« PreviousContinue »
Sent he to Macduff? Lord. He did ; and with an absolute, Sir, not I, The cloudy messenger turns me his back, And hums; as who should say, You'll rue the time That clogs me with this answer. Len.
And that well might Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel Fly to the court of England, and unfold His message ere he come; that a swift blessing May soon return to this our suffering country Under a hand accursed !
Lord. I'll send my prayers with him! [Exeunt.
SCENE I. A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron,
Enter the three Witches.
1 Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.
In the poisoned entrails throw.
All. Double, double toil and trouble ;
1 Coldest stone." The old copy reads "cold stone;" the emendation is Steevens's. Mr. Boswell thinks that the alteration was unnecessary.
2 Sweltered. This word is employed to signify that the animal was moistened with its own cold exudations.
2 Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake,
All. Double, double toil and trouble ;
3 Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf; Witch's mummy; maw and gulf? Of the ravined? salt-sea shark; Root of hemlock, digged i’ the dark ; Liver of blaspheming Jew; Gall of goat; and slips of yew, Slivered in the moon's eclipse; Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips; Finger of birth-strangled babe, Ditch-delivered by a drab,Make the gruel thick and slab: Add thereto a tiger's chawdron, For the ingredients of our caldron.
All. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire, burn; and, caldron, bubble.
2 Witch. Cool it with a baboon's blood, Then the charm is firm and good.
1 The blind-worm 18 the slow-worm. 2 Gulf, the throat.
3 To ravin, according to Minshew, is to devour, to eat greedily. Ravined, therefore, may be glutted with prey; unless, with Malone, we suppose that Shakspeare used ravined for ravenous, the passive participle for the adjective. In Horman's Vulgaria, 1519, occurs “Thou art a ravenar of delycatis."
4 Sliver is a common word in the north, where it means to cut a piece or slice.
5 i. e. entrails ; a word formerly in common use in books of cookery, in one of which, printed in 1597, is a receipt to make a pudding of a calf's chaudron.
Enter HECATE and the other three Witches.
Hec. O, well done! I commend your pains ;
Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and gray;
You that mingle may.
2 Witch. By the pricking of my thumbs,
Macb. How now, you secret, black, and midnight
hags? What is't you do?
All. : A deed without a name.
Macb. I conjure you, by that which you profess, (Howe'er you come to know it,) answer me. Though you untie the winds, and let them fight Against the churches; though the yesty waves Confound and swallow navigation up; Though bladed corn be lodged, and trees blown down ; Though castles topple on their warders' heads; Though palaces, and pyramids, do slope
1 “Black spirits and white. The original edition of this play only contains the two first words of this song; the entire stanza is found in The Witch, by Middleton, and is there called “ A charme Song about a Vessel.”
2 “ By the pricking of my thumbs.”. It is a very ancient superstition, that all sudden pains of the body, and other sensations which could not naturally be accounted for, were presages of somewhat that was shortly to happen.
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Speak. 2 Witch.
Demand. 3 Witch.
We'll answer. 1 Witch. Say, if thou’dst rather hear it from our
mouths, Or from our masters'? Macb.
Call them; let me see them. 1 Witch. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten
Her nine farrow; grease, that's sweaten
Into the flame.
Come, high, or low; Thyself and office deftlyshow. Thunder. An Apparition of an armed Head rises. Macb. Tell me, thou unknown power, — 1 Witch.
He knows thy thought ;
[Descends. Macb. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution,
thanks; Thou hast harped 4 my fear aright.-But one word
more ; 1 Witch. He will not be commanded. Here's
another, More potent than the first.
1 Germins, seeds which have begun to sprout or germinate. 2 Deftly is adroitly, dexterously.
3 The armed head represents, symbolically, Macbeth's head cut off and brought to Malcolm by Macduff. The bloody child is Macduff, untimely ripped from his mother's womb. The child, with a crown on his head and a bough in his hand, is the royal Malcolm, who ordered his soldiers to hew them down a bough, and bear it before them to Dunsinane.
4 Harped, touched on a passion as a harper touches a string.
Thunder. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises. App.
Macbeth! Macbeth ! Macbeth ! Macb. Had I three ears, I'd hear thee. App.
Be bloody, bold, And resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, For none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.
[Descends. Macb. Then live, Macduff; what need I fear of
Tree in his Hand, rises.
Listen, but speak not to't.
That will never be ; Who can impress the forest;4 bid the tree Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good! Rebellious head, rise never, till the wood
1 “For none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” So Holinshed: * And surely hereupon he had put Macduff to death, but that a certeine witch, whom he had in great trust, had told him, that he should never be slaine with man borne of anie woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bernane came to the castle of Dunsinane. This prophecy put all fear out of his heart."
2 The round is that part of a crown which encircles the head: the top is the ornament which rises above it.
3 The present accent of Dunsinane is right. In every subsequent instance the accent is misplaced.
4 i. e, command it to serve him like a soldier impressed.
5 6 Rebellious head." The old copy reads dead ; the emendation is Theobald's.