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Re-enter Macduff, with Macbeth'* head on a pole.
Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art: Behold, where
The usurper's cursed head: the time is free:
AU. King of Scotland, hail!
Mai. We shall not spend a large expence of time, Before we reckon with your several loves, And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland In such an honour nam'd. What's more to do, Which would be planted newly with the time,— As calling home our exil'd friends abroad, That fled the snares of watchful tyranny; Producing forth the cruel ministers Of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen; Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands Took off her life;—This, and what needful else That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, We will perform in measure, time, and place: So thanks to all at once, and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone.
* Of Kernes and Gallow-glasses—l WHETHER supply'd of, for supply'd from or with, was a kind of Grecism of Shakspeare's expression; or whether of be a corruption of the editors, who took Kernes and Gallow-glasses, which were only light and heavy armed foot, to be the names of two of the western islands, I don't know. Hinc conjecturae vigorem etian adjiciunt arma quædam Hibernica, Gallicis antiquis similia, jacula nimirum peditum levis armaturae quos Kernos vocant, nec non secures & lorica, ferrea peditum illorum gravioris armaturae, quos Galloglassios, appellant. Waraei Antiq. Hiber, cap. 6. wa RBu Rto N. .
* And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,) The old copy has—quarry; but I am inclined to read quarrel. Quarrel was formerly used for cause, or for the occasion of a quarrel, and is to be found in that sense in Holinshed's account of the story of Macbeth, who, upon the creation of the prince of Cumberland, thought, says the historian, that he had a just quarrel to endeavour after the crown. The sense therefore is,
Fortune smiling on his execrable cause, 4'c- This is followed by Dr. Warburton. Johnson.
3 Till that Bcllona's bridegroom,] This passage may be added to the many others, which shew how little Shakspeare knew of ancient mythology. Henley.
4 Confronted him with self-comparisons,] i. e. gave him as good as he brought, shew'd he was his equal.
5 Saint Colmes' inch.] Now called Inchcomb, a small island lying in the Forth, with an abbey upon, it, dedicated to St. Columb.
Inch or ynch was the old Scots word for an island, and, as I am informed, is still used in some parts of Ireland. Steevens.
6 Aroint thee, witch /] Aroint, or avaunt, be gone.
7 —ronyon—] i. e. scabby or mangy woman. Fr. rogneux, royne, scurf. Steevens.
8 —like a rat without a tail,] It should be remembered (as it was the belief of the times) that though a witch could assume the form of any animal she pleased, the tail would still be wanting.
The reason given by some of the old writers, for such a deficiency, is, that though the hands and feet, by an easy change, might be converted into the four paws of a beast, there was still no part about a woman which corresponded with the length of tail common to almost all four-footed creatures. Steevens.
9 He shall live a man forbid :] i. e. as one under a curse, an interdiction. So afterwards in this play,
By his orwn interdiction stands accurs'd. So among the Romans, an outlaw's sentence was, Aawc St Ignis interdictio; i. e. he was forbid the use of water and fire, which imply'd the necessity of banishment. THEOBALD.
Mr. Theobald has very justly explained forbid bjr accursed, but without giving any reason of his interpretation. To bid is originally to pray, as in this Saxon fragment,
He ij- Jjij- -Ji bit •} bore, &c.
As to forbid therefore implies to prohibit, in oppo* sitlon to the word bid in its present sense, it signifies by the same kind of opposition to curse, when it is derived from the same word in its primitive meaning.
10 The weird sisters, /iand in hand,] Weird coraes from the Anglo-Saxon fypb, and is used as a substantive signifying a prophecy by the translator of Hector Boethias in the year 1541, as well as for the Destinies by Chaucer and Holinshed. Of the weirdis gevyn to Makbeth and Banqhuv, is the argument of one of the chapters. And Gawin Douglas, in his translation of Virgil, calls the Parcie the weird sisteris. • The other method of spelling was merely a blunder of the transcriber or printer.
The Valkyritf, or Valkyriur, were not barely three, in number. The learned critic Dr. Warburton might have found in Bartholinus, not only Gunna, liota, et Skullda, but also Scogula, Hilda, Gondula, and Geiroscogula. Bartholinus adds that their number is yet