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Scene VI.

1. leavy. So the folios. We have 'leavy' rhyming to 'heavy' in Much Ado about Nothing, ii. 3. 75. So Cotgrave, feuillu: leauie.'

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2. show, appear. See i. 3. 54.

Ib. uncle. See note on iv. 3. 134.

4. battle, division of an army in order of battle. Sometimes used of a

'What may the king's whole battle reach unto?' Compare Julius Cæsar, v. 3. 108:

'Labeo and Flavius, set our battles on.'

5. upon's, upon us. See i. 3. 125.
10. barbingers. See note on i. 4. 45.

Scene VII.


2. bear-like I must fight the course. Compare King Lear, iii. 7. 54: I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.' Steevens quotes from The Antipodes, by Brome, 1638: Also you shall see two ten-dog courses at the great bear.' Bear-baiting was a favourite amusement with our ancestors. The bear was tied to a stake and baited with dogs, a certain number at a time. Each of these attacks was technically termed a 'course.' There is a description of this sport in Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, Bk. iii. ch. 6.

7. Than any is, i. e. than any which is. Compare The Merchant of Venice, i. I. 175:

'I have a mind presages me such thrift ;' and Measure for Measure, v. 1. 67:

To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false seems true.'

See our notes on Richard II. ii. 1. 173; iv. 1. 334. Among modern poets, Browning is particularly fond of omitting the relative. Indeed it is still frequently omitted by all writers when a new nominative is introduced to govern the following verb.

17. kerns. See i. 2. 13. The word is here applied to the common soldiers of Macbeth's army.

18. staves, spear-shafts. See Richard III. v. 3. 341:

Amaze the welkin with your broken staves.'

Ib. either is to be pronounced here, as frequently, in the time of a monosyllable. Compare Richard III. i. 2. 64 :

'Either heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead.' So 'neither,' The Merchant of Venice, i. 1. 178:

Neither have I money nor commodity.'


This word is not in grammatical construction. We must supply some words like 'must be my antagonist.'


20. undeeded, not marked by any feat of arms. This word is not found elsewhere, at least not in Shakespeare.

Ib. There thou shouldst be. He infers from the noise he hears that Macbeth For should,' see i. 3. 45. must be there.


There' must be pronounced

with emphasis.

Macbeth' is particularly

21. clatter. Not used elsewhere by Shakespeare. remarkable for the number of these ἅπαξ λεγόμενα. 22. bruited, announced, reported. Compare Hamlet, i. 2. 127; ' And the king's rouse the heavens shall bruit again, Re-speaking earthly thunder.'


The word is derived from the French bruit, which was adopted both as noun and verb into English.

Ib. To complete the imperfect line, Steevens suggested bruited there,' or • but find.'

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24. gently, quietly, without a struggle. 27. itself professes, professes itself. There is a similar inversion, v. 8. 8, 9. 29. That strike beside us, i. e. deliberately miss us. Compare 3 Henry VI. ii. 1. 129 sqq.:

'Their weapons like to lightning came and went;
Our soldiers', like the night-owl's lazy flight,
Or like an idle thresher with a flail,

Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends.'

Scene VIII.

The scene is continued in the folios.

1. the Roman fool. Referring either to Cato or to Brutus, or to both. Compare Julius Cæsar, v. I. IOI:

'Brutus. Even by the rule of that philosophy
By which I did blame Cato for the death
Which he did give himself.'

2. whiles. See ii. 1. 60. 5. charged. See v. I. 53.

9. intrenchant, which cannot be cut. The active form is used with a passive sense. 'Intrenchant' does not occur again in Shakespeare, and 'trenchant' only in one passage, Timon of Athens, iv. 3. 115, and then in its natural active signification, trenchant sword.' For the sense compare Hamlet, iv. I. 44, the woundless air,' and I. I. 146, of the same play, For it is, as the air, invulnerable.'



13. Despair thy charm. We find despair' used thus for despair of' in the last line of Ben Jonson's commendatory verses prefixed to the first folio edition of Shakespeare's plays:

Shine forth, thou Starre of Poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or cheere the drooping stage;

Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like night,

And despaires day, but for thy volumes


14. angel, of course used here in a bad sense. Compare 2 Henry IV. i. 2. 186, where the Chief Justice calls Falstaff the Prince's ill angel,' or evil genius. Compare also Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 3. 21, where thy angel' or demon' is explained as 'thy spirit which keeps thee.'


Ib. still, constantly. See note on The Merchant of Venice, i. I. 136.
18. my better part of man, the better part of my manhood.
20. palter, equivocate. See Julius Cæsar, ii. 1. 126:

'What other bond

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Than secret Romans, that have spoke the word,
And will not palter?'

We have 'palter with us' Troilus and Cressida, ii. 3. 244. Cotgrave gives

haggle' and 'dodge' as the equivalents of 'palter,' and under the word Harceler' we find to haggle, hucke, dodge, or paulter long in the buying of a commoditie.' The derivation of the word is uncertain: paltry' comes from it.

21, 22. There are many well-known examples in history, or rather in story, of men deceived by the double sense of oracles and prophecies, as Croesus, Epaminondas, Pyrrhus, our Henry IV. &c.

22. Sidney Walker proposes, perhaps rightly, to read 'I will' for 'I'll' and to take 'I will. coward' as one line.


24. gaze, gazing-stock, spectacle.

26. Painted upon a pole, i. e. painted on a cloth suspended on a pole, as in front of a wild-beast show. Benedick makes a somewhat similar jest, Much Ado about Nothing, i. 1. 267. And in Antony and Cleopatra, iv. 12. 36, Antony in his rage bids the queen follow Cæsar's triumph:

'Most monster-like be shown

For poor'st diminutives, for doits.'

Ib. underwrit. See notes on i. 4. 3, and iii. 4. 109.

34. him. Pope read 'he.' Shakespeare probably wrote the former.

Ib. Hold. Compare i. 5. 52. The cry of the heralds 'Ho! ho!' commanding the cessation of a combat (see our Preface to Richard II. p. xii. line 21) is probably corrupted from 'Hold Hold,' as 'lo' from 'look.' If a combatant cried 'hold,' he of course implied that he yielded.

Ib. The stage-direction in the folios here is: Exeunt fighting. Alarums,' and then in a new line Enter Fighting, and Macbeth slaine.' The latter part is inconsistent with what follows, line 53, where we have the stagedirection Enter Macduffe; with Macbeths head.' This points to some variations in the mode of concluding the play. In all likelihood Shakespeare's part in the play ended here. In modern times we believe it is the practice for Macduff to kill Macbeth on the stage.

36. go off, a singular euphemism for 'die. We have 'parted' in the same sense, line 52, where see note. Similarly to take off' is used for 'to kill' in iii. I. 104.



40. only... but. For an instance of this pleonasm see Bacon's Advancement of Learning, ii. 17. § 9: For those whose conceits are seated in popular opinions, need only but to prove or dispute.' For 'but only' see Richard II. ii. I. 158, and our note on the passage.

41. This is a limping line unless we can pronounce 'prowess' as a monosyllable. It is used in two other passages of Shakespeare, in both as a dissyllable.

42. the unshrinking station, the post from which he did not flinch.

44. cause of sorrow is here a pleonasm for sorrow. 'Course of sorrow' is a not improbable conjecture.

49. wish them to... We have the same construction in The Taming of the Shrew, 1. 2. 60:

'And wish thee to a shrewd ill-favour'd wife.' And so, line 64 of the same scene: 'I'll not wish thee to her.'

52. parted. Compare Henry V. ii. 3. 12: 'A' parted even just between twelve and one.' So, in the same passage, Mrs. Quickly, uses went away' with like meaning.

Ib. paid his score. So 'paid a soldier's debt,' line 39. This account of the death of Siward's son is taken, not like the rest of the incidents of the play from Holinshed's History of Scotland, but from the same writer's History of England, p. 275. See the passage quoted in the Preface.

54, 55. where stands The usurper's cursed head. Holinshed says that Macduff set the head upon a pole and brought it to Malcolm. (History of Scotland, p. 251, col. 2.)

55. the time, used in the same sense as in i. 5. 61, iv. 3. 72.

56. pearl may be used generically, as well as to express a single specimen. So in Henry V. iv. I. 279:

The intertissued robe of gold and pearl.'

There is no need therefore to change it to 'pearls,' still less to adopt Rowe's correction 'peers.' Florio, dedicating his World of Words, 1598, to Lord Southampton addresses him thus: Brave Earle, bright Pearle of Peeres.' Perhaps in the passage in the text 'pearl' is suggested by the row of pearls which usually encircled a crown.

59. Steevens made the line run smoothly by reading in the second half, 'King of Scotland, hail !'

60. shall. See iii. I. 125.


Ib. For expense' Steevens guessed 'extent.' But there is no reason to suspect any corruption. The verb governs a cognate accusative, as in Numbers, xxiii. 10: 'Let me die the death of the righteous.' Similarly we have, Richard II. iv. I. 232: To read a lecture of them.'

61. your several loves, the love which each of you bears to me. For plurals of this kind see note v. 2. 3.

65. would. See note, i. 7. 34.

66. exiled friends abroad, i. e. friends exiled abroad. Compare iii. 6. 48, 49. 70. self and violent bands. So in Richard II. iii. 2. 166: Infusing him with self and vain conceit.'

See our note on the passage.

71. Took off her life. So i. 7. 20, and iii. T. 104.

72. the grace of Grace. Compare All's Well that Ends Well, ii. 1. 163 : The great'st Grace lending grace.'

75. Scone. See note on ii. 4. 31.

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