« PreviousContinue »
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,
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, Wreck'd as homeward he did come.
[Drum without. 3 WITCH. A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come.
• Aroint thee, witch!). It is strange that although the word "aroint,” supposed to signify avaunt ! away! begone! occurs again in Shakespeare, “ King Lear," Act III. Sc. 4,—"Aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!” no example of its employment by any other writer has yet been discovered. From this circumstance it has been supposed by some commentators to be only a misprint for anoint, a term consistent enough with the vulgar belief which represents witches sailing through the air on their infernal missions by the aid of unguents. Others have ingeniously suggested that “ aroint thee” may be a corruption of a rowan-tree, i.e. the mountain ash; a tree, time out of mind, believed to be of such sovereign efficacy against the spells of witchcraft, that any one armed with a slip of it may bid defiance to the machinations of a whole troop of evil spirits. We make no question, however, that " aroint" is the genuine word: it was not likely to be thrice misprinted. And besides, there is a North-country proverb, “ Rynt ye witch ! quoth Bessie Locket to her mother," which seems to have been formed upon the exclamation in the text.
bHer husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger :) Sir W. C. Trevelyan has noted that in Hakluyt's Voyages there are several letters and journals of a voyage made to Aleppo in the ship Tiger, of London, in the year 1583.
- forbid :) Forespoken, bewitched.
ALL. The weird a sisters, hand in hand,
Enter MACBETH and BANQUO.
Ban. How far is't call'd to Forres ? *_ What are these,
MACB, Speak, if you can ;—what are you?
BAN. Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
1 WITCH. Hail!
(*) Old text, Soris * The weird sisters,–] Weird (in the old text weyward) from the Sarcn wyrd= fatum, signifies prophetic or fatal. Holinshed, whom Shakespeare follows, speaking of the witches who met Macbeth, says, " — But afterwards the common opinion was that these women were either the weird sisters, that is (as ye would say) the goddesses of destinie, or else some nymphes or fairies."
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.] Witches, according to the popular belief, were always bearded. So, in “The Honest Man's Fortune," Act II. Sc. 1,
and the women that Come to us, for disguises must wear beards;
And that's, they say, a token of a witch." fantastical,-) Visionary; illusions of the fantasy.
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 :
[Witches ranish. 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
BAN. Were such things here as we do speak about?
MACB. Your children shall be kings.
You shall be king.
Enter Ross and ANGUS.
We are sent
(*) Old text, Can. Corrected by Rowe. the insane root,— ] Shakespeare is supposed to have found the name of this root in Batman's Commentary on Bartholeme de Propriet. Rerum :-“Henbane is called Insana, mad, for the use thereof is perillous; for if it be eate or dronke, it breedeth madnesse, or slow lykenesse of sleepe. Therefore this hearb is called commoniy Mirilidium, for it taketh away wit and reason.”—Lib. xvii. ch. 87.
6 as thick as tale--) That is-as rapid as counting. Rowe most unwarrantably changed “ tale" to "hail ;” and this alteration has been adopted by many editors, for no other reason, it would appear, than that the former simile was unusual, and the latter common-place.
Ross. And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
BAN. (A side.] What! can the devil speak true?
MACB. The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me
Who was the thane lives yet;
MACB. [Aside.] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!
That, trusted home,
Two truths are told,
- suggestion--] Temptation. b Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair,–] Query, upfix ? That temptation whose horrid image fixes my unstable hair, and shakes my seated heart.
my single state of man,-] "Single" here bears the sense of weak; my feeble government (or body-politic) of man. Shakespeare's atfluence of thought and language is so unbounded that he rarely repeats himself, but there is a remarkable affinity both in idea and expression between the present passage and one in Act II. Sc. 1, of " Julius Cæsar,'
“ Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Is smother'd in surmise; and nothing is
Look, how our partner's rapt.
crown me, Without my stir. Ban.
New honours come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould But with the aid of use.
MACB. [Aside. Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
Ban. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
MACB. Give me your favour :-
SCENE IV.-Forres. A Room in the Palace.
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
The nature of an insurrection." • Time and the hour-) Examples of this phrase may readily be found in the early writers of England. Mr. Dyce has shown that it was familiar also to those of Italy: – “Ferminsi in un momento il tempo e l'ore."
Michelagnolo, -Son. xix. “Aspettar vuol ch' occasion gli dia, Come dar gli potrebbe, il tempo e ľhora."
Dolce, -Prime Impresse del Conte Orlando,
c. xvii. p. 145, ed. 1572. 6 - Are not-) So the second folio; that of 1623 has, " Or not,” &c