcolm II., in 1034.
splendid mansion more parkish, as he called it, to raze (Miss Martineau has given the impression that the these exterior defences, and bring his mean, paltry, castle has no claims to antiquity beyond 1372. The gravel-walks up to the very door, from which one might more modern part is Elizabethan, and the work of have imagined Lady Macbeth issuing forth to receive Inigo Jones; the rest dates further back, and of the King Duncan.” huge old tower, we have Scott's authority that “its Glamis is pronounced in Scotland in one syllable, as birth tradition notes not.” Gray, the poet, visited the rhyming to aims : Shakespeare sometimes gives it this place in 1765, and described it as it was in its ancient sound, and sometimes the English pronunciation.]
SCENE III.—“ Thane of Cawdor.”
slender wooden pillar in the midst of the antique apart
ment. Beside it stands the chest which contained the Cawdor Castle is another supposed scene of the mur- gold; and here, it is supposed, did the train of Duncan der of Duncan. A portion of Duncan's coat-of-mail is mingle in revel with the servants of Macbeth, on the pretended to be shown there; and also the chamber in night of the murder. The stranger who stands in the which he was murdered; with the recess, cut out of the low, diin vault, regrets that history and tradition canthickness of the walls, in which the king's valet hid not be made to agree. himself during the perpetration of the deed. Cawdor Castle is about six miles from Nairn, and stands on a
SCENE IV.-“ Fores. A Room in the Palace." rising ground above the windings of the Calder, overlooking a wide tract of woodland, bounded on the north Fores is a town of great antiquity. At its western by the Moray Firth. It has a moat and drawbridge; extremity, there is an eminence commanding the river, and a part of it, without date, shows marks of very high the level country to the coast of Moray Firth, and the antiquity. The more modern part bears the date of town. On this spot, advantageous for strength and 1510. Tradition says that the original builder of this survey, stand the ruins of an ancient castle, the walls castle was desired to load an ass with the gold he could of which are very massive, and the architecture Saxon. afford for his edifice, to follow where the ass should Tradition declares that before this castle was built the lead, and build where it should stop. The ass stopped fort stood there in which King Duffus was murdered, in at a hawthorn in the wood, and this hawthorn was 965 or 966. It is probable that this fort was the resibuilt into the centre chamber of the ground-floor of the dence of Duncan, and afterwards of Macbeth, when the castle. There it is still, worn and cut away till it is a court or royal army was at Fores. The imagination of the student of the chroniclers or of Shakespeare fixes composed of timber and sods, which crumbled and dison this green mound as the spot where Macbeth bent solved away ages ago, leaving only a faint circle upon the knee to his sovereign, while internally occupied the soil, to mark the place where they stood. It is thus with the greetings which had just met him on the Har- that the site of Lunfanan Fort, in Perthshire, (the supmuir.
posed scene of Macbeth's death,) has been ascertained.
This fact about the method of building in that age setSCENE V.-“ Inverness. A Room in Macbeth's Castle.
tles the question of Duncan's murder at Cawdor Castle,
or Glamis, or any other to which that event has been Boece declares that Macbeth's castle, in which Dun- assigned. It could not have taken place in any building can was murdered, was that which stood on an emi- now in existence. nence to the south-east of the town of Inverness. It is It is now believed by some that Duncan was not as certain that the building, called a castle, which stood sassinated at all, but slain in battle. Later historians there, was razed to the ground by Malcolm Canmore, follow Boece in his declaration that the king was mur. the son of Duncan, who built another on a different dered in Macbeth's castle at Inverness; but the regispart of the hill. It was this last, dismantled in the war ter of the Priory of St. Andrew's says, “Doncath interof 1745, which Dr. Johnson and Boswell entered in i fectus est in Bothgonanun.” Fordun says that, being 1773, apparently without any suspicion that it was not wounded, he was conveyed to Elgin, and died there. the identical place in which Duncan was received by The meaning of Both gonanan being “ the smith's Lady Macbeth. Boswell not only recognizes the dwelling,” it has been conjectured that the king was “pleasant seat” of the building, but looks up with ven- murdered by ambushed assassins, at or near a smith's eration to the battlements on which the raven croaked. | dwelling, in the neighbourhood of Elgin. He declares—“I had a romantic satisfaction in seeing Supposing the murder to have taken place, however, Dr. Johnson actually in it.” It appears, however, from at Macbeth's castle at Inverness, the abode might well the researches of antiquarians, that the castles of Mac- be said to have“ a pleasant seat.” The hill overhangs beth's days were not built of stone and mortar at all. the river Ness, and commands a fine view of the town, The “vitrified forts," whose vestiges are found scat- the surrounding levels, and the mountains which intered over Scotland, and which are conjectured to be the close Loch Ness to the west. The eminence is at pres. work of the early Celtic inhabitants, remain a mystery, ent crowned with the new castle, lately finished, which both as to their construction and purposes; but, with contains the courts and the offices connected with them. the exception of these, there are no traces of erections No vestiges remain of Malcolm's castle, visited by Dr. of stone of so early a date as the reign of Duncan. Johnson and Boswell as the Macbeth's castle of Boece The forts and castles of those days appear to have been and Shakespeare.-H. MARTINEAU.
founding of the abbey of Scone by the Culdees in 838,
and was transferred by Edward I. to Westminster Abbey SCENE IV.- “ And gone to Scone, in 1296. This remarkable stone is related to have To be invested.”
found its way to Dunstafinage from the plain of Luz, The ancient royal city of Scone, supposed to have where it was the pillow of the patriarch Jacob while been the capital of the Pictish kingdom, lay two miles
he dreamed his dream. northward from the present town of Perth. It was the An aisle of the abbey of Scone remains. A few poor residence of the Scottish monarchs as early as the reign habitations alone exist on the site of the ancient royal of Kenneth M‘Alpin, and there was a long series of city. kings crowned on the celebrated stone inclosed in a chair, now used as the seat of the sovereign at corona
SCENE IV.- “Where is Duncan's body? tion in Westminster Abbey. This stone was removed
Carried to Colmes-kill." to Scone from Dunstaffnage, the yet earlier residence Colmes-kill (St. Columba's Cell); Icolm-kill. Hyona ; of the Scottish kings, by Kenneth II., soon after the Iona.—The island of Iona, separated only by a narrow
channel from the island of Mull, off the western coast the greater number of its host of crosses thrown down of Argyle, was the place of sepulture of many Scottish or carried away. kings; and, according to tradition, of several Irish and The cathedral of lona, as seen afar off from the outNorwegian monarchs. This little island, only three side of Fingal's Cave in Staffa, standing out against the miles long and one and a half broad, was once the most western sky, is a singular object in the midst of some important spot of the whole cluster of British Isles. It of the wilder scenery of the ocean,—the only token of was inhabited by Druids previous to the year 563, when high civilization—the solitary record of an intellectual Colum MʻFelim M.Fergus, afterwards called St. Co- world which has passed away. It presides over a wide lumba, landed with twelve companions, and began to extent of stormy waters, with their scattered isles; and preach Christianity. A monastery was soon establish- the stone crosses of its cemetery, and the lofty walls and ed on the spot, and others afterwards arose in the neigh- Saxon and Gothic arches of its venerable buildings, form bouring isles, and on the mainland. A noble cathedral a strange contrast with the hovels of the fishermen which was built, and a nunnery at a short distance from it; stand upon the shore. the ruins of both of which still remain. The reputation In the cemetery, among the monuments of the foundof the learning, doctrine, and discipline of these estab-ers, and of many subsequent abbots, are three rows of lishments extended over the whole Christian world for tombs, said to be those of the Scottish, Irish, and Norsome centuries; devotees of rank, or other eminence, wegian kings, in number reported to be forty-eight. For strove for admission into them; missionaries of very statements like these, however, there is no authority but superior qualifications were graduated from them; tradition. Tradition itself does not pretend to individthe records of royal deeds were preserved there; and ualize these toinbs ; so that the stranger must be satisthere the bones of kings reposed. Historians seem to fied with the knowledge, that within the inclosure agree that all the monarchs of Scotland, from Kenneth where he stands lie Duncan and Macbeth. III. to Macbeth, inclusive—that is, from 973 to 1040— Corpach, two miles from Fort William, retains some were buried at lona; and some suppose that the cathe- distinction from being the place whence the bodies of dral was a place of royal sepulture from the time of its the Scottish monarchs were embarked for the sacred erection. The island was several times laid waste by island. While traversing the stormy waters which surthe Danes and by pirates; and the records which were round these gloomy western isles, the imagination nasaved were removed to Ireland, in consequence of the turally reverts to the ancient days, when the funeral perpetual peril; but the monastic establishments sur- train of barks was tossing amid the waves, and the vived every such attack, and remained in honour till the chant of the monks might be heard from afar welcoming year 1561, when the Act of the Convention of Estates the remains of the monarch to their consecrated soil. was passed, by which all monasteries were doomed to Some of the Irish and Norwegian kings buried in lona demolition. Such books and records as could be found were pilgrims, or had abdicated their thrones and rein Iona were burnt, the tombs were broken open, and tired to the monastery of St. Columba.-H. MARTINEAU.
remains of Birnam Wood, grow by the river-side, half
a mile from the foot of the hill. The hills of Birnam SCENE II.—“ Fife. A Room in Macduff's Castle.” and Dunsinane must have been excellent posts of obOn the Fifeshire coast, about three miles from Dy
servation in time of war, both commanding the level sart, stand two quadrangular towers, supposed to be
country which lies between them, and various passes, the ruins of Macduff's castle. These are not the only lochs, roads, and rivers, in other directions. Birnam remains in Scotland, however, which claim to have been
Hill, no longer clothed with forest, but belted with planthe abode of Macduff's wife and children when they
tations of young larch, rises to the height of 1040 feet, were surprised and slaughtered by Macbeth.
and exhibits, amid the heath, ferns, and mosses, which clothe its sides, distinct traces of an ancient fort, which
is called Duncan's Court. Tradition says that Duncan ACT V.
held his court there. The Dunsinane hills are visible, “ What wood is this before us ?
at the distance of twelve miles, from every part of The wood of Birnam.”
its northern side. Birnam Hill is precisely the point
where a general, in full march towards Dunsinane, Birnam Hill is distant about a mile from Dunkeld; would be likely to pause, to survey the plain which he and the two old trees, which are believed to be the last must cross; and from this spot would the “leafy screen,"
devised by Malcolm, become necessary to conceal the tradition has declared to be the remains of Macbeth's amount of the hostile force from the watch on the Dun- | castle. sinane heights :
The country between Birnam and Dunsinane is lere “Thereby shall we shadow
and fertile, and from several parts of the Dunsigane The numbers of our host, and make discovery
range the outline of Birnam Hill is visible; but, as the Err in report of us."
distance is twelve miles in a direct line, no sentinel a
the Dunsinane hills could see the wood at Birnam begis SCENE V.—“As I did stand my watch upon the hill.” to move, or even that there was a wood. We must sap
It is not ascertained on which hill of the Dunsinane pose either that the distance was contracted for the range, in Perthshire, Macbeth's forces were posted. Poet's purpose, or that the wood called Birnam extended Behind Dunsinane House there is a green hill, on the
from the hill for some miles into the plain : summit of which are vestiges of a vitrified fort, which “Within this three mile may you see it coming."