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Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition;
Nor would we deign him burial of his men,
Till he disbursed, at Saint Colmes' inch,'
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

Dun. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive

Our bosom interest:-Go, pronounce his death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.

Rosse. I'll see it done.

Dun. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath




A Heath.


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 chesnuts in her lap, And mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'd:Give me, quoth I:

Aroint thee, witch! the rump-fed ronyon' cries.


Saint Colmes' inch,] Colmes' inch, now called Inchcomb, is a small island lying in the Firth of Edinburgh, with an abbey upon it, dedicated to St. Columb; called by Camden Inch Colm, or The Isle of Columba.


Aroint thee, witch!] Aroint, or avaunt, be gone. POPE.

the rump-fed ronyon-] The chief cooks in noblemen's families, colleges, religious houses, hospitals, &c. anciently claimed the emoluments or kitchen fees of kidneys, fat, trotters, rumps, &c. which they sold to the poor. The weird sister in this scene, as an insult on the poverty of the woman who had called her witch, reproaches her poor abject state, as not being able to procure better provision than offals. Ronyon means scabby or mangy woman. Fr. rogneux.

Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o'the Tiger:
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.

1 Witch. Thou art kind.

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'the shipman's card.3

I will drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall, neither night nor day,
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid:4

Weary sev'n-nights, nine times nine,
Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-toss'd.
Look what I have.

2 Witch. Show me, show me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb,
Wreck'd, as homeward he did come.

3 Witch. A drum, a drum;

Macbeth doth come.

[Drum within.

All. The weird sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land,

the shipman's card.] The card is the paper on which the winds are marked under the pilot's needle; or perhaps the seachart, so called in our author's age.

He shall live a man forbid:] i. e, as one under a curse, an interdiction. To bid is originally to pray. As to forbid therefore implies to prohibit, in opposition 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.

5 The weird sisters, hand in hand,] These weird sisters, were the Fates of the northern nations; the three hand-maids of Odin. Hæ nominantur Valkyriæ, quas quodvis ad prælium Odinus mittit.

Thus do go about, about;

Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
And thrice again, to make up nine:
Peace!-the charm's wound



Macb. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
Ban. How far is't call'd to Fores?-What are


So wither'd, and so wild in their attire;

That look not like the inhabitants o'the earth,
And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand


Hæ viros morti destinant, et victoriam gubernant. Gunna, et Rota, et Parcarum minima Skullda: per aëra et maria equitant semper ad morituros eligendos; et cædes in potestate habent. Bartholinus de Causis contemptæ à Danis adhuc Gentilibus mortis. It is for this reason that Shakspeare makes them three; and calls them,

Posters of the sea and land;

and intent only upon death and mischief. However, to give this part of his work the more dignity, he intermixes, with this Northern, the Greek and Roman superstitions; and puts Hecate at the head of their enchantments. And to make it still more familiar to the common audience (which was always his point) he adds, for another ingredient, a sufficient quantity of our own country superstitions concerning witches; their beards, their cats, and their broomsticks. So that his witch-scenes are like the charm they prepare in one of them; where the ingredients are gathered from every thing shocking in the natural world, as here, from every thing absurd in the moral. But as extravagant as all this is, the play has had the power to charm and bewitch every audience, from that time to this. WARBURTON.

The Valkyria, or Valkyriur, were not barely three in number. The learned critic might have found, in Bartholinus, not only Gunna, Rota, et Skullda, but also, Scogula, Hilda, Gondula, and Geiroscogula. Bartholinus adds, that their number is yet greater, according to other writers who speak of them. They were the cupbearers of Odin, and conductors of the dead. They were distinguished by the elegance of their forms; and it would be as just to compare youth and beauty with age and deformity, as the Valkyria of the North with the Witches of Shakspeare.


By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips :-You should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret


you are so.


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 Cawdor!7

3 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter.

Ban. Good sir, why do you start; and seem to


Things that do sound so fair?-I'the name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed

Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace, and great prediction Of noble having,' and of royal hope,

That he seems rapt withal; to ine you speak not:
If you can look into the seeds of time,

And say, which grain will grow, and which will not;
Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear,
Your favours, nor your hate.

1 Witch. Hail!

2 Witch. Hail!

3 Witch. Hail!

thane of Glamis !] 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.


thane of Cawdor!] Dr. Johnson observes, in his Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, that part of Calder Castle, from which Macbeth drew his second title, is still remaining.

8 Are ye fantastical,] By fantastical, he means creatures of fantasy or imagination: the question is, Are these real beings before us, or are we deceived by illusions of fancy? JOHNSON. Of noble having,] Having is estate, possession, fortune. That he seems rapt withal;] Rapt is rapturously affected, extra se raptus.

1 Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. 2 Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier.

3 Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be


So, all hail, Macbeth, and Banquo!

1 Witch. Banquo, and Macbeth, all hail ! Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me


By Sinel's death, I know, I am thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman; and, to be king,
Stands not within the prospect of belief,

No more than to be Cawdor. Say, from whence
You owe this strange intelligence? or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetick greeting?-Speak, I charge
[Witches vanish.


Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, And these are of them:-Whither are they vanish'd? Macb. Into the air; and what seem'd corporal, melted

As breath into the wind.-'Would they had staid! Ban. Were such things here, as we do speak about?

Or have we eaten of the insane root,*

That takes the reason prisoner?

Macb. Your children shall be kings.


You shall be king.

Macb. And thane of Cawdor too; went it not


Ban. To the self-same tune, and words. Who's here?

3 By Sinel's death,] The father of Macbeth.

-eaten of the insane root,] The insane root is the root which makes insane, and which the commentators have not discovered.

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