Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

debt;

K. MACB. Accursed be that tongue that tells Mal. Macduff is missing, and your noble son. me so,

Ross. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's For it hath cow'd my better part (2) of man ! And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd, He only liv'd but till he was a man ; That palter with us in a double sense ;

The which no sooner had his prowess confirm’d That keep the word of promise to our ear, In the unshrinking station where he fought, And break it to our hope !-I'll not fight with But like a man he died. thee,

Siw.

Then he is dead ? Macd. Then yield thee, coward,

Ross. Ay, and brought off the field : your And live to be the show and gaze o' the time.

cause of sorrow We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are, Must not be measur'd by his worth, for then Painted upon a pole; and underwrit,

It hath no end. Here may you see the tyrant.

Siw.

Had he his hurts before ? K. Macs.

I will not yield, Ross. Ay, on the front. To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, Srw.

Why, then, God's soldier be he! And to be baited with the rabble's curse.

Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, I would not wish them to a fairer death :
And thou oppos’d, being of no woman born, And so, his knell is knoll’d.
Yet I will try the last :--before my body

MAL.

He's worth more sorrow, I throw my warlike shield : lay on, Macduff ; And that I'll spend for him. And damn'd be him that first cries, Hold, enough! Siw.

He's worth no more : [Exeunt, fighting. They say he parted well, and paid his score:

And so, God be with him !-Here comes newer

comfort.

Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and

colours, MALCOLM, old SIWARD, Ross, LENNOX, Angus, CAITHNESS, MENTEITH, and Soldiers.

Re-enter MACDUFF, with KING MACBETH's head.(3)

MAL. I would the friends we miss were safe

arriv’d. Siw. Some must go off; and yet, by these I

see, So great a day as this is cheaply bought.

515

MACD. Hail, king! for so thou art: behold,

where stands
The usurper's cursed head: the time is free!
I see thee compass’d with thy kingdom's pearl,
That speak my salutation in their minds ;

LL2

Whose voices I desire aloud with mine,

As calling home our exil'd friends abroad Hail, king of Scotland !

That fled the snares of watchful tyranny ; ALL. Hail, king of Scotland! [Flourish. Producing forth the cruel ministers Mal. We shall not spend a large expense of Of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen,time

Who, as 't is thought, by self and violent hands Before we reckon with your several loves,

Took off her life ;-this, and what needful else And make us even with you. My thanes and That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, kinsmen,

We will perform in measure, time, and place ! Henceforth be earls,—the first that ever Scotland So, thanks to all at once, and to each one, In such an honour nam'd. What's more to do, Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone. Which would be planted newly with the time,

[Flourish. Exeunt.

[graphic][subsumed]

ILLUSTRATIVE COMMENTS.

ACT I.

borne which shall governe the Scotish kingdome by long order of continuall descent.'

“Herewith the foresaid women vanished immediatlie out of their sight. This was reputed at the first but some vaine fantasticall illusion by Makbeth and Banquho, insomuch that Banquho would call Makbeth in jest, king of Scotland ; and Makbeth againe would call him in sport likewise, the father of manie kings. 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 nymphs or feiries, indued with knowledge of prophesie by their necromanticall science, because everie thing came to passe as they had spoken. For shortlie after, the thane of Cawdor being condemned at Fores of treason against the king committed ; his lands, livings and offices were given of the kings liberalitie to Makbeth."

<< But

(1) SCENE II.—But in a sieve I'U thither sail.] In a pamphlet entitled “Newes from Scotland, declaring the damnable life and death of Doctor Fian, a notable sorcerer," &c. 1591, which professes to expose a conspiracy of two hundred witches with Dr. Fian at their head, “to bewitch and drowne" King James in the sea, we read,

“Item-Agnis Tompson was brought again before the kings majesty and his council, and being examined of the meetings and detestable dealings of those witches, she confessed that upon the night of All-hallawn-even last she was accompanied as well with the persons aforesaid, as also with a great many other witches, to the number of two hundred, and that they altogether went by sea, each one in a riddle or sieve, and went in the same very substantially with flaggons of wine, making merry and drinking by the way in the same riddles or sieves, to the kirk of North Berwick in Lothian, and that after they had landed they took hands on the land and danced this reel or short dance, singing all with one voice,

" Commer goe ye before, commer goe ye,

Gif you will not goe before, commer let me !" (2) SCENE III.

Weary sev'n-nights, nine times nine,

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine.] For a particular account of the manner in which this mischief was sometimes effected see note (4), p. 43, Vol. I. To what is there related, we need only add the following notable charm from “Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft: A charme teaching how to hurt whom you list with images of wax, &c. Make an image in his name, whom you would hurt or kill, of new virgine wax ; under the right armepoke whereof place a swallow's heart, and the liver under the left; then hang about the neck thereof a new thred in a new needle pricked into the member which you would have hurt, with the rehearsall of certain words:” &c. (3) SCENE III.

What are these,
so ;

(4) SCENE IV.-The prince of Cumberland.] shortlie after it chanced that king Duncane, having two sonnes by his wife which was the daughter of Siward earle of Northumberland, he made the elder of them called Malcolme prince of Cumberland, as it were thereby to appoint him his sucessor in the kingdome, immediatlie after his decease. Makbeth, sore troubled herewith, for that he saw by this means his hope sore hindered (where, by the old lawes of the realme, the ordinance was, that if he that should succeed were not of able age to take the charge upon himselfe, he that was next of bloud unto him should be admitted) he began to take counsell how he might usurpe the kingdome by force, having a just quarell so to doo (as he tooke the matter) for that Duncane did what in him lay to defraud him of all maner of title and claime, which bo might in time to come, pretend unto the crowne.

T'har look not like the inhabitants of the earth,

And yet are on 't?] Compare Holinshed : It fortuned as Makbeth and Banquho journied towards Fores, where the king then laie, they went sporting by the waie togither without other companie, save onelie themselves, passing thorough the woods and fields, when suddenlie in the middest of a laund, there met them three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world, whome when they attentivelie beheld, woondering much at the sight, the first of them spake and said; All haile Mak. beth, thane of Glammis' (for he had latelie entered into that dignitie and office by the death of his father Sinell). The second of them said ; 'Haile Makbeth thane of Caw. dor.' But the third said ; 'All haile Makbeth that héereafter shalt be king of Scotland.'

“Then Banquho; What manner of women (saith he) aro you, that seeme so little favourable unto me, whereas to my fellow heere, besides high offices, ye assigne also the kingdome, appointing foorth nothing for me at all?' 'Yes (saith the first of them) we promise greater benefits unto thée, than unto him, for he shall reigne in deed, but with an unluckie end : neither shall he leave anie issue behind him to succeed in his place, where contrarilie thou in deed shalt not reigne at all, but of thée those shall be

(5) SCENE VI.

Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ'd,

The air is delicate.] Sir Joshua Reynolds was struck,-as who possessing a spark of sensibility can fail to be,-with the exceeding beauty of this brief colloquy before the castle of Macbeth, and he observes on it, - " This short dialogue between Duncan and Banquo, whilst they are approaching the gates of Macbeth's castle, has always appeared to me a striking instance of what in pa

ting is termed repose. Their conversation very naturally turns upon the beauty of its situation, and the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlets' nests in every recess of the cornice, remarks, that where those birds most breed and haunt, the air is delicate. The subject of this quiet and easy conversation gives that repose so necessary to the mind after the tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the scene of horror that immediately succeeds. It seems as if Shakspeare asked himself, What is a prince likely to say to his attendants on such an occasion ? Whereas the modern writers soem, on the contrary, to be always searching for new thoughts, such as would never occur to men in the situation which is represented. This also is frequently the practice of Homer, wbo, from the midst of battles and horrors, relieves and refreshes the mind of the reader by introducing some quiet rural image, a picture of domestick life.”

ACT II.

[ocr errors]

(1) SCENE III.—'T' is said they eat each other.] Very many of the incidents connected with Duncan's death are not to be found in the narrative of that event, but are taken from the Chroniclers' account of King Duffe's murder. Among them are the prodigies mentioned in this speech :Monstrous sightes also that were seene without the Scottishe kingdome that yeare were these, horses in Lothian being of singuler beautie and swiftnesse, did eate their owne fleshe and would in nowise taste any other meate. In Angus there was a gentlewoman brought forth a child without eyes, nose, hande, or foote. There was a Sparhauke also strangled by an Owle. Neither was it any losse wonder that the sunne, as before is sayd, was continually covered with cloudes, for vi. moneths space : But all men understood that the abhominable murder of king Duffe was the cause hereof."

a separate instrument. The stone, as is well known, was never restored. This fatal stone,' says Sir Walter Scott,

was said to have been brought from Ireland by Fergus the son of Eric, who led the Dalriads to the shores of Argyleshire. Its virtues are preserved in the celebrated leonine verse :

Ni fallat Fatum, Scoti, quocunque locatum

Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem. There were Scots who hailed the accomplishment of this prophecy at the accession of James VI. to the crown of England, and exulted that, in removing their palladium, the policy of Edward resembled that which brought the Trojan horse in triumph within their walls, and which occasioned the destruction of their royal family. The stone is still preserved, and forms the support of King Edward the Confessor's chair, which the sovereign occupies at his coronation.' In preparing this chair for the coronation of her present Majesty, some small fragments of this stone were broken off."-New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845, vol. x. p. 1047.

(2) SCENE III.

He is already nam'd; and gone to Scone

To be invested.] "Scone is well known to have early obtained historical importance... It received, it would appear, the title of the Royal City of Scone,' so early as A.D. 906 or 909. The Pictish Chronicle informs us that Constantine the son of Ed, and Kellach the Bishop, together with the Scots, solemnly vowed to observe the laws and discipline of faith, the rights of the churches and of the Gospel, on the Hill of Credulity, near the Royal City of Scoan. If the Stone of Destiny was transferred by Kenneth Mac Alpine from Dunstaffnage in Argyleshire to Scone in a. D. 838, we may see a reason for the title 'Royal City,' which seems to have been acquired before the meeting of the Ecclesiastical Council. One of the most memorable of the combats with the Danes was fought at Collin near Scone, in the time of Donald IV. the son of Constantine II., for the possession of this stone. This must have been previous to A.D. 904, in which year Donald fell in battle at Forteviot. It is said that a religious house was established at Scone, when the stone was transferred by Kenneth Mac Alpine. During the reign of Alexander, Scone seems to have been cccasionally a royal residence, and, like St. Andrews and other places in which monasteries were established, it was a market for foreign nations. Alexander addressed a writ to the merchants of England, inviting them to trade to Scone, and promising them protection on condition of their paying a custom to the monastery. This custom was an impost on all ships trading with Scone, from which it appears to have been anciently a port.

" About a mile from the river there was at a comparatively recent period a bog called the full sea mere, which according to tradition has been covered by the tide, and in which when digging for a pond, stones similar to those in the bed of the Tay were found. Whatever may be the value of the commonly received fact as to the transference of the fatal stone to Scone, there can be no doubt that many of the Scottish kings were inaugurated here.

" Edward I. having penetrated to the north as far as Elgin, and having reduced Baliol to a state of the most abject submission, on his return ordered the famous stone on which the Scottish kings had been wont to be crowned, to be removed from the Abbey of Scone and conveyed to Westminster, in testimony, says Hemingford, an English contemporary chronicler, of the conquest and surrender of the kingdom. The restoration of the stone, though omitted in the treaty of Northampton (1328), was stipulated by

(3) SCENE III.

Where is Duncan's body ? MacD. Carried to Colme-kill.] “ To the Highlanders of the present day, Iona is known as 'Innis-nan-Druidhneach,' or the Island of the Druids -as 'Ii-cholum-chille,' or the Island of Colum, of the Cell, or Cemetery, from whence the English word Icolymkill is derived.

" In Macfarlane's MS., Advocates' library, there is a description of this island by Dean Monro, who travelled through the Western isles in 1549.

"Colmkill.-Narrest this be twa myles of sea, layes the Isle the Erische call it I. colmkill, that is, Sanct Colm's Islo, ane faire mayne Isle of twa myle lange, and maire and ane myle braid, fertill and fruitfull of corn and store, and guid for fishing. Within this ile there is a monastery of Mounkes and ane uther of nuns, with a paroche kirke, and sundry other chappels dotat of auld be the kings of Scotland, and be Clandonald of the Iyles. This abbay forsaid wes the cathedrall kirk of the bischops of the Iyles sen the tyme they were expulsed out of the lyle of Man by the Englishmen; for within the lyle of Man was the cathedrall kirke, and living of auld. Within this ile of Colmkill, there is ane sanctuary also, or kirkaird, callit in Erische, Religoram, quhilk is a very fair kirkyaird, and weill biggit about with staine and lime. Into this sanctuary there is three tombes of staine formit like litle chappels with ane braid gray marble or quhin staine in the gavile of ilk ane of the tombes. In the staine of the tomb there is written in Latin letters Tumulus Regum Scotiæ, that is, the tombe or grave of the Scotts kinges. Within this tombe according to our Scotts and Erische chronickles, ther layes fortyeight crouned Scotts kinges, through the quhilk this ile has beine richlie dotat be the Scots kinges, as we have said. * * * Within this sanctuarie also lyes the maist past of the Lords of the Iles with ther lynage, two clan Lynes with ther lynage, M'Kynnon and M'Guare, with ther lineages, with sundrie uthers inhabitants of the hail iles, because this sanctuary was wont to be the sepulture of the best men of all the isles ; and als of our kinge's as we have said ; because it was the maist honor. able and anciend place that was in Scotland in thair days as we read."- New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845, vol. vii. p. 313.

ACT III. .

ton and D'Avenant from stage tradition, or from some less imperfect copy of “Macbeth” than is now known

[ocr errors]

(1) SCENE III.

Fly, good Fleance, fly, Ay, fly!

Thou mayst revenge.-0, slave?] The murder of Banquo is told very briefly by Holinshed :

“The words also of the thrée weird sisters would not out of his mind, which as they promised him the kingdome, so likewise did they promise it at the same time unto the posteritie of Banquho. He willed therefore the same Banquho with his sonne named Fleance, to come to a supper that he had prepared for them, which was in deed, as he had devised, present death at the hands of certeine murderers, whom he hired to execute that déed, appointing them to meete with the same Banquho and his sonne without the palace, as they returned to their lodgings, and there to slea them, so that he would not have his house slandered, but that in time to come he might cleare himselfe, if anie thing were laid to his charge upon anie suspicion that might arise.

"It chanced yet by the benefit of the darke night, that though the father were slaine, the sonne yet by the helpe of Almightie God reserving him to better fortune, escaped that danger: and afterwards having some inkeling (by the admonition of some friends which he had in the court) how his life was sought no lesse than his fathers, who was slaine not by chance medlie (as by the handling of the matter Makbeth would have had it to appeare) but even upon a prepensed devise : whereupon to avoid further perill he fled into Wales."

Song in The Witch.
" Come away, come away;

in the aire
Heccat, Heccat, come away.
Hec. I come, I come, I come,

With all the speed I may.'
“ Now I goe, now I flie,
Malkin my sweete spirit and I.
Oh what a daintie pleasure tis
To ride in the aire
When the moone shines faire,
And sing and daunce, and toy and kiss :
Over woods, high rocks, and mountaines,
Over seas, our mistris fountaines,
Over steepe towres and turretts
We fly by night, 'mongst troopes of spirritts.
No ring of bells to our eares sounds,
No howles of wolves, no yelpes of hounds;
No, not the noyse of water's-breache,

Or cannon's throat, our height can reache.” The Witch" is supposed to have been written about 1613, but it was not printed before 1778. D'Avenant's alteration of “Macbeth” was printed a century earlier. From this circumstance, as well as from the differences observable in passages common to both, it may be inferred that the latter did not copy those passages from Middleton, but that each derived them from the same original. The following is D'Avenant's version of the preceding song :

" Come away Heccate, Heccate! Oh come away:

Hec. I come, I come, with all the speed I may."
“ Now I go, and now I flye
Malking my sweet Spirit and I.
O what a dainty pleasure's this,
To sail i' th' Air
While the Moon shines fair;
To Sing, to Toy, to Dance and Kiss,
Over Woods, high Rocks and Mountains;
Over Hills, and misty Fountains ;
Over Steeples, Towers, and Turrets :
We flye by night 'mongst

troops of Spirits.
No Ring of Bells to our Ears sounds,
No howles of Wolves, nor Yelps of Hounds;
No, nor the noise of Waters breach,
Nor Cannons Throats, our Height can reach."

(2) SCENE V.--Enter HECATE.) “Shakspeare seems to have been unjustly censured for introducing Hecate among the modern witches. Scot's ‘Discovery of Witchcraft, b. iii. c. ii. and c. xvi., and b. xii. c. iii., mentions it as the common opinion of all writers, that witches were supposed to have nightly meetings with Herodias, and the pagan gods,' and that in the night-times they ride abroad with Diana, the goddess of the pagans,' &c. Their dame or chief leader seems always to have been an old pagan, as 'the Ladie Sibylla, Minerva, or Diana.'”—TOLLET.

(3) SCENE V.-SONG. (Without.] Come away, come away, &c.] The song actually sung here we conjecture to be that given in the corresponding scene of Middleton's “Witch,” and in D'Avenant's paraphrase of “Macbeth.” It was probably written by Shakespeare, and derived by Middle

ACT IV.

(2) SOENE 1.-Music and Song, “Black spirits,” &c.] This “charm song," like the song in Act III., is found both in Middleton's "Witch” and D'Avenant's alteration of “Macbeth":

(1) SCENE I.-Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.) “Dr. Warburton has adduced classical authority for the connexion between Hecate and this animal, with a view to trace the reason why it was the agent and favourite of modern witches. It may be added, that among the Egyptians the cat was sacred to Isis or the Moon, their Hecate or Diana, and accordingly worshipped with great honour. Many cat-idols are still preserved in the cabinets of the curious, and the sistrum or rattle used by the priests of Isis is generally ornamented with a figure of à cat with a crescent on its head."-Douce.

“ Black Spirits, and White,

Red Spirits and Gray;
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may."

« AnteriorContinuar »