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This is the sergeant,'
Doubtful it stood;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together, And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald (Worthy to be a rebel; for to that 2
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him) from the Western Isles
And Fortune, on his damned quarry smiling,
Carved out his passage, till he faced the slave;
Dun. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!
1 Sergeants, in ancient times, were men performing one kind of feudal military service, in rank next to esquires.
2 Vide Tyrwhitt's Glossary to Chaucer, v. for; and Pegge's Anecdotes of the English Language, p. 205. For to that means no more than for that, or cause that.
3 i. e. supplied with armed troops so named. Of and with are indiscriminately used by our ancient writers. Gallowglasses were heavyarmed foot-soldiers of Ireland and the Western Isles; Kernes were the lighter armed troops.
4 "But fortune on his damned quarry smiling."-Thus the old copies. It was altered at Johnson's suggestion to quarrel. But the old copy needs no alteration. Quarry means the squadron (escadre), or square body, into which Macdonwald's troops were formed, better to receive the charge. 5 The meaning is, that Fortune, while she smiled on him, deceived him. 6 The old copy reads which.
7 Sir W. D'Avenant's reading of this passage, in his alteration of the play, is a tolerable comment on it:
"But then this daybreak of our victory
Served but to light us into other dangers,
That spring from whence our hopes did seem to rise."
Break is not in the first folio.
So from that spring, whence comfort seemed to come, Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark; No sooner justice had, with valor armed,
Compelled these skipping Kernes to trust their heels,
With furbished arms, and new supplies of men,
Dismayed not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
As sparrows, eagles; or the hare, the lion.
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe;
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
I cannot tell :
But I am faint; my gashes cry for help.
Dun. So well thy words become thee, as thy
They smack of honor both.-Go, get him surgeons. [Exit Soldier, attended.
Who comes here?
The worthy thane of Rosse.
Len. What a haste looks through his eyes! So
should he look,
That seems to speak things strange.2
God save the king!
From Fife, great king,
Dun. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky,
Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
1 i. e. make another Golgotha as memorable as the first.
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm,
Rosse. That now
Sweno, the Norway's king, craves composition;
Nor would we deign him burial of his men,
Till he disbursed, at Saint Colmes' Inch,4
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.
Dun. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest.-Go, pronounce his present death, And with his former title greet Macbeth.
Rosse. I'll see it done.
Dun. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.
SCENE III. A Heath. Thunder.
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,
1 By Bellona's bridegroom Shakspeare means Macbeth. Lapped in proof is defended by armor of proof.
2" Confronted him with self-comparisons." By him is meant Norway, and by self-comparisons is meant that he gave him as good as he brought, showed that he was his equal.
3 It appears probable, as Steevens suggests, that Sweno was only a marginal reference, which has crept into the text by mistake, and that the line originally stood
"That now the Norway's king craves composition."
It was surely not necessary for Rosse to tell Duncan the name of his old enemy, the king of Norway.
4 Colmes' is here a dissyllable. Colmes' Inch, now called Inchcomb, is a small island, lying in the Firth of Edinburgh, with an abbey upon it dedicated to St. Columb. Inch or inse, in Erse, signifies an island.
And mounched, and mounched, and mounched. Give me, quoth I;
Aroint thee,' witch! the rump-fed ronyon 2 cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger;
And, like a rat without a tail,
2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
3 Witch. And I another.
1 Witch. I myself have all the other;
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I will drain him dry as hay;
2 Witch. Show me, show me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wrecked, as homeward he did come.
3 Witch. A drum, a drum;
Macbeth doth come.
All. The weird sisters,5 hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land,
1 The etymology of this imprecation is yet to seek. Rynt ye, for out with ye! stand off! is still used in Cheshire, where there is also a proverbial saying," Rynt ye, witch, quoth Besse Locket to her mother." The French have a phrase of somewhat similar sound and import-" Arry-avant, away there, ho!"-Mr. Douce thinks that "aroint thee" will be found to have a Saxon origin.
2 "Rump-fed ronyon," a mangy woman, fed on offals.
3 i. e. the sailor's chart; carte-marine.
4 Forbid, i. e. forespoken, unhappy, charmed or bewitched. A forbodin fellow (Scotice) still signifies an unhappy one.
5 The old copy has weyward, evidently by mistake. Weird, from the Saxon, a witch, Shakspeare found in Holinshed. Gawin Douglas, in his translation of Virgil, renders the Parce by weird sisters.
Thus do go about, about;
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
Enter MACBETH and BANQUO.
Macb. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
So withered, and so wild in their attire;
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Macb. Speak, if you can ;—what are you?
1 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis !!
2 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of
3 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king here
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
That he seems rapt withal; to me you speak not.
And say, which grain will grow, and which will not,
1 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. Gray has given a particular description of it in a Letter to Dr. Wharton.
2 i. e. creatures of fantasy or imagination.