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Show'd like a rebel's whore: 5 But all's too weak: For brave Macbeth, (well he deserves that name,) Difdaining fortune, with his brandifh'd fteel, Which smok'd with bloody execution,

Like valour's minion,

Carv'd out his paffage, till he fac'd the slave;'

over a carnage, when we have defeated our enemies? Her bufinefs is then at an end: Her fmiles or frowns are no longer of any confequence. We only talk of thefe, while we are purfuing our quarrel, and the event of it is uncertain.

The word-quarrel, in the fame fenfe, occurs alfo in MS. Harl. 4690: "Thanne fir Edward of Bailoll towke his leve off king Edwarde, and went ayenne into Scottelonde, and was fo grete a lorde, and fo moche had his wille, that he touke no hede to hem that halpe him in his quarelle;" &c. STEEVENS.

The reading propofed by Dr. Johnson, and his explanation of it, are strongly supported by a paffage in our author's King John:

"And put his caufe and quarrel

"To the difpofing of the cardinal.”

Again, in this play of Macbeth:


and the chance, of goodness,

"Be like our warranted quarrel."

Here we have warranted quarrel, the exact oppofite of damned quarrel, as the text is now regulated.

Lord Bacon, in his Effays, ufes the word in the same sense: "Wives are young men's miftreffes, companions for middle age, and old men's nurfes; fo as a man may have a quarrel to marry, when he will." MALONE.

5 Show'd like a rebel's whore:] I fuppofe the meaning is, that fortune, while the smiled on him, deceived him. Shakspeare probably alludes to Macdowald's firft fuccefsful action, elated by which he attempted to purfue his fortune, but loft his life. MALONE.

6 Like valour's minion,

Carv'd out his paffage, till he fac'd the flave;] The old copy reads

Like valour's minion, carv'd out his passage

Till he fac'd the flave.

As an hemiftich must be admitted, it seems more favourable to the metre that it fhould be found where it is now left.

And ne'er thook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unfeam'd him from the nave to the chaps, And fix'd his head upon our battlements.

Till he fac'd the flave, could never be defigned as the be ginning of a verfe, if harmony were at all attended to in its conftruction. STEEVENS.

Like valour's minion,] Só, in King John:

fortune fhall cull forth,

"Out of one fide, her happy minion." MALONE.

7 And ne'er Shook hands, &c.] The old copy reads Which nev'r.

Shook hands-] So, in King Henry VI. P. III:
"Till our King Henry had Jhook hands with death."


Mr. Pope, inftead of which, here, and in many other places, reads-who. But there is no need of change. There is fcarcely one of our author's plays in which he has not used which for who. So, in The Winter's Tale: " the old fhepherd, which stands by," &c. MALONE.

The old reading-Which never, appears to indicate that fome antecedent words, now irretrievable, were omitted in the playhouse manufcript; unless the compofitor's eye had caught which from a foregoing line, and printed it inftead of And. Which, in the prefent inftance, cannot well have been fubftituted for who, because it will refer to the Лave Macdonwald, instead of his conqueror Macbeth. STEEVENS.


he unfeam'd him from the nave to the chaps,] We feldom hear of fuch terrible crofs blows given and received but by giants and mifcreants in Amadis de Gaule. Befides, it must be a strange aukward ftroke that could unrip him upwards from the navel to the chaps. But Shakspeare certainly wrote:

he unfeam'd him from the nape to the chaps.

i. e. e. cut his fkull in two; which might be done by a Highlander's fword. This was a reasonable blow, and very naturally expreffed, on fuppofing it given when the head of the wearied combatant was reclining downwards at the latter end of a long duel. For the nape is the hinder part of the neck, where the vertebræ join to the bone of the fkull. So, in Coriolanus:

"O! that you could turn your eyes towards the napes of your necks."

The word unfeamed likewife becomes very proper, and alludes

DUN. Ö, valiant coufin! worthy gentleman!
SOLD. As whence the fun 'gins his reflexion9

to the future which goes cross the crown of the head in that direction called the futura fagittalis; and which, confequently, muft be opened by such a stroke. It is remarkable, that Milton, who in his youth read and imitated our poet much, particularly in his Comus, was misled by this corrupt reading. For in the manuscript of that poem, in Trinity-College library, the following lines are read thus:

"Or drag him by the curls, and cleave his fcalpe
"Down to the hippes."

An evident imitation of this corrupted paffage. But he altered it with better judgment to


to a foul death "Curs'd as his life."


The old reading is certainly the true one, being juftified by a paffage in Dido Queene of Carthage, by Thomas Nafh, 1594: "Then from the navel to the throat at once

"He ript old Priam."

So likewife in an ancient MS. entitled The Boke of Huntyng, that is cleped Mayfter of Game: Cap. V. "Som men haue fey hym flitte a man fro the kne up to the breft, and flee hym all starke dede at o ftrok." STEEVENS.

Again, by the following paffage in an unpublished play, entitled The Witch, by Thomas Middleton, in which the fame wound is described, though the ftroke is reversed:

"Draw it, or I'll rip thee down from neck to NAVEL, Though there's fmall glory in't." MALONE.

As whence the fun 'gins his reflexion-] The thought is expreffed with fome obfcurity, but the plain meaning is this: As the fame quarter, whence the bleffing of day-light arifes, Sometimes fends us, by a dreadful reverfe, the calamities of Storms and tempefts; fo the glorious event of Macbeth's victory, which promifed us the comforts of peace, was immediately fuc ceeded by the alarming news of the Norweyan invafion. The natural hiftory of the winds, &c. is foreign to the explanation of this paffage. Shakspeare does not mean, in conformity to any theory, to fay that ftorms generally come from the eaft. If it be allowed that they fometimes iffue from that quarter, it is fufficient for the purpose of his comparison. STEEVENS.

The natural hiftory of the winds, &c. was idly introduced on this occafion by Dr. Warburton. Sir William D'Avenant's

Shipwrecking ftorms and direful thunders break;' So from that fpring, whence comfort feem'd to



Discomfort fwells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark:
No fooner juftice had, with valour arm'd,

Compell'd these skipping Kernes to truft their heels;
But the Norweyan lord, furveying vantage,
With furbifh'd arms, and new fupplies of men,
Began a fresh affault.

Difmay'd not this

Yes; 3

Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?



reading of this paffage, in an alteration of this play, published in quarto, in 1674, affords a reasonably good comment upon it: "But then this day-break of our victory


"Serv'd but to light us into other dangers,

"That fpring from whence our hopes did feem to rise."


thunders break;] The word break is wanting in the oldeft copy. The other folios and Rowe read-breaking. Mr. Pope made the emendation. STEEVENS.

Break, which was fuggefted by the reading of the fecond folio, is very unlikely to have been the word omitted in the original copy. It agrees with thunders ;-but who ever talked of the breaking of a storm? MALONE.

The phrafe, I believe, is fufficiently common. Thus Dryden, in All for Love, &c. A& I:

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the Roman camp

Hangs o'er us black and threat'ning, like a Storm "Juft breaking o'er our heads.'

Again, in Ogilby's verfion of the 17th Пliad:

"Hector o'er all an iron tempeft spreads,

"Th' impending Storm will break upon our heads."


2 Discomfort fwells.] Difcomfort the natural oppofite to comfort. JOHNSON.

3 Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo;


Yes;] The reader cannot fail to obferve, that fome word, neceffary to complete

As fparrows, eagles; or the hare, the lion,
If I fay footh, I must report they were

As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks; 4
So they

Doubly redoubled ftrokes 5 upon the foe:

the verfe, has been omitted in the old copy. Sir T. Hanmer reads

Our captains, brave Macbeth, &c. STEEVENS.

4 As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks; &c.] That is, with double charges; a metonymy of the effect for the cause. HEATH.

Mr. Theobald has endeavoured to improve the sense of this paffage, by altering the punctuation thus:

they were

As cannons overcharg'd; with double cracks
So they redoubled ftrokes.

He declares, with fome degree of exultation, that he has no idea of a cannon charged with double cracks; but furely the great author will not gain much by an alteration which makes him fay of a hero, that he redoubles strokes with double cracks, an expreffion not more loudly to be applauded, or more eafily pardoned, than that which is rejected in its favour.

That a cannon is charged with thunder, or with double thunders, may be written, not only without nonsense, but with elegance, and nothing else is here meant by cracks, which, in the time of this writer, was a word of fuch emphasis and dignity, that in this play he terms the general diffolution of nature the crack of doom. JOHNSON.

Crack is ufed on a fimilar occafion by Barnaby Googe, in his Cupido Conquered, 1563:

"The canon's cracke begins to roore

And darts full thycke they flye,

"And cover'd thycke the armyes both,
"And framde a counter-fkye."

Barbour, the old Scotch Poet, calls fire-arms

Again, in the old play of King John, 1591, here, to ordnance:

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crakys of war.” STEEVENS. and applied, as


Doubly redoubled ftrokes &c.] So, in King Richard II:

"And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,

"C Fall," &c.

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