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Did you say, all?-O, hell-kite !-All?
What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,
At one fell swoop?

Holinshed's Chronicle does not, as I remember, mention any.
The same thought occurs again in King John :
"He talks to me that never had a son."
Again, in King Henry VI. Part III. :

"You have no children: butchers, if you had, "The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse." STEEVENS. Surely the latter of the two interpretations offered by Mr. Steevens is the true one, supposing these words to relate to Macbeth. The passage, however, quoted from King John, seems in favour of the supposition that these words relate to Malcolm.

That Macbeth had children at some period, appears from what Lady Macbeth says in the first Act: "I have given suck," &c.

I am still more strongly confirmed in thinking these words relate to Malcolm, and not to Macbeth, because Macbeth had a son then alive, named Lulah, who after his father's death was proclaimed king by some of his friends, and slain at Strathbolgie, about four months after the battle of Dunsinane. See Fordun. Scoti-Chron. 1. v. c. viii.

Whether Shakspeare was apprized of this circumstance, cannot be now ascertained; but we cannot prove that he was unacquainted with it. MALONE.

My copy of the Scotichronicon (Goodall's edit. vol. i. p. 252,) affords me no reason for supposing that Lulach was a son of Macbeth. The words of Fordun are:- -"Subito namque post mortem Machabedæ convenerunt quidam ex ejus parentela sceleris hujusmodi fautores, suum consobrinum, nomine Lulach, ignomine fatuum, ad Sconam ducentes, et impositum sede regali constituunt regem," &c. Nor does Wyntown, in his Cronykil, so much as hint that this mock-monarch was the immediate offspring of his predecessor:

"Eftyre all this, that ilke yhere,

"That this Makbeth was browcht on bere,
"Lulawch fule ras, and he

"As kyng regnyd monethis thre.

"This Malcolme gert sla hym syne

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Wyth-in the land of Straybolgyne." B. vi. 47, &c.

It still therefore remains to be proved that " Macbeth had a son then alive." Besides, we have been already assured, by himself, on the authority of the Witches, p. 142, that his scepter would pass away into another family, no son of his succeeding."



MAL. Dispute it like a man 9.


I shall do so;

But I must also feel it as a man:
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me.-Did heaven look


And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff, They were all struck for thee! naught that I am, Not for their own demerits, but for mine,

Fell slaughter on their souls: Heaven rest them


MAL. Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief

Upon comparing Mr. Steevens's quotation from Fordun, with the more correct edition by Hearne, I am satisfied that Mr. Malone was inaccurate in producing that historian as an authority for Lulah, Lulach, Luthlac, or Lugtag, (for by all these names is he mentioned,) being the son of Macbeth. By a slip of memory, or an incorrect memorandum, he was probably led to confound Fordun with Buchanan, whose words are these :-" Hæc dum Forfaræ geruntur, qui supererant ex factione Macbethi, filium ejus Luthlacum (cui ex ingenio cognomen inditum erat Fatuo) Sconam ductum regem appellant." Fordun does not express this, indeed, but he does not contradict it. Suum consobrinum may mean, their relation, i. e. of the same clan. Mr. Steevens's last argument might be turned the other way. That his son should not succeed him, would more afflict a man who had a son than one who was childless. Boswell.

8 At one fell swoop?] Swoop is the descent of a bird of prey on his quarry. So, in The White Devil, 1612:



That she may take away all at one swoop."

Again, in The Beggar's Bush, by Beaumont and Fletcher: no star prosperous !

"All at a swoop."

It is frequently, however, used by Drayton, in his Polyolbion, to express the swift descent of rivers. STEEVENS.

9 Dispute it like a man.] i. e contend with your present sorrow like a man. So, in Twelfth Night, Act IV. Sc. III. :

"For though my soul disputes well with my sense," &c. Again, in Romeo and Juliet:

"Let me dispute with thee of thy estate." STEEVENS.

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Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.

MACD. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes,

And braggart with my tongue!--But, gentle

Cut short all intermission'; front to front,
Bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and myself;
Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
Heaven forgive him too 2!

This tune goes manly.
Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave: Macbeth
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
Put on their instruments 1. Receive what cheer

you may;

The night is long, that never finds the day.


Cut short all INTERMISSION;] i. e. all pause, all intervening time. So, in King Lear:


Deliver'd letters, spite of intermission." STEEVENS.

if he 'scape,

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Heaven forgive him too!] That is, if he escape my vengeance, let him escape that of Heaven also.'

An expression nearly similar occurs in The Chances, where Petruchio, speaking of the Duke, says:

He scap'd me yesternight; which if he dare
"Again adventure for, heaven pardon him!
"I shall, with all my heart." M. MASON.


The meaning, I believe, is, — If heaven be so unjust as to let him escape my vengeance, I am content that it should proceed still further in its injustice, and to impunity in this world add forgiveness hereafter.' MALONE.

3 This TUNE-] The folio reads-This time. Tune is Rowe's emendation. STEEVENS.

The emendation is supported by a former passage in this play, where the word is used in a similar manner:

"Mach. Went it not so?

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Banq. To the self-same tune and words.” MALONE.

4 PUT ON their instruments.] i. e. encourage, thrust forward us


Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle.

Enter a Doctor of Physick, and a waiting Gentle


DOCT. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked ?

GENT. Since his majesty went into the field', I

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their instruments against the tyrant. So, in King Lear, Act I. Sc. IV. vol. x. p. 60:

"That you protect this course, and put it on
'By your allowance."


Again, in Chapman's version of the eleventh Iliad :

"For Jove makes Trojans instruments, and virtually then "Wields arms himself." STEEVENS.

5 Since his majesty WENT INTO THE FIELD,] This is one of Shakspeare's oversights. He forgot that he had shut up Macbeth in Dunsinane, and surrounded him with besiegers. That he could not go into the field, is observed by himself with splenetic impatience :


our castle's strength

"Will laugh a siege to scorn.

Here let them lie
Till famine and the ague eat them up.
"Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours,
"We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,

"And beat them backward home."

It is clear also, from other passages, that Macbeth's motions had long been circumscribed by the walls of his fortress.

The truth may be, that Shakspeare thought the spirit of Lady Macbeth could not be so effectually subdued, and her peace of mind so speedily unsettled by reflection on her guilt, as during the absence of her husband:

deserto jacuit dum frigida lecto, Dum queritur tardos ire relicta dies.

For the present change in her disposition, therefore, our poet

have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon it, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

DocT. A great perturbation in nature! to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching. In this slumbry agitation, besides her walking, and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?

GENT. That, sir, which I will not report after her.

DocT. You may, to me; and 'tis most meet you should.

GENT. Neither to you, nor any one; having no witness to confirm my speech.

Enter Lady MACBETH, with a Taper.

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise ; and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

DOCT. How came she by that light?

GENT. Why, it stood by her: she has light by her continually; 'tis her command.

DocT. You see, her eyes are open 6

(though in the haste of finishing his play he forgot his plan) might mean to have provided, by allotting her such an interval of solitude as would subject her mind to perturbation, and dispose her thoughts to repentance.

It does not appear, from any circumstance within the compass of this drama, that she had once been separated from her husband, after his return from the victory over Macdonwald, and the King of Norway. STEEVENS.

Yet Rosse says, [p. 232.] that he saw the tyrant's power a-foot. The strength of his adversaries, and the revolt of his own troops, mentioned in a subsequent scene, might compel him to retreat into his castle. BOSWELL.

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