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Which shows me many more; and some I see,
That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry 32 :
Horrible sight!-Now, I see, 'tis true;
For the blood-bolter’d 33 Banquo smiles upon me,
And points at them for his.- What, is this so?

1 Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so :—But why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?-
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprights 34,
And show the best of our delights;
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antique 35 round:
That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.

[Musick. The Witches dance, and vanish. sons or things sought for. Spenser has given a circumstantial account of the glass which Merlin made for King Ryence.Faerie Queene, b. iii. c. 2. A mirror of the same kind was presented to Cambuscan, in the Squire's Tale of Chaucer: and we are told tható a certaine philosopher did the like to Pompey, the which shewed him in a glasse the order of his enemies march.' -Boisteau's Theatrum Mundi, translated by John Alday, b. 1. no date.

32 "That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry. This was intended as a compliment to James the First: he first united the two islands and the three kingdoms under one head, whose house too was said to be descended from Banquo, who is therefore represented not only as innocent, but as a noble character; whereas, according to history, he was confederate with Macbeth in the murder of Duncan.

33 In Warwickshire, when a horse, sheep, or other animal, perspires much, and any of the hair or wool, in consequence of such perspiration, or any redundant humour, becomes matted into tufts with grime and sweat, he is said to be boltered; and whenever the blood issues out and coagulates, forming the locks into hard clotted bunches, the beast is said to be blood-boltered. When a boy has a broken head, so that his hair is matted together with blood, his head is said to be boltered (pronounced baltered). The word baltereth is used in this sense by Philemon Holland in his Translation of Pliny's Natural History, 1601, b. xii. c. xvii. p. 370. It is therefore applicable to Banquo, who had 'twenty trenched gashes on his head.'

34 i. e. spirits. It should seem that spirits was almost always pronounced sprights or sprites by Shakspeare's cotemporaries.

35 Antique was the old spelling for antick. VOL. IV.


Macb. Where are they ? Gone ?—Let this per

nicious hour Stand aye accursed in the calendar!— Come in, without there!

Enter LENOX.


What's your grace's will? Macb. Saw you the weird sisters ? Len.

No, my lord. Macb. Came they not by you? Len.

No, indeed, my lord. . Macb. Infected be the air whereon they ride; And damn'd all those that trust them!—I did hear The galloping of horse: Who was't came by? Len. 'T'is two or three, my lord, that bring you

word, Macduff is filed to England. Macb.

Fled to England ? Len. Ay, my good lord.

Macb. Time, thou anticipat'st 36 my dread exploits : The flighty purpose never is o’ertook, Unless the deed go with it: From this moment, The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand. And even now To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and

done: The castle of Macduff I will surprise ; Seize

upon Fife; give to the edge o’the sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace 37 him in his line. No boasting like a fool: This deed I'll do, before this


cool: But no more sights !—Where are these gentlemen ? Come, bring me where they are.


36 i. e. preventest them, by taking away the opportunity. 37 i. e. follow, succeed in it.

SCENE II. Fife. A Room in Macduff's Castle.

Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and Rosse.
L. Macd. What had he done, to make him fly the

land ?
Rosse. You must have patience, madam.
L. Macd.

He had none; His flight was madness: When our actions do not, Our fears do make us traitors 1. Rosse.

You know not, Whether it was his wisdom, or his fear. L. Macd. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave

his babes,
His mansion, and his titles, in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch: for the poor wren,
The most diminutive of birds, will fight,

young ones in her nest, against the owl.
All is the fear, and nothing is the love;
As little is the wisdom, where the flight
So runs against all reason.

My dearest coz,
I pray you, school yourself: But, for your husband,
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
The fits o’the season. I dare not speak much

further: But cruel are the times, when we are traitors, And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumour From what we fear, yet know not what we fear *; But float upon a wild and violent sea, Each way, and move.-I take

1.Our fears do make us traitors. Our flight is considered as evidence of our treason.

2 Natural touch, natural affection.

3 The fits o' the season should appear to be the violent disorders of the season, its convulsions : as we still say figuratively the temper of the times. So in Coriolanus :

but that
The violent fit o'th' times craves it as physic.'


leave of you: Shall not be long but I'll be here again : Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward To what they were before.—My pretty cousin, Blessing upon you!

L. Macd. Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.

Rosse. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
It would be my disgrace, and your discomfort:
I take

leave at once.

Erit Rosse. L. Macd.

Sirrah", your father's dead; And what will you do now? How will you live?

Son. As birds do, mother.
L. Macd.

What, with worms and Alies ? Son. With what I get, I mean; and so do they. L. Macd. Poor bird! thou’dst never fear the net,

nor lime, The pit-fall, nor the gin. Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they

are not set for. My father is not dead, for all your saying. L. Macd. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for

a father?


The best I can make of this passage is,' says Steevens : • The times are cruel when our fears induce us to believe, or take for granted, what we hear rumoured or reported abroad; and yet at the same time, as we live under a tyrannical government, where will is substituted for law, we know not what we have to fear, because we know not when we offend.' Or, when we are led by our fears to believe every rumour of danger we hear, yet are not conscious to ourselves of any crime for which we should be disturbed with fears. A passage like this occurs in King John :

• Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams,

Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear.' 5 Sirrah was not in our author's time a term of reproach, but sometimes used by masters to servants, parents to children, &c.

Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband?
L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any

market. Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again. L. Macd. Thou speak’st with all thy wit; and

yet i'faith,
With wit enough for thee.

Son. Was my father a traitor, mother?
L. Macd. Ay, that he was.
Son. What is a traitor ?
L. Mac. Why, one that swears and lies.
Son. And be all traitors, that do so?

L. Macd. Every one that does so, is a traitor, and must be hanged.

Son. And must they all be hanged, that swear and lie?

L. Macd. Every one.
Son. Who must hang them ?
L. Macd. Why, the honest men.

Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools : for there are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men, and hang up them.

L. Macd. Now, God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a father?

Son. If he were dead, you'd weep for him: if you would not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father. L. Macd. Poor prattler! how thou talk'st.

Enter a Messenger. Mess. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you

known, Though in your state of honour I am perfect 6. I doubt, some danger does approach you nearly: 6 i. e. I am perfectly acquainted with your rank.

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