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i, e. blow upon them. We ftill fay, it blows Eaft, or Weft, without a prepofition. STEEVENS.

The fubftituted word was firft given by Sir William Davenant, who, in his alteration of this play, has retained the old, while at the fame time he furnished Mr. Pope with the new, reading:

"I myself have all the other.

"And then from every port they blow,
"From all the points that feamen know."


the Shipman's card.] The card is the paper on which the winds are marked under the pilot's needle; or perhaps the fea-chart, fo called in our author's age. Thus, in The Loyal Subject, by

Beaumont and Fletcher :

"The card of goodness in your minds, that shews you "When you fail falfe."

Again, in Churchyard's Prayfe and Reporte of Maifter Martyne. Forboifher's Voyage to Meta Incognita, &c. 12mo. bl. l. 1578: There the generall gaue a speciall Card and order to his captaines for the paffing of the ftraites," &c. STEEVENS.



c. ix :

dry as hay:] So, Spenfer, in his Faery Queen, B. III.

But he is old and withered as hay." STEEVENS.

6 Sleep fhall, neither night nor day,

Hang upon his penthouse lid;] So, in The Miracles of Mofes, by Michael Drayton :

"His brows, like two fteep pent-houses, hung down

"Over his eye-lids."

There was an edition of this poem in 1604, but I know not whether thefe lines are found in it. Drayton made additions and alterations in his pieces at every re-impreffion. MALONE.

7 He hall live a man forbid i. e. as one under a curfe, an interdiction. So, afterwards in this play:

By his own interdiction ftand accurs'd."

So among the Romans, an outlaw's fentence was, Aque & Ignis interdictio; i. e. he was forbid the use of water and fire, which imply'd the neceffity of banishment. THEOBALD.

Weary fev'n-nights, nine times nine,"
Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine;
Though his bark cannot be loft,
Yet it fhall be tempeft-toft.9
Look what I have.

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Mr. Theobald has very juftly explained forbid by accurfed, but without giving any reason of his interpretation. To bid is originally to pray, as in this Saxon fragment:

He is wis that bit and bote, &c.

He is wife that prays and makes amends.

As to forbid therefore implies to prohibit, in oppofition to the word bidin its present sense, it fignifies by the fame kind of oppofition to curfe, when it is derived from the fame word in its primitive meaning. JOHNSON.

A forbodin fellow, Scot. fignifies an unhappy one. STEEVENS.

It may be added that bitten and Verbieten, in the German, fignify to pray and to interdi&." S. W.

8 Shall he dwindle, &c.] This mifchief was fupposed to be put in execution by means of a waxen figure, which reprefented the person who was to be confumed by flow degrees.

So, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:

66 -it waftes me more

"Than wer't my picture fashion'd out of wax,
"Stuck with a magick needle, and then buried
"In fome foul dunghill."

So Holinfhed, fpeaking of the witchcraft practised to deftroy king Duffe:


found one of the witches roafting upon a wooden broch an image of wax at the fire, refembling in each feature the king's perfon, &c.

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for as the image did wafte afore the fire, fo did the bodie of the king break forth in sweat. And as for the words of the inchantment, they served to keep him ftill waking from fleepe," &c. This may ferve to explain the foregoing paffage :

"Sleep fhall neither night nor day

"Hang upon his penthouse lid."

See Vol. IV. p. 215, n. 2. STEEVENS.

Though his bark cannot be loft,

Yet it shall be tempeft-toft.] So, in Newes from Scotland, &c. a pamphlet already quoted. "Againe it is confeffed, that the faid chriftened cat was the cause of the Kinges Majefties shippe, at his

2. WITCH. Show me, fhow me.

1. WITCH. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wreck'd, as homeward he did come.

3. WITCH. A drum, a drum;

Macbeth doth come.

[Drum within.

ALL. The weird fifters, hand in hand,* Pofters of the fea and land,

coming forthe of Denmarke, had a contrarie winde to the rest of his Shippes then beeing in his companie, which thing was moft ftraunge and true, as the Kinges Majeftie acknowledgeth, for when the reft of the hippes had a faire and good winde, then was the winde contrarie and altogether against his Majestie. And further the fayde witch declared, that his Majeftie had never come fafely from the fea, if his faith had not prevayled above their ententions." To this circumftance perhaps our author's allufion is fufficiently plain. STEEVENS.

The weird fifters, hand in hand,] Thefe weird fifters, were the Fates of the northern nations; the three hand-maids of Odin. He nominantur Valkyrie, quas quodvis ad prælium Odinus mittit. Ha viros morti deftinant, & victoriam gubernant. Gunna, ¿ Rota, Parcarum minima Skullda: per aëra & maria equitant femper ad morituros eligendos; & cædes in poteftate habent. Bartholinus de Caufis contemptæ à Danis adhuc Gentilibus mortis. It is for this reafon that Shakspeare makes them three; and calls them, Pofters of the fea and land;

and intent only upon death and mifchief. However, to give this part of his work the more dignity, he intermixes, with this northern, the Greek and Roman fuperftitions; and puts Hecate at the head of their enchantments. And to make it ftill more familiar to the common audience (which was always his point) he adds, for another ingredient, a fufficient quantity of our own country fuperftitions concerning witches; their beards, their cats, and their broomsticks. So that his witch-fcenes are like the charm they prepare in one of them; where the ingredients are gathered from every thing hocking in the natural world, as here, from every thing abfurd in the moral. But as extravagant as all this is, the play has had the power to charm and bewitch every audience from that time to this.


Wierd comes from the Anglo-Saxon Wyrd, fatum, and is used as a fubftantive fignifying a prophecy, by the tranflator of Hector Boethius

Thus do go about, about;

Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
And thrice again, to make up nine:
Peace the charm's wound up.


MAC. So foul and fair a day I have not feen. BAN. How far is't call'd to Fores ?3-What are


in the year 1541, as well as for the Definies by Chaucer and Ho linfhed. Of the weirdis gewyn to Makbeth and Banqhuo, is the argument of one of the chapters. Gawin Douglas, in his tranflation of Virgil, calls the Parce the weird fifters; and in Ane verie excellent and delectabill Treatife intitulit PHILOTUS, quhairin we may perfave the greit inconveniences that fallis out in the Mariage betweené Age and Zouth, Edinburgh, 1603, the word appears again : How dois the quheill of fortune go,


Quhat wickit wierd has wrocht our wo."

Quhat niedis Philotus to think ill,

"Or zit his weird to warie?

The other method of fpelling, [weyward] was merely a blunder of the tranfcriber or printer.

The Valkyrie, or Valkyriur, were not barely three in number. The learned critick might have found, in Bartholinus, not only Gunna, Rota, Skullda, but also, Scogula, Hilda, Gonduld, and Geirofcogula. Bartholinus adds that their number is yet greater, according to other writers who fpeak of them. They were the cupbearers of Odin, and conductors of the dead. They were distinguished by the elegance of their forms; and it would be as juft to compare youth and beauty with age and deformity, as the Valkyrie of the North with the Witches of Shakspeare. STEEVENS.

Be aventure

The old copy has-weyward, probably in confequence of the tranfcriber's being deceived by his ear. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. The following paffage in Bellenden's Tranflation of He&or Boethius, fully fupports the emendation: Makbeth and Banquho were paffand to Fores, quhair kyng Duncane hapnit to be for ye tyme, and met be ye gait thre wemen clothit in elrage and uncouth weid. They wer jugit be the pepill to be weird fifters." So alfo Holinfhed. MALONE.

? How far is't call'd to Fores?] The king at this time refided at

So wither'd, and fo wild in their attire;
That look not like the inhabitants o'the earth,
And yet are on't?-Live you? or are you aught
That man may queftion ?4 You feem to understand


By each at once her choppy finger laying


Upon her skinny lips :-You fhould be women,5 And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are fo.

МАСВ. Speak, if you can ;-What are you? 1. WITCH. All hail, Macbeth!' hail to thee, thane of Glamis! 8

"It fortuned,

Fores, a town in Murray, not far from Inverness. (fays Holinfhed) as Macbeth and Banquo journeyed towards Fores, where the king then lay, they went fporting by the way, without other company, fave only themselves, when fuddenly in the midft of a laund there met them three women in ftrange and wild apparell, refembling creatures of the elder world," &c. STEEVENS.

The old copy reads-Soris. Correded by Mr. Pope.


4 That man may queftion?] Are ye any beings with which man is permitted to hold converse, or of whom it is lawful to ask questions? JOHNSON.

B You should be women,] In Pierce Pennileffe his Supplication to the Divell, 1592, there is an enumeration of fpirits and their offices; and of certain watry fpirits it is faid" by the help of Alynach a fpirit of the Weft, they will raise ftormes, cause earthquakes, rayne, haile or fnow, in the cleareft day that is; and if ever they appeare to anie man, they come in women's apparell." HENDERSON. 6 your beards-] Witches were fuppofed always to have. hair on their chins. So, in Decker's Honeft Whore, 1635: Some, women have beards, marry they are half witches." STEEVENS.


7 All hail, Macbeth!] It hath lately been repeated from Mr. Guthrie's Efay upon English Tragedy, that the portrait of Macbeth's wife is copied from Buchanan, whofe fpirit, as well as words, is tranflated into the play of Shakspeare: and it had fignifyed nothing to have pored only on Holinfhed for facs.". --"Animus etiam, per fe ferox, prope quotidianis conviciis uxoris (quæ omnium

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