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LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE.
IN this une chass tragedy Shakspeare has closely adhered to historical fact, excepting that Banquo, out of com pliment to his descendant James I. is excluded from all participation in the murder of Duncan. In the reign of Charles II. the songs of the witches were set to music by the celebrated Matthew Lock, and the play regarded as a semi-opera. The ghosts and witches, though admirably pourtrayed, have been censured as an insult to common sense; and cautions have been held out to the young and uninformed against imbibing the absurd principles of fatalism which are seemingly countenanced in many parts of this piece. But in the time of Shakspeare, the doctrine of witchcraft was at once established by law and by fashion, and it became not ouly unpolite, but criminal, to doubt it.---King James himself in his dialogues of Damonologie, re-printed in London soon after his succession, has speculated deeply on the illusions of spirits, the compact of witches, &c. ; and our dramatist only turned to his advantage a system universally admitted. In representation, some un interesting scenes are omitted; many of the witches' dialogues adapted to beautiful music, and a song or two, probably written by Sir W. Davenant, added to the parts. Betterton, amidst many bad alterations, hit upon the plan of making the witches deliver all the prophecies, by which a deal of the trap-work is avoided, and Garrick substituted some excellent passages to be uttered by Macbeth, whilst expiring, in lieu of the disgust ing exposure of his head by Macduff. The neatest criticism upon the play, and the most concise record of its historical facts, are contained in the following extract from a standard publication: "Macbeth flourished in Scotland about the middle of the tenth century. At this period Duncan was king, a mild and humane prince, but not at all possessed of the genius requisite for governing a country so turbulent, and so infested by the intrigues and animosities of the great Macbeth, a powerful nobleman, and nearly allied to the crown. Not con tented with curbing the king's authority, carried still further his mad ambition; he murdered Duncan at laverness, and then seized upon the throne. Fearing lest his ill-gotten power should be stripped from him, he chased Malcolm Kenmore, the son and heir, into England, and put to death Mac Gill and Banquo, the two most powerful men in his donunions. Macduff, next becoming the object of his suspicion, escaped into England; but the inhuman usurper wreaked his vengeance on his wife and children, whom he caused to be cruelly butchered. Siward, whose daughter was married to Duncan, embraced, by Edward's orders, the protection of his distressed family. He marched an army into Scotland, and having defeated and killed Macbeth in battle, he restored Malcolm to the throne of his ancestors. The tragedy founded upon the history of Macberb, though contrary to the rules of the drama, contains an infinity of beauties with respect to language, character, passion, and incident; and is thought to be one of the very best pieces of the very best masters in this kind of writing that the world ever produced. The danger of ambition is well described, and the passions are directed to their true ends, so that it is not only admirable as a poem, but one of the most moral pieces existing."
SCENE, in the end of the fourth act, lies in England; through the rest of the play, in Scotland; and, chiefly, at Macbeth's Castle.
SCENE 11.-A Camp near Fores. Alarum within. Enter King DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENOX, with ATTENDANTS, meeting a bleeding SOLDIER.
Dun. What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
Mal. This is the sergeant,
Who, like a good and hardy soldier, fought
Sold. Doubtfully it stood;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together, And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald
(Worthy to be a rebel; for to that
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him,) from the western isles,
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Carv'd out his passage, till he fac'd the slave; And ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseain'd him from the nave to the chaps, And fix'd his head upon our battlements.
Dun. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman! Sold. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break; So from that spring, whence comfort seem'd to come,
Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland,
No sooner justice had, with valour arm'd,
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage, With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men, Began a fresh assault.
Dun. Dismay'd not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
As sparrows, eagles; or the hare, the lion.
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
I cannot tell :
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.
Dun. So well thy words become thee, as thy
They smack of honour both :-Go, get him surgeons. [Exit SOLDIER, attended. Enter Rosse.
Who comes here?
Mal. The worthy thane of Rosse.
Len. What a haste looks through his eyes!
That seems to speak things strange.
Dun. Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane ?
Where the Norweyan banners flout** the sky,
Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Dun. Great happiness! Rosse. That now
Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition;
Dun. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest :-Go, pronounce his death,
Dun. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath [Exeunt.
SCENE III-A Heath.-Thunder.
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 1:
Aroint thee, witch! the rump-fed ronyon
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o'the
2 Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
3 Witch. And I another.
1 Witch. I myself have all the other;
I will drain him dry as hay:
2 Witch. Show me, show me.
1 Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wreck'd, as homeward he did come. [Drum within.
3 Witch. A drum, a drum; Macbeth doth come.
All. The weird sisters, ¶ hand in hand,
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
Enter MACBETH and BANQUO.
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Macb. Speak, if you can ;-What are you?
2 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!
3 Witch. All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter.
Ban. Good Sir, why do you start, and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair?-I'the name of truth,
Are ye fantastical or that indeed
Of noble having, † and of royal hope, [not:
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
1 Witch. Hail!
2 Witch. Hail!
3 Witch. Hail!
1 Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. 2 Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier. 3 Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though thou
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 prophetic greeting ?-Speak, I charge [WITCHES vanish. Ban. The earth bath bubbles, as the water has, [nish'd? And these are of them :-Whither are they vaMacb. 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,
Macb. Your children shall be kings.
Macb. And thane of Cawdor too; went it
Ang. Who was the thane, lives yet;
He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not;
Mach. Glamis and thane of Cawdor: The greatest is behind. Thanks for your pains.
Do you not hope your children shall be kings,
Ban. That trusted home,
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
Macb. Two truths are told,
Ban. Look, how our partner's rapt. Macb. If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown ine,
Without my stir.
Ban. New honours come upon him
Like our strange garments; cleave not to the mould,
But with the aid of use.
Macb. Come what come may;
Time and the hour ++ runs through the roughest day.
Ban. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
Macb. Give me your favour: -my dull brain was wrought [pains With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your Are register'd where every day I turn The leaf to read them.-Let us toward the [time, Think upon what hath chanc'd; and, at more The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak Our free hearts each to other.
oppressed by conjecture.
powers of action are 1 Time and oppor
Mal. My liege,
They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
Dun. There's no art,
To find the mind's construction in the face: †
Enter MACBETH, BANQUO, ROSSE, and ANGUS.
To overtake thee. 'Would thou hadst less deserv'd ;
That the proportion both of thanks and payment Might have been mine! only I have left to say, More is thy due than more than all can pay.
Mach. The service and the loyalty I owe, In doing it, pays itself. Your highness' part Is to receive our duties; and our duties Are to your throne and state, children, and servants,
Which do but what they should, by doing every thing
Safe toward your love and honour.
I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
Ban. There if I grow,
Dun. My plenteous joys,
Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
Macb. The rest is labour, which is not us'd for you:
I'll be myself the harbinger, and make joyful
Dun. My worthy Cawdor!
Macb. The prince of Cumberland!-That is a step,
On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap,
[Exit. Dun. True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant;
And in his commendations, I am fed;
SCENE V.-Inverness.-A Room in
Enter Lady MACBETH, reading a letter. Lady M. They met me in the day of success; and I have learned by the perfectest
report, they have more in them than morta, knowledge. When I burned in desire t question them further, they made themselves -air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives ↑ from the king, who all-hailed me, Thane of Cawdor; by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of time, with Hail king that shalt be! This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest purtner of greatness; that thou mightest not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell. Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promis'd :-Yet do 1 fear thy
It is too full o'the milk of human kindness, To catch the nearest way: Thou would'st be great;
Art not without ambition; but without
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;
That tend on mortal || thought, unsex me here;
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall** thee in the dunnest smoke of hell! That my keen knife tt see not the wound it makes;
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, Cawdor! To cry, Hold, Hold!--Great Glamis ! worthy
Greater than both, by the all-bail hereafter !
↑ Messengers. Supernatural.
a mantle." + Knife truth
meant a sword or dogger.
11 Ie. Beyond the present time, which is according to the process of na ture ignorant of the future.
Mech. My dearest love,
Duncan comes here to-night.
Lady M. And when goes bence?
Macb. To-morrow,-as he purposes.
Shall sun that morrow see!
Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men May read strange matters :-To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it. He that's coming
SCENE VII.-The same.-A Room in the Castle.
Hautboys and torches. Enter, and pass over the stage, a Sewer, and divers Servants with dishes and service. Then enter MACBETH.
Macb. If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly: If the assassination
We still have judgment here; that we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, returu To plague the inventor: This even-handed jusCommends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips. He's here in double trust:
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Lady M. He has almost supp'd; Why have
Macb. We will proceed no further in this
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Lady M. Was the hope drunk,
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale At what it did so freely? From this time, be the same in thine own act and valour, Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard As thou art in desire ? Would'st thou have that
Were poor and single business, to contend
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
I dare do all that may become a man ;
Lady M. What beast was it then,
They have made themselves, and that their fit.
[know Does unmake you. I have given suck; and