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such person being convicted shall suffer death." This law was re pealed in our own time.
Thus, in the time of Shakspeare, was the doctrine of witchcraft at once established by law and by the fashion, and it became not only unpolite, but criminal, to doubt it; and as prodigies are always seen in proportion as they are expected, witches were every day discovered, and multiplied so fast in some places, that Bishop Hall mentions a village in Lancashire where their number was greater than that of the houses. The jesuits and sectaries took advantage of this universal error, and endeavoured to promote the interest of their parties by pretended cures of persons afflicted by evil spirits; but they were detected and exposed by the clergy of the established church.
Upon this general infatuation Shakspeare might be easily allowed to found a play, especially since he has followed with great exactness such histories as were then thought true; nor can it be doubted that the scenes of enchantment, however they may now be ridiculed, were both by himself and his audience thought awful and affecting. JOHNSON.
In the concluding paragraph of Dr. Johnson's admirable introduction to this play, he seems apprehensive that the fame of Shakspeare's magic may be endangered by modern ridicule. I shall not hesitate, however, to predict its security, till our national taste is wholly corrupted, and we no longer deserve the first of all dramatic enjoyments; for such, in my opinion at least, is the tragedy of Macbeth. STEEVENS.
This tragedy was written, I believe, in the year 1606.
Duncan, King of Scotland:
Generals of the King's Army:
Fleance, Son to Banquo.
Siward, Earl of Northumberland, General of the English Forces:
Noblemen of Scotland.
Young Siward, his Son.
Seyton, an Officer attending on Macbeth.
An English Doctor. A Scotch Doctor.
Gentlewoman attending on Lady Macbeth.
Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murderers, Attendants, and Messengers.
The Ghost of Banquo, and several other Apparitions.
SCENE, in the End of the fourth Act, lies in England; through the rest of the Play, in Scotland; and, chiefly, at Macbeth's Castle.
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 hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won:
3 Witch. That will be ere set of sun. 1 Witch. Where the place?
Upon the heath:
3 Witch. There to meet with Macbeth.
Fair is foul, and foul is fair:*
Graymalkin!] To understand this passage, we should suppose one familiar calling with the voice of a cat, and another with the croaking of a toad, which in the north is called paddock. 2 Fair is foul, and foul is fair:] I believe the meaning is, that to us, perverse and malignant as we are, fair is foul, and foul is fair. JOHNSON.
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. Mal.
This is the sergeant, Who, like a good and hardy soldier, fought 'Gainst my captivity:-Hail, brave friend! Say to the king the knowledge of the broil, As thou didst leave it.
Do swarm upon him,) from the western isles
to that, &c.] i. e. in addition to that.
Of Kernes and Gallowglasses is supplied;] Kernes and Gallowglasses are light and heavy armed foot," Hinc conjecturæ vigorem etiam adjiciunt arma quædam Hibernica, Gallicis antiquis similia, jacula nimirum peditum levis armaturæ quos Kernos vocant, nec non secures & lorica ferrea peditum illorum gravioris armaturæ, quos Galloglassios appellant." Warai Antiq. Hiber. cap. vi.
And fortune, on his damned quarrel-] Quarrel was formerly used for cause, or for the occasion of a quarrel, and is to be found in that sense in Holinshed's account of the story of Macbeth, who, upon the creation of the Prince of Cumberland, thought, says the historian, that he had a just quarrel to endeavour after the crown. The sense therefore is, Fortune smiling on his execrable cause, &c. JOHNSON.
Show'd like a rebel's whore: But all's too weak:
Carv'd out his passage, till he fac'd the slave;
Dun. O, valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark:
As sparrows, eagles; or the hare, the lion.
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
As whence the sun 'gins his reflexion] The thought is expressed with some obscurity, but the plain meaning is this: As the same quarter, whence the blessing of day-light arises, sometimes sends us, by a dreadful reverse, the calamities of storms and tempests; so the glorious event of Macbeth's victory, which promised us the comforts of peace, was immediately succeeded by the alarming news of the Norweyan invasion.