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I'the fhipman's card.o

I will drain him dry as hay: *

Sleep fhall, neither night nor day,

being either negligently read, haftily pronounced, or imperfectly heard. JOHNSON.

The very ports are the exact ports. Very is ufed here (as in a thousand Inftances which might be brought) to exprefs the declaration more emphatically.

Instead of ports, however, I had formerly read points; but erroneously. In ancient language, to blow fometimes means to blow upon. So, in Dumain's Ode in Love's Labour's Loft:

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"Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow ;-. i.e. blow upon them. We ftill fay, it blows East, or West, without a prepofition. STEEVENS.

The fubftituted word was first given by Sir W. D'Avenant, who, in his alteration of this play, has retained the old, while at the fame time he furnished Mr. Pope with the new, reading: "I myself have all the other.

"And then from every port they blow,

"From all the points that feamen know." MALONE.

the Shipman's card.] So, in The Microcofmos of

John Davies, of Hereford, 4to., 1605:

"Befide the chiefe windes and collaterall

"(Which are the windes indeed of chiefe regard)
"Seamen observe more, thirtie two in all,

"All which are pointed out upon the carde."

The card is the paper on which the winds are marked under the pilot's needle; or perhaps the fea-chart, fo called in our author's age. Thus, in The Loyal Subject, by Beaumont and Fletcher :

"The card of goodness in your minds, that fhews you "When you fail false.'

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Again, in Churchyard's Prayfe and Reporte of Maister Martyne Forboifher's Voyage to Meta Incognita, &c. 12mo. bl. 1. 1578: "There the generall gaue a speciall card and order to his captaines for the paffing of the straites," &c. STEEVENS.


dry as hay] So, Spenfer, in his Fairy Queen, B. III. c. ix:

"But he is old and withered as hay." STEEVENS.

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Hang upon his pent-house lid;"
He fhall live a man forbid : 3
Weary fev'n-nights, nine times nine,
Shall he dwindle,+ peak, and pine:


Sleep fhall, neither night nor day,

Hang upon his pent-house lid ;] So, in The Miracles of
Mofes, by Michael Drayton :

"His brows, like two steep pent-houses, hung down
"Over his eye-lids."

There was an edition of this poem in 1604, but I know not whether these lines are found in it. Drayton made additions and alterations in his pieces at every re-impreflion. MALONE.

3 He hall live a man forbid :] i. e. as one under a curse, an interdiction. So, afterwards in this play:


By his own interdiction ftands accurs'd."

So, among the Romans, an outlaw's fentence was, Aquæ & Ignis interdictio; i. e. he was forbid the use of water and fire, which implied the neceffity of banishment. THEOBALD.

Mr. Theobald has very juftly explained forbid by accurfed, but without giving any reason of his interpretation. To bid is originally to pray, as in this Saxon fragment:

He ir bir bir boré, &c.

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He is wife that prays and makes amends.

As to forbid therefore implies to prohibit, in oppofition to the word bid in its prefent fenfe, it fignifies by the fame kind of oppofition to curfe, when it is derived from the fame word in its primitive meaning. JOHNSON.

To bid, in the fenfe of to pray, occurs in the ancient MS. romance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 78:


Kinge Charles kneled adown

"To kiffe the relikes fo goode,

"And badde there an oryfon

"To that lorde that deyde on rode."

A forbodin fellow, Scot. fignifies an unhappy one.'




may be added that bitten and Verbieten, in the German, fignify to pray and to interdict." S. W.

• Shall he dwindle, &c.] This mifchief was fuppofed to be put in execution by means of a waxen figure, which reprefented the perfon who was to be confumed by flow degrees. So, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:

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Though his bark cannot be loft,
Yet it shall be tempeft-tofs'd.5
Look what I have.

2 WITCH. Show me, fhow me.

1 WITCH. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wreck'd, as homeward he did come.

3 WITCH. A drum, a drum ; Macbeth doth come.


—it wastes me more

[Drum within.

"Than wer't my picture fafhion'd out of wax,
"Stuck with a magick needle, and then buried
"In fome foul dunghill."

So Holinfhed, fpeaking of the witchcraft practised to destroy King Duffe:

found one of the witches roafting upon a wooden broch an image of wax at the fire, resembling in each feature the king's perfon, &c.

for as the image did wafte afore the fire, fo did the bodie of the king break forth in fweat. And as for the words of the inchantment, they ferved to keep him ftill waking from Neepe," &c.

This may ferve to explain the foregoing paffage :

Sleep fhall neither night nor day "Hang upon his pent-houfe lid."

See Vol. IV. p. 227, n. 4. STEEVENS.

5 Though his bark cannot be loft,

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Yet it shall be tempeft-tofs' d.] So, in Newes from Scotland, &c. a pamphlet already quoted: Againe it is confeffed, that the faid chriftened cat was the caufe of the Kinges Majefties Shippe, at his coming forthe of Denmarke, had a contrarie winde to the rest of his hippes then beeing in his companie, which thing was moft ftraunge and true, as the Kinges Majestie acknowledgeth, for when the reft of the shippes had a faire and good winde, then was the winde contrarie and altogether against his Majeftie. And further the fayde witch declared, that his Majeftie had never come fafely from the fea, if his faith had not prevayled above their ententions." To this circumstance perhaps our author's allufion is fufficiently plain. STEEVENS.

ALL. The weird fifters, hand in hand, Posters of the fea and land,

The weird fifters, hand in hand,] These weird fifters, were the Fates of the northern nations; the three hand-maids of Odin. Hæ nominantur Valkyriæ, quas quodvis ad prælium Odinus mittit. Hæ viros morti deftinant, et victoriam gubernant. Gunna, et Rota, et Parcarum minima Skullda: per aëra et maria equitant femper ad morituros eligendos; et cades in poteftate habent. Bartholinus de Caufis contemptæ à Danis adhuc Gentilibus mortis. It is for this reafon that Shakspeare makes them three; and calls them,

Pofters of the fea and land;

and intent only upon death and mifchief. However, to give this part of his work the more dignity, he intermixes, with this Northern, the Greek and Roman fuperftitions; and puts Hecate at the head of their enchantments. And to make it ftill more familiar to the common audience (which was always his point) he adds, for another ingredient, a fufficient quantity of our own country fuperftitions concerning witches; their beards, their cats, and their broomsticks. So that his witch-fcenes are like the charm they prepare in one of them; where the ingredients are gathered from every thing Shocking in the natural world, as here, from every thing abfurd in the moral. But as extravagant as all this is, the play has had the power to charm and bewitch every audience, from that time to this. WARBURTON.

Wierd comes from the Anglo-Saxon pýrd, fatum, and is ufed as a fubftantive fignifying a prophecy by the tranflator of Hector Boethius, in the year 1541, as well as for the Deftinies, by Chaucer and Holinfhed. Of the weirdis gevyn to Makbeth and Banqhuo, is the argument of one of the chapters. Gawin Douglas, in his tranflation of Virgil, calls the Parca, the weird fifters; and in Ane verie excellent and delectabill Treatife intitulit PHILOTUS, quhairin we may perfave the greit Inconveniences that fallis out in the Mariage betweene Age and Zouth, Edinburgh, .1603, the word appears again :


"How does the quheill of fortune go,

"Quhat wickit wierd has wrocht our wo."

"Quhat neidis Philotus to think ill,

"Or zit his wierd to warie ?"

The other method of fpelling [weyward] was merely a blunder of the tranfcriber or printer.

Thus do go about, about;

Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
And thrice again, to make up nine:

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MACB. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
BAN. How far is't call'd to Fores?


What are

The Valkyriæ, or Valkyriur, were not barely three in number. The learned critic might have found, in Bartholinus, not only Gunna, Rota, et Skullda, but also, Scogula, Hilda, Gondula, and Geirofcogula. Bartholinus adds, that their number is yet greater, according to other writers who fpeak of them. They were the cupbearers of Odin, and conductors of the dead. They were diftinguished by the elegance of their forms; and it would be as juft to compare youth and beauty with age and deformity, as the Valkyrie of the North with the Witches of Shakspeare. STEEVENS.

The old copy has-weyward, probably in confequence of the tranfcriber's being deceived by his ear. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. The following paffage in Bellenden's tranflation of Hector Boethius, fully fupports the emendation: "Be aventure Makbeth and Banquho were paffand to Fores, quhair kyng Duncane hapnit to be for ye tyme, and met be ye gait thre women clothit in elrage and uncouth weid. They wer jugit be the pepill to be weird fifters." So alfo Holinfhed,


7 How far is't call'd to Fores ?] The king at this time refided at Fores, a town in Murray, not far from Inverness. "It fortuned, (fays Holinfhed) as Macbeth and Banquo journeyed towards Fores, where the king then lay, they went fporting by the way, without other company, fave only themfelves, when fuddenly in the midft of a laund there met them three women in ftraunge and ferly apparell, refembling creatures of an elder world," &c. STEEVENS. The old copy reads


Soris. Corrected by Mr. Pope.


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