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Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
Dun. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest.-Go, pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth.
Rosse. I'll see it done.
SCENE III. A Heath. Thunder.
Enter the three Witches.
1 Witch. Where hast thou been, sister? 2 Witch. Killing swine. 3 Witch. Sister, where thou? 1 Witch. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
1 By Bellona's bridegroom Shakspeare means Macbeth. Lapped in proof is defended by armor of proof.
2°« Confronted him with self-comparisons." By him is meant Norway, and by self-comparisons is meant that he gave him as good as he brought, showed that he was his equal.
3 It appears probable, as Steevens suggests, that Sweno was only a marginal reference, which has crept into the text by mistake, and that the line originally stood
“ That now the Norway's king craves composition.” It was surely not necessary for Rosse to tell Duncan the name of his old enemy, the king of Norway.
4 Colmes' is here a dissyllable. Colmes' Inch, now called Inchcomb, is á small island, lying in the Firth of Edinburgh, with an abbey upon it dedicated to St. Columb. Inch or inse, in Erse, signifies an island.
And mounched, and mounched, and mounched. Give
me, quoth I;
2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
1 Witch. I myself have all the other;
2 Witch. Show me, show me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wrecked, as homeward he did come. [Drum within.
3 Witch. A drum, a drum; Macbeth doth come.
All. The weird sisters,5 hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land,
1 The etymology of this imprecation is yet to seek. Rynt ye, for out with ye! stand off! is still used in Cheshire, where there is also a proverbial saying, “ Rynt ye, witch, quoth Besse Locket to her mother.” The French have a phrase of somewhat similar sound and import—“ Arry-avant, away there, ho!"__Mr. Douce thinks that aroint thee” will be found to have a Saxon origin.
2 “Rump-fed ronyon," a mangy woman, fed on offals. 3 i. e. the sailor's chart; carte-marine. 4 Forbid, i. e. forespoken, unhappy, charmed or bewitched. A forbodin fellow (Scotice) still signifies an unhappy one.
5 The old copy has weyward, evidently by mistake. Weird, from the Saxon, a witch, Shakspeare found in Holinshed. Gawin Douglas, in his translation of Virgil, renders thé Parcæ by weird sisters.
Thus do go about, about;
Enter MACBETH and BANQUO.
Macb. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
you are so. Macb. Speak, if you can ;-what are you? 1 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of
Glamis ! 2 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of
Cawdor! 3 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king here
after. Ban. Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair ?—I' the name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show ? My noble partner You greet with present grace, and great prediction Of noble having, and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal; to me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time, And say, which grain will grow, and which will not,
1 The thaneship of Glamis was the ancient inheritance of Macbeth's family. The castle where they lived is still standing, and was lately the magnificent residence of the earl of Strathmore. Gray has given a particular description of it in a Letter to Dr. Wharton.
2 i. e. creatures of fantasy or imagination.
Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear,
1 Witch. Hail !
3 Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none; So, all hail Macbeth, and Banquo !
1 Witch. Banquo, and Macbeth, all hail !
Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers; tell me more. By Sinel's death, I know, I am thane of Glamis; But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives, A
prosperous gentleman; and to be king Stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor. Say, from whence You owe this strange intelligence! or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way With such prophetic greeting ? ---Speak, I charge you.
[Witches vanish. Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, And these are of them.-Whither are they vanished ? Macb. Into the air; and what seemed corporal,
melted As breath into the wind.—'Would they had staid !
Ban. Were such things here, as we do speak about?
Macb. Your children shall be kings.
You shall be kin Macb. And thane of Cawdor too; went it not so Ban. To the self-same tune, and words. Who's
1 6 Sinel.” The late Dr. Beattie conjectured that the real name of this family was Sinane, and that Dunsinane, or the hill of Sinane, thence derived its name.
2 The insane root was probably henbane. In Batman's Commentary on Bartholome de Propriet. Rerum, a book with which Shakspeare was familiar, is the following passage : Henbane is called insana, mad, for the use thereof is perillous ; for if it be eate or dronke it breedeth madnesse, or slow lykenesse of sleepe. Therefore this hearb is called, commonly, mirilidium, for it taketh away wit and reason."
Enter Rosse and ANGUS.
Rosse. The king hath happily received, Macbeth,
We are sent,
Rosse. And, for an earnest of a greater honor,
What, can the devil speak true ?
Who was the thane, lives yet,
i. e. admiration of your deeds, and a desire to do them justice by public commendation, contend in his mind for preëminence: he is silenced with wonder.
2 i. e. posts arrived as fast as they could be counted. Dr. Johnson explains the passage thus:-“The news came as thick as a tale can travel with the post.” Mr. Reeves reads " thick as hail." 3* Came post.” The old copy reads can.
Rowe made the emendation.