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any intent or purpose; 3. or take up any dead man, woman, or child, out of the grave, or the skin, bone, or any part of the dead perfon, to be employed or used in any manner of witchcraft, forcery, charm, or enchantment; 4. or shall use, practife, or exercise any fort of witchcraft, forcery, charm, or enchantment; 5. whereby any perfon fhall be deftroyed, killed, wafted, confumed, pined, or lamed in any part of the body; 6. That every fuch perfon being convicted fhall fuffer death." This law was repealed in our own time.

Thus, in the time of Shakspeare, was the doctrine of witch. craft at once established by law and by the fashion, and it became not only unpolite, but criminal, to doubt it; and as prodigies are always feen in proportion as they are expected, witches were every day discovered, and multiplied so fast in some places, that Bishop Hall mentions a village in Lancashire, where their number was greater than that of the houses. The jefuits and fectaries took advantage of this univerfal error, and endeavoured to promote the intereft of their parties by pretended cures of perfons afflicted by evil spirits; but they were detected and expofed by the clergy of the established church.

Upon this general infatuation Shakspeare might be eafily allowed to found a play, especially fince he has followed with great exactness fuch hiftories as were then thought true; nor can it be doubted that the scenes of enchantment, however they may now be ridiculed, were both by himself and his audience thought awful and affecting. JOHNSON.

In the concluding paragraph of Dr. Johnfon's admirable introduction to this play, he feems apprehenfive that the fame of Shakspeare's magic may be endangered by modern ridicule. I fhall not, hefitate, however, to predict its fecurity, till our national taste is wholly corrupted, and we no longer deserve the first of all dramatic enjoyments; for fuch, in my opinion at leaft, is the tragedy of Macbeth. STEEVENS.

Malcolm II. King of Scotland, had two daughters. The eldest was married to Crynin, the father of Duncan, Thane of the Ifles, and weftern parts of Scotland; and on the death of

In Nashe's Lenten Stuff, 1599, it is faid, that no lefs than fix hundred witches were executed at one time: "it is evident, by the confeffion of the fix hundred Scotch witches executed in Scotland at Bartholomew tide was twelve month, that in Yarmouth road they were all together in a plump on Christmas eve was two years, when the great flood was; and there stirred up fuch tornadoes and fúricanoes of tempefts, as will be spoken of there whilft any winds or storms and tempests chafe and puff in the lower region." REED.



An open Place.

Thunder and Lightning. Enter three Witches.

1 WITCH. When fhall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

2 WITCH. When the hurlyburly's done,' When the battle's loft and won: 2



However mean this word may feem to modern ears, it came recommended to Shakspeare by the authority of Henry Peacham, who, in the year 1577, publithed a book profeffing to treat of the ornaments of language. It is called The Garden of Eloquence, and has this paffage: "Onomatopeia, when we invent, devife, fayne, and make a name intimating the fownd of that it fignifyeth, as hurliburlý, for an uprore and tumultuous ftirre." HENDERSON.

So, in a tranflation of Herodian, 12mo. 1635, p. 26:

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Again, p. 324:

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there was a mighty hurlyburly in the campe," &c.

great hurliburlies being in all parts of the empire," &c. Reed.

When the battle's loft and won :] i. e. the battle, in which Macbeth was then engaged. WARBURTON.

So, in King Richard III:


while we reafon here,

"A royal battle might be won and lost."

So alfo Speed, fpeaking of the battle of Towton: "by which only ftratagem, as it was conftantly averred, the battle and day was loft and won." Chronicle, 1611. MALONE.


3 WITCH. That will be ere set of fun.3

1 WITCH. Where the place?


Upon the heath:

3 WITCH. There to meet with Macbeth.4

ere fet of fun.] The old copy unneceffarily and

harfhly reads

ere the fet of fun. STEEVENS.

4 There to meet with Macbeth.] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope, and, after him, other editors:

There I go to meet Macbeth.

The infertion, however, feems to be injudicious. To meet with Macbeth was the final drift of all the Witches in going to the heath, and not the particular business or motive of any one of them in diftinction from the reft; as the interpolated words, I go, in the mouth of the third Witch, would most certainly imply.

Somewhat, however, (as the verfe is evidently imperfect,) must have been left out by the tranfcriber or printer. Mr. Capell has therefore propofed to remedy this defect, by reading

There to meet with brave Macbeth.

But furely, to beings intent only on mifchief, a foldier's bravery, in an honeft caufe, would have been no fubject of en comium.

Mr. Malone (omitting all previous remarks, &c. on this paffage) affures us, that- There is here used as a diffyllable." I wish he had fupported his affertion by fome example. Thofe, however, who can speak the line thus regulated, and fuppofe they are reciting a verfe, may profit by the direction they have received.

The pronoun" their," having two vowels together, may be fplit into two fyllables; but the adverb "there" can only be ufed as a monofyllable, unless pronounced as if it were written "the-re," a licence in which even Chaucer has not indulged himfelf.

It was convenient for Shakspeare's introductory fcene, that his firft Witch fhould appear uninftructed in her miffion. Had the not required information, the audience muft have remained ignorant of what it was neceffary for them to know. Her fpeeches, therefore, proceed in the form of interrogatories; but, all on a fudden, an answer is given to a queftion which had not been atked. Here feems to be a chafm, which I thall attempt

1 WITCH. I come, Graymalkin !5 ALL. Paddock calls:-Anon.6—

to fupply by the introduction of a fingle pronoun, and by dif tributing the hitherto mutilated line among the three speakers; 3 Witch. There to meet with

1 Witch. 2 Witch.



Diftinct replies have now been afforded to the three neceffary enquiries-When-Where-and Whom the Witches were to meet. Their conference receives no injury from my infertion and arrangement. On the contrary, the dialogue becomes more regular and confiftent, as each of the hags will now have fpoken thrice (a magical number) before they join in utterance of the concluding words, which relate only to themselves.-I fhould add that, in the two prior inftances, it is also the fecond Witch who furnishes decifive and material answers; and that I would give the words-" I come, Graymalkin!" to the third. By affiftance from fuch of our author's plays as had been publifhed in quarto, we have often detected more important errors in the folio 1623, which, unluckily, fupplies the moft ancient copy of Macbeth. STEEVENS.

5 Graymalkin! From a little black-letter book, entitled, Beware the Cat, 1584, I find it was permitted to a Witch to take on her a cattes body nine times. Mr. Upton obferves, that, to understand this paffage, we fhould suppose one familiar calling with the voice of a cat, and another with the croaking of a toad.

Again, in Newes from Scotland, &c. (a pamphlet of which the reader will find the entire title in a future note on this play): "Moreover the confeffed, that at the time when his majestie was in Denmarke, fhee beeing accompanied with the parties before fpecially mentioned, tooke a cat and chriftened it, and afterward bound to each part of that cat the cheefest part of a dead man, and feveral joyntes of his bodie, and that in the night following the faid cat was convayed into the middeft of the fea by all these witches fayling in their riddles or cives as is aforefaid, and fo left the faid cat right before the towne of Leith in Scotland. This donne, there did arise such a tempeft in the fea, as a greater hath not bene feene," &c. STEEVENS.

• Paddock calls:-&c.] This, with the two following lines, is given in the folio to the three Witches. Some preceding editors have appropriated the first of them to the fecond Witch.

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