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The Tragedy of MACBETH, 291 Pofters of the sea and land, Thus do
go about, about,
Ban. How far is't call'd to Foris? --what are these,
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,
Which outwardly ye shew? my noble partner
i Witch. Hail!
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,
Mob. Your children shall be Kings.
Enter Rosse and Angus.
Were such things here, &c.
And pour'd them down before him.
Ang. We are sent,
Role. And for an earnest of a greater honour,
Ban. What, can the devil speak true ?
Macb. The Thane of Cawdor lives;
Ang. Who was the Thane, lives yet ;
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 hath it giv'n me earnest of success,
Ban. Look, how our partner's rapt!
[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