Page images

All. Liflen, but speak not.
App. Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care,
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are :
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until
Great Birnam-wood to Dunfinane's high hill
Shall come against him.

Macb. That will never be :
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
Unfix his earth-bound root ? Sweet boadments ! good!
Rebellious head rise never, till the wood (34)
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time and mortal custom! -Yet
Throbs to know one thing; tell me, (if your art
Can tell so much) shall Banquo's issue ever

my heart

(34) Rebellious dead, rise never till the wood of Birnam rise, &c.] Thus all the impressions, from the very beginning, exhibit this passage: but I cannot imagine what notion the editors could have of the dead being rebellious. It looks to me, as if they were content to believe the poet genuine, wherever he was mysterious beyond being understood. The emendation of one letter gives us clear sense, and the very thing which Macbeth should be suppos’d to say here. We must restore

Rebellious head rise never, i. e. Let rebellion never make head against me, till a forest move, and I shall reign long enough in safety. Shakespeare very frequently uses this term to this purpose; of which I'll subjoin a few examples, i Henr. IV.

-Douglas and the English rebels met,
Th' eleventh of this month, at Shrerosbury ;

A mighty and a fearful bead they are. 2 Henr. IV.

For his divisions, as the times dy brawl,

Are in three beads; one pow'r against the French, & Again, in the ift Henr. IV.

We were inforc'd for safety's fake to fly

Out of your figlit, and raise this present head, Henr. VIII.

My noble father, Henry of Buckingham,

Who first rais’d head against ufurping Richardo

When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others,
&c. &c. &c.
P 2


Reign in this kingdom?
Xil. Seek to know no more.

(The cauldron finks into the ground.
Macb. I will be satisfy'd. Deny me this,
And an eternal curfe fall on you! let me know,
Why links that cauldron ? and what noise is this?

(Hautboys. i Witch, Shew! 2 Witch. Shew ! 3 Witch. Shew!

All. Shew his eyes, and grieve his heart; Come like shadows, so depart. (Eight Kings appear and pass over in order, and (35)

Banquo; the laft, with a glass in his hand. Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo; dowe ! Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls.--And thy hair (Thou other gold-bound brow) is like the firttÀ third is like the formera filthy hagsi! Why do you thew me this ? LA fourth 1-Start eye! What! will the line stretch out to th'crack of doom?Another yet?-A seventh ? I'll see no moreAnd yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass, Which shews me many more ; and some I see, That twofold balls and treble scepters carry, Horrible sight! nay, now, I fee, 'tis true; For the blood-bolter'd Banquo (miles upon me, And points at them for his. What, is this so?

(35) Eight Kings appear, and pass over in order, and Banquo laft, with a glass in bis band.] The editors could not help blundering even in this stage-direction. For 'tis not Banquo, who brings the glass; as is evident from the following speech :

And yet the eighth appears, wbo bears a glass
Wbich shews me many nore: ---- --and some I fees

That twofold balls, and treble scepters carry. I have quoted the last line, because it will not be amiss to observe, that this fine play, 'tis probable, was not writ till after Q. Elizabeth's death. These apparitions, tho' very properly shewn with regard to Macbeth, yet are more artfully so, when we consider the address of the poet in complimenting K. James I. here upon his uniting Scotland to England: and when we consider too, that the family of the Stuarts are said to be the direct descendants of Banguo.

I Witch.

1 Witch. Ay, Sir, all this is fo. But why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, fisters, chear we up his sprights,
And shew the best of our delights :
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antick round:
That this great King may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.

[Mufick. [The witches dance and vanill. Macb. Where are they! gone!--Let this pernicious hour Stand ay accursed in the calendar! Come in, without there !

Enter Lenox. Len. What's


Grace's will ?
Macb. Saw you the weïrd fifters ?
Len. No, my Lord.
Macb. Came they not by you?
Len. No, indeed, my Lord.

Macb. Infected be the air whereon they ride,
And damn'd all those that trust them! I did hear:
The galloping of horse. Who was't came by?

Len. 'Tis two or three, my Lord, that bring you word, Macduff is fled to England.

Macb. Fled to England?
Len. Ay, my good Lord.

Macb. Time, thou anticipat't my dread exploits :
The fighty purpose never is o’ertook,
Unless the deed go with it. From this moment,
The very firftlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now
To crown my thoughts with acts, be't thought and done!
The castle of Macduff I will surprise,
Seize upon Fife, give to the edge o'th' sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool,
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.
But no more lights. Where are these gentlemen ?
Come, bring me where they are.


[blocks in formation]


SCENE, changes to Macduff's Castle at Fife.

Enter Lady Macduff, her Son, and Roffe.
L. Macd. HAT had he done, to make him fly the

land ?
Rolle. You must have patience, Madam.

L. Macd. He had none;
His flight was mailnefs; when our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.

Rofje. You know not,
Whether it was his wisdom, or his rear.

Macd. Wisdom? to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
His mansion, and his titles, in a place
From whence himself does fly? he loves us not,
He wants the nat'ral touch ; for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
Her young ones in her neft, against the owl :
All is the fear, and nothing is the love ;
is little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.

Roffe. My deareft Cousin, I pray you, school yourself; but for your husband, He's noble, wise, judicious, and best knows The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much further, But cruel are the times, when we are traitors, And do not know ourselves ; when we hold rumour From what we fear, yet know not what we fear ; But float upon a wild and violent fea Each way, and move. I take my leave of you ; Shall not be long but I'll be here again : Things at the worst will cease, or else climb opward To what they were before: My pretty Coufin, Bleffing upon you !

L. Macd. Fathered he is, and yet he's fatherless.

Roffe. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my disgrace, and your discomfort.
I take my leave at once.

[Exit Roffe. L. Macd. Sirrah, your father's dead,


And what will you do now? how will


live ?
Son. As birds do, mother.
L. Macd. What, on worms and fies?
Son. On what I get, I mean, and so do they.

L. Macd. Poor bird! thou'dit never fear the net, nor The pit-fall, nor the gin.

[lime: Son. Why should I, mother ? poor birds they are not

set for. My father is not dead, for all your saying.

L. Macd. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?

Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband ?
L. Macd. Why, I can buy ine twenty at any market.
Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.

L. Macd. Thou speak'st with all thy wit, and yet, With wit enough for thee.

[i'faith, Son. Was my father a traitor, mother? L. Macd. Ay, that he was. Son. What is a traitor? L. Macd. Why, one that swears and lies. Son. And be all traitors that do fo?

L. Macd. Every one, that does so, is a traitor, and must be hang'd.

Son. And must they all be hang'd, that swear and lie?
L. Macd. Every one.
Son. Who muft hang them?
L. Macd. Why, the honeft men.

Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honeft men, and hang up them.

L. Macd. God help thee, poor monkey ; but how wilt thou do for a father?

Son. If he were dead, you'd weep for him : if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father. L. Macd. Poor pratler! how thou talk't?

Enter a Mesenger. Mes. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known, Though in your state of honour I am perfect;

I doubt,

P 4

« PreviousContinue »