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“When the hurlyburly's done."-Act I., Scene 1.
wanting. This deficiency has been thus accounted for: though the Peacham, in his “ GARDEN OF ELOQUENCE," elevates the now vulgar
hands and feet might, by an easy change, be converted into the four phrase "hurlyburly" into one of the ornaments of language :-“ On
paws of a beast, still there was no part about a woman which corregomatopeia: when we invent, devise, feign, and make a name intimat
ponded to the length of tail common to almost all our four-footed
animals." ing the sound of that it signifieth; as hurlyburly, for an uproar and tamultuous stir."
“I'll give thee a wind."- Act I., Scene 3.
This was making a present of what was usually sold. In “SUM“ IST WITCH. I come, Graymalkin.
MER'S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT," we find :-
-"In Ireland and in Denmark both, Here, it is probable, we should suppose one familiar calling with
Witches for gold will sell a man a wind, the voice of a cat, and another with the croaking of a toad.
Which, in the corner of a napkin wrapped,
Shall blow him safe unto what coast he will." “Of kernes and gallowglasses is supplied.”--Act I., Scene 2.
* Weary seven nights, nine times nine, Barnaby Riche, in his “NEW IRISH PROGNOSTICATION," describes the
Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine."—Act I., Scene 3. troops here mentioned :-“The galloglas succeedeth the horseman, This mischief was supposed to be effected by means of a waxen fig. and he is commonly armed with a scull, a shirt of mail, and a gallo- | uro, which represented the person who was to be consumed by slow glas axe." The kernes, he denounces as “ the very dross and scum degrees. of the country; a generation of villains not fit to live."
“The weird sisters, hand in hand.”—Act I., Scene 3. * Till he disbursed at St. Colmes' inch.”-Act I., Scene 2.
Weird signifies prophetic. Gawin Douglas, in his translation of
“VIRGIL,” renders the Parcw (or Fates) by the term weird sisters. Colmes' inch, now called Inchcomb, is a small island, lying in the firth of Edinburgh, with an abbey upon it, dedicated to St. Columb:
- “What are these, called by Camden, Inch Colm, or the Isle of Columba. Inch, or So withered, and so wild in their attire ?”-Act I., Scene 3. inche, in the Irish and Erse languages, signifies an island. Hollin
The circumstances attending this encounter of Macbeth and Ban. shed thus relates the circumstance alluded to in the play :-"The
quo with the Witches are minutely detailed by Holinshed. Shaks. Danes that escaped, and got once to thoir ships, obtained of Macbeth,
peare has followed the stream of the colloquy, but greatly enriched it for a great sum of gold, that such of their friends as were slain might
with poetic ornament. be buried in St. Colmes' inch. In memory whereof, many old sepultures are yet in the said inch there to be seen, graven with the arms
"By Sinel's death, I know I am thane of Cawdor." of the Danes."
Act I., Scene 3. The rebellion of Macdonwald, and the invasion by Sweno, were not, in reality, contemporaneous events. The facts are these :-During |
Sinel, according to Holinshed, was the name of Macbeth's father. the reign of Duncan, Banquo having been plundered, by the people
“ Or hare we eaten of the insane root, of Lochaber, of some of the king's revenue, and being dangerously
That takes the reason prisoner "-Act I, Scene 3. , wounded in the affray, the parties concerned in the outrage were
This alludes to the qualities anciently ascribed to hemlock. In summoned to appear at a certain day. This led to the formidable rebellion headed by Macdonwald, which was finally suppressed by
Greene's “ NEVER TOO LATE," 1616, we have “ You gazed against the Macbeth and Banquo. It was at a subsequent period, in the last
sun, and so blemished your sight; or else you have eaten of the roots year of Duncan's reign, that Sweno, King of Norway, invaded Scot
to of hemlock, that makes men's eyes conceit unseen objects." land. Duncan's successful generals were again employed. Sweno
_ Function won the first battle, but was routed in the second with great slaugh
Is smothered in surmise; and nothing is, ter, and escaped to Norway with very few followers.--Shakspeare has
But what is not."-Act I., Scene 3. effectively woven these two incidents together; and immediately after the defeat of Sweno, the action of the play commences.
Dr. Johnson has thus explained this obscure passage :-“ All pow. ers of action are opposed and crushed by one overwhelming image in
the mind, and nothing is present to me but that which is really fu“ But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
ture." And, like a rat without a tail."- Act I., Scene 3.
" We will establish our estate upon In a book " declaring the damnable life of Doctor Fian," is the fol
Our eldest Malcolm ; whom we name hereafter, lowing passage :-" All they (the witches) together went to sea, each one in a riddle or sieve; and went in the same very substantially,
The Prince of Cumberland."-Act I., Scene 4. with flagons of wine, making merry and drinking by tho way, in the Cumberland was, at the time in question, held by Scotland of the same riddles or sieves."
crown of England, as a fief. Prince of Cumberland was the title “It was imagined," says Steevens, “that, though a witch could borne by the declared successor to the throne of Scotland. A short assume the form of any animal she pleased, the tail would still be extract from IIolinshed will explain the nature of Macbeth's uneasi. ness on this occasion:-“Duncan having two sons, he made the elder tion again; while the other is depriving himself of rest through im. of them (called Malcolm) Prince of Cumberland, as it was thereby to patience to commit the murder." appoint him his successor in his kingdom, immediately after his decease. Macbeth, sorely troubled therewith, for that he saw by this
“ I have drugged their possets." --- Act II., Scene 2. means his hope sore hindered (where, by the old laws of the realm,
It was a general custom to eat possets just before bed time. Ranthe ordinance was, that if he that should succeed was not able of age
| dle Holmes, in his “ ACADEMY OF ARMORY,” says, “ Posset is hot milk to take the charge upon himself, he that was next of blood unto him
| poured on alo or sack, having sugar, grated biscuit, and eggs, with should be admitted), he began to take counsel how he might usurp
| other ingredients, boiled in it, which goes all to a curd.” the kingdom by force, having a just quarrel so to do (as he took the matter), for that Duncan did what in him lay to defraud him of all manner of title and claim which he might, in time to come, pretend
“ Had he not resembled to the crown.”
My father as he slept, I had done 'l."
Act II., Scene 2. “ This castle hath a pleasant seat;" &c.-Act I., Scene 6. This "one touch of nature” in Lady Macbeth, has called forth some
able remarks from Warburton. " This, says he," is very artful: for, Sir Joshua Reynolds has written a few remarks on this beautiful
as the poet has drawn the lady and her husband, it would be thought passage, which exhibit true poetic feeling. “This short dialogue," says
the act should have been done by her. It is likewise highly just: for he, “ between Duncan and Banquo, as they approach Macbeth's castle,
though ambition had subdued in her all the sentiments of nature to has always appeared to me a striking instance of what in painting is
wards present objects, yet the likeness of one past, which she had altermed repose. Their conversation naturally turns upon the beauty of
ways been accustomed to regard with reverence, made her unnatural its situation, and the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing
passions for a moment give way to the sentiments of instinct and huthe marlets' nests in every recess of the cornice, remarks that, where these birds most breed and haunt, the air is delicate. The subject
manity.” of this quiet and easy conversation gives that repose so necessary to
“ To know my deed, 't were best not knowo myself." — the mind after the tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and
Act II., Scene 2. perfectly contrasts the scene of horror that immediately succeeds. It seems as if Shakspeare asked himself, “What is a přince likely to say While I have the thought or recollection of this deed, I were better to his attendants on such an occasion ? Whereas the modern writers lost to myself; had better not have the consciousness of who I am. seem, on the contrary, to be always searching for new thoughts, such as would never occur to men in the situation represented. This also
“ Enter a Porter." —Act II., Scene 3. is frequently the practice of Homer, who, from the midst of battles and horrors, relieves and refreshes the mind of the reader, by intro In justification of Shakspeare for introducing this comical Porter at ducing some quiet rural image, or picture of familiar domestic life.” such a moment, Steevens remarks, "that a glimpse of comedy was
In his “JOURNEY TO THE WESTERN ISLANDS,” Dr. Johnson says expected by our author's audience in the most serious drama; and (speaking of Inverness), “ Here is a castle called the Castle of Mac- where else could that merriment be so happily introduced ?" beth, the walls of which are yet standing. It was no very capacious edifice, but stands upon a rock so high and steep, that I think it was
"Here lay Duncan, once not accessible, but by the help of ladders or a bridge.”
His sūver skin laced with his golden blood."
Act II., Scene 3.
ural metaphors into the mouth of Macbeth, as a mark of artifice and “ Court within the castle.- Enter BANQUO & FLEANCE,” dc. dissimulation, to shew the difference between the studied language
Act II., Scene 1. of hypocrisy and the natural outcries of sudden passion. “This
whole speech," observes Dr. Johnson, “ so considered, is a remarkaA graphic description of the supposed locality of this scene is given by Capell :-“ A large court surrounded all or in part by an open
ble instance of judgment, as it consists entirely of antithesis and metgallery; the gallery ascended into by stairs, open likewise; with ad
aphor.” dition of a college-like gate-way, into which opens a porter's lodge
“Rosse. Where is Duncan's body le appears to have been the poet's idea of the place of this great action.
MACD. Carried to Colm-kill; The circumstances that mark it are scattered through three scenes:
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors.” in the latter, the hall (which moderns make the scene of this action)
Act. II., Scene 4. is appointed a place of second assembly, in terms that shew it plainly distinct from that assembled in then. Buildings of this description This place (now called Icolm-kill) is the famous Iona, one of the rose in ages of chivalry, when knights rode into their courts, and paid Western Isles described by Dr. Johnson, Kill, in Erse, signifies & their devoirs to ladies, viewing of their tiltings and them from this cell or chapel. open gallery. Fragments of some of them, over the mansions of noblemen, are still subsisting in London, changed to hotels or inns. Shakspeare might see them much more entire, and take his notion from them.”
« Rather than so, come fate into the list,
And champion me to the utterance." - “ Merciful powers!
Act III., Scene 4. Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
The word utterance is of French origin; a l'outrance was a term in Gives way to in repose." - Act II., Scene 1.
the law of arms, used when the combatants engagod with an odium “It is apparent,” says Steevens, "from what Banquo'says after
internecinum, an intention to destroy each other. The sense of the wards, that he had been solicited in a dream to do something in con
passage probably is:- Let fate, that has foredoomed the exaltation
of the posterity of Banquo, enter the lists against me with the utmost sequence of the prophecy of the Witches, that his waking senses were
animosity in defense of its own decrees, which I will endeavor to inshocked at; and Shakspeare has finely contrasted his character with
validate, whatever be the danger. that of Macbeth. Banquo is praying against being tempted to encourage thoughts of guilt, even in his sleep; while Macbeth is hurrying into temptation, and revolving in his mind every scheme, however
“FLEANCE and Servant escape.”
Act III., Scene 3. flagitious, that may assist him to complete his purpose. The one is unwilling to sleep, lest the same phantoms should assail his resolu- ! Fleance, after the assassination of his father, fled to Wales, where, by the daughter of the prince of that country, he had a son named mon opinion that witches were supposed to have a nightly meetings Walter, who became Lord Steward of Scotland, and thence assumed with Herodias and the pagan gods ;” and that in the night-time they the name of Walter Stewart (or Stuart). From him, in a direct line, did ride abroad with Diana, goddess of the pagans." The word " He descended James the First of England: in compliment to whom, cate," as a dissyllable, was introduced by Marlow, in his “ DOCTOR Shakspeare has chosen to describe Banquo, who was equally con- FAUSTUS.” cerned with Macbeth in the murder of Duncan, as innocent of that crime,
“ And at the pit of Acheron
Mect me i' the morning." — Act III., Scene 5. “'T is better thee without, than he within."
“Shakspeare, says Steevens, “ seems to have thought it allowable Act III., Scene 4.
to give the name of Acheron to any fountain, lake, or pit, through The proper reading would probably be “ him within." - That is, I which there was vulgarly supposed to be any communication between am better pleased that Banquo's Blood should be on thy face than in this and the infernal world. The true original Acheron, was a river his body. Or we may follow the present reading, by supposing the
in Greece; and yet Virgil gives this name to his lake in the valley of latter part of the sentence to signify “than he in this room."
Amsanctus, in Italy." “The feast is sold
“ Upon the corner of the moon That is not oflen vouched : while 't is a making
There hangs a vaporous drop profound."
Act III., Scene 5. 'T' is given with welcome." — Act III., Scene 4.
This “vaporous drop," seems to be of kin to the virus lunare of the The meaning is, that which is not given freely and cheerfully, can
| ancients, being a foam which the moon was supposed to shed on not properly be called a gift. It is like something which we are ex
particular herbs or other objects, when strongly solicited by enchant. pected to pay for.
ments. “Profound," signifies having deep or secret qualities. - 0, these flaws and starts (Impostors to true fear)." — Act III., Scene 4. The phrase " impostors to true fear,” has been a source of great
| “A dark Cave. In the middle, a Cauldron boiling. Thunder. embarrassment to the commentators. We conceive that the word
“ Enter the three Witches." — Act IV., Scene 1. * to," must be understood in the sense of a compared to," a species of ellipsis of which many instances might be adduced from Shakspeare. Various commentators have remarked on the judgment shown by In the “Two GENTLEMEN OF VERONA,” for instance, it is said of Love Shakspeare in detailing the infernal ceremonies of this scene. A cat (act ii., scene 4), “ there is no woe to his correction;" that is, com- was the usual interlocutor between witches and familiar spirits. A pared to his correction. Lady Macbeth's meaning probably is “True witch, who was tried about fifty years before the poet's time, was said fear, the fear arising from real danger, is a rational thing; but your to have had a cat named Rutterkin; and when any mischief was to fears, originating solely in your own fancies, are mere impostors," be done, she would bid Rutterkin "go and fly.” The common afflicand
tions attributed to the malice of witches, were melancholy, fits, and
loss of flesh. They were supposed to be very malicious to swine; one - "Would well become
of Shakspeare's hags says she has been killing swine; and Dr. HarsA woman's story, at a winter's fire,
net observes that, in his time, “ sow could not be iil of the mensles, Authorized by her grandam.”
nor a girl of the sullens, but some old woman was charged with
witchcraft.” Toads have long been reproached as the abettors of The same contempt of supernatural fears is expressed by this hardy
witchcraft. When Vannius was seized at Toulouse, there was found woman, in the scene of the murder:
in his lodgings “ a great toad, shut in a phial;” upon which, those “The sleeping and the dead
that persecuted him denounced him as a wizard. Are but as pictures : 't is the eye of childhood
The ingredients of Shakspeare's cauldron are selected according to That fears a painted devil.”
the formularies prescribed in books of magic. Witches were sup
posed to take up bodies to use in enchantments. A passage from _“You make me strange
Camden explains and justifies our author in some other particulars: Even to the disposition that I owe.”
—“When any one gets a fall, he stands up, and turning three times Act III., Scene 4. to the right, digs a hole in the earth (for they imagine that there is 8
spirit in the ground); and if he falls sick in two or three days, they You prove to me that I am a stranger even to my own disposition,
send one of their women that is skilled in that way, to the place, when I perceive that the very object which steals the color from my
where she says, “I call thee from the east, west, north, and south; check, permits it to remain in yours.
from the groves, the woods, the rivers, and the fens; from the fairies,
red, black, and white.'” " Augurs, and understood relations." -- Act III., Scene 4. By the word “relations,” says Johnson, " is understood the connec
“ Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips.” — Act IV., Scene 1. tion of effects with causes. To understand relations, as an augur, is
These ingredients probably owed their introduction to the detestato know how those things relate to each other which have no visible tion in which the Saracens were held, on account of the Crusades. combination or dependence." - The word “augurg" in the text, must (according to the suggestion of Mr. Singer), be understood in
“Black spirits and white,” &c.— Act IV., Scene 1. the sense of “auguries."
The right of these four metrical lines to a place in the text is cer" How say'st thou that Macduff denies his person,
tainly equivocal. Steevens introduced them from Middleton's At our great bidding ?” – Act III., Scene 4.
“WITCH," on the authority of the stage direction in the first folio,
which stands thus:-“ Music and a Song. Black Spirits, de.” Ma. “ How say'st thou?” signifies here, what do you say to the circum
lone, however, strongly contends that " THE WITCH” was written stance? As in the “Two GENTLEMEN OF VERONA," (act ii., scene 5):
subsequently to “MACBETH.” The lines themselves have been sup“How say'st thou, that my master is become a notable lover?”
posed, with great probability, to be merely of a traditional nature,
the production of neither Middleton nor Shakspeare. "Enter HECATE, meeting the three Witches."
Act III., Scene 5. “ An apparition of an armed Head rises. — Act IV., Scene 1. Scott, in his “ DISCOVERY OF WITCHCRAFT,” mentions it as a com-/ It has been suggested by Mr. Upton, that the armed head repre sents, symbolically, Macbeth's head cut off, and brought to Malcolm
“ Hell is murky." — Act V., Scene 1. by Macduff. The bloody child is Macduff, untimely ripped from his
In the great scene, Lady Macbeth is acting over again the circummother's womb. The child with a crown on his head, and a bough
stances attending the murder of Duncan. Steevens conceives her to in his hand, is the royal Malcolm, who ordered his soldiers to hew
be here addressing Macbeth, who, she supposes, has just said “ Hell down each a bough, and bear it before them to Dunsinane.
is murky!” (hell is a dismal place to go in consequence of such a
deed): she repeats his words in contempt:-“ Hell is murky!'“ And wears upon his baby brow the round
Fie, my Lord, fiel a soldier, and afеard ?”
“ What we shall say we have, and what we owe." top is the ornament that rises above it.
Act V., Scene 4.
Meaning, when we are governed by legal kings, we shall know the “And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
limits of their claim; shall know what we have of our own, and what Which shews me many more; and some I see
they have a right to take from us. That twofold balls and treble scrptres carry."
Act IV., Scene 1.
“ She should have died hereafter ;
There would have been a time for such a word.” Magicians professed to have the power of shewing future events by means of a charmed glass, or mirror. In an extract from the penal
Act V., Scene 5. laws against witches, it is said, “ They do answer either by voice, or “Macbeth may mean,” says Johnson," that there would have been else do set before their eyes, in glasses, cyrstal-stones, &c., the pic- a more convenient time for such a word — for such intelligencetures or images of persons or things sought for.” Spenser has given and so fulls into the following reflection:- To-morrow,'" &c. a circumstantial account of the glass which Merlin made for King Ryence. A mirror of the same kind was presented to Cambuscan, in
“ T the last syllable of recorded time.” — Act V., Scene 5. “ THE SQUIRE'S TALE" of Chaucer; and in Alday's translation of Bois
Recorded time seems to signify the time fixed in the decrees of tenu's “ THEATRUM MUNDI," it is said, “ A certain philosopher did the
henven, for the period of life. The phrase may, however, be used in like to Pompey, the which shewed him in a glass the order of his en
the sense of recording or recordable time. emies' march." The allusion, in the above extract to the twofold balls and treble sceptres” is a compliment to James the First, who first united the two islands and three kingdoms under one head.
“ I bear a charmed life." — Act V., Scene 7.
“ In the days of chivalry," says Steevens “the champions' arms - “Strangely-visited people,
being ceremoniously blessed, each took an oath that he used no AU swoln and ulcerous, and pitiful to the eye,
charmed weapons. Macbeth, according to the law of arms, or perhaps The more despair of surgery, he cures;
only in allusion to this custom, tells Macduff of the security he had Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,” &c.
in the prediction of the spirit.” Act IV., Socne 3.
“ Had I as many sons as I have hairs, This miraculous power of curing the “ king's evil,” was claimed for
I would not wish them to a fairer death : seven centuries by the monarchs of England. In Lancham's account
And so his knell is knolled.” - Act V., Scene 7. of the Entertainments of Kenilworth, given to Queen Elizabeth, it is said: " And also, by her highness' accustomed mercy and charity, This incident is thus related from IIenry of Huntingdon, by Camnine cured of the painful and dangerous disease called the king's evi
den, in his “ REMAINS :"-" When Siward, the martial Earl of for that kings and queens of this realm, without other medicine (save
Northumberland, understood that his son, whom he had sent in seronly by handling and prayer), only do it.” The practice was contin vice against the Scotchmen, was slain, he demanded whether his ued so late as Queen Anne's time; Dr Johnson, when an infant, was
wounds were in the fore part or hinder part of his body. When it touched for the evil by that princess.
was answered, in the foro part, he replied, 'I am right glad; neither The golden stamp, alluded to in the text, was the coin called an wish I any other death to me or mine.'” angel, value ten shillings.
- "My thanes and kinsmen, “ He has no children.” — Act IV., Scene 3.
Hence forth be earls." — Act V., Sceno 7.
HIolinshed says, that “Malcolm, immediately after his coronation, This is not said of Macbeth, who had children, but of Malcolm,
called a parliament at Forfar, in which he rewarded them with lands who, having none, supposes a father can be so easily comforted.
and livings that had assistod him against Macbeth. Many of them,
that before were thanes, were at this time made earls; as Fife, Men| teth, Atholl, Lenox, Murray, Cathness, Rosse, and Angus."