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analogy. Which analogies were founded in a superstitious philosophy arising out of the nature of ancient idolatry; which would require a vohime to explain.
WARBURTON. The old copy has the passage thus :
Augures, and understood relations, have
By mag got-pies and chonghs, &c. The modern editors read :
Augurs that understand relations, have
By magpies and by choughs, &c. Perhaps we should read, auguries, i. e. prognostications by means of omens and prodigies. These, together with the connection of effects with causes, being understood, says he, have been instrumental in di. vulging the most secret murders.
In Cotgrave's Dictionary, a magpie is called a magatapie. Magot-pie is the original name of the bird; Magot being the familiar appellation given to pies, as we say Robin to a redbreast, Tom to a titmouse, Philip to a sparrow, &c. · The modern mag is the abbreviation of the ancient Magot, a word which we had from the French.
STEEVENS. 394. How say'st thou, &c.] Macbeth here asks a question, which the recollection of a moment enables him to answer. Of this forgetfulness, natural to a mind oppress'd, there is a beautiful instance in the sacred song of Deborah and Barak : " She asked her wise women counsel : yea, she returned answer to herself.”
This circumstance likewise takes its rise from history. Macbeth sent to Macduff to assist in building
the castle of Dunsinane. Macduff sent workmen, &c. but did not choose to trust his person in the tyrant's power. From this time he resolved on his death.
STEEVENS. 398. There's not a one of them, -] A one of them, however uncouth the phrase, signifies an india vidual. In Albumazar, 1614, the same expression
“_Not a one shakes his tail, but I sigh out a passion.” Theobald would read thane; and might have found his proposed emendation in Davenant's alteration of Macbeth, 1674. This avowal of the tyrant is authorised by Holinshed : “ He had in
every nobleman's house one slie fellow or other in fee with him to reveale all,” &c.
STEEVENS. 407. -he scann'd.] To scan is to examine nicely. Thus, in Hamlet:
so he goes to heaven,
-how these are scann'd,
Steevens. 408. You lack the season of all natures, sleep.] I take the meaning to be, you want sleep, which seasons, or. gives the relish to all nature. “ Indiget somni vitæ condimenti."
We are yet
a maiden can season her praise in." Again, in The Rape of Lucrece :
“ But I alone, alone must sit and pine,
in deed.] The meaning is not ill explained by a line in K. Henry VI. Part III. We are not, Macbeth would say,
“ Made impudent with use of evil deeds." The initiate fear, is the fear that always attends the first initiation into guilt, before the mind becomes callous and insensible by frequent repetitions of it, or (as the poet says) by hard use.
STEEvens. 412. --meeting Hecate.] Shakspere seems to have been unjustly censured for introducing Hecate among the modern witches. Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, Book III. c. 2. and c. 16. and Book XII. C. 3. 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 god. dess of the Pagans," &c.---Their dame or chief leader seems always to have been an old Pagan, as “the ladie Sibylla, Minerva, or Diana.” Toller.
426. - -the pit of Acheron] Shakspere seems to have thought it allowable to bestow the name of Acheron on any fountain, lake, or pit, through which there was vulgarly supposed to be a communication between this and the infernal world. The true original Acheron was a river in Greece ; and yet Virgil gives
this name to his lake in the valley of Amsan&tus in Italy,
STE EVENS. 435 -vap'rous drop profound ;] That is, a drop that has profound, deep, or hidden qualities.
JOHNSON, There hangs a vap'rous drop profound; This vaporous drop seems to have been meant for the same as the virus lunare of the ancients, being a foam. which the moon was supposed to shed on particular herbs, or other objects, when strongly solicited by enchantment. Lucan introduces Erietho using it. l. 6. -et virus large lunare ministrat. "
STEEVENS 437 -sliglits,] Arts; subtle practices.
JOHNSON Enter Lenox, and another. Lord.] As this tragedy, like the rest of Shakspere's, is perhaps overstocked with personages, it is not easy to assign a reason why a nameless character should be introduced here, since nothing is said that might not with equal propriety have been put into the mouth of any other disaffected man,
I believe, therefore, that in the original copy it was written with a very common form of contraction, Lenox and An. for which the transcriber instead of Lenox and Angus, set down Lenox and another Lord. The author had, indeed, been more indebted to the transcriber's fidelity and diligence, had he committed no errors of greater importance.
455. Who cannot want the thought
-] The sense requires :
Who can want the thought-Yet, I believe, the text is not corrupt. Shakspere is sometimes incorrect in these minutiæ. MALONE. 472. The son of Duncan,] The common editions have Theobald corrected it.
Thither Macduff is gone
pray the holy king, &c.] The modern edi. tors, for the sake of the metre, omit the word holy, and read,
STEEVENS. 484. --and receive free honours,] Free forgrateful.
WARBURTON. How can free be grateful? It may be either honours freely bestowed, not purchased by crimes ; or honours without slavery, without dread of a tyrant. JOHNSON.
-486. -their king,--] The sense requires that we should read the king, i.e. Macbeth. Their is the reading of the old copy.
STEEVENS. 494. Advise him to a caution, Thus the old copy. The modern editors, to add smoothness to the versification, read, to a care.