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The Tragedy of MACBETH, 291 Pofters of the sea and land, Thus do

go about, about,
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
And thrice again to make nine.
Peace !--the charm's wound up.
Enter Macbeth and Banquo, with Soldiers ana other

Macb. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

Ban. How far is't call'd to Foris? --what are these,
So wither'd, and so wild in their attire,
That look not like th' inhabitants o'th' earth,
And yet are on’t? Live you, or are you aught
That man may question ? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips ;---You should be women;
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret,
That you are so.

Macb. Speak, if you can ; what are you? 1 Witch. All-hail, Mabeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! 2Witch.All-hail,Macbeth! hail to thee,Thane of Cavdor! 3 Witch. All-hail, Macbeth! that shalt be King hereafter. Ban. Good Sir, why do you start, and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair! l'th' name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed [To the Witches.

that our author had traded for the materials of his tragedy: and therefore confirmation was to be fetch'd from this fountain. Accordingly, looking into his history of Scotland, I found the writer very prolix and express, from Hefur Boethius, in this remarkable story ; and in p. 170. speaking of these Witches, he uses this expression.

But afterwards the common opinion was, that these women were either the weird filters, that is, as ye would say, the goddesses of destiny, &c. Again, a little lower; The words of the three weird lifters also, (of whom before ye

have heard) greatly encouraged him thereunto.

And, in several other paragraphs there, this word is repeated. I believe, by this time, it is plain beyond a doubt, that the word wayward has obtain'd in Macbeth, where the Witches are spoken of, from the ignorance of the copyists, who were not acquainted with the Scorch term : and that in every passage, where there is any relation to these Witches or Wizards, my emendation must be embraced, and we must read weird,


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Which outwardly ye shew? my noble partner
You greet with present grace, and great predi&tion
Of noble having, and of royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal; to me you speak not.
If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say, which grain will grow and which will not;
Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear,
Your favours, nor your hate.

i Witch. Hail!
2 Witch. Hail!
3 Witch. Hail !
i Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.
2 Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier.

3 Witch. Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none; So, all hail, Macbeth and Banquo !

1 Witch. Banquo and Macbeth, all-hail !

Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more ; By Sinel's death, I know, I'm Thane of Glamis ; But how, of Cawdor? the Thane of Cawdor lives, A prosp'rous gentleman ; and, to be King, Stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor. Say, from whence You owe this strange intelligence? or why Upon this blafted heath you stop our way, With such prophetick greeting-speak, I charge you.

(Witches vanih. Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has; And these are of them: whither are they vanish'd ?

Macb. Into the air: and what seem'd corporal Melied, as breath, into the wind,Would they had ftaid ! Ban. Were such things here, as we do speak about? (8)


(8) Were such things bere, as we do Speak about ? Or bave we eaten of the insane root, Tbat takes the reason prisoner ?] The insane root, viz. the rout which makes insane; as in HORACE Pallidá Mors; nempè, quæ facit pala lidos.---This sentence, I conceive, is not so well understood, as I would have every part of Shakespeare be, by his audience and readers. So soon as the Witches vanith from the light of Macbeth and Bunquo, and leave them in doubt whether they had really seen such Appariti


Or have we eaten of the insane root,
That takes the reason prisoner?

Mob. Your children shall be Kings.
Ban. You shall be King.
Macb. And Thane of Cawdor too; went it not fo?
Ban. To th' self same tune, and words; who's here?

Enter Rosse and Angus.
Rolle. The King hath happily receiv'd, Macbeth,
The news of thy success; and when he reads
Thy personal venture in the rebels fight,
His wonders and his praises do contend,
Which should be thine, or his. Silenc'd with that,
In viewing o'er the reit o'th' self-fame day,
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
Nothing afraid of what thyself didft make,
Strange images of death. As thick as hail,
Came polt on polt; and every one did bear
Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence :
ons, or whether their eyes were not deceiv'd by some illusion; Bar-
quo immediately starts the question,

Were such things here, &c.
I was fure, from a long observation of Shakespeare's accuracy, that he
alluded here to some particular circumstance in the history, which, I
hoped, I should find explain'd in Holingshead. But I found myself
deceived in this expectation This furnishes a proper occasion, there-
fore, to remark our author's signal diligence; and happiness at ap-
plying whatever he met with, that could have any selation to his
subject. Hector Boethius, who gives us an account of Sueno's army
being intoxicated by a preparation put upon them by their subtle
enemy, informs us; that there is a plant, which grows in great
quantity in Scotland, callid Solatrum Amentiale; that its berries are
purple, or rather black, when full ripe; and have a quality of laying
to feep; or of driving into madness, if a more than ordinary quantity
of them be taken. This passage of Boethius, I dare say, our poet had
an eye to: and, I think, it fairly accounts for his mention of the in-
Sane root. Dioscorides lib. iv. c. 74. ITepi Etpúxve pavone, attributes
the same properties to it. Its clasical name, s observe, is Solanum;
but the shopmin agree to call it Solatrum. This, prepar’d in medicine,
(as Theophrasius tells us, and Pliny from him ;) has a peculiar effect
of filling the patient's head with odd images and fancies: and particu-
Jarly that of seeing spirits: an effect, which, I am persuaded, was no
secret to our author. Bochart and Salmafius have both been copious
upon the description and qualities of this plant.

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And pour'd them down before him.

Ang. We are sent,
To give thee, from our royal master, thanks;
Only to herald thee into his fight,
Not pay thee.

Role. And for an earnest of a greater honour,
He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor :
In which addition, hail, moft worthy Thane !
For it is thine.

Ban. What, can the devil speak true ?

Macb. The Thane of Cawdor lives;
Why do you dress me in his borrow'd robes ?

Ang. Who was the Thane, lives yet ;
But under heavy judgment bears that life,
Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was
Combin’d with Norway, or did line the rebel
With hidden help and vantage; or that with both
He labour'd in his country's wrack, I know not :
But treafons capital, confess'd, and prov'd,
Have overthrow him.

Macb. Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor! [Aide. The greatest is behind. Thanks for your pains.

[To Angus. Do you not hope, your children shall be Kings s

To Banquo. When those, that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me, Promis'd no less to them ?

Ban. That trusted home, Might yet

enkindle you unto the crown, Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But 'tis ftrange : And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The inftruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honeft trifles, to betray us In deepest consequence. Cousins, a word, I pray you. [To Roffe and Angus. Macb. Two truths are told,

[Afde. As happy prologues to the swelling act Of the imperial theme. I thank you, gentlemenThis fupernatural solliciting Cannot be ill; cannot be good.--If ill,

Why (9)

Why hath it giv'n me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I'm Ibane of Cawdor.
If good; why do I yield to that suggestion,
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair,
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs
Against the use of nature present feats (9)
Are less than horrible imaginings.
My thought, whose murder yet is but fanstaftical,
Shakes so my single state of man, that function
Is fmother'd in surmise; and nothing is,
But what is not.

Ban. Look, how our partner's rapt!
Macb. If chance will have me King, why, chance may
crown me,

[Aide. Without my ftir, Ban. New honours, come upon him,

present fears Are less than horrible imaginings.] Macbeth, while he is projecting the murder, which he afterwards puts in execution, is thrown into the most agonizing affright at the prospect of it: which soon recovering from, thus he reasons on the nature of his disorder. But imagin. ings are so far from being more or less than present fears, that they are the same things under different words. Shakespeare certainly wrote ;

present feats Are less than horrible imaginings. i. e. When I come to execute this murder, I shall find it much less dreadful than my frighted imagination now presents it to me. A confideration drawn from the nature of the imagination.

Mr. Warburton. Macbetb, speaking again of this murder in a subsequent scene, ules the very same term ;

I'm settled, and bend up Each corp'ral agent to this terrible feat. And it is a word, elsewhere, very familiar with our poet. I'll only add, in aid of my friend's correction, that we meet with the very same sentiment, which our poet here advances, in Ovid's Epistles ; Terror in bis ipso major folet ele periclo.

Paris Helenæ. ver. 349. And it is a maxim with Machiavel, that many things are more fear'd afar off, than near at hand. Ejono molte cofe che discotto paiono terribili, insopportabili, strani; & quando tu ti appreili loro, le riescono bumane, sopportabili, domestiche. Et pero si dice, che sono maggiori li Spaventi che i mali,

Mandragola. Atto. 3. Sc. 11. N4


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