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want of a copy of some better authority than that of Messrs. Hemings and Condell, unhappily leaves open a wider door for conjectural emendation in this play than in many others. I should propose to read,
they were " As cannons charg’d with double cracks; so they “ Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.”
Norway himself, with terrible numbers. The obvious restoration of the prosody, by Pope, in this line, should be adopted,
Norway himself, with numbers terrible.”
“ — Bellona's bridegroom.” ” Another instance, says Mr. Henley, of our author's ignorance of the ancient mythology ; but where is this ignorance at present? Macbeth is represented as a warrior so complete, that the poet would confer on him a kind of semiapotheosis, and marry him to Bellona; for it is not Mars, as Mr. Henley and Mr. Steevens suppose, that is implied by the bridegroom of Bello. na, but Macbeth himself.
I myself have all the other, “ And the very points they blow.” The second folio has ports; but admitting, with Mr. Steevens, that blow may stand for blow upon, it is still very difficult to make sense of
“I have all the other (winds)
By having the ports, perhaps we are to understand having a fatal influence over them. 36. “The weird sisters, hand in hand,” &c.
It has been suggested to me, by my ingenious friend Mr. Strutt, that the play should properly begin here ; and, indeed, all that has preceded might well be omitted. Rosse and Angus express every thing material that is contained in the third scene; and as Macbeth is the great object of the witches, all that we hear of the sailor and his wife is rather ludicrous and impertinent than solemn and material ; I strongly suspect it is spurious.
“ The weird sisters," The play would certainly begin much more dramatically at “the weird sisters,” or preferably, I think, a line higher;
" Macbeth doth come!”
This uttered with solemn horror, by one of the prophetic sisters, would immediately fix and appropriate the incantation; and give it an awful dignity, by determining its reference to the great object of the play, the fate and fortune of Macbeth; and martial music in the antique style, founded upon some of the oldest Scotch melodies, heard at a distance, as Macbeth is approaching, would give to the opening of the play a very characteristic grandeur, when combined with due scenery, and the weird sisters properly represented.
C. LOFFT. 38. “ All hail, Macbeth ! hail to thee, Thane
This title, by which Macbeth is saluted, is, in Scotland, always pronounced as a monosyllable, with the open sound of the first vowel, as in alms. We find the word eight times, in the course of the play, possessing a station in the metre. In four of these instances it seems to be a monosyllable, as besides the line just quoted" By Sinel's death, I know I'm Thane of
- Treasons capital“ Have overthrown him.”
- Glames ! and Thane of Cawdor !" " And yet wou'd’st wrongly win; thou’dst have,
great Glames.” The other four lines, indeed, appear to exhibit the word as a dissyllable: Glāmēs or Glāmis, a mistake somewhat similar to that by which, in Ireland, James and Charles are so extended Jāmēs, Chārlēs; and, possibly, Shakspeare would so have delivered it: but I cannot consider the poet's accidental ignorance of the sound or quantity of a foreign proper name, a sufficient reason for perpetuating an error so easily corrected ; as thus, after the Lady has read the letter :“ Glām's thou art (now,) and Cawdor, and
shalt be “What thou art promised,” &c. “ To cry-Hold, hold, great Glām's! (my) wor
thy Cawdor.” “ Still it cried-Sleep no more, to all the house ! (For) Glāms hath murder'd sleep, and there
fore Cawdor “ Shall sleep no more," &c.
“ Thou hast it now; King Glāms and Cawdor ;
41. “That he seems rapt withal.”
The meaning may be, which he seems rapt with ; but I rather think it is, insomuch that he seems rapt with what you have told him.This ellipsis occurs in other places; as, again, in this play, Act 2: “There's one did laugh in hụs sleep, and one
cried murder, “That they did wake each other.”
And in K. Lear, Act 4: “ But I am bound upon a wheel of fire, “ That my own tears do scald like molten lead.” And we also meet with it in Milton :
The fields revive, “ The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds “ Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings."
Paradise Lost. 43. “ His wonders and his praises do contend,
“Which should be thine, or his." In his mind there is a contest between praise and admiration ; each is abundantly extended, and with such emulous equality, that judgment pauses, unable to pronounce where lies the advantage ; with you, on the score of applause, or with him in the sense of your merits. 45. “In which addition, hail.”
Addition is title, style of address, appropriate distinction; as in many other instances :thus in Hamlet—"Soil our addition,” i. e. stain our cha
racter or national distinction, Dane: it is probably, as a learned friend suggests, one of our poet's many law terms; the addition being a part of the name itself in indictments. 46. “ The greatest is behind.”
This is equivocal: the succession of Macbeth to the crown was the last prediction of the weird women, and Macbeth would indulge the hope that it is to be fulfilled, as the others have been. I would point it thus :
Glamis ! and Thane of Cawdor!” “ The greatest-is-behind.” “ Do you not hope your children shall be
kings ?" This is introduced with consumate art and an intimate knowledge of the human mind : the predictions, now verified in two instances, have taken entire possession of Macbeth's thoughts; and his ambition is at once elevated and depressed, by the jarring ideas of the fruitless crownthe barren sceptre, that awaits him :-he would communicate with Banquo, but he perceives that Banquo, in this case, is not fit to be trusted; yet he cannot forego some attempt to sound, as at a distance, his rival's disposition : if he durst speak out, he would argue in this manner :-“ Is it not probable, that they who so truly foretold my succession to the dignities of Glamis and Cawdor, will also fulfil the remainder of their promise, and place me on the throne ?” But, just at this moment, he is startled at the consequence; the elevation of Banquo's posterity, and his question begins where his meditation ended : the caution, too, with which he speaks at last is admira