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too much in later writers, who would have us believe that, a war of factions breaking out, Duncan was killed in battle, and Macbeth took the crown by just and lawful title. It is considerable that both Hume and Lingard acquiesce in the old account which represents Macbeth to have murdered Duncan and usurped the throne. The following outline of the story as told by Holinshed may suffice to show both whence and bow much the Poet borrowed.

Malcolm king of Scotland, had two daughters, Beatrice and Doada, severally married to Abbanath Crinen and to Sinel, thanes of the Isles and of Glamis, by whom they had each a son, named Duncan and Macbeth. The former succeeded his grandfather in the kingdom ; and, being of a soft and gentle nature, his reign was at first very quiet and peaceable, but afterwards, by reason of his slackness, greatly harassed with troubles and seditions, wherein his cousin, who was of a valiant and warlike spirit, did great service to the state. His first exploil was in company with Banquo, thane of Lochquaber, against Macdowald, who had head. ed a rebellion, and drawn together a great power of vatives and foreigners. The rebels being soou broken and routed, Macdowald sought refuge in a castle with his family, and when he saw he could no longer hold the place, he first slew his wife and children, then bimself; whereupon Macbeth entered, and, finding his body among the rest, had his head cut off, set upon a pole, and sent to the king. Macheth was very severe, not to say cruel, towards the conquered; and when some of them murmured thereat he would have let loose his revenge upon them, but that he was partly appeased by their gifts, and partly dissuaded by his friends. By the time this trouble was well over, Sweno, king of Norway, arrived with an army in Fife, and began to slaughter the people without distinction of age

Which caused Duncan to bestir hinself in good earnest : be went forth with all the forces he could rally, limself, Macbeth, and Banquo leading them, and met the invaders at Culros, where after a fierce fight the Scots were beaten. Then Sweno, thinking he could now have the people for his own without killing them, gave order that none should be hurt but such as were found in an attitude of resistance. Macbeth went forthwith to gathering a new power, and Duncan, baving fled into the castle of Bertha, and being there hotly besieged by Sweno, opened a communica. tion with him to gain time, and meanwhile sent a secret message to Macbeth to wait at a certain place till he should hear further. - When all things were ready, Duncan, having by this time settled the terms of surrender, offered to send forth a good supply of food and refreshment to the besiegers; which offer they gladly accepted, being much straitened for the ineans of living: whereapon the Scots mixed the juice of mekilwort herries in the bread and ale, and thereby got their enemies into so sleepy a state that they could make no defence; in which condition Macbeth fell apon them, and cut them to pieces, only Sweno himself and ten others escaping to the ships. While the people were giving ibauks

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for this victory word came that a fleet of Danes had lan.led at Kingcorn, sent thither by Canute, Sweno's brother. Macbeth and Banquo, being sent against the new invaders, slew part of them, and chased the rest back to their ships. Thereupon a peace was knit up

between the Scots and Danes, the latter giving a great sum of gold for the privilege of burying their dead in Colmes Inch.

Not long after, Macheth and Banquo being on their way to Fores where the king then lay, as they were passing through the fields without other company, three women in strange and wild apparel suddenly met them; and while they were rape with wonder at the sight, the first woman said, - All hail, Macbeth, thane of Glamis ; the second, - Hail, Macbeth, thane of Cawdor; the third, — All hail, Macbeth, that hercalier shall be king of Scotland. Then said Banquo, What manner of women are you, that to my fellow here, besides high offices, ye assign the kingdom, but promise nothing at all to me? Yes, said the first, we promise greater things to thee; for he shall reign indeed, but with an unlucky end, and shall have no issue to succeed him; whereas thou indeed shalt not reign, but from thee shall spring a long line of kings. Then the women immediately vanished. At first Macbeth and Banquo thought this was but a fantastical illusion, insomuch that Banquo would call Macheth king in jest, and Macbeth in like sort would call him father of many kings. But afterwards the women were believed to be the Weird Sisters; because, the thane of Cawdor being condemned for treason, his lands and titles were given to Macbeth. Whereupon Banquo said to liim jestingly,Now, Macbeth, thou hast what two of the Sisters promised; there remaineth only what the other said should come to pass. And Macbeth began even then to devise how he might come to the throne, but thought he must wait for time to work his way, as in the former preferment. But when, shortly after, the king made his oldest son Prince of Cumberland, thereby in effect appointing him successor, Macbeth was sorely troubled thereat, as it seemed to cut off his hope; and, thinking the purpose was to defeat his litle to the crown, he studied how to usurp i ny force. For the law of Scotland then was, that if at the death of a king the lineai heir were not of sufficient age für the government, the next in blood should take it in bis stead. Encouraged by the words of the Weird Sisters, and urged on by his wife, who was “ burning with unquenchable desire to bear the name of queen," Macbeth at length whispered his design to some trusty friends, of whom Banquo was chief, and, having a promise of their aid, slew the king at Inverness : then, by the help of his confederates, he go. himself proclaimed king, and forthwith went to Scone where, by common consent, he was invested after the usual manner. Duncan's body was first buried at Elgin, but afterwards removed to Colmekill, and laid in a sepulchre with his predecessors.

Macbeth now set himself about the administration of the state

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as though he wonld fa'n make up for his want of title by his fi. uess for the office; using great liberality towards the nobles, enforcing justice on all otienders, and correcting the abuses that had grown up in Duncan's feeble regn; insomuch that he was accounted the sure defence and buckler of imocent people: he made many wholesome laws, and, in short, so good was his government, that bad he attained it by lawful ineans, and continuell as just aud upright as he began, he might well have been numbered among the best princes that ever were.

But it turned out that all this was done but to gain popular favour. For the pricking of conscience made him fear lest another should serve him as he had served Duncan; and the promise of the Weird Sisters to Banquo would not out of his mind. So he had a great supper, and invited Banquo and his son Fleance, having hired certain murderers to kill them as they were going home, that himselt might seein clear of the crime, should it ever be laid to his charge. Il chanced, however, through the darkness, that Fleance escaped, and, being afterwards warned of what was in plot against him, he fled into Wales. Thenceforth nothing went well with Macbeth.

For men began to fear for their lives, so that they scarce dared come in his presence; and as many feared him, so he stood in tear of many, and therefore by one pretence or another made away with such as were most able to work him any danger. And he had double profit by this course, in that both those whom he feared were got rid of, and his coffers were enriched with their goods, thus ena bling him to keep a guard of armed men about bis person : for which causes be at length found such sweetness in putting the pobles to death, that his thirst of blood might nowise be satisfie. For better security against the growing dangers, he resolved 15 build a strong castle on the top of a very high hill called Dunsi. nane,

and to make the thanes of each shire come and help on the building in turn. When the turn fell to Macduff, thane of Fife, he sent his men well furnished, telling them to be very diligent in the work, but himself stayed away; which when Macbeth knew, he said, - 1 perceive this man will never obey me till he be ridden with a snaffle: nor could he afterwards bear to look upon Macdufl', either because he thought him too powerful for a subject or because he had been warned to beware of him by certain wizards in whom he trusted ; and indeed he would have put him to death, had not the same counsellors assured him that he should never be slain by any man born of a woman, por be vanquished till the wood of Birnam came to the castle of Dunsinane. Trust. ing in this prophecy, he now became still more cruel from security than he had been from fear. At last Macduff, to avoid peril of life, purposed with bimself to flee into England; which purpose Macbeth soon got wind of, for in every nobleman's house he had one sly fellow or another in see, 10 let him know all that was going on: so he wastened with a power into Fife, to besiege Macduff's castle ; which being freely opened to hiin, when he found Macduff was already gone, he caused his wife and children to he slain, confiscaled his goods, and proclaimed him a traitor.

After the murder of Duncan his two sons, named Malcolm and Donaldbain, had taken refuge, the one in England, where he was well received by Edward the Confessor, and the other in Ireland, where he also was kindly treated by the king of that land. The mother of these two princes was sister to Siward, Earl of Northumberland. Macduff, therefore, went straight to Malcolin as the only hope of poor Scotland, and earnestly besought him to undertake the deliverance of bis suffering country, assuring him that the bearts and hands of the people would be with him, if he would bat go

and claim the crowi. But the prince feigued 10 excuse nimself, because of his having certain incurable vices which made hiin totally unfit to be king. For, said he, so great is my lust that I should seek to deflower all the young maids and matrons; which intemperance would be worse than Macbeth's cruelty. Macduff answered that this was indeed a very great fault, and had ruineo many kings : nevertheless, said be, there are women enough in Scotland : make thyself king, and I will procure you satisfaction herein so secretly that no man shall know of it. Malcolm then said, I am also the most avaricious being on earth, insomuch that. baving the power, I should make pretences for slaying most of the nobles, that I might enjoy their estates. The other replied, – This is a far worse fauli than the former, for avarice is the root of all evil: notwithstanding, follow my counsel; there are riches enough in Scotland to satisfy thy greediness. Then said the prince again, I am furthermore given to lying and all kinds of deceit, and nothing delights me more than to betray all such as put any trust in my words. Thereupon Macduff gave over the suit, say ing. This is the worst of all, and here I leave thee. O miserable Scotchmen, ye have one cursed tyrant now reigning over you without any right; and this other that hath the right is nothing fit lo reign; for by his own confession he is not only full of lust and avarice, but so false withal that no trust is to be put in aught be says. Adieu, Scotland, for now I account myself a banished man forever. Then, he being about to deparı, the prince said, Be of good cheer, Macduff, for I have none of those vices, and have only jested with thee, to prove thy mind; for Macbeth bath often sought by such means to get me into his hands : but the slower I have seemed to entertain thy request, the more diligent I shall be to accomplish it. Hereupon, atier embracing and swear. ing mutual fidelity, they sell to consulting how they might bring their wishes to good effect. Macduff soon repaired to the borders of Scotland, and sent letters thence to the nobles, urging them to assist the prince with all their powers, to recover the crown out of the usurper's hands.

Now the prince, being much beloved of good King Edward. procured that his uncle Siward might go with ten thousand mev lo aid h'in in the enterprise. Meanwhile the Scottish nobles

apprised of what was on foot, drew into two factions, some siding will. Malcolm, others with Macbeth. When Macbeth saw how the prince was strengthened with allies, he retreated to Drnsinane, meaning to abide there in a fortified camp; and, being advised to withdraw into the Isles and there wait for better times, he still refused, trusting in the prophecies of the Weird Sisters. Malcolm, following close upon his retreat, came at night to Bimam wood, where, bis men having taken food and rest, he gave order for them to gel each a hough as big as he could carry, and march therewith, so as to hide their strength from the enemy. The next day Macbeih, sceing their approach, ai tirst marvelled what it meant, then, calling to mind the prophecy, thought it was like to be ful. filled : nevertheless, he resolved to fight, and drew up his men in order of battles but when those of the other side cast away their boughs, and he saw how many they were, he betook himself to flight. Macduff was hot in pursuit, and overhauled him at Lanfanan, where at last Macbeth sprung from his horse, saying, T'hou traitor, why dost thou thus follow me in vain, who am not to be slain by any man that was born of a woman? Macdufi' answered,

- It is true, Macbeth; and now shall thy cruelty end ; for I am even he that the wizards told thee of, who was never born of my mother, but ripped out of her womh : therewithal he stepped forth and slew him, then cut off his head, and set it upon a pole, and brought it to Malcolm. — The murder of Duncan took place in 1039, and Macbeth was killed in 1054; so that the events of the play, viewed historically, stretch over a period of more than fifteen years.

From another part of the same history Shakespeare took sev. eral circumstances of the assassination. It is where Holinshed relates how King Dufl', being the guest of Donwald and his wife at their castle in Fores, was there murdered. We will condense so much of the narrative as bears upon the matter in hand.

The king having retired for the rest of the night, bis iwo chamberlains, as soon as they saw him well abed, came forth again, and fell to banqueting with Donwald and his wife, who had prepared many choice dishes and drinks for their rear-supper ; wherewith they so gorged themselves, that their heads no sooner got to the pillow than they were so fast asleep that the chamber miglit have been removed without waking them. Then Donwald, goaded on by his wife, though in heart he greatly abhorred the act, called four of bis servants, whom be had already framed to the purpose with large gifts, and instructed them how to proceed; and they, ertering the king's chamber a little betore cock's crow, without any bustle cui his throat as he lay asleep, and immediately carried the body forth into the fields. In the moming, a noise being made Ulat the king was slain, Donwald ran thither with the watch, as though he knew nothing of it, and finding cakes of blood in the bed and on the floor, fortiwith slew the chamberlains as guilty of the murder.

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