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For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late.
To kill their gracious father? Damned fact!
That were the slaves of drink, and thralls of sleep?
His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear,
The son of Duncan,
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights;
1 "Who cannot want the thought," &c. The sense requires "who can want the thought;" but it is probably a lapse of the Poet's pen.
2 It has been shown that free sometimes meant pure, chaste, consequently unspotted, which may be its meaning here. Free also meant noble.
3 Exasperate, for exasperated.
Sent he to Macduff? Lord. He did; and with an absolute, Sir, not I, The cloudy messenger turns me his back, And hums; as who should say, That clogs me with this answer.
You'll rue the time
Len. And that well might Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel Fly to the court of England, and unfold His message ere he come; that a swift blessing May soon return to this our suffering country Under a hand accursed!
Lord. I'll send my prayers with him!
SCENE I. A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron, Thunder.
Enter the three Witches.
1 Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.
2 Witch. Thrice; and once the hedge-pig whined.
3 Witch. Harper cries:-'Tis time, 'tis time.
1 Witch. Round about the caldron go;
1 "Coldest stone." The old copy reads "cold stone;" the emendation is Steevens's. Mr. Boswell thinks that the alteration was unnecessary.
2 Sweltered. This word is employed to signify that the animal was moistened with its own cold exudations.
2 Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake,
All. Double, double toil and trouble;
3 Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf;
All. Double, double toil and trouble;
2 Witch. Cool it with a baboon's blood, Then the charm is firm and good.
1 The blind-worm is the slow-worm.
2 Gulf, the throat.
3 To ravin, according to Minshew, is to devour, to eat greedily. Ravined, therefore, may be glutted with prey; unless, with Malone, we suppose that Shakspeare used ravined for ravenous, the passive participle for the adjective. In Horman's Vulgaria, 1519, occurs "Thou art a ravenar of delycatis."
4 Sliver is a common word in the north, where it means to cut a piece or slice.
5 i. e. entrails; a word formerly in common use in books of cookery, in one of which, printed in 1597, is a receipt to make a pudding of a calf's chawdron.
Enter HECATE and the other three Witches.
Hec. O, well done! I commend your pains;
you put in.
Black spirits and white,
2 Witch. By the pricking of
Macb. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags? What is't you do?
A deed without a name.
Macb. I conjure you, by that which you profess, (Howe'er you come to know it,) answer me. Though you untie the winds, and let them fight Against the churches; though the yesty waves Confound and swallow navigation up; Though bladed corn be lodged, and trees blown down; Though castles topple on their warders' heads ; Though palaces, and pyramids, do slope
1 "Black spirits and white." The original edition of this play only contains the two first words of this song; the entire stanza is found in The Witch, by Middleton, and is there called "A charme Song about a Vessel."
2 "By the pricking of my thumbs." It is a very ancient superstition, that all sudden pains of the body, and other sensations which could not naturally be accounted for, were presages of somewhat that was shortly to happen.
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
To what I ask you.
1 Witch. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters'?
Call them; let me see them. 1 Witch. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten Her nine farrow; grease, that's sweaten From the murderer's gibbet, throw
Into the flame.
Come, high, or low;
Thunder. An Apparition of an armed Head rises.3
Macb. Tell me, thou unknown power,
1 Witch. Hear his speech, but say thou nought. App. Macbeth! Macbeth Macbeth! beware
Beware the thane of Fife.-Dismiss me.-Enough.
He knows thy thought;
Macb. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
Thou hast harped my fear aright.-But one word
1 Witch. He will not be commanded.
another, More potent than the first.
1 Germins, seeds which have begun to sprout or germinate. 2 Deflly is adroitly, dexterously.
3 The armed head represents, symbolically, Macbeth's head cut off and brought to Malcolm by Macduff. The bloody child is Macduff, untimely ripped from his mother's womb. The child, with a crown on his head and a bough in his hand, is the royal Malcolm, who ordered his soldiers to hew them down a bough, and bear it before them to Dunsinane.
4 Harped, touched on a passion as a harper touches a string.