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3 Witch. And I another.
1 Witch. I myself have all the other;
2 Witch. Show me, show me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wreck'd as homeward he did come. [Drum within.
3 Witch. A drum! a drum ! Macbeth doth come.
All. The weird sisters, hand in hand?,
Enter MACBETH and BANQUO.
Ban. How far is't call’d to Fores?—What are these, So wither’d, and so wild in their attire,
2 The WEIRD sisters, hand in hand,] All authorities agree that “ weird ” (spelt ueyuard in the folio, 1623) is of Saxon origin, viz. from wyrd, which has the same meaning as the Latin fatum : “ weird” is therefore fatal. In the ballad of “ The Birth of St. George,” in Percy's “ Reliques," vol. iii. p. 275, edit, 1812, we meet with the expression of “ The weird lady of the woods ;” and the same word occurs twice in the old Scottish drama of “ Philotus,” printed in 1603 and 1612, and reprinted in 1835 for the Bannatyne Club, by John Whitefoord Mackenzie, Esq. As Steevens remarks, Gawin Douglas, in his translation of the Æneid, calls the Parcæ " the weird sisters."
That look not like th’ inhabitants o' the earth,
Speak, if you can.- What are you?
Glamis ! 2 Witch. All hail, Macbeth ! hail to thee, thane of
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 !
3 Are ye FANTASTICAL,] i.e. Creatures of fantasy or imagination. In Holin• shed it is stated, that Macbeth and Banquo at first reputed the appearance of
the witches “some vain, fantastical illusion.”
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 vanish'd ?
Macb. Into the air; and what seem'd corporal, melted As breath into the wind.—'Would they had stay'd!
Ban. Were such things here, as we do speak about, Or have we eaten on the insane root", That takes the reason prisoner ? Macb. Your children shall be kings. Ban.
You shall be king. Macb. And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so ? Ban. To the self-same tune, and words. Who's
Enter Rosse and ANGUS.
4 — eaten on the INSANE root,] The "insane root” is hemlock or henbane.
- As thick as TALE, Came post with post ;] The old copies read, “ Can post with post,” which
Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence,
We are sent,
Rosse. And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
What! can the devil speak true ? Macb. The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress
me In borrow'd robes ? Ang.
Who was the thane, lives yet ;
Glamis, and thane of Cawdor :
That, trusted home,
seems a misprint. The meaning is evident, when we take tale in the sense, not of a narrative, but of an enumeration, from the Sax. telan, to count. Johnson explains the passage correctly in these words :-“ Posts arrived as fast as they could be counted.” Rowe read, “as thick as hail," which may be considered a needless alteration of the text; but it is to be observed, nevertheless, that Southern, in his copy of the folio, 1685, the property of Mr. Holgate, made the same change in manuscript.
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
In deepest consequence.-
Two truths are told,
Look, how our partner's rapt.
may crown me, Without my stir.
New honours come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould, But with the aid of use. Macb.
Come what come may,
Ban. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
Macb. "coorthy Macbeth, Tough the rough