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SCENE I. An open Place. Thunder and lightning.
Enter three Witches.
1 Witch. When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain ?
2 Witch. When the hurly burly's done, When the battle's lost and won.
3 Witch. That will be ere set of sun.
Upon the heath;
All. Paddock calls Anon.' Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air. [Witches vanish.
SCENE II. A Camp near Fores. Alarum within.
Enter King Duncan, Malcolm, DONALBAIN, LENOX,
with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Soldier.? Dun. What bloody man is that? He can report, As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt The newest state.
i Upton observes, that, to understand this passage, we should suppose one familiar calling with the voice of a cat, and another with the croaking of a load. A paddock most generally seems to have signified a toad, though it sometimes means a frog. What we now call a toadstool was anciently called a paddock-stool. 2 The first folio reads captain. VOL. III.
This is the sergeant,
Doubtful it stood;
Dun. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!
Sold. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break;7
1 Sergeants, in ancient times, were men performing one kind of feudal military service, in rank next to esquires.
2 Vide Tyrwhitt's Glossary to Chaucer, v. for; and Pegge's Anecdotes of the English Language, p. 205. For to that means no more than for that,
3 1. e. supplied with armed troops so named. Of and with are indiscriminately used by our ancient writers. Gallowglasses were heavyarmed foot-soldiers of Ireland and the Western Isles; Kernes were the lighter armed troops.
4 “But fortune on his damned quarry smiling.”—Thus the old copies. It was altered at Johnson's suggestion to quarrel. But the old copy needs no alteration. Quarry means the squadron (escadre), or square body, into which macdonwald's troops were formed, better to receive the charge.
5 The meaning is, that Fortune, while she smiled on him, deceived him. 6. The old copy reads which. 7 Sir W. D'Avenant's reading of this passage, in his alteration of the play, is a tolerable comment on it:
“ But then this daybreak of our victory
That spring from whence our hopes did seem to rise.”
or canise that.
So from that spring, whence comfort seemed to come,
Dismayed not this
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe;
wounds; They smack of honor both.—Go, get him surgeons.
[Exit Soldier, attended.
Who comes here?
The worthy thane of Rosse.
should he look, That seems to speak things strange.? Rosse.
God save the king ! Dun. Whence cam’st thou, worthy thane ? Rosse.
From Fife, great king, Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky, And fan our people cold. Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
1 i. e. make another Golgotha as memorable as the first. 2 « That seems about to speak strange things.”
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
Dun. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest.—Go, pronounce his present death, And with his former title
Macbeth. Rosse. I'll see it done. Dun. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.
SCENE III. A Heath. Thunder.
Enter the three Witches. 1 Witch. Where hast thou been, sister ? 2 Witch. Killing swine. 3 Witch. Sister, where thou ? 1 Witch. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
1 By Bellona's bridegroom Shakspeare means Macbeth. Lapped in proof is defended by armor of proof.
2°“ Confronted him with self-comparisons.' By him is meant Norway, and by self-comparisons is meant that he gave him as good as he brought, showed that he was his equal.
. 3 It appears probable, as Steevens suggests, that Sweno was only a marginal reference, which has crept into the text by mistake, and that the line originally stood
“ That now the Norway's king craves composition." It was surely not necessary for Rosse to tell Duncan the name of his old enemy, the king of Norway.
4 Colmes' is here a dissyllable. Colmes' Inch, now called Inchcomb, is a small island, lying in the Firth of Edinburgh, with an abbey upon it dedicated to St. Columb. Inch or inse, in Erse, signifies an island.
And mounched, and mounched, and mounched. Give
me, quoth I;
2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
1 Witch. I myself have all the other;
2 Witch. Show me, show me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wrecked, as homeward he did come.
[Drum within. 3 Witch. A drum, a drum; Macbeth doth come.
All. The weird sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land,
1 The etymology of this imprecation is yet to seek. Rynt ye, for out with ye! stand off! is still used in Cheshire, where there is also a proverbial saying, “ Řynt ye, witch, quoth Besse Locket to her mother.” The French have a phrase of somewhat similar sound and import—“ Arry-avant, away there, ho!”—Mr. Douce thinks that “aroint thee” will be found to have a Saxon origin.
2 “Rump-fed ronyon,” a mangy woman, fed on offals. 3 i. e. the sailor's chart; carte-marine. 4 Forbid, i. e. forespoken, unhappy, charmed or bewitched. A forbodin fellow (Scotice) still signifies an unhappy one.
5 The old copy has weyward, evidently by mistake. Weird, from the Saxon, a witch, Shakspeare found in Holinshed. Gawin Douglas, in his translation of Virgil, renders the Parcæ by weird sisters.