Abbildungen der Seite

Whose voices I desire aloud with mine,–

As calling home our exild friends abroad Hail, king of Scotland !

That fled the snares of watchful tyranny; ALL. Hail, king of Scotland! [Flourish. Producing forth the cruel ministers Mal. We shall not spend a large expense of Of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen, time

Who, as 't is thought, by self and violent hands Before we reckon with your several loves,

Took off her life ;—this, and what needful else And make us even with you. My thanes and That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, kinsmen,

We will perform in measure, time, and place ! Henceforth be earls,—the first that ever Scotland So, thanks to all at once, and to each one, In such an honour nam’d. What's more to do, Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone. Which would be planted newly with the time.

[Flourish. Exeunt.

[graphic][ocr errors]




borne which shall governe the Scotish kingdome by long order of continuall descent.'

• Herewith the foresaid women vanished immediatlie out of their sight. This was reputed at the first but some vaine fantasticall illusion by Makbeth and Banquho, insomuch that Banquho would call Makbeth in jest, king of Scotland ; and Makbeth againe would call him in sport likewise, the father of manie kings. But afterwards the common opinion was, that these women were either the weird sisters, that is (as ye would say) the goddesses of destinie, or else some nymphs or feiries, indued with knowledge of prophesie by their necromanticall science, because everie thing came to passe as they had spoken. For shortlie after, the thane of Cawdor being condemned at Fores of treason against the king committed ; his lands, livings and offices were given of the kings liberalitie to Makbeth."

« But

(1) SCENE III.- But in a siere I'll thither sail.] In a pamphlet entitled “Newes from Scotland, declaring the daminable life and death of Doctor Fian, a notable sorcerer,” &c. 1591, which professes to expose a conspiracy of two hundred witches with Dr. Fian at their head, "to bewitch and drowne” King James in the sea, we read,

“Item-Agnis Tompson was brought again before the kings majesty and his council, and being examined of the meetings and detestable dealings of those witches, she confessed that upon the night of All-hallawn-even last she was accompanied as well with the persons aforesaid, as also with a great many other witches, to the number of two hundred, and that they altogether went by sea, each one in a riddle or sieve, and went in the same very substantially with flaggons of wine, making merry and drinking by the way in the same riddles or sieves, to the kirk of North Berwick in Lothian, and that after they had landed they took hands on the land and danced this reel or short dance, singing all with one voice,

" Commer goe ye before, commer goe ye,

Gif you will not goe before, commer let me!" (2) SCENE III.

Weary sev'n-nights, nine times nine,

Shali he dwindle, peak, and pine.] For a particular account of the manner in which this mischief was sometimes effected see note (4), p. 43, Vol. I. To what is there related, we need only add the following notable charm from “ Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft : '

A charme teaching how to hurt whom you list with images of vox, &c. Make an image in his name, whom you would hurt or kill, of new virgine wax ; under the right armepoke whereof place a swallow's heart, and the liver under the left; then hang about the neck thereof a new thred in a new needle pricked into the member which you would have hurt, with the rehearsall of certain words : " &c. (3) SCENE III.

What are these,
So uither'd, and so wild in their attire ;
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,

And yet are on't?] Compare Holinshed: - " It fortuned as Makbeth and Banquho journied towards Fores, where the king then laie, they went sporting by the waie togither without other companie, save onelie themselves, passing thorough the woods and fields, when suddenlie in the middest of a laund, there met them three women in strange and wild apparell, resembling creatures of elder world, whome when they attentivelie beheld, woondering much at the sight, the first of them spake and said ; All haile Makbeth, thane of Glammis' (for he had latelie entered into that dignitie and office by the death of his father Sinell). The second of them said ; 'Haile Makbeth thane of Cawdor.' But the third said ; 'All haile Makbeth that héereafter shalt be king of Scotland.'

• Then Banquho; What manner of women (saith be) are you, that séeme so little favourable unto me, whereas to my fellow heere, besides high offices, ye assigne also the kingdome, appointing foorth nothing for me at all ?'

Yes (saith the first of them) we promise greater benefits unto thée, than unto him, for he shall reigne in déed, but with an unluckie end: neither shall he leave anie issue behind him to succeed in his place, where contrarilie thou in deed shalt not reigne at all, but of thée those shall be

(4) SCENE IV.The prince of Cumberland.] shortlie after it chanced that king Duncane, having two sonnes by his wife which was the daughter of Siward earle of Northumberland, he made the elder of them called Malcolme prince of Cumberland, as it were thereby to appoint him his sucessor in the kingdome, immediatlie after his decease. Makbeth, sore troubled herewith, for that he saw by this means his hope sore hindered (where, by the old lawes of the realme, the ordinance was, that if he that should succeed were not of able age to take the charge upon himselfe, he that was next of bloud unto him should be admitted) he began to take counsell how he might usurpe the kingdome by force, having a just quarell so to doo (as he tooke the matter) for that Duncane did what in bim lay to defraud him of all maner of title and claime, which he might in time to come, pretend unto the crowne.”

[ocr errors]


Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ'd,

The air is delicate ]
Sir Joshua Reynolds was struck,

, -as who possessing a spark of sensibility can fail to be,-with the exceeding beauty of this brief colloquy before the castle of Macbeth, and he observes on it, -- "This short dialogue between Duncan and Banquo, whilst they are approaching the gates of Macbeth's castle, has always appeared to me a striking instance of what in painting is termed repose. Their conversation very naturally turns upon the beauty of its situation, and the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlets' nests in every recess of the cornice, remarks, that where those birds most breed and haunt, the air is delicate. The subject of this quiet and easy conversation gives that repose so vecessary to the mind after the tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the scene of horror that immediately succeeds. It seems as if Shakspeare asked himself, What is a prince likely to say to his attendants on such an occasion? Whereas the modern writers seem, on the contrary, to be always searching for new thoughts, such as would never occur to men in the situation which is represented. This also is frequently the practice of Homer, who, from the midst of battles and horrors, relieves and refreshes the mind of the reader hy introducing some quiet rural image, a picture of domestick life.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


(1) SCENE III.--'Tis said they eat each other.] Very many of the incidents connected with Duncan's death are not to be found in the narrative of that event, but are taken from the Chroniclers' account of King Duffe's murder. Among them are the prodigies mentioned in this speech :“Monstrous sightes also that were seene without the Scottishe kingdome that yeare were these, horses in Lothian being of singuler beautie and swiftnesse, did eate their owne fleshe and would in nowise taste any other meate. In Angus there was a gentlewoman brought forth a child without eyes, nose, hande, or foote. There was a Sparhauke also strangled by an Owle. Neither was it any lesse wonder that the sunne, as before is sayd, was continually covered with clou les, for vi. moneths space : But all men understood that the abhominable murder of king Duffe was the cause hereof."

a separate instrument. The stone, as is well known, was never restored. “This fatal stone,' says Sir Walter Scott,

was said to have been brought from Ireland by Fergus the son of Eric, who led the Dalriads to the shores of Argyleshire. Its virtues are preserved in the celebrated leonine verse :

Ni fallat Fitum, Scoti, quocunque locatum

Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem.' There were Scots who hailed the accomplishment of this prophecy at the accession of James VI. to the crown of England, and exulted that, in removing their palladium, the policy of Edward resembled that which brought the Trojan horse in triumph within their walls, and which occasioned the destruction of their royal family. The stone is still preserved, and forms the support of King Edward the Confessor's chair, which the sovereign occupies at his coronation.' In preparing this chair for the coronation of her present Majesty, some small fragments of this stone were broken off."- Ve Statistical Account of Scotland, 1815, vol. x. p. 1047.


He is already nam'd; and gone to Scone

To be invested.] “Scone is well known to have early obtained historical importance. It received, it would appear, the title of the * Royal City of Scone,' so early as A.D. 906 or 909. The Pictish Chronicle informs us that Constantine the son of Ed, and Kellach the Bishop, together with the Scots, solemnly vowed to observe the laws and discipline of faith, the rights of the churches and of the Gospel, on the Hill of Credulity, near the Royal City of Scoan.' If the Stone of Destiny was transferred by Kenneth Mac Alpine from Dunstaffnage in Argyleshire to Scone in A. D. 838, we may see a reason for the title · Royal City,' which seems to have been acquired before the meeting of the Ecclesiastical Council. One of the most memorable of the combats with the Danes was fought at Collin near Scone, in the time of Donald IV. the son of Constantine II., for the possession of this stone. This must have been previous to A.D. 904, in which year Donald fell in battle at Forteviot. It is said that a religious house was established at Scone, when the stone was transferred by Kenneth Mac Alpine. During the reign of Alexander, Scone seems to have been occasionally a royal residence, and, like St. Andrews and other places in which monasteries were established, it was a market for foreign nations. Alexander addressed a writ to the merchants of England, inviting them to trade to Scone, and promising them protection on condition of their paying a custom to the monastery. This custom was an impost on all ships trading with Scone, from which it appears to have been anciently a port.

“About a mile from the river there was at a comparatively recent period a bog called the full sea mere, which according to tradition has been covered by the tide, and in which when digging for a pond, stones similar to those in the bed of the Tay were found. Whatever may be the value of the commonly received fact as to the transference of the fatal stone to Scone, there can be no doubt that many of the Scottish kings were inangurated here.

“Edward I. having penetrated to the north as far as Elgin, and having reduced Baliol to a state of the most abject submission, on his return ordered the famous stono on which the Scottish kings had been wont to be crowned, to be removed from the Abbey of Scone and conveyed to Westminster, in testimony, says Hemingford, an English contemporary chronicler, of the conquest and surrender of the kingdom. The restoration of the stone, though omitted in the treaty Northampton (1328), was stipulated by


Where is Duncan's body! MACD. Carried to Colme-kill.] “ To the Highlanders of the present day, Iona is known as “Innis-nan-Druidhneach,' or the Island of the Druids -as ‘li-cholum-chille, or the Island of Colum, of the Cell, or Cemetery, from whence the English word Icolymkill is derived.

“ In Macfarlane's MS., Advocates' library, there is a description of this island by Dean Monro, who travelled through the Western isles in 1519.

* Colmkill.-Narrest this be twa myles of sea, layes the Isle the Erische call it I. colmkill, that is, Sanct Colm's Isle, ane faire mayne Isle of twa myle lange, and maire and ane mylo braid, fertill and fruitfull of corn and store, and guid for fishing. Within this ile there is a monastery of Mounkes and ane uther of nuns, with a paroche kirke, and sundry other chappels dotat of auld be the kings of Scotland, and be Clandonald of the lyles. This abbay forsaid wes the cathedrall kirk of the bischops of the Iyles sen the tyme they were expulsed out of the lyle of Man by the Englishmen ; for within the lyle of Man was the cathedrall kirke, and living of auld. Within this ile of Colmkill, there is ane sanctuary also, or kirkaird, callit in Erische, Religoram, quhilk is a very fair kirkyaird, and weill biggit about with staine and lime. Into this sanctuary there is three tombes of staine formit like litle chappels with ane braid gray marble or quhin staine in the garile of ilk ane of the tombes. In the staine of the tomb there is written in Latin letters Tumulus Regum Scotia, that is, the tombe or grave of the Scotts kinges. Within this tombe according to our Scotts and Erische chronickles, ther layes fortyeight crowned Scotts kinges, through the quhilk this ile has beine richlie dotat be the Scots kinges, as we have said. * * * Within this sanctuarie also lyes the maist past of the Lords of the lles with ther lynage, two clan Lynes with ther lynage, M'Kynnon and N'Guare, with ther lineages, with sundrie uthers inhabitants of the hail iles, because this sanctuary was wont to be the sepulture of the best men of all the isles ; and als of our kinye's as we have said ; because it was the maist honor. able and anciend place that was in Scotland in thair days as we read."--New Statistical Account of Scotland. 1845, vol. vii. p. $13.

[ocr errors]


ton and D'Avenant from stage tradition, or from some less imperfect copy of “Macbeth” than is now known.


Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!

Thou mayst revenge.-0, slave?] The murder of Banquo is told very briefly by Hoiinshed :

“ The words also of the thrée weird sisters would not out of his mind, which as they promised him the kingdome, so likewise did they promise it at the same time unto the posteritie of Banquho. He willed therefore the same Banquho with his sonne named Fleanco, to come to a supper that he had prepared for them, which was in deed, is he had deviseil, present death at the hands of certeine murderers, whom he hired to execute that déed, appointing them to meet with the same Banquho and his sonne without the palace, as thoy returned to their lodgings, and there to slea them, so that he would not have his house slandered, but that in time to come he might cleare himselfe, if anie thing were laid to his charge upon anie suspicion that might arise.

" It chanced yet by the benefit of the darke night, that though the father were slaine, the sonne yet by the helpe of Almightie God reserving him to better fortune, escaped that (langer: and afterwards having some inkeling (hy the admonition of some friends which he had in the court) how his life was sought no losse than his fathers, who was slaine not by chance medlie (as by the handling of the matter Makbeth would have had it to appeare) but even upon a prepensed devise : whereupon to avoid further perill he Hed into Wales."

Song in The IVitch."
" :
Heccat, Heccat, coure xway.} in the aire
Hee. I come, I come, I come,

With all the speed I may."
"Now I goe, now I flie,

Malkin my sweete spirit and I,
Oh what a daintie pleasure tis
To ride in the aire
When the moone shines faire,
And sing and daunce, and toy and kiss :
Over woods, high rocks, and mountaines,
Over seas, our mistris fountaines,
Over steepe towres and turretts
We fly by night, 'mongst troopes of spirritts.
No ring of bells to our eares sounds,
No howles of wolves, no yelpes of hounds;
No, not the noyse of water's-breache,

Or cannon's throat, our height can reache." “ The Witch" is supposed to have been written about 1613, but it was not printed before 1778. D'Avenant's alteration of “Macbeth was printed a century earlier. From this circumstance, as well as from the differences observable in passages common to both, it may be inferred that the latter did not copy those passages from Middleton, but that each derived them from the same original. The following is D'Avenant's version of the preceiling song :

“ Come away Heccate, Heccate! Oh come away:

Hec. I come, I come, with all the speed I may."
“ Now I go, and now I tl ye

Malking my sweet Spirit and I.
O what a dainty pleasure's this,
To saili th' Air
While the Moon shines fair;
To Sing, to Toy, to Dance and Kiss,
Over Woods, high Rocks ar' Mountains ;
Over Hills, and misty Fotains;
Over Steeples, Towers, and Turrets:
We flye by night 'mongst troops of Spirits.
No Ring of Bells to our Ears sounds,
No how les of Wolves, nor Yelps of llounds;
No, nor the noise of Waters breach,
Nor Cannons Throats, our lleight can reach."

(2) SCENE V.--Enter HECATE.] “Shakspeare seems to have been unjustly censured for introducing Hecate among the modern witches. Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, b. iii. c. ii. and c. xvi., and b. xii. c. iii., 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 goddess of the pagans,' &c. Their dame or chief leader seems always to have been an old pagan, as 'the Ladie Sibylla, Minerva, or Diana.'”—TOLLET.

(3) SCENE V.-Song. [Without.] Come aray, come array, dc.) The song actually sung here we conjecture to he that given in the correspon ling scene of Middleton's “ Witch,” and in D'Avenant's paraphrase of “ Macbeth.” It was probably written hy Shakespeare, and derived by Middle


(2) SCENE 1.- Music and Song, “Black spirits," dr.] This “charm song," like the song in Act Ill., is found both in Middleton's “ Witch" and D'Avenant's alteration of “Macbeth":

(1) SCENE I.-Thrice the brinded cat hath men'd.) “Dr. Warburton has adduced classical authority for the connexion between Hecate and this animal, with a view to trace the reason why it was the agent and favourite of modern witches. It may be added, that among the Egyptians the cat was sacred to Isis or the Moon, their Hecate or Diana, and accordingly worshipped with great honour. Many cat-idols are still preserved in the cabinets of the curious, and the sistrum or rattle used by the priests of Isis is generally ornamented with a figure of a cat with a crescent on its head."-DOUCE.

“ Black Spirits, and White,

Red Spirits and Gray;
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may."


Such welcome and unrelcome things at once 'Tis hard to reconcile.] The foregoing dialogue very closely follows Holinshed's abridgment of the Scottish history :

“At his comming unto Malcolme, he declared into what great miserie the estate of Scotland was brought, by the detestable cruelties exercised by the tyrant Makbeth, having committed manie horrible slaughters and murders, both as well of the nobles as commons, for the which he was hated right mortallie of all his liege people, desiring nothing more than to be delivered of that intollerable and most heavie yoke of thraldome, which they sustained at such a caitaifes bands.

“Malcolme hearing Makduffes woords, which he uttered in verie lamentable sort, for méere compassion and verie ruth that pearsed his sorrowfull hart, bewailing the miserable state of his countrie, he fetched a deepe sigh ; which Makduffe perceiving, began to fall most earnestlie in hand with him, to enterprise the delivering of the Scotish people out of the hands of so cruell and bloudie a tyrant, as Makbeth by too manie plaine experiments did shew himselfe to be : which was an easie matter for him to bring to passe, considering not onelie the good title he had, but also the earnest desire of the people to have some occasion ministred, whereby they might be revenged of those notable injuries, which they dailie susteined by the outragious crueltie of Makbeths misgovernance. Though Malcolme was verie sorrowfull for the oppression of his countriemen the Scots, in maner as Makduffe had declared ; yet doubting whether he were come as one that ment unfeinedlie as he spake, or else as sent from Makbeth to betraie him, he thought to have some further triall, and thereupon dissembling his mind at the first, he answered as followeth.

“I am trulie verie sorie for the miserie chanced to my countrie of Scotland, but though I have never so great affection to relieve the same, yet by reason of certeine incurable vices, which reigne in me, I am nothing meet thereto. First, such immoderate lust and voluptuous sensualitie (the abhominable founteine of all vices) followeth me, that if I were made king of Scots, I should seeke to defloure young maids and matrones, in such wise that mine intemperancie should be more importable unto you, than the bloudie tyrannie of Makbeth now is.' Heereunto Makduffe answered: • This suerlie is a verie evill fault, for manie noble princes and kings have lost both lives and kingdomes for the same ; neverthelesse there are women enow in Scotland, and therefore follow my counsell. Make thy selfe king, and I shall conveje the matter so wiselie, that thou shalt be so satisfied at thy pleasure in such secret wise, that no man shall be aware thereof.'

“ Then said Malcolme, 'I am also the most avaritious creature on the earth, so that if I were king, I should séeke so manie waies to get lands and goods, that I would slea the most part of all the nobles of Scotland by surmized accusations, to the end I might injoy their lands, goods, and possessions; and therefore to shew you what mischiefe may insne on you through mine insatiable covetousness, I will rehearse unto you a fable. There was a fox having a

sore place on hir overset with a swarme of Aies, that continuallie sucked out hir bloud : and when one that came by and saw this manner, demanded whether she would hare the flies driven beside her, she answered no : for if these flies that are alreadie full, and by reason thereof sucke not verie egerlie, should be chased awaie, other that are emptie and fellie an hungred should light in their places, and sucke out the residue of my bloud farre more to my greevance than these, which now being satisfied doo not much annoie me. Therefore saith Malcolme, suffer me to remaine where I am, lest if I atteine to the regiment of your realme, mine unquenchable avarice may prvove such ; that ye would thinke the displeasures which now griere you, should séeme easie in respect of the unmeasurable outrage, which might insue through my coming amongst you.'

“ Makduffe to this made answer, ‘how it was a far woorse fault than the other : for avarice is the root of all mischiefe, and for that crime the most part of our kings have beene slaine and brought to their finall end. Yet notwithstanding follow my counsell, and take upon thée the crowne. There is gold and riches inough in Scotland to satisfie thy gréedie desire.' Then said Malcolme againe, 'I am furthermore inclined to dissimulation, telling of leasings and all other kinds of deceit, so that I naturallie rejoise in nothing so much as to betraie and deceive such as put anie trust or confidence in my woords. Then sith there is nothing that more becommeth a prince than constancie, veritie, truth, and justice, with the other laudable fellowship of those faire and noble vertues which are comprehended onelie in soothfastnesse, and that lieng utterlie overthroweth the same ; you sée how unable I am to governe anie province or region: and therefore sith you have remedies to cloke and hide all the rest of my other vices, I praie you find shift to cloke this vice amongst the residue.'

“ Then said Makduffe: “This yet is the woorst of all, and there I leave thee, and therefore saie ; ( ye unhappie and miserable Scotishmen, which are thus scourged with so manie and sundrio calamities, ech one above other! Ye have one curssed and wicked tyrant that now reigneth over you, without anie right or title, oppressing you with his most bloudie crueltie. This other that bath the right to the crowne, is so replet with the inconstant behaviour and manifest vices of Englishmen, that he is nothing woorthie to injoy it: for by his own confession he is not onelie avaritious, and given to unsatiable lust, but so false a traitor withall, that no trust is to be had unto anie woord he speaketh. Adieu Scotland, for now I account my selfe a banished man for ever, without comfort or consolation :' and with those woords the brackish teares trickled downe his chéekes verie abundantlie.

At the last, when he was readie to depart, Malcolme tooke him by the sleeve, and said : “Be of good comfort Makduffe, for I have none of these vices before remembred, but have jested with thée in this manner, onelie to proove thy mind : for diverse times héeretofore hath Mak. beth sought by this manner of meanes to bring me into his hands, but the more slow I have shewed my selfe to condescend to thy motion and request, the more diligence shall I use in accomplishing the same.

« ZurückWeiter »