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Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o'the Tiger:
2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
i Witch. I myself have all the other;
2 Witch. Show me, show me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wreck’d, 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,
— the shipman's card.] The card is the paper on which the winds are marked under the pilot's needle; or perhaps the seachart, so called in our author's age.
4 He shall live a man forbid:] i. e. as one under a curse, an interdiction. To bid is originally to pray. As to forbid therefore implies to prohibit, in opposition to the word bid in its present sense, it signifies by the same kind of opposition to curse, when it is derived from the same word in its primitive meaning.
5 The weird sisters, hani in hand,] These weird sisters, were the Fates of the northern nations; the three hand-maids of Odin. Hæ nominantur Valkyriæ, quas quodvis ad prælium Odinus mittit.
Thus do go about, about;
Enter MACBETH and Banquo. Macb. So foul and fair a day I have not seen. Ban. How far is't call’d to Fores? - What are
these, So wither'd, and so wild in their attire; That look not like the inhabitants o'the earth, And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught That man may question? You seem to understand
me, Hæ viros morti destinant, et victoriam gubernant. Gunna, et Rota, et Parcarum minima Skullda: per aëra et maria equitant semper ad morituros, eligendos; et cædes in potestate habent. Bartholinus de Causis contemptæ à Danis adhuc Gentilibus mortis. It is for this reason that Shakspeare makes them three; and calls them,
Posters of the sea and land; and intent only upon death and mischief. However, to give this part of his work the more dignity, he intermixes, with this Northern, the Greek and Roman superstitions; and puts Hecate at the head of their enchantments. And to make it sill more familiar to the common audience (which was always his point) he adds, for another irigredient, a sufficient quantity of our country superstitions concerning witches; their beards, their cats, and their broomsticks. So that his witch-scenes are like the charm they prepare in one of them; where the ingredients are gathered from every thing shocking in the natural world, as here, from every thing absurd in the moral,
But as extravagant as all this is, the play has had the power to charm and bewitch every audience, from that time to this. WARBURTON.
The Valkyriæ, or Valkyriur, were not barely three in number. The learned critic might have found, in Bartholinus, not only Gunna, Rota, &t Skullda, but also, Scogula, Hilda, Gondula, and Geiroscogula. Bartholinus adds, that their number is yet greater, according to other writers who speak of them. They were the cupbearers of Odin, and conductors of the dead. They were distinguished by the elegance of their forms; and it would be as just to compare youth and beauty with age and deformity, as the Valkyriæ of the North with the Witches of Shakspeare.
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Macb. Speak, if you can ;-What are you?
of Glamis ! 2 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane
of Cawdor!? 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 ?—I'the name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace, and great prediction Of noble having,' and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal;to ine you speak not: If
you can look into the seeds of time, And say, which grain will
grain will grow, and which will not; Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear, Your favours, nor your hate.
i Witch. Hail!
thane of Glamis !] The thaneship of Glamis was the ancient inheritance of Macbeth's family. The castle where they lived is still standing, and was lately the magnificent residence of the Earl of Strathmore.
thane of Cawdor!] Dr. Johnson observes, in his Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, that part of Calder Castle, from which Macbeth drew his second title, is still remaining.
8 Are ye fantastical,] By fantastical, he means creatures of fantasy or imagination: the question is, Are these real beings before us, or are we deceived by illusions of fancy? JOHNSON.
Of noble having,]. Haring is estate, possession, fortune. ? That he seems rapt withal;] Rapt is rapturously affected, extra se raptus.
i Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.
2 Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier. . 3 Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be
So, all hail, Macbeth, and Banquo!
1 Witch. Banquo, and Macbeth, all hail! Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me
By Sinel's death, I know, I am thane of Glamis;
[Witches vanish. 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,
melted As breath into the wind.—'Would they had staid! Ban. Were such things here, as we do speak
Macb. Your children shall be kings.
You shall be king. Macb. And thane of Cawdor too; went it not
so? Ban. To the self-same tune, and words. Who's
3 By Sinel's death,] The father of Macbeth.
- eaten of the insane root,] The insane root is the root which makes insane, and which the commentators have not discovered.
Enter Rosse and ANGUS.
Rosse. 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 rest o’the self-same day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afеard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as tale, Came post with post; and every one did bear Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence, And pour’d them down before him. Ang.
We are sent, To give thee, from our royal master, thanks; To herald thee into his sight, not pay thee.
Rosse. And, for an earnest of a greater honour, He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor: In which addition, hail, most 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 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
5 His wonders and his praises do contend,
Which should be thine, or his: &c.] i. e. private admiration of your deeds, and a desire to do them public justice by commendation, contend in his mind for pre-eminence.-Or,—There is a contest in his mind whether he should indulge his desire of publishing to the world the commendations due to your heroism, or whether he should remain in silent admiration of what no words could celebrate in proportion to its desert.
As thick as tale,] Meaning, that the news came as thick as a tale can travel with the post.